Archive for the ‘cruiselines’ Category

Royal Caribbean Is First Cruise Line to Use Google Street-View as Tool to Plan Vacation

July 16, 2014

Royal Caribbean International has become the first cruise line to launch Google Maps Business View using Google’s Street View technology onboard the world’s largest and innovative cruise ship Allure of the Seas.

By using Street View technology, Royal Caribbean International will provide consumers with an immersive and interactive experience when they are searching for a vacation.

Vacationers will be able to access the technology, a first for the cruise industry at
www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/royalview or via Google Search results, Google Maps and Google+ whether they’re using their computers, smartphones or tablets.

With just a few clicks, guests will be able to virtually walk through the various decks of Allure of the Seas including the Royal Promenade, a boulevard that runs nearly the length of the ship, flanked by restaurants, boutiques and lounges; Central Park, an outdoor park longer than a football pitch complete with over 12,000 live plants and trees; the Boardwalk, featuring a hand-crafted carousel, two rock-climbing walls and the AquaTheater, a high-dive aquatic performance venue with the deepest pool at sea; Entertainment Place, with an elaborate theatre, night club, comedy club, jazz club and ice-skating rink, which offers professionally produced ice shows; the Pool and Sports Deck featuring a zip line, twin FlowRider surf simulators, full-size basketball/sports court, nine-hole mini-golf course, 15 pools and whirlpools and 22 restaurants, and many, many more.

“Business View allows people all over the world to explore a range of businesses and organizations in great detail in just a few clicks” said Deborah Schenker – Program Manager at Google UK, “You can check out anything from restaurants to aircraft in Google Maps, and now for the first time you can sail the seas too with the first ever cruise ship coming on board.”

Jo Briody, director of marketing & PR, Royal Caribbean International commented: “We’re thrilled to be at the forefront of the industry when it comes to delivering innovative consumer facing technologies, whether it be Roboscreens and digital shows on our newest ships or Google Street View technology on our website. Consumers go online to research their vacations and this is the closest they can get to actually being onboard. We are confident that once people get virtually immersed in Allure of the Seas’ various decks and features thanks to Google Street View technology, they’ll be eager to experience the real thing.”

Over 20,000 images were taken over the course of 60 man hours and eight days to complete the virtual representation of the ship which stands taller than Nelson’s Column (165 feet) at 240 feet high and can accommodate more guests per sailing than the capacity of the Royal Albert Hall (5,544 seats).

The images were taken using a basic DSLR camera using a fisheye lens and a panoramic head resting on a tripod. This method takes twelve photographs at each point and uses high-dynamic-range imaging to ensure the best exposure for areas of different light.

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 45-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea.  The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSE: RCL), the cruise line sails 21 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, South America, the Far East, and Australia and New Zealand. World renowned for its friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, delivered by every staff and crew member, Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 11 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.

For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent; visit RoyalCaribbean.com; or call 800-ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean or on Twitter @RoyalCaribbean.

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Royal Caribbean Offers up to $400 Onboard Credit for Bookings thru May 31, double for Holiday Cruises

May 10, 2014

Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Royal Caribbean International is offering up to $400 in onboard credit to vacationers booking a cruise vacation through May 31. Cruisegoers can choose from any six-night or longer sailing departing to the Caribbean and Bahamas between July 1 and December 31, 2014. For those vacationers looking ahead and booking a holiday season cruise the cruise line is doubling their onboard spending credit. (For more details, visit http://www.RoyalCaribbean.com/MayWow.)

Guests will sail aboard some of the most innovative ships afloat that offer an expansive array of exciting itineraries. Guests can use their bonus spending credit to book an adventurous family shore excursion, a specialty dining experience to celebrate a family milestone, or commemorate the occasion with the perfect family portrait.

The offer applies for all new U.S. and Canadian bookings made from May 7 – 31, 2014, for sailings departing from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2014. Vacationers will receive $50 onboard credit per interior or oceanview stateroom; $100 onboard credit per Jr. suite or stateroom with balcony; and $200 onboard credit per Grand Suite or higher category stateroom.  As an added incentive, the cruise line is also doubling onboard credits up to $400 for all eligible sailings between Dec. 15 and Dec. 31, 2014. The offer is valid fleetwide, excluding Quantum of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 45-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike.

Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSE: RCL), the cruise line sails 21 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, South America, the Far East, and Australia and New Zealand. World renowned for its friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, delivered by every staff and crew member, Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 11 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.

For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should call your travel agent; visit RoyalCaribbean.com; or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean or on Twitter @RoyalCaribbean.

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Royal Caribbean 2015-16 Schedule Includes Year-Round Sailings from New York and Galveston

April 18, 2014
Sailing into the Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda. Throughout 2015 summer and fall, Liberty of the Seas will sail from Cape Liberty, NJ to Bermuda. © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Sailing into the Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda. Throughout 2015 summer and fall, Liberty of the Seas will sail from Cape Liberty, NJ to Bermuda. © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Royal Caribbean International announced its 2015-16 year-round sailings from the New York-metropolitan area and Galveston, Texas, and seasonal sailings from Tampa and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Still ranked among the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships, Liberty of the Seas will homeport at Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. for summer 2015 and offer vacationers the most advanced cruise options to sail from the New York-metropolitan area to Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Canada and New England. Simultaneously, Navigator of the Seas will continue to sail seven-night Western Caribbean cruises throughout summer 2015 and complete two consecutive years of homeporting at Galveston.

In winter 2015-16, Anthem of the Seas will arrive at Cape Liberty for its first season in North America – after finishing its inaugural season in Southampton, U.K. – and offer vacationers unforgettable Quantum-class experiences to the Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean. At the same time, Liberty of the Seas will take over weekly Caribbean sailings from Galveston, offering Texas vacationers a newer and larger ship, while Navigator of the Seas will sail six- and eight-night Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale. Furthermore, Brilliance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will return to Tampa in winter 2015-16 to offer a variety of Caribbean itineraries that all combine to provide extensive choices for exciting Royal Caribbean cruise vacations throughout 2015 to 2016.

Liberty of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas’ 2015-16 cruise seasons are now open for booking. Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members have the exclusive privilege to book Anthem of the Seas’ winter 2015-16 season starting April 25, 2014, in advance of the general opening to the public on April 29.

Cruise Vacations from New York

New York is among the world’s top cosmopolitan cities where Royal Caribbean is deploying its most technologically advanced ships. Throughout the 2015 summer and autumn seasons, Liberty of the Seas will homeport at Cape Liberty and offer the best family cruise vacation option in the region. The Freedom-class ship will be the cruise line’s newest and largest ship to offer cruises to Bermuda from the New York-metropolitan area. Liberty of the Seas will alternate a five-night, roundtrip Bermuda itinerary with a nine-night Caribbean itinerary in the summer, and then with a nine-night New England and Canada itinerary throughout the autumn season.

“The Bermuda Tourism Authority is delighted at the news that Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas will be making visits to Bermuda for the 2015 summer season,” said Bill Hanbury, CEO, Bermuda Tourism Authority. “Royal Caribbean is an extremely valued partner to Bermuda and is considered a leader in the global cruise market. This latest announcement is a welcome endorsement of Royal Caribbean’s continued commitment to Bermuda and its tourism industry.”

For its winter 2015-16 season, Anthem of the Seas will set sail on October 27 for an eight-night Ocean Voyage from Southampton to Cape Liberty and continue Quantum Class cruising for New York-area vacationers. The ship will sail a range of seven- to 12-night roundtrip itineraries and take guests to the Bahamas and throughout the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean. The 12-night Western Caribbean itinerary is brand new, featuring maiden calls for the Quantum Class at George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Roatan, Honduras.

“The New York-metropolitan area is a very important market for us,” said Adam Goldstein, President and COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are committed to bringing our most advanced ships to this region and delivering our distinctive style of high-quality vacations to our loyal customers, as well as win new converts to cruising. Sailing Anthem of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas from New York fits the bill perfectly.”

