Amazing caper: women smuggle $30 million worth of cocaine on Princess Cruises Sea Princess

The pair and accomplice nabbed in Sydney

By Patti Pietschmann
coke
A pair of  20-somethings Canadian women (pictured above is one of them, Melina Roberge, from  her Instagram account) went on a dream vacation–a World Cruise aboard Princess Cruises Sea Princess that cost them $22,000 each.  But with $30 million worth of cocaine in their possession the fare seems a mere drop  in the bucket. By all news accounts the gals and an accomplice (again even though has one heck of a time. The fun stopped while being arrested in Sydney, however. It was the biggest coke bust ever.
According to News.com, Melina Roberge, one of the women arrested posted steady Instagram photos under the heading  “Currently travelling”. The 22-year-old Canadian spent almost two months in paradise throughout July and August drinking from coconuts and posing in front of turquoise waters in her bikini. She was travelling with Isabelle Legace, 28, and Andre Tamine, 63, aboard the $20,000-a-head MS Sea Princess, stopping in idyllic locations including French Polynesia, Chile, Ecuador and sunny Bermuda.

How could this happen? It’s one of the most talked  about news stories in the cruise industry  this week and quite startling. When you board a cruise ship on embarkation day or after a port call you always go through security at the top of the stairs.  How was this missed? Where did they stow the stash?  Well prominent maritime attorney James Walker posted a piece on the subject which is a must read for anyone following the case:

The widely reported drug bust of three passengers this week on the Sea Princess cruise ship in Australia uncovered serious shortcomings in Princess Cruises’ shipboard security.
We have written about dozens of drug busts of relatively small quantities of cocaine on cruise ships over the years. But 95 kilos (over 209 lbs.!) of cocaine seems to be hard to believe. Many people have expressed their opinions that this must have been an inside job (we have no proof of this), given the use of screening equipment on cruise ships. But some people have questioned whether the drugs were loaded onto the ship along with food and provisions and then transferred to the passengers to be smuggled off the ship in their luggage. If the shipboard security team wasn’t involved, they obviously need to enforce far better protocols to carefully screen baggage and items brought onboard the ship.
IHS Fairplay published an article today saying that the drug bust “highlights the ability for more sinister items to be smuggled onto vessels.” In an article titled Drugs Find Highlights Cruise Security Threat, Fairplay says that “cruise companies were taking, and continue to take, security seriously but that the incident had to act as a wake-up call to revisit current systems.” It quoted Gerry Northwood, a principal of the international maritime security company MAST, explaining that cruise passengers don’t face the Cruise Ship Drug Bustsame restrictions as air travelers.

 

Northwood also warns that “If a terrorist were to secrete an explosive device inside a consignment of food, it is possible that the explosion would likely happen below the water line with obvious implications for the vessel and the safety of the passengers and crew.”
Commander Mark Gaouette, the former security head of Cunard and Princess Cruises, said in an interview today that the cruise industry should be concerned with the possibility of a terrorist group masterminding a gigantic conflagration on a ship. He cites the 2004 attack by an Islamic terrorist group which planted just eight kilograms of TNT in a cardboard box aboard the Superferry 14 in the Philippines. The resulting fire and explosion killed over a hundred passengers and sank the ferry.
Commander Gaouette is the author of Cruising for Trouble, Cruise Ships As Soft Targets for Pirates, Terrorists and Common Criminals.

Posted in Cruise capers, cocaine bust on Sea Princess, Canadian women arrested, Sydney, Princess Cruises, felony at sea, bizarre news, strange news, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The savvy seafarer’s cruise album

By  Richard and Patti Pietschmann

We’ve taken cruises on ships of every size and style from mega liners to small luxury vessels and written about  them in newspapers,magazines and on the web (most recently  www.cruiseable.com) and here are a few good photos from our voyages:

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Spa  time

Crystal Cruises deck and butler for our  penthouse stateroom

 Morning buckwheat pancakes on Crystal Cruises 

 A birthday/anniversary celebration on Silversea

 Dining on the deck of the Seabourn Quest

 A seafood fest on board Regent Seven Seas Mariner Alaska Cruise

 Regent SS Mariner stateroom stewardess

 A veal chop  on RSSC Mariner

Seabourn

 A veal chop at  Silversea Hot Rocks

Dining a Le Champagne on Silversea

 Leaving Bora Bora

Paddle  tennis  on Crystal Serenity

 Happiness is having room service breakfast on Crystal Cruisses

 Bora Bora

 The mighty Amazon from Seabourn Quest

French Polynesia from a Princess Cruise

Ruby Princess

And it doesn’t end here, next trip Queen Mary2 from New York to Southampton, England; Seabourn Encore, Silversea Muse, RSSC Explorer and others. Stay tuned.

Posted in butlers on ships, Cruise photography, Cruiseable.com, Crystal Cruises, dining at sea, French Polynesia cruises, Paul Gauguin, Tahiti, summer fare sales, paradise for a song, Paul Gauguin summer blow out, luxury cruises, my opinion, op ed, penthouses at sea, Regent Seven Seas Mariner, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cruise French Polynesia in style on the Paul Gauguin

Book it now and get paradise for a song

By Patti Covello Pietschmann
The Paul Gauguin
is one spiffy little ship that sails year around in a tropical paradise known as French Polynesia. While on board you are served fantastic food and offered insights into  the  mystical culture of the archipelago.  And for a short time the company is offering  fares are so good that I am ready to book now. These summer blow sale fares include tips, drinks and round trip air from Los Angeles to Tahiti. Watch the video to whet your appetite.

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Paul Gauguin Cruises  get a savings of up to $4,750* per person off previously advertised rates on select cruises aboard The Gauguin  when booked by August 20, 2016:

Tahiti & the Society Islands (7 nights):

  • October 8, 15, 2016 – now  from $4,445 per person
  • December 21, 2016 – now from  $4,545 per person
  • February 18March 25, 2017 – now from $4,445 per person

Society Islands & Tuamotus (10 nights): 

  • January 4, 2017 – now from $4,595 per person
  • March 8, 2017 – now from  $4,745 per person

Society Islands & Tuamotus – Special (11 nights):

  • December 3, 2016 – now from  $4,795 per person

Cook Islands & Society Islands (11 nights):

  • February 25, 2017 – now from  $4,995 per person

Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands (14 nights):

  • January 28, 2017 – now from  $5,645 per person

What to know:

  • Nearly 70% of the ship’s suites and staterooms offer balconies.
  • The food is exceptional in venues such as L’Etoile, which showcases an array of culinary creations expertly prepared each evening, and in  two  other restaurants  La Veranda and Le Grill, which serve breakfast and lunch. At night, signature dishes from celebrity chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, world-renowned Chef Propriétaire of the Michelin-rated Restaurant Apicius in Paris, are offered in La Veranda, and Polynesian specialties are served poolside at Le Grill.
  • Entertainment includes locally sourced talent called Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins—a troupe of Tahitian entertainers—that immerse you in the culture  of the area. There are also expert lecturers on each voyage and special guests on select sailings conducting presentations on topics ranging from the history of the South Pacific to conservation, culture, marine life, and the wonders of coral reefs.
  • Pampering and diversions  include a luxurious spa, fitness center, watersports marina (if you love to snorkel,swim or dive you will enjoy this convenience), and expansive outdoor decks with chaise lounges and a pool are also available aboard The Gauguin.
  • Exclusive access to Motu Mahana, the cruise line’s private islet off the coast of Taha’a where guests can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, Polynesian activities, a full-service bar, a floating lagoon bar, and a delicious barbecue. In beautiful Bora Bora, (see photos below by Richard J Pietschmann):

    you get complimentary access to a private, white-sand beach with beach volleyball, sunbathing, snorkeling, paddleboarding, and refreshments. This is truly a highlight of the voyage, trust me.

For more information or reservations, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-800-848-6172, or visit www.pgcruises.com.

 

Posted in cruise news, French Polynesia cruises, Paul Gauguin, Tahiti, summer fare sales, paradise for a song, Paul Gauguin summer blow out, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Setting sail on a magical Alaska cruise

Regent Seven Seas stylish Mariner surpassed expectations

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I knew we were in for a fabulous time on our Alaska cruise, especially since we were familiar with Regent Seven Seas attention to detail and passenger comfort. The 700-passenger actually exceeded expectations, and I mean it even as a guest of the cruise line.

The Alaska cruise began in Anchorage where we boarded a ship’s shuttle bus to ward, Alaska–a 2 1/2 scenic drive that we hadn’t actually looked forward to  doing since we had to get up at 3 a.m. to catch a 6:15 a.m. Delta flight that would stop in Seattle first.  It was worth it. The seven day cruise ended in Vancouver, British Colombia with mesmerizing scenery of icebergs, glaciers and rain forests combined with all the heavenly comforts of luxurious 700-passenger Regent Seven Seas Mariner. While the Mariner sports an inviting swimming pool few have dared to dive in as baby it’s cold outside. But there are two well-used Jacuzzi’s and a spa with steam and saunas to keep us warm. There is also delicious food to comfort the body and soul and much more, read the first entry here. The many splendors on board the feisty Mariner– from exceptional dining to luxurious appointments–aside Alaska takes the spot light. So follow along on the first three days with stops at the Hubbard Glacier and Sitka by the slideshow photos that are worth a million words especially from America’s Last Frontier.

Embarkation in Seward on the spiffy 700-passenger, 48,075-ton Mariner, that was stylishly refurbished in 2014 , was seamless with glasses of Champagne  proffered as we boarded. Stewards escorted us to our  suite  (the ships is the first all suite, all balcony vessel built in 2001). Our deluxe Veranda suite  805 measures 301 square-feet including balcony. It’s furnished with desk, vanity, king bed, flat screen TV, walk-in closet, lots of drawers, mini-fridge stocked with free beverages, robes, slippers, hair dryer, sofa, and table.

