The first themed cruise on the schedule is a “Post-New Year Extravaganza.” The two-night voyage will depart Miami on Jan. 11 and take passengers to Nassau, Bahamas before returning to homeport.
Naturally, the brief cruise will feature a belated countdown to midnight party on the pool deck; a great backup plan if you’re unable to travel on New Year’s as prices start at only $99 per person for double occupancy.
The Divina will also offer a Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras celebration themed cruise. The four-night voyage is scheduled to depart from Miami on Feb. 14 and will feature calls in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.
Meanwhile, travelers with interest in oldies music will be interested in the Divina’s “Songs of the 60s” themed cruise. The four-night journey departs for Cozumel, Mexico on April 22 and will feature all of the classics from the 1960s and 70s.
The Mellow Yellow band will perform during the deck concert and costume parties.
Finally, sports fans will have three separate opportunities to enjoy the “Baseball Greats” cruise, with departures scheduled for Feb. 7, Feb. 21 and March 7. The seven-night voyage will feature a handful of former baseball greats as well as instructional clinics, trivia, story telling and contests.
There’ll be plenty more themed cruises to come in 2015, but MSC and the Divina have already provided an outstanding lineup for a wide range of travelers looking to get away to the Caribbean for a few days this winter.
Louis Cruises is pleased to introduce the world to its new brand: Celestyal Cruises with the launch of the cruiseline’s new website www.celestyalcruises.com, unveiling of the Celestyal Cruises logo and livery for the Celestyal Crystal and Celestyal Olympia, and the release of the brand’s 2015 brochures and itineraries.
“The new Celestyal Cruises is the only home porting cruise line in Greece. It also enjoys a time-honored history of success via Louis Cruises as one of Europe’s most beloved cruise providers, with nearly six million satisfied passengers as of the close of the 2014 cruise season,” said Kyriakos Anastassiadis, CEO of Celestyal Cruises and Louis Cruises. “We are thrilled and enthusiastic to introduce this exciting new brand to the world.”
Continued Anastassiadis, “Our cruises are a promise …We promise to take our passengers to the places they’ve dreamt of, iconic harbors and idyllic islands. We promise to spoil them with our legendary hospitality and our stellar Greek food and wines…to give them the best of Greece with spectacular excursions and special themed events. With the introduction of the new brand, we are giving a name to our promise…Celestyal Cruises.”
Launch of CelestyalCruises.com
Louis Cruises today announced the launch of CelestyalCrusies.com, the official website for the company’s new cruise brand. Artfully designed to inspire travelers with easy-to-use navigation and tools to help travel professionals plan and book travel for their clients online, the new website boasts functionality and features to make the user experience the very best it can be.
CelestyalCruises.com enables travel agents and travelers to access valuable information and book an exciting range of cruises throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. The new site is also available in many languages including English, Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, German, and Portuguese. On the interactive site, users have access to:
– New 2015 calendar with Early Booking Discounts: http://celestyalcruises.com/en/cruises/cruise-2015/index.html
For more travel news visit www.travelpulse.com
This summer, Miami’s Mid-Beach area – home to such illustrious properties as Ian Schrager’s new Edition and the Fontainebleau Miami Beach – welcomed a new player, the 108-room Hotel Croydon, whose owners say they are attracting substantial numbers of travelers in search of authentic vacation experiences at affordable rates.
While many of Hotel Croydon’s neighbors are charging rates of $800 to $1,000 a night, the boutique property’s prices start at just $200, said Nathan Lieberman, who along with his father Alan Lieberman, heads up South Beach Hotel Group, whose holdings include the Riviera South Beach, the Catalina Hotel and Beach Club, Whitelaw Hotel and the Metropole Hotel.
When asked what type of traveler the property is targeting, the straight-talking Lieberman had this to say: “Anyone looking for a great product without all the baloney that usually goes along with it.”
There appear to be takers on that front. Lieberman said the property has been sold out since it opened in July.
In addition to its reasonable rates, Hotel Croydon offers its guests an array of value-added amenities, including complimentary airport transfers, free Wi-Fi and free drinks during Happy Hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. “You can drink as much or as little as you want,” said Lieberman. “We don’t cut you off.”
