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ENGINEERING A UNIQUE VIEW: INSTALLING QUANTUM OF THE SEAS’ NORTH STAR

Oct 14

ROYAL CARIBBEAN RAISES THE BAR ON AWARD-WINNING OASIS-CLASS SHIPS WITH ROYAL ADVANTAGE ENHANCEMENTS

Dynamic New Culinary Concepts, Broadway Show and Exciting Retail Offerings, to Debut on Oasis-Class

MIAMI, Oct. 14, 2014 – Sailing aboard the world’s largest and most exciting cruise ships will now come with even more bragging rights. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas emerges from a 14-day drydock today with a new look including reimagined dining, game-changing high-speed internet, exciting new retail offerings, a new popular and favorite Broadway show, new suites with exclusive suite dining and lounge. Sistership Allure of the Seas will follow suit in May 2015 with nearly identical enhancements. During their respective drydock, each ship’s seven neighborhoods will be enhanced as part of the cruises line’s Royal Advantage commitment to deliver the best vacation offerings and to introduce guests to even more new features and personalized experiences that can only be found when sailing with Royal Caribbean.

“Royal Caribbean’s legacy of innovation brought the revolutionary Oasis-class ships to life and in that spirit, during the Oasis of the Seas’ and Allure of the Seas’ drydocks we are adding features and experiences to wow our guests even more,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, executive vice president, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “One of the many exciting new features is Dynamic Dining, which has received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests. We are expanding this new dining program, in line with our Royal Advantage commitment, to offer our guests and prospective consumers the amenities that appeal most to them according to the feedback we receive.”

Even More New Culinary Concepts

A key element of any vacation, dining provides vacation-goers with the opportunity to experience new flavors and indulge in old favorites. Royal Caribbean’s Dynamic Dining, allows guests to tempt their taste buds with more choice and flexibility than ever before by offering guests a landscape of 20 restaurants, as vast and varied as dining in the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.
Royal Caribbean has recreated the original Oasis-class three-story main dining room into three distinct complimentary venues introducing bold new concepts each with their own cuisine and ambiance:

  • American Icon Grill offers guests a take on the classic American road trip pulling together best-loved regional favorites into one comfort-style menu;
  • Silk is a vibrant and exotic destination where the spices of the Far East bring new flavor to adventurous palates through a Pan-Asian menu;
  • The Grande, where every night is formal night, offers an elegant ambiance and refined cuisine.

Guests will enjoy menus of the new concepts beginning March 14, 2015, onboard Oasis of the Seas. Guests sailing Oasis of the Seas prior to March 14, will enjoy the traditional dining room experience in the newly designed spaces.

As part of Dynamic Dining guests will have full control of their own epicurean journey with a tantalizing selection of specialty restaurants including four new unique concepts:

  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, a reimagined Izumi Japanese Cuisine offering a full teppanyaki menu as well as fresh and flavorful sushi rolls and sashimi;
  • Sabor Taqueria & Tequila Bar, first introduced aboard Navigator of the Seas to rave reviews, will feature a mouthwatering menu of authentic, modern and unexpected Mexican dishes including hand-made tableside guacamole. These dishes can be complemented by a curated beverage menu of tequilas, mezcal, and Mexican beers, as well as delicious sangrias and tableside-mixed margaritas;
  • Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, a unique culinary adventure for the senses where Royal Caribbean chefs twist their culinary kaleidoscopes in a whimsical setting that challenges the imagination with never-before-seen fare;
  • Coastal Kitchen is an exclusive restaurant for suite guests and Pinnacle members, that fuses Mediterranean influences with the unmatched riches of California’s bountiful farmlands and features. The experience is complemented by a robust wine list, curated specifically for the venue.

Finally guests will continue to enjoy Giovanni’s Table, 150 Central Park and Vintage Wine Bar, the hugely successful specialty dining concepts introduced on the Oasis-class in 2009.