The Hubbard Glacier, pictured below, was one of the highlights of this trip.

hubbard deck shotRegent Seven Seas fares are the most all-inclusive offered which translates into all tips covered, most shore excursions, select wines and Champagnes, top shelf spirits, and all meals even in alternative dining venues such as Signatures and Prime7.

The RSSC Mariner runs smoothly and fairly seamlessly with an accommodating suite crew. Sailing on her in Alaska sitting on your balcony you might catch a bald eagle majestically gliding in the sky or a whale or two. Today in Sitka we are heading off on a bicycle/walking tour so come back for a report on that plus more about cruising Alaska on the gorgeous not so ancient Mariner.

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The RSSC Mariner is manned by the company’s first female captain Serena Melani (pictured above) from Livorno, Italy who is did a fine job slowly gliding the ship up close and personal to the 400 to 700 year-old Hubbard Glacier (feature to come next on this amazing Ice Age formation) and into Sitka, yesterday and Juneau today, June 25. The vessel debuted in 2001 and was spiffed up stylishly in 2014. She sports all suites each with balconies, spa by Canyon Ranch, fitness center, large pool, Jacuzzi, four dinner venues, 24-hour room-service, very attractive bars ad lounges, and deck sports as well as indoor fun, shows and lectures. I wrote  this while on the ship with my laptop on top of a desk, where it was all week so I could post stories on websites and social networks.  Richard, my  first mate, and I shared  deluxe veranda 805 which is appointed with a desk, vanity, king bed, big bathroom with sink and shower, flat screen TV, free movies on TV and DVD, one free unlimited WiFi hookup per cabin meaning just one passenger gets to go on line without a fee and only one device at a time–much to the chagrin of a few passengers who nearly incited a cyber mutiny when they learned the service wasn’t free for everyone in their suite.
Posted in cruise news, Cruise tips, food at sea, luxury cruises, Regent Seven Seas Mariner, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cruise lines canceling Turkish itineraries due to spate of terrorist attacks

In the wake of a series of terrorist attacks in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey, cruise  lines are eliminating stops  in the country and substituting them with Greek islands. Ataturk Airport.  Crystal Cruises,              serenity     Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and other companies announced earlier this year that their ships wouldn’t be visiting Turkish ports in 2016. Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises recently said that they had canceled stops in Turkey for 2017. Last week Windstar Cruises announced  it would be eliminating Istanbul on 16 cruise itineraries and replace it with Athens (Piraeus), Greece. The cruise line will also substitute Kalmnos and Nafplio Greece for Kusadasi and Bodrum, Turkey. Learn more about these changes on the Windstar Cruises official website. Ships may not be stopping in Turkey for a longtime which is a shame because the country has so much to offer.
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Celebrity Cruises also posted on its official website that the cruise line would be canceling all of the upcoming stops in Istanbul, and replacing them with stops in Athens, Greece. In total, seven sailings over the next five months will be impacted. If you are scheduled to sail from Istanbul or on a cruise that is scheduled to stop at Turkish ports be sure to contact the cruise line. Most likely you will get a notification if there have been port changes.

 

 

 

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Catching the sites of kitschy Ketchikan from Regent Seven Seas Mariner

arrival Ketichan It was what locals call a bluebird day, a beautiful, sunny day in Ketchikan—one of the rainiest cities in the world with an average yearly downpour of about 14 feet. According to a local, it was the best day in more than two weeks, the sun shining gloriously and the temperature hovering around 70 as passengers disembarked spiffy Regent Seven Seas Mariner. Like Richard and I most of the 700  passengers were taking one of the line’s complimentary shore excursions offered on this all-inclusive seven-day Alaska cruise from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, BC. The voyage lived up to or exceeded expectations.

 Before we even left home we booked our complimentary shore excursions (and made dinner reservations, on Regent Seven Seas web site). We were happy we selected the Rain Forest Expedition tour  in Ketchikan– which proved n easy hike alongside a roaring stream feeding into Ward Lake, about eight miles from the port. It was led by a knowledgeable guide named Carly, who was more naturalist than hiker and explained the glacier-created terrain, the spongy peat bog and identified the spruce, cedar, hemlock and alder trees. She pointed out the broad-leafed skunk cabbage plants that had been nibbled at and uprooted by hungry black bears after their long winter hibernation. In late June the pink salmon endemic to the creek hadn’t yet began their spawning runs, an event the bears no doubt eagerly awaited. But the tour group loved the sight and sound of the pristine water rushing past through dense screens of old growth trees. DSCN1313There was the usual warning that if a bear was spotted one must remain avoid screaming and particularly running, something that signals prey to the poor-sighted blacks, smaller and less aggressive than their brown bear (grizzly) cousins passenger had seen in Sitka, but still dangerous wild animals. No furry animal was sighted, however.

Following the two-hour walk  we strolled around Ketchikan, which is Alaska’s fourth largest city, despite its small population of about 14,000, and stopped for lunch at a local spot called Annabelle’s.  Annabelle's frontThis is a city of water, where even the airport must be reached by ferry and with no land connection to the outside—the only highway ends 10 miles in either direction beyond the center of town. What it is best known for, besides salmon and rain, is the size of its floatplane fleet, the largest in the world. Every day around 1,000 takeoffs and landings occur in the same tight sea lanes used by ships much larger than Mariner and were as easily seen as the curious juvenile bald eagle that flew within feet of the anchored ship.

Annabelle’s  was a bit of a disappointment. The  salmon  was over-cooked, the olive oil had a strange taste but the bread and salad was good. We popped for wine and a beer (which is proffered free on Mariner, but hey one isn’t in a Ketchikan restaurant every day). The typical Alaska eatery was filled with what looked like locals but also passengers from Marina, Holland America’s Voledam and the Coral Princess which were also docked there. After lunch it was back on a launch that took passengers back to the anchored Mariner for a night and one more day at sea before arrival in Vancouver.

Once back in our deluxe veranda suite 805 we sat on the veranda and watch while the captain sailed out of Ketchikan to the final stop  in Vancouver B.C. I love this ship so much that I can’t wait to do another  cruise on her, perhaps in Caribbean or Med next time. But Regent Seven Seas is well-known for getting things right and everything about this seven day journey was ideal.  Remember RSSC fare are truly ALL INCLUSIVE with everything covered from tips to shore excursions, drinks, alternative dining venues Prime7 (that serves kick ass steaks) and Signatures which offers continental cuisine in a romantic setting (most ships charge extra for meals outside the dining room, except this one and Seabourn.brunch buffet ketichan arrivalAbove is a buffet served on the Mariner during arrival in Ketchikan.

Posted in cruise news, Cruise tips, cruise web sites, dining at sea, food at sea, Regent Seven Seas Mariner, report, Uncategorized, Wine c | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Cruiseable Bliss Tool app is a match maker for passengers and ships

IMG_5812Even though I, the Savvy Seafarer, Patti Pietschmann, is now a ‘team member’ on the new, exciting Cruiseable.com web site, I can unabashedly recommend the company’s hot new Bliss Tool app–a free download that helps people pick the cruise, cruise line, ship or destination that’s best for them. Think of it as a match maker of cruise and passenger. Aptly titled Bliss Tool, the app is easily downloaded to iPhone or iPad.  Once you have it you can easily search and scroll for cruise lines, ships byname, destinations, itineraries, maps, travel guides and photos. It sounds overwhelming but then you really want to be sure you pick your cruise carefully. There’s nothing worse than being on the wrong ship in the wrong ports of call especially after paying the fare (there is no buyer remorse cancellations that we know of).

According to the company the hallmark feature of its app is that its lets you zero in on exactly what you are looking for, leaving all guess work to them. Your National Cruise Examiner has written many article about how important it is to pick the right ship and this app goes even farther matching your preferences for spas, fitness, staterooms, dining (a major factor for most seafarers), entertainment and more.

“Twenty-three million people a year take cruises, but everyone has a different personal style and budget,” said CEO J.D. Lasica in a phone interview. “You might want to sail away with the kids, or to have a romantic escape, or to dive into local culture, or to see the Northern Lights on a cruise with fine dining and great entertainment. With our Bliss Filters, you can fine-tune your search, then save and share your personalized results with family or friends.”

What’s also cool about the app is you can save anything by bookmarking it and keeping a personal library on your home PC or laptop. “The Cruiseable app fills a big hole in the market,” said Giacomo Balli, chief technology officer. “Until now, consumers were limited to cruise discovery apps from the cruise lines, which steer you to their own ships, or from travel agencies. This is a tool intended to empower travelers with information and tips from fellow cruisers, not from the cruise lines’ marketing departments.”

Cruiseable.com employs a team of travel writers (including yours truly) and travel professionals whose assignments are to  monitor, evaluate and rate nearly 400 ships from 31 cruise lines. The mobile app combines ship reviews and destination articles with passenger content – photos, videos, reviews, comments – as well as search results that show cruise itineraries, dates, prices and availability.

“Both the app and the website draw from a single database,” Balli explained. “If you upload a photo or video or save an item while logged into the website, it shows up on your app a moment later – not weeks later when a new version of the app is released. And if you do something on the app, it’s reflected on the website instantly. That’s pretty cool.”

Lasica said the Cruiseable team wanted to build technologies that bridge the “artificial divide” between apps and the Web. “We think you want to explore, plan and book your cruise regardless of which device you’re using,” he said. “Unlike the vast majority of universal apps, the Cruiseable app on the iPad is not just a larger version of the iPhone app. The app was tailored to perform differently on the two platforms.”

