Battle of the Bands to be Held by Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruise Lines, New Orleans’ most popular cruise line, and local television station WDSU-TV have launched a search to find the most spirited high school marching band in the Big Easy. “The Battle of the High School Marching Bands” competition celebrates local spirit and skill, and will ultimately award the winning band a $10,000 cash prize from Carnival and chance to perform aboard Carnival Sunshine, the line’s latest ship to call New Orleans home when it arrives there for its North American debut this November.

Area schools have three weeks to record a three-minute video of their band performing their school fight song. In the performance, the bands also must identify their school and the name of the contest, “The Battle of the High School Marching Bands.” To enter, high schools must upload their video to YouTube by Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 6pm CST, and email a link to the video to a dedicated email address Cont[email protected]. A special judging panel will select the top five finalists.

Beginning on October 22, the five finalists will be posted to the WDSU-TV website (www.wdsu.com/carnival-cruise-lines) for schools, families and members of the community to get in on the musical fun and rally around their favorite band. Voting will run through Friday, November 1. Fans can vote once per day for the duration of the voting period.

The winning band will be announced in November and receive $10,000 for their school’s music program courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines, along with the opportunity to perform aboard Carnival Sunshine during its U.S. debut celebration at the Port of New Orleans on Sunday, November 17. Each of the four additional band finalists will receive a $1,000 cash prize from Carnival.

“As we prepare for the U.S. arrival of Carnival Sunshine to New Orleans, we want to do something truly special to celebrate that is in the spirit of New Orleans and its rich music history,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer. “This contest provides an opportunity for us to help foster musical development in the next generation of talented performing artists and is a great way to partner with the community to celebrate the November arrival of Carnival Sunshine,” Berra added.

“WDSU is thrilled to partner with Carnival Cruise Lines in celebration of the U.S. arrival of Carnival Sunshine,” said Joel Vilmenay, WDSU’s president and general manager. “Along with this state of the art vessel, Carnival’s generous gift of $10,000 to a deserving school is big bow on a wonderful present to the Crescent City.”

Beginning November 18, 2013, the 3006-passenger Carnival Sunshine will offer seven-day cruises to the Bahamas and the Western Caribbean from New Orleans. Earlier this year, the ship underwent an unprecedented 75-day, $155 million transformation, incorporating all of the line’s “Fun Ship 2.0” dining, bar and entertainment features, as well as a variety of exciting innovations unique to the vessel and 182 new staterooms.

Carnival has a long history with New Orleans, launching the cruise industry’s first year-round program in 1994. Over the years, Carnival has dramatically increased its presence in New Orleans and carries more passengers from there than any other cruise line. With the addition of Carnival Sunshine in November, the line expects to host more than 330,000 passengers annually from the Crescent City.

For more information about the Battle of the High School Marching Bands, visit www.wdsu.com/carnival-cruise-lines.

Royal Caribbean’s limited time offers

Those of you looking to get a little more for your money when you are booking your cruises, now is the time. Royal Caribbean is offering two thing to tempt you for a limited time, Kids Tour Free in Europe and Fall Upgrade Offer.

“Royal Caribbean offers families and friends an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones while enjoying unmatched amenities such as the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery in the cruise line’s award-winning Adventure Ocean kids’ program,” said Lisa Bauer, executive vice president Global Sales and Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “By offering guests of every age even more choices aboard our fleet of innovative ships the whole family can create unforgettable memories together, be it during a rock-wall challenge or exploring a fascinating Europe or Caribbean destination on a cruise vacation.”

Kids Tour Free in Europe
Royal Caribbean Europe cruise vacation can deliver a memorable way to explore the old world, its history, charm and sights. Families with children 12 and under who book a 2013 Europe cruise aboard Navigator of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas or Serenade of the Seas can enjoy free shore excursion tours for children when two adults in their stateroom purchase the same tour during May 2013. For more information, please visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/KidsTourFree.

