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MSC Cruises “Black Friday & Cyber Monday” Sales Offer Bargain Rates, Onboard Credits, Balcony Cabins at Ocean View Pricing

Written by: Cruise News

November 19, 2014 – MSC Cruises is getting a head start on Black Friday and Cyber Monday with a special sale starting today and lasting through Monday, December 1. The deal features some of the line’s best rates of the season on select sailings in the Caribbean, Bermuda and Europe; up to $200 in shipboard credits per stateroom*; and balcony staterooms priced at ocean view rates. For example, a 20 night voyage from Miami to Rome starts at an astoundingly affordable $1099 per person.

Guests looking to sail on MSC Divina, one of the line’s largest and most luxurious ships specifically dedicated to North American travelers, can choose from 2015 Winter and Spring dates departing from Miami and sailing to the Caribbean as well as Bermuda. Starting rates range from $99 per person for a 2-night sailing to $299 per person for a 4-night sailing to $349 per person for a 7-night sailing.

For those travelers interested in taking a Transatlantic cruise on MSC Divina, MSC Cruises’ is offering amazing Black Friday fares for the ship’s Grand Voyage to the Mediterranean this Spring, with options to embark in either Miami or New York and disembark in either Rome or Barcelona. Sail options include:

20-night MSC Divina Grand Voyage embarking in Miami on April 26 and disembarking in Rome on May 16 – rates starting at $1099 per person, an average of $55 per person per night!

17-night MSC Divina Grand Voyage embarking in Miami on April 26 and disembarking in Barcelona on May 13 – rates starting at $999 per person, an average of $59 per person per night.

17-night MSC Divina Grand Voyage embarking in NYC on April 29 and disembarking in Rome on May 16 – rates starting at $999 per person, an average of $59 per person per night.

MSC Cruises is also offering savings on select 7- and 11-night sailings in Europe on the MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, both part of the line’s luxurious Fantasia-class of ships.

Full details on the applicable itineraries, rates and departure dates can be found at MSC Cruises Black Friday Sale.

Guests can book the Black Friday sale until Sunday, Nov. 30 by contacting their local travel agency, calling 844-811-1712, or visiting MSCCruisesUSA.com. The same deal will be offered on Cyber Monday, Dec. 1, and is bookable by visiting MSCCruisesUSA.com or contacting a local travel agency.

*To receive a shipboard credit guests must book a Balcony stateroom or better. Amount of shipboard credit received depends on category of room booked and length of cruise.

Posted: November 19th, 2014 under Hot Cruise Deals.
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‘Premiere Sailings’ of Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam will be in the Mediterranean

Written by: Cruise News

November 19, 2014 — When Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam sets sail in February 2016 the ship will head to the azure waters of the Mediterranean on a seven-day Premiere Voyage and continue on a series of 12-day Premiere Sailings through early May 2016. The debut cruises will explore some of the region’s most popular capitals, culturally rich cities, charming villages and beautiful beaches. Bookings for the Premiere Voyage and Sailings open Dec. 1, 2014.

The 2,650-guest ship is scheduled for delivery by Fincantieri’s Marghera, Italy, shipyard Feb. 15, 2016. Following its repositioning to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, ms Koningsdam will sail a seven-day Premiere Voyage roundtrip from Civitavecchia departing Feb. 20 to Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kérkira (Corfu) and Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; and Naples, Italy.

“Since we announced ms Koningsdam, guests have been anxiously awaiting itinerary details, so we’re pleased to share the spring Mediterranean season,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest relations. “We have a very loyal following and we anticipate these cruises will fill up quickly, so I recommend booking early.”

Following the Premiere Voyage, from the end of February through early May ms Koningsdam will cruise a series of six 12-day Premiere Sailings on two alternating itineraries roundtrip from Civitavecchia. The first itinerary calls at Katakolon, Piraeus (Athens), Rhodes and Crete, Greece; Istanbul (overnight) and Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; and Naples, Italy. The other itinerary visits Naples, Italy; Palermo, Sicily; Cagliari, Sardinia; Gibraltar, British Territory; and Cádiz, Málaga, Cartagena and Barcelona (overnight), Spain.

Holland America Line is working to finalize details on the ship’s summer and fall 2016 cruises and information will be released in the coming months. Cruise fares on Premier Sailings begin at $999 per person, double occupancy. Taxes are additional.
Koningsdam represents a new Pinnacle Class of ship for Holland America Line. The vessel will debut several innovative concepts and new public spaces and venues, while still featuring popular features that guests associate with Holland America Line.
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 Bjørn Storbraaten who worked with Holland America Line on ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam. The two firms will create an interior that blends a fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line’s renowned classic elegance.

