Second Breakaway Ship Announced

Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines
Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has confirmed an order for a second “Breakaway Plus” cruise ship with MEYER WERFT GMBH of Papenburg, Germany for delivery in spring 2017. Along with the first Breakaway Plus ship, which is scheduled for delivery in October 2015, these two new vessels will be the largest in the line’s fleet at approximately 163,000 gross tons and 4,200 passenger berths each and will be similar in design and innovation to the line’s current Breakaway class, the first of which, Norwegian Breakaway, launched in New York in early May.

The combined contract cost of the two Breakaway Plus class ships is approximately €1.4 billion. The company has export credit financing in place that provides financing for 80 percent of the contract price.

“The incredible response we’ve received from guests, travel agents and media regarding Norwegian Breakaway only reinforced our decision to add a second Breakaway Plus vessel to our fleet,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “With groundbreaking elements, yet to be announced, and an additional deck to incorporate further innovations, our two Breakaway Plus ships will provide guests even more ways to experience all that the new Norwegian has to offer.”

MEYER WERFT delivered Norwegian Breakaway, the first of Norwegian’s two new 146,600 gross ton, 4,000-passenger Breakaway class vessels on April 25, 2013; and will deliver Norwegian Getaway, in mid-January 2014.

“We’re very pleased to build all these innovative ships for Norwegian Cruise Line,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of MEYER WERFT.

Prior to the Breakaway class ships, MEYER WERFT built Norwegian’s four Jewel-class ships – Norwegian Gem delivered in 2007, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jade delivered in 2006, and Norwegian Jewel delivered in 2005. These two new Breakaway Plus vessels on order will be the tenth and eleventh that the Company will build with MEYER WERFT.

For more information contact your travel agent or go to breakaway.ncl.com

A More Extensive List of Ships with Special Needs Accessibility is Coming Soon

Special Needs Group (SNG) is adding all accessible ships in the fleets of three Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. family members (Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises) to its Web portal/accessibility content resource. This includes accessibility information for Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, scheduled to begin sailing from Cape Liberty, N.J. in November 2014.

The one-stop portal is available to both travel professionals and consumers. It consist of an extensive list of ships’ accessibility features available in the cruise industry. It provides helpful information including:

Number of accessible staterooms
Accessible stateroom features
Food & Beverage venues accessibility
Recreational facilities accessibility
Much more

SNG will launch Royal Caribbean International on the portal on Monday, July 15; Celebrity Cruises on Monday, July 22 and Azamara Club Cruises on Monday, July 29. On Monday, Aug. 5, SNG will launch Holland America Line® on the portal. It will continue to add one cruise line per month through the end of 2013, and until all ships with accessible features utilized by the North American market have been included.

All ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line® fleet were launched on the portal in April 2013.

SNG President and CEO Andrew Garnett said, “By continuing to add ships/cruise lines to our accessibility content resource, we’re reinforcing our corporate responsibility to help educate travel professionals, as well as the traveling public, that individuals with special needs have the ability to travel now more than ever before. The content that we create and provide is mainly informational as opposed to commercially-driven, allowing individuals with special needs to choose the most appropriate ship/cruise for them.”

Earlier in 2013, SNG also introduced three collateral assets – Ship Accessibility Checklist™, Mobility Scooter/Power Chair Etiquette™, and Scooter/Power Chair Do’s and Don’ts™ – to better assist professional travel agents to serve Americans with disabilities and special needs. Special Needs Group is the only mobility and oxygen equipment supplier that is approved to deliver to all major cruise lines.

For more information about the SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocate program, SNG Travel Agent Affiliate Program and the SNG Resource Center, please call 1-800-513-4515 or visit www.specialneedsgroup.com/agents.

Siverseas Cruises Announces 2015 World Cruise

Silver Whisper Photo Courtesy of Siverseas Cruises
Silver Whisper photo courtesy of Siverseas Cruises

Siverseas cruises announced their 2015 World Cruise starting on January 5, 2015, when the elegant, all-suite Silver Whisper is set to embark on a 115-day epic voyage, encircling the world and embracing the cultures of five continents, 30 countries and 50 unique destinations.

