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Ovation Of The Seas To Join Quantum-Class As The 3rd Smartship

Written by: Cruise News

September 18, 2014.

With the excitement building as the debut of the first “Smartship” Quantum Of The Seas approaches, Royal Caribbean International marked an important milestone today as the first piece of steel was cut marking the official construction start on the third Quantum class ship – Ovation Of The Seas.

The steel cutting for Ovation of the Seas, scheduled to be delivered in the autumn of 2016, took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and now Ovation of the Seas are being built.
low 1411044716 66468 Ovation Of The Seas To Join Quantum Class As The 3rd Smartship
The groundbreaking Quantum class ships will debut new unprecedented features, such as dancing Roboscreens in the unique Two70 entertainment venue; robotic bartenders in Bionic Bar; RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; transformative venues, such as Sea-Plex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever Virtual Balcony staterooms, which offers expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations for interior staterooms.

Posted: September 18th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Carnival Renews ‘Great Vacation Guarantee’ Through 2015

Written by: Cruise News

September 16, 2014 — Carnival Cruise Lines is renewing its Great Vacation Guarantee which provides guests an opportunity to receive a 110 percent refund, complimentary transportation home and a $100 shipboard credit on a future cruise if they are dissatisfied with their vacation for any reason. In the year since Carnival originally introduced the guarantee, the line’s 24 ships have carried 4.5 million guests and the guarantee has been invoked only 47 times.

Consumers and travel agents have lauded the guarantee — the only one of its kind in the cruise industry — with many travel agents citing it as an excellent sales tool to entice first-time cruisers to set sail.

To exercise the Great Vacation Guarantee, guests simply notify the ship’s guest services desk within the first 24 hours of the voyage to receive a full refund of their cruise fare plus an additional 10 percent, along with complimentary return air transportation from the next port of call, and complimentary ground transportation and hotel accommodations (if necessary), along with a $100 shipboard credit to be used on a future Carnival cruise. Carnival will fully handle all travel arrangements to make it a truly hassle-free experience.

The Great Vacation Guarantee is valid on all three- to eight-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Bermuda, Canada and New England through December 31, 2015, including holiday sailings. The program applies to U.S. and Canadian residents only and guests must possess a valid passport to return to the U.S. by air.

Additional information on the Great Vacation Guarantee can be obtained via any travel agent or by visiting carnival.com/vacationguarantee.

Posted: September 16th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Royal Caribbean & Make-A-Wish Partner To Offer Quantum Of The Seas Christening Cruises

Written by: Cruise News

September 16, 2014.

By David Beers

As the excitement builds for the coming debut of Royal Caribbean’s technological marvel Quantum Of The Seas, the cruise line and Make-A-Wish are offering a way for people to help this wonderful organization and also attend the ship’s christening ceremony and celebration cruise. You can now attend the ship’s christening ceremony and make a wish come true at the same time!
 Royal Caribbean & Make A Wish Partner To Offer Quantum Of The Seas Christening Cruises
Make-A-Wish and Royal Caribbean have partnered to offer 2-night cruises on Quantum Of The Seas for the weekend of November 14-16, 2014. Proceeds from these bookings will go to make wishes come true for children battling life-threatening diseases from the New Jersey and New York areas. Quantum Of The Seas will be homeported in New Jersey, across the river from New York City. These special cruise bookings cover the cabin, gratuities, bar drinks (including alcohol), the spectacular shows and entertainment, and meals. Guests can purchase either individual cabins or a sponsor package, which is ideal for a business or group. The sponsor packages are at several price levels and feature from 4 to 23 cabins depending on the package. An example is the $5,000 sponsor package which offers 4 cabins for 8 guests. It is a $6800 value and the per-person price is only $625. Individual cabins can be booked for as low as $1495 total for two guests.

Guests will be there for the christening of this remarkable ship by her Godmother Kristin Chenoweth, all the festivities and parties, and then two days at sea to experience the most technologically advanced cruise ship to ever sail. It is a win-win deal for the guest, who gets a once-in-a-lifetime experience and benefits a remarkable charity, Make-A-Wish of Metro New York and New Jersey. To book your cruise, please go to www.quantumwishes.com

Royal Caribbean is donating these 600 cabins to Make-A-Wish with the potential to raise nearly half a million dollars. Make-A-Wish has long been a favorite charity of Royal Caribbean and I personally always participate in the various events offered on Royal Caribbean cruises that support Make-A-Wish such as the walkathons, t-shirt sales, auctions, and other fundraising efforts. You can read more about the Royal Caribbean Make-A-Wish commitment at http://www.royalcaribbean.com/connect/make-a-wish/

Posted: September 15th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Get Onboard Credits & Balcony Upgrades During “Norwegian Getaway Bonus Days Sale”

Written by: Cruise News

September 15, 2014.

