The program will allow customers to add a number of pre-paid perks including drinks packages, spa treatments, priority boarding, half-price fitness classes and access to adults-only areas.
“This is truly a win-win for travel agents and guests have more opportunity to customize their vacation experience based on their own personal desires,” said Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises USA.
The new pricing levels are named Bella, Fantastica, Aurea and MSC Yacht Club.
Bella is the basic level that most customers currently use – booking staterooms and paying separately for extras.
The Fantastica Experience offers a premium stateroom, priority dining, 50% off fitness classes, free room service and extra children’s activities.
The Aurea package additionally provides priority boarding, unlimited drinks, private spa sessions and access to the adults-only sun deck.
Elite level MSC Yacht Club is the most exclusive package with private club and restaurant access, butler service and 24-hour concierge.
Agent commission will be paid based on the cost of the package booked and MSC will continue to pay 5% for pre-paid shore excursions.
The new pricing structure takes effect from September 23 for cruises departing from October 18.
The deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, adds eight ships to Norwegian’s fleet of 13 vessels.
It also gives the Miami-base line access to a higher-fare paying customer base.
“The acquisition of Prestige represents an extraordinary opportunity for Norwegian Cruise Line to expand our market presence by adding two established, award-winning brands in the upscale cruise segment with loyal followings,” said Norwegian CEO Kevin Sheehan in a statement on the company’s website.
Prestige chairman and CEO Frank Del Rio will remain CEO of Prestige, which is based in Doral.
“We are excited to become part of the Norwegian family and start a new chapter for our company,” Del Rio said in the statement.
“With Oceania and Regent, we have built iconic brands with distinctive product offerings and strong customer loyalty. The combination is very compelling and will allow us to further enhance our renowned guest experience.”
Norwegian said it will finance the acquisition with existing cash, new and existing debt and the issuance of approximately 20.3 million shares of its common stock. Prestige is owned by private equity firm Apollo, which also owns 20% of Norwegian.
“The combination of three distinct brands, each serving a different market segment, under one umbrella immediately creates an industry-leading cruise operator with an unmatched growth trajectory and a portfolio of products that allows us to appeal to guests at every stage of their life cycle,” Sheehan said in the statement.
“We are fully committed to retaining the brand propositions, guest experiences and cultures of the Norwegian, Oceania and Regent brands that have allowed each to realize such success
The Eurail Group has opened up the coming fall travel season in Europe with a set of new discounts that cometh by land and sea. To begin with, Eurail Pass holders can benefit from deep discounts on European ferry crossings with Eurail’s partner Grimaldi Lines. The ferries operate to Spain, Greece, Sicily and Sardinia. Grimaldi Lines offers a 20 percent discount on ferry crossings and a 10 percent discount on accommodation supplements such as Pullman seats, berths and cabins to Eurail Pass travelers who purchase a Eurail Pass after Sept. 1.
The discounts apply to standard as well as special fares such as advanced booking offers. The discounts are also applicable in the off-season, which means pass-holders can save up to 40 percent when booking ship passages between Sept. 15 and Dec. 21. Eurail Pass travelers can make reservations and redeem these special discounts via Grimaldi’s Contact Centers and at its points of sales in Italy and Spain.
Eurail travelers can also learn about the Grimaldi Lines discounts on the Rail Planner App. This free and off-line app is available from the App Store or Google Play. It includes such information as a complete list of Eurail Pass benefits by country, a European railway timetable and more.
Eurail offers four types of Eurail Passes as part of its product portfolio to those residing outside of Europe: the Eurail Global Pass valid in 24 member countries, Eurail Select Pass, Eurail Regional Pass and Eurail One Country Pass. Eurail Group G.I.E. manages Eurail Passes for 30 different European railways.
The passes are sold by independent companies around the world including these in North America: ACP Rail International; Eurail; Flight Centre; Octopus Travel; and Rail Europe.
Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
Costa Diadema, Costa Cruises’ new 132,500-ton flagship, will feature 7,671 pieces of specially commissioned modern art that perfectly complement the ship’s innovative interior design. The art will be on display when the ship is delivered Oct. 30, 2014.
Costa Diadema, the Regina del Mediterraneo or Queen of the Mediterranean, will exhibit a wide array of original art, reproductions and silk-screen prints by 41 artists — 38 of them Italian. The artists were commissioned by Costa to interpret the theme of regality, as in belonging to or befitting a monarch, through painting, sculpture, photography, graphics, architecture and design.
“We are trying to evoke different feelings through the ambiance of the interiors on Costa Diadema,” said Joseph Farcus, the architect on Costa newbuilds since Costa Atlantica, which debuted in 2000. “The art and design elements are essential to achieving the emotional dimension we want guests to experience.”
Curator and artistic duo Casagrande & Recalcati selected both recognized and emerging artists to take inspiration from contemporary culture. Among them are well-known artists Sam Havadtoy and Mario Donizetti, as well as rising Italian artists Vanni Cuoghi, Resi Girardello, Andy, Roberta Savelli and Claudio Prestinari.
Among the art pieces are 190 original works, including paintings hung in suites and in the stairwells, and other mixed-media works placed at the entrance to the theater. Public areas such as the Corona Blu Restaurant, Costa Diadema Club Restaurant, Eliodoro Atrium and Lido Diana will feature 260 works of digital art and 26 sculptures. On the open-air Promenade, which encircles the ship from stern to bow on Deck 5, Roberto Bixio’s two large glass mosaics titled “Riviera Ligure” showcase imagery from the Mediterranean coasts on both port and starboard sides, covering a total area of 1,442 square feet.
Italian artists who worked on the Costa Diadema project include Piero Addis, Andy, Davide Avogadro, Bixio, Manuela Carrano, Casagrande & Recalcati, Cuoghi, Marco Dezzi Bardeschi, Donizetti, Titti Garelli, Girardello, Eloisa Gobbo, Marco Grassi, Riccardo Gusmaroli, Cristina Iotti, Vittorio Locatelli and Carlo Ninchi, Tiziana Lorenzelli, Flavio Lucchini, Francesca Marzorati, Francesco Merletti, Alberto Nodolini, Matteo Piazza, Annalisa Pirovano, Prestinari, Elisa Rossi, Savelli, Luisa Valentini, Antonella Piro, Virgilio Rospigliosi, Augusto Vignali and Toni Zanussi.
Artists from outside Italy include Roger de Montebello and Nathalie du Pasquier from France, and the Hungarian-American Havadtoy.
The 132,500-ton Costa Diadema is being built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera, Italy, at a cost of US$745 million.
Costa Diadema’s monthlong debut will include a preview cruise from Trieste, Italy, Nov. 1, the christening overnight Nov. 7 in Genoa, Italy, and a trio of seven-night inaugural cruises Nov. 8, 15 and 22.
Beginning Nov. 29 and for the rest of the 2014-15 winter season and through summer 2015, Costa Diadema will depart Savona, Italy, on seven-night western Mediterranean cruises calling weekly at Marseille, France; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Naples and La Spezia, Italy.
Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
“It grew out of the research we did with our name change,” said Robert Drumm, president of Alexander + Roberts, “and the particular strengths we garnered from agent research on the importance of our itineraries, that’s number one; and the fact that our itineraries are well-honed and unusual and comprehensive. Also the fact that travelers choose our trips because of the learning opportunities, the closeness they get to societies they are visiting; and the fact that small ships are of increasing importance in the marketplace. When we joined all these things together it seemed like an attractive idea to assemble a group of scholars, writers, musical performers on a series of unusual trips. So that’s why we did it.”
The Corinthian, an all-suite ship, only carries about 100 passengers, so it will give guests opportunities to be in close presence with the special guests during meals, tours, receptions and so forth. The trips will take place aboard voyages traveling in the waters of North Africa and Northern Europe.