Departing Los Angeles with no more than 382 guests on board, Silver Whisper will sail the warm waters of the South Pacific to explore the idyllic isles of French Polynesia, then head west to the scenic wonders of Australia, and north to the marvels of the South China Sea. From there, the journey continues to Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and across the Indian Ocean to the glistening sands of the Seychelles. Silver Whisper then traces a course to some of Africa’s most intriguing destinations, including Mombasa, Zanzibar, Cape Town, Walvis Bay and Dakar. The voyage concludes with a leisurely Atlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale, highlighted by stopovers in the sunny Caribbean islands of St. Lucia, St. Bart’s and Puerto Rico.

World Cruise 2015 offers travelers the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in local culture with late-night departures in eight ports, plus overnight calls in Papeete, Sydney, Fremantle, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Singapore, Mombasa, and Cape Town.

“This exceptional voyage has been crafted to appeal to luxury travel’s most discerning clientele,” said Ellen Bettridge, Silversea’s president of the Americas. “Our World Cruise guests will visit the most exotic places and fascinating cultures on Earth — all while enjoying the pampering luxury of Silver Whisper.”

Silversea is offering guests the option to extend their World Cruise by adding a pre-cruise Panama Canal voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles (17 days), or continue on board from Fort Lauderdale to New York (3 days) or Southampton (15 days).

Full World Cruise guests will enjoy a variety of special amenities, including a gala Bon Voyage reception, dinner and overnight stay at a luxury hotel, baggage valet service, complimentary Business Class air (or air credit) and transfers (between home, airport, and Silver Whisper), a $4,000 onboard spending credit (per suite), complimentary laundry service, Internet package and commemorative gifts.

For guests sailing the full 115 days, there will also be two complimentary Silversea Experiences, including one in Walvis Bay, offering the rare opportunity to dine under the stars in the Namib Desert, plus three exclusive complimentary World Cruise shoreside events. These include an elegant cocktail reception and evening performance at Sydney’s famous Opera House, and a scenic journey by vintage train in Sri Lanka to explore the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, renowned for its conservancy work. Plus, guests will be treated to a tour of Cape Town’s magnificent Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, followed by a visit to the historic Résidence de France for a sumptuous lunch set in its beautiful garden, with Table Mountain providing a stunning backdrop.

Guests will also have the chance to meet and mingle with distinguished destination experts, academics, journalists, diplomats and other specialists. Local entertainment, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and regional specialties will provide further immersion in each global destination.

Fares for World Cruise 2015 start at $58,950 per person, based on double occupancy. For more information contact your travel agent or go to http://www.silversea.com

Princess Cruises Announces it’s Second Cruise for a Cause

Following the positive response to their inaugural Cruising for a Cause sailing, Princess Cuise lines pleased to announce our 2nd charity cruise — Cruising for a Cause: Princess Has Heart. This 5-day Western Caribbean cruise departing February 10, 2014 from Ft. Lauderdale will raise funds exclusively for the American Heart Association in support of its mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Princess is a company with heart. We care about the health and well-being of our employees, passengers and their families. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States, with one in every three deaths attributable to heart disease and stroke.

It’s simple! Book this very special sailing and a tax-deductible portion of your cruise fare, ranging from $100 to $300* per person depending on stateroom category, will be donated on your behalf to the American Heart Association. Princess Cruises will match every dollar of these donations, up to $500,000, and will provide you with a written acknowledgment of your charitable contribution.

To book this charity cruise, simply contact your travel agent, call 1-800-PRINCESS or visit princess.com/cruisewithheart today.

NCL now offers Certified Angus Beef Steaks

 Norwegian, Steak in Cagney’s and Le Bistro restaurants Photo courtesy of NCL
Norwegian, Steak in Cagney’s and Le Bistro restaurants
Photo courtesy of NCL

Norwegian Cruise Line announced it is now the only cruise line to serve Certified Angus Beef brand steaks, the world’s leading Angus brand and consumers’ top choice for premium beef. Certified Angus Beef brand steaks are rated above USDA Prime, Choice and Select, and are known for their superior flavor, juiciness and tenderness. These steaks are currently available in Cagney’s Steakhouse and Le Bistro French restaurant on ten Norwegian ships, including the new Norwegian Breakaway. Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Spirit will begin serving these steaks by August.

