MSC and Chicco develop joint infant cruising product

July 23, 2014 on 7:42 am | In Cruise Boats | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowItalian childcare brand Chicco has teamed up with MSC Cruises to offer custom-built children’s areas on six new ships on order, along with the use of childcare equipment for young families at sea.

Chicco branded products available for use include strollers, bottle warmers and baby backpacks for shore excursions, and a ‘Baby Globetrotter” printed guide detailing shipboard services and mini-club activities, kids’ menus and advice for stress-free family shore excursions.

Chicco Observatory, the research division of the childcare firm, will also conduct special training for MSC staff responsible for onboard childcare.

“The collaboration improves even more MSC’s family-oriented offers and services and Chicco also embodies exactly that, as well as the ‘made in Italy’ label that both our companies proudly represent,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises.

Chicco will play an “essential role” in the design of custom built kids’ areas on new ships currently under construction in France and Italy.


MSC Cruises adds child care equipment

July 23, 2014 on 7:36 am | In Cruise Boats | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowChildcare equipment, dedicated family guides, staff training, and special play areas on ships to be featured

Fort Lauderdale, FL  – MSC Cruises and Chicco have teamed up to bring even more happiness on vacation with a cruise tailor-made for babies. The brands, two global flag-carriers of Italian excellence, have joined forces to make a range of Chicco’s outstanding products available to families in custom-built children areas on six ships of the expanding MSC Cruises fleet.

MSC Cruises and Chicco partnered to offer an ideal vacation for families with very small children free of any practical worries. Indeed, the well-being of babies is at the heart of the partnership and everything has been thought of in order to help parents handle the schedule of a baby’s day: feeding, napping, changing and all other necessities.

“We are enthusiastically starting this new journey with Chicco, a dynamic company that marries an innovative approach with experience and tradition,” declared Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. “With this new collaboration MSC Cruises improves even more its family-oriented offers and services. We always have the safety of our guests in mind, especially children, and Chicco embodies exactly that, as well as the ‘made in Italy’ label that both our companies proudly represent across the world. We offer tailor-made vacations mixed with incomparable hospitality. The partnership with Chicco is set in the long term as they will play an essential role also in the design of specific and innovative kids’ areas in the ships that are being built in France and Italy.”

“It is with equal enthusiasm that we have embraced the collaboration with MSC Cruises, a partner and a project in which we have found the same values and the same attention that we give to families,” commented Claudio De Conto, CEO of Gruppo Artsana to which Chicco belongs. “We are delighted and proud to have contributed our experience to design with MSC Cruises an onboard holiday fit for toddlers. Our expertise is the result of constant research with experts and especially with parents, as they know the needs of their children better than anyone else. It is a valuable knowhow that we have shared with MSC Cruises because for more than 50 years our biggest reward has been the smile of children – especially when on vacation with their parents.”

MSC Cruises has made available on board a wide choice of Chicco childcare equipment, including strollers, bottle warmers and baby backpacks for shore excursions, to make cruising even simpler for families with babies and toddlers.

MSC Cruises will also give families a “Baby Globetrotter”– a printed guide packed with information on services and mini-club activities, game ideas, kids menus and handy tips for family excursions according to the ship’s itinerary.

Furthermore, the Chicco Observatory, a developmental research lab focusing on the under threes, will provide the special training of MSC staff who will manage onboard childcare and give advice to families, in order to enjoy a relaxed and entertaining family cruise.

The collaboration between MSC Cruises and Chicco will be enhanced with the building of special areas on two Lirica class ships within the Renaissance Program*. These areas will also be found on the new ships to be built by STX France** and FINCANTIERI***.

*About the Renaissance Program

The $273 million Renaissance Program will see the four MSC Cruises ships in the Lirica class (MSC Armonia; MSC Sinfonia; MSC Opera; MSC Lirica) physically extended and refitted between September 2014 and November 2015 to increase their capacity and provide far enhanced onboard services. The work, entrusted to Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, will furnish each of the four ships with numerous new entertainment options, technological enhancements, more shops and nearly 200 new cabins per ship.

**About the ships to be built by STX France

The two units are due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. The ships will be 1033 feet long and 141 feet wide, with a gross tonnage of about 167,600 tons, boasting 2,250 cabins for guests, nearly 820 crew cabins, and accommodating 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members.

