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July 2015
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Celebrity Cruises Partners with Lifetime’s “Project Runway” Series

Written by: Cruise News

July 9, 2015 – A first for TV show “Project Runway” and the cruise industry, Celebrity Cruises has become the series first-ever cruise line partner. An episode of Project Runway, airing Aug. 20, 2015, will feature special guest and Celebrity President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, alongside co-host, mentor and Emmy Award-winner Tim Gunn. Viewers can watch the ambitious fashion design contestants compete in a special challenge on the journey to becoming the next prestigious winner of Project Runway.

Celebrity also is providing one of the prizes for this season’s winning designer. The winner and their guest will be able to vacation almost anywhere in the world on a Celebrity cruise in the brand’s popular and rejuvenating spa-inspired AquaClass accommodations.

“Our partnership with Project Runway is the perfect fit – at the core of both of our brands are innovative, big and bold ideas that never have been seen before in our industries,” explained Lutoff-Perlo. “It is incredibly exciting to finally share the news, even more so as the first cruise company to ever collaborate with the popular series. We hope everyone will join us in watching the highly anticipated episode, in which the Project Runway team continues the search for the next big fashion designer.”

Lutoff-Perlo added, “We would love to welcome Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen and Tim Gunn onboard our ships in the future!”

Season 14 opens with sixteen ambitious designers competing through grueling design-focused tasks and challenges, and only the best will stay on top. The season’s winning designer will receive many prizes in addition to a Celebrity Cruises modern luxury vacation. Season 14 of Project Runway premieres Aug. 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

Posted: July 13th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Carnival Offering Exclusive Private & Customized Tours

Written by: Cruise News

July 13, 2015 – Carnival Cruise Line has dramatically expanded its shore excursion offerings, adding exclusive new experiences and customized private tours, as well as new family-friendly enhancements, including fun complimentary beachside activities, value pricing and free tours in select ports for children under age five.

The new options build upon Carnival’s position in the shore excursion arena, with nearly 1,200 unique experiences offered by the line in more than 50 ports of call throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Bahamas, Canada, New England, and Central and South America.

“Shore excursions are an important part of the Carnival vacation experience and we’ve gone to great lengths to provide our guests with even more choices and offer families unique value-added services and pricing options that are exclusive to Carnival,” said Erika Tache, Carnival’s director of product development.

Exclusive ‘Only-On-Carnival’ Tour Options In Select Caribbean Ports
For those who want to create unforgettable vacation memories in their own tropical paradise, Carnival now offers exclusive tours that not only include amenities like access to luxurious private villas but also unique enrichment activities that allow guests to fully immerse themselves in local culture and cuisine. The new tours include:

·La Casa en la Playa (Cozumel) – Recently named Carnival’s “Tour of the Year,” this five-hour-long tour offers an exclusive luxury experience limited to 30 participants with access to a beach house with five-star service for the day, complete with a personal chef and wait staff. Participants can also learn how to cook authentic Mexican cuisine, make refreshing Margaritas and mojitos, or simply relax on a white-sand beach while enjoying pampering and attentive service.

·Eat, Drink & Dance (Ocho Rios) – This tour is definitely on “island time,” designed to please guests’ palates and awaken their senses through Jamaica’s unique food, music and culture. After savoring spicy samples at a traditional jerk hut, guests enjoy a delicious meal at Miss T’s Kitchen which was featured on Guy Fieri’s Family Vacation on Food Network. The day continues with a visit to a beachside bar where mixologists create hand-crafted Jamaican rum cocktails and concludes with a spirited reggae dance lesson.

·Jamaican Home for the Day (Ocho Rios) – Just like the name implies, this day-long tour offers guests their own Jamaican home for a day where they can relax, kick off their shoes, and enjoy a fantastic home-cooked island lunch in their own private paradise. The tour also includes full use of the expansive property which features a beautiful secluded beach where guests can enjoy refreshing frozen daiquiris and other rum-infused cocktails.

·Photo Safari & Beach Expedition (Cozumel) Taking place over the course of two days, the tour begins with a one-hour photo seminar on board led by the ships’ photographers who offer tips on camera equipment, lighting, photo composition and more. The tour continues the following day with a visit to gorgeous Mexican beaches and a national park where participants are offered an informative hands-on demonstration to “Capture the Moments that Matter.”