“The iPhone is about swiping down vertically, Instagram style,” Balli said. “The iPad is about swiping across and getting immersed in these thousands of big, gorgeous full-screen images. Even the website somewhat resembles an app because it was designed with a mobile experience in mind.”

Cruisable.com can also book  your cruise and offers onboard credits of $50 for any cruise booked through them.  You can download the Cruiseable app  in Apple’s App Store, check them on Twitter@cruiseable or Facebookfacebook.com/cruiseable. Check out my latest Cruiseable.com article here.

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Celebrity Cruises big, better, best promotion can save you $1,000-plus

Here it is your moment of seafaring Zen, Celebrity Cruises is staging yet another promotion, this one called  “Go Big, Go Better, Go Best!” And it can save passengers as much as  $1,035 per person.

Here’s a little seafaring skinny:

  • Celebrity dishes out globally-inspired cuisine in a dozen distinctive restaurants featuring menus crafted by a Michelin-starred chef, Celebrity Cruises offers an unparalleled culinary experience. In fact, in 2015, Celebrity Cruises launched the world’s first permanent “World ClassTM Bar” onboard the Celebrity Eclipse, as well as introducing the first-ever exclusive suite dining experience with the opening of Luminae. Additionally, Celebrity Cruises and Bravo Media have extended the popular “Top Chef at Sea” program through 2016.
  • Ships sport suites with spacious Verandas: Celebrity Cruises provides more private, spacious veranda staterooms than any other premium cruise line, allowing guests to enjoy breakfast or a private picnic on their own balconies.
  • Pampering is king at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub:  where Celebrity and Randi Zuckerberg host Take Care of YourSelfie to encourage guests to find a tech-life balance while on vacation, including a new lineup of specially designed spa treatments and services available at Canyon Ranch SpaClub.
  • Voyages to upwards of  300 global  destinations including the best of Europe, plus overnight stays in 53 must-see cities. Plus, the “Celebrity City Stay” vacation packages provide curated pre-cruise experiences available in 16 of the most intriguing and dynamic cities, including Abu Dhabi.

Want to know more go to www.celebrity.com.

celebrity reflection shower

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Two days left for Celebrity Cruises 123Go! sail sale

Today and tomorrow are the last days to take advantage of Celebrity Cruises’ i123Go! promotion! that offers passengers added value and savings.  You really need to hurry if you want the savings on any porthole galleythree-night or longer cruises from now through July 5, 2015 that depart between August 2015 and April 2016.  Then you can Go! And get such extras as:

  • A free classic beverage package-for-two that includes alcohol that would otherwise cost $110 per day, and it includes tips.
  • Free Gratuities (including free pre-paid gratuities-for-two throughout the trip – valued at up to $32.90 per day)
  • Free ship board spending credit  of up to $300 per stateroom for 10-night or more sailings, $200 for 6-9 nights, $100 for 3-5 nights)

And there’s more if you book an ocean view or higher stateroom for a European vacation can choose any two of the above offers. Plus if you’re a Captains Club member Classic level or higher, enjoy 50% reduced deposits. For reservation click here or call 1-888-283-6879.

Celebrity Cruises offers mega-size ship experiences with good service,  globally- inspired cuisine  that is at its best in the alternative dining venues, nearly 300  new destinations including the best of Europe with overnight stays in 53 cities, Las Vegas-style entertainment with 18 new shows in 18 months, and an industry high number of private spacious veranda staterooms. The on board ambiance is unusually  youthful for the size or price range that  normally attracts and older demographic.

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Three Queens to the wind with Cunard’s new cocktail

                                                                                           

 

Cunard  is pouring a new drink on its three Queens Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabethcunard in honor of its 175th anniversary. The  new gin-based cocktail inspired by the company’s iconic Transatlantic Crossing, is made with Liverpool Gin, as the acclaimed, premium organic spirit, and is being poured on board Cunard’s fleet of three Queens, flagship Q

Concocted by award winning Liverpudlian bartender, Joe Wild, the drink, which is called  Transatlantic Love Affair, reflects Cunard’s spiritual home, Liverpool and the role the company has always played in connecting both sides of the Atlantic – a role that the line  continues today, offering the only scheduled Transatlantic Crossing on Queen Mary 2.

The 27-year-old barkeep who works at one of Liverpool’s most exclusive bars, 81 LTD, explained his inspiration behind his choice of ingredients and his delight at being chosen to create this special cocktail during Cunard’s 175th anniversary year. “As soon as I was asked I knew immediately that Cunard, and Liverpool’s rich history would dictate the ingredients for this very special cocktail. The citrus ingredient is inspired by Lime Street Station in Liverpool while the Bourbon mistperfumes the drink so guests can literally smell America on the horizon.” “Being able to use locally sourced ingredient like Liverpool Gin, simply consolidates the flavors and creates a truly unmistakable drink that guests will be able to enjoy during this very special year and beyond. In short, it’s absolutely delicious!”

Liverpool Gin is a premium organic product made from scratch using only pure certified organic botanicals, producing a highly distinctive, aromatic drink. As well as a key ingredient in the anniversary cocktail, the spirit will also be available to enjoy in its own right on board the Cunard fleet. “As we continue to celebrate this milestone anniversary, we seek new ways to enhance our guest experience,” said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard North America. “We are very excited about this truly special cocktail, and the special meaning it holds.”

Passengers can sip a Transatlantic Love Affair cocktail and Liverpool Gin in the bservational cocktail bar, the Commodore Club. This unique venue on board each Cunard Queen provides  panoramic forward views and a sophisticated ambience as guests gather to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails, canapés and live piano music every evening. The drink  will be available on board Queen Mary 2 from Saturday, July 4, on board Queen Elizabeth on July, 14 and on Queen Victoria from  July, 19, 2015.

For more information about Cunard’s three Queens or to book a voyage and sample the cocktail, call 1-800-728-6273 or click here.

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Remember moms on Mother’s Day

When I was young there was a show called “I Remember Momma” which I watched and worried that one day that would be me. The day came about 10 years ago when we lost our Mom and I still mourn the loss of her smile, style, kindness and warmth. She was everything to me. Thankfully we did a lot together in her later years, I took her on my cruises and to Maui and wrote stories about it such as this one for the Chicago Tribune when my husband and I took both our female parents on the “Love Boat.” I am going to try to find copies of my “Taking Momma to Maui” article that ran in newspapers all over the US and post that too. Happy Mother’s Day all moms and to all children be kind to your mother you won’t have her forever.
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Dog team tows Ruby Princess into port in Juneau Alaska talk about photo op

A dog sled team driven by Maliko Ubl from the TEMSCO Helicopters Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sledding Tours and Alaska Icefield Expeditions welcomes the “Ruby Princess” to the port of Juneau during its maiden voyage in Southeast Alaska.

A dog sled team driven by Maliko Ubl from the TEMSCO Helicopters Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sledding Tours and Alaska Icefield Expeditions welcomes the “Ruby Princess” to the port of Juneau during its maiden voyage in Southeast Alaska.

What a photo op for the thousands of passenger on board the maiden Alaska voyage of the Ruby Princess –a four dogs on  a sled pulling the luxury liner into Juneau. Read all about it here http://www.examiner.com/article/ruby-princess-alaska-debut-proves-anything-but-ordinary.

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Star sailing on Queen Mary2 with Jane Seymour

Superstar Jane Seymour to appear on Queen Mary2

Jane SeymourGorgeous, gracious Jane Seymour will be appearing aboard Cunard  Queen Mary 2 for a special Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton on June 3, 2015.

During the CrossingJane will share her insights with guests during two Q&A sessions with Queen Mary 2‘s Entertainment Director, as well as participate in a screening of one of her many films.” Besides her starring roles on screen, Jane is also an accomplished artist and will conduct painting classes on the ship. “I am honored to be invited into Cunard’s Insights program and to join the many special guests and luminaries who have sailed with Cunard over the years,” said Jane. “I fondly recall sailing on the QE2 and am looking forward to being onboard once again in this special 175th Anniversary year.”

Jane is most remembered for roles in “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman” as a
Bond girl in “Live and Let Die’ , cult classic “Somewhere in Time”, and the comedy smash ‘Wedding Crashers.”  She is also a doting grandmother, designer, writer, painter and art gallery owner.

“We look forward to welcoming the versatile Jane Seymour to the Cunard Insights program. We know our guests will enjoy hearing about her significant contributions in entertainment, the lifestyle arts, and philanthropy,” said Richard Meadows, president of Cunard, North America. “Her sailing will be a highlight of our 2015 Crossing season.”

Cunard has attracted headliners on its Transatlantic crossing for  175 years that include Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant and Clark Gable. Since Queen Mary 2’s debut 10 years ago, the ship has also welcomed other film luminaries including George Lucas, Uma Thurman, John Cleese, Angela Bassett, and most recently Wes Anderson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola.

For more information about Queen Mary 2 and to book a voyage, contact your Travel Consultant, call Cunard toll-free at 1-800-728-6273, or go to www.cunard.com or  www.worldsleadingcruiselines.com.

Cunard can also be found at:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/cunard
YouTube: www.youtube.com/wearecunard
Blog: www.WeAreCunard.com
Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/cunard
Twitter: www.twitter.com/cunardline

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Great cruises for the New Year from Uniworld

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, the world’s only authentic boutique river cruise line, has unveiled an exquisite

assortment of 33 all-inclusive European itineraries set to launch in 2015. This collection includes six NEW programs ,

venturing from Belgium’s sophisticated capital city, Brussels, to Spain’s legendary cities, Madrid, Toledo, and Salamanca, and 45 additional departures on the most popular Rhine and Danube itineraries.

