Dec 17

The Sky’s The Limit On Norwegian Escape

Families can triple their fun with expanded three-story Ropes Course with Sky Rails; Largest Aqua Park at sea; Nickelodeon (TM) and more

Miami   –    Dec 16, 2014   —   

Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest ship ever, Norwegian Escape, will offer the most exhilarating and action-packed activities for families and thrill seekers alike when she sets sail from her homeport of Miami in November 2015. The ship will feature the largest ropes course at sea, a three-story multiplex of heart-pounding challenges complete with two planks and five Sky Rails, zip tracks that allow guests to soar through the air. Norwegian Escape’s Aqua Park will be the largest at sea and includes a new Aqua Racer slide, while the expansive sports complex boasts a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle miniature golf course. Adding to the family fun, Norwegian Escape will also feature an expanded Kids’ Aqua Park; entertainment from Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids; along with the line’s first dedicated nursery for young cruisers two and under.

“Building on the tremendous success of our Breakaway-class ships, we are delivering bigger thrills and more action-packed activities for our largest ship to date,” said Drew Madsen, president and chief operating officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “From the extraordinary Sky Rails on the expanded Ropes Course to the exciting Aqua Racer slide, guests sailing on Norwegian Escape will have the family adventure of a lifetime. We can’t wait for our guests to experience these incredible new activities.”

Sports Complex and Aqua Park
The Ropes Course soars to new heights on Norwegian Escape and dares guests of all ages to conquer 99 different elements. The three-story elevated ropes course will span the entire width of the ship with features on both the port and starboard sides. The course tests the mettle of guests with two Planks, six-inch wide beams that extend eight feet from the side of the ship. The course’s exhilarating Sky Rails will put the wind in guests’ hair and smile on their faces as they glide through the air on zip tracks, with the longest one bringing guests out over the side of the ship, offering a bird’s eye view of Norwegian Escape that is a must-see. There are three Sky Rails on the main Ropes Course and two on the Kids’ Ropes Course, which offers kid-size fun, challenges and feats.

The Aqua Park on Norwegian Escape will be the largest at sea and feature four multi-story water slides, a dedicated Kids’ Aqua Park, two pools and four hot tubs. All-new on Norwegian Escape is the Aqua Racer slide, the newest tandem waterslide at sea where competitors can race side-by-side on tubes as they twist and turn to the finish line. Back by popular demand, Norwegian Escape will also feature the Free Fall, which first debuted on Norwegian Breakaway. These side-by-side slides offer adventurous guests the chance to literally free fall, as the floor drops from underneath, propelling them into a thrilling loop. For those who prefer a more relaxing ride, there is a family-friendly open-flume body slide.

Norwegian Escape will also bring the Kid’s Aqua Park to a new level, with enhanced attractions, an enclosed tube slide and a two-story climbing structure for kids to explore. This watery wonderland offers an incredible array of new features for kids including a multitude of interactive wet elements such as water cannons and elevated buckets that deliver surprise drenchings. Cranks and spray features, along with a multi-story tower, a rope bridge and lookout platform, equal endless fun for children and are sure to leave the littlest guests delighted.

Both kids and kids-at-heart can test their skills on the new nine-hole, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Rooftop 9, miniature golf course. Inspired by the Nickelodeon hit-animated television series, this first-of-its-kind miniature golf course will have guests saying “turtle power” when they sink a hole in one alongside favorite characters Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo.

Norwegian Escape’s sports complex will also include a full-size basketball court for family-friendly competition and a new bocce ball court, a first for the line.

Nickelodeon(TM) Entertainment
Norwegian Escape will be the sixth Norwegian ship to offer Nickelodeon branded entertainment, which will delight families with the latest in Nickelodeon activities and events that kids of all ages will enjoy, including an opportunity to meet SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star and Dora the Explorer, among other favorite Nickelodeon characters; as well as participate in a variety of exciting interactive Nickelodeon experiences. At the popular Nickelodeon Pajama Jam Breakfast, kids will have the opportunity to enjoy an action-packed experience with their favorite Nickelodeon characters; and at Dora’s Dance Party, young cruisers will sing and dance to their favorite songs with Dora the Explorer and Team Nick. Rounding out the fun, additional activities will include Story Time with Dora and Nickelodeon arts and crafts.