*** About the ships to be built by FINCANTIERI

With a length of 1060 feet, a width of 135 feet and a height of 230 feet, the new Seaside ships built by FINCANTIERI will have a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and will accommodate up to 5,300 passengers plus 1,413 crew members. The ships will boast 2,070 guest cabins, 759 for crew members, and 468,230 square feet of public areas available. The two ships will be delivered to the company at different times: the first in November 2017, the second in May 2018.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit us online at www.msccruisesusa.com , call 1-877-4655 or contact your local travel agency. For MSC Cruises’ latest news and updates, like MSC Cruises’ Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MSC.Cruises.USA or follow along on Twitter at www.twitter.com/msccruisesusa.

About MSC Cruises

Onboard MSC’s twelve vessels, guests enjoy the Mediterranean way of life. From the hospitality to the dining, guests are enveloped in the Mediterranean manner of enjoying life to its fullest. Guests are encouraged to slow down and enjoy everything their MSC vacation has to offer. Kids 11 and under sail free year-round on MSC Cruises with kids 17 and under sailing at reduced rates.

MSC Cruises is a privately-held, family-owned, Italian cruise line with a fleet of 12 ships: MSC Armonia, MSC Divina, MSC Fantasia, MSC Lirica, MSC Magnifica, MSC Musica, MSC Orchestra, MSC Opera, MSC Poesia, MSC Preziosa, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Splendida. The fleet cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in the Caribbean, Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the French Antilles, South America, South and West Africa, The United Arab Emirates and the Red Sea. MSC Divina began sailing the Caribbean from PortMiami on November 20, 2013, becoming the line’s first ship dedicated to North American travelers. In March 2014, the line announced the construction of two new cruise ships by STX France due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. Two months later, the line announced the construction of two additional new builds by Fincantieri due for delivery respectively in November 2017 and May 2018. For more information, visit www.msccruisesusa.com


Havana to Cienfuegos – 8 days aboard the S/C Panorama

July 23, 2014 on 7:34 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, Cruise Boats | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowStarting at $3,999

Step back in time to a place rooted in culture and history, where the people are as warm and welcoming as the climate. Come aboard the Panorama, known for its accommodations and navigation between destinations in Cuba.

Highlights:

8 Days aboard the 48 passenger sail cruiser Panorama in outside cabins

Exciting opportunities to engage with Cuban artists, naturalists, architects & musicians

Visits and meaningful exchanges in Havana, Trinidad, Cienfuegos & Cayo Largo

Meals onboard, at local restaurants and a salsa lesson or two

Includes flights Miami/Cuba/Miami

No packing and unpacking

Includes Cuban visa

Visit the Shroud of Turin

More information available at www.groupist.com/cuba .
Call 1-800-833-2111 to book now or to ask about our Group Rates and volume overrides.

Cuba

Cuba

Group IST has been issued a license (#CT-2014-309395-1) by the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) authorizing us to organize and operate People to People programs to Cuba.


A ‘Dark Shadows’ Festival at Sea

July 23, 2014 on 7:27 am | In Beachbooker, Caribbean, Cruise Boats, Festivals, France, French West Indies, Webbandstand | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowAre you old enough to remember “Dark Shadows,” the scary and mysterious daytime soap opera than ran from 1966 to 1971? Plenty of people do, and many remain devoted fans of the show that featured vampires, witches and werewolves.

And now there are theme cruises for “Dark Shadows” fans. Scott Kertes, president and owner of Hartford Holidays Travel in Garden City, N.Y., is the booking agent for “Dark Shadows Festival at Sea,” which he organizes in partnership with the host, Arie Boris, editor-in-chief of www.CruiseGourmet.com magazine. Hartford Holidays has a division called Special Events at Sea (SEAS) that organizes theme cruises.

“The show’s following is very cult-like … it’s akin to ‘Star Trek’ albeit on a bit smaller scale,” Kertes said. “The project is based on the original TV show, not the new [2012] movie. Interestingly, the movie, starring Johnny Depp, kind of tanked. And among the original TV show fans it’s pretty much frowned upon. The cast members who join us for the cruise are the cast members from the original TV show, and, unbeknown to me, they still have huge fan followings.”

Last year, they attracted 120 people to the first “Dark Shadows” theme cruise over Halloween on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas out of New York. The second such cruise is scheduled for Jan. 10-17, 2015, round-trip from San Juan on Jewel of the Seas.

