Videos from Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas

We recently took a European cruise on Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas. Here are a few interesting videos we took:

Take a ride high above the ship on the North Star:


Watch the robots make drinks at the Bionic Bar:


What? There’s a piano player in the elevator? You never know where he might pop up.

See all our cruise videos on our Cruise News Weekly YouTube Channel.

Silversea buys the Galapagos Explorer II, will be refurbished and renamed

The Silversea Group has purchased Canodros S.A., the premier Ecuadorian tourism company that operates in the Galapagos Islands, and their upmarket expedition ship, Galapagos Explorer II.

Silversea plans to add Galapagos Explorer II to its ultra-luxury fleet of six ships next year, after the all-suite, 100-guest vessel undergoes a major refurbishment in September 2013 and is given a new name, steps that will ensure consistency with the standards of the Silversea fleet.

Until that time, Galapagos Explorer II will continue on its planned schedule of cruises and will continue to be operated by Canodros, which is based in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Canodros will also continue handling reservations for Galapagos Explorer II, as well as sales and marketing through its established network of travel companies and tour operators.

Its existing expedition ship, Silver Explorer, is regularly deployed in the polar regions, and the addition of a second vessel, offering year-round unique luxury expedition cruises in the Galapagos archipelago, means Silversea will have the opportunity to offer the adventure traveler a broader portfolio of itineraries, encompassing some of the world’s most desired and least explored regions.

The 4077-ton Galapagos Explorer II offers the stylish elegance of a mega-yacht, attentive onboard service and an enriching naturalist education program. All of its 50 spacious suites feature ocean views and 24 include private balconies. Public spaces include a restaurant, piano bar, library and Internet station, main lounge, outdoor bar, two outdoor whirlpools, and a marine observation deck.

Guests sailing aboard Galapagos Explorer II will continue to enjoy the same exciting itineraries, luxury accommodations, shipboard amenities, informative lectures and sustainable tourism for which Canodros is known.

Potential guests and travel agents interested in booking a Galapagos Explorer II voyage should visit galapagosexplorer.com for more information.

Guests currently booked on Galapagos Explorer II, and travel agents or tour operators with clients booked on the ship, should continue to liaise through their normal channels with Canodros for any needed assistance with their reservation.

In the coming months, Silversea will announce more details concerning plans for the ship after it is renovated and renamed.

Royal Caribbean contest offers a chance to sail with Madagascar

In conjunction with the arrival of DreamWorks Animation’s 3D feature film Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted in theatres this week, Royal Caribbean International is offering a chance to sail with Alex, Gloria, King Julien and the Penguins on select ships featuring the DreamWorks Experience offered exclusively on Royal Caribbean.

Consumers can visit Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean through June 20 to enter the “Madagascar at Sea” sweepstakes for a chance to win one of two grand prizes of either a seven-night cruise for four to Europe or the Caribbean, while one daily winner will earn a $25 gift card for correctly answering trivia about the cruise line and the “Madagascar” franchise.

To celebrate the release of “Madagascar 3” Royal Caribbean ships featuring the DreamWorks Experience, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, will host special screenings of the movie in 3D throughout the summer, plus offer exclusive content – including movie trailers and behind the scenes videos – as well as the chance to win prizes, such as movie posters, DVDs, character photos and more during daily trivia and other onboard activities.

The DreamWorks Experience – which offers cruisers exclusive character breakfasts, meet and greets, photo opportunities, parades, live and filmed entertainment and more – first debuted onboard Allure of the Seas in 2010 and was subsequently introduced on Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas in 2011, highlighted by the star-studded at-sea premiere of Puss in Boots onboard Allure of the Seas. The partnership also will expand to Voyager of the Seas later this year.

Guests interested in sailing with the gang from “Madagascar” can join Liberty of the Seas this summer as she sails Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona, Spain or Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas offering 7-night Caribbean itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale and Port Canaveral, FL. For more information on itineraries please visit royalcaribbean.com.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 22 ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.

For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit RoyalCaribbean.com or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

Holland America’s ms Amsterdam played host to composer Marvin Hamlisch and the Seattle Symphony

Marvin Hamlisch, seated, aboard ms Amsterdam at the Amstel Cafe piano bar. Pictured with him are John Delaney, senior vice president, Seabourn (far left); Stein Kruse, president and CEO, Holland America Line (left of Hamlisch); and Ashley Brown, vocalist and broadway performer (far right).

