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

Carnival Magic makes her debut in Europe

Little kids and big kids alike will love the Waterworks area. Get dumped on by hundreds of gallons of water, then go down one of three large slides. Carnival Magic has their longest twister waterslide of any ship.



By Jackie Roseboom

Living up to her name, the christening of the brand new Carnival Magic was indeed magical.

The ceremony took place onboard while in port in Venice, Italy. Carnival’s CEO appeared out of nowhere on stage in a helicopter to start the festivities. The sailing away party, with breathtaking views of Venice was a perfect way to start off a first cruise on a brand new ship.

The ship’s Godmother, Lindsey Wilkerson, was diagnosed with cancer as a child. She credits her survival to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She is dedicated to raising funds for St. Jude to ensure more children are helped the way she was. Carnival has taken a pledge to raise three million dollars in three years for St. Jude. On each cruise there is a “Groove for St. Jude” dance party/fundraiser.

In addition to the parties, there are so many fun activities onboard. On Carnival’s new fun ship you can climb high and mighty on the new Sky Course. The views from this rope course on the top deck are amazing as you test your tightrope walking skills (while being tethered to a safety line). The Sports Square features a miniature golf course, a billiards table, foosball, ping-pong and outdoor workout equipment. There is also an area up top to play basketball and many other sports. The oversize board games are also a big hit.

The full service Cloud 9 Spa supplies everything you will possibly need to relax and rejuvenate. The gym classes and equipment are top notch and the spas’ thermal suites are not to be missed. They consist of heated lounge chairs, different kinds of steam rooms and a large, wonderful hot tub with a view! Here’s a little hint: to add to experience, get the custom scrub while you are in the steam room. It will leave your skin baby soft and it’s only about $9 extra. It’s the perfect thing to add to your spa treatment.

There is no shortage of dining options and nightlife on the Carnival Magic. Of course, there’s the “always aimed to please” the main dining rooms, but the Lido deck has many different options to choose from, including tandoori, sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs, pizza, a burrito bar, Mongolian wok and so much more. The new Cucina Del Capitano is an extra fee Italian restaurant by night and a free made to order pasta bar by day. The Prime Steakhouse also has an extra fee, but it is so worth it due to the mouth-watering steaks.

The fun new hangout onboard is the RedFrog Pub. It’s Carnival’s first ever pub. It has a comfortable neighborhood bar feel with a Caribbean flair. There’s an extra cost of $3.33 for each of the yummy things on the menu. You’ll probably want to try the Thirsty Frog Red. This house brew is made just for the pub and isn’t available anywhere else. It sold out on the first cruise and they had to ship some more in. There’s live music nightly and a fun outside area. In addition to the Red Frog for nightlife, there are also lounges, a piano bar, karaoke with a live band and dancing. Of course the shows in the Showtime Theater are something to see and don’t forget the big-screen movie on the pool deck. Kids, and kids-at-heart will love the three water slides and large water dump bucket and splash play area. With all this, you’ll have a hard time being bored, but if that’s what you’re looking for, the Serenity deck is perfect place to unwind with its soft lounge chairs and inviting hammocks.

The cabins onboard the Carnival Magic are very comfortable and available for most sizes and budgets. The Carnival Magic will be sailing the Mediterranean for the summer and in the Caribbean, sailing out of Galveston for the winter. The Magic’s sister ships are the Dream, which debut in 2010, and the Breeze, which launches in 2012.

For more information go to carnival.com

Here’s video of the naming ceremony:

Media darling, Grand Princess, transformed

Image courtesy Princess Cruises — Grand Princess, formerly the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuted in 1998, has just received a masterful facelift.

By Michael Coleman

A Princess cruise ship, formerly the largest cruise ship in the world, has a new distinction.

Following the most extensive drydock in Princess Cruises history, Grand Princess has emerged from a 24-day, transformational drydock.

The vessel even became a media star as the line posted daily video updates on the work in progress which attracted more than a half million views. The Grand Princess Drydock Journal captured the dramatic process with 26 video updates plus more than 300 photos of the daily progress during the effort in a Bahamian shipyard, including the removal of Skywalkers nightclub from the ship’s stern and the complete demolition and rebuilding of the atrium to create the new Piazza. Hosted by Grand Princess Cruise Director Martyn Moss, the video series delved behind the scenes with reports on all aspects of the drydock process.

