Royal Caribbean Announced their 2014 European Cruises

Royal Caribbean International announced that in 2014, they are adding Scandinavia and Baltic cruises from Hamburg, Germany, aboard Legend of the Seas, one of nine Royal Caribbean ships to sail European waters in 2014. Also announced new 2014 Europe Cruisetours, which combine a cruise with an exclusive land tour program that explores some of Europe’s most popular cities and interior regions such as Madrid, Florence, Rome and more.

Legend of the Seas’ 2014 Scandinavia and Baltic cruises from Hamburg opened for sale on April 11, 2013, and the 2014 Europe Cruisetours are available for booking immediately.

“There is no better way for families and adventurous vacationers to experience Europe than with Royal Caribbean,” said Lisa Bauer, executive vice president of Global Sales and Marketing for Royal Caribbean International. “Whether it’s aboard our world’s most innovative and award-winning ships or on one of our fascinating cruisetours, vacationers will be WOW’ed by a Europe vacation that can only be found with Royal Caribbean. Most of our ships have been recently revitalized and offer guests our newest exciting entertainment and the most contemporary onboard amenities, which together make for a most unforgettable Europe vacation.”

Legend of the Seas is the latest ship in the cruise line’s fleet to undergo extensive revitalization to make every ship Royal Caribbean’s best ship, and now offers guests more dining options, exciting entertainment and innovative amenities. All staterooms and bathrooms were completely refreshed and a new Family Suite has been added to provide family vacationers more room for the whole clan. Legend of the Seas’ guests enjoy eight restaurants, including the new Chops Grille, Izumi Asian Cuisine, Park Café, and the exclusive Chef’s Table experience for 16 guests. Furthermore, in addition to Broadway-style musical revues in the main theater, guests also will be WOW’ed by the new aerial-acrobatic entertainment spectacular, which spans throughout the four-story Centrum.

Through the cruise line’s ongoing fleetwide revitalization program, most ships now feature some of the top concepts that were introduced aboard the ground-breaking Oasis-class ships, such as new digital signage, bow-to-stern Wi-Fi service, flat-panel televisions in every stateroom, an oversized LCD movie screen overlooking the main pool, Concierge and Diamond Lounges for suite and Crown & Anchor Society member guests, and the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery for guests six to 36 months old.

For the 2014 Hamburg sailings, Legend of the Seas will reposition from Stockholm to Hamburg on July 27, 2014, sailing an intriguing 14-night itinerary throughout the Baltic Sea that features a three-day call at St. Petersburg, Russia; a maiden call for the cruise line at Fredericia, Denmark; and a return to Klaipeda, Lithuania –last called in 2008. Throughout Aug. 2014, Legend of the Seas will sail every Sunday on a seven-night, roundtrip itinerary from Hamburg, calling at Oslo, Stavanger, Geiranger and Ǻlesund, before departing on Sept. 7 for a 16-night trans-Atlantic sailing to Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. Alternatively, vacationers also can embark in Oslo for the seven-night, roundtrip Norway itinerary, or for the ship’s trans-Atlantic crossing. Legend of the Seas will be joined by Oasis of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, and Independence of the Seas Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, and Splendour of the Seas in European waters in 2014.

Travelers can choose among four Royal Caribbean Cruisetours that combine one of five ships with a three- to five-night land program that offers the best value to explore the many inland metropolises and attractions, as well as the coastal ones. Royal Caribbean takes care of all the planning for immersive Europe land tours, each featuring expert Adventure Specialists who act as guides, historians and concierges; carefully selected accommodations in the heart of each incredible city; premium baggage handling service throughout; transfers between cities, airport and ship; and built-in free time for guests to create their own one-of-a-kind adventure.

Two Royal Caribbean Cruisetour programs combine a Mediterranean cruise aboard Serenade of the Seas or Splendour of the Seas with either a four-night Madrid & Barcelona or a three-night Italian Lakes, Como & Venice land tour. On the latter itinerary, guest spend two nights in Como of the famed Lake Como and visit the quaint Italian town of Bellagio. Another immersive Italy cruisetour combines a Navigator of the Seas sailing with a five-night itinerary that includes all the must-see attractions of Venice, Florence & Rome. Furthermore, the Paris & London cruisetour combines a sailing aboard Adventure of the Seas or Brilliance of the Seas with a four-night itinerary that showcases Paris and London’s top, iconic landmarks.

All-inclusive Regent sets sights on longer itineraries

Image courtesy Regent Seven Seas Cruises - The 700-guest Regent Seven Seas Voyager will be featuring an all-encompassing, 29-night itinerary from London to Stockholm in June, 2012. The line’s other 700-guest vessel, Mariner, will be offering an equally immersive 27-night itinerary from Monte Carlo to Buenos Aires in November, 2012.

By Michael Coleman

Intrepid luxury cruise travelers seeking more of Europe and South America in 2012 have been eyeing new, longer itineraries recently unveiled by Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The line’s “Grand Voyages’’ — London to Stockholm, 29 nights in June, 2012; or Monte Carlo to Buenos Aires, 27 nights in November, 2012 — were announced according to company officials in response to past guest requests and heightened demand for extended sailings in Europe and South America.

“A great number of our loyal guests are perennial travelers and seek out voyages which offer a wide range of unique experiences,’’ said Regent president Mark Conroy. “Our new 2012 Grand Voyages offer an abundance of opportunities for exploration and are certain to create life-long memories.’’