“We fully expect to exceed last year’s numbers on this one,” Kertes said. “I continue to be surprised as to how many avid fans this show and its cast members has! We’ve upped the number of original cast members traveling with us from three on the first cruise to five on this upcoming cruise.”

The cast members joining the trip will be Kathryn Leigh Scott, who portrayed both “Josette” and “Maggie Evans,” and Lara Parker, who played “Angelique.” Other original stars attending are Jerry Lacy, who played “Reverend Trask”; Kathleen Cody, who was “Hallie Stokes”; and Marie Wallace, “Eve.”

The highlight of the cruise, Kertes said, is a full day in Martinique, where “Barnabas Collins,” the main character (a vampire!) of the “Dark Shadows” story, met “Angelique”. Collins was played by Jonathan Frid, who died in 2012.

The theme cruise will include screenings, a costume party with the stars, Q&A sessions, autographs, a special “Dark Shadows Origins in Martinique” presentation, performances by the stars, a bus tour of Martinique and more.

The cruise also will visit St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia and Grenada. Fares start at $818 for an inside stateroom and range up to $1,749 for a suite.


Carnival Triumph Goes Long, Magic Goes Short

July 23, 2014 on 7:17 am | In Cruise Boats | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowFollowing strong consumer response to Carnival Triumph’s first-ever longer length voyages from Galveston and San Juan, the cruise line has added three new 10- to 12-day cruises departing in winter 2015 and visiting beautiful and exotic destinations throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Additionally, Carnival Magic will offer a series of four- to six-day voyages from Galveston in winter 2015, marking the first time that the 130,000-ton ship has offered a short cruise program from Texas.

“Based on feedback we’ve received from our guests and valued travel agent partners, we are pleased to be able to provide even more itinerary choices from Galveston,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “These new longer cruises on Carnival Triumph visit a variety of beautiful destinations while offering more time to enjoy the ship’s many fantastic and exciting features.”

“At the same time, the four- to six-day sailings on Carnival Magic are the perfect choice for those looking for a shorter cruise featuring all the wonderful innovations aboard our newest class of ships,” he added.

The newly scheduled voyages on Carnival Triumph include three exciting options:

An 11-day southern Caribbean voyage from Galveston to San Juan Feb. 9-20, 2015, calling at Grand Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica and St. Maarten.
A 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean voyage from San Juan to Galveston Feb. 20 – March 2, 2015, with visits to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Croix and Falmouth (Jamaica).

A 12-day Journey of Discovery cruise round-trip from Galveston March 2-14, 2015, featuring Grand Cayman, Limon (Costa Rica), Colon (Panama), and Cartagena and Santa Marta (Colombia). From Colon, guests will have the opportunity to take an optional excursion for an up-close view of the wonders of the Panama Canal. The call at Santa Marta will mark Carnival’s first-ever visit to this beautiful and exciting seaside city.

The three voyages can be combined to create an unforgettable 33-day seagoing adventure visiting 15 ports across two continents.

During these voyages, guests can relax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, visit centuries-old historical landmarks and attractions, and enjoy a diversity of shopping, dining and sightseeing opportunities, all while experiencing Carnival Triumph’s impressive array of Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment innovations. These include Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican venue, the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar, and more.

The three new voyages complement Carnival Triumph’s previously announced series of 10- and 11-day cruises from Galveston and San Juan in 2015 and 2016. Two 11-day cruises sail from Galveston to San Juan Oct. 24, 2015, and Jan. 16, 2016, and two 10-day cruises will operate from San Juan to Galveston Nov. 4, 2015, and Jan. 27, 2016.

First-Ever Short Cruises Aboard Carnival Magic

While Carnival Triumph is sailing these longer length cruises, Carnival Magic will, for the first time, offer a series of four- to six-day voyages from Galveston in February and March 2015, providing consumers an opportunity to experience the ship’s many unique features on a short cruise program. Aboard Carnival Magic, guests can experience SkyCourse, a suspended ropes course offering breathtaking views to the sea 150 feet below, as well as the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Prime classic American steakhouse, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub and a stunning indoor/outdoor café and live music venue called Ocean Plaza.

