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Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Freestyle Choice” Promotion Offers Up To $1400 In Added Value

Written by: Cruise News

September 3, 2015 – Norwegian Cruise Line is providing guests with the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their cruise vacation, with up to $1,400 in added value offers per balcony stateroom to enhance their cruising experience when they book a new cruise vacation with Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice promotion now through October 31.

Guests who book a new three- through 16-day cruise† in any category stateroom for sailings on or before December 22, 2015 will have the freedom to select one of four great offers including a free Ultimate Beverage Package*, a free Specialty Dining Package*, free shore excursion credits, or a free minute WiFi package**. Guests who book a suite or The Haven by Norwegian™ will receive all four offers, making their cruise into an all-inclusive experience. These offers are in addition to Friends & Family Sail Free, where the third and fourth guest in each stateroom can even sail for free on select sailings in 2015.

Guests who book a cruise that begins on or after December 23, 2015 have two options: cruisers who book a balcony or above have the freedom to select one full value offer, while guests who book an oceanview, inside or Studio stateroom can select one offer at a modified value, including a free unlimited soda package*, a free $50 dining credit, free $25 shore excursion credit per port, per stateroom, and a free 100 minute internet package**.

Those planning their 2015 holiday getaway should act fast, as Norwegian’s Holiday Bonus Days also offer up to $200*** in onboard credit for guests who book now through September 30 for a cruise sailing over Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve, in addition to the Freestyle Choice offer.

Norwegian’s Freestyle ships allow guests to visit the destinations of their dreams with the freedom and flexibility to dine when they want, indulge how they want, laugh how they want or relax how they want. To book a cruise during Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 866-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit www.ncl.com/FreeChoice.

† Offer valid for US residents only and terms based on itinerary and stateroom category booked. All Pride of America sailings are not eligible for offer. All Norwegian Sky cruises beginning December 23, 2015 are not eligible for offer.

*Guests are responsible for an 18% gratuity for Specialty Dining Package, Ultimate Beverage Package, or the Soda Package, with pricing based on number of cruise nights. Suites or Haven guests will not be responsible for the 18% gratuities related to the Ultimate Dining Package, Ultimate Beverage Package, or the Soda Package.

**Guests sailing in inside, Studio and oceanview staterooms receive a 100 minute package. balcony and above categories receive 250 minute package on sailings on or after December 23, 2015. One login per stateroom. On Norwegian Breakaway, stateroom receives an internet package of 100/250 minutes or 300/1000 MB of data respectively.

***Amount of onboard credit based on stateroom category.

Posted: September 3rd, 2015 under Hot Cruise Deals.
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Carnival Offering Wide Variety Of Bermuda Cruise Options in 2016

Written by: Cruise News

August 31, 2015 – Carnival Cruise Line will provide its guests with a variety of opportunities to visit the island paradise of Bermuda in 2016, with nine departures that feature at least one overnight docked alongside at historic King’s Wharf.

From April through November 2016, guests can embark on four different Carnival ships departing from five convenient U.S. homeports offering itineraries ranging from five to eight days — making 2016 one of the cruise line’s most robust Bermuda programs ever.

Carnival’s 2016 Bermuda schedule includes:

· Carnival Pride: five-day cruises from Baltimore departing April 10 and Oct. 26 as well as seven-day voyages departing Sept. 4 and 18.
· Carnival Victory: an eight-day sailing from Port Canaveral departing May 19.
· Carnival Ecstasy: seven-day cruises from Charleston departing May 12 and Nov. 5.
· Carnival Sunshine: a seven-day cruise from New York departing Oct. 1 and a five-day sailing from Norfolk departing Oct. 23.

Five-day itineraries feature an overnight call at Bermuda; seven-day cruises spend two nights docked at King’s Wharf; and the eight-day voyage features three nights on the island.

“By offering Bermuda cruises from a variety of convenient drive-to homeports, we’re providing guests even more opportunities to experience and explore this incredible island paradise,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “The island has tremendous tourist appeal and the wide range of cruises offer consumers maximum choice when planning their Bermuda vacation while providing travel agents with a sought-after destination to market to their clients,” she added.

