Friday, April 28, 2017

Princess Cruises Announces Australia Deployment for 2018-2019

Princess Cruises has announced it will homeport four ships to ports in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific for the 2018-2019 season. Princess Cruises will introduce the 3,560-guest Majestic Princess to the market for its Inaugural Season, calling Australia home from September 2018 to March 2019. As the newest in the Princess fleet, Majestic Princess will sail itineraries from Sydney and Auckland on voyages from 6 to 13 days in length, and will call in ports at destinations including New Zealand, Tasmania, Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific.

“Australia and the entire South Pacific region has always had an allure as a magical place for travellers, and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this part of the world,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We are thrilled to introduce Majestic Princess, the newest jewel in the fleet to this beautiful region of the world.”

On sale beginning April 26, 2017, four Princess ships will sail from six homeports on more than 95 departures with 50 unique itineraries to more than 70 destinations in 18 countries. Some of the sailings include:
Majestic Princess will sail on a 19- and 22-day Asia & Australia voyage departing from Shanghai in March 2019.
• Guests have even more ways to explore the natural wonders of New Zealand with all four Princess ships sailing to the country’s beautiful coastal landscapes on cruises ranging from 11- to 14-days.
Sun Princess sails 13 roundtrip departures from Sydney to New Zealand, Fiji, Tasmania and Queensland, as well as an Asia & Australia voyage sailing 19 days from Hong Kong to Sydney.
• A maiden call to Moreton Island, which is located just off the Queensland coast and boasts to be one of the world’s largest sand islands, is included on the 4-day Sun Princess Australia Getaway departing on January 5, 2019.
Sea Princess will make maiden calls to the Conflict Islands on her 11-day Papua New Guinea itineraries sailing from Brisbane this season, giving guests more options for exploration.
• Longer cruise options on Sea Princess during the season include the full 28-day Round Australia which circumnavigates the continent as well as a popular 35-day Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific voyage sailing in April 2019.
To further enhance the cruise vacation experience, Princess Cruises will offer two cruisetours. The Australian Outback cruisetour immerses guests in Aboriginal culture while visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock in Uluru National Park. The more extensive Ultimate Australia cruisetour includes Ayers Rock in the heart of the Outback, the Great Barrier Reef, the northern tropical city of Darwin, and Cairns. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available at Princess.com.

Image Courtesy Princess Cruises

Royal Caribbean’s Newest Quantum Ultra-Class Ship to Sail from Asia-Pacific in 2019

Royal Caribbean International has unveiled future plans for the first Quantum Ultra-class ship to be based in the Asia-Pacific region. Set to be launched in spring 2019, the yet-to-be-named ship will be the next evolution of the groundbreaking Quantum class and will join her sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. The announcement was made as Royal Caribbean unveiled its full roster of 2018-19 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries.

With nearly a decade since Royal Caribbean’s first cruise in China, the cruise line further bolsters its commitment to the market by dedicating a lineup of its most technologically advanced ships to the rapidly growing market. The new ship will specifically be designed for guests in the region, featuring even more cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities.

As part of the deployment plans for 2018-19, Mariner of the Seas will reposition to a new home in Miami, Florida embarking on a “Global Odyssey” from Asia that features three long sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami. The “Global Odyssey” opens for sale on May 2, 2017. Voyager of the Seas will have her first full season in Singapore in 2018-19, offering 3- to 7-night adventures throughout Southeast Asia with stops that include ports in Thailand and Malaysia.

The new 2018-19 deployment season presents additional highlights, including an expanded offering of open-jaw itineraries for adventure-seekers traveling down under with new 10-night open-jaw itineraries between Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne or Sydney, Australia on Radiance of the Seas. During the winter, Ovation of the Seas will reposition to Sydney for her longest season in Australia, reclaiming the title as the largest ship based in the region. Royal Caribbean’s China 2018-19 itineraries for Quantum and Voyager will be available to book beginning April 26, 2017, followed by Ovation on April 27. Australia and Singapore sailings will be open as of May 16, 2017.

2018-19 China, Singapore, Australia Deployment Highlights

Adventures from China and Singapore, Available to book April 26 and April 27
Quantum of the Seas will continue to sail from Shanghai for the fourth consecutive season, offering 78 sailings to and from Japan, beginning January 2018. Highlights include:
   o 6-night Japan itinerary: Visiting the historic city of Nagasaki and overnighting in Okinawa, Japan, guests can dive into the unique culture of the nation’s southernmost prefecture
   o 8-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Showcasing the best of the nation with stops in Kobe, Tokyo and Nagasaki, Japan
Ovation of the Seas will return to Tianjin, China for its second season, offering a rich lineup to explore the best of Japan, including two new ports for the ship: Sasaebo and Shimonoseki. The season begins April 2018. Highlights include:
   o 5-night Japan itinerary: Sailing to Sasaebo and Shimonoseki, Japan, travelers will venture to what many know as “The Gateway to Japan.”
   o 7-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Guest uncover far-flung locales in Japan, including the scenic ports of Sakaiminato, Maizuru and Nagasaki, Japan
Voyager of the Seas will offer a combined total of 77 sailings from Singapore, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, offering countless adventures across Southeast Asia, beginning April 30, 2018. Itinerary highlights include:
   o 4-night Malaysia itinerary: Sailing from Singapore and visiting Penang and Phuket, Malaysia, a hub of vibrant neighborhoods and heritage architecture
   o 5-night Vietnam itinerary: From Hong Kong to far-flung destinations, including Chan May and Nha Trang, Vietnam, guests will discover a country of breathtaking beauty and a storied past
Journeys in Australia & South Pacific, Available to book May 16
Ovation of the Seas—the largest and most technologically advanced ship to sail in Australian waters—will sail from Sydney, Australia for its third and longest season in the country, offering 13 sailings beginning November 2018. Highlights include:
   o 10-night New Zealand itinerary: Departing Sydney, featuring the country’s endemic wildlife and Maori heritage with stops in Milford Sound, Napier and Picton, New Zealand
   o 14-night Singapore to Sydney, open-jaw itinerary: Setting sail this Fall to ports of call including Adelaide and Hobart, Tasmania
Radiance of the Seas will have an expanded open-jaw program with three new itineraries venturing out into Australia in 2019. Highlights include:
   o New - 10-night, open-jaw itinerary: Departing from Auckland, New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia, travelers will visit various captivating destinations throughout the Tasman Sea.
Explorer of the Seas will join Ovation of the Seas for her fourth season based in Sydney with 23 sailings exploring the island destinations of the South Pacific and Fiji. The ship’s cruises range from 3- to 14-night itineraries, and will begin in October 2018. Highlights include:
   o 12-night South Pacific and Fiji itinerary: Visiting a lineup of exotic destinations, including Noumea, Caledonia; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Lautoka and Suva, Fiji.
Royal Caribbean International sails 24 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, South America, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. For additional information, visit RoyalCaribbean.com

Image Courtesy Royal Caribbean International

Norwegian Cruise Line Takes Delivery of First Purpose-Built Ship For China

Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of Norwegian Joy yesterday, the brand’s fifteenth ship and the first custom-designed for the Chinese cruise market, from MEYER WERFT during an on board ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany. At 167,725–gross-tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy is the second ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class and features an innovative design with amenities tailored to provide a “First Class at Sea” experience for Chinese guests with the elements of freedom and flexibility that Norwegian Cruise Line has become known for across the globe.

“As Norwegian Cruise Line continues our global growth, Norwegian Joy’s delivery marks a momentous occasion in our company’s history, signifying our official entry into the Chinese cruise market,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are very grateful for the outstanding team at MEYER WERFT, along with our operations teams and more than 1,800 crew members, whom once again have delivered an exceptional vessel.”

“With this incredible ship, we have taken Norwegian’s signature on board experience and expanded and customized it with exciting features, services and amenities that combine the best of the East and the West,” said David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China. “We are honored to deliver this spectacular ship to our Chinese guests and we can’t wait to see Norwegian Joy come to life when she welcomes her first guests upon her arrival in China this June.”

In advance of the delivery, Herrera and executives from Norwegian’s offices in China gathered for a traditional blessing from the Chinese Goddess of the Sea, Mazu, to ask for safe and pleasant voyages for the ship and all its guests. The ceremony was held at the Mazu Temple in Shanghai where, one year ago, the Norwegian team held a ceremony to obtain a blessing for the coins that were used in Norwegian Joy’s Keel laying ceremony. During the visit, a ceramic statue of Mazu was gifted to the company by the temple representatives and brought to Germany for the ship’s delivery. The statue has been given a place of honor aboard Norwegian Joy and will carry the blessings of Mazu on the journey to China.

Following her delivery, Norwegian Joy will begin her journey to China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and Beijing (Tianjin). The ship will be christened in an exclusive star-studded event for honored guests on June 27, led by her Godfather, the ‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom.