“We are pleased to offer travelers more European itineraries in 2015 than any other river cruise line,” said Guy Young,

president of Uniworld. “Additional capacity on our popular Rhine and Danube cruises was essential to satisfy customer demand, and we are confident these new itineraries will be favorites as well.”

Uniworld’s new itineraries include the eight-day Holland & Belgium at Tulip Time; 10-day Delightful Danube & Prague;

10-day Eastern Europe Explorer; 14-day “Jewels of Spain, Portugal & the Douro River;

19-day Grand European Explorer; and 22-day Ultimate France.”

Uniworld offers truly all-inclusive European river cruises, with all gratuities onboard and onshore, airport transfers,

shore excursions, and unlimited onboard meals and beverages included in the fare. And with Uniworld’s

Early Booking Savings, couples can save up to $800 with a deposit at reservation before January 15, 2015.

For more details, please visit www.uniworld.com or connect with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises at facebook.com/uniworldrivercruises or twitter.com/uniworldcruises.
About Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection—the world’s only authentic boutique cruise line™—features luxurious ships

with an average capacity of 130 guests, exclusive excursions, gourmet cuisine, and the highest staff-to-guest ratio in

the river cruise industry. Based in Los Angeles, California, Uniworld offers truly all-inclusive itineraries in Europe, as well as voyages in Russia, China, Vietnam and Cambodia, India, and Egypt—a total of 22 rivers in 29 countries worldwide. Uniworld is a member of CLIA and is highly regarded by discerning travelers, media, and cruise industry experts:

  • Listed among the “World’s Best River Cruises” by Travel + Leisure, and recognized for “World’s Best Service” in the River Cruise category
  • Seven ships listed among Travel + Leisure’s “Top 20 River Ships,” with River Countess rated highest of all cruise ships (river & ocean)
  • Included on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List for seven years (2008 – 2014)
  • Top 3 ranking on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top Ten Cruise Lines” (river & ocean)
  • Top 4 ranking on Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards for ‘Top Cruise Lines” (2014)
  • Named “Best Luxury River Cruise Line” by Cruise International (2012 – 2014)
  • Name”Best Culinary Cruise Line” by readers of SAVEUR (2014)

About The TreadRight Foundation
At Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and parent company The Travel Corporation, we understand that travel matters;

it allows us to explore the world and gain a deeper understanding of each destination, its history and culture, through enriching experiences. We also recognize that it is our responsibility to help protect the places we visit and take care of the world around us.

Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s family of brands, The TreadRight Foundation is a

not-for-profit that works to help ensure the environment and communities we visit remain vibrant and preserved

for generations to come. To date, TreadRight has donated more than USD 2.5 million to sustainable

tourism projects worldwide. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is proud to be active founder and

supporter of TreadRight’s projects and work. Go to www.uniworld.com/giving-back to learn more.

For more of Patti Pietschmann’s cruise articles click here.

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Windstar Cruises offering blow-out deals on fares to tropical getaways

Escape reality and create your own scenario with  sensual sailings with Windstar Cruises. The tiny ships provide comfort and grace as they ply the waters of the Caribbean or French Polynesia. No crowds, no hurry. Only 300 passengers fit on board.

Not for sedentary types Windstar offers adventures with water skiing, banana boat rides, jet skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking and more. What’s more book now and save up to 73%.

Caveat emptor, while the vessels are sleek and modern, most cabins are tight quarters so don’t expect super-sized staterooms. The food’s excellent and the crew usually pretty good with one exception when they were shifting personnel and it seemed that they were just too anxious to leave the ship and head home or to where ever they go for their well-earned  v

Glenn Bozarth captures Windstar in Costa Rica

Glenn Bozarth captures Windstar in Costa Rica

acations. The sale’s over onDec. 12, 2014 so hurry up and cal 800-258-7245 orhttp://click.email2.windstarcruises.com/?qs=8aaa43f93cab70088589f70547e06af13dd396b6ea3280edea307efea1258b2b

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Just a few of the many reason to book a Crystal Serenity cruise

The Sea Horse pool

The Sea Horse pool

Teak Promenade deck

Teak Promenade deck

Free wines and spiris

Free wines and spiris

The food

The food

More food

More food

Prego Italian restaurant

Prego Italian restaurant

Buckwheat pancakes with nuts and raspberries served in your penthouse stateroom y a butler

Buckwheat pancakes with nuts and raspberries served in your penthouse stateroom y a butler

??????????Read more here: http://www.examiner.com/list/a-few-of-the-great-things-on-board-a-crystal-serenity-cruise-part-2

A gorgeous well-kempt ship

A gorgeous well-kempt ship

Engin our Turkish butler

Engin our Turkish butler

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A definitive guide to picking the right ship

The last thing you want to do is get on the wrong ship. To prevent this from happen and have a happy cruise you may want to consider your priorities and match them with this handy guide I wrote for Examiner.com, really it will save you time and anquish and there’s lots of photos like these:

Engin our butler

Engin our butler

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Me

Me

breakfst patti

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Cruise French Polynesia on the lovely Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering tempting  fares to celebrate the luxury cruise line’s  fifth birthday celebration.

tahiti 023If you’ve ever wanted to explore French Polynesia consider that going by ship eliminates having to pack and unpack your bags and head to airports to hop small planes to and from each island. Once you’re on the ship, you unpack once and let the captain steer you into ports where you can walk off and head to the beach, restaurant or on various cruise operated excursions.

Climb aboard these Paul Gauguin voyages for fares from $4,295 per person :

  • Tahiti & the Society Islands
  • 7-night voyage: November 15, 2014
  • Now from only $4,145 per person
  • 7-night voyage: December 13, 2014
  • Now from only $3,395 per person
  • 7-night voyage: December 20, 2014 (Holiday Sailing)

Hop on one of these PG cruises for fares from $4,095 per person

  • 7-night voyage: January 3, 2015
  • Now from only $3,345 per person
  • 7-night voyage: February 28, 2015
  • Now from only $3,995 per person
  • 7-night voyage: March 28, 2015
  • Or do the Society Islands & Tuamotus on a 10-night voyage: February 4, 2015 for $4,245 per person and up; or Cook Islands & Society Islands 11-night voyage: November 22, 2014; January 24, 2015 with fares from $4,695 per person.

 

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Princess Cruises puts balconies and suites on sale

Golden Ensenada arrival

The sales feature spring and winter cruises to places such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Panama Canal, Europe and Transatlantic voyages. Cruises depart between December 2014 and May 2015. More information about the cruise sale and pricing can be found at princess.com/sale.

Guests booking a mini-suite or suite will receive an onboard credit of $50 per person for six- to nine-day cruises, $100 per person for 10-11-day cruises or $200 per person for 12 days or longer.

A few suite and balcony deals:

  • Caribbean cruise — 7 days: $1,999 suite; $899 mini-suite; $699 balcony
  • Mexico cruise — 7 days: $1,999 suite; $899 mini-suite; $699 balcony
  • Alaska cruise — 7 days: $2,079 suite; $1,349 mini-suite; $1,149 balcony
  • Panama Canal cruise — 11 days: $2,999 suite; $1,699 mini-suite; $1,299 balcony
  • Transatlantic cruise — 14 days: $4,599 suite; $2,399 mini-suite; $1,799 balcony

Information about other cruise deals and promotions can be found at princess.com/topcruisedeals.

All cruise prices are per person, based on double occupancy. The Suite and Balcony Bonus Sale runs from 12:01 a.m. PDT on July 22 through 11:59 p.m. PDT on August 19, 2014 and is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.

Patti's Prattles

Golden Ensenada arrivalGolden Patti in mini suiteThe Savvy Seafarer does enjoy sailing in suite style with a private balcony so whenever a cruise lines offers a deal on such luxuries her ears perk up and her fingers hit the link to the website.  The latest deal is from one of her favorite cruise lines, Princess—on which she sailed many times and seas—which is offering a Suite & Balcony Bonus Sale, from now through  August 19, on select cruises.  If you book a suite or mini-suite (both come with perks, the former obviously a few more and are SS-approved) you can score up to $400 free onboard spending money per stateroom (use it at the spa, for drinks, alternative dining venues or shore excursions). If you book an oceanview stateroom you get a free balcony upgrade (trust me you’ll love having it).

The sales features spring and winter cruises to places such as the Caribbean, Mexico…

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We ‘cruise for a cause’ on the Ruby Princess

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Read more here: http://www.examiner.com/article/going-cardio-cruising-for-a-good-cause-on-the-ruby-princess#sthash.8CAVTCVj.hpvt

 

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Crystal Cruises creates celestial dining experiences at sea

Image

Image

Image

Enjoy all that and more on a Crystal Cruise aboard Serenity or Symphony:http://www.examiner.com/article/crystal-cruises-creates-gastronomic-culinary-coup-on-serenity-and-symphony 

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Cruise views by the Savvyseafarer

IMG_5812IMG_5809IMG_5814??????????Crystal_SymphonyIMG_4654serenityBest butlerBest main pool2crownprincess deck

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A slideshow of seven celestial days aboard Silversea Cruises Silver Spirit

ImageSuite breakfast on the balcony of Silver Spirit.

ImageDressed in silk Pret a Port outfit.

ImageDinner at Hot Rocks, an outdoor, deck grill where you cook your fish, fowl or steak at your table.

ImageDinner in The Restaurant.