Carnival Magic’s short cruise program will encompass two four-day cruises to Cozumel departing Feb. 19 and March 5, 2015; two five-day cruises to Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico, departing Feb. 14 and 23, 2015; and two unique six-day cruises to Cozumel, Progreso and Costa Maya departing Feb. 8 and March 9, 2015.

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for new departures aboard both Carnival Triumph and Carnival Magic. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501 (individual) or 1-800-327-5782 (groups) or visit the line’s travel agent Internet portal, GoCCL.com.

Read more travel news at www.travelpulse.com


Un-Cruise Adventures Is Taking Small Ships to Big Places

July 23, 2014 on 7:15 am | In Adventure Travel, Alaska, Baja, Cruise Boats, Hawaiian Islands, Mexico, Pacific Northwest | Comments Off



"GoddessThe 72-page brochure may be ordered online and is currently being mailed out to requestors and travel agent partners. The line’s fleet of seven adventure vessels carries 22-84 guests on adventure cruises in remote and scenic destinations and one replica coastal steamer carries 88 guests on a Northwest river cruise with an eye on history. The brochure offers a first peek at upcoming destinations—Galápagos in 2016 and Costa Rica/Panama in late 2015.

“New adventures in Central and South America are a welcome addition, especially for returning guests who are ready for a new Un-Cruise destination,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “These small group adventures will also be trips of a lifetime with our unique multi-sport exploration in nature’s most enriching hideaways.”

Quito and Galápagos

Debuting in 2016, an inclusive nine-night vacation in Ecuador visits two UNESCO World Heritage Sites—Quito and Galápagos Islands. The adventure begins with two nights at Casa Gangotena, a 31-room boutique hotel in Quito’s historic center and a full day of dining and tours exploring the historic city.

The seven-night island cruise sails from San Cristóbal Island aboard the 48-guest La Pinta and visits both island favorites of Española and Genovesa. Other islands visited include Santa Cruz, Bartolomé, Santiago and Chinese Hat Islet.

Departure dates in 2016 include February 17, March 16 and 30, May 25, July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 14 and Nov/ 9. Adventures include transfers, air between Quito and Galápagos, fees/taxes, tours and adventure activities, wine/beer/spirits on board La Pinta.

For 2016, rates begin at $8,995 per person for the inclusive land tour and island cruise adventure. Extensions will include a three-night cruise on the Napo River in the Amazon and a six-night journey to Machu Picchu.

The 64-guest Safari Voyager will sail inclusive weeklong adventures exploring Costa Rica and Panama beginning in December 2015. Details are pending.

Southeast Alaska – From April-September, two boutique yachts and four small ships sail adventure cruises from homeports of Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau with few, if any, port calls and a focus on outdoor adventure, nature and wildlife.

Hawai‘i—The 36-guest Safari Explorer visits four islands from November-April. Weeklong adventures sail between Moloka‘i and Hawai‘i and visit Lana‘i and Maui. An inclusive vacation option, the Safari Explorer is the only small overnight passenger ship in the islands.

Mexico’s Sea of Cortés—From November-March, the 84-guest Safari Endeavour explores the marine-rich waters of the sea and scenic, remote desert islands on weeklong adventures from San José del Cabo, Baja.

Columbia & Snake Rivers—From April-November, the 88-guest S.S. Legacy plies the rivers roundtrip Portland, Oregon visiting towns and points of historical interest on a scenic weeklong river cruise stretching from the verdant west to Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America. All shoreside tours are included. A new wine cruise itinerary is offered on four departures.

Coastal Washington & British Columbia—In spring and fall, the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer explores the islands and shoreline of coastal Washington and the 22-guest Safari Quest ventures north to explore British Columbia and Princess Louisa Inlet. Both adventure voyages sail from Seattle, Washington.

Travelers may uncover more details in the brochure. Kids in Nature cruises are planned for families traveling with children 12 and younger. Theme cruises – birding, craft beer, music, Lewis & Clark, marine biology, photography and wine—are peppered throughout the sailing calendar. Each vessel’s deck plan, cabin categories and amenities appear in the back of the brochure.