Posted: November 19th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd Completes Acquisition Of Prestige Cruises

Written by: Cruise News

November 19, 2014 – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd today announced it has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, 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.

With this acquisition, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings operates a portfolio of brands that span all market segments in the cruise industry, from contemporary to upper-premium to luxury. Each brand offers differentiated experiences in their respective segments. The Norwegian Cruise Line brand provides the freedom and flexibility of a resort-style vacation on board some of the most innovative ships in the industry with its unique Freestyle Cruising proposition. Oceania Cruises offers an upper premium experience with the finest cuisine at sea on its fleet of mid-sized ships, while 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.

Commenting on the closing of the acquisition, Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., said, “While for years we have competed successfully with our one brand in an increasingly consolidated industry, our acquisition of Prestige creates a new cruise operator with a range of complementary offerings as diversified as any in the industry. We now shift our focus from planning for the successful integration of these organizations to the implementation phase, with an organizational structure that allows for the realization of significant synergies while maintaining the integrity of the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands that have made each a success in their respective segment.”

Frank Del Rio, chief executive officer of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc., commented, “We’re excited to officially join the Norwegian family and ready to begin this next chapter as one united company. Together, we will further our brands’ position as leaders in the upper-premium and luxury cruise markets by continuing to deliver an exceptional onboard experience for our guests, and expand the reach of both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises throughout the world.”

Posted: November 19th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Quantum Of The Seas: Royal Caribbean Sets A New Standard In Contemporary Cruising (Part 1)

Written by: Cruise News

By David Beers, Editor of CruiseReviews.com

November 19, 2014.

Are you someone who has never taken a cruise but would like to someday? Are you an experienced cruiser wanting to try something different, something unlike a typical cruise? Are you a family with young children looking for a fun vacation? Well, the answer to all three questions is this: you need to take a cruise on Quantum Of The Seas.
 Quantum Of The Seas:  Royal Caribbean Sets A New Standard In Contemporary Cruising (Part 1)
I just returned from a two-night preview cruise on Quantum and came away with the impression that this new ship will appeal to everyone, regardless of their vacation preferences. And that is what Royal Caribbean International (RCI) set out to do. The company does not see the other cruise lines as their only competition. Instead, RCI views the competition as all the other hospitality and vacation providers, period. So what does Quantum Of The Seas offer that makes it a new standard in contemporary cruising? Read on.

My Impressions

I am not going to write a long article about all the features and innovations on Quantum Of The Seas. It’s been covered by others, and as I was among the last journalists to evaluate the ship I want to provide something different for you, the reader. So here are my general impressions of the ship, in no particular order. We’ll do this in parts, with part two coming tomorrow.

As a consumer, I’ve cruised a lot with Royal Caribbean over the years, so I know how they do things and what to expect. We’ve all read about the new SMART check-in process for the Quantum, but few have experienced it first hand. As a Diamond Plus Crown & Anchor Society member I am used to having a pretty fast check-in at the pier, but I was quite impressed by what Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited CEO Richard Fain calls their “no check-in, check-in”. I left my shuttle bus, walked into the new terminal at Cape Liberty and immediately walked up to an agent holding a tablet. The agent scanned the barcode on my cruise document, scanned my passport, asked me four health questions (ebola questions mostly), and welcomed me to the Quantum. It took about 90 seconds because I had uploaded my own security photo and credit card info when I did the online check-in prior to my cruise. I then went through security, went to another kiosk where staff verified I had a security photo on file, and then it was up an escalator and I walked directly aboard the ship. This entire process took 5 minutes or so. I was directed to an elevator, went to my cabin and looked at my watch. 9 minutes had elapsed since I walked off the bus. All I could do was smile and giggle a little. RCI had successfully slain the check-in dragon.
 Quantum Of The Seas:  Royal Caribbean Sets A New Standard In Contemporary Cruising (Part 1)
My Seapass card was in an envelope at my cabin door, and when I used it to enter the cabin I found the other card (for my wife) and both WOW bands on the bed. The second Seapass card had it’s WOW band wrapped around it so we knew which wrist band was mine, which was hers. Royal Caribbean management has said they plan to roll out “No Check-in Check-in” wherever it is possible. This will be wildly popular since it eliminates what is often an annoying way to start your cruise.

