Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas, docked in Kusadasi, Turkey, Sept. 29, 2009.
Image courtesy of Michael Coleman
For the first time ever, Disney Cruise Line will offer Alaskan cruises during a four-month season of seven-night sailings aboard the Disney Wonder in summer 2011. The Disney Wonder will depart out of Vancouver, B.C., calling on popular ports such as Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway.
Before and after the 2011 summer season in Alaska, the Disney Wonder will sail seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises from the Port of Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, MazatlÃ¡n and Puerto Vallarta. This will be the first time a Disney cruise ship will call the West Coast home for an entire year.
In response to guest demand, the Disney Magic will once again return to the Mediterranean in 2011 with 10- and 11-night cruises sailing out of Barcelona. In addition to popular ports in Italy, France and Spain, the Disney Magic will visit Tunis in northern Africa and the island nation of Malta.
“We’re excited to offer this incredible choice of itineraries for 2011, with cruise vacation options for every family — whether that’s outdoor adventure in Alaska, the beauty and culture of Europe, folklore and pageantry of Mexico or tropical fun in the Caribbean,” said Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz. “The unique advantage of Disney Cruise Line is that we offer a customized ship experience that brings families together, while still catering to the personalized vacation needs of every guest who sails with us.”
Disney Cruise Line also will offer a number of repositioning cruises and special sailings in 2011, including a 15-night Panama Canal crossing, two 14-night transatlantic voyages, a five- and six-night cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver, and Vancouver to Los Angeles, with first-ever stops in San Francisco and Victoria, B.C., and 10- and 11-night holiday sailings to the Mexican Riviera and the eastern Caribbean.
Guests can now book Disney Wonder and Disney Magic itineraries for the 2011 season.
Here’s a video of Donald Duck on an Alaskan adventure.
By Michael Coleman
Guests aboard two Costa Cruises’ ships will not have to cross the pond to enjoy “love, laughter and la dolce vita” this winter. Italy is coming to the Caribbean.
The European brand is offering “Italy in the Tropics” complete with some of the best deals in the line’s 60-year history aboard Costa Atlantica and Costa Fortuna. â€¨â€¨Look for a free upgrade promotion with veranda accommodations available at the price of an ocean view (fares from $699), ocean view at the price of an inside (fares from $549) and inside cabins available at specially reduced fares from $399.
Additionally, throughout the season Costa is offering a “Kids Sail Free” promotion from $499. During the holidays, kids sail for just $199 while staterooms for adults are from $599 with an up to four-category upgrade during this time. Deposits have been reduced to $150 on all Caribbean sailings for a limited time as well. â€¨â€¨“We’ve made the sweet life even sweeter by offering amazing upgrades and value-packed fares on our cruises from Ft. Lauderdale, allowing travelers to experience Italy close to home,” said Costa’s North American president and CEO Maurice Zarmati.
In November, the 86,000-ton (2,114 passengers) Costa Atlantica will return to Ft. Lauderdale, offering seven-night voyages each Saturday through April 2010.
The ship boasts 44 exclusive spa cabins that create what Costa dubs a “vacation within a vacation.”
Guests who reserve these spa accommodations, appropriately located on Deck “8 Â½” in honor of the famous Federico Fellini film of the same name (Fellini inspired design elements of the ship), will enjoy a variety of special privileges. These include a personalized wellness consultation, three complimentary treatments, two fitness or meditation classes and complimentary access to the Wellness Restaurant, offering a wide array of spa-friendly cuisine. Spa cabins, available in ocean view, veranda and suite categories, feature aromatherapy diffusers, special shower and air filters, and a mini bar stocked with healthy food and beverage selections. In addition, guests with these accommodations will be offered priority spa reservation times. â€¨â€¨The 110,000-ton (2,720 passengers) Costa Fortuna, meanwhile, offers seven-night Caribbean voyages from December through March 2010, departing Sundays.
Drawing inspiration from the beautiful Italian liners of yesteryear, the Costa Fortuna combines nostalgia and a refined atmosphere into a marvelous modern framework. Gorgeous scale models of historic ships are weaved into the style and design of the ship’s various restaurants and other public areas. For a step into the present, guests may enjoy modern amenities including a retractable magrodome over the ship’s main pool deck, a state-of-the-art spa and ocean-view fitness center, 11 bars and four restaurants and a theatre expanding over three decks.
â€¨From homemade pastas and delectable desserts, to Italian greetings including “buongiorno” in the morning and “buonasera” in the evening, festive onboard activities include everything from on-deck bocce ball games, tarantella dancing under the stars and Italian cooking lessons during “Festa Italiana,” to the famous “Roman Bacchanal” soirÃ©e where guests don tasteful togas and celebrate as the Romans did centuries ago.
By Michael Coleman
Some of the top mass market, premium and luxury cruise lines are playing cupid.
Here’s a sampling of the top cruise lines and how they’re taking romance to new heights on the high seas. Continue reading “Cruise Guide: Cupid eyes high seas romance”
By Michael Coleman
Tying the knot at sea is as old as cruise travel itself but at no time in the history of modern cruise travel has the opportunity for romance been greater at sea than today.
More and more cruise lines offer shipboard wedding packages, amenities and wedding planning services, including legal marriages performed by ships’ captains virtually anywhere in the world.
More and more landlubbers are learning that a cruise can be the setting for an ideal destination wedding — an easily planned, fully-personalized marriage ceremony, reception and honeymoon all rolled into one convenient package.
The options are boundless: Continue reading “Cruise Guide: Weddings at sea gaining in popularity”
By Michael Coleman
Holland America Line’s Zaandam will be offering a series of six fall voyages to Hawaii in 2010.
The 1,432-passenger ship will sail five 14-day roundtrip San Diego, Calif., cruises (Oct. 24, Nov. 7 and 21; and Dec. 5 and 19) plus one 15-day voyage (Oct. 1) from Vancouver, British Colombia to Hawaii with disembarkation in San Diego. Continue reading “Cruise Guide: Zaandam sets sights on Hawaii”
The ancient ground of Ephesus, Turkey, was the scene late last month of an exclusive Regent Seven Seas Cruises concert under the stars, featuring a 15-year-old musical prodigy from Montreal, Quebec: Nikki Yanofsky.
Guests aboard Navigator enjoyed a tour of the important Mediterranean archeological site followed by cocktails and an opening act at dusk featuring Turkish mezzo soprano star Serap Ciftci. Yanofsky, meanwhile, dazzled guests with her vocal tributes to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday among others. She has recently been touring with renowned composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch. Navigator guests paid tribute to the youngster’s stellar performance by rewarding her with two standing ovations.
Navigator is in the midst of a series of Mediterranean voyages through early November.
Photos by Michael Coleman.