Holland America Line welcomed the Seattle Symphony and special guest, acclaimed composer Marvin Hamlisch, on board ms Amsterdam last Friday, June 1, 2012, in Seattle for the organization’s annual spring recital. This is the second time the line has hosted this event. Continue reading “Holland America’s ms Amsterdam played host to composer Marvin Hamlisch and the Seattle Symphony”

Disney Cruise Line greets NYC with world’s largest bumper sticker

Yesterday morning, Disney Cruise Line’s flagship vessel, the Disney Magic, arrived in New York Harbor donning the world’s largest bumper sticker. Usually found on the back of family minivans, the 50-foot-long by 11-foot-wide super-sized sticker is larger than a city bus. The ship set sail yesterday afternoon, marking the beginning of Disney’s first-ever consumer sailings out of Manhattan – allowing local residents to experience a Disney vacation in their own backyard.

The Disney Magic will sail a total of 20 cruises from New York – including eight-night cruises to the Bahamas and five-night cruises up the New England coast to Canada plus two-night cruises that will give a sampling of the Disney Cruise Line experience over a weekend:

The eight Bahamas cruises will include a day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay; Nassau, Bahamas; and a stop at Port Canaveral, Fla., giving guests an opportunity to visit the nearby Walt Disney World Resort. As part of this itinerary, each guest will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and roundtrip transportation between their Disney ship and the resort. Departure Dates: June 2, 22, 30, July 20, 28, Aug. 17, 25

The nine five-night cruises up the New England coast will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. In these popular Canadian ports, guests can soak in splendid natural vistas, explore historic sites, visit quaint cafes and charming shops, and browse Canada’s oldest farmer’s market. Departure Dates: June 10, 17, July 8, 15, Aug. 5, 12, Sept. 2, 7, 12

Rates for two-night cruises start at $996 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Departure Dates: June 15, July 13 and Aug. 10

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.

‘The Love Boat’ star meets Princess Cruises’ own Gavin MacLeod

What’s in a name? Well, at Princess Cruises the name Gavin MacLeod naturally is associated with the famous TV captain of The Love Boat. But it turns out that the line coincidentally also has a real-life bridge officer with the same name. And the long-time Princess ambassador couldn’t wait to meet him.

When Island Princess Third Officer Gavin MacLeod, who hails from Inverness, Scotland, joined Princess in 2010, he never gave much thought to the fact that he shared a name with the actor who made the role of “Captain Stubing” an iconic part of television history.

But last week when Island Princess called at the port of Los Angeles, the two men met on the ship’s bridge and enjoyed lunch together at Sabatini’s restaurant. The pair also signed several navigational charts to be auctioned for charity.

Frequently filmed aboard Princess ships throughout its 1977-86 run, The Love Boat created a lasting legacy in the cruise industry. Actor Gavin MacLeod has continued his association with the cruise line ever since, serving as an ambassador who travels regularly aboard Princess ships and represents the company at a variety of events throughout the year.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting princess.com.

Royal Princess to feature TV studio with live shows and events

Princess Cruises has raised the curtain on Princess Live!, a new type of cruise ship entertainment venue that passengers will enjoy aboard the new Royal Princess. Taking the audience behind the scenes to share the excitement of a working television studio, the high-tech Princess Live! will showcase live television broadcasts, intimate performances from musicians, and special events such as cooking shows, plus will feature an adjacent café.

Located on Royal Princess’ deck 7 just aft of the Piazza, Princess Live! will be a flexible, 280-seat venue based on a television broadcast studio. When the ship debuts in June 2013, Princess Live! will serve as a venue for daily broadcasts of “The Wake Show” with a new twist – a daily live audience. This popular daily show staring the cruise director and special guests from around the ship is a staple across the Princess fleet, but is rarely staged live.

The colorful Princess Live! studio will also host a variety of events, including game shows, interactive cooking shows, art house films, enrichment classes, murder mysteries, trivia, and “Meet the Experts” presentations from the crew. Additionally, Princess Live! will serve as a more intimate performance venue for onboard musicians who will offer “unplugged” and “in-the-round” shows, providing an opportunity for entertainers to connect with the audience in a unique environment.