Year-round Caribbean Vacations from Galveston

Having just been revitalized in January 2014, Navigator of the Seas offers vacationers the most innovative and modern cruise experience to sail from the Lone Star State. Navigator of the Seas will continue weekly sailings from Galveston until November 2015, when Liberty of the Seas repositions there to offer Texans a larger and more advanced cruise ship for unforgettable vacations. Both ships will alternate a pair of seven-night roundtrip itineraries to the Western Caribbean.

Winter Caribbean Escapes from Florida

Vacationers also have a range of the industry’s most advanced ships for a variety of Caribbean itineraries, sailing from convenient Florida ports during the 2015-16 winter season. Completing two full years of homeporting in Galveston, Navigator of the Seas will reposition to Fort Lauderdale in November 2015 and sail six-night Eastern and eight-night Western Caribbean itineraries.

For its part, Brilliance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will return to Tampa for their third and second consecutive winter seasons, respectively. Brilliance of the Seas will offer vacationers four- and five-night Western Caribbean itineraries, while Vision of the Seas will sail seven-, nine-, and 10-night itineraries throughout the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean.

 

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New Broadway Production of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Cats” Comes to Oasis of the Seas

April 4, 2014

Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas will be bringing the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of CATS to the high seas. The fully licensed production of CATS will join Oasis of the Seas once it completes its drydock in fall 2014.

Based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” CATS was one of the longest running productions on Broadway and is the winner of numerous awards including seven Tonys, two Oliviers and a Grammy. The show has been seen in over 20 countries and translated into more than 10 languages.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Really Useful Group to bring one of the world’s most beloved musicals to Oasis of the Seas,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “Adding CATS to our already amazing line up of Broadway musicals such as Hairspray, Chicago: The Musical, Saturday Night Fever and Mamma Mia exemplify our commitment to bringing top quality entertainment to our guests at no extra cost.”

Oasis of the Seas features exclusive amenities and concepts throughout its seven themed neighborhoods, such as an 82 foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, the Rising Tide elevating bar, the Aquatheater high-diving performance venue, and Central Park with more than 12,000 live trees and plants. Oasis of the Seas also offers amenities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, such as twin FlowRider surf simulators, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, the H20 Zone kids aquapark, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques, among many others. (For webisodes detailing the variety of experiences aboard Oasis of the Seas, visit http://tinyurl.com/bw585wa.)

Launched in December 2009, Oasis of the Seas has been heralded as an architectural marvel at sea, spanning 16 decks, encompassing 225,282 gross registered tons, and with a double-occupancy capacity of 5,400 guests. Oasis of the Seas is first ship to tout the cruise line’s neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, comprising Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.

Founded in 1977, The Really Useful Group exists to bring the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber to the world and manage his complete catalogue including theatrical and symphonic works, a requiem mass and countless rock and pop songs.

For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should call their travel agent; visit RoyalCaribbean.com; or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean or on Twitter @RoyalCaribbean.
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Victoria Cruises Celebrates 20th Anniversary with 2-for-1 Pricing on Yangtze China Cruises

March 25, 2014
Victoria Cruises is kicking off its 2014 Yangtze River sailing season with special 2-for-1 pricing on all private balcony superior staterooms on its acclaimed Three Gorges Highlights program.

Victoria Cruises is kicking off its 2014 Yangtze River sailing season with special 2-for-1 pricing on all private balcony superior staterooms on its acclaimed Three Gorges Highlights program.

Victoria Cruises (www.VictoriaCruises.com) is kicking off its 2014 Yangtze River sailing season with special 2-for-1 pricing on all private balcony superior staterooms on its acclaimed Three Gorges Highlights program in celebration of the New York-based pioneer’s 20th anniversary carrying Western passengers along China’s most popular cruise experience.

“A lot has changed since our first ship edged out of port in 1994,” said Larry Greenman, manager of public relations and customer service for Victoria Cruises. “The completion of the Three Gorges Dam, for example, has allowed us to build larger, more luxurious ships and venture into new territory with exciting, new excursions added to our program,” Greenman observed.