ImageStopping in Turks&Caicos

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Read more: http://www.examiner.com/article/msc-cruises-adding-two-new-behemoth-ships-to-its-12-vessel-fleet

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A magical Cinderella-like cruise aboard Silversea’s Silver Spirit

A magical Cinderella-like cruise aboard Silversea's Silver Spirit

The Silver Spirit docked outside St. Barths during our 7-day Caribbean cruise, giving us ample time to visit the emchanting #LeToiny–a hotel gem that sparkles on the tiny island.

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Princess Cruises gets right to the ‘heart’ of the matter with Cruising for a Cause

Princess Cruises gets right to the 'heart' of the matter with Cruising for a Cause

We cruised for a cause Feb. 10-15 aboard the spiffy Ruby Princess, it was quite an eye-opener with seminars and lectures by Heart Assn. members and guest speakers. We learned CPR, matters of the heart and how to stay healthy. And, we had fun!

Read  more about it here:  http://www.examiner.com/article/a-princess-cruise-created-for-a-good-cause-inspires-informs-and-delights

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Princess Cruises creates “Come Back New” sweepstakes for chances to win cruises and cameras

Courtesy Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises has created a contest  called “Come Back New” that coincides with its marketing campaign. Thel sweepstakes, which runs through April 16, 2014,  will  give a lucky winner a chance to score a free 19-day cruise to the destination of their choice. Weekly winners can record their cruise memories with Nikon’s new, revolutionary 1 AW1 camera.

To enter go to https://princess.promo.eprize.com/holiday and register, plus can get additional entries by taking a destination personality quiz or by submitting their transformative vacation photos.crownprincess deck

The grand prize winner will enjoy free airfare and a balcony stateroom for two aboard a seven- to 19-day cruise of their choice. The winner can pick their voyage from among Princess’ many worldwide options, including an Alaska cruise, Alaska cruisetour, Panama Canal cruise, Hawaiian cruise, Caribbean cruise, Grand Mediterranean cruise, California Coastal cruise, Australia & New Zealand cruise, East Australia and Asia cruise or a Canada & New England cruise.

The grand prize winner will also receive a Nikon camera bundle featuring a Nikon 1 AW1 camera, with lens and accessories, valued at more than $1,000. This waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof camera offers the world’s fastest continuous shooting frame rate, so photographers never miss those fleeting shots.

In addition, each week throughout the 12-week sweepstakes a winner will be randomly selected from the photo submissions to receive a Nikon 1 AW1 camera, valued at more than $800. The weekly winner’s photo will be featured on the sweepstakes landing page each week.

The grand prize winner will be chosen on or before May 6, 2014. Eligible entrants must be at least 21 years old and U.S. or Canadian (excluding Quebec) citizens.princess_01rubychristening

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.

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Silversea to issue spiffy Travel Journals to passengers prio to cruise

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Carnival Cruises creates Dr. Seuss fantasty for kids

Image

Carnival Cruises, an industry leader in onboard children’s programs, just got more kid-friendly with the addition of Dr. Seuss-themed fun aboard its Fun Ships. In a press released received today, Dec. 11, the company announced a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to keep young seafarers entertained.

The Carnival Seuss at Sea program will offer a variety of exciting and immersive onboard youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences featuring the amazing world and words of Dr. Seuss. “It is fun to have fun but you have to know how,” said the Cat in the Hat in the iconic Dr. Seuss book.

A great way to get the kids to eat breakfast, the program kicks off in the main dining room with a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and Friends. Children will eat it up. We’re talking moose juice and goose juice, along with colorful fruit and pancake stacks, funky French toast and more, with traditional breakfast favorites also available. Imagine your kid’s faces when they see waiters dressed in Dr. Seuss-inspired outfits and a cast of  Seuss characters coming alive before their eyes such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and Sam. The breakfast will be hosted on the first sea day of each cruise (which is all the ships) and then cost $5 after.

There will also be a selection of c Dr. Seuss books, toys and themed activities with special showings of movies such as “The Cat in the Hat” and Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” aired outdoors on the giant screen of the Seaside Theater on Lido Deck as part of the cruise line’s Dive-In Movies programming.

The Seuss at Sea program will begin aboard Carnival Splendor in February 2014 with implementation across the full fleet by 2015, as well as Carnival Vista when that ship enters service in early 2016. For additional information, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit www.carnival.com .

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How to make your cruise the best one ever

IMG_4654IMG_2754

Shore excursion in St. Lucia

Shore excursion in St. Lucia

Carnival breezeReally want to know? Read this: http://www.examiner.com/article/six-top-ingredients-for-the-best-cruises-ever-plus-some-savvy-seafaring-advice Me in blue dressrich in tuxeBest butler

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Cruises are wonderful when you’re on the right ship

Carnival breezeMe in blue dressDon’t book a cruise until you read this:  http://www.examiner.com/article/a-matchmaker-s-guide-to-picking-the-ship-that-s-right-for-yousansebastian on spirit1porthole galley Read more:   http://www.examiner.com/article/a-matchmaker-s-guide-to-picking-the-ship-that-s-right-for-you

IMG_1963bestpattimealprincess_01rubychristeningIMG_2755

 

Just call me the ‘yenta of the sea’, but you really need to read the story on Examiner.com at the link above

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Royal Caribbean ship catches fire company offers apologies and more on Twitter

Cruise Ship Fire_AnguRead all about the latest cruise ship disaster

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is offering updates about today’s (May 27, 2013) fire aboard the Grandeur of Seas on its Twitter site. The company sent alerts to members of the press via it’s proprietary Twitter account  @RoyalCaribPR.

The compan, which seems to handling the situation with surprising elan in the wake of other cruise ship mishaps where it wasn’t, has  assured passengers that full refunds of the cruise fare paid will be issued along with a future cruise certificate for 100% of the cruise fare paid for the May 24, 2013 voyage.

The company tweeted that, “Royal Caribbean International is deeply sorry for this unexpected development in our guests’ vacation, we understand that this may have been a very stressful time for them.” “And we also know that it has significantly impacted their vacation experience and appreciate their patience and cooperation in dealing with this unfortunate situation.”

There is a dedicated telephone hotline family members of guests at 1-888-824-0012 or internationally at +1-408-916-9000.

 

The cruise line requests that only families of guests use the telephone numbers in order to help ease call volume and ensure that they can receive information as quickly as possible.

When the fire broke out the Grandeur of the Seas was on a seven-night sailing that departed Baltimore, Maryland, on May 24, and had included port calls to Port Canaveral, Florida; CocoCay and Nassau, The Bahamas.

Patti's Prattles

Has the cruise industry learned anything yet? We think so since Royal Caribbean appears to be handling today’s fire aboard its Grandeur of the Seas with more elan than say Carnival has in the past. The Miami-based cruise line is offering apologies-plus on its Twitter account and sending messages exclusively to use writers.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is offering updates about today’s (May 27, 2013) fire aboard the Grandeur of Seas on its Twitter site. The company sent alerts to members of the press via it’s proprietary Twitter account  @RoyalCaribPR.  Cruise Ship Fire_Angu

The latest tweet stated that, “Unfortunately, the damage caused by the fire on Grandeur of the Seas will require us to cancel the rest of the voyage. We are currently working on making the necessary arrangements to return all guests to Baltimore, Maryland.”

The company assured passengers that full refunds of the cruise fare paid will be issued…

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Carnival using cruise control big time

Carnival Cruise Lines is doing everything possible to clean up its tarnished imaged after several very unsettling mishaps, the first of which was the ill-fated Costa Concordia diseaster.  Recently, the mega-cruise operator announced major safety enhancements to assuage fears of perspective passengers and repeaters. Now its going to be featured in a 30-minute episode of the popular Travel Channel series, Trip Flip, Athat airs May 5, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET. During the show, a couple from Austin, Texas, is surprised with a six-day cruise on the line’s newest ship, Carnival Breeze, and whisked away to the balmy Caribbean. Hosted by professional fun-seeker, comedian, and travel expert Bert Kreischer, Trip Flip does a “switcheroo” on travelers who may already be on vacation, as well as people still in their hometown, by tossing out the guidebook and giving them an exceptional holiday experience they never saw coming.

During the Carnival Breeze episode, Texas natives Shannon and Nathan are initially taken on a vacation to Miami’s South Beach. After a few days, they’re surprised with a voyage on the spectacular Carnival Breeze. Viewers will have the opportunity to “cruise vicariously” through Shannon and Nathan as they check out the ship’s many innovations. On board, the couple traverses the ropes course at SportSquare, taking in awe-inspiring views of the sea 150 feet below.

They also take a plunge down the 312-foot-long Twister water slide and enjoy luxurious pampering at the Cloud 9 Spa. Kreischer even pulls some strings and gets Nathan, an amateur comedian, headline billing at The Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez. The episode also includes breathtaking scenes as Shannon and Nathan snorkel the colorful coral reefs of Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos Islands. “We are extremely excited to be featured in this upcoming episode of Trip Flip which does a great job of capturing some of the many magical and exciting experiences that our 4.5 million guests enjoy each year,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

For additional information and reservations on any of Carnival’s “Fun Ship” vacations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com. “Trip Flip” is produced by High Noon Entertainment for Travel Channel. For High Noon Entertainment, the executive producer is Patrick Jager. For Travel Channel, the executive producer is Dale Roy Robinson.

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Cruise industry news: Crystal bans smoking, Princess cops eco-award, Seabourn gets swanker

Carnival breezeIMG_4651No more indoor

Caribbean

Caribbean

puffing on Crystal Cruises except in special smoking room and on designated deck spots

Los Angeles, California-based Crystal Cruises  made a bold  statement today (April 22, 2013)with the announcement that the luxury cruise operator is banning smoking in all indoor areas, except for its Connoisseur Club smoking lounge.  While the announcement will most likely be overwhelming welcomed by environmentalists and anti-smoking groups, those addicted to the habit might take exception to the new rule. However, the cruise line is still allowing people to puff in designated areas on the decks of its Symphony and Serenity.