So there I was, aboard the ship in record time and in my cabin. No waiting until the usual 1:30pm “before your cabins are ready” as it common on all the other ships in the RCI fleet. I therefore hope they roll out whatever it is they are doing to turn Quantum cabins around more quickly across the fleet.
 Quantum Of The Seas:  Royal Caribbean Sets A New Standard In Contemporary Cruising (Part 1)
An immediate feeling of familiarity hit me when I walked around the Royal Esplanade area of decks 4 and 5. It is quite evocative of the same area on the Celebrity Solstice-class ships, and of course Celebrity is a premium brand of RCCL. Adam Goldstein says there was no conscious effort to copy anything from Celebrity, but rather it is an aspect of the same ship builder (Meyer Werft) and design team working on the ships of both cruise brands. Regardless, the Royal Esplanade has a nice flow and appeal, like an upscale shopping area lined with exclusive stores and small dining venues such at the new La Patisserie and Michael’s Genuine Pub which was very popular among guests.  Quantum Of The Seas:  Royal Caribbean Sets A New Standard In Contemporary Cruising (Part 1)

Many of us RCI oldtimers have longed for food to be served at the pubs on the line’s other ships, and now we have it on the Quantum-class. I sampled a variety of the items and thoroughly enjoyed them along with the craft beers and wines offered. This is hearty food that goes well with the excellent beers on stock. Think of the food as British style tapas. La Patisserie had specialty coffees and tasty pastries – a nice place to linger while using the ship’s amazing wifi and high-speed internet. More on the internet in part 2 of my review, as well as Dynamic Dining and Entertainment!

Posted: November 19th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Princess Cruises Introduces First-Ever Gift Card Program

Written by: Cruise News

November 13, 2014 – Just in time for the holidays, Princess Cruises has announced a brand new gift card program making it easy to give the gift of cruising.

Princess Cruises gift cards can be applied as payment towards the purchase of a Princess cruise, as well as onboard products and services including specialty dining, drinks, Lotus Spa treatments, shore excursions and more.

“Our new gift card offering is customizable, easy to purchase, ideal for any celebration and is the perfect gift for holidays, birthdays and anniversaries,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We hope our new gift cards will inspire new travelers to take a Princess cruise and introduce them to the many worldwide destinations and memorable onboard experiences only a Princess cruise vacation can offer.”

Additional features of the Princess Cruises gift card program allow buyers to choose from various designs, schedule a delivery date to the recipient and even personalize the notification by allowing buyers to record an audio message and add a digital photo.

Cruise gift cards are available in $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 and $2,000 increments and can be customized for a specific dollar amount up to $2,000. Buyers purchasing a gift card for $100 or more will also receive free shipping. Gift cards can be sent electronically or via mail.

Princess Cruises gift cards are available at www.princess.com/giftcard and can also be purchased through travel consultants, or by calling 1-855-426-0168. Soon, gift cards will be available for purchase on the Princess Cruises Facebook page. The program is available to all U.S. and Canadian residents.

Posted: November 13th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam to Debut an Innovative Design Approach

Written by: Cruise News

November 12, 2014 — When Holland America Line welcomes ms Koningsdam to the fleet in February 2016, the ship will debut a new era in design approach for the line. As the first ship in the Pinnacle class, the 2,650-guest ship will have an interior that blends a fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line’s renowned classic elegance.

Future guests, travel agents and ship fans can now get the first look at select interior renderings on Holland America Line’s website, www.hollandamerica.com. The story of the ship will unfold online over the coming months through vibrant renderings, engaging videos, ship facts and more details about the interiors created by Adam D. Tihany and Bjørn Storbraaten.

“When guests come aboard ms Koningsdam they’ll know they’re on a Holland America Line ship, but they’ll see we’re taking a forward-thinking approach to many of the design elements,” said Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group. “Revealing the first renderings and video of ms Koningsdam enables us to give future guests an advance look at the stunning interiors and over the coming months will reveal innovative new features along with our classics hallmarks that will create a cruise experience for the travelers of tomorrow.”

At the helm of the interior conceptualization is Tihany, regarded as one of the world’s pre-eminent hospitality designers. A leader in creating luxurious and creative interiors at some of the world’s most iconic properties, Tihany has approached ms Koningsdam with an eye toward creating public spaces that reflect the tradition and signature elegance for which Holland America Line is known, while elevating the design to strike a more modern balance of past, present and future.