Fall Upgrade Offer
Families looking to get away before the busy holiday season can book Royal Caribbean cruises to the Bahamas, Bermuda or the Caribbean, between May 1 through June 10, 2013, and enjoy a multitude of amenities found only on Royal Caribbean, as well as an opportunity to sail with an upgraded view on ships. Guests may book a balcony stateroom for the same price as an ocean view stateroom, or an ocean view stateroom for the price of an interior stateroom on sailings departing September 1 through December 15, 2013. For more information, please visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/FreeUpgrades.

Royal Caribbean announces its next leap forward with Quantum of the Seas

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Royal Caribbean International boast 40 years of innovative and creative design expierience, today they unveiled first details of the next generation of cruise vacations – Quantum cruising.

The much anticipated details were unveiled by stage, television and film star, Kristin Chenoweth – Godmother of Quantum of the Seas – at an exclusive event for media and special guests in New York City this morning.

“This new generation of ships gave us an opportunity to make another leap in vessel design. Innovation has always been part of our DNA and we have taken advantage of all that creativity to design Quantum cruising,” stated Richard D. Fain, chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. “The unique features on Quantum will boggle our guests’ minds, but the real strength of the design is how our people have integrated all these diverse components to create a comfortable and exciting experience.”

Unprecedented “Firsts At Sea”

Having led the industry by introducing incredible signature offerings such as the Rock Climbing Wall, ice-skating rink, FlowRider surf simulator, Central Park and AquaTheater, Royal Caribbean will advance the onboard experience even further by delivering a groundbreaking lineup of “firsts at sea” on Quantum-class ships. New features exclusive to Royal Caribbean include:low_1365713986_RCI-RipCordPass2-5K

• RipCord by iFly, the first skydiving experience at sea which allows everyone from first-time flyers to seasoned skydivers to enjoy the sheer thrill and exhilaration of skydiving in a safe, controlled, and simulated environment.

low_1365714000_RCI-NorthStar-Exterior-5K-No-Antenna• North Star, an engineering marvel, takes guests to new heights – literally – with a jewel-shaped, glass capsule, transporting them on a spectacular journey more than 300 feet above the ocean and over the sides of the ship to deliver awe-inspiring 360-degree views.“We are excited to be introducing major advancements in ship design and offerings on Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas,” said Adam Goldstein, president & CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The innovative spirit of our brand is alive and well, and with Quantum class, we will deliver more unexpected activities in the most extraordinary spaces. Our guests should prepare to be wowed.”

Royal Caribbean marries new innovations with significant architectural design elements to introduce spectacular spaces. On Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas guests will find endless possibilities with three new signature venues.

• A revolutionary concept, Two70° is a multi-level great room that is sure to become one of the most iconic venues onboard Quantum class. The space is aptly named for its magnificent 270-degree panoramic sea views through vast, floor-to-ceiling glass walls spanning almost three decks at the stern of the ship. Two70° seamlessly fuses entertainment and technology to create a transformative journey from day to night. The perfect setting to connect with the sea during the day, Two70° provides a modern and comfortable living room space for guests to sit back and relax. As the sun sets and the lights go down, the dazzling space gradually reveals its evening persona, delighting guests with spectacular, mysterious and unexpected entertainment at night. Unparalleled technology means every show at Two70° is multidimensional and immerses the audience through a combination of live performers, including aerialists, as well as breathtaking video and digital scenery.

low_1365713929_RCI-SeaPlex-BumperCars-5K• The largest indoor active space at sea, SeaPlex is a distinctive and flexible sporting and entertainment venue with thrilling new features that will inspire guests of all ages to let loose and connect with their playful sides. Delivering more first at sea experiences, guests can experience a circus school with flying trapeze, or play basketball on a full-size regulation basketball court. By night, the first-ever bumper car and roller skating offerings deliver fun and excitement. Or, guests can dance to music orchestrated from a floating DJ booth which hovers above the activity below.