·Eat, Drink & Walk (St. Thomas) – This self-described “walking culinary/culture tour” begins with a drive through the lush countryside to St. Peter Mountain Great House & Botanical Gardens, home to diverse plant and animal life and an observation level where guests can see the 15 islands that comprise the Virgin Islands chain. Participants can sample 24 different island rums as they learn how to make banana daiquiris and nosh on island-inspired food like saltfish, plantains, jonny cakes and West Indian pumpkin soup.

New Family-Friendly Services and Tours
Carnival is offering new “family friendly” shore excursion options in ports throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexico, with tours offered at multiple price points to provide parents the ultimate in flexibility, value and convenience. Children age five and under receive complimentary beach excursions with their parents’ paid tour. Sample excursions include:

·Family Beach Escape (Freeport) – Designed with all-ages appeal, this tour begins with an air-conditioned ride to a breathtaking beachside resort. Here, under the watchful eye of trained youth specialists, kids can enjoy such activities as sandcastle-making competitions, treasure hunts and face-painting while parents can relax under oversized umbrellas and sip a cool tropical drink. Lunch is included and water toys, paddle boats, kayaks and other watercraft are available for rent.

·Island Beach Escape for Families by Power Catamaran (Cozumel) – After an exhilarating power catamaran ride, families arrive at Passion Island, which boasts white-sand beaches and clear turquoise waters along with full resort facilities with plentiful beach chairs and hammocks. Guests of all ages can enjoy volleyball, water trampolines and pedal boats, while kids get their own special beachside play area. A Mexican-style buffet with guacamole, grilled mahi-mahi and a kids’ menu is included in the price.

·Family Treasure Hunt with Lunch at Blue Lagoon (Nassau) – Families are sure to have a blast during this fun-filled adventure where participants must discover hidden treasures, collect clues and answer trivia questions on their journey to win the Pirate’s Bounty! After their plunder, families can soak up the sun on a stunning powdery beach as they enjoy a grilled lunch and icy beverages at Blue Lagoon Island, one of the top destinations in The Bahamas.

·All Inclusive Family Beach Resort Getaway (Montego Bay) – Hosted at the Mediterranean-inspired Seawinds Beach Club, one of Jamaica’s premier oceanfront properties that is home to magnificent beaches and world-class amenities, this tour includes lively island entertainment, along with a complimentary buffet lunch and drinks. When it’s time to cool off, families can take a dip in the ocean or one of the many on-property pools and enjoy fun water sports like sailing, snorkeling and kayaking.

Well-staffed beachside excursions provide families with extra assistance with services such as stroller storage as well as hosted fun activities like beachside games, and arts and crafts, along with play areas and water slides and toys, all available on a complimentary basis. Offered in all of Carnival’s Caribbean ports, the new activities are designed to keep kids entertained while offering parents some much-needed “we” time.

Unique Valued-Added Options
For guests seeking a more authentic landside experience, there are exclusive private tours – operated via custom motor coaches, sailboats, yachts, and even helicopters – that take guests on off-the-beaten-path excursions tailored to the guests’ specific preferences. These excursions showcase non-traditional sightseeing sites typically not available to other guests, all under the guidance of an experienced local who provides an “up close and personal” view of the destination.

And, with Carnival’s new on-board lounge tour dispatch system, tour operators come on board to meet shore excursion participants and tours depart from a shipboard venue versus the previous method of tour operators assembling large groups of guests on the pier, thus providing a more streamlined, organized and expedited departure. Carnival says they are the only cruise operator in the Caribbean to have local tour operators involved with this enhanced service option.

Posted: July 13th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Holland America Line’s ms Veendam Spends Three Nights at Hamilton on 2016 Bermuda Cruises

Written by: Cruise News

July 10, 2015 — Holland America will offer guests looking to spend a few days in Bermuda a three-night option on ms Veendam seven-day cruises to the island in May and June 2016. Sailing roundtrip from Boston, Mass., the four departures each feature two half-days, two full days and three nights at Hamilton, the country’s capital, known for its pink-sand beaches, pastel architecture and of course the exceptional golf courses.