Youth Programming
In a first for the line, as part of the Guppies program, Norwegian Escape will offer childcare services for children ages six months to three years. The nursery will include an active area for play time and age-appropriate activities and a separate space for napping. In addition to the nursery services, Norwegian Escape’s Guppies program will offer a dedicated open play area for parents and babies to play together, featuring sensory-based games, interactive media and themed activities hosted by an early years coordinator.

Norwegian Escape features a centrally-located, expansive Splash Academy complex on Deck 5, offering age-appropriate supervised activities for children ages three to 12. It is also adjacent and easily accessible to the ship’s family-friendly oceanview staterooms, accommodating up to five guests. As on all Norwegian vessels, when parents enter they will utilize Norwegian’s e-Youth tablet-based electronic registration system, which allows them to swipe their keycard to register their children and input a password for additional safety to sign in and pick-up their children. Once children sign-in at the colorful and welcoming reception area, a forest-themed play zone offers space for creative games and play time, while an interactive dance space with a corresponding large video screen encourages lots of activity in this central space.

Splash Academy, the ship’s youth program, will once again have spaces for specific age groups, along with a Nickelodeon themed night and activities. New on Norwegian Escape, children participating in Splash Academy will enjoy an enhanced version of the popular Circus program, with additional skill options and an innovative grand finale. Children will also have an opportunity to participate in Officer Snook Theme Day, an expansion of Norwegian’s current program that will share an interactive environmental message through games and activities. Three to five year olds can explore in their own space decorated with vibrant, engaging colors, along with child-sized furniture and open space for active games and an activity center to encourage creativity. Magnetic white board walls will keep little hands busy in between organized programming.

In a separate area decorated with fun graphics to captivate children’s imaginations, the six to nine year olds will enjoy a “hang out” area for lounging with new friends that also features dedicated gaming stations with the latest video games. An activity zone will have space and supplies to create cool arts and crafts.

Children ages 10 to 12 years old will also have their own hangout, with access to the central multipurpose visual dance space and corresponding large video screen, open space for active activities and comfortable bean bags for lounging. In addition, within this space are dedicated stations for video games for individual or group competition.

Rounding out Splash Academy is a cool and comfortable “open zone” lounge area, with sofas and chairs in vibrant colors creating the perfect atmosphere to chill out, and a separate full-size cinema and bean bags for casual lounging and viewing favorite flicks. Entourage, located on Deck 17, is Norwegian’s high energy, exclusive teen zone for ages 13 through 17. This hip area gives teens their own unique space that includes trendy lounge furniture and a central gaming station. Complete with sleek, neon lighting, the space also includes favorites like air hockey and foosball. In the evening, Entourage transitions into a teens-only nightclub featuring a nightly teen theme complete with team challenges and giveaways. Entourage is conveniently located adjacent to the ship’s video arcade.

 

Dec 17

Celebrity Cruises Unveils 2016-2017 Asia Season and a Brand-first

Celebrity Cruises has revealed its array of exotic 2016-2017 vacations in Asia, and Celebrity’s Captain’s Club members have the first opportunity to book these sailings.

The Asia season offers vacationers far-flung destination experiences in 16 countries across 28 thrilling cruise vacations. With a lineup of more than 35 different destinations, guests now can explore Asia in modern luxury style from the choice of two award-winning Celebrity ships – Celebrity Millennium andCelebrity Constellation.

A brand-first, the premium cruise vacation company will homeport in culture-rich Abu Dhabi with Celebrity Constellation. The Millennium Class ship will set sail on nine- to 15-night itineraries, featuring destination experiences in the Arabian Coast, Arabian Sea, four different ports of call in India with overnights in Muscat and Khasab, Oman; Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE. The ship will then offer four Asia cruise vacations, roundtrip Singapore, visiting Brunei; China; Malaysia; the Philippines; Thailand and Vietnam, with overnights in Singapore and double overnights in Bangkok.

Celebrity Millennium’s return to Asia will offer 11- to 15-night itineraries with unforgettable journeys in the Far East. Guests can enjoy deep experiences in China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam as well as overnights in Bangkok, Beijing, Taipei, Bali, Singapore, Tokyo and more.