To book or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or Un-Cruise Adventures at 888-862-8881 or sales@un-cruise.com

Read more travel news at www.travelpulse.com


Viking Cruises Extends Downton Abbey Sponsorship

July 22, 2014 on 11:57 am | In Cruise Boats, Europe | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowIt just might the most successful television sponsorship for a major travel company—and now it’s going to continue through 2015. Viking Cruises, which now has well over 50 river ships as well as a new oceangoing cruise vessel set to debut next year, has extended its corporate sponsorship of PBS’ widely praised Masterpiece, which includes the Emmy award-winning “Downton Abbey” and two other hit series, “Mr. Selfridge” and “Sherlock.”

Viking has sponsored Masterpiece since 2011, which has given the company wide visibility at a time when it has been dramatically growing its river cruise fleet in Europe and around the world. It also unveiled plans last year to start an ocean-going cruise line, with the debut of Viking Star set for next March and another vessel to come in 2016.

Viking has been the only river cruise line to launch a national TV advertising program, with its sponsorship of Masterpiece, as well as ads on CBS News and CNN programs. “Downton Abbey,” in particular, has given the line wide visibility as it has garnered numerous awards. Indeed, the series has earned 24 nominations for the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards, which will be announced on Aug. 25.

“Our partnership with Masterpiece is successful largely because of the similarities between our audiences,” said Richard Marnell, senior vice president of marketing for Viking. “Viking’s guests, many of whom are Masterpiece viewers, enrich their lives through history, culture and exploration. We strongly believe in marketing the Viking experience to like-minded travelers, so we are proud to continue our relationship with Masterpiece, and we congratulate them on their 2014 Emmy nominations.”

Viking has tied its product closely to “Downton Abbey,” offering an optional excursion to Highclere Castle in England, the setting for the TV series, as a pre- or post-trip option for customers on its “Cities of Light” and “Paris and the Heart of Normandy” itineraries.

This past year Viking christened a record 18 river ships, including 16 of its Longships, in four countries over five days. It also has unveiled plans to launch another 12 river ships next year. That will bring its total number of river ships to 64. In addition, Viking will christen the 930-passenger Viking Star, its new oceangoing vessel, on May 17 in Bergen, though the ship will actually begin sailing before that. May 17 is Norway’s Constitution Day.

Read more travel news at www.travelpulse.com


This Summer’s Top Luxury Barge and Villa Bargains

July 22, 2014 on 11:48 am | In Beachbooker, Cruise Boats, Europe | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowEuropean villas and barge cruises are very similar products in that they tend to celebrate the rhythms and rites of rural life. Good food and wine are the sacraments of a travel experience that is as much about rolling back the roaring pace that so many vacations take. Both also are ideal opportunities to bring together groups of family or friends in an exotic setting with everything seen to.

In this time of the summer, the old maxim that no commodity is more perishable than an unused bed tends to drive last-minute discounts to those buyers patient enough to wait for them. The latest last minute deals to pop up this summer come from European Waterways and the Thinking Traveller, a villa expert.

European Waterways is offering last-minute specials on select luxury hotel barge cruises in southern France, with travelers saving up to $2,000 per cabin. Prices include all meals, wines, an open bar, planned excursions, and local transfers. The specials apply to the Anjodi, cruising the Canal du Midi, for departures on Aug. 10 and 17, La Belle Epoque on the Burgundy Canal, for departures on Aug. 17 and 24 and Rosa on the Canal de la Garonne in the Bordeaux region, for departures on Aug. 10, 17 and 24. They’re also waiving the single supplement fee on Anjodi and La Belle Epoque for these departures. Special offers must be booked by Aug. 8.

The UNESCO-cited Canal du Midi of southwestern France moves through one of the most beautiful country’s most beautiful regions. The barge features a captain, master chef, tour leader, and hostess. The experience includes a wide range of excursions.

The 12-passenger La Belle Epoque rides the Burgundy Canal past 60,000 acres of vineyards. The barge has a sun deck, spa pool, a wood paneled saloon and open bar. The cruise features wine tours and other excursions.

The barge Rosa explores the Bordeaux Region using wine as a major theme, including excursions that include a wine tasting at Château Bausejour-Bescot near Saint Emilion and visits to the medieval towns of Nerac, Vianne and Le Mas d’Agenais.

Villa Deals


The Thinking Traveller is offering a 15 percent reduction on luxury villas still available this summer for travelers looking for a last-minute escape. Six premium villas located in Sicily, Puglia and the Ionian Islands of Greece are available for the rest of July and August. Guests in these villas have access to local hosts, who are available around the clock to provide a range of services –from restaurant recommendations to private villa chefs, privileged access to expert guides and more.

