Special deals offered for ‘World’s Largest Cruise Night’

Most cruise lines are offering some sort of special deal for the World's Largest Cruise Night on Oct. 13. Some offers are only good for deals booked that day and some last a bit longer. Pick your ship, see what sort of deal you can get and plan your next getaway. Photo by Matt Roseboom

By Jackie Roseboom

The Cruise Lines International Association is holding a special World’s Largest Cruise Night this Oct. 13. Travel agents across North America will be hosting a special events in partnership with several cruise lines. Some amazing deals are being offered. As the event gets closer, more deals will be offered. Here are the ones already showing up:

Carnival is enticing vacationers with cruise upgrades on virtually all “Fun Ship” departures through December 2011. To sweeten the deal, Carnival will offer up to a $200 onboard credit per stateroom for all Carnival Magic Europe voyages booked on Oct. 13. The Carnival Magic Europe offer includes best available upgrades and a $100 onboard credit per stateroom for seven-day Europe sailings and a $200 onboard credit per stateroom for nine- and 12-day sailings.

Celebrity is hosting a three-day sale beginning Oct. 13 for sailings departing April through December 2011 for select seven- to 14-night sailings. Look for onboard credits of $50 per stateroom for oceanview accommodations; $100 per stateroom for veranda accommodations; and $150 per stateroom for AquaClass (only on Solstice-class ships), suites, and Concierge Class.

Costa is offering a $50 onboard credit per stateroom on any sailing. The offer is valid only on Oct. 13.

Crystal Cruises is offering a $100 per person additional savings incentive on most 2010-2011 departures for new bookings made from Oct. 1 to 31.

Cunard is offering an onboard credit (per stateroom) of up to $300 for Queens & Princess Grill accommodation; up to $200 for Balcony staterooms; and up to $100 for Oceanview/Inside staterooms, depending on length of voyage. Bookings made during the Cruise Sale will receive a waiver of the deposit on the second guest.

Holland America Line is offering shipboard credits that can be combined with group amenities or cruise night offers. Plus deposits are only $100 per person for cruises of seven to 36 days.

For booking between Oct. 13 to 27, MSC will offer exclusive shipboard credits, such as $25 per passenger for inside cabin/oceanview bookings; $50 per passenger for standard balcony/superior balcony accommodations; and $100 per passenger for suites bookings.

Oceania Cruises is celebrating its maiden season in Alaska with two-for-one cruise fares, plus free round-trip air and bonus savings up to $1,000 per stateroom.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering a $100 per person ($200 per suite) shipboard credit booking incentive. This offer is valid for any new reservation on a 2010 or 2011 departure of seven nights or longer booked between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15.

Silversea Cruises is offering a $100 per guest ($200 per suite) savings on any 2010, 2011 or 2012 cruise booked during the month of October.

Windstar is offering a $100 per person shipboard credit on any Wind Spirit, Wind Star or Wind Surf sailing in the Caribbean or Costa Rica between Jan. 2 and April 2, 2011. The offer is valid for new bookings made between Oct. 13 and Nov. 15, and the credits may be combined with all nationwide offers including two-for-one offers.

On the Web: visit cruising.org for more information or check with a CLIA-member travel agent.

Silver Shadow to circumnavigate Australia

Silversea Cruises’ luxurious Silver Shadow will soon be embarking on a 30-day circumnavigation of Australia. The Jan. 19-Feb. 18, 2011 trip features a host of onboard enrichment programming, guest lecturers and shore excursions to bring the vast continent to life. Image courtesy Silversea Cruises

By Michael Coleman

It’s Down Under like never before.

Silversea Cruises is offering a 30-day counterclockwise course around Australia with calls in Brisbane, Whitsunday Islands, Port Douglas, Cooktown, Darwin, Broome, Exmouth, Perth, Albany, Port Lincoln, Adelaide, Geelong, Melbourne and Hobart (Tasmania).