“We’ve also upgraded our five-star fleet and implemented technological enhancements to streamline operations for passengers’ convenience. In the culinary arena, we’ve added a la carte dining and continue improve our menus through our longstanding relationship with Celebrity Chef and Emmy award-winning host of PBS’s A Taste of History, Walter Staib,” noted Greenman.

“But while much has changed, one thing still remains constant after 20 years exceeding the expectation of discerning travelers – our knowledge and understanding of the Western passenger and our ability to cater to their specific needs with personalized service that is second to none,” said Greenman. “We remain the only American-managed company upholding Western Standards on the Yangtze River.”

Starting at $880 for the first passenger (second passenger is free when booked in conjunction with the 2-for-1 offer), Victoria Cruises’ most popular Three Gorges Highlights program is available in three- and four-night options (based on river direction) and encompasses views of centuries-old temples, pagodas and stone carvings nestled along the mist-shrouded Yangtze.

A standard shore excursion package is available for $90 for the first passenger (second package free with 2-for-1 promotion) and includes tours of the “Ghost City” of Fengdu and Three Gorges Dam as well as a scenic journey on a traditional sampan through Goddess Stream, surrounded by beautiful peaks and teeming with local wildlife from monkeys to mountain goats. Once just a brook, Goddess Stream is a recent addition to the excursion package made possible by the Three Gorges Dam, which raised the stream’s water level and extended its reach to the southern bank of the Yangtze, opposite Goddess Peak (Goddess Stream excursion may be substituted based on river conditions).

From an additional $200 per person (only charged to first guest with 2-for-1 promotion), passengers can upgrade to Victoria Cruises’ Executive Amenities Program featuring enhanced ship placement and a host of VIP additions including “white glove” service, access to exclusive ship areas, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, enhanced dining privileges, shoe shine service and reserved seating for evening entertainment (must be reserved in advance).

For more information or to book, or for a list of tour operators which include the Yangtze River in their China programs, contact Victoria Cruises toll-free at 800-348-8084 or visit www.VictoriaCruises.com.

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CLIA Cruise Lines Offer Last-Minute Availability on Easter, Spring Break Sailings

March 25, 2014
Enjoy the thrilling zipline on Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private island on Haiti's north coast © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Enjoy the thrilling zipline on Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private island on Haiti’s north coast © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Easter Bunny, parades, special Easter menus and egg decorating are just part of the festivities and family fun aboard select cruise ships exploring the world this April.

Here are cruises that are still available from the North American fleet of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) for Easter and Spring Break departures:

Follow the Easter Bunny

MSC Cruises’ MSC Divina has a 7-night departure leaving from Miami on April 19 visiting Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Road Town, Tortola; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, with a variety of “Easter themed” activities. Kids “Easter hunt”, costume parades, Easter chef classes, chocolate Easter eggs and special Easter menus in the main restaurants make the week particularly festive. Seven-night departures from Miami on April 12 and April 26 visit Falmouth, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico, and the private island of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas for other spring break options. An added plus, is that kids sail free year-round on MSC Cruises.

The Easter Bunny will pass out chocolates and will be available for photo ops on select Holland America Line’s April sailings. There will also be an Easter bonnet competition, egg decorating, a Jelly bean count and Easter mass. The Maasdam will sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale for an 11-day Southern Caribbean itinerary on April 11 with port stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Kingstown, St. Vincent; Bridgetown, Barbados; Fort-De-France, Martinique; Frederiksted; and the private island of Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. A 14-day Panama Canal sailing on Westerdam departing on April 15 travels from Fort Lauderdale, FL to San Diego, and will include Cartagena, Colombia; through the Panama Canal; with ports of call in Costa Rica and Mexico, ending in Cabo San Lucas. Also departing on April 15, the 11-day Adriatic Dream itinerary on Noordam departs from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, and includes the Strait of Messina, Italy; Greece and Croatia with an overnight and disembarkation in Venice, Italy.