Carrying just 1,350 guests, Veendam offers an ideal mid-sized, premium cruise experience in Bermuda that enables the vessel to dock at Hamilton, in the center of town. The seven-day voyages spend a day at sea after departing Boston and arrive at Hamilton mid-day, with enough time for guests to go ashore and enjoy the town. The ship then spends three nights, including two full days and another half day, serving as a base from which guests can experience local nightlife and dine ashore, if desired. While in Hamilton, the ship’s facilities including lounges, entertainment venues, the casino and gift shops will be open so guests may relax and enjoy the shipboard life as well. Veendam departs Bermuda mid-day on day four at the island, with two nights and a full day at sea before arriving back at Boston.

“Our Bermuda cruises in 2015 have been a huge success, and we’re excited to take more guests to the beautiful island in 2016,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “It’s rare for cruisers to get to spend three nights in a port, and this itinerary is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of all that Bermuda has to offer — both during the day and evening.”

With two full days and two half-days, guests will find multiple ways to experience Hamilton’s British-tinged charm, cultural heritage sites and world-renowned beaches on a variety of shore excursions. From the ship, guests can take a short walk to Front Street and explore its array of colorful shops and restaurants. Hamilton also is home to a massive, 19th-century neo-Gothic cathedral and the Georgian-style Sessions House that was built in 1815. Shore tours offered by the ship include island tours, snorkeling or diving among famous shipwrecks along the coastline, cycling to scenic vistas, ocean kayaking, and a 360-degree coastal tour of the island with a stop in St. George’s.

The seven-day Bermuda itinerary can be combined with a seven-day Canada/New England cruise to create a 14-day Bermuda & Canada/New England Collectors’ Voyage. The four Collectors’ Voyages in May and June start or end at Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and call at Quebec City, Quebec; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston; and Hamilton, with cruising in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Cruise fares begin at $799 for the seven-day cruises and $1,449 for the 14-day Bermuda & Canada/New England Collectors’ Voyages, all per person, double occupancy.

Posted: July 10th, 2015 under Hot Cruise Deals.
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Princess Cruises “Sip & Sail” Promotion Features Free All-Inclusive Beverage Packages and Specialty Dining for Two

Written by: Cruise News

July 9, 2015 – Princess Cruises today announced a new promotion called Sip & Sail which will offer free all-inclusive beverages, plus specialty dining. More than 350 cruise vacations for 2016 are on sale to destinations around the globe.

Guests booking a balcony, mini-suite or suite staterooms will receive a free all-inclusive beverage package for two people. Plus, guests booking a mini-suite or suite stateroom will receive free specialty dining for two people.

The all-inclusive beverage package includes any individual beverage item such as soda, juices, shakes and floats, bottled water, cocktails, spirits, wines, beers, specialty coffees and tea, up to $10 retail value, purchased at all bars, public lounges and dining venues. Additionally, full bottles of wine below $100 retail can be purchased in the bars, dining room or in stateroom at 40% discount from the menu price.

Guests can also book and receive these offers with a special reduced deposit of only $100 per person and third- and fourth-berth guests can also sail with reduced fares of up to 50% off.

Examples of Sip & Sail cruise deals include:

Caribbean cruise — 6 days: $899 balcony stateroom; $1,099 mini-suite stateroom

Alaska cruise — 7 days: $1,349 balcony stateroom; $1,549 mini-suite stateroom

Alaska land and sea vacation —11 nights: $2,124 balcony stateroom; $2,324 mini-suite stateroom

Scandinavia and Russia cruise —11 days: $2,499 balcony stateroom; $2,999 mini-suite stateroom

Mediterranean cruise —14 days: $3,248 balcony stateroom; $3,848 mini-suite stateroom

More information about the Sip & Sail cruise sale is available at

All prices are per person based on double occupancy. The “Sip and Sail” cruise deal runs from 12:00 a.m. PDT on July 9 through 11:59 p.m. PDT on August 18, 2015 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Bermuda.

Posted: July 9th, 2015 under Hot Cruise Deals.
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Carnival Corporation Granted U.S. Approval for Cruises to Cuba with new “fathom” Brand

Written by: Cruise News

July 7, 2015 – Carnival Corporation & plc , the world’s largest travel and leisure company, today announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce granted approval for the company to begin travel to Cuba. Carnival Corporation intends to take travelers to Cuba beginning in May 2016 via its newly launched fathom brand – a new social impact travel brand providing purpose-oriented, social impact experiences, initially in the Dominican Republic.