Focusing on fluid curves and graceful lines, light-filled spaces and the natural flow of public areas, Tihany’s metaphorical approach to the interiors of ms Koningsdam was inspired by the “architecture of music.”

“The idea was to tell a story that guests can connect with throughout their voyage,” said Tihany. “I was inspired by the thought of what you might see from the inside of a musical instrument, what the architecture of the surfaces and the geometry look like.”

Key to his concept is utilizing visual interaction, where guests actively engage with the architecture rather than passively moving through it.

“The design isn’t a literal translation of music, but a conceptual approach where we seek to evoke the feeling and beauty of an instrument with graceful lines, dramatic textures, lighting effects and use of materials,” said Tihany. “My inspirations were not only instruments, but also majestic spaces and exaggerating the feeling of height, so guests feel the grandeur of every room.”

For example, at the heart of the ship Tihany is creating visual drama with the central atrium. Soaring three decks high, the space is graced by an airy stainless-steel sculpture that represents the synthesis of a string quartet. Like music, the experience changes as guests move around and through it, so no two perspectives are the same. The atrium is capped by a ceiling “skylight” that serves as a backdrop for subtly changing high-definition projections. Guests will look up by day and see wispy cirrus clouds floating in an azure sky or perhaps soothing images of light in water. By evening, the atrium takes on dramatic lighting hues or reflects the starlit constellations of the night sky.

Hallmark Venues Reimagined with A Fresh Approach
The main Dining Room aboard ms Koningsdam will span two floors and be framed by views of the sea. A bright interior will be inspired by a modern, global design and sets the stage for the exceptional culinary experience to come. Strong, curved architectural pillars will accentuate the soaring ceiling. Chic, custom furnishings and modern glass lighting are being fabricated especially for the ship. The centerpiece is a curved copper sheath surrounding a two-story wine tower showcasing an impressive selection.

The iconic Queen’s Lounge has been completely reimagined as an elegant theater and entertainment venue that spans two floors. Tihany once again drew inspiration for the space from music, nodding to the sensual curves of a violin and featuring extensive use of wood, fluid waveforms and light. With state-of-the-art technology, the Queen’s Lounge will showcase world-class musicians and the largest dance floor on the ship.

Architect and Designer Bjørn Storbraaten Joins Tihany in Blending Contemporary Styling with Brand Hallmarks
Architect and designer Bjørn Storbraaten joins Tihany in bringing the ship to life in a familiar yet innovative style. With his previous work on ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam, Storbraaten adds continuity of the brand to ms Koningsdam, while taking elegance to the next level.

“It’s been fascinating to work on ms Koningsdam where we are introducing design elements never before seen on Holland America Line,” said Storbraaten. “We were tasked with evolving the look and feel of the ship while keeping it true to the brand, making this an exciting and rewarding project.”

Storbraaten’s hand is clearly present in the design of the central pool area. The Magrodome, which typically is a single level on Holland America Line ships, has been expanded to two levels to create a vast glass-enclosed space. The lower level will have more traditional poolside elements, while the mezzanine level will be a new concept for the brand. In addition to other areas, Storbraaten is designing the exotic look of Tamarind, the line’s Pan-Asian restaurant that emphasizes nature’s basic elements: water, wood, fire and earth.

Across the ship, Tihany and Storbraaten are working together to make ms Koningsdam an evolution of the Holland America Line brand.

Over the coming months, even more innovative features and detailed renderings of ms Koningsdam will be released on the company’s website. Early season premier itineraries will be revealed in the coming weeks, in advance of these first ms Koningsdam sailings opening for booking on Dec. 1.

Posted: November 13th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Carnival Fun-A-Thon To Celebrate Being “Liked” By 3 Million Fans

Written by: Cruise News

November 13, 2014 – Carnival Cruise Lines will celebrate reaching the 3 million Facebook fans mark by conducting a 24-hour Fun-A-Thon prize giveaway beginning Wednesday, November 19. The online extravaganza will feature three prize giveaways every three hours, including free Carnival cruise vacations and more.

The giveaway, which will occur on Carnival’s Facebook fan page at facebook.com/carnival, will begin at 12 noon EST on Nov. 19, which is the estimated date on which the cruise line will hit the 3 million fans milestone. Anyone who “likes” the Carnival Facebook page can participate over the course of the 24-hour giveaway period. To enter, fans simply respond with a comment to the posts from Carnival that will occur once every three hours and ask fans a new question. All fan comments posted during each three-hour period will go into a random drawing to determine three prize winners for that period.