Norwegian Joy is Norwegian Cruise Line’s first purpose-built ship customized for the Chinese cruise market. The name Norwegian Joy emphasizes the experience that the ship offers, a promise that guests will ‘Experience Paradise on the Sea.’ Accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy is designed to provide First Class at Sea experiences with onboard amenities that cater to the unique vacation desires of Chinese guests. Norwegian Joy provides a multitude of VIP accommodations including The Haven by Norwegian®, the line’s exclusive, ship-within-a-ship luxury suite complex, which also includes an all-new The Haven Observation Lounge featuring 180 degree views, and a Concierge level, an all-new accommodations category that provides a VIP experience featuring an exclusive Concierge Observation Lounge and larger balcony staterooms. Accommodations offerings also include staterooms designed specifically for families including a multitude of connecting staterooms, for extended families traveling together, as well as a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies.

Norwegian Joy offers engaging and innovative activities including a first at sea two-level competitive racetrack, an open-air laser tag course, thrilling simulator rides, Oculus virtual reality technology and interactive video walls at the Galaxy Pavilion, and two multi-story waterslides. In addition, Norwegian Joy features a tranquil open space park as well as the line’s largest upscale shopping district, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to world-renowned global luxury brands.

Celebrity Cruises Announces Support for Malala Fund & Education for Girls Around the World

Celebrity Cruises has announced a two-year partnership with Malala Fund. With the shared commitment to diversity, inclusion and gender equality, the brand is partnering with Malala Fund whose mission is to secure 12 years of safe, free quality education for every girl. Inspired by Malala's mission and advances in furthering girl's education, Celebrity is honored to name 19-year old Nobel Laureate and U.N. Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai as the Godmother of their newest ship, Celebrity Edge, debuting late in 2018.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said that Malala's dedication to girls' education sets an example worth following. "Partnering with Malala Fund was a natural fit as we share the same passion and commitment to an incredible cause. We believe in opportunities for all, especially as our crew onboard represent more than 50 different cultures—and amazing stories of achievement, education and economic advancement."

"Malala is an inspiration and a voice of hope," said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "This young woman is on a powerful mission, and we support it 100 percent. We are deeply honored to name Malala the Godmother of Celebrity Edge, and we're excited to team up with her and the Malala Fund to champion the global right to education." Fain added, "Malala Fund also advances one of our company's key philosophies: that education is a great equalizer, providing opportunities to people who need it most."

A centuries-old maritime tradition, the role of Godmother is a lifetime title and honor. During the launch of a ship, the Godmother is responsible for bestowing good luck over a seagoing vessel and inspiring all that sail aboard by breaking a bottle over the bow as the ship is named, officiating the ceremony.

Malala began her life as an activist at 11 years old, writing a secret blog about life under the Taliban, who would not permit girls to go to school. She was targeted for her advocacy and, at 15, was shot on her school bus. Malala survived the attack and continued her campaign for girls' education around the world. In 2014, Malala became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient, donating her entire prize earnings to finance a secondary school for girls in Pakistan. With Malala Fund, she continues to fight for every girl's right to education.

Celebrity will continue to reveal details regarding the partnership throughout 2017 and 2018. For more information, visit CelebrityCruises.com

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Holland America Line Introduces New Beverage Packages

Holland America Line has introduced a new Elite Beverage Package for guests that features premium beverage selections. With this new package, guests may now also enjoy libations from Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff’s collection of unique, classic cocktails, such as The Ritz Cocktail, The Hemingway Daiquiri and Midnight Sun, his latest masterpiece created to celebrate Holland America Line’s 70th year of exploring Alaska.

“For many guests, there’s nothing better than relaxing with a handcrafted cocktail before dinner or after a long day of exploring in a port of call,” said Orlando Ashford, president, Holland America Line. “Our various beverage packages offer an array of choices and are a great value as well as a convenient way to enjoy this aspect of the cruise experience.”

The Elite Beverage Package features any premium spirits, cocktails, wines, beers, coffees, nonalcoholic beverages, bottled water and sodas up to a value of $15 each. On ms Koningsdam, the package also includes the Coca-Cola Freestyle program, where guests can enjoy more than 100 unique Coca-Cola flavors. The price for the Elite Beverage Package is $54.95 per person, per day.

Holland America Line has also introduced discounted pricing for its existing Signature Beverage Package, where guests save five dollars when they purchase the package online for $44.95 per person, per day, before their cruise; the same package when purchased aboard ship is priced at $49.95 per person, per day. The Signature Beverage Package includes standard selections of wine, beer, spirits, sodas, coffees and cocktails up to a value of $8 each.

In addition to the Elite and Signature beverage packages, Holland America Line also offers two nonalcoholic beverage options and a Water package.
  • Quench Beverage Package features unlimited nonalcoholic beverages that include any juices, bottled water, nonalcoholic cocktails, nonalcoholic beers and specialty coffees for a price of $17.95 per person, per day.
  • The Coca-Cola Package includes unlimited fountain sodas for $8.00 per person, per day. On ms Koningsdam this package also includes the Coca-Cola Freestyle program with more than 100 unique Coca-Cola flavors.
  • The Water Package offers 12 liter bottles for a price of $32.
Wine enthusiasts will enjoy the Cellar Master Package, consisting of a choice of five wine bottles, a standard and a premium wine tasting, one Pinnacle Grill dinner, a wine accessory gift set, and a Holland America Line commemorative bottle of wine. Cellar Master Package prices begin at $252 per person.

Beverage Packages Provide Convenience & Value
From that first latte in the morning until a nightcap before retiring to the stateroom, the premium line’s beverage packages and convenient beverage cards give guests the convenience to pay a one-time value-added fee to enjoy a variety of beverages during a cruise. All beverage packages and cards can be purchased online in advance of sailing or as gifts for other sailing guests. Unless otherwise noted, beverage packages must be purchased for the duration of the cruise and for all occupants of a stateroom. A 15 percent service charge is automatically added to all beverage purchases. The new package brings the total beverage package options to five, including the Signature Package, Quench Beverage Package, Coca-Cola Package, and Cellar Master Package.

For more information about Holland America Line, visit HollandAmerica.com.

Image © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com

Holland America Line Ships Get Decked Out in Orange to Celebrate King’s Day in Honor of Netherlands’ King

Today, April 27 marks King’s Day to celebrate the official birthday of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, and Holland America Line will honor the day and the company’s Dutch heritage with shipboard celebrations throughout the fleet. In addition to decorating the ships with touches of orange, the Dutch national color, menus will commemorate King’s Day with Dutch-themed food and beverage options, while shipboard festivities will be centered around the holiday.

“Holland America Line takes great pride in our Dutch heritage that dates back more than 144 years, and King’s Day allows us our guests and employees to join in the celebration to honor King Willem-Alexander and our company’s rich history,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Bringing different cultures and traditions from around the world alive on our ships is an important part of our guest experience, and King’s Day is another opportunity for us to share a lively Dutch tradition.”

Known for being a celebration of orange in Holland, guests received an email prior to departure inviting them to bring orange attire to wear to the King’s Day festivities that will include a King’s Day Orange Deck Party. Shipboard staff also will be decked out in orange accessories. Cities throughout the Netherlands become one big street market on King’s Day, and guests will feel like they’ve been transported to the country with a shipboard street market set up by the Lido Pool featuring beverages and items from the onboard shops.

Holland America Line’s Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff created two specialty cocktails in honor of King’s Day, and guests can enjoy the libations in the bars and lounges. The “Dutch Heritage” is made of Aperol, vodka and triple sec, while the nonalcoholic “Orange Light” is made with lemon juice, honey syrup and San Pellegrino Blood Orange.

Culinary traditions are an important part of King’s Day, and Holland America Line ships will offer a King’s Day Afternoon Tea featuring tompouce, Koningsbol, poffertjes and other Dutch treats. A Baby Dutch Pancakes station will be set up in the Lido Market for breakfast and a Dutch-themed menu will be offered in the main dining room and Lido Market for both lunch and dinner. On King’s Day, the 14 ships in the Holland America Line fleet will be celebrating around the world, from Canada, Japan and Italy to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Holland America Line named its newest ship ms Koningsdam to honor King Willem-Alexander (the word koning means “King” in Dutch). Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands christened Koningsdam on May 20, 2016 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. For more information, visit HollandAmerica.com.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Windstar & James Beard Foundation Announce Super-Star Chef Lineup for Culinary Cruise Collection

At a celebration of Windstar Cruises as the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation at the famed Beard House in New York City, the two organizations unveiled the full lineup for their James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection.

Offered on eight sailings in Windstar’s diverse portfolio of cruise destinations—including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean—cruise guests will have a chance to interact and taste creations from James Beard Foundation-selected chefs.