The video journal also offered different perspectives on the project with interviews of key players in the revitalization, including the ship’s Captain Tony Herriott and Chief Technical Officer Gilberto Vinci, plus Senior Vice President of Technical Services John Gunner and Project Manager Steve Storey, who explained what it takes to coordinate 1,400 contractors working around the clock. The videos also shared such tidbits as the time it took to cut Skywalkers from the ship (10 hours) and the amount of new carpeting installed (about 50 square miles).

“This drydock has been a monumental effort, and we’re very proud of the teamwork by everyone involved to create this sparkling ‘new’ ship ready to start a season of Europe sailings,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “We know our passengers will appreciate the updated décor, fresh new feel, and especially all the wonderful added features.”

Now that the ship has been transformed, passengers will find a completely new Piazza atrium, several new eateries — including Alfredo’s Pizzeria and the Crown Grill — and the line’s first specialty tea lounge called Leaves. Also included in the renovation were seven new window suites; remodeled casino, boutiques and art gallery; enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa, and wedding chapel; and the addition of Crooner’s Martini Lounge. A new nightclub, The One5, replaced Skywalkers.

The drydock video journal covered nearly every area involved in the refurbishment project, including work on the underside of the ship, upholstery work, engine control room, new shore power connection, lifeboat updates, new speakers for Movies Under the Stars, mural painting, theater renovations, and a report from the executive chef who was responsible for feeding all the contractors.

Grand Princess debuted in 1998 as the then-largest cruise ship in the world. She will homeport this summer in Southampton, England, offering a series of European voyages.

Princess, one of the best-known names in cruising, operates a fleet of 16 ships renowned for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities. The line carries some 1.3 million passengers each year to destinations around the globe ranging in length from seven to 107 days.

On the web: www.princess.com

Silversea renames expedition ship

Image courtesy Silversea Cruises — The Prince Albert II expedition ship is being renamed the Silver Explorer by parent company, luxury operator Silversea Cruises.

By Michael Coleman

Silversea Cruises is renaming its globetrotting expedition ship.

The ultra-luxury cruise operator is changing the name of its Prince Albert II expedition vessel to Silver Explorer.

The change will occur later this month while the vessel is in dry dock at the Lisnave shipyard in Setubal, Portugal, undergoing routine maintenance prior to commencing a summer program of Northern Europe and Arctic voyages.

“Our expansion into adventure travel has turned out quite successful and we have to prepare for the possibility of adding more ships,” said Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea’s chairman. “To reinforce the Silversea luxury brand image for the expedition segment, we decided to change the name of our first expedition ship to Silver Explorer and anticipate any future expedition ships will bear similar names that evoke a sense of luxurious adventure.”

Lefebvre added, “It has been an absolute privilege to have a ship in our fleet named in tribute to His Serene Highness Prince Albert II. We will continue to honor his legacy of exploration and environmental conservation through our support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and look forward to hosting future onboard fundraising events to benefit the Foundation’s projects.”

The company is committed to raising awareness of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which is dedicated to the protection of the global environment. Its focus is on three major challenges: climate change and developing renewable energies; the loss of biodiversity; improving universal access to clean water and fighting desertification. For more information, visit www.fpa2.com.

Silver Explorer offers full-scale exploring from an ultra-luxury base at sea, in true Silversea style. With the largest average size accommodations of any expedition ship, guests enjoy spacious, ocean-view accommodations (many with French balconies or large private verandas), butler service, gourmet cuisine, warm hospitality and personalized service (with a crew-to-guest ratio of nearly one to one).

Look also for Silversea’s generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, bottled water, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities.

The Lloyd’s Register 1A ice-rated vessel explores the world from top to bottom, including Central and South America and Africa.

The company also operates five other intimate, all-suite vessels. Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit. Company itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both polar regions and some 450 destinations in between.

On the web: www.silversea.com

Enjoy culinary arts classes with celebrity chefs on Holland America

The Culinary Arts Center on Holland America ships offers cooking and beverage demos and hands on classes in the state-of-the-art show kitchens. For many sailings, celebrity chefs lead the demonstrations. Photo courtesy of Holland America Line.

By Jackie Roseboom

Michelle Bernstein, award-winning chef, restaurateur and culinary author, is scheduled to participate in the guest-enrichment program on the June 3, Mediterranean Romance Voyage aboard Holland America’s newest ship, ms Nieuw Amsterdam.

Bernstein sails on the 12-day voyage departing from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship will call at Catania, Naples, Civitavecchia (Rome) and Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kerkira (Corfu), Argostoli and Thira (Santorini), Greece. The voyage also features scenic cruising through the Strait of Messina, a narrow passage between the eastern tip of Sicily and the southern tip of Calabria, Italy.