While Bermuda might be best known for its unique pink sand beaches, pastel architecture and famous shorts, it’s also an island with an abundance of activities that enable guests to become immersed in its tropical ambiance and laid-back lifestyle. From world-class golf courses and beautiful beaches to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and underwater explorations by glass-bottom boat, snorkel or scuba, the longer calls make it possible to participate in a variety of activities throughout the day and into the evening. With overnight visits, guests are also able to experience the island’s local nightlife and dine ashore if they choose.

For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Posted: August 31st, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Carnival Sunshine Rocks!

Written by: Cruise News

– Dave Beers, Editor-in-Chief

I just returned from a 5-night cruise aboard the Carnival Sunshine, which covered a Bahamas itinerary, highlighted by a “Carnival LIVE” concert by the legendary rock band Boston. I had last cruised on Carnival in 2010, on the Elation, and that was much too long of a time between “Fun Ship” cruises. This was also my first experience with the “Fun Ship 2.0” enhancements.

As cruise aficionados know, the Carnival Sunshine is a seaborne renaissance work of art, having been born as Carnival Destiny in the mid-1990s, but undergoing a substantial rebuilding in 2013 – adding new features that were so significant that the ship was renamed Carnival Sunshine to reflect this rebirth as an essentially new vessel.

Getting To The Ship And Boarding

Carnival Sunshine currently sails on alternating 5 and 8-night cruises out of Port Canaveral, Florida. While the port is not especially close to Orlando International Airport, it is very easy to get to and the ride is a quick 45 minutes. I used the Carnival transfers that are provided by Mears Transportation – a regional giant in moving tourists from one place to another. Carnival has a desk on level 1 of the airport arrival areas. I was given my bus ticket and after a short wait, we loaded up and were headed for the ship. Note that if you do not pre-purchase transfers you can do so at the airport desk. They do not take cash or credit cards so the fee will appear on your onboard account.

All Aboard!

Once the largest cruise ship, in today’s world the Carnival Sunshine is more of a mid-sized vessel but it does carry over 3000 guests. My initial thought was the pool deck was very small but then you realize the tiered deck chair area around it gives the impression that it’s small when it’s more like an arena. I did not observe any crowding on our sea day although there were some pinch points for guest flow during some cruise activities

The adults-only Serenity area forward of the main pool sits up high and I found it quite nice, especially the waterfall. Chairs always seemed available when I drifted through.

I had an interior cabin on deck 8 and it was like all other standard cabins on Carnival ships – large enough and with good storage space. I like that with even the least expensive cabins, Carnival offers plenty of square footage. I was more than happy with my accommodation.  Carnival Sunshine Rocks!

There is good guest flow in the public areas inside the ship, especially the spacious walkway that goes along the Promenade Deck (deck 5) through the casino, and to the Ocean Plaza. The Ocean Plaza area is where I found the RedFrog Pub (not very busy on my cruise) and the Alchemy Bar (often busy on my cruise). I loved the Alchemy Bar and went there every evening. This is a martini bar in the strictest sense. They do not offer soft drinks, beer, or regular cocktails and frozen drinks. There is a menu of very specific and unusual concoctions, or the skilled bartenders will hand craft a drink for you from the available ingredients. Their imaginations and abilities were quite impressive.

An excellent band (The In Crowd) played nightly in the Ocean Plaza. Carnival has always had highly talented musicians and singers on the ships and it was quite true on the Sunshine.

Good Eats

Carnival Sunshine has it all when it comes to the food options offered by Carnival, and more. That’s because Sunshine has JiJi Asian Kitchen and is currently the only ship in the fleet with this jewel. Carnival Vista will have a JiJi when it debuts in 2016.

Since I only had 5 days, I maximized my use of the extra-fee dining and had dinners in JiJi, Cucino del Capitano, and Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse.

I was very much impressed with all three venues. The prices are reasonable for what you get, which was in each case excellent food both in taste and quality, and very gracious and anticipatory yet unobtrusive service.

 Carnival Sunshine Rocks!At JiJi Asian Kitchen I had one of the ultimately decadent dishes – slow braised pork belly with caramel chili sauce – along with Singapore Chili Shrimp and Himalayan Basmati Fried Rice. Dessert was a flavorful Rose Cream Brulee. By the way, Ji means luck in Chinese and JiJi means ‘double luck’ according to my server.