“With the addition of Certified Angus Beef in our steakhouse and French restaurant, we’ve taken an already great meal and made it outstanding,” said Kevin Sheehan, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “There is no better steak available and, as a New Yorker who knows a good steak, it was an obvious choice to bring these high quality selections to Cagney’s Steakhouse and Le Bistro.”

Previously available only at shore-side steakhouses and leading retailers, these exceptional cuts feature 10 quality specifications, including marbling, maturity and consistency, and are aged 28 days for the finest flavor and tenderness.

Guests can choose from a wide variety of premium cuts, ranging from a 14-ounce dry-aged center-cut strip loin to an 18-ounce bone-in ribeye. Additional offerings include an eight-ounce center-cut filet and a 16-ounce boneless ribeye. Guests can also customize their Certified Angus Beef steak with an array of seasonings and signature sauces including garlic butter, gorgonzola-crusted, chimichurri, green peppercorn and more. Cagney’s Steakhouse serves all of the selected cuts, while Le Bistro offers the eight-ounce center-cut filet.

“Norwegian Cruise Line is at the forefront of cuisine at sea, and the ranchers and farmers behind the Certified Angus Beef brand are pleased to be a part of this culinary evolution,” says John Stika, the beef brand’s president. “Guests will appreciate knowing their steak experience matches some of the finest steakhouses in New York and beyond.”

The steaks were first introduced on the Norwegian Breakaway.

To book a cruise on board any of Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784) or visit www.ncl.com.

The Royal Princess is Ready for her Inaugural Celebration

Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises
Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

A musical salute provided a spectacular welcome for Royal Princess to Southampton as the new cruise ship arrived to begin a week-long series of special inaugural events. British actor, director and writer Simon Callow orchestrated the Southampton University Brass Band to serenade the new Princess Cruises ship with a rendition of “God Save The Queen” as the vessel sailed into the harbor. Royal Princess will be officially named in Southampton on Thursday. June 13 by The Duchess of Cambridge.

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge Photo Courtesy of Princess Cruises
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge
Photo Courtesy of Princess Cruises

The unprecedented musical welcome, conducted by Callow, was answered back by Royal Princess with its own special horn that plays the first notes of the theme song from the TV show “The Love Boat.”

“What an extraordinary welcome Royal Princess received for her arrival in Southampton,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Starting the week off with this amazing musical orchestra offered the perfect way to tune up for a naming ceremony that will celebrate with many special musical performances.”

The June 13 naming event will feature not only the christening by The Duchess, but also star-studded musical entertainment including British pop singer Natasha Bedingfield singing her hit “Unwritten,” as well as a performance by British actress and “the first lady of London’s West End,” Kerry Ellis. The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth and The Pipe Band of 1st Battalion Irish Guards will open the event with the pomp and ceremony of British ship-naming traditions.

Viewers around the world can also watch the celebrations as Princess Cruises will be streaming the ceremony live online at www.princess.com, so everyone can share in the spectacular event, which will formally welcome the new ship into the company’s fleet.

The live streaming will begin at 11:15 am local time in Southampton, which will be 6:15 am EDT in the U.S. and 3:15 am PDT. Viewers can also choose to play back a recording of the ceremony soon after the event for viewing at their leisure. Social conversation on Twitter will also be featured with a direct feed on the naming page, and viewers can join in as they watch by using the #RoyalPrincess hashtag.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship. Among the special features found on board is a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship offering a host of dining and entertainment options; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water; the new Princess Live! television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.

The Royal Princess will be sailing her maiden voyage from the port of Southampton. The ship will be cruising in the Mediterranean for the rest of the Summer. She will make her way to Fort Lauderdale to start cruising the Caribbean in October 2013.