Windstar’s Corporate Executive Chef Graeme Cockburn joined an exclusive club of chefs to have the honor of cooking at the James Beard House, serving up dishes like Fois Gras Cromesquis with cured golden raisins and Marinated Cucumber and Burrata with sweet heirloom tomatoes at the epicurean extravaganza. Guests at the event were the first to hear the list of renowned North American chefs that Chef Cockburn’s team will partner with to offer authentic culinary opportunities on sailings to small ports around the globe.

“Other cruise lines have one celebrity chef, but thanks to our partnership with the James Beard Foundation, we have an array of incredible culinary superstars in our ranks,” said Windstar President John Delaney.

Guest chefs on the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection will host an intimate cooking demonstration of a signature recipe that will be served on that cruise, as well as added to the rotating menu repertoire in AmphorA, Windstar’s principle dining room. The small size of Windstar ships allows guests plenty of personal interaction with the chefs. Culinary demonstrations, special menu items, unique culinary shore excursions, and local market tours will charm guests aboard these captivating and varied itineraries, giving Windstar guests opportunities to indulge in memorable meals prepared with locally-sourced ingredients by some of the most recognized culinary talent in the world.

Throughout 2017, Windstar Cruises’ and the James Beard Foundation’s unique travel-culinary alliance, which began in 2016, aims to elevate genuine local culinary encounters for cruise travelers. It also introduces travel enthusiasts to the important work of the formidable James Beard Foundation, including focusing on sustainable food advocacy and identifying the vital influence that leading chefs and restaurateurs have in their communities.

Windstar’s James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection

  • May 6, 2017—Islands of the West Med: Chef Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja, Euclid Hall, Bistro Vendome, and Stoic & Genuine in Denver, CO. Denver restaurant powerhouse Chef Jen Jasinski is a natural fit to host this cruise from Rome to Barcelona, as her new restaurant Ultreia will focus on Spanish cuisine. Jasinski’s first and still wildly popular restaurant Rioja boasts Mediterranean fare, so who better to guide guests through the region’s delicious islands? Fans of Top Chef Masters will recognize Jasinski, a James Beard Foundation award-winner for Best Chef Southwest.
  • June 16, 2017—Cuisines & Cultures of Spain, Portugal, and France: Chef Annie Pettry of Decca in Louisville, KY. Annie Pettry uses classic French techniques on Southern and Midwestern ingredients at her lauded Louisville restaurant Decca, where her wood-fired cooking program is a hot attraction. Inspired by locally farmed and small production ingredients, she’ll guide cruise guests through bountiful Portugal, Spain, and France. Fans of Top Chef will recognize Pettry from season 14. She is also an alumna of the James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change.
  • Aug. 4, 2017—Lands of the Midnight Sun: Chef Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, MN.Minneapolis Chef Paul Berglund celebrates Minneapolis’ Scandinavian food heritage at his restaurant The Bachelor Farmer, with fresh and simple dishes that change daily, making him the ideal fit for the journey from Iceland to Norway, and finally to Ireland. And as a former officer in the U.S. Navy, Berglund will be no stranger to sailing! Berglund is a James Beard Foundation award-winner for Best Chef Midwest.
  • Sept. 2, 2017—Gaelic Explorers: Chef Renee Erickson of The Whale Wins, The Walrus & the Carpenter, Barnacle, Bar Melusine, Bateau, and General Porpoise in Seattle, WA. It’s been said that Renee Erickson's restaurants are “the reason Seattle is one of the country’s most exciting places.” Chef/Author Erickson hallmark is an innovative approach to seafood and often described as European country cooking. Cruise guests will sail with her to Ireland and Scotland in search of the best coffee, whiskey, and scotch in port. Erickson is a James Beard Foundation award-winner for Best Chef Northwest.
  • Oct. 18, 2017—Islands of the West Med: Chef Amy Brandwein of Centrolina in Washington, D.C. Chef Amy Brandwein embraces seasonal Italian fare at Centrolina, which has her well prepared for to sail this attractive itinerary visiting Alghero, Portovenere, Portoferraio, and Rome, Italy She relies heavily on fresh market selections, so guests should expect local delicacies hand-selected by Brandwein, like fresh branzino, mushrooms, or prosciutto. Brandwein is a 2017 James Beard Foundation award finalist for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.
  • Nov. 10, 2017—Jewels of the Windward Islands: Chef Keith Rhodes of Catch Restaurant in Wilmington, NC. Chef Keith Rhodes passion for seafood is the cornerstone of his restaurant Catch. Every ingredient in his delicious cuisine is consciously sourced from organic growers and local fisheries that support sustainable practices. He’s a fantastic fit to navigate the seafood options on this Caribbean sailing. Rhodes is recognizable from his time on Top Chef and is a James Beard Foundation award semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast.
  • Dec. 9, 2017—San Juan & the Virgin Islands: Chef Mario Pagán of MARIO PAGAN Restaurant, SAGE Steak Loft, Dorado Beach & Golf Resort, San Juan, Puerto Rico. San Juan’s (arguably) best Chef Mario Pagán has been preparing meals rooted in Caribbean cuisine since his mother taught him in their family kitchen. Now his three San Juan restaurants fulfill a mission to “bring Puerto Rican food to the world” which his involvement in the James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change and multiple media appearances including the 3rd season of Next Iron Chef has furthered.
  • Jan. 20, 2018—Icons of Southeast Asia: Chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Café in Honolulu, HI. Chef Lee Anne Wong’s career has been a quest to explore global flavors, often cooking her fusion creations at New York’s James Beard House. She frequents kitchens in Asia and around the globe to discover new, exciting flavors and techniques. A Top Chef original contestant, Wong boasts a notable media career as television chef and author of “Dumplings All Day Wong: A Cookbook of Delights from a Top Chef.” Wong will lead guests from Hong Kong to Bangkok, tempting guests to try “not so familiar” foods whenever possible.

More About the Windstar/James Beard Foundation Partnership
The James Beard Foundation Culinary Collection is in addition to a marquee food- and wine-themed cruise in August with acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and author Hugh Acheson. The itinerary sails to the famed wine region of Bordeaux for an overnight stay and wine valley visit, as well as visiting the storied oyster beds of Northern France aboard the James Beard Foundation Epicurean Explorations of France, Spain, and Portugal voyage. Acheson’s longtime colleague Sommelier Steven Grubbs will co-host the cruise, leading four wine tastings, and pairing varietals and vintages to complement Acheson’s three chef demonstrations.

On each sailing starting this summer, Windstar guests will enjoy a James Beard Foundation recognized chef’s Signature Recipe on the dinner menu, created with local market ingredients whenever possible.

Foodies also will get their creative juices flowing during Culinary Demos Powered by the James Beard Foundation. Director of Hotel Operations Peter Tobler and Corporate Executive Chef Graeme Cockburn, will guide Windstar’s talented chef teams to prepare the recipes during an interactive cooking demonstration. Designed to impart tips from the culinary pros that have sailed in the region and been inspired by the ports they are visiting. Windstar fans will be able to try out the recipes at home from articles featured on the Windstar blog that will showcase the most recent recipes from the celebrated chefs on the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection of sailings.

In addition and as part of the partnership, as the exclusive cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, Windstar is a sponsor of the acclaimed James Beard Awards; JBF’s Taste America® tour—a two-day affair in 10 different cities around the U.S. including fundraising dinners and complimentary culinary tastings; the JBF Celebrity Chef Tour—a dinner series in more than 20 cities; and Chefs & Champagne®—the James Beard Foundation’s annual trendy summer tasting party in the Hamptons.

Throughout the flourishing partnership, Windstar and the James Beard Foundation are immersing guests in epicurean adventures both ashore and while cruising to each intriguing port of call, bringing together the best of travel and cuisine around the globe for foodies everywhere. For additional information on the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection and private yacht-style cruising with Windstar, visit WindstarCruises.com.

Image Courtesy Windstar Cruises

Cunard Shares a Look Inside Additional Plans for Queen Victoria Refurbishment

Britannia Club stateroom
Following the recent Cunard announcement revealing Queen Victoria's $40 million refit in May, the luxury cruise line is unveiling the anticipated digital renderings showcasing new and refreshed features. Scheduled for completion in June, just in time for summer, some of the many highlights include a new exquisite Lido Sun Deck for sun seekers as well as a stunning Winter Garden. The cruise line also offers an inside look at the Britannia Club Staterooms, Britannia Club Restaurant, and five new luxurious Penthouse Suites.

Winter Garden
"Queen Victoria's refit will not only offer our guests an additional 43 Britannia Club staterooms and a dedicated restaurant, but it will also enhance the guest experience in already-beloved spaces like the Lido Sun Deck, Winter Garden and pre-existing staterooms onboard," said Joshua Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "We've responded to our guests' insights to broaden our onboard offering by adding new bar concepts and large flat-screen TVs in all staterooms. The distinctively Cunard experience will continue with design inspiration from previous ships to offer a modern travel experience that guests can only experience on Cunard."