When the 1,000-square-foot penthouse suite, which sells for under $450 a night, is not booked, Hotel Croydon provides a guest booked in a standard room with a free upgrade. “It’s crazy not to book it if it’s available,” Lieberman said, adding that the free penthouse upgrade is a policy at all 15 of South Beach Hotel Group’s properties.
In addition to offering guests value-added amenities, Hotel Croydon is also equipped with a healthy number of facilities and services, including a 24/7 concierge; pool and roof deck; gym with ocean views; holistic massage and healing services; and rooftop yoga.
Its affordably priced Tavern restaurant, meanwhile, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner using locally sourced products, and it beers on tap are from local breweries.
Every aspect of the hotel’s design, staffing and operations is overseen by the Liebermans. “Nothing goes into the property without us hand picking it,” he said. “We hire every single person personally.” Lieberman said he has even received a massage from every massage therapist the hotel employs.
Guestroom mattresses, bedding and linens have also been personally vetted by the Liebermans. “We wouldn’t let people sleep on a mattress in any of our hotels that we wouldn’t sleep on ourselves,” he said.
The Liebermans personally purchased all of the hotel’s artwork, and the framed ballet slippers of Nathan Lieberman’s wife decorate the walls of The Tavern restaurant.
In the final analysis, Lieberman said business going into next year is strong. “People are freaking out about the hotel,” he said. “We’ve has this amazing response.”
For more travel news visit www.travelpulse.com
“The new building will increase the handling capacity of the three cruise terminals in Dubai from 2 million tourists a year to 7 million,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai-based DP World, which operates 65 marine terminals on six continents. “The terminal is the largest and most modern cruise facility in the Middle East and the wider region, enabling award-winning Mina Rashid to now serve up to seven cruise vessels at one time and more than 25,000 passengers in its three cruise terminals. This expansion came in response to requests from cruise lines and will enable them to increase the number of their trips to Dubai.”
The terminal was inaugurated last week by Sheikh Hamdan Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, on a day when Costa and Aida has ships in port with 4,000 passengers. The terminal is named after the prince and is officially known as Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal.
“Dubai’s vision is to attract 20 million tourists by 2020, with the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing anticipating cruise tourist numbers reaching the 1 million mark by that time,” Bin Sulayem said.
Dubai is expecting a 19 percent increase in cruise passengers in the current 2014-15 season, with 381,000 visitors arriving on 110 cruise ship calls.
For more travel news visit www.travelpulse.com
If Cuba opens up to U.S. tourists, it would have an immediate and impressive impact on the cruise industry. For decades, cruise ships have sailed around the 780-mile-long island, which sits smack-dab between South Florida homeports and popular islands such as Jamaica and Grand Cayman.
“It needs some lipstick and love to bring things up to standard,” said Vicky Garcia, the Cuban-American COO of Cruise Planners. “But it could be very exciting.”
The largest island in the Caribbean, just 230 miles from Miami, “has long been in the cross-hairs of the American cruise lines,” notes Robin Farley, a financial analyst with UBS who follows cruise companies. Cruise lines undoubtedly have plans so they can spring into action once Cuba does open up, but it’s too early to say when they might be able to go there.
“Cuba … presents numerous opportunities from a cruise industry perspective,” Carnival Corp. spokesman Roger Frizzell said. “Some infrastructure for cruising already exists in the country, along with several ports, so it offers great potential, but there are other issues that will need to be taken into consideration if this market opens up.”
Those considerations would include the condition of the infrastructure and port facilities, along with regulatory and policy considerations, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. Cruise lines would also have to evaluate market stability, crime and security issues, and explore possible shore excursions.
But cruise lines could be the immediate beneficiary because they can move ships there faster than hotels catering to Americans could be built.
“Havana is a natural deep-water port, and we believe operators could build dockside infrastructure on a much faster timeline than hotel infrastructure,” Farley said. “It could take years to develop 3- to 5-star American-branded hotel product in Cuba, favoring cruise ships as the way to visit the island in the medium term. Itineraries could be sold with just several months’ advance notice.”
Cuba’s capital, Havana, at one time had a modern cruise facility when two European lines, Costa Cruises and Pullmantur, operated from there. But both pulled out when they were acquired by American companies; Costa was acquired by Carnival Corp. in 2000 and Pullmantur by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in 2006.