Beginning in April 2016, fathom will embark on weekly seven-day voyages from Port Miami aboard the MV Adonia, a 710-passenger vessel redeployed from Carnival Corporation’s P&O Cruises (UK) brand.

Carnival Corporation intends to operate fathom travel itineraries directly to Cuba for the purpose of providing cultural, artistic, faith-based and humanitarian exchanges between American and Cuban citizens. Authorized under current U.S.-to-Cuba travel guidelines, the new Cuban itineraries on fathom will strictly comply with U.S. Department of Treasury rules that allow licensed travel companies to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities that support the Cuban people. Carnival Corporation is in active discussions and plans to work with the appropriate authorities in Cuba so that Cuban approval is granted.

Launched June 4th as Carnival Corporation’s 10th global brand, fathom is designed as a purpose-driven brand to enrich the lives of its travelers and in the case of the Dominican Republic, drive sustainable social impact on a significant scale. The brand expects to attract 37,000 annual travelers who collectively could spend a total of more than 100,000 days a year either volunteering or immersing in educational and cultural exchanges in local communities.

Beginning in April 2016, fathom will embark on weekly seven-day voyages from Port Miami aboard the MV Adonia, a 710-passenger vessel redeployed from Carnival Corporation’s P&O Cruises (UK) brand. fathom’s first impact destination will be the northern region of the Dominican Republic, where Carnival Corporation’s new port of call, Amber Cove, will serve as home base.

Following the inaugural April month of voyages to the Dominican Republic, fathom intends to offer both Dominican and Cuban itineraries on a systematic and regular basis, giving travelers the opportunity to choose from two destinations and a range of activities from social impact in the Dominican Republic and educational and cultural exchanges in both countries designed to have a positive, transformative effect on the lives of the travelers.

Travelers may reserve travel on future fathom voyages

Prices for the seven-day trip to the Dominican Republic start at $1,540 per person, which includes an exterior cabin with a view, all meals on the ship, onboard social impact immersion experiences, three on-shore social impact activities and related supplies, taxes, fees, and port expenses. Prices will vary by season.

Prices for seven-day itineraries to Cuba start at $2,990 per person, excluding taxes, port and other government and related fees, and including all meals on the ship, onboard social impact immersion experiences and certain on-the-ground cultural immersion activities.

Posted: July 7th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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MSC Opera Returns To Service With “Renaissance Program” Upgrades

Written by: Cruise News

July 6, 2015 – MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned global cruise line, announced that MSC Opera, the third of four MSC Cruises’ ships to be renovated under the company’s “Renaissance Program,” re-joined the high seas on Saturday, July 4, and will homeport in Venice for the entire summer season. This positioning further strengthens the offering of MSC Cruises in the eastern Mediterranean for the season.

To meet the demand from guests and potential cruisers, MSC Cruises tailored MSC Opera’s itineraries to feature the best and most beautiful places in the eastern Mediterranean region. Guests sailing on MSC Opera this summer will start their 14-day cruise in Venice and then visit southern Italy and the region of Puglia; mainland Greece as well as its islands; the beautiful Black Sea coast of Romania, Sochi, the Russian Riviera, Turkey, and its cosmopolitan former capital city, the Dalmatian coast of Croatia; and then head back to Venice – the Queen of the Adriatic – a city that is a destination on its own.

Through MSC Cruises’ $273 million “Renaissance Program,” MSC Opera’s enhancements include197 new staterooms, of which 30 have balconies, for a total of 204 balcony staterooms aboard; flexible new dining options with redesigned restaurants and bars and a buffet that is now open 20 hours a day; and more spacious common areas.

In addition, family and children offerings have been renovated with a stunning new outdoor Spray Park – a fun-filled wet zone with interactive jets, slides and ingenious water features that will be enjoyed by children and parents alike; new tailor-made areas for children that have been officially designed, equipped and endorsed by Chicco® and LEGO®; and separate Baby (0-3); Mini (3-6); Juniors (7-11); Young (12-14); and Teens (15-17) clubs.