The ship will be taken out of service on May 5, 2017 to undergo the refit at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Italy and is scheduled for completion on June 4, 2017. Queen Victoria, will then return to Southampton before embarking on its maiden four night voyage, visiting Amsterdam, Zeebrugge (Bruges), before returning to Southampton.

More details on Queen Victoria's refurbishment will follow over the coming months. For additional information about Cunard and Queen Victoria, visit Cunard.com.

Images Courtesy of Cunard Line

Holland America Line Introduces 2018 Signature Experiences in Montréal & Five European Departure Cities

Holland America Line recently unveiled new culturally immersive Signature Experiences on select 2018 cruise itineraries departing from Montréal, Québec, Canada, and five of the most popular cities in Europe: Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Rome and Venice, Italy. Each pre-cruise Signature Experience was created exclusively for Holland America Line and includes an evening event, two-night luxury hotel stay and transfers. Guests who book a suite on the eligible cruises receive the Signature Experiences complimentary, but space is limited and reservations are required.

“Holland America Line guests are travelers who enjoy immersing themselves in the cultures of the places we visit, and our new Signature Experiences present some of the most iconic destinations in a unique way that isn’t available to the general public,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “By showcasing these incredible cities at night with exclusive opportunities, our guests will come away with a deeper cultural impression and experiences that go well beyond traditional tours.”

Taste of Montréal – Old & New
On select Canada & New England cruises that depart from Montréal, the Taste of Montréal – Old & New Signature Experience visits the city's most popular sights and takes guests behind the velvet rope at one of its leading cultural institutions. In addition to the immersive city tour, the package also includes a two-night hotel stay and complimentary transfers. During the Signature Experience, guests visit Place Ville Marie, the city’s most iconic structure built atop an underground city. The tour continues with a visit to the observation deck of Au Sommet Place Ville Marie for fabulous city views and then culminates with an exclusive evening at Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal History and Archaeology Museum, for a private, after-hours visit with appetizers and an open bar in the museum.

Europe Signature Experiences Offered in Five Fascinating Cities
In Europe guests on cruises departing from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Rome or Venice can book an exclusive Signature Experience before they set sail.

  • In Amsterdam, An Evening at the Rijksmuseum takes guests on an after-hours private tour of the most-visited national museum in the Netherlands. After a cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres in the museum’s foyer, participants tour the Rijksmuseum Honor Gallery, followed by a three-course dinner in the Rijksmuseum’s café.
  • An Evening at Casa Batlló in Barcelona includes a private tour of this iconic architectural treasure created by Antoni Gaudí between 1904 and 1906. Guests will have time to take in this masterpiece of shape, color and light, then feast on tapas and drinks while enjoying flamenco fusion music provided by Son de Cajon.
  • In Copenhagen, the famous words “To be, or not to be…” will come to life during A Night at Kronborg Castle Signature Experience featuring this memorable UNESCO World Heritage Site, immortalized by William Shakespeare in “Hamlet.” At Kronborg Castle guests will be entertained by actors who provide a history of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, followed by appetizers and beverages.
  • During A Night Out in Ancient Rome, guests will spend a magical evening at the Casa dei Cavalieri di Rodi (House of the Knights of Rhodes) on a terrace overlooking the Roman Forum. After indulging in appetizers and prosecco, guests will be privy to a private, after-hours tour of Rome’s iconic Colosseum by one of the monument’s most elite guides.
  • Venice reigns as one of the world’s most magical cities, and during An Evening on the Grand Canal Signature Experience guests will take a motor-launch cruise to the water entrance of a charming, privately owned, 16th-century palace overlooking the city’s Grand Canal. In this opulent and historic setting guests will enjoy appetizers, drinks and Venetian music, all in the company of a countess or member of her noble family.

South America & Asia Experiences to Be Added Soon
Signature Experiences for Australia and New Zealand, Asia and South America cruises will be coming soon and available to view through the hollandamerica.com website.

The 2018 Signature Experiences are complimentary for suite guests and now open for booking. Space is limited on each tour and they cannot be booked online, so guests are encouraged to contact their travel professional or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425). If non-suite guests would like to purchase a Signature Experience, prices range from $699 to $999 per person, double occupancy. Taxes and fees are additional. For more information, visit HollandAmerica.com.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line RevealsEntertainment Line-Up for Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that its entertainment programming will reach new heights on Norwegian Bliss, the line’s sixteenth ship, which has been designed for the ultimate cruising experience and will sail to Alaska and the Caribbean beginning in June 2018. Norwegian will once again bring the best of Broadway to sea, with the 2006 Tony Award® winner for “Best Musical,” Jersey Boys, and a completely new and original show created by Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, headlining on the ship’s main stage, the Bliss Theater. Norwegian Bliss will also feature a new comedy club and nightlife venue, a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition-The Musical, an outpost of the legendary Beatles’ venue The Cavern Club and much more.

“With Norwegian Bliss, we are continuing our legacy of bringing our guests the finest entertainment at sea,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer. “Our entertainment team is bringing to life dazzling displays and award-winning musical sounds across our fleet, and Norwegian Bliss will continue that legacy with the Tony Award®-winning Jersey Boys and incredible new concepts created just for this spectacular ship.” Norwegian has paved the way for outstanding entertainment in the cruise industry, as the first cruise line to feature branded entertainment in 2010 aboard Norwegian Epic. Today, Norwegian is known for its bold and vibrant musicals and Broadway-style shows. Norwegian Bliss will build on the company’s success and commitment to excellence in entertainment with the ship’s two main stage shows.

Headlining in the Bliss Theater will be the 2006 Tony Award®-winner for Best Musical, Jersey Boys. The show goes behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and follows four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys features all of their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.” Jersey Boys will hit the high seas for its first production at sea after 11 record-breaking years on Broadway. As one of the longest running shows in Broadway history, including many world tours, Jersey Boys has been seen by more than 24 million people worldwide. Jersey Boys is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.

Norwegian Cruise Line is currently developing an exclusive original musical theater show created and produced specifically for Norwegian Bliss. The new show will be a Cuban-inspired Broadway-style musical created by Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, featuring electrifying dance, colorful pageantry, and sensational sounds developed by some of the most sought-after names on Broadway today. Warren Carlyle has worked on countless Broadway productions; acclaimed as one of Broadway’s best, Carlyle most recently choreographed the Broadway musical Hello, Dolly starring Bette Midler and directed and choreographed After Midnight, which earned the Tony Award® in 2014 for “Best Choreography” and is currently delighting audiences on Norwegian Escape. Norwegian Bliss’ new show will also feature costumes by Cuban-American fashion designer Isabel Toledo. Isabel’s husband, Ruben Toledo, will be developing the new show’s art and scenic designs; also a Cuban-American artist, Ruben’s work has appeared across the globe. More details on this new show will be shared this fall.

In a new concept exclusive to Norwegian Bliss, the Alibi is a reimagined comedy and nightclub space that will feature sets from today’s most popular stand-up comedians, and then transform to a chic nightclub late in the evening. Alibi will feature two comedy performances six nights a week, offering both family-friendly and mature comedy shows. Guests who visit the swanky club will find intimate seating and cocktail tables during comedy performances, while those who visit Alibi after 10 p.m. will be captivated by the lounge’s black and white chevron patterned dancefloor, LED disco lighting and a DJ spinning today’s hottest hits.

Norwegian Bliss’ guests will have the opportunity to travel back in time to January 16, 1919—the eve of the Prohibition era—for a rowdy good time with the new show, Happy Hour Prohibition-The Musical. Created by Broadway sensations Holly-Anne Palmer, whose creative talent has been featured in hits like Bring It On and Jersey Boys, among others, as well as Liz Muller and Collin Simon of Pipe Dream Theatre, Happy Hour Prohibition–The Musical will hit the high seas after delighting audiences for nearly two years in New Orleans and New York City. Guests will join the talented cast in Miss Lulu’s infamous New Orleans speakeasy, Mahogany Hall, as they entertain with tales of bootleggers and intoxicating choreography by Broadway veteran Lauren Lim Jackson, set to some of the era’s most famous tunes including Let’s Misbehave, Happy Feet and Makin’ Whoopee. During the one hour performance, guests will savor their own Prohibition era specialty cocktails, each with a modern twist. The show will be performed on select evenings as a happy hour pre-dinner show and once each cruise as a late night adults-only show in the Alibi Comedy and Nightclub.

In an expansion of the successful partnership that began during Norwegian Epic’s recent renovation through the Norwegian Edge™ program, the extremely popular rock and roll venue The Cavern Club will delight guests aboard Norwegian Bliss. The Cavern Club is inspired by the Liverpool club where the Beatles performed frequently in the 1960’s. The lounge brings rock and roll to life with nightly live performances and a Beatles cover band singing hits like “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” and more.

