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Carnival Enters Multi-Year Partnership As The Official Cruise Line Of The Dallas Cowboys

Written by: Cruise

July 24, 2014 – Carnival Cruise Lines, Texas’ largest cruise operator, today announced an exclusive, multi-year partnership with the Dallas Cowboys, making Carnival the Official Cruise Line of the legendary NFL franchise and expanding the cruise operator’s already wide-ranging commitment to the Texas market. Carnival, which will homeport a third year-round ship in Galveston next year, will enjoy extensive branding and visibility through Dallas Cowboys-owned properties and bring its signature brand of fun to fans.

In its new role as the Official Cruise Line of the Dallas Cowboys, Carnival will add fun and memorable fan experiences to tailgaters at home games with its new “Fun Crew,” which tours the lots at AT&T Stadium on branded golf carts, offering exciting prizes to Cowboys fans, including the chance to win one of many cruise vacation giveaways. The Carnival brand will also be highly visible on digital marquees in the stadium and on other Cowboys media and online properties. Fans can also get in on the fun through a host of social media promotions and activities, giveaways and more.

The line’s partnership kicks off this week with the exclusive sponsorship of the Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Daily News Show airing regionally on Fox Sports Network. During nightly camp updates, new “Carnival 1st & Fun” segments offer an inside look at the fun firsts Cowboy’s reporter Lindsay Cash experienced on her recent Carnival cruise vacation. The segments will also be available at Carnival’s YouTube page (www.youtube.com/carnival).

“Carnival is far and away the most popular cruise line in Texas and millions of Texans have enjoyed exceptional vacations sailing with us from our homeport in Galveston,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. “Partnering with one of the most successful and storied franchises in professional sports makes perfect sense for us as the avid Cowboys fan base is among the most spirited in the country, much like Carnival guests.”

“We’re thrilled to bring Carnival Cruise Lines aboard as our Official Cruise Line,” said Jerry Jones Jr., chief marketing officer of the Dallas Cowboys. “We look forward to enhancing the game-day experience for every Cowboys fan with the unique brand of fun and entertaining activities Carnival will be bringing to our home games.”

The Dallas Cowboys partnership coincides with the line’s upcoming deployment of a third year-round ship, Carnival Freedom, to Galveston in February 2015. With the addition of Carnival Freedom, which recently underwent an extensive multi-million dollar makeover, Carnival expects to carry more than 600,000 guests a year from Texas – the most of any cruise operator. Carnival Freedom will join Carnival Magic in offering seven-day Caribbean cruises and Carnival Triumph which sails on four and five-day voyages to Mexico.

Posted: July 24th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Suite & Balcony Sale Offers Deals on Princess Cruises

Written by: Cruise

July 22, 2014 – Princess Cruises is offering the ultimate cruise deal with the Suite & Balcony Bonus Sale, running July 22 – August 19, on select cruises. During this cruise sale, guests who book a mini-suite or suite will receive up to $400 free onboard spending money per stateroom and guests booking an oceanview stateroom will receive a free balcony upgrade.

Several spring and winter cruises are featured in the summer sale to vacation destinations such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Panama Canal, Europe and Transatlantic voyages. Cruises depart between December 2014 and May 2015.

Guests booking a mini-suite or suite will receive an onboard credit of $50 per person for six- to nine-day cruises, $100 per person for 10-11-day cruises or $200 per person for 12 days or longer.

More information about the cruise sale and pricing can be found at princess.com/sale.

Example cruise deals during the Suite & Balcony Bonus Sale include:

Caribbean cruise — 7 days: $1,999 suite; $899 mini-suite; $699 balcony

Mexico cruise — 7 days: $1,999 suite; $899 mini-suite; $699 balcony

Alaska cruise — 7 days: $2,079 suite; $1,349 mini-suite; $1,149 balcony

Panama Canal cruise — 11 days: $2,999 suite; $1,699 mini-suite; $1,299 balcony

Transatlantic cruise — 14 days: $4,599 suite; $2,399 mini-suite; $1,799 balcony

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 Suite and Balcony Bonus Sale runs from 12:01 a.m. PDT on July 22 through 11:59 p.m. PDT on August 19, 2014 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Posted: July 22nd, 2014 under Hot Cruise Deals.
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Carnival To Feature Series Of 10 to 12 Day Cruises From Galveston & San Juan In Winter 2015

Written by: Cruise

July 22, 2014 – Following strong consumer response to Carnival Triumph’s first-ever longer length voyages from Galveston and San Juan, the cruise line has added three new 10- to 12-day cruises departing in winter 2015 and visiting beautiful and exotic destinations throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Additionally, Carnival Magic will offer a series of four- to six-day voyages from Galveston in winter 2015, marking the first time that the 130,000-ton ship has offered a short cruise program from Texas.