A Canadian company called Cuba Cruise will begin its second winter season on Dec. 19, operating seven-night cruises from Havana or Montego Bay through March 30. It operates the 1,200-passenger Cristal chartered from Louis Cruises.
“While Havana may not currently handle the largest ships, we believe operators would make the investment to build dockside infrastructure,” Farley wrote in a research note. “Many contemporary ships have been designed to be able to operate in Havana Port.”
Even without U.S.-based cruise ships, Cuba still expects about 200 cruise ship visits during the 2014-15 winter season, according to data from the Cubatur travel agency reported by the Latin American Herald Tribune. The article said the ports with the most cruise passengers are Havana, Cienfuegos in the central part of the island, and Santiago de Cuba in the east.
The island is “exciting, sexy and cool,” Garcia said. “It’s not just a little bitty island. It offers big city stuff and rural areas.” Not to mention Cuban dance, music, cigars and old American-built cars.
“Cuba could prompt many cruise passengers who’ve already been to many Caribbean ports to return to a Caribbean itinerary to see a unique and novel port that has gone unseen by many Americans for decades,” Farley said.
She noted that RCCL has about 44 percent of its total capacity in the Caribbean for 2015, while Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has about 45 percent. Carnival Corp.’s Caribbean capacity is about 34 percent all told, but it’s much higher for Carnival Cruise Lines.
The Fun Ship brand “is still significantly below pre-recession pricing, so it could benefit strongly from improved Caribbean demand,” Farley said. “So all cruise lines are heavily exposed to increases in demand for Caribbean itineraries, though it remains to be seen if and how port access will be determined.”
For more travel news visit www.travelpulse.com
The former recently confirmed that it will deploy a luxury cruise ship from its Celebrity Cruises fleet, Celebrity Constellation, to homeport in Abu Dhabi in November 2016. Meanwhile, Carnival subsidiary Costa Cruises will send a third vessel to Asia Pacific and China, according to TTGAsia.com.
The cruise line will homeport its flagship vessel, the Costa Serena, in Shanghai beginning in April. Costa Serena will join the Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica in the region.
Costa Cruises senior vice president of Pacific Asia and China Buhdy Bok said the move will “increase our capacity in Asia by 74 percent and make Costa Cruises the first international cruise company to deploy three ships in the region.”
“We expect significant growth in the cruise market to continue in the foreseeable future due to a tremendous growing demand in Asia, and in particular, China. According to Asian Cruise Association, its 2013 report showed that demand in Asia will nearly triple to 3.8 million annual cruisers in 2020, with 1.6 million from China,” Bok added.
All three Costa Cruises vessels will be deployed in China during the spring and summer seasons.
In the Middle East, Celebrity Constellation will sail nine- to 15-night cruises featuring five different calls from November 2016 through January 2017. It’s estimated that the cruise line will attract roughly 15,000 guests to Abu Dhabi on those half of a dozen cruises.
Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority acting director general Jasem Al Darmaki said Celebrity’s arrangement is a “landmark decision for our cruise tourism ambitions reflecting a new horizon for Abu Dhabi’s sector development.”
“It is a clear statement that a joined-up partnership approach to infrastructure and product development delivers rewards.”
The two announcements highlight the remarkable industry growth in the Asian market, which is expected to continue over the next decade.
For more travel news visit www.travelpulse.com
Featuring Pacific Northwest getaways including:
Seattle • Victoria, BC • Vancouver, BC • The San Juan Islands • Whistler • Portland, OR • Canadian Rockies • Whale Watching • Pre and Post Alaska Cruise Packages
OUR DESTINATIONS: Sophisticated urban centers, snow covered peaks, exquisite dining, glistening water ways, abundant wildlife and peaceful islands make the Pacific Northwest a perfect destination.
Your clients can’t go wrong exploring the bustling cosmopolitan cities of Seattle, Portland or Vancouver, BC, the peaceful San Juan Islands or quaint historic Victoria, BC located on Vancouver Island.
Our Seattle-Victoria-Vancouver packages are perfect for Alaska Cruise clients and can be customized with number of nights or to start and end in any city.