About Norwegian Bliss
At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss is currently being constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018. The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience.

During her inaugural summer season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly 7-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Norwegian Bliss will sail her inaugural Winter season beginning in November 2018, sailing 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Bliss’ custom design will offer guests the freedom and flexibility to “Imagine Bliss” and create their ideal experience at sea, with a wide variety of accommodations including luxurious suites in The Haven by Norwegian®, Studio staterooms for solo travelers with virtual ocean views, and new connecting staterooms ideal for large groups and families traveling together. Norwegian Bliss will also feature two observation lounges, including one exclusive to guests of The Haven®, perfect for whale watching in Alaska or taking in sunsets in the Caribbean. Continuing its tradition of featuring original artwork on its ship’s hulls, Norwegian Cruise Line has commissioned Wyland, one of the world’s premier marine life artists, to design the hull art for Norwegian Bliss; the artwork will feature images of humpback whales, found in every ocean around the world. The ship’s hull will serve as a large canvas to showcase the importance of conservation and ocean preservation. Additional details on the ship’s dining and recreational activities will be shared in the coming months.

For more details about Norwegian Bliss, including an animated video of the ship’s accommodations, visit Bliss.NCL.com, or visit NCL.com for additional information about Norwegian Cruise Line.

Image Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean International Makes Inaugural Call to Havana

It was a historic day for Royal Caribbean International on Sunday, April 23, when the cruise line made its inaugural visit to Cuba with the newly revitalized Empress of the Seas as part of a 5-night sailing from Miami. Adventure-seeking vacationers were among the cruise line’s first guests to explore the island country known for its legendary nightlife, iconic music and distinct culture. Guests participated in curated excursions throughout Havana, including rides in 1950s classic American cars to the city’s most famous locales, including the old quarter and the Havana Club Museum.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of Cuba’s future, ushering in Royal Caribbean’s next big adventure with Empress of the Seas’ first visit to Havana. Vacationers will now be able to experience a destination like no other, with authentic and immersive experiences that bring to life the vibrancy of Havana and its traditions,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

The vibrant Cuban culture extends beyond land to the experience onboard Empress of the Seas. From cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal to salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge, guests will enjoy a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life throughout the entire journey.

After returning to Miami, Florida, Empress of the Seas will reposition to Tampa, Florida for the summer season—the cruise line’s first ever summer program from the destination—offering a series of 4-, 5- and 6-night sailings, including day and overnight visits to Havana, along with stops in Key West, and Belize City, Belize, as well as Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. Sailings from Tampa are available through Nov. 4, 2017 when Empress returns to Miami for the winter season, adding calls to CocoCay and Nassau in The Bahamas.

Empress of the Seas spans 11 guest decks, encompasses 48,563 gross registered tons, carries 1,602 guests at double occupancy and features 795 staterooms. For additional information, visit RoyalCaribbean.com

Image Courtesy Royal Caribbean International

New Cruise Review: Amsterdam 2017 World Voyage

Join Georgina and Humberto Cruz on their fourth world cruise aboard Holland America Line's Amsterdam to sail Around the World in 111 Dayson the 2017 Grand World Voyage.

Image Courtesy Georgina Cruz

Custom-Made Charters Aboard SeaDream Yacht Club

SeaDream Yacht Club, known among discerning travelers for its luxury yachting experiences, is offering full charters as the ultimate gift for guests interested in celebrating important milestones with family and friends. Incentive charters, by both small businesses and large corporations are also popular, rewarding top performers with a true mega-yacht experience. The two twin mega-yachts capable of accommodating a maximum of 112 guests maintain the intimate, elegantly casual setting that is expected of an exclusive yacht charter.

“Our guests aren’t limited to any of SeaDream’s existing itineraries when planning a private charter,” shares SeaDream Yacht Club President Bob Lepisto. “Instead, they have the freedom to customize and choose what they want to include making it a truly unique and personal yachting experience.”

When planning a private celebration aboard SeaDream I or SeaDream II such as a birthday, anniversary, or family reunion, a dedicated Charter Coordinator assists in every aspect, from the custom itinerary and onboard activities to special dining preferences and entertainment options. Custom shore excursions in locations seldom visited by larger ships may be arranged, such as hiking to Soufriere and the Sapphire Waterfall along St. Lucia’s West coast or biking along the shores of Corsica. With a one-to-one guest to crew ratio on a SeaDream charter, no detail is too small and no request goes unheeded.

In addition to other occasions, weddings are often the perfect reason to book a private charter. The Charter Coordinator in concert with the crew will ensure decorations, menus, entertainment, lodging, and destinations are all taken care of with the utmost attention to detail. Even special requests such as fireworks or a wedding party swim in the open ocean may be arranged. Offering a five-star dining experience, SeaDream’s culinary excellence including anticipatory service, tailored menus and options like dining al fresco are just a few other facets that make these voyage so memorable.

Whether partaking in shoreside excursions or recharging at the Thai certified Spa onboard, there are plenty of options to keep busy or relax. With the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea, the SeaDream Spa ensures complete rejuvenation for its guests. The SeaDream mega-yachts are also equipped with all of the complimentary water sports equipment required for a proper yachtsman’s vacation including wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and more.

Defined by the statement, “It’s yachting, not cruising,” SeaDream is ideal for the active traveler. Both SeaDream I and SeaDream II are equipped with wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and many other watersports activities, all of which can be launched directly from the yachts’ Marina. With the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea, the SeaDream Spa ensures complete rejuvenation for its guests.

About SeaDream Yacht Club
SeaDream Yacht Club has achieved the industry’s highest accolades for its two twin, casually elegant mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II. With a maximum of only 112 guests and a 95-person crew, “It’s yachting, not cruising,” defines not only the size of the vessels, but the onboard lifestyle and anticipatory service. SeaDream Yacht Club provides a yachting experience visiting small harbors and ports in the Caribbean & Mediterranean, many inaccessible by larger ships, on four to 13-day voyages. An incredible array of services, activities, water toys, dining, wine, premium drinks and gratuities are provided in SeaDream’s inclusive fare. For more information, visit SeaDream.com.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Holland America Line Marks its 70th Year in Alaska with Special Experiences, Events & Entertainment

In 2017 Holland America Line will celebrate its 70th year of Alaska exploration, and to commemorate the milestone anniversary the cruise line has planned special experiences and events that will take place on every Alaska cruise and on the popular Land+Sea Journeys. In addition to exclusive entertainment that was created especially for the anniversary that falls in the same year as Denali National Park’s centennial, Holland America Line also will showcase a new Alaska-centric menu with dishes created by the cruise line’s esteemed Culinary Council, two anniversary Alaska beers, commemorative gifts and more.

“Celebrating 70 years in Alaska—or any destination—is a milestone that isn’t often seen in our industry. We are especially proud to have been the first tour company in Alaska back in 1947, showing the beauty and greatness of this region to travelers, said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Going into 2017 we wanted to mark our anniversary in a memorable way with special experiences that add an extra dimension to our robust Alaska programming and bring even more of Alaska to our guests.”

Alaska Comes to Life with New Onboard Entertainment
Holland America Line has an exclusive partnership with BBC Earth to bring you unforgettable new ways to experience the world’s natural wonders, and for the 70th anniversary a new Alaska in Concert multimedia production will premiere. Combining live music set against a backdrop of mesmerizing footage from the BBC Earth television series, Wild Alaska, audiences will experience the cycle of four seasons and see this place is as unforgiving as it is beautiful.

In addition, Holland America Line is proud to continue its long relationship with the Huna indigenous people of Glacier Bay to showcase Native Voices, a program of Huna cultural interpretation while cruising through Glacier Bay National Park.

Alaska Cuisine & Culinary Shows Highlight Each Cruise
Culinary and beverage experiences are at the heart of every Alaska cruise, and to celebrate the 70th anniversary Holland America Line plans a variety of exclusive offerings. America’s Test Kitchen turns up the heat with its Every Salmon shipboard cooking show featuring top tips to select and prepare the Alaska favorite. In addition, guests will be able to indulge in the Midnight Sun cocktail created by Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff.

The main dining room will showcase special décor and customized menus that celebrate the cruise line’s Alaska heritage with new dishes created by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin and the company’s Culinary Council composed of renowned chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres. A 70th Anniversary Baked Alaska will be the culmination of the celebratory meal.

Two New Alaska Brews Celebrate the 70th
While brewing beer in Alaska might not be easy, it’s certainly growing in reputation and has become one of the more popular highlights on board. Holland America Line currently features beers by Alaska Brewing Co., both on the menus and during tastings. For the 70th celebration the company will expand its selection by introducing a customized, exclusive Holland America Line Pale Ale. Another exclusive anniversary beer by Denali Brewing Company will be available at Denali for guests on Land+Sea Journeys.