During the cruise, Chef Bernstein will perform cooking demonstrations for guests in the ship’s state-of-the-art show kitchen and participate in question and answer sessions.

The Culinary Arts Center and guest enrichment program are part of Holland America Line’s innovative and leading culinary initiatives, which also include a partnership with “Food & Wine” magazine, Le Cirque to present “An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill” and a Culinary Council, comprised of renowned international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Marcus Samuelsson, Jacques Torres, Charlie Trotter and the line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin. For a full list of guest chefs and more information about Holland America’s Culinary Arts Center program visit hollandamerica.com 

Chef Bernstein, a Miami native, was professional ballerina before realizing her true passion for cooking after taking a class on nutrition. She later enrolled in Johnson and Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts. After graduating, Bernstein trained under iconic French Chef Jean-Louis Palladin and began working with renowned chefs at several premier restaurants including Red Fish Grill, The Strand and Tantra in Miami Beach. Bernstein later served as lead chef at Azul, the Mandarin Oriental’s signature restaurant in Miami, where she became a force in the city’s burgeoning culinary movement. She later became a household name after serving as a judge on Bravo’s acclaimed “Top Chef” series. She also hosted the PBS series, “Check, Please!”

Bernstein co-hosted The Food Network’s “Melting Pot,” a show that presented the traditions, stories and recipes of her Latin background. She also was a competitor and winner on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” series. She has been featured in both “The New York Times” and “Bon Appétit” magazine for one of the “50 Best Dishes in the World” and in “Gourmet” and “Food & Wine” magazines, for one of the best hotel restaurants in the country. Her restaurant ventures include Michy’s and Sra. Martinez in Miami, MB in Cancun, Mexico, and Michelle Bernstein at The Omphoy in Palm Beach, Fla.

Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center is featured on each of the line’s 15 ships. Each facility features a theater-style venue with two large plasma video screens and a large cooking display counter. For cruises that do not have a celebrity chef on board, classes and demonstrations are conducted by Holland America Line’s own expert chefs.

Note: Be sure to follow your Cruise Guide columnists as we report live from Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Magic, from May 1 to 10 in Europe. We’ll be reporting on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Visit CruiseNewsWeekly.com for links.

– Jackie Roseboom is a regular contributor to Cruise Guide, “Orlando Attractions Magazine” and CruiseNewsWeekly.com.

Cruise lines celebrating the royal wedding at sea

Royal Caribbean is offering royal wedding packages so you can feel like a prince or princess. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

By Jackie Roseboom

Many businesses are celebrating the Royal Wedding by offering their guests a viewing party and special offerings, and the cruise industry is no exception. From small viewing areas to lavish parties, it will all be available at sea.

Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean is celebrating the upcoming British royal wedding by offering an exclusive Royal Caribbean wedding package for couples looking to tie the knot at sea.

“Royal Caribbean’s full fleet of ships around the world will broadcast the royal wedding live so that guests may join in the ceremony’s excitement,” said Betsy O’Rourke, senior vice president of marketing. “Inspired by the pending royal nuptials, the Royal Wedding package and honeymoon registry offers guests the royal treatment on their special day and honeymoon cruise.”

The Royal wedding packages include an onboard symbolic wedding ceremony (due to the varying international legal restrictions). Royal Romance Wedding Coordinators will handle every detail so the couples’ special day is a truly regal experience including any legal requirements pre-departure.

Cunard

Cunard’s Royal Court Theatre is very fitting for watching Prince William marry Kate. Photo courtesy of Cunard
Guests onboard Cunard’s three ships — Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth need have no fear of missing one second of the historic union of the future King and Kate Middleton.

Queen Mary 2’s Royal Court Theatre seats over 1,000 guests, who will be able to watch events unfold in plush cinema comfort as the ship sails between New York and Southampton, on a seven-night Transatlantic Crossing (April 26 to May 2).
The Royal Court Theatres on the smaller Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria seat more than 800 passengers, and they too will be used to screen the Royal nuptials live. At the time Queen Elizabeth will be at sea heading for Southampton, and Queen Victoria will be at sea in the Mediterranean.

The day will also be one of celebration on all three Cunard ships, with that evening’s dinner featuring a commemorative menu and a champagne toast.