The Sydney to Sydney offering aboard the ultra-luxurious 382-guest Silver Shadow Jan. 19-Feb. 19 2011, also features onboard enrichment programming headlined by distinguished speakers from the worlds of film, art, nature, academia, winemaking and cuisine.

Prof. Geoffrey Blainey, one of Australia’s best-known historians and commentators, will share his interesting perspectives on the Sydney-to-Darwin segment, January 19 to 29; Mathew Macartney, executive chef of the Yarra Valley’s famed Chateau Yering will join the ship January 25 to 29, Port Douglas to Darwin, to host culinary presentations; Prof. Craig Franklin, professor of zoology at the University of Queensland, will discuss Australian marine wildlife, January 29 to February 11, Darwin to Adelaide; and Noel Miller, artist renowned for his landscapes of the Australian outback, will discuss Aboriginal art, January 29 to February 11, Darwin to Adelaide.

Meanwhile, Lyn Farmer, wine consultant for Silversea and James Beard Foundation Award-winning wine and food writer, will share his expertise, Darwin to Port Lincoln, January 29 to February 10; Jamie Sach, chief spokesperson for the iconic Penfolds Wines, will share his extensive knowledge of the wine industry, February 6 to 10, Perth to Port Lincoln; Simon Johnson, epicurean expert, will provide insight into Australia’s rich abundance of artisan produce, February 11 to 14, Adelaide to Melbourne; George Francisco, executive chef of Jonah’s, one of Australia’s oldest and most respected hospitality establishments, will present cooking demonstrations, February 13 to 18, Geelong to Sydney and John Stainton, the director and producer who directed all of naturalist Steve Irwin’s documentaries, will lecture on Australian film, February 14 to 18, Melbourne to Sydney.

Dr. Mark Elovitz, government advisor, historian and director of the Center for Strategic Geopolitics, will share his insights into world affairs throughout the 30-day voyage while Ian Denton, a native Australian and world explorer, will also be on board the entire voyage to host lectures as Silversea’s destination consultant.

If that isn’t enough to immerse oneself in the country’s culture, dramatic natural beauty and exotic wildlife, look for two optional mid-voyage shore excursions to do the trick.

The line is offering a “Kangaroo Island Luxury Eco Expedition”. Widely regarded as Australia’s Galapagos, Kangaroo Island is brimming with diverse wildlife and natural beauty. Enjoy luxurious accommodation at the South Ocean Lodge and a staff of naturalist guides to lead your exploration of the island’s unique attractions. Memorable sightings might include kangaroos, rare Cape Barron Geese, koalas and sea lions. This three-day adventure is offered from Adelaide. Guests then rejoin the ship in Melbourne. 

Look also for an “Australian Frontiers & Train Journey”. Guests will discover the heart of the Australian outback by rail aboard the glamorous Indian Pacific train as the country’s unique landscapes unfold. Visit the opal-mining town of Coober Pedy, then travel to Adelaide to enjoy a culinary and wine adventure that takes in the famous Barossa Valley. This six-day adventure is offered from Fremantle (Perth). Guests would then rejoin the ship in Adelaide. 

The optional mid-voyage land programs feature deluxe accommodations, all transportation, transfers, guided sightseeing and some meals.   

Aboard the elegant Silver Shadow, guests enjoy an all-inclusive policy that includes a premium assortment of wines and spirits, impeccable service from a courteous and efficient staff, and luxurious onboard amenities. The ship’s all-suite accommodations include ocean views, butler service, 24-hour room service and fine dining.

On the web: silverseacruises.com

YouTube launches new travel channel with Norwegian Cruise Line

By Jackie Roseboom

Norwegian Cruise Line and YouTube have just launched the first-ever YouTube Vacationer. It’s a travel-specific channel within YouTube designed to provide inspiring ideas and advice from well-traveled, nationally known experts.

You can interact within the “Vacation You” section: a selection of short clips created by vacation professionals are available that run a few minutes each. You can share a personalized “Vacation You” video with your friends and family through Twitter, Facebook or e-mail.