Celebrate the Sun

Those who have suffered through the cold winter will be especially ready to celebrate spring in the sun. Disney Cruise Lines’ four ships will all be in the Caribbean this April. Disney sails from Port Canaveral with three options: a 3-night Bahamian cruise on April 18 on Disney Magic with stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island; a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on April 19 on Disney Fantasy with stops in St. Maarten, St. Thomas/St. John and Castaway Cay; and a 4-night Bahamian cruise with stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay on Disney Dream on April 20. Disney Wonder sails from Miami on April 18 on a 5 -night Western Caribbean itinerary with stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Norwegian Cruise Line is currently offering free Balcony upgrades, reduced deposits and e-coupons worth $300 on these Easter sailings: 7-night Mexican Rivera from Los Angeles on Norwegian Star on April 13; 7-night Western Caribbean from New Orleans on Norwegian Jewel on April 13; 3-night Bahamas from Miami on Norwegian Sky on April 18; 7-night Eastern Caribbean from Miami on Norwegian Getaway on April 19; 7-night Inter-Island Hawaii on Pride of America on April 19; 7-night Western Caribbean from Tampa on Norwegian Dawn on April 20; and 7-night Western Caribbean from Miami on Norwegian Epic on April 20.

Royal Caribbean International‘s Navigator of the Seas sails April 20 from Galveston, Texas, on a 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary, calling at Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico. Allure of the Seas sails April 20 from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on a 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary, calling at Falmouth, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private island on Haiti’s north coast. Enchantment of the Seas sails April 18 from Port Canaveral on a 3-night Bahamas cruise, calling at Nassau and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private Bahamian-island. Guests also can combine a cruise aboard Enchantment of the Seas with a 3- to 4-day stay at Universal Orlando Resorts, enjoying savings and inclusive Universal Express Unlimited ride access among many more theme park privileges.

Cultural Odyssey

Guests of Paul Gauguin Cruises’ m/s Paul Gauguin can combine sun with culture when they travel to Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands on a 14-day cruise departing April 12 from Papeete, Tahiti. They’ll experience a true glimpse of the Polynesia of the old including Bora Bora, Moorea, Taha’a (Motu Mahana), and Huahine.

Tauck River Cruising has limited space on its 10-day April 18 departure of “Belgium & Holland in Spring” aboard the ms Treasures. The itinerary begins with an included overnight in Brussels before embarkation in Maastricht and sailing to Amsterdam. Special experiences along the way include Keukenhof Gardens and the Rijksmuseum, a scenic Amsterdam canal boat cruise, the Netherlands American Cemetery, a culinary experience at Chateau Neercanne, chocolate and beer tastings, and a private dinner at and tour of the In Flanders Fields Museum to observe the WWI Centennial.

Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit departs April 19 on a 16-day repositioning cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona. Ports of call include Bermuda, the Azores, Malaga, Cartagena and Valencia. There is still availability on Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria during the 12-day Transatlantic Crossing from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton, England on April 16.

Guests dine on Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s cuisine while sailing through Japan with Crystal Cruises during the 15-day “Skyscrapers & Shoguns” itinerary. Starting April 16, Crystal Symphony sails from Beijing to Tokyo, with a 3-day overnight land program in Beijing included, followed by visits to Shanghai (two nights docked locally), Nagasaki, Osaka (local overnight), Shimizu, and, finally, Tokyo (local overnight—a rare call for the cruise line.) The cruise is also available without the Beijing land program, and as a shorter 7- or 8-day “Getaway.”

For expert advice, travelers can turn to a CLIA Cruise Agent, who stays current on the latest offerings and trends and is an expert in helping clients selects a cruise of their dreams. To find a CLIA Cruise Agent or Agency in your area, visit www.cruising.org and click on Vacations and use our Cruise Expert Finder.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA represents the interests of cruise lines and travel agents before regulatory and legislative policy makers. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise holiday vacations with thousands of travel agency and travel agent members. CLIA’s Associate Member and Executive Partner program includes the industry’s leading providers of supplies and services that help cruise lines provide a safe, environmentally-friendly and enjoyable holiday vacation experience for millions of passengers every year. For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and CLIA-member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit http://www.cruising.org. CLIA can also be followed on the Cruise Lines International Association’s Facebook and Twitter fan pages, and CEO Christine Duffy can be followed @CLIACEO and cruising.org/ceoblog.