The smoking ban will take effect  in 2014 with the January 5th  and January 8 cruises of both ships and of will extend to  staterooms and balconies. In keeping with lifestyle trends, most areas of Crystal ships have been non-smoking for several years, including restaurants and main entertainment lounges, as well as stateroom and suite verandahs. Crystal eliminated smoking in its popular Avenue Saloon and Casino in 2013.

Princess gets honored, Seabourn spoils paxwith luxurious penthouse spa suites

In other news Princess Cruises copped a green award from the Port of Seattle see: http://www.examiner.com/article/princess-cruises-picks-up-green-getaway-award-from-port-of-seattle and Seabourn Lines is pampering elite pax with penthouse spa suites, see: www.examiner.com/article/penthouse-spa-suites-raise-the-bar-on-seabourn-s-luxurious-fleet .

 

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A tale of two women: an English Duchess and an American editor earn godmother status with Princess Cruises

Her Royal Highness, Kate aka: The Duchess of Cambridge will hold yet another title come June when she becomes godmother of Princess Cruises Royal Princess.  The the last godmother choice  aka  madrina was Cruise Critic Editor Carolyn Spencer Brown–also an influential woman who has been editor of the popular Cruisecritic.com website for the last decade. I have edited this post because when I mentioned that I wondered how objective Ms. SB could be writing about Princess Cruises on her web site, she replied to me at Facebook that I should have asked her.  I am also former contributor  for about 10 years) to Cruisecritic.com before Carolyn’s time and one who espects the contributions that Carolyn has made to the cruise industry but  what I said before editing this was “One can’t help but wonder how objective Ms. SB can be writing about Princess Cruises on Cruise Critic now that she is sort of a spokeswoman for them.  Ah well, all’s fair in love and journalism as my feature editor at Newsday once told me.

Kate will break the ceremonial Champagne bottle over the spiffy new generation ship on Thursday, June 13, 2013. The spectacular ceremony will uphold British ship-naming traditions including the blessing, a performance by the Royal Marines Band and the pipers of the Irish Guards, together with contemporary highlights.

Alan Buckelew, the line’s president and CEO said “It is a great honor for Princess Cruises that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has accepted our invitation to become the Godmother to Royal Princess. We are delighted that the Duchess will launch our new ship and can think of no better way to celebrate our company’s British heritage and our commitment to the country.”

Duchess of Cambridge to become Royal Princess Godmother
Duchess of Cambridge to become Royal Princess Godmother
      Photo credit:
        PR Newswire

The 3, 600-passenger ship will arrive at the Ocean Terminal in Southampton on Friday, June 7,2013 where she will start a series of events for clients and travel agents, including a special naming gala on the evening of Wednesday, June 12. The ship’s inaugural celebrations will conclude with her maiden voyage on June 16.

The Royal reigns in a new-generation for the cruise line with  special features added such as greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water; the new Princess Live! television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.

During the hoopla surrounding the  Royal Princess  debut the company will offer two short preview cruises prior to and following the naming. After her maiden voyage the ship will sail Grand Mediterranean cruises throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning in the autumn.

More information and some exciting  videos of the ship are available at www.princess.com/royalprincess.

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Oops, Carnival Triumph runs amok

Carnival breezeRead all about Carnival Cruise Lines latest debacle: http://www.examiner.com/article/another-big-blow-for-carnival-triumph-breaks-away-from-shipyard-sustains-damage

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Mostly hits with a few misses on board Golden Princess

the Golden Princess cruise bithdy baloonsto Hawaii was a fantasy-filled birthday/anniversary celebration  for the savvyseafarer and her first mate.   Hardly strangers to the Princess product, we expected the voyage to run smoothly.  But it turned out better than ever.

To review a 109,000-ton, 2,600-passenger ship properly one must take into perspective its class. While not considered high-end by industry standards of price (think Crystal Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea), the Golden held her head up well with some of the best service at sea we’ve ever encountered on the line. The crew was simply sensational, helpful, attentive, the quality of a much higher-priced spread actually.

And while our enjoyment ranked as a ‘10’, in all honesty the reviewers can only award it four stars (which is hardly chopped liver). Why? Because the ship failed in two categories. Granted this is purely subjective, but the spread in the Horizon Court buffet barely passes muster. It was uninventive and sometimes hard to eat. However the crew working the room was exceptional. The coffee, served in this setting, which is open from morning to midnight, is undrinkable. You can get better joe by buying it, however.

The other area that was lacking is the Lotus Spa. Not the facility itself, but the staff and quality of the three treatments experienced. The attendants sort of stared and seemed lackadaisical when passengers walked in. A special ‘head to toe’ treatment than ran $139 was way below par for the course, perfunctory at best.  Another “Fire and Ice” manicure that ran $50 didn’t even include cuticle cutting. There was a light hot stone massage of the arms that was barely felt. And, get this, there was so few polish choices, I had to fetch my own from my mini-suite.

To accentuate the positive, meals in both Sabatini’s and the Crown GrillSabatini's salt crusted branzino—two alternative dining venues that cost $25 a person—were exceptional as were our servers. The hotel manager, wine steward (seen here) IMG_4675 maître ‘d and captains were phenomenal. Because we are consider ‘Elite’ passengers who have sailed several voyages with Princess, we were invited to have breakfast each day in Sabatini’s with only about 70 other passengers of the same ranking. It was real treat that came with extraordinary service, fresh orange juice, specialty dishes, and cappuccinos or espressos. Princess does take care of its repeat passengers, especially the ‘Elite’ category for which we also got free laundry and cleaning service, priority boarding and disembarking, an Internet package of 250 minutes and first dibs on reservations in the alternative dining venues—which was welcome since we ate most of meals there, opting out of the crowded dining room.

Another really nice touch was the relaxed dress code of ‘resort casual’ at night, which meant no tie and jackets for guys, and optional formal attire on three evenings.Me in blue dressrich in tuxe

The shows, activities and Hawaiian diversions on board rated a ‘10’. We didn’t partake of shore excursions this time but they are usual tops on Princess and we heard no complaints.

Our mini-suite was excellent with two flat-screen TVs, king-sized bed, sitting area with sofa and table, desk/vanity, mini-fridge and a one-time complimentary set up of libations. The bathroom had a tub with a shower, robes and slippers and upscale spa products.

The ship was sparkling clean everywhere. Deck space was ample for a ship that was filled to capacity. The four pools (two of which are large) were all kept at a comfortable temperature and deck stewards were always on hand to bring you anything you desired.

The cruise director was entertaining and informative. Our captain, Ronald Wilson, a pure delight, and our cabin steward efficient if not effusive.

The 14-day cruise provides five days each way at sea with island stops in Hilo, Kauai, Maui and Oahu.  Days at sea were filled with choices such as the line’s Scholarship@Sea, lei making, photography classes, treasure hunts, trivia sessions, ping pong tournaments, movies, shows and more than we have space for here. Of course there’s also a casino, which was well-attended, a  well-stocked fitness center, also used extensively, a jogging/walking deck, and plenty of bars and nooks and crannies.

The Golden Princess makes these Hawaii cruises through the end of March before heading north to Alaska for the summer. She returns in the fall to continue the highly-recommended itineraries.

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Photos from a glorious two-week cruise on the Golden Princess

It was a fantasy at sea, a special birthday/anniversary celebration aboard Princess Cruise sterling Golden Princess. We sailed roundtrip from Los Angeles bithdy baloonsbirthdy caketo HawaiiMe in blue dresswhat a whirlwind voyage:rich in tuxe

Golden princess plaguePatti 1IMG_4651Pastry, glorious pastryGolden pastry4

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The Savvy Seafarer hits the high seas on Golden Princess

diva on deck of royal princessAhoy maties, your Savvy Seafarer is off on a roundtrip cruise from LA to Hawaii on the Golden Princess, check in here or at http://www.examiner.com/cruise-88-in-national/patti-pietschmann for regular updates.

It’s a birthday/anniversary cruise for me and my first mate. So wish us a bon voyage.

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Seabourn sells three of its fleet concentrates on bigger ‘boats’

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Luxury, all-inclusivecruise operator Seabourn has announced the sale of the line’s original three vessels Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend to Xanterra Parks & Resorts ®, owner of Windstar Cruises.

Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn, added, “Seabourn remains dedicated to our mission of creating the world’s finest travel experiences through our small-ship cruising product.” “Our three newest vessels, Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn, and Seabourn Quest have raised the bar for ultra-luxury cruising and we intend to add a fourth ship of similar design,” he continued. “Seabourn is already in discussion with shipbuilders and an order is likely to be announced within the current fiscal year. The new ship will allow Seabourn to maintain much of its current guest capacity.”

Meadows maintained that Seabourn is fully committed to continuing to deliver its award-winning standards on Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend, and providing its clientele with the ultra-luxury service and onboard product they have come to expect.”

For more information on Seabourn’s award-winning cruise vacations, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit http://www.seabourn.com .

Read more here: http://www.examiner.com/article/seabourn-startles-industry-with-sale-of-original-small-luxury-liners-to-xanterra

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Cruise Italian-style at dinner anyway on Holland America

ImagePassengers on Holland America’s Prinsendam now have the option of eating Italian at the ship’s recently installed Canaletto Restaurant, located on the Lido Terrace.