MSC
With the exception of MSC Sinfonia and Opera, which will not be sailing in European waters, the Royal Wedding will be broadcast in English across the MSC fleet. Bars on board will be serving a great selection of champagnes and prosecco together with a special commemorative Royal Cocktail (sparkling wine, cognac and grand marnier). Guests will be able to raise a glass – or two – to the happy couple.

NCL
The highly-anticipated event will be broadcast across Norwegian’s fleet of ships, with the exception of Norwegian Sky in the Bahamas. Guests will be able to watch the magic of the royal wedding on two-story big screens on Norwegian Pearl, Jewel, Jade, Gem and Epic, as well as in any of the line’s bars and lounges.
After the royal couple say their “I do’s,” guests can raise a toast to the newlyweds with champagne, gin and tonic or a pitcher of Pimm’s and attend street parties held in true British style, complete with music playing tribute to the Beatles. Special dining events will be held throughout the sailing including the Prince and Princess Brunch and an afternoon Royal High Tea.

Princess Cruise Line
Princess ships will be airing the Royal Wedding on the Movies Under the Stars giant screens. Passengers will be able to follow along with full coverage of the pomp and majesty of the historic wedding through BBC World’s broadcast of the event. The onboard viewing parties will add a celebratory flair to the event with British-style refreshments and special royal-themed cocktails. Passengers can also test their knowledge with royal wedding trivia competitions and participate in a William and Kate look-alike contest.

Princess Cruise Line’s first Royal Princess cruise ship debuted in 1984 and was christened by HRH Princess Diana. The ship left the fleet in 2005, the name was passed to one of Princess’ small ships in 2007. This vessel is being transferred to a sister company at the end of April. The new Royal Princess cruise ship will be debuting in spring of 2013. We’ll be waiting in anticipation to see if Princess Kate will also christen the Royal Princess, as the beloved Princess Diana did.

Note: Be sure to follow your Cruise News Weekly columnists as we report live from Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Magic, from May 1 to 10 in Europe. We’ll be reporting from our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Disney Cruise Line unveils far-reaching 2012 itineraries

Image courtesy Disney Cruise Line — Disney Dream is shown at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island oasis in the Bahamas. With the commissioning of Dream in January 2011 and Disney Fantasy in spring 2012, Disney Cruise Line is doubling its fleet, increasing capacity to two-and-a-half times that of Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, and expanding itineraries to include Alaska, Europe, the Mexican Riviera and multiple stops at Castaway Cay.

By Michael Coleman

Disney’s pixie dust is spreading.

Disney Cruise Line has unveiled new itineraries and will set sail from three new ports in 2012 — New York, Seattle and Galveston — making the Disney family cruise vacation experience more accessible to potential passengers than ever before.

In Florida, sister-ships Disney Fantasy (to debut in March, 2012) and Disney Dream (unveiled earlier this year) will sail a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries departing from Port Canaveral.

The 4,000-passenger Fantasy will depart on her maiden voyage March 31, 2012, and will sail out of Port Canaveral on seven-night Caribbean itineraries — alternating eastern (St. Maarten and St. Thomas) and western (Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel). Special Eastern Caribbean sailings in November and December 2012 stop at St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico. All Disney Fantasy itineraries include a visit at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The 4,000-passenger Dream, meanwhile, will sail three-, four- and five-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay while five-night itineraries include two stops at Castaway Cay.

Beginning May 25, 2012, the 2,700-passenger Disney Magic will sail a total of 20 cruises from New York — including eight-night cruises to the Bahamas and five-night cruises up the New England coast to Canada plus three, two-night quick-getaway cruises (June 15, July 13, August 10). The eight Bahamas cruises will include a day at Castaway Cay and a stop at Port Canaveral, giving guests an opportunity to visit the nearby Walt Disney World Resort. As part of this itinerary, each guest will receive one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and roundtrip transportation between their Disney ship and the resort. The nine five-night New England/Canada cruises will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. In these popular Canadian ports, guests can soak in splendid natural vistas, explore historic sites, visit quaint cafes and charming shops, and browse Canada’s oldest farmer’s market.

Beginning Sept. 22, 2012, Magic will sail 12 seven-night cruises from the Port of Galveston to the Western Caribbean. Ports of call include Grand Cayman and Mexico’s Costa Maya and Cozumel.

Meanwhile, beginning May 28, 2012, the 2,700-passenger Disney Wonder is Alaska-bound as she will sail a total of 14 seven-night cruises from the Port of Seattle to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia. She will then sail seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises from the Port of Los Angeles for the majority of the year — throughout winter, spring and fall. Look also for Wonder to sail four seven-night Pacific Coast cruises from Los Angeles (Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30 and Oct. 7), calling on San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico.