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Royal Caribbean Rolls Out Kids Sail Free, Complimentary Upgrades, Reduced Deposits

March 5, 2014
Liberty of the Seas cruisers enjoy Royal Caribbean's private island © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Liberty of the Seas cruisers enjoy Royal Caribbean’s private island © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Royal Caribbean International, the cruise line known for its award-winning family programming, is enticing vacationers to set sail in 2014 with a selection of enticing incentives. From March 1 through 31, 2014, vacationers can choose from among three offers, including kids sailing for free, complimentary upgrades and 50 percent-reduced deposits aboard select ships sailing Australia, The Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean and Europe, departing May 1 through Dec. 15, 2014. (For more details, visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/KidsSailFree.)

Kids Sail Free

Royal Caribbean’s “Kids Sail Free” limited-time offer provides free cruise fare for third and fourth guests of all ages in triple or quad occupancy staterooms. Guests aboard the cruise line’s innovative ships will enjoy signature Royal Caribbean features and amenities, such as FlowRider surf simulators, ice skating rinks, rock-climbing walls and cutting-edge entertainment that are sure to WOW.  The “Kids Sail Free” offer is available fleetwide, excluding Quantum of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas. Third and fourth berth staterooms are limited on select sailings and the offer is only applicable while inventory last.

Complimentary Upgrades and 50 Percent-reduced Deposit

Cruisers may book a balcony stateroom for the same price as an ocean view stateroom on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of Seas, Radiance of the Seas, and Serenade of the Seas, or an ocean view stateroom for the price of an interior stateroom on Enchantment of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, Vision of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas.

Families and vacationers of all ages who book a Royal Caribbean cruise aboard these ships also will enjoy 50 percent-reduced deposit, starting at $50 per guest.

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 45-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea.  The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSE: RCL), the cruise line sails 21 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, South America, the Far East, and Australia and New Zealand. World renowned for its friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, delivered by every staff and crew member, Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 11 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.

For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent; visit RoyalCaribbean.com; or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean or on Twitter @RoyalCaribbean.

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Variety Cruises Offers 2-for-1 Special on March 9 Sailing of Treasures of Costa Rica and Panama Canal Cruise

February 19, 2014

Small ships cruise line Variety Cruises is offering a 2-for-1 special on the March 9, 2014 sailing of its Treasures of Costa Rica and Panama Canal cruise. When one traveler books the cruise at the regular price, starting at $2590, his or her partner cruises for free. Travelers wishing to take advantage of the special offer should mention “SELECTED SPECIAL” at the time of booking by calling 1-800-319-7776.

The 2-for-1 fare offer does not apply for existing bookings and cannot be combined with any other offers. All special fare bookings must be fully paid within seven days of booking confirmation date. Port charges are excluded from these discounts.

Variety Cruises, one of the world’s largest small ships cruise companies, has been offering passengers worldwide a total yachting experience since 1949. Their fleet of 11 fully-owned vessels varies in size from 4 to 36 cabins. Their yachts and staff provide an intimate and relaxed environment; a comfort filled starting point for the discerning travelers as they visit well known and unique ports of call. Fine locally-flavored cuisine, exciting itineraries and personalized service are just a few of the things that have made Variety Cruises the choice for the ever growing number of travelers looking for distinctive small ship cruise experiences. For more information on Variety Cruises, visit www.varietycruises.com.