“By working with YouTube on their first-ever travel-specific channel, we are giving visitors the opportunity to experience our brand and all the options that Freestyle Cruising offers,” said Maria Miller, Norwegian Cruise Line’s senior vice president of marketing. “From a marketing perspective, this opportunity is compelling because it provides a truly organic user experience and represents another great way for brands to work with YouTube.”

The expert’s videos are categorized into sections. You’ll find videos from from Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Travel Channel, eHow, concierge.com, Howcast, DanTraveling and the Next New Network. Each section — Caribbean/Bahamas, Europe, Exotics, U.S. and Canada — have video clips on many different topics. You can click on guided clips through interesting places like Cuba by Andrew Zimmern or Dublin by Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel. Tips on how to pack for certain locations, how to get a passport, and “How to Not Look Like a Tourist” are clips from various travel pros. There are clips of the Northern Lights and interesting sea creatures, both of which you can visit during some cruise shore excursions.

Some clips my be considered a little silly but they have great information and are still worth watching. The Norwegian Cruise Line section features clips of the different fun activities you can enjoy while onboard the ships and some behind the scenes clips.

You don’t have to have a YouTube account to view the videos, but if you are a member, you can subscribe to the channel and get updates when new videos are added. Both signing up for a YouTube account and subscribing to a channel are free.

“We are pleased to be working with Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovators in cruise travel, on our first branded travel channel,” said Mark Day, sales development at YouTube. “The YouTube Vacationer channel brings the best of our partners’ travel videos into a single destination to help users explore, plan and dream about their next vacations, and it gives users a way to see themselves in a customized vacation video with Norwegian’s ‘Vacation You’ application.”

Other cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Disney also have official videos on YouTube.
Visit the YouTube Vacationer at youtube.com/vacationer.

Contributor Jackie Roseboom also writes for “Orlando Attractions Magazine” and the Cruise Guide newspaper column.

New Florida Lottery Scratch-Off game offers a chance to sail on Oasis or Allure

The Florida Lottery today announced a new Royal Caribbean themed Scratch-Off game: Cruise for Cash. With ticket sales beginning today, the $5 game offers Lottery players the chance to win up to $200,000 instantly. And, a second chance promotion on the Lottery’s website offers players the chance to win a seven-night Caribbean cruise vacation for two aboard one of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas or Allure of the Seas. The new game is available at Florida Lottery retailers statewide.

“Tourism is a vital part of Florida’s economy, and this partnership between the Florida Lottery and Royal Caribbean International is a unique opportunity to bring together Florida’s public and private sectors to promote one of the state’s greatest tourist industries – cruising,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Leo DiBenigno.

Florida is home to the top three cruise ports in the country: Port of Miami, Port Canaveral and Port Everglades. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, the North American cruise industry generated $35.1 billion in 2009, with Florida port embarkations growing by nearly three percent – making up 59 percent of the U.S. total.

“We are pleased to be working with the Florida Lottery on the Cruise for Cash game, which helps raise additional funds for education,” said Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President Sales and Trade Support & Services, Royal Caribbean International.

“We expect Cruise for Cash to have a wide appeal among Floridians and visitors to our great state, helping us maximize sales for the enhancement of public education,” added Secretary DiBenigno.

In addition to four $200,000 top prizes, Cruise for Cash also features more than 1.6 million cash prizes ranging from $5 to $2,500. The game’s overall odds of winning are one in 3.87. The game is the latest themed Scratch-Off in the Lottery’s game portfolio, offering players instant cash prizes and additional chances to win via a second chance promotion on the Lottery’s Web site.

Beginning today, players may enter their non-winning Cruise for Cash tickets in five Royal Caribbean International Cruise Package Second Chance drawings to be held from Oct. 6 to Dec. 15, 2010. Each cruise packages include seven nights aboard the Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas or another Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailing select itineraries. Winners of the second chance drawings will tour their respective Caribbean destinations in a balcony stateroom, with an ocean view for two. Cruise winners also will receive $1,000 in ship credit and premium accommodations for two at a deluxe hotel prior to departure. There will be a total of 112 cruise packages awarded with this game.