And, for the first time, Wonder will offer a special 15-night voyage to Hawaii from Los Angeles, calling on Hilo; Kahului, Maui; Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai and Ensenada, Mexico. The Hawaiian departure begins April 29, 2012.

On the web: www.disneycruise.com

Gauguin offers 20-night South Pacific hotel/cruise package

Image courtesy Paul Gauguin — The intimate, 332-guest Paul Gauguin, a leader in luxury cruise travel in the South Pacific since 1998, is offering a 20-night hotel/cruise package in January, 2012.

By Michael Coleman

The intimate 332-guest Paul Gauguin, fresh from a $25 million makeover, is offering a 20-night hotel/cruise package January 23, 2012 featuring nine distinctive islands in five South Pacific archipelagos.

The line’s “South Pacific Discovery’’ cruise will call on Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, Cook and Society Islands.

Guests will enjoy three days at leisure in Sydney, Australia’s oldest and largest city, at the Four Seasons Hotel. Guests will then fly to Brisbane to board the Gauguin en route to New Caledonia, Fiji and the Kingdom of Tonga, ending in French Polynesia. The line is offering complimentary air from Los Angeles.

Among the voyage highlights:
Noumea, New Caledonia: This capital city has been named the “Paris of the Pacific” due to its French ambience, heritage and culture; Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji: The largest of the island chain is comprised of high mountains, lush vegetation, plus pristine white-sand beaches; Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji:

Once a bustling trading port, this Fijian village is now known for its geothermal hot springs; Vava’u Tonga: Never colonized by Europeans, this South Pacific nation maintains a strong Polynesian culture. Crystal clear waters and high mountain tops offer unparalleled views of the Tonga islands; Aitutaki, Cook Islands: Consisting of three volcanoes and 12 coral islets, this island offers beautiful coral reefs and a pristine lagoon. Aitutaki is nearly flat, affording ocean views from virtually any point on the island.

The ship will also sail to Taha’a where guests will visit Motu Mahana, Paul Gauguin Cruises’ private island featuring white-sand beaches with swaying palms, crystal-clear waters and gentle breezes. A Polynesian barbeque lunch and local entertainment will be offered; Bora Bora: Guests will have the opportunity to view the famous marine life or relax on a beautiful, private beach off the coast; Moorea: The lush scenery features green vegetation, an abundance of fresh fruit and flowers, spectacular mountain peaks and palm-fringed beaches.

Aboard Gauguin, guests enjoy a relaxed and elegant setting in which to enjoy the amenities of the award-winning, newly refurbished ship. Look for onboard lectures, SCUBA diving lessons, local entertainment and excellent cuisine.

The Gauguin has completed more than 570 South Pacific cruises and has served more than 155,000 guests, including more than 14,000 honeymooners, since its inaugural sailing in 1998.

On the web: www.pgcruises.com

Enter Carnival’s contest for a cause and win a trip on their newest ship

The Carnival Magic launches in about a month and you can win a trip on her by building a model of a Carnival ship. Photo courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

By Jackie Roseboom

Kids and kids at heart can put their artistic skills to good use and build a ship for a good cause.

Carnival Cruise Lines is launching a “Build a Ship” contest that invites anyone 13 years or older to build a model of a Carnival ship out of everyday items and submit a photo of it to win a free cruise. The contest, which benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is the latest in a series of contests and other activities in anticipation of the May 1 launch of the line’s newest ship, Carnival Magic.

Participants are encouraged to be creative and use whatever they can think of to build a cruise ship. There are no limits on what household materials can be utilized.

Once the ship model is complete, entrants are asked to snap a photo of their creation and upload it to www.carnivalmagic.com with a title and a brief description of the materials used. Photos will be displayed in an online gallery on the Carnival Magic website.

The deadline for submissions is April 6. The winner will be chosen by an online vote open to the public and will be announced on April 26. A selection of five finalists will be chosen for the public vote. The grand prize winner will receive a seven-day Carnival Magic Caribbean cruise for four from Galveston, Texas, in an ocean view stateroom. The four finalists will receive a prize pack containing a digital camera and various Carnival logo items. Carnival will donate $1 to St. Jude, up to $10,000, for each entry and vote, as well as for each Facebook fan who “likes” the contest.