Specially featured guests include Roger Cohen of the New York Times, and cellist David Finckel, pianist Wu Han and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, who will perform onboard.
Among those acting as hosts will be Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Holly Shimizu, 10-year host of the PBS Victory Garden television series.
John Davis, professor of art at Smith College, will host Crossroads of Civilization, exploring the ancient civilizations and cultural heritage of Sardinia, Malta, Sicily and Southern Italy.
Archaeologists John Hale and Rod McIntosh will be onboard In Search of Ancient and Lost Cities, an 11-day voyage from Rome to North Africa and Lisbon.
Holly Shimizu, former Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden, will travel on Voyage to Green + Gentle Lands, an 11-day springtime voyage focusing on gardens and landscapes of ports in the British Isles and Ireland.
Nancy Wilkie, Honorary president of the Archaeological Institute of America, will host Opus Mediterraneo, a 12-day cruise showcasing music and archaeology from Lisbon to Rome.
Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
Superstar Randy Crawford Aboard For the First Time,
Joining Joe Sample and The Crusaders, Marcus Miller, David Sanborn,
Boney James, Brian Culbertson, Candy Dulfer and Many Others
Performing Exclusively For The Smooth Jazz Cruise Guests
Ft Lauderdale, FL (September 4, 2014) — The Smooth Jazz Cruise (www.thesmoothjazzcruise.com), a global leader in jazz luxury cruise experiences, announces its lineup and dates for their 2016 Caribbean voyages. The first sailing will take place from January 10-17 and the second will run from February 21-28 on Holland America’s elegant m/s Eurodam, beginning in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and visiting ports of call including the private island of Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West. Randy Crawford will join the Smooth Jazz Cruise for the first time ever, leading an unparalleled lineup that features the greatest musicians in the genre including Marcus Miller, David Sanborn, Boney James, Brian Culbertson, Candy Dulfer, Richard Elliot, Jonathan Butler, Peabo Bryson, DW3 and more along with award-winning comedian Alonzo Bodden.
“We have wanted Randy Crawford to be a part of The Smooth Jazz Cruise family for years and are thrilled that she will be with us for both of the 2016 sailings,” said Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of Entertainment Cruise Productions. “She will deliver a new, exciting experience to our guests and the fact that she will be joined by Joe Sample and The Crusaders onstage is so much more than we could have ever imagined.”
The Smooth Jazz Cruise has been sailing for more than a decade, delivering a vacation experience that thousands of guests call The Greatest Party at Sea and boasting a higher rate of brand loyalty than any other full ship charter cruise. The 2015 sailing of The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’15.1 (January 11-18) sold out a year in advance and The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’15.2 (March 1-8) has already filled 90% of its cabins. For additional information on the cruises, the artists performing onboard and the special events planned throughout the journeys, visit www.TheSmoothJazzCruise.com or call 888.852.9987.
About Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC:
ECP is the world’s leader in full ship charter music cruises. Beginning more than a decade ago, ECP, through its various cruise programs, has produced more than 30 full ship charters featuring music themes as diverse as Rock ‘n Roll, Elvis and Jazz. ECP’s formula for success remains constant among our various programs. ECP is dedicated to provide the finest music and entertainment cruise experience in the world.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises announces the newest addition to their collection of boutique river cruises and tours—“India’s Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges” from New Delhi to Kolkata—set to debut in January 2016. The 12-night itinerary includes seven nights onboard the new all-suite Ganges Voyager II, the most ultra-luxurious river cruise ship sailing the Ganges River. For the five-night land portion of the itinerary, luxurious accommodation are provided at the award-winning Oberoi Hotels and Resorts Collection, including The Oberoi, New Delhi; The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra; and The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur. Guests will stay at the finest hotels as they visit the “Golden Triangle”—one of India’s most historic and culturally-rich areas.