ABOUT CLIPPER VACATIONS: Clipper Vacations is the Pacific Northwest’s travel expert. We’ve provided transportation, accommodations and tour packages for over 8 million customers since 1986, and are best known for the Victoria Clipper vessels, our high-speed passenger only ferries, that travel between Seattle and Victoria daily year round, and seasonally to the San Juan Islands with Whale Watching.
Clipper Vacations will work with you to provide the best products for your clients. For a variety of flexible itineraries and more information on all the destinations offered by Clipper Vacations, download a brochure, view an interactive version or request some be sent to you.
First cruise of the season departs Montego Bay on December 19th for seven-night circumnavigation around Cuba
Calgary, AB. December 15th, 2014:
From the Med to the tropics, the Cristal cruise vessel arrived in the Caribbean today for the launch of Cuba Cruise’s 2014/2015 season.
The premier cruise of the season will host international travellers excited and eager to experience Cuba like never before, and will depart from Montego Bay on Friday, December 19th, 2014. With the most comprehensive Cuba itinerary on the market, Cuba Cruise guests travel aboard the floating resort, visiting six ports of call and exploring the island’s most iconic destinations like Havana and Santiago de Cuba, and its hidden treasures like Punta Frances on the idyllic Isla de la Juventud.
“The cruise vessel has made an incredible journey from Greece and we’re all very excited to launch the first cruise of the season,” says Dugald Wells, Cuba Cruise President. “Cuba is once again welcoming us with open arms. With our new shore excursions, top-notch crew and exclusive itinerary, we look forward to another successful winter cruising around the island.”
The 2014/2015 Cuba Cruise season begins December 19th, 2014 and runs through to March 30th, 2015. Guests have the option to join the 7-night cruise at either Havana or Montego Bay with a lead-in price of $652 CAD for cruise-only.
The experience offers the best qualities of cruising and all-inclusive getaways combined with a Cuba that few people see.
New Charter Flights!
Cuba Cruise is making it even easier for travellers to experience Cuba with the launch of its new nonstop charter flight from Toronto Pearson International Airport to José Martí International Airport in Havana. Once landing in sun-soaked Cuba, guests are transferred directly to the Cristal docked in charming Old Havana for check-in (approx. 25 minutes travel time). The return airport transfer and charter flight from Havana to Toronto are also included in the exclusive travel package.
For more information about Cuba Cruise, or to book, visit www.yourcubacruise.com or call 1-855-364-4999.
About Cuba Cruise
Cuba Cruise, launched in January 2013, is a revolutionary niche product affiliated with Louis Cruises and offers a unique opportunity to experience Cuba’s history, landscapes, and culture in a comfortable and seamless travel environment. Guests aboard Cuba Cruise spend their days experiencing the wealth of the region, beautiful beaches and a view beyond compare. From the impeccable service and delicious meals made with Canadian beef and fresh produce, to exceptional daily shore excursions using the best local guides and operators, this is a chance to experience a Cuba rarely seen. Cuba Cruise by Louis Cruises looks forward to another year of roaring success. Cuba Cruise’s second season begins December 19, 2014 and sails every Monday from Havana and Friday from Montego Bay through to March 30, 2015.
Guests can benefit from all-inclusive drinks packages where beer, wine and soft drinks are included in the price of their cruise. Those departing from Southampton can take advantage of the low deposit at just £25 per person, free credit card charges on all bookings and complimentary port parking.
Eight night all-inclusive cruise with Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas: France and Spain Maiden Voyage – from £1,099 per person, or £137 per night per person for all food and drinks including alcohol
Departing 22 April 2015, board Anthem of the Seas in Southampton for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as the super ship embarks on its maiden voyage around the Med. The first port of call is Vigo, Spain where visitors can enjoy exploring the city’s history. The Castro Fortress built in 1665 makes for an informative day out, alternatively guests can wander the markets, home to some of the best seafood in Spain, as well as the aptly named ‘Oyster Street’ where visitors can keep hunger at bay as they snack on the fresh seafood delicacy. Other ports of call include Gijon, where visitors can indulge in a cider or two brewed from one the 250 varieties of apple in the region or visit the nearby town of Avilés home to the stunning Castle of Gauzón. Anthem of the Seas will then call at Le Harve in France before returning to port in Southampton.
Price is based on two sharing a stateroom on a balcony stateroom on a full board basis. Price includes all drinks and gratuities, free car parking at Southampton port and a deposit of just £25.