To book a cruise on the Royal Princess call you travel agent or go to www.princess.com/royalprincess.

Recalling Queen Mary’s Maiden Arrival in New York

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When Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 sails into New York harbour on Saturday 1 June, at the conclusion of her current Transatlantic Crossing from Southampton, she will arrive on the 77th anniversary of the maiden call of the original Queen Mary in New York in 1936.

Queen Mary’s Maiden Voyage began in Southampton on 27 May 1936 when she departed to the sounds of gleeful bands and ecstatic crowds. On board were the famous bandleader, Henry Hall, scheduled to give a series of live radio broadcasts during the Crossing; the virtuoso harmonica player, Larry Adler; and well-known singer, Frances Day, who performed a song written especially for Queen Mary by Henry Hall. Interestingly, Miss Day was doubtful of the ship’s ability to provide fresh eggs throughout the voyage, and so brought along her own chickens.

Seventy-seven years later, flagship Queen Mary 2 left Southampton last Saturday, 25 May, for New York. On board to speak is Jeffrey Weinberg, adviser to seven U.S. Presidents; and passengers still enjoy Cunard’s renowned on board entertainment, including presentations from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Today, the eggs – all 45,000 of them – are fresh and plentiful, and the Line’s legendary Transatlantic Crossings live on.

“During her nearly 10 years in service, Queen Mary 2 has proudly continued the Transatlantic legacy of elegance and glamour that Queen Mary so beautifully exemplified during her long reign of service,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.

“On this special anniversary, we are also pleased to continue to call New York our U.S. homeport, a city which has embraced our ships throughout the decades and played a prominent role in many Cunard milestones,” Shanks added.

Queen Mary in New York in 1936 Photo courtesy of Cunard
Queen Mary in New York in 1936 Photo courtesy of Cunard

Queen Mary would cross the Atlantic another 1,000 times during her 31-year career before being retired in 1967. Queen Mary 2 will sail her 200th Crossing on 6 July – from New York – during this, her ninth year on the Atlantic.

For more information about Cunard, and to book a voyage aboard Queen Mary 2, contact your Travel Agent, call Cunard toll-free at 1-800-728-6273, or go to www.cunard.com.

Royal Caribbean announces it’s Holiday Season cruises

Royal Caribbean International announced new Caribbean cruises for Explorer of the Seas from November 2014 through early January 2015. After eight consecutive years dedicated to the New York metropolitan area with year-round sailings from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., Explorer of the Seas will redeploy to Port Canaveral, Fla., to offer a range of four- to nine-night Bahamas, and Western and Southern Caribbean vacations. Throughout the short season, Explorer of the Seas will join Freedom of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas at Port Canaveral to offer the most ships and itinerary options to The Bahamas and the Caribbean from Central Florida’s Space Coast. Guests aboard each ship will enjoy a Caribbean-holiday vacation that only Royal Caribbean can deliver, with the cruise line’s award-winning family programming, industry-leading entertainment and world-renowned friendly and engaging GOLD Anchor Service. Explorer of the Seas’ 2014 holiday season cruises from Port Canaveral are now open for sale.

Explorer of the Seas will sail four Western Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Port Canaveral through Jan. 4, 2015. On these five-night itineraries, guests call at Cozumel, Mexico, and Nassau, The Bahamas, or CocoCay and Cozumel. Vacationers also can choose two Southern Caribbean sailings on a nine-night itinerary that call at each of the ABC Islands and Labadee.

Additionally, a five-night Bahamas cruise, departing Dec. 13, 2014, will call at Nassau, Grand Bahamas Island and CocoCay. Guests on a special four-night sailing, departing Dec. 23, will call at Labadee on Christmas Day. The following eight-night Caribbean itinerary will herald in the New Year in St. Maarten, as well as call at San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Croix and Labadee. Vacationers also can choose an extended 14-night Southern Caribbean itinerary, departing Nov. 1, 2014, which repositions Explorer of the Seas from Cape Liberty to Port Canaveral via the Southern Caribbean.