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Azamara Club Cruises’ Introduces New Insider Access, Nights and Cool Places Programs, Adding to Immersive Experiences

February 14, 2014
Azamara Journey 2

Azamara Journey 2

In much the same way as it transformed cruising by offering up-market guests longer stays and more overnights on nearly all of its voyages, Azamara Club Cruises is once again evolving its Land Discoveries shore excursion program with two new offerings aimed at culture-seekers. Beginning with the 2014 Europe season, guests searching out a more in depth, personalized destination experience can choose from two exclusive programs that will immerse them in a destination through its people.

The first program, Insider Access, features exclusive invitation into the ancestral home, workshop or place of business of a local insider. It allows guests to actively engage with knowledgeable individuals who will share colorful stories and historic tales of their home destination on a personal level.

The second, Nights and Cool Places, makes the most of Azamara’s longer stays in port and overnights with an intimate night touring program. These custom after dinner experiences give guests exclusive opportunities to visit world-famous museums after hours, such as Malaga’s Picasso Museum; sip cocktails at a local hot spot, such as Rio de Janeiro’s Scenarium; or take a stroll on an intimate guided architectural walk – all with a local guide.

“Azamara Club Cruises offers our guests access to the nightlife of captivating places worldwide by creating voyages with the unique ability to stay at port well after other ships have departed, and often overnight,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises.  “This access allows travelers to engage, explore and discover a culture when it is at its most vibrant. The demand for immersive experience is such that we developed two new, intimate shore excursion programs to provide our guests with an insider’s perspective that, not only connects them to local environments, but that will stimulate their mind and senses.”

Azamara and its two intimate boutique ships are known for their hand-crafted voyages which discover the world through lesser-known and less traveled ports of call.  Guests of the up-market cruise line are often port collectors looking for their next adventure to add to the collection.

Through these new Land Discoveries programs, Azamara is curating these sought-after collectible moments for its guests. For example, as part of the new Insider Access program, guests calling at Haifa, Israel, can step into the home of a Druze family for a hands-on cooking workshop. While the meal is being prepared guests will get insight to the secret religion, tradition and culture of the Druze people who have inhabited the holy for hundreds of years.

Both of these new programs continue to build on Azamara’s promise of destination immersion to its guests.  The Insider Access program creates an intimate group of eight to 12 curious and adventurous guests and provides them with access to the people of a destination, while the Nights and Cool Places program will offer 15-20 guests exclusive access to some of the world’s best known sights.

For example guests sailing an Asia itinerary can sign up for a night tour to view Hong Kong’s famous Symphony of Lights from the Sky Terrace at the Peak following a tram ride offering incredible panoramic views.
The Insider Access and Nights and Cool Places programs will be available for booking beginning late March. For a full list of Land Discoveries shore excursions visit http://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/landdiscoveries.

Intimate Ships

Azamara Club Cruises offers distinct destination-immersive experiences for up-market travelers. The cruise line features voyages with longer stays and more overnights at ports to provide guests the opportunity to experience night touring at some of the most compelling destinations of Europe, Asia, South America, West Indies, as well as Central and North America.

On board the intimate Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, guests receive exceptional and personal service and the cruise line’s authentic, exclusive and bespoke AzAmazing Evenings events that showcase the unexpected colors and flavors of a destination.   Guests also enjoy fine cuisine and boutique wines from around the world, as well as more inclusive amenities, such as included gratuities; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee, and teas, as well as complimentary boutique wines, international beers and select standard spirits in the ships’ bars, lounges and restaurants when open; complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centers in ports, where available.          

For more information, call your travel professional, dial 1-877-999-9553, or visit http://www.AzamaraClubCruises.com. Connect with Azamara Club Cruises on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AzamaraClubCruises, on Twitter @AzamaraVoyages or follow President and CEO @LarryPimentel.

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Royal Caribbean Unveils New 2015 Line-Up of Cruise Vacations

February 14, 2014

LabadeeLabadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach paradise on the north coast of Haiti © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Royal Caribbean International has just unveiled its 2015 line-up of cruise vacations. In addition to Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, and Grandeur of the Seas. sailing in the Caribbean during the summer, cruisers will have a choice of three ships that sail from three convenient U.S. homeports to embark on breathtaking Canada and New England autumn vacations aboard Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas. Vacationers can now make bookings for these six ships for the 2015 summer and autumn seasons.