“India is one of the world’s most complex, colorful, and exotic destinations,” said Guy Young, President of Uniworld. “To experience a 5,000-year-old civilization first-hand and to explore its spiritual heartland, all while staying at some of the world’s most spectacular hotels and sailing onboard our new all-suite ship, is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our well-traveled guests.”
The new Ganges Voyager II has a maximum capacity of 56 guests. The all-suite ship features the one-of-a-kind Maharaja Suite, (400 sq. ft.), two Viceroy Suites (360 sq. ft.), two Heritage Suites (280 sq. ft.), and 20 Standard Suites (261 sq. ft.). Comforts and convenience abound with French balconies, cozy sitting areas, and flat-screen televisions. Roomy bathrooms have rain showers, robes, slippers, and Molton Brown bath products. Guests staying in the Viceroy Suites will enjoy daily butler service, laundry service, and one complimentary spa treatment per person. Guest staying in the Maharaja Suite will be treated to additional amenities, including in-suite dining and scented baths in the in-suite deep-soaker tub. Public areas include the Governor’s Lounge with onboard entertainment and cultural events, the observation deck with 360-degree views, a spa and fitness center, and the East India Restaurant with menus featuring both Indian-inspired cuisine and Western favorites.
Uniworld’s new itinerary presents a broad spectrum of enticing travel experiences: Delhi, India’s capital and third largest city; the Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; the bazaars, fortresses, and palaces of Rajasthan’s Pink City of Jaipur; Mother Teresa’s tomb and former home in Kolkata; an enormous Vedic temple in Mayapur; garden-tombs and mosques, colonial-era buildings, and monuments; and fully-hosted excursions to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites —Delhi’s Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb, Agra’s Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, and Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar. While sailing the Ganges, guests will be treated to villages inaccessible by road, as well as to surprising encounters with a variety of wildlife, including freshwater dolphins, parrots, and many other colorful species.
“This itinerary is ideal for travelers seeking exotic new horizons, something completely unlike anything else they’ve ever experienced,” said Young. “India is an amazing, unforgettable place. It’s a journey our guests will rave about the rest of their lives.”
Uniworld will offer an optional extension to Varanasi, revered as the holiest spot on India’s holiest river , as well as one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. The two-night extension includes a city tour, a scenic boat ride to observe a Ganga Aarti fire ceremony at sunset, and a private boat ride along the river at sunrise.
Uniworld’s new India program will be open to book on October 15, 2014.
About Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Award-winning Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection—the world’s only authentic boutique river cruise line™—features luxurious ships with an average capacity of 130 guests and the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry, as well as included shore excursions, gourmet cuisine, and unsurpassed hospitality. Based in Los Angeles, California, Uniworld offers voyages on 15 rivers in 20 countries throughout Europe, Russia, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Uniworld is a member of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and is highly regarded by discerning travelers, media, and cruise industry experts:
• Listed among the “World’s Best River Cruises” by Travel + Leisure, and recognized for the “World’s Best Service” in the River Cruise category
• Seven ships listed among Travel + Leisure’s “Top 20 River Ships,” with River Countess rated highest of all cruise ships (river & ocean)
• Distinguished as a Condé Nast Traveler “Platinum Circle Member,” an honor bestowed for being on the prestigious Gold List every year for seven years (2008 – 2014)
• Top three ranking on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top Ten” list of cruise lines (river & ocean)
• Named “Best Luxury River Cruise Line” by Cruise International (2012 & 2013)
About The TreadRight Foundation
Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s family of brands, the TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit working to ensure the environment and communities we visit remain vibrant for generations to come. To date, TreadRight has donated more than USD 2.5 million to sustainable tourism projects worldwide. The Foundation’s guiding principle is to encourage sustainable tourism development through conservation, leadership and support for communities. Foundation priorities are set by the Steering Committee, which includes sustainability leaders like Céline Cousteau and Costas Christ.
TreadRight’s past project partners include WWF, Conservation International and The National Trust in the UK. Current initiatives include sponsoring the National Geographic Society’s inaugural “World Legacy Awards,” WildAid and inspiring wildlife advocates like Terri Irwin.