Named for the famous 18th-century Venetian artist, the award-winning Canaletto is located in the Wintergarden, which is adjacent to the Lido dining area. The restaurant serves classic Italian fare with tableside service for dinner only, and reservations are encouraged. With the addition of the eatery to Prinsendam, Canaletto is now on all 15 ships in the Holland America Line fleet.

“We continue to invest in our fleet and the onboard experience to offer the best premium cruise experience,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Prinsendam has one of our most loyal followings, so the new Wintergarden and popular Canaletto will certainly be appreciated by our guests.”

In addition to Canaletto, the 835-guest Prinsendam’s aft Lido terrace was enclosed and remodeled into a covered Wintergarden. The new area increased the dining capacity of the Lido and provides the venue for Canaletto. The ship also received other cosmetic enhancements during its dry-dock in Freeport, Bahamas, including new balcony decking and balcony dividers.

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

Find Holland America Line on Twitter, Facebook and the Holland America Blog.  Access all social media outlets via the Online Communities quick link on the home page at www.hollandamerica.com.

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Hollywood hits the high seas o Crystal Cruises

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Crystal Cruises is staging a gala Hollywood hits the high seas spectacular on its November 2, 2013 New York to Miami, Film & Theatre voyage. Presented in partnership with the award-winning Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles, the film buff’s dream come true  will feature more than a dozen performers and industry speakers with material created exclusively for the Los Angeles, California-based luxury cruise line. Highlights include a special spotlight on Marilyn Monroe, one of the industry’s most glamorous, and legendary bombshells.

Legends Brought to Life on Stage

Internationally acclaimed Marilyn Monroe tribute artist Susan Griffiths will bring her uncanny talent to sea for the first time ever with a new live cabaret show created exclusively for Crystal called “Marilyn – Memories, Music and Magic”.

Crystal fan favorite Jim Brochu returns with ‘Character Man”, his newest tribute to some of Broadway’s greatest character actors, like Jackie Gleason and Zero Mostel.

LA’s Troubador Theatre Company, or “Troubies,” will perform multiple commedia dell’arte productions onboard, including a satirical Shakespeare-meets-cinema-disco musical theatre performance of “Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream”.

Iconic Insights

Presentations from guests such as actress Kate Burton, the – daughter of Richard and the current U.S. vice-president on hit TV show “Scandal”, Center Theatre Group’s artistic director Michael Ritchie will provide insider tales from the show business front. A dedicated in-stateroom television channel will broadcast classic motion pictures, theatre documentaries and theme presenter insights throughout the voyage.  For added enjoyment, an interactive trivia games will also provide opportunities for guests to show off their entertainment knowledge.

Dinner with Marilyn

A multi-course dinner in the ship’s uber-intimate Vintage Room, featuring extraordinary wine pairings, will be hosted by “Marilyn Monroe” (Griffiths) and Marilyn fan club president, Greg Schreiner, sharing tales of Tinseltown and the star’s life.

Red Carpet Beauty Tips

Premier red carpet make-up artist William Squire will present celebrity beauty secrets for guests’ everyday lives and onboard photo opportunities, including ways Marilyn hid flaws and enhanced her beauty to create her signature style — and how her look still influences style today.

Famous Fashions

Original costumes from some of Hollywood’s greatest films will be showcased in a special musical theatre production created just for Crystal, featuring Broadway veteran Karen Morrow and other special guests.

The Silver Screen

The ship’s recently-redesigned Hollywood Theatre will feature movie marathons of classic and recent films, including some of Marilyn’s greatest hits, with Turner Classic Movies film historian Jeremy Arnold providing fascinating behind-the-scenes commentary.

“It’s a privilege to collaborate with the Center Theatre Group on such a unique program of entertainment and enrichment for film and theatre-philes,” says Christopher Escamilla, manager of entertainment operations. “Whether you love the songs, cinema, style, stars, or just Marilyn, everyone is bound to have an amazing time feeling like a star with the Six-Star Crystal treatment throughout.”

The East Coast and Caribbean itinerary visits New York, Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville (maiden call), Turks & Caicos, Curaçao, Aruba and Miami. All-inclusive luxury cruise fares begin at $4,300 per person for 14 days, with $800 per person in Book Now savings if booked by February 28, 2013.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit  www.crystalcruises.com.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Breeze-A-Thon sweepstates starts today

 

Carnival Cruise Lines “Carnival Breeze-A-Thon,”  today launchea  Facebook  sweepstakes contestA, for a chance to win a boat load of prizes from a Caribbean cruise to a Samsung television, and other awards inspired by the Carnival Breeze’s vast amenities.

The contest is in conjunction with the Breeze’s arrival in Miami where she began a series of year around, six and eight day cruises and will be hosted on Carnival’s Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/carnival) from today, Dec. 3 through Dec. 6, 2012. Then, on Dec. 8, the day of Carnival Breeze’s official naming ceremony, prizes will be awarded each hour between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., interspersed with a series of videos showcasing many of the ship’s fun and fantastic features. The final video of the day will feature highlights from the naming ceremony.

 

To enter just hit “like” Carnival on Facebook, visit the “Carnival Breeze-A-Thon” tab and enter to be eligible to win a wide range of fun and memorable prizes.

Lucky winners will score  goodies such as:

  • A Caribbean cruise for two aboard Carnival Breeze (Grand Prize)
  • Samsung 40-inch 3D high-definition television (Thrill Theater)
  • iPod Touch and Bluetooth Rechargeable Mini-Speakers pre-loaded with the Personal Party Mix created by DJ IRIE, Carnival’s official DJ (Liquid Nightclub/DJ IRIE)
  • Kindle Fire HD 7 and Fusion classic red and white wine glass collection (Library Bar)
  • Chef Pro 10-inch tortilla maker and set of six Novica Margarita glasses (BlueIguana Cantina)
  • Guy Fieri Food – Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It, a cookbook authored by the Food Network personality and four jars of his signature barbecue sauces (Guy’s Burger Joint)
  • Engraved chopsticks for two and sake set (Bonsai Sushi)
  • Banzai Triple Wave Racer Water Slide (Carnival WaterWorks)
  • Two Carnival Comfort Robes and $250 gift card toward a massage on board (Serenity/Cloud 9 Spa)
  • DVD of “It’s Not Me, It’s You” featuring a live performance of comedian George Lopez (Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez)
  • Hasbro board game party pack, including Trivial Pursuit Master Edition, Clue, The Game of Life, Monopoly, and Scattergories (Hasbro, The Game Show)
  • Set of six ThirstyFrog Red beer glasses (RedFrog Pub/RedFrog Rum Bar)

 

For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” cruises, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

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Carnival Cruises talks turkey tops Breeze with 50-foot inflatable turkey

Check out the full story of  Carnival’s ‘fowl’ play here:  http://www.examiner.com/article/carnival-breeze-arrives-miami-topped-by-a-50-foot-tall-1-250-pound-turkey

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Crystal Cruises promises you a ‘rose garden’ with new garden & floral theme cruises

The Savvy Seafarer’s favorite all-inclusive, mid-size ship operator,  Crystal Cruises  promises passengers that life’s a rose garden with its new Mediterranean Garden & Floral Design-themed  sailing from Barcelona to Venice on April 21, 2013.

Aptly named “La Dolce Vita,” the Crystal Serenity cruise offers more than 15  peaceful Crystal Adventures visiting some of the most renowned, romantic, and private gardens that epitomize the Catalan coast and French and Italian Rivieras.  On board, Britian’s celebrity floral designer, Paula Pryke, and Sybil Sylvester, founder of flower “creative think tank,” Wildflower Designs, will also offer hands-on workshops and presentations in floral design, arrangement, and other floral-related topics.

“The scenery in these destinations is simply spectacular, and is only enhanced by the artistry and historical significance expressed in their gardens,” says Victoria Harris, Crystal’s manager of hotel services and design.  “Together, the ship and shore enrichment allow travelers to get to know the area, and its unparalleled landscape, in a really novel way, while also teaching green and black thumbs alike valuable ‘trip souvenir’ skills they can bring back home.”

Vacationers can “smell the roses” (and other flora and fauna blossoming next spring) in/near:

  • Venice – Insider explorations of cozy Venetian squares and private courtyards include a garden created by Italian modernist architect Carlo Scapa, inside the 16th-century Palazzo Querini Stampalia museum and library complex.
  • Monte Carlo– From exotic gardens of succulents and sub-tropical microclimate species, to umbrella pines and rare fruit trees, Crystal takes guests throughout the Cote d’Azur to explore classic French, Spanish, and even English garden design, complete with stunning coastline views and even a lesson in cooking with flowers.
  • Barcelona– Excursions go off the beaten-tourist-path, from the city’s newest garden hotspot – the conservation-focused Botanical Garden, showcasing the plants of five Mediterranean climate – to the city’s oldest garden, the neoclassical Cypress-filled maze of Labyrinth Park…as well as to the area’s popular Park Güell, one of Gaudí’s most famous works.
  • Rome – Italy’s finest Renaissance garden includes cascading fountains and dripping grottoes dating back almost 450 years.

In between overnights on both ends, the Experiences of Discovery luxury cruise visits Trogir, Croatia and Florence, Sorrento, and Sicily, Italy.  Until October 31, all-inclusive, “Book Now” fares for the 11-day itinerary begin at $4,165 per person.

A second Garden & Floral Design-themed voyage sails from LA to NYC on May 6, offering visits to lush private and public gardens in Charleston, Florida, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean.

Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.

 

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The Crystal Symphony gets a ‘living wall’

Los Angeles, California-based, luxury ship operator  Crystal Cruises has come up with a way to bring land to sea, or least vegetation with the installment of  the world’s first self-contained, free-standing living wall at sea, created and crafted by UK-based ANS Group Europe on board the Crystal Symphony.