Cucino del Capitano has a large menu but I went simple with Calamari Fritti, Nonna’s Linguini and Meatballs, and Sicilian Cannoli for dessert. It was good.

My absolute favorite was Fahrenheit 555. I had escargots, served in unconventional plating, followed by a salad of perfectly ripe beefsteak tomato with Gorgonzola cheese, and then an entrée of lamb chops that blew me away. The chops were perfectly cooked and seasoned and fork tender – it was a masterpiece. I actually convinced some adjacent diners to order them.
 Carnival Sunshine Rocks!
Carnival LIVE

The Boston concert was during our Nassau stop and started promptly at 8:30pm. Doors opened at 8pm and actually, lines formed outside the Liquid Lounge at 6pm. The band hit the stage at full speed, nailing the audience with their signature song “Rock & Roll Band”. They followed up with all of their hits as well as some new material. It was non-stop fun and song for over 90 minutes, with several standing ovations along the way. It was absolutely wonderful! I left the theater thinking, “I am really glad I did this cruise”. In fact, I am already booked for another Carnival LIVE cruise in October, when I board Carnival Breeze and head off to Cozumel where I’ll see my favorite group of all-time “Heart”! Staterooms and concert tickets are still available, so why not join me? Check out CarnivalLIVE here for more information. You’ll be glad you did.

Posted: August 26th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Carnival Pride Returns To Tampa In January/February 2017

Written by: Cruise News

August 26, 2015 – Carnival Cruise Line’s 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride will return to the Port of Tampa to operate a series of five- to 14-day voyages in January and February 2017, providing consumers with an exciting variety of “Fun Ship” vacation choices from this popular Florida port.

Carnival Pride has undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation that added consumer favorites like Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network Star Guy Fieri, the full-service Bonsai Sushi, and BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare, along with innovative beverage concepts like the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, and the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar. A massive WaterWorks aqua park highlighted by Green Thunder, the fastest and steepest water slide at sea, was added as well.

“Tampa is a popular port for ‘Fun Ship’ cruising and we’re thrilled that the Carnival Pride is returning to the port to operate this series of five- to 14-day cruises which feature visits to top destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “These cruises also provide our valued travel agent partners with exciting new vacation choices to market to their clients,” she added.

Five- to Seven-Day Cruises From Tampa
Carnival Pride will operate a series of seven-day cruises from Tampa departing Jan. 15, 22 and 29, and Feb. 19, 2017, visiting some of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, including Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan; and George Town, Grand Cayman. Carnival Pride will also offer a five-day cruise round-trip from Tampa February 14-19, 2017, calling at Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Each of these destinations are world-renowned for their beautiful beaches, wide range of sightseeing choices and excellent water sports opportunities.

Special 13- and 14-Day Carnival Journeys Cruises From Baltimore and Tampa
Prior to its deployment to Tampa, Carnival Pride will operate a 13-day Carnival Journeys cruise departing Baltimore Jan. 2 and arriving in Tampa Jan. 15, 2017. Ports of call include Grand Turk, B.W.I.; Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama (including optional excursions to the Panama Canal); Limon, Costa Rica; Mahogany Bay; Cozumel and the Caribbean’s newest destination, Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, which serves as the gateway to one of the world’s most breathtaking cruising regions.

A 14-day Carnival Journeys voyage will depart Tampa Feb. 26, visiting Cozumel, Limon, Colon, Aruba, Bonaire, and St. Maarten before arriving in Baltimore March 12, 2017. Following this voyage, Carnival Pride will resume its year-round schedule of seven-day cruises from Baltimore beginning March 12, 2017.

Carnival Journeys is a unique collection of longer length voyages featuring spectacular ports of call and unique on-board activities created especially for this one-of-a-kind cruise program. In addition to experiencing and exploring ports of call throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America, Carnival Journeys guests can enjoy local culinary experiences, participate in exclusive team member Q&As and special activities, including a fun-filled “throw back sea day” with retro activities and old school dining options from the 1980s.