20 night all-inclusive cruise and stay with Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas: Caribbean and free Orlando stay – from £1,299 per person, or £87 per person per night for all food and drinks including alcohol
Departing 30 October 2015, guests will fly from the UK to Barcelona to embark Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas for a 15 night cruise to the Caribbean. The itinerary’s ports of call include Gibraltar and Madeira, Portugal where guests can stock up on traditional fortified wine or indulge is some wildlife spotting as the coastline is a haven for marine mammals including dolphins and rare monk seals. Guests will then continue on cruising the Atlantic Ocean to arrive at Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas. Here guests can enjoy a stroll along pristine, white sand beaches or visit the Pompey museum, whilst diving fans will be in their element as the destination is a hotspot for snorkelers. Guests will then continue onto Tampa, Florida where they will disembark for a four nights hotel stay on International Drive offering the perfect opportunity to enjoy the Disney and Universal theme parks before flying back to the UK.
Price is based on two sharing an interior stateroom on a full board basis. Price also includes an all-inclusive drinks and gratuities package and free four night Orlando hotel stay. Price also includes flight however this information is not yet available.
19 nights’ all-inclusive cruise and stay with Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas: Jewels of the Far East with free Beijing hotel stay and tour – from £2,099 per person, or £110 per person per night for all food and drinks including alcohol
Flying from the UK to Beijing on 4 October 2015, guests will enjoy a complimentary two night stay in the capital of China known for its stunning architecture, eclectic culture and buzzing atmosphere. Visitors will have plenty to do to keep themselves occupied during their two day stay in the city including a visit to the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and the famous Tiananmen Square. Guests will then embark on a 15 night cruise with ports of call including Jeju, South Korea where guests can relax on beautiful sandy beaches, whilst the more adventurous can hike around Baeknok Lake. Mariner of the Seas will also call at Naha, Hong Kong Ocean Terminal and the coastal resort of Phu My in Vietnam. Guests can also opt to relax in the ship’s sauna or expend excess energy rock climbing, before enjoying an aperitif at one or of the bar’s along Mariner of the Seas’ promenade.
Price is based on two sharing an interior stateroom on a full board basis and includes outbound flight to Beijing and return flight from Singapore to London Heathrow. Price also includes an all-inclusive drinks and gratuities package and also includes free two night Beijing hotel stay and tour.
For more information or to book visit www.cruise1st.co.uk or call 0800 953 4963.
Abercrombie & Kent is pleased to introduce Aegean Odyssey: A Music Cruise from Istanbul to Athens (10 days, from $7,795), an enchanting new luxury cruise journey for 2015 that explores the glory of Classical Greece and the rapture of classical music. Accompanied by a Resident Tour Director,SM cruise in style as part of a small group of just 24 A&K guests, going ashore to discover your destination as only A&K can reveal it.
Musicians scheduled to perform during this cruise include Gilles Vonsattel, Arnaud Sussmann, Hsin-Yun Huang, Edward Arron, Todd Palmer and Stuart Isacoff.
Aegean Odyssey: A Music Cruise from Istanbul to Athens
New! Aegean Odyssey: A Music Cruise from Istanbul to Athens
Oct 5 | 10 days | From $7,795
Istanbul | Nesebar | The Bosphorus | Kuşadasi
Delos | Santorini | Nafplio | Athens
• Limited to just 24 A&K guests led by an A&K Resident Tour Director and the finest local guides
• Visit Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern and Suleyman Mosque on a pre-cruise city stay in Istanbul
• Cruise for seven nights aboard sleek, spacious new ‘Le Lyrial’
• Listen to live classical music throughout your cruise performed by world-class musicians
• Choose from 13 optional shore excursions, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Greek island of Delos and the ancient city of Nesebar in Bulgaria
• Enjoy post-cruise sightseeing in Athens, Greece, including the ancient Acropolis
Step Aboard Stunning New ‘Le Lyrial’
Luxurious, new ‘Le Lyrial’ — sister ship to ‘Le Boreal,’ the expedition cruiser for A&K’s polar journeys — features superb cuisine, al fresco dining options, pool, sundeck, fitness center and theater. Wireless Internet access is available in all of her 122 staterooms and suites.
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