To learn more about our past and current work at TreadRight, please visit us at www.TreadRight.org
Guest Lecturers, Included Excursions, Interpretive Hikes and More
Seattle, September 2014 – Hurtigruten is all about exposing guests to its wonderful destinations and the need to preserve and share them – whether it is the stunningly scenic coast of Norway, or the bucket list possibilities of Antarctica, Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland. Hurtigruten is now offering guests a very special opportunity to be “Polar Heroes” and take home the many things they will learn about polar life and share with friends and family. Everything from the Northern Lights to climate change to outdoor experiences is on the docket to discuss and enjoy. This special sailing on the MS Finnmarken brings aboard the company’s best expedition leaders as well as renowned lecturers. Guests can participate in escorted hikes and excursions and sit in on lectures as these passionate experts impart their knowledge and experiences. The 12-day Bergen roundtrip voyage sails along Norway’s fjord-indented west coast, heading up above the Arctic Circle to Kirkenes, a few miles from the Russian boarder, before turning and heading back. 34 ports of call in both directions include 22 ports above the Arctic Circle. Fares range from $1,511 to $4,674 per person, double. Guests on this voyage also receive a 10% discount on any MS Fram Expedition Voyage in 2015 and 2016, whether booked before, during this sailing, or within four weeks after returning home.
Besides the company’s cream-of-the-crop Expedition Leaders, guest lecturers include Pål Brekke, a leading solar physicist and public outreach expert, a senior advisor at the Norwegian Space Centre, and the recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship and the Laurels for Team Achievements from the International Academy for Astronautics. Orheim Olav is a glaciologist and climatologist who has led numerous scientific expeditions in both the Arctic and Antarctica and served as the managing director of the Norwegian Polar Institute from 1993 to 2005. Westphal Ralf holds academic degrees in Physical Education, Biology and Outdoor Education and has held jobs ranging from national park ranger to Outward Bound instructor to Svalbard sea kayak guide.
Expedition Leaders escort guided hikes at several ports along the route while seminars are led by the guest lecturers. Special activities include ice dipping – in the Arctic Ocean; meeting with local fishermen, learning about Sami history, and learning to tie marine knots – to name a few. There are also a slew of optional excursions offered including the Wilderness Adventure Camp, a Viking feast, dog-sledding, polar history walks, polar night snowmobile trips, city walks and a visit to the famous Kirkenes Snow Hotel.
Included in the fare are all lectures, numerous hikes and selected excursions, and a Helly Hansen “Hunting the Light” fleece jacket. Hurtigruten’s new “taste of Norway” program – a partnership with Norway’s most celebrated chef Andreas Viestad – adds the local flair and ingredients to all the meals (also included).
Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition voyages, sailing to the most remote of destinations, including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen as well as year round along Norway’s coast and Europe in the spring and fall. The company’s fleet of 12 intimate ships, which each carry 100 to 646 guests, allows travelers to enjoy the scenery and culture of the destination in a relaxed atmosphere.
Additional information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten’s visitor-friendly website, www.hurtigruten.us; by phone at 877-301-3117; or fax at 888-524-2145. To order brochures 24 hours a day, call 800-582-0835.
Bespoke tour operator, Jacada Travel, has launched a new yacht in Antarctica way ahead of its class. For (just) $454,000, a lucky few can cruise this rarely visited continent in privately chartered luxury.
Onboard the M/Y Enigma XK Expedition Yacht, 12 guests are accommodated with 5 VIP cabins, an attentive crew of 21, and gourmet dining and drinks. Travelers take a private jet to Antarctica, to avoid sailing the bumpy Drake passage, where they will sail through deserted waters with the best expert guides and a completely personalized itinerary.