• A performance hall and the hottest live music venue on Quantum class, Music Hall is the place for guests to enjoy intimate and exclusive access to live performances, DJs, theme night parties, billiards and more. Rebellious and edgy, Music Hall’s two-story design is inspired by the spirit of rock and roll.

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Royal Caribbean debuts the most spacious and luxurious accommodations ever, introducing rooms that on average are nine percent larger than those of Oasis class ships.  Boasting Royal Caribbean’s new smart design concept, each stateroom features contemporary designs with easy-to-use customizable layouts and  larger storage solutions.

Now every room on Quantum of the Seas has a view, with the exciting introduction of VirtualBalcony staterooms. This design concept brings virtual balconies to interior staterooms offering expansive real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations.

For multi-generational families, Family-Connected staterooms deliver more flexibility, using three different stateroom categories which connect to form a special layout that provides separate bedrooms and bathrooms for all. These accommodations allow families and groups of friends traveling together to enjoy the best of both worlds when it comes to together and alone time.

With Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean introduces the largest variety of state room categories, including new Studio staterooms, some with balconies for single travelers, three Junior Suite categories and larger Loft Suites.

The adults-only Solarium, along with an outdoor pool, a new indoor pool with operable roof and a H2O Zone kids’ aqua park, will be featured on the top deck. Signature Royal Caribbean venues and experiences popular with families such as the Rock Climbing Wall; FlowRider surf simulator; the award-winning Adventure Ocean children’s program; the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery; and the DreamWorks entertainment and events featuring the characters from animated movies: Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar; will all be back on Quantum class.

Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas also will make a quantum leap forward in its culinary offerings providing the most flexible dining options and more specialty restaurants than ever before. Additional details about dining, entertainment and other unexpected features and amenities on Quantum of the Seas will be unveiled in the coming months.

Quantum class will debut in fall 2014 with Quantum of the Seas, followed by her sister-ship Anthem of the Seas in spring 2015. Quantum ships span 18 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tons, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms.

Quantum of the Seas will sail out of the New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty on 7- to 12-night itineraries during the winter 2014/15 season. Bookings will be available to Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program members starting May 27, 2013 before opening to the general public on June 4. More information on Quantum of the Seas is available at RoyalCaribbean.com/Quantum.

Nerdel puppets to educate and entertain kids on Celebrity Cruises

The new Celebrity Silhouette is the first of Celebrity's ships to team with The Nerdel Company to offer education and entertainment to the kids in their Shipmates program.

By Jackie Roseboom

The Nerdel Company is devoted to making children and adults all over the world more aware of healthy choices, such as eating better and physical fitness. Developed by a team including doctors, nutritionists, chefs, fitness professionals, educators and entertainment experts, the company aims to address the issues of childrens obesity, hunger, fitness and health in an educational and entertaining way.

Celebrity has introduced its Nerdel program on the brand-new Celebrity Silhouette, which debuted in Europe this summer, and plans to launch the program on most of its other ships by Oct. 15. The educational and playful Nerdal company offers an interactive program featuring activities themed around healthy choices and starring a puppet named Nerdel, known for his endearing, lovable personality.

“We are truly honored to be working with Celebrity Cruises,” Dr. Marc Kesselman, chairman and CEO of The Nerdel Company, said. “It’s a wonderful match to join forces with a vacation company that leads the industry in engaging onboard experiences, to bring the highest quality of children’s programming and edutainment to Celebrity’s upscale brand.”

Live puppet performances, puppet workshops, children’s puppet performances and lessons on the art of puppeteering will be at the core of Celebrity’s onboard Nerdel activities for “Shipmates” (ages three to five) and “Cadets” (ages six to eight) spending time in Celebrity’s Fun Factory. Children also will have the opportunity to explore The World of Nerdel, which includes a custom-designed Celebrity Cruises activity book with crossword puzzles, word searches, matching games, coloring and more. The World of Nerdel also offers Celebrity’s young guests the opportunity to explore their musical side through custom-designed and standard sing-along songs. Activities onboard will also include a video by the “Chef Mangel” (pronounced Mahn-gell) puppet, followed by a fun and healthy pizza-making class.