ANS Group Europe spent two days installing the living wall on the 922 passenger luxury liner while the ship sailed from Portland to Dover to complete its 11-night British Isle Brilliance voyage.

Designed for an al fresco area in the ship’s Deck 11 Trident Grill, the distinctive living wall uses a varied and diverse selection of indoor plants to display a world map. The living wall is 37.7 feet long and 7.9 feet high and will receive regular maintenance by Crystal Symphony’s onboard team of florists.

“In keeping with our ongoing focus on design, we wanted to create a focal point that was both highly contemporary and visually stunning,” says Alexandra Don, Crystal’s vice president, hotel design and services. “The end result is a living wall that brings the Trident Grill to life and serves as an eye-catching backdrop to the incomparable service and choices that always characterize a Crystal holiday.”

Joel Nash, marketing manager for ANS Group Europe added, “This bespoke project is an exciting and exhilarating scheme. Installing living walls on a cruise ship is taking us to a completely new level and opens up all sorts of possibilities. When you think this wall will be travelling as far north as Lapland and down to Cape Horn, it takes your breath away.”

A living wall is a vertical garden that is pre-planted in panels and then attached to the wall or facade of a building. Plants stay intact in their vertical positions because their root structures are anchored in two to four inches of soil kept within the panel.

The installation of the wall reflects another example of Crystal’s commitment to the environment and  its educational efforts both onboard and on shore. A living wall acts as a bio filter, enhancing air quality by breaking down harmful airborne contaminants and transforming them into clean oxygen. By absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, it reduces greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

For more information on Crystal Cruises and reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.

 

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Create a Princess Cruises Pinterest board and win prizes

Princess Cruises has put a Pinterest contest on “the board” with great prizes for winners who show the best photos of themselves in repose. The ‘How I Escape Completely’ contest winners will be selected from the top five boards. Winner get  a Sanctuary Relaxation Kit, complete with a Lotus Spa plush robe, skin nourishing milk bath and an iPod® with a $50 iTunes® gift card. The contest runs from August 1-14, 2012 – leading up to National Relaxation Day on August 15.

To enter the competition, to http://www.princess.com/pinterestcontest  or Princess’ Facebook page to register and follow Princess on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/princesscruises/ . Each entrant can then pin images to their personal boards showing the places, phrases and products that help them escape – including their own Princess cruise memories. Boards must contain at least five images pinned from Princess’ Pinterest board, princess.com, or Princess’ blogs at http://www.inspiredtocruise.com  and www.50essentialexperiences.com .

All boards will be judged between August 16 and August 31, 2012 on creativity, originality and how well they define the theme.  Participants can also use any inspirational or mood imagery to enhance their board. Each image should be tagged with the hashtags #PrincessCruises and #Travel.

All entries for the contest  must be received by August 14, 2012. The contest is open to legal residents of the United States, Canada (excluding Quebec), the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Official rules are available at: https://pinterest.brandmovers.net/rules . iPod and iTunes are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the U.S. and other countries. Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this program.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at www.princess.com.

For more about this breaking story go to: http://www.examiner.com/article/princess-cruises-creates-industry-first-with-unique-pinterest-contest.

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Passengers in glass showers….

Wow, Celebrity Cruises new ship Reflection is shaping up pretty spiffy. There’s a boat load of innovations including a glass shower that goes outside the box, or actually outside your suite and hangs over the ocean.

More details at:http://www.examiner.com/article/celebrity-reflection-to-debut-gorgeous-over-the-top-glass-rain-shower

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A New England chowder bowl-full of exciting adventures from Crystal Cruises

Crystal symphony in Maui

Crystal Cruises sails into fall with voyages through America and Canada’s “East Coast” roots during dozens of new boutique adventures ashore; new chic spaces on board; and a brand new, exotic Québécois itinerary with three off-the-beaten-path maiden calls.  All that plus free wines, spirits, tips and entry to alternative dining venues. And that’s not all, there’s a world-class spa with top-notch treatments, a fully-equipped gym, jogging tack, movies, entertainment, enrichment programsbulters that man penthouse accommodatins

and seamless service of a crew that never (well almost neve) says “no.”

Beginning September 19, 2012, the  freshly spruced-up  Crystal Symphony will offer five seven- to 11-day cruises between Boston, Manhattan and Montréal.  The season’s centerpiece, Crystal’s first-ever round-trip from Montréal, is an easy, seven-day intimate exploration of European-flavored French Canada, including a maiden call to France itself.

Choose from 29  new Crystal Adventures featuring novel ways for foodies, adventurers, and culture-hounds to experience the historic region’s most iconic and less-expected areas, like:

  • Saint-Pierre & Miquelon: Visit North America’s last vestige of the French Republic and see Al Capone’s “home-away-from-home” during the island’s golden era of Prohibition profiteering.
  • Québec City: Join Huron natives in a Friendship Dance and sacred ceremonies following a traditional feast of bison, wapiti meat and Indian bannock bread.
  • New York: Sail past the Statue of Liberty to the newly-completed 9/11 Memorial or enjoy an exclusive, private visit to the American Museum of Natural History while closed to the public.
  • Havre-Aubert Island (from Magdalen Is.): Listen to a Madelinot fisherman’s tales of maritime life of yore.
  • Halifax: Look for the majestic North American bald eagle during a Shubenacadie River Zodiac ride.
  • Bar Harbor: Glide over Acadia National Park’s treetops in an open-cockpit biplane.
  • Magdalen Islands (maiden call): Learn about the distinct Acadian culture and taste local specialties like porto-style fortified wine, Pied-de-Vent cheese and bagosse “island beer.”
  • Montréal: Jet boat away from the Old Port, down the Lachine Rapids.
  • Sept-Îles (maiden call):Train-ride to a marshland Innu camp for immersion into traditional First Nations life, from chanting and smoked salmon secrets to moccasin and medicine-making.
  • St. John: Heli-fish in the footsteps of Prince Charles on the Miramichi River or have “Tea with Eleanor” Roosevelt at her and Franklin’s former summer residence.
  • Boston: See what some call New England’s most well-preserved (and picturesque) Colonial town during a half-day in Marblehead and witch trial-famed Salem.

Aspiring photographers can also learn pro tips to capture the “perfect shot” of Halifax or St. John during photo excursions there, and bike-riders can work off their sea legs through NY’s Central Park, or Montréal’s 236 miles of bike paths.  Additionally, Crystal’s You Care, We Care voluntourism program offers complimentary opportunities to assist with local Canadian food banks or help low-income and homeless Bostonian children.

“New England/Canada is one of the most storied and stunning regions in North America and offers so much to explore and discover.  Each year, we strive to not only expand our offerings with new ports, but also re-invent the journey with new experiences in traditionally popular destinations,” says John Stoll, vice president, land and port operations.

Until August 31, all-inclusive, “Book Now,” cruise-only fares start at $2,355/person, double-occupancy with attractive air add-ons from more than 90 North American gateways, and savings for family/friend groups of six or more.

Check out more about this spectacular cruise line and other options here National Cruise Examiner.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.

 

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Crystal Cruises decks the halls for the Christmas holidays

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, at least to Crystal Cruises.  The luxury cruise operator has already wrapped the gifts and planned the parties for the December holiday season.

Globe trotting friends, families and couples can escape the cold and snuggle up in a penthouse suite or luxury stateroom with a balcony on a pair of warm weather  Christmas and New Year’s cruises.

The  award-winning line will offer  new exotic holiday options through Australia and New Zealand aboard the re-designed Crystal Symphony, complete with a complimentary over-the-top New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration in Sydney’s famed harbour.

Sydney Harbour

Travelers seeking a tropical Christmas/New Year’s getaway round-trip from Miami can enjoy the holidays aboard Crystal Serenity as she sails to eight ports in Tortola, St. Lucia and other coveted Caribbean locales.
The ships will be lavishly outfitted with holiday trimmings and décor, from fantastical forest-themed atriums with pines covered in snow and shimmering lights, to Santa’s Bakery inside Bistro Cafés.  Elaborate, hand-painted accoutrements and ornaments will adorn areas throughout the ships, creating a romantic, nostalgic winter wonderland.

Ho ho ho…

Santa Claus will be on hand for any last minute wishes from junior cruisers, along with other specially planned  activities and parties.  Christmas days at sea offer traditional culinary delights, including Christmas goose, roast turkey, and chestnut stuffing, plus religious services; New Year’s Eve dinner and champagne countdown celebrations are followed by Bloody Mary parties and mimosa brunch on New Year’s Day.
Itineraries:
December 20 (16 days) – From Auckland (overnight),
Crystal Symphony calls at Tauranga, Napier, Christchurch and Dunedin, New
Zealand, spends two nights in Sydney and cruises the awe-inspiring Millford,
Dusky and Doubtful Sounds before arriving for an overnight stay in
Melbourne.
December 21 (14 days) – Crystal Serenity sails from Miami and explores the picturesque islands of Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Lucia, Barbados, and Guadeloupe, West Indies; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and St. Thomas,  U.S. Virgin Islands; Ponce, Puerto Rico (a maiden call); and Key West, Florida.

Until August 31, all inclusive “Book Now” all-inclusive (wines, tips, admission to alternataive dining venues) fares for 2012 Holiday voyages aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity begin at $8,505 and $7,060, respectively, with additional perks and savings for family and friend groups of six or more via the Crystal Family Memories Program.

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Curve your enthusiasm

 

 

 

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Richard & Patti Pietschmann cruise the world

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The Savvy Seafarer at work

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