By David Beers

48 hour sales are popular and Norwegian is offering one starting tomorrow that offers great values and onboard perks on the stunning Norwegian Getaway, my favorite Norwegian Cruise Line ship.

Norwegian Getaway Bonus Days are September 16-17, 2014. During that time, guests who book any seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailing on Norwegian Getaway will receive $100 in on-board credits, plus free balcony upgrades. As Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Norwegian Getaway offers some of the best amenities at sea, and guests who take advantage of this limited time offer can use the credit towards building their ultimate getaway with an array of shore excursions in the Caribbean; treatments in the ship’s award-winning Mandara spa; dinner in any of Norwegian Getaway’s delicious specialty restaurants, including Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian, and much more.
 Get Onboard Credits & Balcony Upgrades During Norwegian Getaway Bonus Days Sale
Setting sail from Miami year-round, this spectacular vessel calls on some of the Caribbean’s most popular ports of call including: Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Embodying the essence of the Magic City, the ship’s hull artwork was designed by Miami’s own David “LEBO” Le Batard and offers 28 dining options, two Broadway Shows, the largest Aqua Park at sea with five thrilling slides, Nickelodeon and Splash Academy for families and much more.

Whether guests are embarking on a family vacation, romantic escape or a solo adventure, Norwegian Getaway offers a variety of flexible accommodations ranging from Studio staterooms specially designed for solo travelers, to balcony staterooms and opulent suites in The Haven, the ultimate in luxury accommodations. With fares starting at $479 per person (double occupancy) and $100 in on-board credit plus free balcony upgrades on all new bookings, there’s never been a better time to sail on Miami’s Ultimate Ship, Norwegian Getaway.

Posted: September 15th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Holland America Selects ‘ms Koningsdam’ as Name Of Pinnacle-Class Ship

Written by: Cruise News

September 15, 2014 — Holland America Line revealed the name of its new 99,500-ton cruise ship slated for delivery in February 2016 will be ms Koningsdam. While the name pays homage to the company’s rich heritage and deep roots in the Netherlands, it also reflects a new era with a bold name that is an original in Holland America Line’s 141-year history. The 2,650-passenger ship is an evolution in design for the line — a new Pinnacle Class — and is being built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard.

Since 1883 every Holland America passenger vessel has borne the “dam” suffix, and ms Koningsdam carries on that tradition. The word koning means “king” in Dutch, and the name celebrates the majestic new ship. The name also pays honor to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, the first king of the Netherlands in over a century.
 Holland America Selects ms Koningsdam as Name Of Pinnacle Class Ship
Holland America Line has a long, proud history with the Netherlands. All 15 premium cruise ships fly the Dutch flag as they sail throughout the world, to more than 400 ports of call. The historic greatness of the line’s Dutch heritage is shared with nearly one million guests each year. And the line has many Dutch employees, including most of the fleet’s captains and officers.

Many of Holland America Line’s ships have been christened by members of the Dutch Royal Family over the past 75 years. Most recently, ms Nieuw Amsterdam was christened by Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima in 2010. And in 2008 ms Eurodam was christened by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

“In choosing the name Koningsdam, we are honoring our rich Dutch heritage while reflecting that we’re entering a new era as a company,” said Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of the Holland America Group. “This new Pinnacle Class ship will be our largest, most contemporary vessel, and it was only fitting to give it a name that embodies great achievement for the future, while embracing timeless tradition.”

Holland America Line was founded in the Netherlands in 1873 as the Netherlands-American Steamship Company headquartered in Rotterdam. The original headquarters building still stands today as the Hotel New York on the Wilhelmina Pier, with the company’s European headquarters located nearby.

New design for a new class of ship
When it debuts in February 2016, ms Koningsdam will be a new type of ship for Holland America Line. At 99,500 gross tons and carrying 2,650 guests and 1,025 crew members, the vessel is the largest ever built for the company. The increased size provides more opportunities to add new public spaces and venues, and several innovative features will debut on ms Koningsdam. Familiar spaces and amenities currently featured across the Holland America Line fleet will also be found on the new ship.