Special Touches Make the 70th Anniversary Memorable
Guests will find other special touches during their 2017 Alaska cruise or Land+Sea Journey, such as a themed bon voyage party and 70th Anniversary Champagne toast on every voyage. Before or after embarking their cruise, Land+Sea Journey guests will enjoy special anniversary menu items and other anniversary touches on the land portion of their adventure and will receive a commemorative backpack with a special native-designed logo by Tlingit and Athabascan artist Crystal Worl that will be presented at Denali.

HAL Brings Seven Ships with 135 Alaska Departures in 2017
To make it possible for even more guests to cruise to Alaska with Holland America Line in 2017, the company added a seventh ship to the region to fill demand. Starting this spring, ms Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Oosterdam, ms Volendam and ms Zaandam will offer a total of 135 Alaska departures more than any other cruise line.

Holland America Line will feature 126 seven-day cruises and nine 14-day Great Land Explorer sailings beginning in late April and running through late September. A highlight of every Alaska adventure is scenic cruising, and guests will have the opportunity to view Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Tracy Arm and/or the twin Sawyer Glaciers.

Land+Sea Journeys Combine an Alaska Cruise with Overland Exploration
Holland America Line’s award-winning Land+Sea Journeys combine a three-, four- or seven-day Inside Passage or Glacier Discovery cruise with in-depth overland tours to the Yukon and Alaska’s interior. Holland America Line is the only cruise company to weave must-see sites such as Denali National Park—the centerpiece of every Land+Sea Journey—with seldom-seen ones such as Dawson City, in the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush country. Offering up to three days at Denali National Park for wildlife viewing and spectacular scenery, Land+Sea Journeys are designed to highlight the best of Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, native culture and history. For more information, visit HollandAmerica.com.

Crystal Announces Complete Details Of Crystal Symphony & Crystal Serenity Redesigns

Crystal Cruises' luxury ships are set to undergo their most extensive redesigns in their respective histories, as Crystal unveils the complete plans for Crystal Symphony's and Crystal Serenity's dry dock transformations. In what the company is calling the "Evolution of Crystal Luxury," in 2017 and 2018, Crystal will embark on the multi-million-dollar investment that will see the two ships reimagined to new standards of innovative luxury. The plans for Crystal's two ocean ships are the latest in its tremendous brand expansion, which will also see new river yachts, new ocean-going vessels and a privately-owned Boeing 777 join the fleet in the next three years.

"Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are the foundation of Crystal and continue to embody the cornerstones of the celebrated Crystal Experience," says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. "These ships have earned us not only acclaim from the world's most eminent entities and publications for more than two decades, but more importantly, the loyalty of the world's most discerning travelers and travel partners. We are committed to continuing their reign as the most luxurious ships at sea by investing in changes and updates that will far exceed our guests' wishes."

While the two ships' refurbishments are scheduled almost a year apart, plans for both are predominantly streamlined, offering guests a consistently superlative experience on board whichever Crystal ship they choose to sail. As part of the extensive redesign, several staterooms will be converted into brand new luxurious penthouse categories to take the place of smaller staterooms; imaginative new dining options will be revealed; ships will be loaded with high-tech perks; and modern, elegant décor updates will be made in many public spaces.

New Penthouses & Penthouse Suites
Both ships will gain more of the spacious, butler-serviced Penthouses and Penthouse Suites. Crystal Symphony will see two new categories of accommodations altogether: Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah (12 new suites added) and Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah (28 new suites added), both occupying Deck 9, Seabreeze. The new accommodations will boast the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (367 sq. ft. and 491 sq. ft., respectively), while Seabreeze Penthouses will be connected by a shared an entryway recessed from the hall.

Aboard Crystal Serenity, the 36 additional Penthouses and 2 additional Penthouse Suites will occupy the current Penthouse Deck 10, and will also offer the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (403 sq. ft. and 538 sq. ft., respectively).

Penthouse accommodations offer guests enhanced all-inclusive Crystal amenities, including butler service and in-room specialty dining. Penthouse guests will also now receive unlimited complimentary dining at the onboard specialty restaurants. The conversion of staterooms into the new penthouse accommodations effectively reduces the ships' guest capacities—Crystal Symphony to 848 and Crystal Serenity to 980—and increases the per-guest space ratio aboard the ships to 60.2 and 70.3 respectively. Abundant space throughout its luxury ships has long been a cornerstone of Crystal's platform, and a key distinction between its ships and competitors.

Refreshed Dining Options
The world-class cuisine served on Crystal ships will also enjoy a revolution, as Crystal mainstays transform into inspired modern venues that still exude the elegant culinary atmosphere for which Crystal is known. Inclusive to the renowned Crystal Experience, the posh eateries feature diverse menus of Michelin-level cuisine inspired by the worldwide destinations Crystal visits.

The Crystal Dining Room, the ships' centrally located main dining venue, will become Waterside, reflecting the chic décor and sophisticated ambiance of the main dining room aboard Crystal River Cruises' Crystal Mozart. Additional tables for two and four guests offer expanded options for intimate dining in the expansive space, while a new open seating concept invites guests to dine at their leisure between 6 and 9:30 p.m., eliminating Crystal's previous format of assigned seating and reservations. Waterside will also continue to serve breakfast and lunch during current time frames.

The Lido Café, another hot spot aboard both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, will take on new life as the Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. Both venues will feature an open kitchen concept with dishes made to order. The Marketplace will continue to serve casual buffet style breakfast and lunch options, and will transition to Churrascaria, a stylish casual dinner venue, from 6 to 9 p.m., creating an additional evening option for guests. Churrascaria will feature a Caipirinha as a welcome cocktail and serve a selection of Brazilian-inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled seafood and meats presented by Crystal "gauchos" on sword-like skewers.

New to the Crystal menu of onboard restaurants on both ships will be Silk, located in the Trident area of their respective Lido Decks. The contemporary space will offer modern Chinese-inspired fare with family-style dinner plates ideal for sharing, and self-service options for breakfast and lunch that include dumplings, Chinois salad, a soup and noodle bar and other Asian favorites. For the dinner hours between 6 and 9 p.m., reservations will be recommended, although open seating will be accommodated. The Trident Bar & Grill will remain in the adjacent space, serving casual grilled options including burgers and sandwiches.

Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, will be rebranded as Umi Uma—reflecting the Japanese word for Crystal's eponymous seahorses. The authentic venues will still serve the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and will remain the only Nobu restaurants at sea. All specialty dining reservations for Umi Uma and Prego will be complimentary for Penthouse guests, while all other guests will enjoy one complimentary evening of specialty dining, with additional reservations available for a modest charge. Reservations are always required for specialty dining venues.

Technological Upgrades
Upon completion of Crystal Symphony's dry dock in November 2017, guests will receive unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi throughout any Crystal voyage aboard all Crystal vessels. Crystal's investment in technological amenities for guests will include hardware and software enhancements to enable expanded internet connectivity and doubled satellite speed. Additionally, a new guest portal—Crystal Connect—will be launched and featured on the landing page of onboard internet connections. The portal enables guests to easily access the internet, as well as an array of shipboard information including daily menus from each restaurant, daily Reflections, day and evening activities, Crystal Adventures shore excursions and daily port maps. A number of international newspapers will also be available for digital viewing, as well as a library of box office hit movies, Crystal lectures on demand and much more. Crystal Connect will also be available in a mobile application for use on guests' personal devices.

In all rooms throughout the ships—in each stateroom and in all public areas—ultra-thin, 42-inch, interactive flat-panel TVs will enable guests to conveniently access their onboard folios, view the Crystal Spa & Salon, Connoisseur Wine Selection, and dining menus, with the ability to make any onboard reservations, reserve shore excursions and order room service. These new interactive TVs will also showcase the latest Hollywood movies and hit TV series. Crystal's acclaimed Computer University@Sea classrooms will also undergo updates and makeover, further enhancing the technological experience and enrichment for guests.

Reimagined Public Spaces
Several favorite shipboard spaces will enjoy reimagined designs, while maintaining their inherent function as part of travelers' onboard experience. The top-deck, forward Palm Court lounge aboard Crystal Serenity will be entirely redesigned to feature more intimate seating, while Crystal Symphony's mid-ship Starlite Club, a hub for evening dancing and cocktails, will also be refitted, still boasting panoramic sea views.

Crystal Symphony's redesign is set for September 19-October 21, 2017; Crystal Serenity's for October 14-November 10, 2018. The dry docks and subsequent relaunch of both ships mark additional milestones for the Crystal fleet, as the company increases its luxury presence throughout the world's oceans, Europe's rivers and the skies.