Ten Carnival cruises will be awarded during the 24-hour period and will range in length from three to eight days featuring itineraries that visit a wide variety of exciting Bahamian, Caribbean and Mexican ports of call. Other prizes will include $100 MasterCard gift cards and a mix of fun items such as Carnival-branded tote bags, jackets, backpacks and glassware.

“What better way to celebrate having reached the 3 million followers mark than by showering our fantastic legion of Facebook fans with free cruises and other great prize giveaways,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines. “Our fans are fun and engaging – both aboard ship and online – and we view this occasion as more than worthy of a special celebration to thank our Facebook followers for their support,” he added.

To learn more about Carnival’s 24-hour Fun-A-Thon giveaway on Facebook, visit Carnival’s Facebook page at facebook.com/carnival.

Posted: November 13th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Carnival Gift Cards Now Available At Over 9000 U.S. Retail Locations

Written by: Cruise News

November 6, 2014- Carnival Cruise Lines’ popular gift card program – a prepaid card that can be used as payment toward a “Fun Ship” vacation or a variety of shipboard purchases – is now available in more than 9,000 retail outlets throughout the U.S. This marks the first time that a cruise line-specific gift card has been made available at retail establishments ashore.

Partnering with Blackhawk Network, a leading prepaid and payments network, Carnival will offer its gift cards at such locations as Giant Eagle, Kroger and Safeway beginning later this month.

“We’re excited to partner with Blackhawk Network, as their distribution expertise allows us to expand our popular gift card program to a wide range of retail outlets ashore,” said Gus Antorcha, senior vice president of guest commerce for Carnival Cruise Lines. “Based on feedback from consumers and our travel agent partners, we’re very pleased to enhance the availability of our gift card program and provide consumers with even greater convenience and flexibility.”

Also available online at www.carnivalgiftcards.com or sold on board Carnival’s ships, the gift cards are ideal for any occasion – from weddings and graduations to birthdays and anniversaries – and offer consumers flexibility and convenience in their vacation purchases. The cards can be pre-loaded with funds ranging from a minimum of $25 to a maximum of $1,000.

The Carnival Gift Card is simple to use – it may be applied online via the dedicated web site using the 16-digit card number, redeemed by calling 1-800-CARNIVAL or used like cash on board as payment toward guests’ “Sail & Sign” shipboard account.

Posted: November 6th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Princess Cruises Launches Regal Princess in Star-Studded Ceremony

Written by: Cruise News

November 5, 2014 – Princess Cruises, the cruise line made famous as the backdrop of the iconic Love Boat television series, christened its new Regal Princess today with a tribute to the show as all six of the original cast members served as the ship’s godparents, and were joined by 25 of the show’s past guest stars.

The star-studded Love Boat themed festivities, which also launched the line’s 50th anniversary, celebrated the role the show played in Princess Cruises’ five-decades-long history.
 Princess Cruises Launches Regal Princess in Star Studded Ceremony
All six Love Boat cast members – Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher, the chief purser), Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship’s doctor), Lauren Tewes (cruise director, Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain’s daughter) – pulled a lever that first sent a record-breaking fifty champagne bottles smashing against the ship’s hull as a nod to the company’s anniversary celebration, followed by the breaking of a giant Nebuchadnezzar-size 51st bottle signifying Princess Cruises’ continued future success.

Frequent show guest-star Florence Henderson served as the Master of Ceremonies and celebrities walking the 50th Anniversary gold carpet included:Loni Anderson, Joyce DeWitt, Jamie Farr, Pam Grier, Christopher Knight, Diane Ladd, Lorenzo Lamas, Carol Lawrence, Rich Little, Kristy McNichol, Lee Meriwether, Don Most, Tracy Nelson, Mackenzie Phillips, Doris Roberts, Marion Ross, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Charlene Tilton, Joan Van Ark, Dick Van Patten and Adrian Zmed. The guest star with the most number of appearances on the show, Charo, entertained guests with a classical guitar number and Jack Jones, who sang the original version of the Love Boat theme, reprised this famous song.

“The Love Boat put Princess Cruises on the map, bringing the romance and adventure of our cruise vacations into millions of viewers’ homes for the decade it was on air. So it was fitting that the cast was selected as godparents for Regal Princess as we begin our 50th anniversary celebrations,” said Jan Swartz, the line’s president.