To bring a fresh vision to ms Koningsdam, Holland America Line tapped Adam D. Tihany, one of the world’s pre-eminent hospitality designers. Tihany joins distinguished maritime designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten who worked with Holland America Line on ms Nieuw Amsterdam and ms Eurodam. The two firms will create a modern and contemporary ambiance while incorporating Holland America Line’s classic hallmarks.

Posted: September 15th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Princess Cruises Rolls Out “Seawitch” Craft Beer Series

Written by: Cruise News

September 15, 2014 – Princess Cruises is pouring a new craft beer to toast its upcoming 50th anniversary. The “Seawitch” West Coast IPA beer – playfully named for the company’s iconic logo – was developed exclusively for Princess Cruises, in partnership with award-winning Strike Brewing Company, and is the first in the line’s new series of craft beers. The brew will be introduced aboard Regal Princess when the cruise ship debuts in Florida for a season of Caribbean cruises this November.

“We know our guests love distinct experiences and authentic flavors so we’re excited to debut a new craft beer series with this special 50th anniversary blend aboard our newest ship,” said Jonathan Wilson, Princess Cruises vice president of food and beverage services. “The Seawitch West Coast IPA not only commemorates our milestone anniversary, but is also meant to inspire our guests to celebrate their sea journeys with Princess.”
 Princess Cruises Rolls Out “Seawitch” Craft Beer Series
Strike Brewing Company, located near San Francisco – one of Princess Cruises’ home ports – is an award-winning microbrewery well known to fans of local craft beer. The Seawitch West Coast IPA (India Pale Ale) features the balanced aroma of lightly roasted malt and barley which is strongly accented by the crisp dry flavor of a unique hop blend.

The Seawitch West Coast IPA will retail for $6.25 and be available in bars and lounges throughout Regal Princess. It is expected to be available fleetwide by early 2015.

The cruise line will roll out additional Seawitch craft beers in partnerships with regional breweries that specialize in local flavors and represent some of the cruise destinations Princess ships visit.

Princess Cruises will officially kick off its 50th anniversary year with the naming ceremony of Regal Princess on Nov. 5 in Ft. Lauderdale. The company is honoring the role the The Love Boat played in its five-decades-long history by having the original Love Boat cast members serve as godparents for its newest cruise ship.

Posted: September 15th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Holland America Has 9 Ships Doing Caribbean & Panama Canal Cruises in 2014/2015

Written by: Cruise News

September 12, 2014 – Travelers looking for an intimate, mid-sized cruise experience in the Caribbean have 126 itineraries to choose from during Holland America Line’s 2014-15 Caribbean season. Featuring nine of the line’s vessels sailing round-trip from either Fort Lauderdale or Tampa, the cruises span the Caribbean on eastern, western and southern routes, as well as partial transits of the Panama Canal. The diverse itineraries visit 30 ports and give discerning guests more options than any other premium line exploring the region.

From October 2014 through April 2015, ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Ryndam, ms Westerdam and ms Zuiderdam sail regular Caribbean voyages, while ms Amsterdam and ms Prinsendam each sail one December holiday cruise in the region. The ships feature 21 different seven-, 10-, 11- and 14-day itineraries that can be combined into longer Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 14 to 25 days. All Fort Lauderdale departures feature a call at Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, diverse shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and kid-friendly activities.

“With our elegant mid-sized ships and wide variety of onboard activities, Holland America Line is a leader in the Caribbean’s premium cruise market,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest relations. “We carefully plan our itineraries to highlight the best ports in the region, including our award-winning private island, Half Moon Cay.”

Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale Itineraries
During the season, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam will sail a series of seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries that can be combined to form a 14-day Collectors’ Voyage spanning both regions. Maasdam sails 10-day eastern routes, as well as longer 11- and 14-day southern itineraries. Noordam also features 10- and 11-day southern Caribbean cruises ideal for guests looking for a longer vacation.

In addition to the 14-day Collectors’ Voyages, the itineraries can be combined to form a diverse range of options, including an 18-day southern and western cruise on Noordam, a 21-day southern and eastern option on Maasdam and a 25-day nonrepeating double-southern route on Maasdam.

New for 2015, Noordam, Eurodam and Ryndam have added more dates to their already-robust schedules, giving guests expanded options from which to choose.