Now priced at $3,981 per week (normally $4,683), the two bedroom and two bath Maristella is available from Aug. 17 to 24, overlooking the Ionian Sea with an infinity pool. The four bedroom and four bath Daphne features finely furnished terraces whose views over olive groves and the bay. The villa is a few minutes’ walk from Avlaki beach and its seafront tavernas and a short drive away are Kassiopi’s shops and nightlife. The villa is still available for a week’s stay commencing July 26, Aug. 2, Aug. 9 and Aug. 26 regularly $20,086 per week, now $17,073 per week.

In Sicily, the three bed and bath Villa San Tommaso features uninterrupted views over the valley of the Anapo River winding its way to Siracusa. The villa is available for a week’s stay commencing July 26. Normally priced at $12,146 per week, it’s now $10,237 per week. The seven-bedroom Oliva is a modern architect’s take on a traditional Sicilian baglio, characterized by a shady internal courtyard garden enclosed on each side by living and sleeping quarters.

PHOTO: Villa San Tomasso offers guests a hacienda in eastern Sicily not far from Siracusa. (Courtesy of Think Sicily)

Beyond is the panoramic pool and olive groves. Located in southwestern Sicily, the villa is available for a week’s stay commencing Aug. 2, Aug. 16 and Aug. 23. Normally priced at $16,071 per week, it’s now available from $13,661 per week.

In Puglia, the 10-room L’Argentiera was once a bed and breakfast that is now a villa after a complete transformation. The villa is centered by a large, sea-view terrace good for al fresco dining and an infinity pool overlooking the sea. Guests receive daily maid service, breakfast preparation and the option of an in-villa cook. The villa is available for a week’s stay commencing Aug. 16, Aug. 23 and Aug. 30 regularly $24,992 per week.

Paris-based architect Fabrice Bejjani designed the six-room Trullo Pinnacolo as a modern trullo conversion. Trullos are signature type of lodging in Puglia. These conical homes are built from flat rocks using no concrete. The villa is available for a week’s stay commencing Aug. 23. Normally priced at $16,517 per week, it’s now $14,040 per week.

Read more travel news at www.travelpulse.com

 


Sample Norwegian Cruise Line’s Enriched Dining Options

July 22, 2014 on 11:45 am | In Cruise Boats, Dine Drink | Comments Off



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Why it Rates: The Freestyle Cruising line is the latest to expand its onboard dining program to offer more choice and upscale offerings — think sushi, crab, prime rib, ribs and even a chocoholic night. The effort is designed to appeal to cruise passengers who, like most of America, are increasingly discriminating and selective about their food choices. — Theresa Masek, TravelPulse cruise editor

Guests setting sail with Norwegian Cruise Line this summer and beyond will have more choices and flexibility in the line’s complimentary dining venues. These new offerings are a further development of the Norwegian NEXT program, focused on bringing “new enhancements, experiences and transformations” across the fleet, with the goal of elevating the guest experience and building on the success of the line’s two newest ships: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.

The culinary enhancements include: the debut of multiple new menus in the ships’ main dining rooms that offer an increased variety of selections and contemporary dishes; a dedicated “Chocoholic Night” one evening per cruise, featuring specialty chocolate-based desserts in each restaurant; and the ability for guests to make main dining reservations up to 90 days in advance.

“Dining is an essential part of cruising and an experience that our guests look forward to,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO. “We want to make sure that we are exceeding our guests’ expectations with culinary delights in our complimentary dining venues. These enhancements with such a wide variety of choice along with guest favorites and of course, chocolate, are bringing our complimentary dining venues to new heights.”

The new regionally-focused complimentary dining room dinner menus vary by ship itinerary and change each evening of the sailing, ensuring that guests have a wider selection of dishes to choose from during their cruise. Featuring a sleeker design along with wine pairing recommendations and anecdotal culinary history, the new menus display several sections – starters, classic dishes, main courses, chef’s signature dish and dessert – and offer an increased variety, with up to 12 starters and up to 15 entrees per evening.

The menus have been carefully developed by Norwegian’s culinary team with a focus on balancing popular traditional dishes like prime rib, chateaubriand, rack of lamb and escargot with current dining trends and heightened guest expectations. The new offerings include increased seafood options such as grouper, barramundi, sushi and crab dishes. Contemporary dishes include mojito shrimp ceviche, seared Atlantic scallops with fennel puree, and braised beef short ribs with Cajun shrimp. Additionally, guests can enjoy new lunch menus in the main dining room.