Technology

Royal Caribbean’s commitment to provide the best vacation experience is at the heart of its Royal Advantage program which takes its latest innovations and most popular features and expands them to even its newest ships, such as:

  • Boatloads of Bandwidth, the game-changing partnership with technology partner O3b that will offer guests onboardOasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas connectivity that matches fast broadband connections onshore and is greater than all other cruise ships combined. These new capabilities, allow the cruise line to offer affordable, easy-to-use Internet packages so that guests may watch streaming video, check email, share images on social media and enjoy face-to-face video conversations – even in the middle of the ocean.
  • Royal iQ is a new app that puts guests in charge of their vacation choices.  Thanks to the dramatically improved connectivity, Royal iQ is able to continue dining reservations, shore excursions and spa appointments onboard, through both a downloadable app and at freestanding iQ stations around the ship.  Guests also can use Royal iQ as a convenient calendar that provides at-a-glance views of their program and to keep in touch with one another and home via phone and text capabilities.

New Exclusive Suite Experience

Royal Caribbean is introducing 10 new suites on Oasis-class ships, offering breathtaking views of the ocean or the ships’ signature AquaTheater and Boardwalk neighborhood and includes, two Royal Suites, six Grand Suites and two Royal Family Suites, which can accommodate up to six guests. These suites offer a new level of sophistication when paired with the variety of new exclusive suite amenities that include:

  • The Suite Lounge, an exclusive lounge area for suite guests to relax offering unmatched expansive views of the ship and sea;
  • The Sun Deck, a new sun deck area that gives suites guests the chance to soak-up and relax in the Caribbean sun with lounge furniture, shaded and seating areas and private service;
  • Coastal Kitchen is a suites only full-service restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner with a Mediterranean flare.

New Broadway Show

Oasis of the Seas’ introduced the first-ever, fully-licensed Broadway show at sea and now, the ship will bring one of the longest running productions on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’sTony award winning CATS to sea for the first time.  Beginning June 2015, sister ship Allure of the Seas will feature MAMMA MIA!, the smash hit musical based on the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs.

Superior Shopping at Sea

Known for its first at sea offerings, Royal Caribbean is introducing the playfully sophisticated designs of kate spade new york to Oasis-class on its popular Royal Promenade, a first at sea. Rounding out the diverse onboard shopping are two guest favoritesMichael Kors and the Britto Art Gallery, as well as a whole new line-up of merchandise and fashion jewelry such as, Alexis Bittar, Uno de 50, Lauren G Adams, and Nina Nguyen.

These enhancements take many of the best features the cruise line has created in recent years and introduces them to its newest ships, by building on Royal Caribbean’s best-in-class global vacation offering and delivering to guests the Royal Advantage – the industry’s most innovative cruise ships, combined with exciting itineraries and destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service.

Sep 21

Construction of NCL Escape Begins

 

Papenburg, 19 September 2014 – Norwegian Cruise Line executives and officials from MEYER WERFT took part in the Keel-Laying Ceremony of Norwegian Escape on Friday, September 19, 2014. During the official ceremony, block number 35/41, one of 86 blocks that will comprise the 164,600 gross ton vessel, was lifted into the covered building dock. This is the start of the block assembly for Norwegian Escape.

In the dock, Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer, laid the traditional “lucky coin,” before the 400 ton block was placed by the 800 ton crane.

“We are pleased to start construction of Norwegian Escape”, says Sheehan. “The start of the block assembly is a significant milestone and we eagerly anticipate the delivery of Norwegian Escape in the autumn of 2015.” The Norwegian Escape is the first of four ships with a length of 324.6 meters and a width of 41.4 meters that MEYER WERFT will be building for Norwegian Cruise Line until 2019.

“Today we placed one of 86 blocks”, says Bernard Meyer, MEYER WERFT’s managing director. “We are proud to begin the construction of the new series and continue our partnership with one of the most innovative cruise lines in the world.”

Starting from October 2015, Norwegian Escape will begin seven-day cruises from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean, taking 4,200 guests to the tropical destinations of Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, American Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. The newbuilding will unite all the exciting and innovative features of both Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. On top of that, she will feature a series of new public rooms and interactive experiences.

via Press Release | Keel laid for Norwegian Escape.

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SONIC SOUNDS TAKE CENTER STAGE: CAST OF MUSIC ODYSSEY GETS READY TO MAKE WAVES

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Quantum Ems Conveyance – Infographic

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Sep 19

AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY TO THE SEA

The pace of life in Lower Saxony, Germany is relaxed and slow, and a drive through the area, along the banks of the River Ems, will reveal miles of pastures, wetlands and farmland dotted with small towns and villages. But this week there’s a lot of excitement in this northwestern district as one of the world’s largest cruise ships makes its journey, or conveyance, from the shipbuilding town of Papenburg out to the North Sea.