For additional information on these voyages, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Posted: August 26th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Holland America Line Enhances ‘Flight Ease’ Air Booking Program with More Options and Easier Navigation

Written by: Cruise News

August 20, 2015 — Holland America Line added a new look and enhanced features to its air booking program, Flight Ease, making it more user-friendly for travel professionals to navigate, search and book flights.

In addition to the new design, the functionality of the site is now more intuitive, allowing travel professionals to select departure and return flights separately, add a stopover flight segment, easily compare real-time flexible and restricted fares, and review more detailed schedule displays.

“We’re constantly communicating with our travel partners, and these Flight Ease enhancements are a result of conversations on how to improve the air reservation platform,” said Eva Jenner, vice president of North America sales for Holland America Line. “Planning a cruise vacation from start to finish should be a seamless process, and Flight Ease ensures that our travel partners have the most advanced tools to coordinate their clients’ air and cruise itineraries.”

In addition to the new look, the new and improved functionality includes:

The ability to select departing and return flights independently.

Improved search filters to easily identify the best flight for clients based on preferred airlines, fare type, number of stops, departure time, price and duration.

Easy comparison of flexible and restricted airfare options for the same flights.

A logic-driven calendar to guide flight planning based on ship departure and arrival dates.

Newly designed schedule displays detailing important information about type of aircraft, connections and layover times.

Improved navigation allowing the travel professionals to move easily across the booking flow from each step of the process including search, select departure, select return, summary and pay.

Available through Holland America Line’s robust Polar Online booking process, Flight Ease features up-to-the-minute flight schedules that only include those flights that arrive and depart in time for the specific cruise booked; as well as competitive pricing and flight inventory from multiple carriers. All flights booked through Flight Ease feature 24-hour assistance for questions and “Next Port Protection,” which means that in case of airline delay or cancellation en route to a cruise, Holland America Line will take care of any flight changes necessary to join the cruise at the next available port of call.

With Flight Ease, travel professionals can easily and affordably select from two competitive pricing options depending on their clients’ travel needs: Flexible Fares provide the greatest leeway for changes with no fees to adjust a flight schedule and airfare payment is due with the final cruise payment. Similar to other low-fare tickets, Restricted Fares are generally a lower price, have cancellation fees and require full payment for the air reservation at the time of booking.

Posted: August 20th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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“Got To Go” Azamara Flash Sale

Written by: Cruise News

August 17, 2015 – Azamara Club Cruises starting today and for one week only is launching the Got to Go Sale, giving guests onboard spending money, when they book select 2015 and 2016 voyages between August 17 – 24, 2015.

“An Azamara voyage is all about the experience that our guests have, the memories they make and the stories they go home and share with friends and family,” says Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “We keep this in mind when developing promotions and special offers like this one. Extra spending money is always exciting and makes a romantic Nights in Private Places experience or a delicious dinner at one of our curated Cruise Global, Eat Local restaurants all the better. Whatever their choice, we are giving guests something extra to make their Azamara experience that much more memorable.”

Azamara guests who book a Club Veranda stateroom will receive $1,000 of onboard spending money and those guests who book a Club Oceanview or Club Interior will receive $500 of onboard spending money per stateroom based on double occupancy. This money can be used in a lot of ways. This includes everything from spa treatments to Land Discoveries to specialty dining to the onboard shops to name a few. Visit AzamaraClubCruises.com/GotToGo for more information and to book your Azamara vacation.

Posted: August 17th, 2015 under Hot Cruise Deals.
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Norwegian Escape Floats Out Of Building Dock

Written by: Cruise News

August 17, 2015 – Norwegian Escape, soon to be the largest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, was floated out of MEYER WERFT’s covered building dock II on Saturday, August 15 in Papenburg, Germany, where the 164,600-ton ship has been under construction since September 2014. Beginning at approximately 9:15 AM local time, the 4,200 passenger vessel, with her signature hull artwork designed by famed marine wildlife artist and conservationist Guy Harvey, departed building dock II. Norwegian Escape is the first ship in the line’s Breakaway Plus Class, measuring 1,098 feet in length and 136 feet wide.

Norwegian Escape’s float out represents a major milestone in the vessel’s construction, with the ship being well on her way to completion she will now move into the final phase of construction with delivery taking place on October 22, 2015.