“Princess Live! will be an exciting new experience for passengers,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Not only will they enjoy the high energy of being part of a live television production, but they also will have a new opportunity to see more intimate performances from many of our onboard entertainers.”

The adjacent Princess Live! Café will surround passengers with interactive, wall-mounted screens showing the ship’s position, ports of call, points of interest and even international newspapers. The café will serve up specialty coffees, teas and freshly squeezed citrus juice, plus will offer a selection of fresh-baked croissants and pastries in the morning.

Royal Princess will also feature the line’s largest Princess Theater ever, with unobstructed sight lines from every seat, plus will see the return of an updated Vista Lounge at the aft of the ship to serve as an alternate evening performance venue.

Additional information about other ship features will be released in the coming months.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship currently under construction. Among the new features found on board will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; the dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed enclosed walkway on the ship’s starboard side extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; a dazzling water and light show; more dining options including a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, wine cellar dining area and an expanded Horizon Court with pastry shop. Eighty percent of the ship’s staterooms will feature a balcony. More information about the ship is available at www.princess.com/royalprincess.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website.

New Carnival Breeze to feature Bonsai Sushi and Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ – Facebook contest launched

Dining is a highlight of any cruise and the 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze will feature a huge array of culinary choices when it enters service June 3. Two new offerings will include Bonsai Sushi, the line’s first full-service sushi restaurant, and an open-air barbecue venue called Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ.

To celebrate Carnival Breeze’s variety of dining choices, today Carnival Cruise Lines is launching a sweepstakes on its Facebook fan page tied to another of the ship’s dining spots, the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina. The sweepstakes asks fans to choose their favorite burrito or taco toppings available at the casual dining venue for a chance to win a Caribbean cruise for two on the new 130,000-ton “Fun Ship,” along with round-trip air transportation.

Here’s a look at the Carnival Breeze’s many different tantalizing dining choices:

Bonsai Sushi – Carnival’s first full-service sushi restaurant, Bonsai Sushi offers a wide variety of Asian-inspired delicacies with a contemporary decor featuring artwork by world-renowned graffiti artist Erni Vales, colorful koi kites flown during impromptu celebrations, and, of course, several Bonsai trees. Located along Promenade Deck, Bonsai Sushi includes a number of varieties of sushi, sashimi, and rolls along with bento boxes and the venue’s own interpretation of a sushi boat – in this case, a sushi “ship” – with prices ranging from $1 for appetizer-sized portions to $15 for a sushi ship for two.

Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ – Reminiscent of a backyard barbecue, this complimentary open-air dining venue located on Promenade Deck offers a mouth-watering array of grilled favorites, including barbecued chicken breast, kielbasa, Italian sausage, and Fat Jimmy’s signature item, pulled pork sandwiches, along with traditional sides like baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw and mini-corn muffins.

Guy’s Burger Joint – fresh-made burgers, hand-cut fries and innovative toppings created in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri.

BlueIguana Cantina – offering authentic tacos and burritos that can be personalized by diners at an extensive salsa and toppings bar.
The Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez – featuring hilarious comedic performances and an extensive menu of brunch-time favorites.

Fahrenheit 555 – a classic American steakhouse offering mouth-watering steaks and other gourmet fare with impeccable service (venue will carry a surcharge consistent with other steakhouses in the Carnival fleet).

Cucina del Capitano – a family-style restaurant reminiscent of a cozy Italian home with dishes such as Piatto della Nonna, inspired by the grandma of Carnival Breeze Captain Vincenzo Alcaras with penne pasta, crispy shrimp and prosciutto in a vodka cream sauce (venue will serve as a free lunch-time pasta bar during the day with a nominal charge for dinner).

Lido Marketplace – a casual poolside eatery offering an array of international favorites, from paninis and 24-hour pizza to Indian Tandoori and a Mongolian Wok station and just about everything in between.

“The Comfort Kitchen” – new venue located within Lido Marketplace offering American-style “comfort food.”

Ocean Plaza – an indoor/outdoor café serving cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos as well as pastries and other confections.

RedFrog Pub – an island-themed pub where guests can nosh on Caribbean-inspired fare while soaking up the distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West ambiance.