The Carnival Magic is set to debut in Europe with a series of seven- to 12-day Mediterranean cruises operating May 1 to Oct. 16. Following a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Magic will launch seven-day Caribbean service from Galveston, Texas, on Nov. 14, becoming the port’s largest year-round cruise ship.
The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic will introduce a host of exciting innovations, including the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub; Cucina del Capitano, a family-style Italian restaurant that brings Carnival’s Italian heritage to the table; and SportSquare, an action-packed top-deck recreation area featuring cruising’s first ropes course and outdoor fitness area. Other features include Serenity, a relaxing adults-only retreat; The Lanai, a wraparound outdoor promenade with whirlpools that extend over the ship’s sides; and Ocean Plaza, a stunning indoor/outdoor café and live music venue. The ship will also have more than 19,000 square feet dedicated to children and families. That will consist of Camp Carnival (ages 2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17), a two-level miniature golf course, Carnival WaterWorks aqua park with water slides and attractions, an arcade and more.

Details and contest rules can be found on Carnival Magic’s website at carnivalmagic.com/contest.

Be sure and follow Cruise News Weekly on Facebook and Twitter as we sail on the Carnival Magic in early May, and look for a future review on these pages.

– Jackie Roseboom is a regular contributor to Cruise Guide, “Orlando Attractions Magazine” and CruiseNewsWeekly.com.

Princess honors MacLeod, preps for Royal Wedding

Television’s favorite captain, Gavin MacLeod, celebrated his 80th birthday aboard Golden Princess this week. The line made famous by the hit television show “The Love Boat’’, Princess Cruises will now wow a new generation of viewers April 29 when each ship in its fleet will broadcast live the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Image courtesy Princess Cruises

By Michael Coleman

Princess Cruises honored television’s most beloved captain, Gavin MacLeod, with a special 80th birthday party aboard Golden Princess this week in Los Angeles.

Crew members, along with his friends and family, sang “Happy Birthday” and presented him with a massive cake — a 5-foot-long, 3D replica of the original “Love Boat,” Pacific Princess.

MacLeod is perhaps best known for his role as “Captain Merrill Stubing” in the popular television series, The Love Boat. One of the longest running television shows in history, The Love Boat cruised through 10 seasons from 1977 to 1986 and is still in syndication in 92 countries worldwide. This year also marks MacLeod’s 25th anniversary serving as Princess Cruises’ spokesperson.

MacLeod’s impressive career spans television, theater and film. He spent seven years on the award-winning television series The Mary Tyler Moore Show as “Murray Slaughter,” the acid-tongued news writer. His other well-known television roles include “Happy” on McHale’s Navy and “Big Chicken” on Hawaii Five-O, and he has also appeared in The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hogan’s Heroes, The Big Valley, Ironside, To Catch a Thief, Run For Your Life, Hotel and Murder She Wrote.

MacLeod’s film debut was in 1958 with Susan Hayward in the Oscar-winning film I Want to Live. His subsequent 35 film credits include Compulsion with Orson Welles, Operation Petticoat with Cary Grant, High Time with Bing Crosby, The Party with Peter Sellers, The Sand Pebbles with Steve McQueen and Kelly’s Heroes with Clint Eastwood.

A Royal Onboard Affair

Meanwhile, the highly anticipated Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be televised live on all Princess ships on April 29. Passengers will be able to follow along with full coverage of the pomp and majesty of the historic wedding through BBC World’s broadcast of the event.

Not only can passengers follow along as the future princess walks down the aisle, but they’ll enjoy viewing parties on board as they watch this royal event. BBC is the official wedding broadcaster and has exclusive access inside Westminster Abbey during the ceremony.

The onboard viewing parties will add a celebratory flair to the event with British-style refreshments and special royal-themed cocktails. Passengers can also test their knowledge with royal wedding trivia competitions and participate in a William and Kate look-alike contest.

“As this is the first British royal wedding in years we know there will be wide interest among our passengers,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “We at Princess also feel a connection with Prince William because his mother, Princess Diana, christened our original Royal Princess back in 1984.”

Royal Wedding broadcasts are planned for all ships in the Princess fleet, subject to satellite availability. In some time zones the broadcast may be delayed for viewing at a convenient hour.

The Royal Wedding is one of several special events shown on the line’s Movies Under the Stars giant outdoor screens, including the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. The LED screens are more than 300 square feet in size with a 69,000-watt sound system and have sufficient lighting power to be seen clearly at mid-day and heard even while the ship is moving at full speed.

On the web: www.princess.com