“MEYER WERFT has done an excellent job with the construction of Norwegian Escape,” Norwegian Cruise Line’s President and Chief Operating Officer Andy Stuart said. “The ship’s float out brings us one step closer to bringing the next evolution of Freestyle Cruising to the world and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Following the ship’s float out, the next milestones will be mounting the ship’s signature Norwegian Cruise Line funnel and taking thrills to new heights by adding a third story to Norwegian Escape’s ropes course—due to be the largest at sea. Norwegian Escape’s conveyance down the river Ems towards the North Sea is scheduled for September 16 (weather permitting).

Following inaugural events in Europe and Miami, Norwegian Escape will sail seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises departing every Saturday from Miami beginning on November 14, 2015.

From the ship’s eye-catching hull artwork to thrilling waterslides and ropes course, Norwegian Escape, as the first ship in the Breakaway Plus Class, represents a true evolution for the Norwegian brand, incorporating guest favourites and providing further freedom and flexibility for guests.
For video of Norwegian Escape’s float out, courtesy of Meyer Werft, please click here.

Norwegian Escape

Norwegian Escape will sail weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean beginning on November 14, 2015. The 164,600 gross ton ship will be the largest ever to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. Norwegian Escape’s signature hull artwork is designed by marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, Guy Harvey.

Norwegian Escape’s dining and entertainment will include outposts of several popular land-based outlets, including the first-ever floating Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, a music venue and outdoor bar on The Waterfront that will feature live nightly performances. James Beard Award-Winning Iron Chef Jose Garces will have two concepts onboard, a Latin seafood specialty restaurant and Pincho Tapas Bar, while Miami-based The Pubbelly Restaurant Group will develop the menu for the Food Republic, an upscale food emporium.

The District Brew House, a hip, urban craft beer hall featuring an exclusive partnership with Miami’s own Wynwood Brewing Company, will serve up more than 24 draft beers while The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar, features an array of immersive wine experiences, focusing on tasting, education, and the enjoyment of wine. Norwegian Escape will also feature Miami’s oldest and most legendary bar, Tobacco Road.

Continuing with Norwegian’s commitment to excellence in entertainment, Norwegian Escape will feature two Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals headlining in the Escape Theater: After Midnight, the smash-hit musical that combines the big-band songs of Duke Ellington and the best dancing from Broadway; and Million Dollar Quartet, the smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. In a new concept exclusive to Norwegian Escape, the Supper Club has been re-imagined for an unforgettable dinner and show. For The Record: The Brat Pack™ is a critically acclaimed Hollywood night that celebrates classic soundtracks of motion picture masters in a one-of-a kind 360° post-modern cabaret.

The ship will feature the largest ropes course at sea, a three-story multiplex of heart-pounding challenges complete with two planks and five Sky Rails, zip tracks that allow guests to soar through the air. Norwegian Escape’s Aqua Park will be the largest at sea and includes a new Aqua Racer slide. Adding to the family fun, Norwegian Escape will also feature an expanded Kids’ Aqua Park, along with the line’s first dedicated nursery for young cruisers two and under.

Accommodations include the company’s largest signature luxury ship–within-a-ship complex: The Haven by Norwegian; along with Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; and many options for families, multi-generational groups, spa enthusiasts and more.

Posted: August 17th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Harmony Of The Seas To Debut “Splashaway Bay” Aqua Park, Ultimate Abyss Water Slide

Written by: Cruise News

August 17, 2015 –Royal Caribbean International will amp up the adventure when the cruise line debuts Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship and the first to feature Splashaway Bay an interactive aqua park for kids. The Ultimate Abyss,the tallest slide at sea touting a 100 foot dramatic plunge, The Perfect Storm trio of water slides and Splashaway Bay are the latest in a thrilling collection of activities that will make Harmony of the Seas the ultimate family vacation experience starting next summer.

Harmony of the Seas will be the first in a new generation of Oasis class ships where groundbreaking architectural innovations are combined with breakthrough technologies of the Quantum class. The ship will debut in May 2016 for her inaugural summer season showcasing Europe’s most popular cruise destinations on seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries calling on Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy. In November 2016, Harmony will arrive to her homeport of Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. offering seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.