From Port Canaveral, vacationers also have Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas from which to choose. Freedom of the Seas, with its iconic FlowRider surf simulator, will continue to alternate seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries and Enchantment of the Seas will offer three- and four-night Bahamas getaways.

For More information contact your travel agent or go to RoyalCaribbean.com

Disney Cruise Line announces it’s holiday festivities

Disney Cruise  Lines
Beginning in early November, Disney Cruise Line adds sparkle to each ship, through the new year, with traditional “Turkey Day” fanfare, Christmas feasts, “snow flurries,” New Year’s Eve galas and Disney characters dressed for the occasion.

Special holiday events include a nightly tree lighting in the atrium lobby, visits from Santa Claus and his elves, traditional holiday feasts, family holiday crafts, holiday storytellers and more. When the ships stop during the holidays at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, the celebration continues with “snow flurries,” a decked-out Christmas tree, Disney character meet-and-greets and holiday island music.

Guests will enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving Day feast, with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and friends dressed in traditional Thanksgiving attire. On Christmas Eve, guests can leave milk and cookies for Santa when he visits the ship at midnight. Christmas services will be held on Christmas Day with a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and Hanukkah services will be held each day, Nov. 28-Dec. 5. To celebrate the new year, voyages include a special New Year’s Eve party to ring in 2014, complete with music, sparkling wine in commemorative flutes and a midnight countdown with balloon drops.

If you are interested, you will want to book as soon as possible. They do book up fast for their holiday cruises.

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

Brilliance of the Seas ready to wow after emerging from drydock

A favorite ship among cruisers, Royal Caribbean International’s Brilliance of the Seas has reemerged from a $30 million drydock ready to wow guests. The 2,100 guest ship will now offer cruisers signature Royal Caribbean amenities first introduced aboard Oasis-class ships including five new dining concepts, an exhilarating aerial entertainment experience and technology advancements allowing guests to stay more connected than ever before. Brilliance of the Seas will debut her newest innovations this summer as she sails from Harwich, England, offering Northern European itineraries that visit some of the Baltics’s most sought after destinations such as Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland.

Doubling her dining options, Brilliance of the Seas now offers guests a wide variety of culinary experiences from family-style festivity at the Italian trattoria, Giovanni’s Table, to the intimate and exclusive multi-course Chef’s Table. Guests can expand their palettes at a multitude of other dining venues including Royal Caribbean’s signature Izumi Asian Cuisine, Park Café and Rita’s Cantina.

In addition, the five-story Centrum – which is the focal point of the ship – has been transformed into a spectacular new space featuring the Centrum experience, which includes the addition of the 60’s-inspired R Bar as well as a multitude of entertainment experiences including enriching daytime activities, dazzling nighttime entertainment and a new high-flying entertainment experience where aerialists glide through the vertical space of the atrium.

The ship also features a new locatin for the Concierge Club for suite guests, a Diamond Club for Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program members, a new English pub and the popular Royal Babies and Tots Nursery giving parents more opportunities to enjoy the ship’s amenities with peace of mind that their babies are being tended to by qualified care givers. Guests also will find that staying connected at sea will be easier with Wi-Fi access throughout the ship and enjoy a host of technology enhancements that include flat-panel televisions in all staterooms, an outdoor LED movie screen on the pool deck, as well as an interactive digital way-finding system. Old favorites such as the self-leveling pool tables, the adults-only Solarium and the Vitality Spa and Fitness Center can still be found onboard and are sure to delight guests of all ages.

Beginning today, Brilliance of the Seas’ Northern Europe season includes eight sailings that offer the best of the North and Baltic seas, calling at Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Talinn, Estonia; Gothenburg, Sweden; and offering an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. An 11-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland itinerary, sailing July 27, will call at Bergen and Geiranger, Norway; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; Klaksvik, Faroe Islands; with an overnight in Reykjavik, Iceland. Brilliance of the Seas departs for Boston, Mass. on August 31 on a 15-night itinerary, calling at Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), France; Portland, Dorset, UK; Cork (Cobh) and Dublin, Ireland; Klaksvik; with an overnight at Reykjavik.

For more information contact your travel agent or RoyalCaribbean.com