Adds Rodriguez, "Throughout this tremendous expansion, our commitment to setting an unprecedented standard of luxury travel experiences is unwavering. We will continue to place the quality of our guests' experience above all other priorities, and our exquisitely designed vessels are integral to that experience."

For more information, visit Crystal's website, CrystalCruises.com.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Colorful Dr. Seuss WaterWorks Park To Be Featured On New Carnival Horizon Debuting In 2018

Carnival Cruise Line's newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, will be the first in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss WaterWorks, a vibrant water park inspired by the whimsical world and words of the legendary children's author. The 3,934-passenger vessel is set to debut in Europe April 2, 2018. Dr. Seuss WaterWorks builds upon the line's distinction as the family cruise leader carrying nearly 800,000 kids a year as well as the incredible success of the fleetwide Seuss at Sea program, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises that features immersive onboard Dr. Seuss-themed youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences.

Located on Deck 12, Carnival Horizon's Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will offer two distinctly different slides each promising their own splash-tastic fun. Inspired by everyone's favorite feline, The Cat in the Hat slide will feature an enclosed raft slide offering more than 450 feet of heart-racing twists and turns. The entrance resembles The Cat's famous red and white hat with the distinctive color pattern carried throughout the slide in alternating translucent and opaque sections.

Sure to be equally fun will be the Fun Things slide, an enclosed body slide with whimsical polka dots and special lighting effects and named after the mischievous duo Thing 1 and Thing 2 and encompassing 213 feet of exhilarating all-ages fun. Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will also include a 150-gallon tipping bucket patterned after The Cat's hat, along with a kiddie splash zone with dozens of water spray toys. Larger-than-life images of famous Dr. Seuss characters—including The Cat in the Hat holding an inner tube, The Grinch sporting a surf board tucked under his arm, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 frolicking atop their namesake slide—will greet visitors as they enter the park, with memorable Dr. Seuss phrases displayed on clear partitions that surround the facility.

"Our ships are designed as the ultimate seagoing playgrounds and Carnival Horizon will take this concept to the next level with the spectacular Dr. Seuss WaterWorks which promises fun for guests of all ages," said Duffy. "Dr. Seuss is an iconic American brand and we're delighted to expand our partnership with this incredible top-deck water attraction for our guests."

Dr. Seuss WaterWorks is just one of several family-friendly features on Carnival Horizon which will also feature the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and the SportSquare outdoor recreation area with a suspended ropes course. A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, which will include a Family Lounge area with large screen TVs, board games and complimentary breakfast, cookies and other snacks. Carnival Horizon will also feature the Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading and play venue and popular Seuss at Sea activities like The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and the Seuss-a-palooza Parade and Story Time.

Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona—the first of four round-trip departures from this port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018. Following a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018. For more information, visit Carnival.com.

Holland America Line Receives Seventh Consecutive Green Gateway Award from Port of Seattle for Environmental Stewardship

It's lucky sevens for Holland America Line this year. The Port of Seattle presented Seattle's Hometown Cruise Line with its seventh consecutive Green Gateway Award. The Port of Seattle presents the Green Gateway Awards annually to cruise and commercial lines that call at the port and whose environmental efforts are deemed worthy of recognition. Port of Seattle cited Holland America Line's environmental stewardship initiatives that exceed regulations and industry standards, including the use of shore power while at Port of Seattle; biodegradable cleaners wherever possible; and electronic log books for environmental entries on board that improve data quality, analysis and efficiency.

"Environmental stewardship is a priority at Holland America Line, and it's an honor for the Port of Seattle to recognize our efforts for the seventh consecutive year," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "We are dedicated to responsibly sailing the world's oceans and continuing to implement new initiatives and seek new ways to be environmental innovators."

In previous years Holland America Line received the Green Gateway Award for its use of shore power, installation of IPCO Power Fuel Treatment systems, comprehensive practices to reduce emissions and its commitment to protecting the environment.

A Long Partnership
Holland America Line ships have been sailing from the Port of Seattle since the 1970s. In May 2002 Holland America Line began using Seattle as a home port for Alaska cruises. This year the company has three ships sailing regularly from Seattle on 53 Alaska cruises from May through September.

Seattle, the Green Gateway
Seattle offers the lowest carbon footprint for cargo shipped by sea from Asia to major markets in the Midwest and East Coast, making it the Green Gateway for trade. That designation was determined by the "Carbon Footprint Study of the Asia to North America Intermodal Trade" conducted by Herbert Engineering Corp., which looked at CO2 emissions of intermodal shipments from Asia to North American markets.

Holland America Line's Environmental Achievements & Accolades
Holland America Line's ships meet or exceed all provisions of the international regulations governing the environmental management of marine operations. But the company aims for superior environmental performance while operating responsibly to reduce pollution through strong policies, effective procedures, innovative technology, best practices and consistent training of employees.

Holland America Line is among the pioneers in the maritime industry in investing in technology to reduce engine emissions while a ship is at berth. Six of the 14 Holland America Line ships—ms Amsterdam, ms Veendam, ms Noordam, ms Zuiderdam, ms Oosterdam and ms Westerdam—use shore power at the ports of Seattle, San Diego, Halifax, and Vancouver. In addition all ships in the fleet, except ms Prinsendam, employ exhaust gas cleaning systems, or "scrubber technology," to reduce sulfur compounds and particulate matter from the ships' engine exhaust. For more information, visit HollandAmerica.com.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

American Cruise Lines Unveils Design Details of its New Modern Riverboats

American Cruise Lines has recently revealed design details of its new modern riverboats. American first announced its plans for the series of 5 in March. At 345 feet long and 60 feet wide, the new riverboats will feature the largest staterooms in the U.S., private balconies, and hotel-size bathrooms. The spacious accommodations are a result of constructing only 2 staterooms across the entire width of the ship. This design approach is unique and vastly different from many riverboats which force 3 to 4 staterooms within a similar width.

“The thoughtful layout of our new builds allows for all outward facing staterooms and private balconies,” says Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American. “Every guest has a magnificent view.”

The modern riverboats will also feature a four story atrium in the center of the ship. “The atrium will be the largest of its kind on a riverboat and will create an incredible first impression for guests as they board,” says Beebe. Carrying 200 passengers, the first riverboat inspired by modern design is scheduled to begin passenger service on the Lower Mississippi River in the fall of 2018 and reservations are now being accepted. Columbia & Snake River cruises aboard the new riverboats are slated to begin in 2019.

Construction of the new fleet is currently underway at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD. In addition to the modern riverboats, American Cruise Lines has also recently completed construction on its new coastal cruise ship, American Constellation. American Constitution, sister ship to Constellation, is also under construction as part of American’s new build program.

American Cruise Lines, the largest U.S. cruise line, is committed to continuous growth through an innovative ship building program that elevates the standard of cruising in America. The line is the leader in the U.S. with more than 35 itineraries ranging from 4 to 21-nights in length, which visit the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New England, the Southeast and the Mississippi River. The line has been continuously recognized for its new ships and for providing superb service to guests and travel agents before, during, and after a cruise. To learn more about American Cruise Lines, visit AmericanCruiseLines.com.

Image Courtesy American Cruise Lines

Celebrity Chef Massimo Capra Joins The Gauguin for a Culinary-Inspired Voyage

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, is pleased to announce that celebrity Chef Massimo Capra will join The Gauguin’s September 23, 2017, Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage, for a lecture and culinary demonstration, along with meet-and-greet photo opportunities.

Italian native Capra has been delighting food lovers through his fine dining establishments, TV appearances, and award-winning cookbooks. Capra began his culinary career in a famous trattoria near Venice before turning his talents to the hotel industry in northern Italy. In 1982, he relocated to Toronto, Canada, where he began working at a restaurant owned by a family member. From there, he became an acclaimed chef at Prego della Piazza restaurant, where he remained for nine years. His next venture occurred in 1997, when he joined forces with Paolo Paolini to open Mistura Restaurant of Toronto, offering upscale Italian dining. Sopra Upper Lounge, an exclusive event venue located above Mistura, opened in 2006.

Chef Capra’s culinary empire continued to expand in 2010, when he licensed his name to the famous Rainbow Room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. More recently, he became chef/brand owner of Boccone Trattoria Veloce and Boccone Pronto at Pearson airport in Toronto and of Soprafino Restaurant at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar. And last year, he opened Capra’s Kitchen—a casual Italian eatery with a heavy emphasis on pasta, pizza, and antipasto—in his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario.

In addition to his restaurant empire, Chef Capra is also a cookbook author. Three Chefs: The Kitchen Men, which he co-wrote with Michael Bonacini and Jason Parsons, took the gold in the cookbook category of the Canadian Culinary Book Awards (now called Taste Canada—The Food Writing Awards), and he is also the author of One Pot Italian Cooking. He also serves as the food editor for Canadian Home Trends magazine.