The fuss is about Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International’s newest and most technologically advanced cruise ship, which was constructed at Meyer Werft, a family owned Papenburg-based shipyard.  The conveyance is a unique process for ships built here, as Meyer Werft is unconventionally situated inland, along the banks of the River Ems, to avoid the impact of storms on the North Sea.  This makes it necessary for ships to travel down the river to get to the sea.

“For hours we are actually taking the ship along this very, very tight channel where there is only about two to three feet of distance on each side between the ship and the river bank,” said Patrik Dahlgren, Vice President for Marine Operation at Royal Caribbean International.  “We can’t set a firm date or time for the conveyance because it’s all timed with the tides and weather conditions to help balance the movements of the ship along the river.”

While the conveyance of ships is not new for Meyer Werft – the shipyard has been doing this since 1795 – there are plenty of challenges to having a successful conveyance, and Quantum of the Seas will be especially demanding due to the size of the ship.At 348 meters long (1,141.73 feet long), 41.4 meters wide (135.8 feet wide) and weighing in at 168,666 gross tons, this ship is the largest ever to go through conveyance.

“With Quantum being the largest ship that has ever been built at Meyer Werft, there are some power lines that need to be rerouted, and some bridges along the river actually have to be lifted out of the way with a crane to allow the ship to pass, including one that is used by one of the main railways into Holland,” continued Dahlgren.

Making the process even more of a spectacle, ships are conveyed backwards because it’s usually easier to maneuver them in reverse, and Quantum’s journey will be managed the same way.  Thousands of revelers from the surrounding local villages along the 26 mile route typically gather at the river bank to watch and celebrate each ship’s distinct journey.

What happens once the ship completes the conveyance?  Quantum of the Seas will dock in Eemshaven, The Netherlands, where she will begin a series of tests, called sea trials, to measure the vessel’s seaworthiness, as well as test things like speed, maneuverability, equipment and safety features.

Come November, crowds will once again line a river bank to catch a glimpse as Quantum passes by, only this time it will be as she sails through the New York harbor… and she’ll be sailing forward instead of in reverse.

Sep 19

THREE OF A KIND: OVATION OF THE SEAS TO JOIN QUANTUM CLASS AS THIRD SMARTSHIP

Third Quantum Class Ship Marks First Milestone with Steel Cutting Ceremony

MIAMI, September 18, 2014 – On the cusp of delivering the first in a new generation of technologically advanced cruise ships Royal Caribbean International marked an important milestone today as the first piece of steel was cut marking the official construction start on the third Quantum class ship.

The steel cutting for Ovation of the Seas, scheduled to be delivered in the autumn of 2016, took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where Quantum of the SeasAnthem of the Seas and now Ovation of the Seas are being built.

The groundbreaking Quantum class ships will debut new unprecedented features, such as dancing Roboscreens in the unique Two70 entertainment venue; robotic bartenders in Bionic Bar; RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; transformative venues, such as Sea-Plex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever Virtual Balcony staterooms, which offers expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations for interior staterooms.

The Quantum Class spans 18 decks, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms. Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty for her inaugural season before departing to her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China. Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton, U.K. in April 2015 sailing Mediterranean itineraries. More information on Quantum class is available atwww.RoyalCaribbean.com/QuantumoftheSeas. For more information on Royal Caribbean International visit

Sep 16

Alaska Cruise Guide for 2015 | Travel Agent Central

By Susan Young

Exploring North America’s last frontier, Alaska, remains a “bucket list” item for many travelers. Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) annual State of the Cruise Industry released earlier this year revealed that 4.5 percent of all global itineraries visit the 49th state. While some Alaska ports are farther distance-wise than some destinations that cruisers can reach from U.S. ports and the voyages are usually pricier than cruises to theBahamas and Caribbean, the experience is unforgettable with dramatic natural beauty. Here’s a sampling of 2015 Alaska cruise action.

Contemporary Cruises

More balcony and oceanview staterooms await Alaska guests booked on Royal Caribbean International next summer as the line will operate two Radiance-class vessels. Radiance of the Seas will alternate northbound and southbound Alaska and Hubbard Glacier cruises, both seven-night itineraries from Vancouver, B.C., and Seward, AK, respectively. The ship will cruise the Inside Passage, visit Hubbard Glacier and call at Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Skagway in Alaska.