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Celebrity Cruises 2016-2017 Asia Season

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Dec 05

Norwegian Cruise Line Sets Sail For Exclusive Partnership With Margaritaville®

Norwegian Escape to prominently feature Jimmy Buffett’s celebrated eatery, the first location at sea, along with 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar and waterfront music venue

Miami   –    Dec 5, 2014   —   

Cruisers should get their Fins Up and shakers of salt ready, as the first-ever floating Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar will soon set sail onboard the all-new Norwegian Escape. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH) Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan announced the news at a company-wide event, with the help of a very special guest ? the legendary Jimmy Buffett who performed for the crowd. Norwegian’s exclusive partnership with Margaritaville Holdings LLC extends to Norwegian’s island destinations including the new Harvest Caye in Belize and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, as well as other ships in the fleet.

“Jimmy Buffett is an icon who embodies the island lifestyle and his Margaritaville lifestyle brand which includes restaurants and bars in its portfolio is a perfect fit for Norwegian Cruise Line and the incredible new Norwegian Escape, that will sail the Caribbean and offer our guests the first and only Margaritaville experience at sea,” said Sheehan. “We are more than thrilled to form this exclusive partnership with Jimmy and his talented team and we know our guests are going to love the new tropical experiences.”

Margaritaville’s iconic name brings to mind the desire in everyone to kick back and escape the everyday, if only for a few hours or days. Norwegian Escape’s Margaritaville restaurant and bar will embody that essence of escapism with a laid back atmosphere inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett. Nostalgic island moments will come to life with a menu that invites guests to take a bite out of paradise with signature items like the Cheeseburger in Paradise and Who’s to Blame Margarita. This venue will be one of Norwegian Escape’s many complimentary dining outlets. In addition to the restaurant, Norwegian Escape will feature the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, a music venue and outdoor bar on The Waterfront. The 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar will feature live nightly performances so guests can enjoy the sounds of the tropics while sipping a signature margarita or “boat drink” and gazing out to the beautiful Caribbean Sea.

“This partnership is a perfect match between two brands that celebrate escapism, relaxing and having fun,” said John Cohlan, chief executive officer of Margaritaville. “Opening our first Margaritaville at Sea on Norwegian Escape will be a huge milestone for our company. We can’t wait to bring the Margaritaville experience to Norwegian guests and let the floating ?fin’ begin!”

Along with the venues on Norwegian Escape, the partnership also includes Margaritaville branded food and beverage locations on Norwegian’s new island destination in Harvest Caye, Belize, set to open in fall 2015 and a 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar on Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, planned to also debut in 2015. In the future, the partnership will extend to other ships in the fleet.

Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean beginning on November 14, 2015. The ship will be the largest to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

For more information on Norwegian Escape, visit www.escape.ncl.com. To book a cruise on Norwegian Escape, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit www.ncl.com.

Dec 05

VOYAGER OF THE SEAS COMPLETES BOW-TO-STERN REVITALIZATION

SINGAPORE, November 25, 2014 – Royal Caribbean International’sVoyager of the Seas, the largest cruise ship based in Asia Pacific, has just successfully completed her month-long $80 million revitalization bringing guests in the region a variety of first-at-sea features such as the FlowRider surf simulator and Virtual Balcony staterooms. In addition the ship also received a 3D cinema, digital signage, a new Diamond Club for Crown and Anchor Society members as well as new dining options including Izumi Japanese Cuisine, Giovanni’s Table Italian trattoria and Chops Grille steakhouse. The ship’s revitalization was carried out under a contract with Sembawang Shipyard, a subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine Ltd. and is also the largest cruise ship revitalization project ever completed in Singapore.

The newly revitalized ship is sailing today from Singapore to Sydney where she will be based for her 2014/15 winter-spring season.  She will then return to Singapore next April to feature a 10-night cruise to Tokyo calling at Nha Trang, Hong Kong, Taipei (Keelung) and Nagasaki.  The ship also will homeport in Hong Kong from June to October 2015 with 22 roundtrip sailings ranging from three- to 10-nights and visit ports-of-call including Okinawa, Nagasaki, Japan; Jeju, South Korea; Sanya, China; Ho Chi Minh and Hue/Danang (Chan May), Vietnam.  