Also Independence of the Seas will alternate seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean vacations from Fort Lauderdale for its very first summer Caribbean season in 2015.

Oasis of the Seas, which shares the title of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship with sister-ship Allure of the Seas, will continue a seventh year of offering round-trip, seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean vacations from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., calling at some of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations. Ports of call include Nassau, The Bahamas; St. Thomas and St. Maarten on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, and, on the Western Caribbean itinerary, Falmouth, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach paradise on the north coast of Haiti.

Aboard Oasis of the Seas, guests will enjoy the widest array of onboard amenities in seven themed neighborhoods, such as an 82 foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, the Rising Tide elevating bar, a fully-licensed Broadway musical, the high-diving AquaTheater, and Central Park with more than 12,000 live trees and plants, and many more. Oasis of the Seas also offers amenities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, such as twin FlowRider surf simulators, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, the H20 Zone kids aquapark, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques, among many others.

Also from Fort Lauderdale, Independence of the Seas will alternate seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean vacations for its very first summer Caribbean season in 2015. Western Caribbean ports of call include Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Labadee, while San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Maarten; and St. Kitts are on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Independence of the Seas is among the Freedom class of ships, which first introduced the FlowRider surf simulator and cantilevered whirlpools, and features other Royal Caribbean first-at-sea amenities, including the H2O Zone kids’ aquapark, the Royal Promenade, and the four bedroom, four bathroom Presidential Family Suite, which can accommodate up to 14 guests.

Freedom of the Seas, the first among the Freedom class, will alternate seven-night roundtrip Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from Port Canaveral along Florida’s space coast, calling at St. Thomas, St. Maarten and CocoCay on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, and Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach destination, on the Western Caribbean sailing. Freedom of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas’ guests enjoy the DreamWorks Experience, an exclusive integrated entertainment program developed with the world-class animated film studio powerhouse DreamWorks Animation. The DreamWorks Experience was first launched aboard Allure of the Seas in November 2010 and continues to impress guests and receive accolades. Guest can join in parades, themed activities and themed events based on DreamWorks Animation’s popular feature-film characters, including Po of “Kung Fu Panda;” Shrek, Fiona and Puss In Boots of “Shrek;” and Alex the Lion, Gloria, and the Penguins from “Madagascar.” Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas also is equipped with a 3-D movie theater playing the latest DreamWorks Animation films, as well as a dedicated RCTV channel, featuring a variety of the film studio’s popular movies.

For its part, Grandeur of the Seas will continue round-trip sailings from historic Baltimore, Md., and sail round-trip, seven-night Bahamas and Bermuda cruises. Guests will call at Port Canaveral, Nassau and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private Bahamian island paradise. On Grandeur of the Seas’ Bermuda sailings, guests will enjoy three days at Kings Wharf to explore all the charm of Bermuda. In the autumn season, the ship will alternate six-night Bermuda sailings and eight- and nine-night Canada and New England cruises, calling at Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; and St. John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada.

In the autumn months of 2015, Brilliance of the Seas also will offer vacationers seven- and nine-night round-trip Canada and New England fall foliage sailings from Boston, Mass., while Serenade of the Seas will sail between Quebec City, Quebec, and Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., on 10- to 14-night fall foliage itineraries. Both Radiance-class ships, Brilliance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas feature Royal Caribbean onboard innovations, such as the adults-only Solarium pool area, self-leveling pool tables, and sea-facing glass elevators for breathtaking vistas of the unfolding shoreside landscape, known for its display of vibrant colors in the autumn seasons.

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 40-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry firsts never-before-seen at sea.  The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities found only on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike.

Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSE: RCL), the cruise line sails 21 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, South America, the Far East, and Australia and New Zealand.  World renowned for its friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, delivered by every staff and crew member, Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 10 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Reader’s Choice Awards.

For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent; visit RoyalCaribbean.com; or call -800-ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean or on Twitter @RoyalCaribbean.

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