“Based on feedback we’ve received from our guests and valued travel agent partners, we are pleased to be able to provide even more itinerary choices from Galveston,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “These new longer cruises on Carnival Triumph visit a variety of beautiful destinations while offering more time to enjoy the ship’s many fantastic and exciting features. At the same time, the four- to six-day sailings on Carnival Magic are the perfect choice for those looking for a shorter cruise featuring all the wonderful innovations aboard our newest class of ships,” he added.

10- to 12-day Cruises Aboard Carnival Triumph

The newly scheduled voyages on Carnival Triumph include three exciting options:

· An 11-day southern Caribbean voyage from Galveston to San Juan Feb. 9-20, 2015, calling at Grand Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica and St. Maarten.

· A 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean voyage from San Juan to Galveston Feb. 20 – March 2, 2015, with visits to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Croix and Falmouth (Jamaica).

· A 12-day Journey of Discovery cruise round-trip from Galveston March 2-14, 2015, featuring Grand Cayman, Limon (Costa Rica), Colon (Panama), and Cartagena and Santa Marta (Colombia).

The three voyages can be combined to create an unforgettable 33-day seagoing adventure visiting 15 ports across two continents.

During these voyages, guests can relax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, visit centuries-old historical landmarks and attractions, and enjoy a diversity of shopping, dining and sightseeing opportunities, all while experiencing Carnival Triumph’s impressive array of Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment innovations. These include Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican venue, the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar, and more.

The three new voyages complement Carnival Triumph’s previously announced series of 10- and 11-day cruises from Galveston and San Juan in 2015 and 2016. Two 11-day cruises sail from Galveston to San Juan Oct. 24, 2015, and Jan. 16, 2016, and two 10-day cruises will operate from San Juan to Galveston Nov. 4, 2015, and Jan. 27, 2016.

First-Ever Short Cruises Aboard Carnival Magic

While Carnival Triumph is sailing these longer length cruises, Carnival Magic will, for the first time, offer a series of four- to six-day voyages from Galveston in February and March 2015, providing consumers an opportunity to experience the ship’s many unique features on a short cruise program. Aboard Carnival Magic, guests can experience SkyCourse, a suspended ropes course offering breathtaking views to the sea 150 feet below, as well as the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Prime classic American steakhouse, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub and a stunning indoor/outdoor café and live music venue called Ocean Plaza.

Carnival Magic’s short cruise program will encompass two four-day cruises to Cozumel departing Feb. 19 and March 5, 2015; two five-day cruises to Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico, departing Feb. 14 and 23, 2015; and two unique six-day cruises to Cozumel, Progreso and Costa Maya departing Feb. 8 and March 9, 2015.

Posted: July 22nd, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Norwegian Brings Extensive New Rotating Menus To The Fleet – Plus A Chocoholic Night!

Written by: Cruise

July 21, 2014 – Guests setting sail with Norwegian Cruise Line this summer and beyond will have more choices and flexibility in the line’s complimentary dining venues. These new offerings are a further development of the Norwegian NEXT program, focused on bringing “new enhancements, experiences and transformations” across the fleet, with the goal of elevating the guest experience and building on the success of the line’s two newest ships: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.

The culinary enhancements include: the debut of multiple new menus in the ships’ main dining rooms that offer an increased variety of selections and contemporary dishes; a dedicated “Chocoholic Night” one evening per cruise, featuring specialty chocolate-based desserts in each restaurant; and the ability for guests to make main dining reservations up to 90 days in advance.
 Norwegian Brings Extensive New Rotating Menus To The Fleet   Plus A Chocoholic Night!
“Dining is an essential part of cruising and an experience that our guests look forward to,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO. “We want to make sure that we are exceeding our guests’ expectations with culinary delights in our complimentary dining venues. These enhancements with such a wide variety of choice along with guest favorites and of course, chocolate, are bringing our complimentary dining venues to new heights.”