The itinerary is chosen on a day to day basis by the guests onboard. They can jump in Zodiacs at a moments notice and play with the whales if they please, go hiking and kayaking through ice cliffs and glaciers, or on exotic fishing tours. The yacht can head to stations and invite local scientists onboard for dinner, or guests can choose to go swimming in a place where water is heated by volcanic rocks, or even take private helicopters to penguin colonies. It’s totally up to them.
Many Antarctica cruise itineraries are fixed to accommodate 60-150 people, which leaves no room for spontaneity or ability to steer away from published plans. This private expedition provides not only full flexibility in the itinerary, but also allows the clients to fully customize their activities for the trip- all in total luxury.
In 1939 Canadian Pacific put out a nifty brochure titled, appropriately ‘Glorious British Columbia’and this heading summarizes perfectly our view of this beautiful Province. This Fall, we have a truly glorious holiday that features train travel, overnight stay in Seattle ‘The Emerald City’, two full nights in lovely Vancouver at the Sheraton Wall Centre, sightseeing including a visit to Queen Elizabeth Park, and two nights in the alpine mountain resort of Whistler. Nicest of all, our guests will travel from Vancouver to Whistler over the British Columbia Railway aboard the superb ROCKY MOUNTAINEER passenger train, the first train over this route in many years, enjoying a journey of stunning beauty past Howe Sound and Britannia Falls in comfort with big-window coaches, an open-air observation platform, breakfast aboard and much more!
Our holiday begins with a scenic ride to Seattle aboard the Coast Starlight train with an overnight stay at the Westin Hotel along with plenty of time to enjoy ‘The Emerald City’. We then travel north to Vancouver, a scenic drive along the Puget Sound to Vancouver, enjoying an overnight in Vancouver before boarding the Rocky Mountaineer train, bound for Vancouver on a stunningly beautiful ride to this popular resort destination. With two full days in Whistler, guests have plenty of time to enjoy the European-style cafes, intriguing shops, biking or four of Canada’s top-rated golf courses. In Vancouver, our guests enjoy two-nights at the Sheraton Wall Centre along with a welcome dinner, and sightseeing. Saving the best for last, we then board Holland America’s ms Westerdam at Vancouver for a rare Pacific Coastal voyage south to San Diego, a nice way to sample traditional Ocean travel, with visits to San Francisco (with a special daytime sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge), and Catalina Island en route. Onboard there is as much, or as little to do as you like and we cannot imagine a nicer way to travel home. We have included dinner one evening in the superlative Pinnacle Grill as well as a farewell cocktail party. There is only one flaw in this entire indulgent holiday, it will fill quickly and prompt reservations are encouraged to avoid disappointment.
Free train travel from any California point to Seattle aboard the Coast Starlight, a scenic overnight journey. .
Overnight hotel stay in Seattle at the superb Westin Hotel.
Travel from Seattle to Vancouver aboard the popular ‘Talgo Train’ along the scenic Puget Sound, the best way to travel between these two cities.
Two-night stay in the Canadian resort town of Whistler at the Hilton Resort.
Travel by luxury streamliner train from Whistler with two-night stay in Vancouver at the Sheraton Wall Centre.
5-night Pacific Coastal cruise from Vancouver to San Diego aboard Holland America Line’s Dutch ocean liner the ms Westerdam with a special visit to San Francisco, sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and a day-visit to charming Avalon/Catalina Island en route.
Return train travel to any California point from San Diego.
All departures fully escorted by professional tour manager.
All Information disclosed herein is considered the sole property of Uncommon Journeys Inc; d.b.a., Train Holidays. This information including marketing material, email address listings and all information known and unknown pertaining to this email is subject to all proprietary information and non-compete laws covering this matter (The Economic Espionage Act of 1996). Unauthorized use of this material, email and its intended recipients may result in criminal prosecution as well as civil litigation to cover financial damages as well as costs due for electronic forensic investigation, attorney fees and court costs. Uncommon Journeys Inc; d.b.a., Train Holidays – California Seller of Travel License #2044749-40.
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