The Renaissance Program is part of MSC Cruises’ $5.6 billion investment plan launched in 2014, which also includes four brand new ships to be delivered by STX France and Fincantieri, in Italy, between 2017 and 2019, with options for three more by 2022.

More info about the ports and destinations on MSC Opera’s Itinerary:

Bari: the ancient city, facing the entrance of the Adriatic sea, is well known for the quality of its food and how welcoming its inhabitants are. The old city of Bari is a marvel to wander around. On arriving in the heart of Bari’s old city, visitors find the Basilica di San Nicola, consecrated in 1197 to house the relics of St. Nicholas plundered a century earlier from southern Turkey.

Athens: a city full of history, guests stopping in Athens can enjoy a visit to the Acropolis, the world-famous UNESCO heritage site, as well as see the Parthenon, one of the world’s most famous temples, and an enduring symbol of ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy. Through a stroll in the streets of Athens, guests can explore this historical and beautiful city with its various street markets, wine shops, souvenir stalls and ancient monuments.

Constanta: the thriving city of Constanta is not only the largest port in Romania, but also one of the most fascinating cities in the country. It offers many places to visit and explore, such as the Danube Delta near Tulcea. It was founded by the Greeks some 2600 years ago on the southern coast of the Black Sea, and, according to Greek mythology, is the port that welcomed Jason, the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece on their return.

Sochi: thanks to its location on the shores of the Black Sea, with a pleasant subtropical climate and warm to hot summers and mild winters, Sochi is the largest resort city of Russia. Much of the monumental architecture of Sochi dates back to the 19th century, while the fortress and temple of Godlik Loo dates back to ancient Byzantine settlements.

Istanbul: as the only city in the world to have been the capital of three major empires (Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman), today Istanbul presents a fascinating mix of different layers of history and traditions with a strong urge for modernity. The museums, churches, palaces, mosques, bazaars and the wonderful natural landscapes seem endless. Apart from the rich historical and cultural background of Istanbul, the cities many attractions, restaurants, nightclubs and shops make it one of the most fascinating destinations on a cruise vacation in the Mediterranean.

Mykonos: as the most popular of the Cyclades Islands in Greece, Mykonos welcomes every year almost one million visitors. Many think of Mykonos only in terms of entertainment, but this wonderful destination offers much more. With waterfront buildings made of wood and painted in different colors, Mykonos is rich in history and natural beauty, and at the same time it is a city with a cosmopolitan character.

Santorini: the largest island of the Cyclades archipelago, Santorini is an iconic destination. The island is the result of more than 3,000 years of volcanic activity and sits above a caldera that can be visited. White houses, beautiful sunshine and beaches, and some of the most stunning sunsets can be experienced in Santorini.

Argostoli/Kefalonia: the capital city of the charming island of Kefalonia, Argostoli is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. Its pristine beaches, luxuriant olive groves and local crafts pleases visitors of this charismatic island.

Dubrovnik: the capital of southern Dalmatia in Croatia, Dubrovnik is considered one of the most beautiful places in the world, as it entered the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979. The “Pearl of the Adriatic” is the gateway to the dramatically scenic Dalmatian region, with many excursions and trips available to MSC guests. The walls of Dubrovnik have also been a popul

Posted: July 6th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Majesty Of The Seas To Remain in Royal Caribbean Fleet, Will Receive New Venues & Free Hi-Speed Internet

Written by: Cruise News

July 6, 2015 – By popular demand, Majesty of the Seas will continue to offer short cruises sailing with Royal Caribbean International. The cruise line announced today that the ship will homeport in Port Canaveral, along Florida’s Space Coast, starting in summer 2016. Before her season in Port Canaveral where she will sail to the Bahamas, Majesty of the Seas will go into drydock for upgrades and receive transformational new onboard amenities. One of the upgrade will be installation of the Voom hi-speed internet service, which will be free for all guests. This is a significant move for a mainstream cruise line since internet access is typically a revenue item.

Voom, is the fastest internet at sea, and offers bandwidth that allows not only the usual things like e-mail and web surfing, but also streaming movies and music, and online video gaming.