Among the highlights:

– Northern Odyssey, 29 nights, London to Stockholm, departs June 3, 2012. Travelers visit the most alluring ports aboard the 700-guest Voyager in the British Isles, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and the Baltic. Along the way, guests will be treated to the region’s must-see star ports such as Dublin, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, along with lesser-explored locales in Scotland, Norway and Iceland and overnight calls in Reykjavik, Oslo and St. Petersburg.

– Latin Sojourn, 27 nights, Monte Carlo to Buenos Aires, departs Nov. 9, 2012. A nearly four-week journey aboard the 700-guest Mariner visiting some of the Costa del Sol’s treasures — Barcelona, Cartagena and Granada — before calling on the golden shores of North Africa and the Canary Islands. Relaxing days crossing the Atlantic are the perfect prelude to one of the most comprehensive explorations of South America’s east coast, where bustling metropolises are perfectly blended with Old World colonial charm and breathtaking nature preserves.

Recently rated “world’s best cruise line” by Condé Nast Traveler readers, Regent operates the all-suite Voyager, Mariner and Navigator on seven- to 119-night voyages to more than 300 destinations world-wide, including Alaska, the Mediterranean, Greek Islands and Holy Lands before venturing to Egypt, India, Australia, New Zealand, the Far East, South America and the Caribbean for the winter.

The line has just completed a $100 million enhancement of all three vessels. Almost every area of the ships was refurbished, with public rooms being substantially redesigned. The updates resulted in a new look that is fresh, elegant and luxurious yet retains the familial warmth and charm for which Regent is lauded.

Beginning with the 2012 summer season, guests in concierge-level suites and higher will enjoy a range of benefits from priority online shore excursion and restaurant reservations to upgrades and complimentary amenities. Enhancing the culinary experience, menus in the Compass Rose and La Veranda restaurants will be expanded with a greater emphasis placed on showcasing specialties from the regions visited.

The company is widely recognized as the world’s most inclusive cruise line because airfare, all-suite accommodations, award-winning cuisine, open bars, nightly entertainment, sightseeing tours and excursions, gratuities and taxes, and a free, pre-cruise luxury hotel package are included in the cruise fare.

On the web: www.rssc.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:

Watch Carnival Magic’s launch videos and enter to win a free cruise

Carnival Cruise Lines is inviting their Facebook fans to experience the excitement of Carnival Magic’s May 1 launch from Venice, Italy, with a series of videos that showcase the ship’s inaugural activities along with its many unique features. Then fans can participate in a Facebook quiz based on the videos for a chance to win a seven-day Carnival Magic cruise for four to the Caribbean.

A series of 11 videos will be posted every half hour between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. (U.S. Eastern time) on Sunday, May 1. The videos take viewers on a journey as they enjoy a front-row seat at the Carnival Magic’s naming ceremony, tour the ship’s bridge, and learn more about the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, WaterWorks aqua park, and Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant, with insight from company executives who helped create these exciting new spaces.

The videos also offer an in-depth look at the ship’s European ports of call and a recap of the day’s events, including a chat with the ship’s godmother, Lindsey Wilkerson, a former patient of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who now serves as an employee and an ambassador of the organization. Carnival Magic’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald will also answer questions submitted by Facebook fans as part of an informative “Ask John” segment.

“Only a handful of people get to witness a ship launch in person so by using Facebook we’re enabling fans from all over the world to be right there with us as we welcome Carnival Magic into the fleet,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer. “Those who are not already among our 725,000 and growing Facebook fans can visit us at facebook.com/carnival and simply hit the “like” button.”

Fans can also follow Cruise News Weekly staff as they attend the inaugural activities and first sailing. Just visit Facebook.com/CruiseNews and click the “Like” button. You can also follow even more updates from May 1-10 on their Twitter account at Twitter.com/CruiseGuide.

The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic will spend its inaugural season in Europe with a series of seven- to 12-day Mediterranean cruises operating May 1 through October 16, 2011. Following a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Magic will begin seven-day Caribbean cruises out of Galveston, Texas, on November 14, 2011, becoming the port’s largest year-round ship.

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.

On Board: Follow us on the MSC Fantasia

msc-fantasia-aerial2

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is in the Mediterranean this week aboard MSC Fantasia and will be reporting on, among other things, the MSC Yacht Club, an exclusive, private onboard enclave.
Fantasia will be calling on ports in Italy, Africa and Spain as the week progresses.

On Board: Newly-refurbished Silver Wind sails the Mediterranean

silver-wind-venice-italy-june-17-2009

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is in the Mediterranean this week aboard the newly-refurbished Silver Wind. One of the world’s most luxurious ships, the 298-guest vessel was in Venice, Italy a few days ago. She will be calling on ports in Croatia (Zadar and Dubrovnik), Malta (Valletta and Gozo) and Spain (Palma de Mallorca and Valencia). We’ll update her progress on this space as the cruise unfolds, including coverage of a classical music event scheduled exclusively for Silver Wind guests at Magazino Hall in Valletta.

Onboard: Solstice wowing passengers in the Med

solstice-grass

By Michael Coleman

ATHENS, Greece — Passengers were greeted by many firsts this week as they boarded the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Solstice.

The vessel sports a half-acre-sized lawn complete with real grass on the top deck. Between games of bocce ball and croquet, even putting competitions, couples have also been enjoying picnics — sans shoes of course — as bare feet meets turf for the first time at sea. Continue reading “Onboard: Solstice wowing passengers in the Med”