The new regionally-focused complimentary dining room dinner menus vary by ship itinerary and change each evening of the sailing, ensuring that guests have a wider selection of dishes to choose from during their cruise. Featuring a sleeker design along with wine pairing recommendations and anecdotal culinary history, the new menus display several sections – starters, classic dishes, main courses, chef’s signature dish and dessert – and offer an increased variety, with up to 12 starters and up to 15 entrees per evening. The menus have been carefully developed by Norwegian’s culinary team with a focus on balancing popular traditional dishes like prime rib, chateaubriand, rack of lamb and escargot with current dining trends and heightened guest expectations. The new offerings include increased seafood options such as grouper, barramundi, sushi and crab dishes. Contemporary dishes include mojito shrimp ceviche, seared Atlantic scallops with fennel puree, and braised beef short ribs with Cajun shrimp. Additionally, guests can enjoy new lunch menus in the main dining room.

In the popular, complimentary dining venue, O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill on board Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jewel, the company is introducing exclusive specialty dish nights, such as prime rib, all-you-can-eat baby back ribs, and chicken and waffles. These specialty dish nights give guests an alternative dinner venue in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

One of the most popular additions to the new dining program is sure to be Norwegian’s “Chocoholic Night,” which offers a choice of up to seven signature chocolate desserts in every restaurant one evening each cruise. Ranging from the delectable warm chocolate volcano to the decadent chocolate Nutella pot de crème and the white chocolate strawberry mousse, the desserts are sure to satisfy any cruiser’s sweet-tooth.

In keeping with the line’s Freestyle Cruising, Norwegian is also making it easier than ever for guests to further customize their vacation experience by offering the ability to make reservations for complimentary dining rooms up to 90 days prior to the cruise date. With reservation times at 5:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, and 8:30 pm, the new system provides guests the option of selecting a dining time during any evening of their cruise, for a party size of up to 12 guests.

“After a trial on Norwegian Breakaway, the main dining reservation option has been met with overwhelming support from our guests,” said Frank Weber, vice president of product development for Norwegian Cruise Line. “The program has been extremely successful because it allows guests to select their experiences ahead of time if they wish to, or they can choose to simply walk up to the restaurant they wish to dine at once onboard. It’s another way to offer more freedom and flexibility to our guests.”

The new menus and concepts will be available on most of Norwegian’s fleet by July 31, and onboard Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sky and Pride of America by early 2015.

Posted: July 21st, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Carnival’s Fundraising For St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Surpasses $5 Million

Written by: Cruise

July 15, 2014 – Through a variety of innovative fundraising activities, Carnival Cruise Lines has raised more than $5 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the hospital’s many lifesaving pediatric cancer research and treatment programs.
In addition to its Care to Play: Carnival for St. Jude Kids shipboard fundraising campaign, the cruise line also serves as the Official Celebration Partner for St. Jude, supporting birthday parties, proms and other celebratory events at the Memphis, Tennessee, hospital.
dave albums press images picture83 st jude fun gauge jpg Carnivals Fundraising For St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital Surpasses $5 Million
Carnival Cruise Lines is on track to raise $8 million by 2017 through a range of engaging activities, both on board and ashore. These include Groove for St. Jude, a fun dance activity where guests make a $10 donation and receive a Care to Play T-shirt and wristband, and the Beary Cuddly program where kids can build their own stuffed animal with optional accessories such as medical scrubs, all available for purchase with proceeds benefiting St. Jude.

Planned for this year is a special bingo game with a portion of each card benefiting St. Jude, as well as a water slide activity with a $1 donation for each ride during a specified time on board. And when guests purchase a designated bakery item from the line’s on-board shops or prior to their cruise on carnival.com, Carnival donates a portion of each item sold to St. Jude.

Carnival’s Official Celebration Partner activities include supplying entertainment at the annual St. Jude Teen Formal and hosting an annual Day of Play with music, food, dancing, giveaways and more. Earlier this year, in conjunction with National Dance Day, Carnival provided kids and their parents an afternoon of fun at the first-ever in-hospital Groove for St. Jude, modeled after the popular shipboard activity. Birthdays are also celebrated at the hospital with a special gift from Carnival complementing traditional festivities.

“St. Jude has truly become part of the Carnival family,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “Our employees, guests and travel agent partners take tremendous pride in our role as a financial supporter and provider of fun and memorable experiences for the patients of this truly extraordinary hospital and research institution.”

Carnival has also revamped the St. Jude portal within its web site (www.carnival.com/stjude) which includes information on the partnership and a chart reflecting progress toward the company’s $8-million fundraising goal.