Serenity – salads, sandwiches, wraps and other light fare available at the ship’s exclusive adults-only retreat.

The Taste Bar – complimentary bite-size offerings inspired by popular Carnival dining venues, along with a signature cocktail tied to that eatery’s particular theme available for purchase.

Sea Dogs – a hot dog-shaped cart within the SportSquare outdoor recreation area offering all-beef franks and traditional toppings (debuts on Carnival Breeze in November).

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, the “BlueIguana Cantina Fight for Your Appetite” sweepstakes runs through May 10 on Carnival’s Facebook fan page. Fans are asked to choose their favorite taco and burrito toppings in a series of head-to-head competitions pitting such options as guacamole vs. sour cream or breakfast burritos vs. traditional tacos. All participants who vote are entered into a drawing for a Carnival Breeze Caribbean cruise for two, as well as round-trip air transportation, that will be awarded on May 17.

In a fun twist, the sweepstakes includes a unique feature in which fans can digitally throw images of burrito and taco toppings and other BlueIguana Cantina food items at their fellow Facebook enthusiasts’ pages.

Exciting European, Caribbean Itineraries
Following an inaugural 12-day cruise from Venice departing June 3, 2012, Carnival Breeze will operate a series of 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona through Oct. 25, 2012. After its trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Breeze will sail year-round from Miami beginning Nov. 24, 2012, offering port-intensive six- and eight-day cruises that showcase the best the Caribbean has to offer.

Silversea captures Spirit of Caribbean

Guests aboard the ultra-luxurious Silver Spirit – gleaming white ship is docked in the background - have been enjoying the best the Caribbean has to offer, this time heading out on a snorkeling adventure off the coast of Grand Turk Island, Turks & Caicos. Photos by Michael Coleman.

By Michael Coleman

Snorkeling the turquoise waters is but one of many Caribbean shore excursion opportunities offered aboard the 540-guest Silver Spirit.
AT SEA, Eastern Caribbean, Sunday April 1, 2012 – Island hopping under sunny skies may have been the norm for cruise passengers here in the Caribbean this past winter but guests presently aboard Silver Spirit have been in the midst of a 10-night journey not commonly enjoyed in these parts.

Silversea Cruises’ flagship, the 540-guest Spirit, oozes unpretentious luxury and features a warm, sophisticated décor in its public spaces where the overriding onboard ambience has clearly been created by its 1930s Art Deco feel.

The Suite Life

Guests are living comfortably, too. There are 270 ocean view suites in seven categories ranging in size from 312 to 1,668 square feet, 95 percent of which feature private teak balconies plus all suites enjoy the services of a butler.

Guests can enjoy seven suite categories aboard Silver Spirit including the 742-square-foot Silver Suite featuring a spacious, 118-square-foot veranda.
Food is never far from reach and choices aboard the intimate vessel abound. Guests have been enjoying six restaurants – The Grill, a casual, outdoor steak and seafood venue under the stars; La Terrazza (Italian); Seishin (Asian); and Le Champagne (fine dining) are among the runaway favorites – plus there’s an 8,300-square-foot spa, fitness center and resort-style pool to keep the calories in check.

Spirit shore excursion opportunities have made the most of this sun-drenched region – sailing and snorkeling to beach breaks and horse back riding were big hits – as guests enjoyed port calls on Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; Gustavia, St. Bart’s, St. John’s, Antigua; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Road Town, British Virgin Islands.

Today, however, is where Spirit and its cosmopolitan clientele shine brightest. It’s the first of two lazy, back-to-back sea days where shipboard ambience and memorable port tales collide for enlightening banter around the pool deck.

Later this week – We’ll take a closer look at Silver Spirit.

Iconic Gustavia, St. Bart’s, was one of five port calls this week for the cosmopolitan guests aboard Silver Spirit.

Silver Spirit charts Eastern Caribbean course

Silversea Cruises unveiled the ultra-luxurious, 540-guest Silver Spirit just two years ago amidst much praise and fanfare. It was, after all, the line’s first newly-constructed vessel since 2001. This week, ship guests like this gentleman outside the vessel’s Observation Lounge, are in the midst of a 10-night Eastern Caribbean voyage and Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is onboard. Look for Coleman’s ship dispatches here later this week.

Photo by Michael Coleman