“We know our guests’ vacation time is precious, which is why we focus on delivering a luxurious, relaxing and fun experience onboard,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, senior vice president of hotel operations. “By teaming with Nerdel and The Nerdel Company to offer unique and engaging games and activities, we are hoping to play a part in instilling wellness-focused values in children by empowering them with the knowledge that they need to make better nutritional choices and take charge of their physical fitness, from an early age.”

The World of Nerdel also has a land-based component that children can continue to enjoy after their vacation. With an iPad application, an interactive website (nerdel.com) and animated presentations, Nerdel can continue to play a positive part in Celebrity’s youngest guests’ continued learning about how to make healthy choices. Parents will no doubt be happy about this new addition.

For more information about cruises on Celebrity featuring Nerdel, or to book a your next Celebrtiy Cruise visit celebritycruises.com or contact your travel agent.

Royal Caribbean planing a fleet wide ship revitalization

Some of the best features in dining, technology, staterooms and more on the Oasis-class ships will be added to Royal Caribbean's whole fleet of ships over the next couple of years. Photo by Matt Roseboom

By Jackie Roseboom

Royal Caribbean has announced it will bring the latest innovations to all their ships and introduce the highest guest-rated programs from its Oasis-class ships. Coming soon at are a variety of new onboard dining and entertainment options, pervasive Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations and more.

“The Royal Advantage revitalizations takes many of the best features that we have created in recent years and introduces them across our fleet, offering our guests enhanced vacation choices around the world,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “We never stop trying to make the experience even better, and no other cruise line can offer the same high quality vacation experience with such an array of choices that cater to every guest.”

The Royal Advantage revitalizations began with Radiance of the Seas in May, and will be followed by Splendour of the Seas in November. In 2012, revitalizations are scheduled for Vision-class ships including Rhapsody of the Seas (March 2012) and Grandeur of the Seas (May 2012) as well as Radiance-class Serenade of the Seas (November 2012).

The revitalized Grandeur will offer vacationers seven-night Western Mediterranean or 10- and 11-night Greece and Turkey itineraries from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and Venice, respectively, in summer 2012. Moreover, the newly revitalized Rhapsody and Radiance will offer vacationers additional dining and entertainment options for a cruise in Alaska in summer 2012 or Australia and New Zealand in winter 2012-13.

Among the revitalizations and enhancements to the Vision-, Voyager- and Radiance-class ships throughout the next three years, will be:

– New Technology: Guests will enjoy pervasive Wi-Fi, interactive flat-panel televisions in staterooms and electronic mustering.

– Digital Wayfinding Systems:  Onboard activities, real time updates, customized directions and routing, as well as ship factoids will all be at guests’ fingertips with new touch screen signs prominently placed throughout each of the ships.

– Outdoor Video Walls: Oversized video screens will be installed on the pool decks to liven up outdoor entertainment and programming.

– Royal Babies and Tots Nursery: Fun, safe and interactive vacation environments for babies and tots ages six through 36 months will be available in nurseries designed just for them.

– New Staterooms: New levels of accommodations will be added.

– Various Dining Options: Dining options from the extravagant Chef Table to the fun casual Boardwalk Doghouse (hot dogs stand) and many more.

Each ship will enter dry dock for approximately a month and re- emerge as better versions of the ships that guests love, complete with new dining venues, entertainment options, technology enhancements and more.

For more information visit royalcaribbean.com

Disney’s Fantasy to live up to its name

Animator's Palate on the Disney Fantasy brings the magic of Disney animation into the dining room with a new show. The dinner show allows families to create and participate in a whole new way. Guests‚ drawings are magically animated to skip, skate and dance side-by-side with Disney characters. Image courtesy Disney Cruise Line

By Michael Coleman

Disney Fantasy, the new Disney Cruise Line ship set to debut next spring, will bring to life many of the innovative features guests have been enjoying aboard the recently launched Disney Dream including AquaDuck – the world’s first shipboard water coaster.