Partial Panama Canal Transits
Guests looking to explore the lakes and locks of the Panama Canal without going through to the West Coast can embark on a convenient roundtrip Fort Lauderdale partial transit aboard Maasdam or Zuiderdam. The ships make their way to Gatun Lake and spend the day leisurely scenic cruising. During the 10-, 11- or 14-day departures the ships also visit several Caribbean ports. The partial transit itineraries can be combined with other Caribbean cruises to form a Collectors’ Voyage of up to 25 days.

Roundtrip Tampa Itineraries
Ryndam spends the Caribbean season cruising roundtrip from Tampa on seven-day western and 14-day southern itineraries. The two options can be combined to form a 21-day western/southern Caribbean Collectors’ Voyage. The ship makes a maiden call at Banana Coast, Honduras, and also visits Puerto Rico, Antigua, St. Lucia, Aruba, Curaçao, Guatemala, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Key West, Fla.

Holiday Cruises
For travelers who like to get away from the hustle, and chill of December, the holiday season is a special time onboard. A total of 15 holiday sailings will ply the warm waters of the Caribbean on itineraries ranging from seven to 14 days. Several non-repeating itineraries can be combined to form a grand Holiday Collectors’ Voyage.

Guests looking to explore the Caribbean on Prinsendam and Amsterdam during the holidays can embark on their only Caribbean sailings of the season. Prinsendam leaves Dec. 18 on a roundtrip Fort Lauderdale cruise to the southern Caribbean. The 16-day itinerary includes 10 ports and stretches from Half Moon Cay to Tobago. Departing Dec. 22, Amsterdam sails a roundtrip Fort Lauderdale cruise on a 14-day southern Caribbean cruise.

During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in a special Royal Dutch High Tea with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. The ships’ international crew chorus performs a magical holiday show, while caroling and sing-alongs take place around the ship. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Claus and holiday-themed crafts.

The New Year’s Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in a new year, featuring a festive holiday ball with a champagne toast.

Go “On Location” in the Caribbean
On each cruise, experiences such as steel drum performances and classes, cooking demonstrations of dishes such as Caribbean Pepper Pot and Jerk Grouper, and Caribbean rum tasting are part of Holland America Line’s “On Location” program. The itinerary sets the scene for guests to indulge in localized experiences that make time on board as enriching as visiting the ports of call through lectures, demonstrations and performances.

Fares begin at $399 per person, double occupancy for a seven-day cruise.

Posted: September 12th, 2014 under Hot Cruise Deals.
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MSC Cruises Begins Two-Year $273 Million “Renaissance Program”

Written by: Cruise News

Sept. 10, 2014 – MSC Cruises today began the process of physically enlarging the MSC Armonia, the first of four ships in the line’s fleet to undergo the Renaissance Program.
 MSC Cruises Begins Two Year $273 Million Renaissance Program
During an event at Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, the separated 14,000 ton bow of the MSC Armonia slowly advanced 30 meters away from her stern to allow a new pre-built 24-meter section to be inserted midship.

 MSC Cruises Begins Two Year $273 Million Renaissance Program

The procedure marked a key milestone in the $273 million Renaissance Program, which will enlarge and enhance the MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Opera, giving them all an array of new improvements and amenities and adding up to nearly 200 new staterooms per ship.

After the Renaissance Program, MSC Armonia’s environmental impact will be significantly reduced. She will receive a new hull treatment to minimize drag and lower water resistance, considerably reducing fuel consumption. In addition, LED technology in all public spaces on the ship will mean less energy is consumed on board.

A Variable Speed Drive Inverter will also be installed – an energy-saving system that significantly reduces the ship’s electricity consumption by adjusting it in line with operational conditions. Finally, a new design of propeller blade is being studied by MSC Cruises’ blade manufacturer to maximize efficiency and lower fuel consumption even further.

Additional enhancements that will be available when the cruise begins sailing again on Nov. 17 include new areas for the Baby Club built in partnership with Chicco; a new Mini Club, Young Club, Junior Club and Teen Club; new exciting features in the buffet as well as extended hours; new lounge area and an extended restaurant; an additional library; upgrades to the MSC Aurea Spa; and a completely new spray park, with an exhilarating pathway of water features and water cannons.

The ship entered dry dock on Aug. 31 and will remain on site for 11 weeks, until resuming service on Nov. 17 with a one-off inaugural Mediterranean cruise from Genoa to the Canary Islands.