On September 4, 2015, Radiance of the Seas also will sail a seven-night round-trip itinerary from Vancouver that includes cruising at Tracy Arm Fjord and calls at Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Ketchikan. In addition, Jewel of the Seas will sail seven-night round-trip itineraries from Seattle, cruising the Alaska Inside Passage and Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier; these call at Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, B.C.

Clients seeking a more immersive Alaska vacation? Royal Caribbean cruise tours combine aRadiance of the Seas sailing with a three- to six-night fully escorted tour that spends at least one night in Denali National Park and one leg on the Wilderness Express, comprised of glass-domed train cars. Vacationers also might combine a Radiance of the Seas or Jewel of the Seas Alaska cruise with one of four pre- or post-cruise land tours of the Canadian Rockies and Canada’s Okanagan Wine Valley. A 19-night “Ultimate Cruise Tour” includes aRadiance cruise plus Alaska and Canada land touring.

Norwegian Cruise Line will operate three ships in Alaska—Norwegian Pearl andNorwegian Jewel roundtrip from Seattle and Norwegian Sun on one-way voyages between Vancouver and Seward. Departing Saturdays, Norwegian Jewel will sail seven-day Sawyer Glacier cruises from Seattle. Departing Sundays, Norwegian Pearl will sail seven-day Glacier Bay itineraries. Both itineraries feature stops in Ketchikan; Juneau; Skagway, Alaska; and Victoria.

If clients desire a lengthier trip, Norwegian Jewel will sail one nine-day Glacier Bay itinerary on May 7; it will visit Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Icy Strait Point, along with Victoria.Norwegian Pearl also will offer a 10-day Glacier Bay itinerary from Vancouver to Seattle on May 7, with calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Sitka, AK, and Victoria. Departing Mondays throughout the season, Norwegian Sun will sail seven-day cruises between Vancouver and Seward. These “open jaw” sailings will give guests a chance to add on a pre- or post-cruise Alaska land tour. From Vancouver, the ship will cruise to Glacier Bay and the Hubbard Glacier as well as call at Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau, AK. From Seward, the ship will cruise the Inside Passage, visit Sawyer Glacier and Hubbard Glacier, and call at Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Icy Strait Point.

In addition, Norwegian Sun will operate three seven-day roundtrip cruises from Vancouver plus one 10-day Glacier Bay itinerary roundtrip from Vancouver on May 8; on the latter, the ship calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Victoria.

Carnival Legend will also operate a special one-time Glacier Bay voyage from Vancouver on May 18, disembarking in Seattle on May 26. Shore options include helicopter flightseeing, rainforest canopy tours, and hiking, canoeing and kayaking expeditions.Following its Australia inaugural season, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Legend will head for Alaska and operate 16 week-long voyages, each with an onboard naturalist to educate guests about eco-sites and wildlife. The cruises sail from Seattle on Tuesday, with port calls at SkagwayJuneauKetchikan and Victoria and sail to either Tracy Arm Fjord or Glacier Bay.

Premium or Upper Premium

With seven ships in Alaska next year, Princess Cruises has a robust schedule of land-sea options. Ruby Princess and Crown Princess will sail roundtrip Inside Passage cruises from Seattle. The popular “Voyage of the Glaciers” route between Vancouver and Whittier will be operated by Coral PrincessGrand PrincessPacific Princess and Star Princess.

Golden Princess will sail roundtrip to Alaska from San Francisco. The line’s robust land-and-sea packages include interior Alaska as well as two new Canadian Rockies tour options for 2015.

Another line with a strong “Great Land” presence is Holland America Line with seven ships sailing 124 departures. From Seattle, the line will operate seven- and 14-day, roundtrip “Alaskan Explorer” cruises that call at Sitka, Ketchikan, Juneau, and Victoria, BC. On those sailings, Westerdam also will visit Glacier Bay National Park, Amsterdam will visit Tracy Arm, and Statendam will sail to Tracy Arm, Icy Strait Point, Homer, Kodiak and Hubbard Glacier.

New for 2015, Noordam will sail from Vancouver as will Volendam and Oosterdam. Seven-day roundtrips will call at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and cruise the Inside Passage. All three ships have a Tracy Arm service call for shore excursions. Also new, Zaandam will sail the Gulf of Alaska between Vancouver and Seward. Oosterdam will also sail that route, which includes Glacier Bay.