New design elements and guest experiences, however, will give the Fantasy an identity all its own.

Fantasy is the second of two newly-designed Disney Cruise Line ships that take the family cruise experience to new heights. Sister ship to the Dream, which entered service in January 2011, the 4,000-passenger Fantasy will sail week-long Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral with its maiden voyage scheduled for March 31, 2012.

Animation Magic
Animator’s Palate on the Fantasy brings the magic of Disney animation into the dining room with a new show called “Animation Magic.” The dinner show celebrates the magic of Disney animation and allows families to create and participate in a whole new way.

Nighttime Fun
On the Fantasy, adult guests step into a world that’s all their own at Europa — a nighttime entertainment district exclusively for guests 18 and older that features sophisticated bars and trendy lounges inspired by the very best in European travel.

Aladdin Debuts at Sea
A new ship means new main stage entertainment at the 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre. New to Disney Cruise Line, “Disney’s Aladdin — A Musical Spectacular” takes the stage on Fantasy. During this Broadway-style production, guests laugh along with the wise-cracking Genie and the cast from the classic animated Disney film, “Aladdin.”

Fairy Tales Alive
At Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the Fantasy, aspiring young princesses and pirates receive the full fairy tale treatment with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers at this very special salon.

On the web: www.disneycruise.com

Ship Review: NCL’s newest ship offers fun in Epic proportions

Many people pick a vacation city based on how much it has to offer. Big names like Nickelodeon and Blue Man Group that could have only been seen in places like Las Vegas and Orlando are now cruising the high seas. With all the innovations on the brand new Norwegian (NCL) Epic, it’s like you’re in a city with ever changing views.

Click Here to continue reading the NCL Epic ship review.

Carnival Legend lives up to her Fun Ship name

The Carnival Legend looks spectacular all lit-up at night, as most ships do. Photo by Matt Roseboom

The museum quality artwork on the Carnival Legend depicts legendary stories through the years, hence the ship’s name. The ship’s activities and ports will definitely keep you as busy as you want to be. Continue reading “Carnival Legend lives up to her Fun Ship name”

Shrek, Madagascar and other characters sailing soon on Royal Caribbean

A young cruiser meets characters from the animated movie “Madagascar”. DreamWorks Animation characters will begin meeting with guests on the Allure of the Seas later this year. Photo courtesy Royal Caribbean

By Jackie Roseboom

DreamWorks Animation and Royal Caribbean are joining forces to bring fairy tales to life at sea.

Many of the fun characters from DreamWorks Animation movies will be newest entertainment on Royal Caribbean ships. Young (and young-at-heart) cruisers will be able to meet favorites such as the characters from “Shrek” – Fiona, Shrek and Puss in Boots; Alex, Marty and the Penguins from “Madagascar”; Po from “Kung Fu Panda”; and Hiccup from “How to train your Dragon”. The Allure of the Seas will be the first to have theses fun new characters onboard when it launches later this year.

“Royal Caribbean and DreamWorks Animation share many of the same philosophies when it comes to high-quality family entertainment, so there is quite a lot of synergy going into this strategic alliance,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We are constantly striving to offer dynamic and engaging programming onboard our ships and couldn’t think of a better brand to help take it to the next level.”

Guest of all ages will be able to enjoy new unique experiences with these lovable characters during their cruise vacation. Special events and parades will entertain guests throughout the cruise. During the interactive character dining in the main dining room, guests can have a great meal with visits from the DreamWorks friends. Photo opportunities will be available all around the ship.

The Adventure Ocean children’s program is preparing a whole new line up. Children will love the new games and fun actives that will include their favorite animated characters. Dance parties, story times and more will all be included in the price of the cruise.