“MSC Cruises has wanted to implement such a highly demanding program for a long time, but we wanted to ensure that we would choose the best partner in the shipbuilding industry, to not only enhance the ships’ features but also to bring technical, safety and environmental upgrades to the ships. Fincantieri has the proven expertise and experience in this type of operation, which was essential to satisfy our high standards, and have been long-standing partners for various maintenance and refitting operations on our fleet, ” said Emilio La Scala, General Manager MSC Cruises Technical Department.

MSC Cruises is a privately-held, family-owned, Italian cruise line with a fleet of 12 ships. The fleet cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in the Caribbean, Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the French Antilles, South America, South and West Africa, The United Arab Emirates and the Red Sea. In March 2014, the line announced the construction of two new cruise ships by STX France due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. Two months later, the line announced the construction of two additional new builds by Fincantieri due for delivery respectively in Nov. 2017 and May 2018. For more information, visit www.msccruisesusa.com.

Posted: September 10th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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MSC Cruises 48 Hour Caribbean Blow-Out Sale On September 9 & 10

Written by: Cruise News

September 8, 2014.

Treat yourself to a fall getaway cruise from Miami on the stunning MSC Divina, with great pricing plus a $100 credit off a future cruise. But you’ll need to act fast to take advantage of this exceptional pricing.

Available for booking starting tomorrow – Tuesday, September 9 and Wednesday, September 10 – the limited-time offer features rates starting at $299 per person (based on double occupancy) with guaranteed balcony upgrade. Guests will also receive a $100 future cruise credit to use towards any seven-night or longer 2015 Caribbean cruise on MSC Divina. $100 Future Cruise Credit is based on $50 per person per stateroom.

MSC Cruises’ 48 Hour Caribbean Blow-Out Sale is available on all seven-night Caribbean sailings from September 20 through December 13, 2014 (excluding the October 11, 2014 departure). And remember, you must be booked on September 9 or 10, 2014.
For more information, visit the 48 Hour Caribbean Blow-Out Sale webpage or call your travel agent.

Posted: September 8th, 2014 under Hot Cruise Deals.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd Aquires Prestige Cruises – Adds Regent Seven Seas & Oceania Cruise Brands

Written by: Cruise News

September 2, 2014 – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (“Norwegian Cruise Line” or “Norwegian,” (NASDAQ: NCLH)) today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prestige Cruises International, Inc. (“Prestige”), the market leader in the upscale cruise segment and parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, in cash and stock for a total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion, including the assumption of debt.

“The acquisition of Prestige represents an extraordinary opportunity for Norwegian Cruise Line to expand our market presence by adding two established, award-winning brands in the upscale cruise segment with loyal followings,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Not only does this acquisition immediately enhance our financial performance, but it also deepens the bench of talent that we have been developing over the years. Our complementary strengths and skillsets will pave the way for new cross-selling opportunities, cross-brand collaboration, cross-business support, as well as joint partnerships which, coupled with meaningful synergies that can be quickly implemented, will provide solid accretion to earnings per share and drive long-term shareholder value,” added Sheehan.

“We are excited to become part of the Norwegian family and start a new chapter for our company,” said Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige. “With Oceania and Regent, we have built iconic brands with distinctive product offerings and strong customer loyalty. The combination is very compelling and will allow us to further enhance our renowned guest experience. We are looking forward to joining the Norwegian team and building upon the success that our three brands have already achieved.”

Prestige operates eight ships and approximately 6,500 berths under two segment-leading brands. Oceania Cruises is the market leader in the upper-premium cruise segment with five ships offering destination-oriented cruise vacations to more than 330 ports around the globe, gourmet culinary experiences, elegant accommodations and personalized service. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the market leader in the luxury cruise segment and operates three award-winning, all-suite ships, with an additional ship on order for delivery in summer 2016. Regent offers the industry’s most inclusive luxury vacation experience visiting over 250 destinations worldwide. Frank Del Rio will remain chief executive officer of Prestige.

“The combination of three distinct brands, each serving a different market segment, under one umbrella immediately creates an industry-leading cruise operator with an unmatched growth trajectory and a portfolio of products that allows us to appeal to guests at every stage of their life cycle,” added Sheehan. “We are fully committed to retaining the brand propositions, guest experiences and cultures of the Norwegian, Oceania and Regent brands that have allowed each to realize such success.”

Posted: September 2nd, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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