In the popular complimentary dining venue, O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill on board Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jewel, the company is introducing exclusive specialty dish nights, such as prime rib, all-you-can-eat baby back ribs, and chicken and waffles. These specialty dish nights give guests an alternative dinner venue in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

One of the most popular additions to the new dining program is sure to be Norwegian’s “Chocoholic Night,” which offers a choice of up to seven signature chocolate desserts in every restaurant one evening each cruise. Ranging from the delectable warm chocolate volcano to the decadent chocolate Nutella pot de crème and the white chocolate strawberry mousse, the desserts are sure to satisfy any cruiser’s sweet-tooth.

In keeping with the line’s Freestyle Cruising, Norwegian is also making it easier than ever for guests to further customize their vacation experience by offering the ability to make reservations for complimentary dining rooms up to 90 days prior to the cruise date. With reservation times at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m., the new system provides guests the option of selecting a dining time during any evening of their cruise, for a party size of up to 12 guests.

“After a trial on Norwegian Breakaway, the main dining reservation option has been met with overwhelming support from our guests,” said Frank Weber, vice president of product development for Norwegian Cruise Line. “The program has been extremely successful because it allows guests to select their experiences ahead of time if they wish to, or they can choose to simply walk up to the restaurant they wish to dine at once onboard. It’s another way to offer more freedom and flexibility to our guests.”

The new menus and concepts will be available on most of Norwegian’s fleet by July 31, and onboard Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sky and Pride of America by early 2015.

For more information on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian NEXT program, visit www.ncl.com/next. To book a cruise, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit www.ncl.com   Read more travel news at www.travelpulse.com


Cruise Nation Launches Exclusive Costa Diadema Deals

July 21, 2014 on 1:29 pm | In Cruise Boats, London, United Kingdom | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowLeading tour operator is preferred partner for New Costa Diadema 2014/15 cruises

Cruise Nation, the award-winning cruise and fly tour operator, is now offering exclusive Costa Diadema Smart Packages at up to 60 per cent off the rack price for the 2014/15 season.
Only Cruise Nation customers will be able to take advantage of the incredible price available onboard the new Diadema, which boasts the latest innovations in the areas of food, entertainment and technology.

In an industry first, the company will also launch a dedicated Costa Cruises and Diadema microsite on Saturday 14 June to provide Cruise Nation customers with more insight into their chosen cruise ship and holiday.

The Costa Cruises site is the first of a series of dedicated microsites from Cruise Nation which will also include Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruises microsites, due to go live on 2 July, followed by MSC Cruises.

Phil Evans, Managing Director of Cruise Nation said: “Our fantastic working relationship with Costa Cruises has really gone from strength to strength in the past few years and I’m absolutely thrilled that it has led us to become their preferred UK partner for their new flagship Diadema ship.”

“Our Costa Cruises Smart Packages have always been popular with established cruise passengers, and combined with an unbeatable Diadema price and an informative microsite, we think this could also boost our bookings from new-to-cruise customers for our best sales year to date!” continued Evans.
Swansea-based Cruise Nation is on a mission to make cruising affordable for everyone by creating bespoke fly and cruise Smart Packages, which combine free added extras such as regional flight departures, room upgrades and hotel stays in a diverse range of short-haul and long-haul destinations at unbeatable prices.

The exclusive Costa Diadema cruise deal comes hot on the heels of Cruise Nation winning Best UK Cruise Agent for 2013 from Costa Cruises at the 21st Costa Champions of the Seas event in May 2014.

About Cruise Nation
Cruise Nation is an award-winning tour operator which aims to make cruising affordable for everyone, whether you’re an established cruise passenger or new-to-cruise.

The Cruise Nation team has over 50 years’ experience in the travel industry and pride themselves on creating cruise packages to an exciting range of destinations to suit all schedules, budgets and interests.

With their unique Smart Packages, customers can expect exclusive deals at unbeatable prices, including flights from regional airports and free hotel stays for more than just a cruise holiday.
For more information or to book your tailor-made cruise now, call the experts for free on 0800 408 0758 or visit www.cruisenation.com


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