New features to be introduced on Majesty of the Seas include waterslides for guests of all ages; family-friendly Jacuzzis; a poolside movie screen; and the Dreamworks Experience featuring activities and entertainment with Shrek, Fiona and other favorite characters from the powerhouse animation studio’s popular movies. An enhanced casino will offer gamers a variety of the latest popular slot machines and table games and suite guests will enjoy exclusive amenities and services as part of a newly enhanced suite program. Some of the new culinary options include Izumi Japanese cuisine; the Sabor Taqueria featuring a menu of authentic Mexican dishes, including hand-made table-side guacamole – all which can be enjoyed alfresco; and the Chef’s Table, an exclusive experience hosted by the Executive Chef and Sommelier for an intimate wine pairing dinner. Sabor Taqueria is a personal favorite of mine, with exceptionally good food and unique margaritas.

“Our short itineraries have been very popular offering vacationers the perfect opportunity to sample the unmatched experience of a Royal Caribbean cruise, as well as providing a quick adventurous getaway,” said Michael Bayley, president & CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “With these exciting new features as well as unprecedented fast and free unlimited internet for guests on Majesty of the Seas, we are stepping up our game and offering a phenomenal short cruise adventure for our guests.”

Majesty of the Seas will sail 3- and 4-night cruises to the Bahamas with visits to the cruise line’s private island destination, CocoCay. Highly rated among guests, this tropical paradise offers white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters set in 140 acres of lush vegetation. The secluded Bahamian island – reserved exclusively for Royal Caribbean guests – features an aquatic park and water slide, beach volleyball and soccer, snorkeling and other water-based recreation.

With Majesty of the Seas’ move, the cruise line is now able to deploy Rhapsody of the Seas – which was announced to sail short Bahamas itineraries from Port Canaveral – to Tampa offering seven-night Western Caribbean cruises in winter 2016. The new itineraries will further expand the choices for guests in Central Florida and help Royal Caribbean increase the total number of U.S. destinations, from where vacationers can find conveniently accessible ports to embark on the ultimate Caribbean cruise adventure. Reservations for the Majesty of the Seas’ inaugural Port Canaveral season are now available for sailings beginning May 27, 2016. Rhapsody of the Seas’ Tampa sailings are also open for sale for sailings beginning December 3, 2016.

Posted: July 6th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Affinity Gaming & Carnival Cruise Line Form Partnership

Written by: Cruise News

June 30, 2015 – Affinity Gaming has partnered with Carnival Cruise Line to offer new benefits to members of Affinity’s A-Play Player’s Club at 11 Affinity-owned casinos in four states.

The partnership will award Affinity Gaming’s highest Player’s Club tier members with a variety of benefits, including the opportunity to earn complimentary Carnival cruises, beginning July 1, 2015, based on their level of play. Mid-level tier members will be eligible to receive special discounted offers on a wide variety of Carnival cruises, which visit beautiful ports throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Hawaii and other destinations.

“We believe that our players will find this new benefit to be very rewarding and cultivate strong loyalty between the players and our properties,” said Affinity Gaming Chief Operating Officer Michael Silberling. “Our partnership with Carnival Cruise Line is a win-win for all parties involved.”

“Affinity Gaming LLC is an excellent partner for this venture as they share Carnival Cruise Line’s commitment to outstanding service and hospitality,” said Marty Goldman, Carnival’s senior vice president of global casino operations. “We look forward to bringing the one-of-a-kind Carnival vacation experience to Affinity Gaming A-Play guests and providing them with a lifetime of wonderful memories.”

The cruises can be booked through any of Carnival’s reservations channels, including its valued travel agent partners.

Posted: June 30th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Holland America Line Breaks Ground on New Base Camp Complex at the McKinley Chalet Resort at Denali National Park

Written by: Cruise News

June 25, 2015 — Holland America Line has broken ground on a new “Base Camp” complex at the company’s McKinley Chalet Resort near the entrance to Alaska’s Denali National Park. Expected to be complete for the 2016 Alaska cruise season, Base Camp is part of Holland America Line’s ongoing enhancement program at the property that also includes room updates, upgrades to soft goods and hotel decor and additional modifications.