New and old DreamWorks Animation movies will also be available at sea. The installation of new 3D screens in the ship’s theaters will bring the movie watching experience up a notch. Guests will also have the option of enjoying the movies in their stateroom.

“Royal Caribbean is a world-class leader in the cruise ship industry who excels at continually finding innovative ways to raise the bar in providing family entertainment at sea,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO, DreamWorks Animation. “We look forward to working with them to incorporate Animation characters and storytelling throughout the entire cruise experience.”

The alliance of these two companies makes for another exciting first at sea as a cast of characters to take the stage in the AquaTheater. This amazing venue has a one of a kind aquatic based show full of acrobatics and high-diving stunts. The Madagascar Aqua Show, “Let you entertain me,” will be a treat for the whole family. Also, in addition to the already famous ice skating shows of Royal Caribbean, they’ll be adding a “How to Train Your Dragon” spectacular ice show. While these special shows won’t cost extra, cruisers might want to reserve their tickets early, for they’re sure to very popular.

Allure of the Seas will be sailing out of Fort Lauderdale to the Eastern and Western Caribbean throughout 2011. Sailing dates on the world’s largest ship start in December. After launching on Allure, the Animation-themed activities will be incorporated on Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.

On the Web: royalcaribbean.com

Princess to allow you to show off your ship to friends and family

Princess Cruises’ new Bon Voyage Experience brings back the tradition of allowing non-cruising guests onboard. The experience includes a four-course lunch. Photo by Matt Roseboom

By Matt Roseboom

In the late ‘70 and early ‘80s, when “The Love Boat” was a hit show on television, cruising was popular, but not nearly as popular as it is today. So many first-time cruisers’ expectations came from watching the TV show. Many were probably not too happy when they compared the size of their cabins with those on the show. But even before they got to their rooms, they may have been surprised to find out their non-sailing friends and family members weren’t allowed on the ship.

Being able to give your guests a tour of the ship you’re about to sail on is a tradition from the early days of cruising. Now, the same line that hosted “The Love Boat”, Princess Cruises, is bringing the tradition back, for a small fee.

They’re calling it the Bon Voyage Experience — a new twist on the departure celebration of bygone days, complete with lunch in the dining room and tour of the ship.
 
Now unique in the cruise industry, the Bon Voyage Experience will enable passengers to extend an invitation to their guests to join them onboard during sailing day for a four-course dining room lunch with wine, a ship tour and a souvenir photo. Passengers and their guests will enjoy priority embarkation and will be able to spend approximately four hours together on the ship before it sets sail. The cost for the program is $39 per person, but it can be applied toward a future Princess cruise.
 
The program will debut in March in the ports of Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, and then roll out to New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
 
“Long-time cruisers will recall the fun of the bon voyage send-off with their family and friends, and we’re excited to re-introduce a new, modern version of this experience,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.
 
After you’ve booked, you will be notified about the program through pre-cruise e-mails as your cruise date approaches. In-port guests can be booked from 120 days, up to six days before the sailing date. Once registered, guests will be able to input their security information through the line’s Cruise Personalizer.
 
But there’s reason to hurry and register if you’re interested. The number of guests who will be able to participate in the Bon Voyage Experience on any given embarkation day is approximately 50.
 
The roll-out schedule for the launch of the Bon Voyage Experience is:

– Sapphire Princess — March 6 in Los Angeles
– Crown Princess — March 6 in Fort Lauderdale
– Coral Princess — March 7 in Los Angeles
– Emerald Princess — March 7 in Fort Lauderdale
– Island Princess — March 10 in Los Angeles
– Ruby Princess — March 10 in Fort Lauderdale
– Golden Princess — March 14 in Los Angeles
– Royal Princess — March 27 in Fort Lauderdale
– Star Princess — April 10 in Fort Lauderdale
– Caribbean Princess — May 18 in New York
– Sea Princess — June 1 in San Francisco

During the Alaska season, Sapphire Princess, Golden Princess and Royal Princess will offer the program in Seattle, beginning in May.