And he is a familiar face on Canadian television, serving as the host of his own show, Gourmet Escapes, and as a regular guest expert on the long-running CityLine talk and lifestyle show, chef host of the hit series Restaurant Makeover on the Food Network, and now a judge on the hit show Chopped Canada.

For more information about Paul Gauguin Cruises, visit PGCruises.com.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Silversea Christens New Flagship Silver Muse

Luxury cruise line Silversea welcomed His Serene Highness the Prince Albert II of Monaco, His Excellency Minister of State of the Principality, Serge Telle, His Excellency Archbishop of Monaco Barsi, and other distinguished guests to Port Hercule in the heart of Monaco, for an intimate ceremony marking the christening of the latest addition to their fleet, Silver Muse. The historic celebration, which was hosted by Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, and was honoured by the amazing performance of Sinfonietta Orchestra of Rome, as well as the renowned Violinist Charlie Siem.

Silver Muse, the ninth ship in the Silversea fleet, caters to the most discerning passengers at sea, offering the highest expression of elegance and comfort, redefining the ultra-luxury cruising experience. Over the past two weeks, guests invited from around the world have had the opportunity to preview the new flagship on a number of exclusive sailings in the Mediterranean. Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with the quality of finish delivered by Fincantieri and levels of service by Silversea crew exceeding guests' expectations.

Accommodating 596 guests, the ship boasts an unrivalled selection of dining options on board including three restaurants new to the Silversea fleet. These are Atlantide, a seafood and grill concept that represents the ultimate in excellence and creativity using the finest ingredients sourced from across the world; the Asian-accented Indochine; and an Italian-themed poolside restaurant Spaccanapoli which serves home-made Italian pizzas throughout the day. These give guests on Silver Muse a choice of eight restaurants and also the freedom to eat "anything, anywhere, anytime" on the ship.

The ship is also home to the unique Zàgara Beauty Spa which offers a sanctuary of leisure and comfort, transporting guests on a journey of the five senses tailored to their individual needs and preferences.

Monaco is not simply the base for Silversea's operations, it is the natural home for the company's proud Monegasque history. Silversea showcases the culture, traditions and values of the Principality to the world, with its nine ships visiting over 800 different ports of call each year. Attending the christening ceremony, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco said, "On behalf of the Principality of Monaco I would like to extend a warm welcome to Silver Muse, its crew and passengers. She represents the next generation of cruise ships in both fuel efficiency and energy saving technology. We share with Silversea common values and principles in relation with responsable environmental practices and the development of a sustainable business activity. The preservation of the oceans is a crucial priority for future generations."

Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea Chairman, said, "The close ties between Silversea and the Principality of Monaco reflect not only our commitment to this beautiful region but also the history and values that we adhere to. Silversea is an Italian family-owned business yet our heart will always be shared with the Principality as we continue to go from strength to strength. As the home of Silversea, Monaco was always the natural choice for the christening of our new flagship, Silver Muse, and it is with great pleasure that we can share this milestone with both the residents and guests of the Principality."

Roberto Martinoli, CEO at Silversea Cruises, added, "Silversea is associated with exceptional quality and voyages that leave long lasting memories of discovery and wonder. At a time when we are investing in our entire fleet Silver Muse offers guests a taste of what is to come. Silver Muse represents an evolution of the hallmarks that set Silversea apart from the competition. With eight dining options offering 28 variations of culinary delights, Silver Muse has redefined the art of gastronomy at sea. With more open-air spaces and state of the art facilities we are sure that both new and returning guests will enjoy unforgettable memories on board."

For additional information, visit Silversea.com.

Image Courtesy Silversea

Carnival Cruise Line Receives Program Innovator Award & Green Gateway Partners Award from Port of Seattle

For the second consecutive year, Carnival Cruise Line has earned both the Program Innovator Award and Green Gateway Partners Award from the Port of Seattle, honoring the cruise line’s commitment to environmental stewardship. The award was recently presented at the Port of Seattle’s Cruise Annual All Agency Pre-Season Reception held at the World Trade Center on the Seattle waterfront.

The Program Innovator Award recognizes Carnival for its creativity in environmental practices, including the company’s first-ever Environmental/Sustainability Fair held at Carnival’s corporate headquarters in Miami on World Oceans Day. The fair featured representatives from various environmental organizations and vendors, as well as the line’s shipboard environmental officers, to help Carnival employees gain a deeper understanding of the importance of environmental preservation and Carnival’s comprehensive fleetwide recycling and waste management procedures.

The awards also honored Carnival for innovations in fuel efficiency and waste reduction, as well as the development of groundbreaking exhaust gas cleaning technology. Carnival was also recognized for its innovative shipboard recycling incentive program in which all vessels in its fleet compete on a monthly basis to achieve the highest reductions in USDA waste and increases in recycling.

The Green Gateway Awards are bestowed on cruise and shipping companies whose environmental programs and initiatives exceed industry standards and regulatory requirements and support the port’s goal of becoming the cleanest and most energy-efficient port in North America. Entries are independently evaluated by analysts at EA Engineering, Science and Technology, Inc.

“It is truly a special honor for Carnival Cruise Line to receive this recognition for a second year in a row, which is a testament to our environmental leadership,” said Rabih Aboudargham, Carnival’s director of environmental operations. “As a leading advocate in seaport environmental innovation, Port of Seattle’s programs inspire and encourage operators like Carnival to constantly push new boundaries in preserving and protecting our precious natural resources,” he added.

As the world’s largest cruise operator whose success depends on the health of the world’s oceans, Carnival Cruise Line takes action through both high- and low-tech solutions to manage the environmental impact of its fleet.

Carnival’s environmental stewardship approach includes use of shore power in select ports, a donation program for used but serviceable items from its ships, engagement of guests in its shipboard recycling activities, training and education programs for shipboard and shoreside personnel, ongoing fleetwide efforts to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, and extensive waste and water management plans.

The Port of Seattle serves as the homeport for Carnival Legend’s 7- and 8-day Alaska cruises which operate May through September. For additional information, visit Carnival.com.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line to Add Lifeguards to Fleet

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that the line will begin employing certified lifeguards at all of the family pools across their fleet. The first responders will be trained and certified by the American Red Cross in lifesaving rescue measures and will monitor the family pools during scheduled pool hours. The lifeguards will begin service this summer on the line's four largest ships—Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Epic—and on the remainder of the fleet by early 2018.

"Norwegian has stationed pool monitors on our largest ships since 2015 and we are now taking further steps to ensure the safety of our youngest guests with the addition of certified lifeguards across our fleet,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “While parents are always the first line of supervision when it comes to water safety, we felt it was important to provide this added measure across our fleet."

In addition to uniformed lifeguards, Norwegian will also begin offering complimentary swim vests for both adults and children on the line's four largest ships. Parents can obtain the safety vests at the towel station on the ship's pool deck during daytime hours.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers guests the freedom and flexibility to explore the world on their own time and experience up to 27 dining options, award-winning entertainment, superior guest service and more across all of the brand’s 14 ships. For additional information, visit NCL.com.

Jackpot! Everyone’s a Winner with Celebrity Cruises’ New Casino Loyalty Program

Guests are being dealt a winning hand with the revitalization of Celebrity Cruises’ Casino Loyalty Rewards Program, the new and improved Blue Chip Club. The program boasts a variety of brand new exciting benefits, including free slot-play, internet packages, specialty dining and spa credits as well as a variety of other onboard and shore side benefits designed to lure and reward both casual and serious casino players.

The program, launching April 2017, offers five new tier levels—starting at Pearl, Onyx, Amethyst, Sapphire, and the highest tier, Ruby. Each level is based off a players’ past casino gaming activity with Celebrity. As guests continue to earn tier points, they will qualify to upgrade to a higher tier. Tier points are easily earned when a casino guest uses their Seapass card while playing in Fortunes Casino. The more tier points accumulated, the higher the tier level and the more per-sailing benefits a guest has at their disposal.

“Our new Blue Chip Club loyalty rewards program is our way of rewarding our dedicated gamers and high-rollers while providing the casual gamer benefits on board that they have never had before,” said Susan Bonner, Vice President, Revenue Management and Onboard Revenue. “The revitalized program has a wider breadth and affords many additional benefits to many more casino guests regardless of what channel was used to book their sailing.” Bonner added, “More guests will now have access to more casino benefits on every sailing, positioning Celebrity’s Blue Chip Club to be on par with the best casino loyalty programs, land or sea.”

Depending on a player’s tier, 14 new benefits have been added to the program, including free casino play, spa and laundry credits, friends and family cruise discounts, complimentary beverage packages, and even priority debarkation and free prepaid tips. To learn more about the new Blue Chip Club loyalty rewards program and all of the benefits it includes, visit CelebrityCruises.com/blue-chip-club