Splashaway Bay will be a vibrant waterscape for kids and toddlers with sea creature water cannons, winding slides, a gigantic drench bucket and a multi-platform jungle-gym to keep everyone entertained for hours. Guests of all ages will get the ultimate heart-pounding thrill ride on the Ultimate Abyss, a 10 story slide that begins in the Pool and Sports Zone at the aft of the ship down to the Boardwalk neighborhood below. Spiraling five decks above the lushly landscaped, open-air Central Park in the center of the ship, water slides Cyclone, Typhoon and Supercell come together as The Perfect Storm, inviting travelers to slide into an incredible adventure. Thrill seekers can test their mettle in Supercell, featuring a champagne bowl swirling guests around as they descend into their approach towards a big splash finale.

Harmony of the Seas will be home to the seven distinct neighborhoods for which Oasis class of ships is known and feature technological advancements now synonymous with the award-winning cruise line. Revolutionary features include the Bionic Bar dancing robot bartenders on the Royal Promenade; Virtual Balconies in many interior staterooms offering sea and port views; the Royal WOWBands with RFID technology to simplify the guest experience; and VOOM, the fastest internet at sea found exclusively on Royal Caribbean ships. Catering to every craving, Harmony will offer the most dining options at sea, including new specialty restaurants Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, Sabor Taqueria and Tequila Bar, and Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, a whimsical setting where Royal Caribbean chefs twist their culinary kaleidoscopes.

Harmony of the Seas will span 16 guest decks, encompass 227,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,497 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,747 staterooms. The Oasis class is an architectural marvel touting Royal Caribbean’s exclusive seven neighborhood concept, including Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. For more information about Harmony of the Seas, please visit RoyalCaribbean.com/HarmonyoftheSeas.

Posted: August 17th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Azamara Club Cruises Unveils New App With 360-Degree Virtual Reality Experiences

Written by: Cruise News

August 14, 2015 – At Virtuoso Travel Week, Azamara Club Cruises launched its App boasting a cruise industry first by featuring a series of 360-degree virtual reality experiences. The video series, known as Azamara 3di and featured on the dedicated website www.azamara3di.com, uses virtual reality technology to help immerse future guests in what it’s like to be onboard the Azamara Journey via ship tours and to experience destination excursions in South and Central American ports of call.

From touring the onboard amenities of the Azamara Journey or escaping to destinations like Costa Rica for zip lining or Cartagena, Colombia for a midnight carriage ride, the new Azamara App helps guests get a flavor of what the line offers. Known for its destination immersive experiences, ensuring guests have longer stays in port, more overnights and night touring on all voyages, Azamara developed its Azamara 3di programming to help guests be as close to “being there” as possible.

“We didn’t want to launch an App just to have an App. When perfecting our first App, providing this sensory journey was not negotiable,” says Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “As we continue to redefine the luxury cruise experience for the next generation, we need to reach them in meaningful ways and provide information to them where they are looking for it. Having an App is important, but more important is the content it provides.”

For now, the App is available on iPhones, iPads and iPods that run iOS 6.0 or above. Android users can get the same experience by going to http://www.azamara3di.com/ on their smartphones.

How does it work?
Once downloaded from the Apple Store, guests are presented with four choices and can choose the video they wish to view. By selecting the hand icon in the menu at the bottom of the screen, users can manipulate the video up, down and 360-degrees around by dragging their finger around the screen. By selecting the VR option at the bottom of the screen, guests can use their device with a Google Cardboard headset and enjoy the virtual reality experience.

More videos are in production, but for now guests can choose from the Onboard Experience or tours of Panama, Costa Rica and Cartagena, Colombia.

For more information, travelers can call their travel professional, dial 1-877-999-9553 or visit www.AzamaraClubCruises.com.