Posted: July 15th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Orders Two New Breakaway-Plus Class Vessels

Written by: Cruise

July 14, 2014 – Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has reached an agreement with MEYER WERFT GmbH of Germany to build two new Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter 2018 and the fourth quarter 2019. Each ship will be 164,600 gross tons and include 4,200 passenger berths.

dave albums press images picture82 07162013 breakawayplus Norwegian Cruise Line Orders Two New Breakaway Plus Class Vessels

“Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have proven themselves as industry game-changers and are extremely popular with our guests,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “It was only natural that we build on their success with this new ship order that further solidifies our long-term growth strategy.”

The contract price for both ships is approximately euro 1.6 billion. The Company has export credit financing in place for each ship, arranged and underwritten by KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH of Germany.

“We are thrilled that Norwegian Cruise Line has the continued confidence in MEYER WERFT to expand their fleet,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of MEYER WERFT. “We are very proud of our longstanding relationship with Norwegian.”

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept of Freestyle Cruising which offers guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their cruise vacation on their own terms, including multiple dining venues, relaxed attire, a variety of accommodations and world-class entertainment. The Company took Freestyle Cruising to the next level with the introduction of Norwegian Epic in June 2010 and subsequently launched two game-changing vessels, Norwegian Breakaway based in New York in May 2013 and Norwegian Getaway homeported in Miami in February 2014. These ships incorporate groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that create a whole new complex at sea and connect guests with the ocean.

Posted: July 14th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Carnival To Feature “Cigar City Brewing” Craft Beers On All Florida-based Ships

Written by: Cruise

July 14, 2014 — Capitalizing on the growing popularity of craft beer in the U.S., Carnival Cruise Lines has entered into an exclusive agreement to offer Tampa-based Cigar City Brewing’s craft beers on all of its Florida-based ships.

Cigar City’s Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale and Invasion Pale Ale will be available on 13 Carnival ships sailing from five Florida ports beginning this week. Combined, those ships carry more than two million guests each year.

The agreement — the first partnership of this magnitude between a craft brewery and a major cruise line — was announced Sunday, July 13, at an event aboard Carnival Legend at the Port of Tampa.

“Carnival continues to seek high-quality brands to enhance our guests’ experience, and Cigar City Brewing has been rated among the top craft breweries in the world,” said Eddie Allen, Carnival’s vice president of beverage operations. “Cigar City Brewing craft beers are a fantastic addition to our already extensive beverage menus and will provide our guests a chance to enjoy two delicious and refreshing beers that aren’t available on any other cruise line.” Allen noted that Carnival also offers its own private label draught beer, ThirstyFrog Red, which is available throughout the fleet.

“Cigar City Brewing could not be happier than to partner with another great Florida institution, that being Carnival Cruise Lines. Everyone at Cigar City Brewing is thrilled to start this wonderful partnership,” said Joe Burns, national sales manager for Cigar City Brewing.

Carnival has 13 Florida-based ships sailing three- to eight-day itineraries to the Caribbean, Mexico and The Bahamas, including Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Glory, Carnival Victory and Carnival Splendor from Miami; Carnival Sensation, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Liberty from Port Canaveral; Carnival Freedom from Fort Lauderdale; Carnival Paradise and Carnival Legend from Tampa, and Carnival Fascination from Jacksonville.

Cigar City’s Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale is named for the colonial-era “Cracker” cowboys of Florida. Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale is brewed with unmalted wheat, orange peel and coriander, which ends with a spicy, dry finish. The beer pours cloudy straw in color and has moderate notes of orange peel, coriander and hints of vanilla.

Gold in color, Invasion Pale Ale is Cigar City’s version of a “session” beer (a beer with a relatively low alcohol content), in a hoppy ale that celebrates Tampa’s alleged history of being a pirate hideout. The tropical aroma offers suggestions of peach, mango, lime and papaya. Invasion has a light caramel malt character laced with a slight “breadiness” and the finish offers a bounty of tropical and citrus hop flavor and bitterness.

Unlike most U.S. craft breweries, Cigar City Brewing packages most of its beverages in aluminum cans. Aluminum cans are the most widely recycled containers in the United States, and aluminum may be reused repeatedly without loss of strength or quality. From a beer drinker’s perspective, cans have zero light penetration to better preserve the integrity of the brew, they chill faster, are easier to store and have a longer shelf life than bottles. Cans also are shatterproof and therefore are allowed where bottles are not — such as poolside. Producing new cans from recycled aluminum reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent.