The McKinley Chalet Resort provides accommodations for guests on Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys that combine an Alaska cruise with an overland tour to Denali National Park and beyond. Base Camp will be centrally located between the main part of the property, containing the reception hall, dining facilities and guest rooms, and the riverfront guest rooms that provide stunning views of the Nenana River.
 Holland America Line Breaks Ground on New Base Camp Complex at the McKinley Chalet Resort at Denali National Park
“Our McKinley Chalet Resort is the premier destination hotel in Alaska, and the addition of Base Camp to this already-spectacular property will make the guest experience all the more memorable and enriching,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Base Camp enables us to showcase Alaska and Denali National Park on a whole new level by bringing even more of the local history to our guests through art, dining and music.”

Base Camp will serve as a new gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The largest building in the complex will be the grand 7,800-square-foot restaurant reaching two stories high to showcase views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit the Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the “Music of Denali Dinner Theater” that becomes a bar and music venue after the show.

At the center of Base Camp is an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and a semicircle of bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows, ranger talks and demonstrations.

The new location also will feature cozy fire pits to gather around on cool Alaska evenings; outdoor seating for guests who wish to enjoy the scenery; three retail shops offering local goods; and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists will display and discuss their works.

Walking paths in and around Base Camp show off the property’s mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting nestled just across the Nenana River from Denali National Park.

Alaska-based companies heading up the McKinley Chalet Resort’s enhancement project include general contractor Dawson Construction and Stantec, which is providing engineering services. Additional firms involved are lead and landscape architect The Portico Group, restaurant architect Heliotrope Architects, structural engineering company Michael Leonard Associates and project manager Costigan Integrated, all of Seattle, Wash.

Spanning nearly 60 acres, the McKinley Chalet Resort currently features 478 rooms, fine and casual dining, an on-site dinner theater, on-site raft departures and walking trails along the Nenana River.

Posted: June 25th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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Bookings Open for 2016 Caribbean Cruises on Holland America Line’s Newest Ship, ms Koningsdam

Written by: Cruise News

June 24, 2015 — Guests who have been awaiting the opportunity to book a Caribbean voyage on Holland America Line’s newest ship, ms Koningsdam, can now make their reservations. The ship, launching in April 2016, will homeport at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sailing seven- to 11-day Caribbean voyages from November 2016 through March 2017.

Koningsdam’s seven-day Caribbean cruises visit popular ports in the region, while the longer nine-, 10- and 11-day itineraries provide more time for exploring a diverse array of off-the-beaten-path islands.

“Since we began taking reservations for Koningsdam’s summer Europe season, guests have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to book a Caribbean voyage on our beautiful new ship,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Demand for being among the first to experience our latest innovations on Koningsdam is high, so we encourage anyone interested in a Caribbean cruise to book early. It’s going to be a fantastic inaugural season.”

Beginning in November, the ship will offer nine-, 10- and 11-day Caribbean itineraries. A seven-day and nine-day Holiday cruise departs on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, respectively. The ship’s longer cruises showcase more ports in the region and include unique and lesser-visited islands such as Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Jamaica, Martinique and St. Lucia, to name a few.

Two different seven-day itineraries provide an ideal getaway in winter with six departures in January and February 2017. The first calls at the Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private Bahamian island. The second route visits Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Mexico and Key West, Fla.

About ms Koningsdam
When Koningsdam sets sail on its Premier Voyage April 8, 2016, the vessel will debut several innovative concepts and new public venues while still featuring popular amenities guests associate with Holland America Line.

Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy fine dining in several alternative restaurants including Sel de Mer, a new French seafood brasserie; a new immersive farm-to-table dinner experience in the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine; a re-designed casual Lido Market with themed serving stations; a stunning main dining room; and favorites such as Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto Italian restaurant and pan-Asian Tamarind. The ship also will feature Holland America Line’s first purpose-built staterooms for families as well as single staterooms among its 1,331 guest accommodations.

Onboard entertainment will be taken to a new level with the energetic Music Walk area featuring all genres of music showcased in venues including Lincoln Center Stage offering chamber music nightly; Billboard Onboard where live musicians rock the crowd with chart-topping hits; and the popular B.B. King’s Blues Club in the Queen’s Lounge bringing the best of Memphis music to sea. World Stage brings 270-degree LED projection to the main showroom, enabling new concepts for showtime performances and immersing the audience in a panorama of sight and sound.

Posted: June 25th, 2015 under Cruise Ship News.
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