Silversea’s Silver Galapagos Sets Sail

Silver Galapagos  Photo courtesy of Silverseas
Silver Galapagos
Photo courtesy of Silverseas

Prior to setting sail, a christening ceremony was held on board, attended by local dignitaries and company executives. Highlighting the occasion were speeches by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Silversea’s chairman; Santiago Dunn, vice president of Silversea, Ecuador; and Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s director of expedition cruises. Following the traditional blessing by a priest, the chairman’s daughter, Costanza Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the ship’s godmother, officially welcomed Silver Galapagos into the Silversea fleet by cutting a ceremonial ribbon.

The all-suite Silver Galapagos has just completed a major stem-to-stern refurbishment. All public spaces and guest suites have been refreshed with new upholstery, carpeting, curtains, and wall treatments. Each suite is highlighted by a totally renovated bathroom, enhanced with rich marble detailing. Besides a new walk-in rainforest shower, each bathroom features a new vanity, shelving, mirrors, lighting fixtures, and wood flooring. Plus, all guest suites have been outfitted with new flat screen TVs, new mattresses (custom-made exclusively for Silversea), and luxurious Pratesi bed linens.

Other ship enhancements include the installation of Wi-Fi access throughout the ship (including all suites) and a new complimentary service providing streaming movies and live television news broadcasts for guests to enjoy on their portable devices.

And rounding out the renovations are a new fitness center, massage room, beauty salon, outdoor Jacuzzi, outdoor furniture, and Silversea’s signature outdoor dining venue, The Grill.

In his remarks at the christening ceremony, Lefebvre d’Ovidio stated, “It is our aim that this ship will not only offer our guests the highest level of comfort and service, but also enlighten them to the rarity and beauty of the Galápagos Islands.”

Silver Galapagos sails Saturday to Saturday on seven-day roundtrip voyages from Baltra Island, following either a western or north central route. These expedition cruises offer adventurous travelers the life-enriching chance to discover a wild, pristine paradise that has long been regarded as a natural laboratory of evolution. On complimentary expeditions ashore guided by an experienced expedition team (certified by the Galápagos National Park Service), Silversea’s guests may experience up-close encounters with an abundance of wildlife that includes sun-basking land iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, colorful marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins and Darwin’s famous finches.

For more information go to Silverseas.com

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 [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.