Florida Craft Brewing Trends

Over the past decade, the number of craft and microbreweries has grown dramatically across the United States and consumer demand for craft brews continues to increase. In 2013 in Florida, the state’s 66 small breweries produced 130,000 barrels (4.03 million gallons) of craft-brewed beer for an economic impact of $875.8 million, ranking the state 12th in the nation.

Nationwide, in 2013 the overall beer market represented total sales of $100 billion, of which $14.3 billion was craft beers. That represented a 20 percent increase in craft beer sales and an 18 percent increase in production volume over 2012, according to the Brewers Association.

Posted: July 14th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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MSC Cruises Becomes The First To Offer 24/7 Pediatric Telemedicine

Written by: Cruise

July 11, 2014 – Those cruising with children can take comfort in knowing that MSC Cruises has become the first cruise line in the world to offer guests a 24/7 multilingual pediatric telemedicine service on board, through a partnership with the Giannina Gaslini Institute, in Genoa, Italy, a world-class center of excellence in pediatric medicine.

MSC Cruises will install new technology across its entire fleet to enable ship-to-shore care of children with onshore support from specialists at the Gaslini Institute. Operational September 1, 2014, fleet-wide, MSC Cruises’ onboard doctors will be able to consult specialist pediatricians at any time to seek a second opinion or carry out procedures such as remote diagnosis, radiology and monitoring.

No other cruise company in the world provides such a service, which will bring peace of mind to the thousands of families that take cruise vacations every year.

The project was announced in Genoa by the CEO of MSC Cruises, Gianni Onorato, the Director General of the Giannina Gaslini Institute, Paul Petralia, and the President of the Liguria Region, Claudio Burlando.

Mr. Onorato said: “MSC Cruises is a family-owned company and we strongly believe in caring for the health and safety of our guests on board, with particular attention to younger travelers, who can require help and treatment quite different from other age groups. We’re really excited about this collaboration, which is particularly adapted to our family cruises, no matter where in the world. Pediatric telemedicine is an addition to other existing services on our ships, such as teleradiology and teleconsultation, for a cruise vacation where we can respond to any need.”

“The expertise of our specialists is being made available beyond the walls of the Gaslini,” said the Director General of the Gaslini, Paolo Petralia. “This enables onboard doctors to confirm their diagnoses and treatments using a cutting-edge system of remote image and data transmission. All this reaffirms the Gaslini Institute’s commitment to offer the best care everywhere while developing the most advanced and efficient means of care and information technology.”

This innovation further improves onboard medical responses through diagnostic and therapeutic functions that were once only possible on land. The link-up, via satellite, will be available on all MSC Cruises itineraries anywhere on the planet.

The telemedicine technology is managed by Carestream, which has developed a platform to enable requests for distance consultation to be made easily from the remotest locations, allowing Gaslini doctors to move quickly with diagnoses and referrals. The process is fully computerized, from the consultation request to the response, and respects the highest of safety standards.

Posted: July 11th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Windstar Cruises to Debut Exclusive Private Events on all 2015 Voyages

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July 9, 2014 – 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.”

Windstar debuted 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.

Posted: July 9th, 2014 under Hot Cruise Deals.
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Carnival Revises Smoking Policy & Increases Automatic Gratuity Amounts

Written by: Cruise

July 8, 2014.

Carnival Cruise Lines rolled out some policy changes this morning in a letter to their travel partners. Starting on October 9, 2014, the cruise line will join most other mainstream lines in prohibiting smoking on stateroom balconies. Those caught violating the policy will be charged a $250 cleaning fee. The ticket contract has been revised to include the new policy and fee. Also, the company is increasing the daily gratuity that is automatically charged to shipboard accounts. The charge will increase by 50 cents per person/per day, going from $11.50 to $12.00. Those guests who have already pre-paid gratuities for upcoming cruises will not be assessed the new fee.

The text of the letter is as follows:

“Effective October 9, 2014, Carnival Cruise Lines will no longer allow smoking on stateroom balconies fleetwide. The company already prohibits smoking within staterooms. Carnival’s updated smoking policy is consistent with most other major cruise lines. Smoking will continue to be allowed in designated open deck areas, as well as night clubs and certain areas within the casino and casino bar.

Guests who smoke in their staterooms or on their balconies will be assessed a $250 cleaning and refreshing fee on their Sail & Sign shipboard account. Information on this fee is included in Carnival’s ticket contract. We appreciate our guests’ understanding of this modification to our smoking policy based on guest feedback.”

Posted: July 8th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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