Posted: August 14th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Royal Caribbean Unveils Enhanced Shore Excursion Program

Written by: Cruise News

New Program Kicks Off With Weekend Sale Offering Free Excursions

August 13, 2015 – Designed to meet every travel passion, Royal Caribbean International taps into what guests really want to do on their next vacation with an enhanced shore excursion program featuring exclusive new options. From playing five-on-five soccer in Spain to exploring Buddhist temples in Bangkok, these new excursions allow guests to discover a destination through activities that appeal to their sense of adventure. The cruise line’s more than 2,800 shore excursions worldwide, including experiences in private destinations Labadee and CocoCay, have been grouped into seven special interest categories designed based on guest’s interest and vacation needs: Active Adventures, Family Connections, Royal Tour Challenge, Culture and Sights, Culinary Delights, Caring Discoveries, and the Royal Premium Tour Collection.

In celebration of the new tour offerings, Royal Caribbean is inviting adventure-seekers to pursue their individual interests with free shore excursions on all new reservations completed this weekend, August 14-16, 2015. Bookings for sailings departing on or after September 14 will receive a credit of up to $150 to use towards the shore excursion of choice. Additional information, terms and conditions are available at http://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-deals/weekend-wow-supersale.

Active Adventures
Guests can get their hearts pumping with activities at every level, from riding a dune buggy and boat rides to high-energy excursions that will take their vacation’s adrenaline factor to the next level. From tackling six exhilarating zip lines and two skybridges in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, to rappelling through small waterfalls, sliding toboggan-style down boulders and jumping off cliffs into natural pools at a thrilling watercourse in Madeira, Portugal, adventure seekers can test their metal on any one of these excursions.

Family Connections
Creating lifelong memories are what family vacations are all about. What better way to ensure those come to life with shore excursions that kids, parents and even grandparents can enjoy together. Families can share exciting experiences while attending gladiator school in Rome, Italy, where they can learn Roman gladiator combat skills with a hands-on fighting lesson and earn a certificate of Roman citizenship. Or embark into the great outdoors with a wilderness kayak experience at Chilkoot Lake in Skagway, Alaska, where adventure seekers might spot bald eagles, brown bears, seals, sea lions or even whales. To learn more about family shore excursions visit http://www.royalcaribbean.com/connect/the-10-best-shore-excursions-for-families/.

Royal Tour Challenge
In the spirit of good fun and some friendly competition, guests can spend their days in port with challenge-based activities designed especially for families and groups. Families and friends can spend some quality time together with a half-day laser tag adventure in Cozumel, Mexico, where participants will hit targets to gather points by following a jungle path filled with Mayan ruin replicas. Or better yet, guests can enjoy a five-on-five soccer game in Gijon, Spain, followed by a game of paddle tennis, a raquet sport played extensively in Spain.

Culture and Sights
For travelers looking to explore history and culture with local experts and enrich their understanding of the world, they can select classic sightseeing tours, guided visits to archaeological sites and museums, live performances, and more. Guests can visit a sprawling Buddhist temple complex in Bangkok, Thailand, which was built in honor of two famous kings, or explore Rome, Italy, in an Ape Calessino, the little vehicle eponymous to Italian style which launched in 1948 to help with post-WWII reconstruction.

Culinary Delights
Want to know what’s on the menu, in the fields or on tap? Discover a destination’s authentic, essential flavors through excursions that introduce guests to local chefs, specialties and purveyors. Visit Graycliff Chocolatier in Nassau, Bahamas, and delight in making truffles, bonbons and bars with a tropical flair, or learn pizza-making from the experts in Naples, Italy, where the Italian favorite was invented in 1830.

Caring Discoveries
Guests wanting to make a difference in the places they visit can select tours committed to wildlife, the environment and local communities. Whether it is saving a sea turtle in Cozumel, Mexico, where approximately 20 percent of turtles aren’t quite ready to head for the seas, or meeting an Iditarod musher and their racing dogs at a dog sled camp in Skagway, Alaska, visitors will leave a lasting impression.

Private Destinations: Labadee, Haiti and CocoCay, Bahamas
These secluded escapes boast experiences that range from soaring 500 feet above the beaches of Labadee on the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line, to tranquil beachside escapes appreciated through guided nature walks or lounging on the white sandy beach of CocoCay. Exclusive to Royal Caribbean guests, the dynamic offerings in Labadee and CocoCay tantalize guest’s individual craving for adventure or relaxation.

For full details about Royal Caribbean’s shore excursions program visit www.royalcaribbean.com/shoreexcursions.

Posted: August 13th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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