Dec 05

Celebrity Cruises Orders Two New Iconic Ships

DECEMBER 04, 2014

Celebrity Cruises has taken a bold step in ship design with the signing of a letter of intent for a new class of vessels, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and French shipbuilder STX France announced today. The two 2,900-guest, 117,000-gross-registered-ton ships, developed under the project name EDGE will build upon the modern luxury experience of the brand’s Millennium and Solstice class vessels.

At 984 feet long, 123 feet wide and 190 feet high, Project EDGE will deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities, a perfect vacation experience in step with today’s premium vacationer.

“The addition of two project EDGE vessels to our fleet delivers on our long-term strategic plan of moderate capacity growth, and continues the positive momentum the Celebrity brand has achieved in the premium segment of our industry,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

“Our new class of ship will set the standard for premium world travel and deliver the next generation of modern luxury experiences that our guests know and love,” said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Celebrity Cruises. “STX France designs and builds some of the most innovative and stylish cruise ships in the world, and project EDGE offers them the opportunity to again set a new standard for modern iconic architecture. On this stunning new ship we will bring our guests even closer to the must-see destinations of the world, while indulging them onboard in the most luxurious accommodations, the finest culinary experiences, and the best hospitality delivered by our dedicated staff.”

“We are excited to be collaborating with Celebrity on this dramatic step forward in premium cruise ship design,” said Laurent Castaing, managing director of STX France. “This class of ships will be designed to deliver the destination to vacationers who want to experience all the world has to offer.”

These vessels also represent a significant leap forward in environmentally friendly ship design, benefiting from new technologies to drive significant fuel efficiency and an ongoing process to ensure the extensive use of sustainable materials.

The company expects delivery of the first ship in Fall 2018, with the second vessel delivered in the early part of 2020. The order is contingent upon the completion of customary conditions, including financing.

Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are $1.4 billion, $1.5 billion, $2.3 billion, $0.4 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively.

Capacity increases for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are expected to be 2.4%, 5.5%, 6.7%, 3.8% and 4.3%, respectively. These figures do not include potential ship sales or additions that the company may elect to make in the future

Nov 18

Travel insurance: Buy or Pass By? | New York Post

You’re more likely to make a claim against a travel insurance policy than you are your home or car insurance. Yet, most people don’t buy it.

There’s really no such thing as being too safe, these days. Back in October, the US Bureau of Consular Affairs expressed serious concern about the threat of violent attacks against U.S. citizens abroad — ISIS and al Qaeda, et al.

So here are some tips about when, and if, to buy insurance.

Never buy travel insurance from your airline, tour operator or cruise line. The policies are weak (for example, pre-existing medical conditions are usually not covered) compared to what you can get directly from a travel insurance specialist like AIG Travel Guard.

Can you afford the loss?

The No. 1 reason people make a travel insurance claim: illness or injury (of either the policy holder or a family member) just before starting a trip. Make sure that you document your medical condition with a visit to a hospital or doctor before making the claim, otherwise it will be most likely be denied. And read the fine print that defines “family member” — some policies are broader than others.

Many experts advise that you only insure a trip that’s of such high value that losing your investment would cause financial hardship (a $3,000 cruise, perhaps, but not a $150 flight to Chicago).

via Travel insurance: Buy or Pass By? | New York Post.

Nov 02

Disney Cruise Line Reveals Ports and Itineraries for Early 2016

Popular Caribbean ports Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Martinique take center stage

CELEBRATION, Fla. (Oct. 28, 2014) – Disney Cruise Line introduces two popular Caribbean destinations — Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Martinique — into the lineup of favorite tropical itineraries for early 2016. The return to the homeport of San Juan, Puerto Rico brings a new itinerary that includes Martinique.

From the warm Caribbean culture of Tortola, capital of the British Virgin Islands, to the exquisite French island of Martinique, these destinations provide Disney Cruise Line guests the chance to relax on pristine beaches, discover natural wonders and indulge in local shopping and cuisine.