The pilot episode of The Love Boat was shot aboard Princess’ 730-passenger Sun Princess, with Pacific Princess and Island Princess then becoming the primary floating stars of the show. Later episodes and specials were filmed aboard many of Princess’ other cruise ships in destinations around the globe. The show, which aired from 1977 to 1986, went on to become one of the highest-rated and longest-running shows on television, introducing viewers to modern day cruising and, in the process, making Princess Cruises and its ships synonymous with vacations at sea.

The 3,560-guest Regal Princess now begins her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations out of Ft. Lauderdale. Among the special features found onboard the ship are a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship, offering a host of dining and entertainment options; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! Television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; Princess Watercolor Fantasy, a fountain and music show; the Night Sky Lounge, a new nighttime experience that enables guests to enjoy a chic and contemporary poolside nightclub under the stars, and balconies on all outside staterooms.

Princess Cruises celebrates its 50th anniversary with an incredible lineup of new dining, shopping and entertainment aboard its ships throughout 2015. Princess Cruises first set sail in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico. Now 50 years later, the line is the third largest cruise line in the world and a recognized leader in taking travelers to some of the most fascinating cruise destinations around the globe.

Posted: November 5th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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Holland America Partners with Marine Conservation Institute to Support Marine Protected Areas

Written by: Cruise News

November 5, 2014 — As part of its “Our Marvelous Oceans” partnership with Marine Conservation Institute, Holland America Line has created a new program that highlights and educates guests and crew about marine protected areas around the world.

Developed with the team at Marine Conservation Institute, the program will educate guests and crew through on-board presentations by shipboard personnel. Topics will cover what a marine protected area is and how to visit one without causing harm to the habitat and wildlife. This information can be enhanced through participation in featured shore excursions.

“The goal of this partnership is to promote marine protected areas around the world — especially in those regions where our ships sail. The new program also will create enrichment opportunities for guests to learn more about these important conservation locations,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “Together with Marine Conservation Institute, Holland America Line shares a belief in our responsibility to protect the oceans, and together we want to educate our guests and crew about these special places and about how we can collectively make a difference.”

In the Caribbean the program will largely focus on marine life and a variety of tropical ecosystems. For example, in Key West, Fla., guests can go snorkeling in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to see the area’s beautiful coral reefs. Or in San Juan, Puerto Rico, cruisers can embark on a unique nighttime kayak adventure into the bio-luminescent bay at Laguna Grande of Fajardo to learn about the water’s organisms and see how they “light up” at night.

In Australia and New Zealand, regional programs include a nature cruise to observe Hector’s dolphins at the Akaroa Marine Reserve at Akaroa, New Zealand. These are just a few of the excursions offered by Holland America Line that feature marine protected areas.

“We are excited to create another meaningful program in partnership with Holland America Line,” said Dr. Lance Morgan, president of Marine Conservation Institute. “Marine protected areas are an important tool for safeguarding critical ecological places around the world, yet they receive little attention and awareness. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring more focus on these special ocean places.”

The “Our Marvelous Oceans” partnership began in 2010 and will continue through 2016. The goal of the program is to educate guests and crew about marine conservation issues, including this new focus on sensitive marine protected areas. Holland America Line also continues to work with Marine Conservation Institute to provide sustainable seafood options for its guests.

About Marine Protected Areas
Marine protected areas are ocean places that are designated by government or international authorities to conserve marine life such as corals, fishes and dolphins. Similar to parks on land, these underwater preserves are recognized as important places for conservation because of their ecologic value.

Currently there are approximately 6,600 marine protected areas around the world, with varying levels of protection. Some do not allow human access. In those locations where human access is permitted, the specific activities that are allowed will vary depending on the designated degree of protection. Marine Conservation Institute is working to catalyze strong protection for at least 20 percent of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region of the world’s oceans by 2030. For more information on marine protected areas visit MPAtlas.

About Marine Conservation Institute
Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly experienced marine scientists and environmental policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s goal is to help create an urgently needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas — the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) — a strategic, cost-effective way to ensure the future diversity and abundance of marine life. Founded in 1996, Marine Conservation Institute is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization with offices in Seattle, near San Francisco and in Washington DC. For more information, please go to: www.marine-conservation.org.

Posted: November 5th, 2014 under Cruise Ship News.
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