In 2015, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder will sail seven-nights from Vancouver to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. Departures are weekly, June 1 through Aug. 31. Competitor Celebrity Cruises will position three ships—MillenniumInfinity and Solstice—in Alaska and, for the first time, call at Haines.

Upper premium Oceania Cruises will return the 684-passenger Regatta to “the Great Frontier.” Most voyages are of the 10-night variety, with Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway calls along with less-visited Haines, Wrangell, Sitka and Hoonah stops. On many sailings, guests can add a “Discover Denali” land experience that includes a scenic train trip in a deluxe domed railcar, a welcome reception with Denali lecture and a tundra wilderness tour on which guests might spot moose, caribou, brown bears and 160+ species of birds.

Alaska Cruise Guide for 2015 | Travel Agent Central.

Sep 16

Holland America Line Names 2016 Pinnacle Class Ship ms KONINGSDAM

Seattle, Wash., Sep. 15, 2014 — Holland America Line revealed the name of its new 99,500-ton cruise ship slated for delivery in February 2016 will be ms Koningsdam . While the name pays homage to the company’s rich heritage and deep roots in the Netherlands, it also reflects a new era with a bold name that is an original in Holland America Line’s 141-year history. The 2,650-passenger ship is an evolution in design for the line — a new Pinnacle Class — and is being built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard.

Since 1883 every Holland America passenger vessel has borne the “dam” suffix, and ms Koningsdam carries on that tradition. The word koning means “king” in Dutch, and the name celebrates the majestic new ship. The name also pays honor to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, the first king of the Netherlands in over a century.

Holland America Line has a long, proud history with the Netherlands. All 15 premium cruise ships fly the Dutch flag as they sail throughout the world, to more than 400 ports of call. The historic greatness of the line’s Dutch heritage is shared with nearly one million guests each year. And the line has many Dutch employees, including most of the fleet’s captains and officers. Many of Holland America Line’s ships have been christened by members of the Dutch Royal Family over the past 75 years. Most recently, ms Nieuw Amsterdam was christened by Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima in 2010. And in 2008 ms Eurodam was christened by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

“In choosing the name Koningsdam , we are honoring our rich Dutch heritage while reflecting that we’re entering a new era as a company,” said Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of the Holland America Group. “This new Pinnacle Class ship will be our largest, most contemporary vessel, and it was only fitting to give it a name that embodies great achievement for the future, while embracing timeless tradition.”

Holland America Line was founded in the Netherlands in 1873 as the Netherlands-American Steamship Company headquartered in Rotterdam. The original headquarters building still stands today as the Hotel New York on the Wilhelmina Pier, with the company’s European headquarters located nearby.

New design for a new class of ship

When it debuts in February 2016, ms Koningsdam will be a new type of ship for Holland America Line. At 99,500 gross tons and carrying 2,650 guests and 1,025 crew members, the vessel is the largest ever built for the company. The increased size provides more opportunities to add new public spaces and venues, and several innovative features will debut on ms Koningsdam . Familiar spaces and amenities currently featured across the Holland America Line fleet will also be found on the new ship.

To bring a fresh vision to ms Koningsdam , Holland America Line tapped Adam D. Tihany, one of the world’s pre-eminent hospitality designers. Tihany joins distinguished maritime designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten who worked with Holland America Line on msNieuw Amsterdam and ms Eurodam . The two firms will create a modern and contemporary ambiance while incorporating Holland America Line’s classic hallmarks.

For more information about Holland America Line, contact a travel professional or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visitwww.hollandamerica.com.

Sep 10

Best Places to Cruise This Fall | U.S. News Travel

With crisp air, cool temperatures and brilliant foliage on display, autumn is an ideal time to cruise. The stretch between summer and winter affords relatively crowd-free ports and fewer passengers on board (kids are back in school), translating to plenty of opportunities to commune with nature. Best of all, many repositioning cruises — ships crossing from one region of the world to another — offer reduced rates and longer itineraries.

So, if you’re one of the nearly 21.7 million passengers projected to cruise in 2014, fall is an ideal time to take in striking backdrops and score significant savings. Decide which sailing is right for you with U.S News‘ list of the top autumn cruise destinations and itineraries.

via Best Places to Cruise This Fall | U.S. News Travel.

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