Bookings open to the public on Oct. 30, 2014. More details on 2016 itineraries can be found on the Itineraries and Ports for 2016 page of disneycruise.com.

Port Canaveral to Eastern Caribbean, including Tortola

In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral, Fla. on a seven-night itinerary to the Eastern Caribbean, including a call at Tortola and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Tortola is an idyllic escape for guests of all ages, from tranquil beaches and stunning scenery to exhilarating activities and authentic Caribbean fare. With a variety of experiences for the family to share together, Disney Cruise Line guests will create memories in Tortola while swimming with dolphins, exploring centuries-old ruins, sampling local spices on Main Street and reveling in the natural beauty of Sage Mountain National Park.

Ports: Port Canaveral; Tortola; St. Thomas; Castaway Cay

Departure dates: Disney Fantasy: Jan. 2, 16, 30; Feb. 13, 27; March 12, 26; April 9, 23; Disney Magic: April 3, 17

Rates start at $1,120 per person for seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises for a category 11C standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses are not included.

San Juan to Southern Caribbean, including Martinique

Disney Cruise Line returns to San Juan, Puerto Rico in early 2016 as the Disney Wonder sails four seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean, including a stop in Martinique on a new itinerary for Disney.

Known as the “Flower of the Caribbean,” Martinique offers a unique island experience complete with breathtaking natural beauty and cosmopolitan culture of French and Creole influence. Nature-lovers will delight in lush rainforests, rushing waterfalls and volcanic landmarks, while guests looking for a more upscale experience will savor superb French cuisine and superlative shopping.

Ports: San Juan; Barbados; Grenada; Martinique; Antigua; St. Kitts

Departure dates: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31

Rates start at $980 per person for seven-night cruises from San Juan for a category 11C standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses are not included.

Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean

In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. All of these cruises include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

From Port Canaveral, rates start at $375 per person for three-night cruises, $500 per person for four-night cruises and $1,120 per person for seven-night cruises for a category 11C standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses are not included.

From Miami, rates start at $352 per person for four-night cruises and $440 per person for five-night cruises for a category 11C standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses are not included.

– See more at: http://dclnews.com/2014/10/28/disney-cruise-line-reveals-ports-and-itineraries-for-early-2016/#sthash.LCGXOwZI.dpuf

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GEARING UP THE SMARTSHIP: FINAL TOUCHES ONOARD QUANTUM OF THE SEAS

Nov 02

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL TAKES DELIVERY OF QUANTUM OF THE SEAS

Global Cruise Line Debuts The World’s First Smartship

MIAMI, October 28, 2014 – Royal Caribbean International took delivery today of the newest addition to the cruise line’s fleet,Quantum of the Seas, from Meyer Werft Yard. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain (pictured right) and Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer (pictured left) attended the official signing ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany. With Captain Srecko “Felix” Ban at the helm, the ship will begin her journey today to Southampton, U.K., where she will welcome her first guests on November 2, for a trans-Atlantic voyage to her home port of Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne, New Jersey. Fans and enthusiasts are invited to follow Quantum of the Seas’ through daily webisodes onRoyalCaribbeanPressCenter.com and also by following @RoyalCaribPR on Twitter.

Quantum of the Seas will sail from New York harbor to the Bahamas and the Caribbean for her inaugural season before departing for her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China, in May 2015. Sister-ship Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton in April 2015 and sail Mediterranean itineraries.

Quantum-class ships are the world’s most technologically advanced in the world with “boatloads of bandwidth” which allow the cruise line to offer unprecedented connectivity – 500 times more than any other cruise ship; easy-to-use systems that expand guest choices and simplify schedules, plus, RFID technology that speeds up the boarding process and allows guest to track their luggage every step of the way.

The ships offer new unprecedented features, such as 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; SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; as well as the Bionic Bar powered by Makr Shakr which features the world’s first robotic bartenders.

The ships also showcase the cruise line’s largest and most advanced

staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever staterooms with Virtual Balconies, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations from every interior stateroom.

Quantum-class ships span 16 guest decks; encompass 167,800 gross registered tons; carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy; and feature 2,090 staterooms. For more information, please visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/QuantumoftheSeas.

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