The Florida Lottery offers more than 50 Scratch-Off games at any given time through instant ticket vending machines (ITVMs) or on-counter displays at more than 13,000 retailers statewide. Scratch-Off games are an important part of the Lottery’s portfolio of games, making up approximately 53 percent of ticket sales and generating more than $396 million for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund (EETF) in fiscal year 2009-10.

Princess to offer an expanded Panama Canal experience

Built specifically to sail the Panama Canal, Coral Princess offers regular round-trip sailings through this engineering marvel. She and the Island Princess will offer expanded Panama Canal sailings in the next two years. Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

By Jackie Roseboom

The Panama Canal has been delighting cruisers for nearly a century. This man-made masterpiece is composed of 51 passageways between the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans, saving travelers more than 7,000 transit miles around the South American continent. Princess Cruises has been going there for years on short trips in and out in a day. Now there’s an offer that will give cruisers more.

Princess has 38 cruises scheduled to this famous destination for 2011 and 2012. The Coral Princess and the Island Princess, built specifically for traveling through the Canal, have the honor of taking these journeys. Theses large ships will make their way through the massive locks, barely clearing the sides. The locks lower and raise the ships about 170 feet with an average of 52 million gallons of water per chamber. The complete trip from one side to the other takes about nine hours.

“Our ships have been transiting the Panama Canal for more than 40 years and, in fact, we even christened Coral Princess as it moved through the Canal,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “There really is no better way to watch the fascinating process as the ship transits each lock than from the decks of our ships — it’s an exceptional way to experience this wonder of engineering.”

Princess has unique offers that combine the transit of the Panama Canal one day, including the Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and Gatun Locks, with a second day at the Fuerte Amador in Panama. This extra time will give cruisers the chance to experience some fun and unique tours in Panama. Visitors will be able to take a trip on the Panama Canal Railway, journey through the rainforest, visit the local Embera Indian village and of course go on a shopping tour.

The single most expensive construction project in United States history at the time, the “big ditch” took more than 30 years to build at a cost of about $375 million. The Canal’s lengthy history included construction efforts by two different nations and the creation of an independent Panama. In total, Canal construction involved as many as 80,000 workers and the excavation of around 268,000,000 cubic yards of earth. Today the Canal offers passage to approximately 14,000 ships a year.

One-way Panama Canal Transit Sailings include a 14- and 15-day itineraries between Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale. Besides the two-day Panama Canal transit, the cruises may also offer visits to Cabo San Lucas, San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), Cartagena, Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala) and Aruba. There’s also a 15-day option from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale.

Roundtrip Panama Canal cruises aboard the Island Princess will offer a 10-day itinerary from Ft. Lauderdale, which offers a partial Panama Canal transit to Gatun Lake, followed by a call in Colon, plus calls in the Caribbean ports of Aruba, Cartagena, Limon (Costa Rica) and Grand Cayman or Ocho Rios. This itinerary is available 20 times between Oct. 10, 2011 and April 17, 2012.

On the Web: princess.com.

Queen Elizabeth to name the next Cunard ship

Cunard Line just announced that her majesty the Queen will name the company’s new Queen Elizabeth, the third Cunard ship to bear the name.

The naming will be a milestone in British maritime history and is sure to spark interest worldwide.

Her majesty was present at the age of 12 at the launch of the first Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 27, 1938, when she accompanied her mother, Queen Elizabeth, to Clydebank for the launch.

“The naming of a Cunard Queen is a very special occasion and this will be a historic event in the true sense of the word,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The Queen launched Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967 and named our current flagship, Queen Mary 2, in 2004. We are both honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name our new liner, Queen Elizabeth,” added Shanks.

The Naming Ceremony will take place in Southampton on Monday, Oct. 11 and Queen Elizabeth will set sail on her maiden voyage on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010.