The Cruise Cafe

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Celebrity Cruises Introduces 'Celebrity iLounge'

With the launch of its new brand platform, "Designed for you," last month, Celebrity Cruises reinforced its commitment to delivering the ultimate combination of ship design, service, cuisine and programs for cruise lovers. And today, it announced plans for a new venue whose design, products and programming are sure to appeal to today's cruisers.

When Celebrity Eclipse - the third in Celebrity Cruises' stylish Solstice Class fleet of ships - launches in April, guests will find the first "Celebrity iLounge." Designed to not only offer a hip, modern lounge ambience, Celebrity also created the space to offer what its guests said they wanted most in an Internet cafe: easy access to the Internet, inspiring classes and new products.

The Celebrity iLounge is composed of three main areas: a series of 26 contemporary workstations where guests can check their e-mail, retain their social media connections, or print boarding passes; a retail space offering cruisers the opportunity to see and try out the latest MacBooks(R), iPods(R) and accessories; and an enrichment center where certified staff will offer guests tips on Mac or iPod usage.

Enhancing the "Discover" component of its "Celebrity Life" series of inspiring enrichment and entertainment experiences, Celebrity will offer in the Celebrity iLounge a series of engaging new courses designed to suit its guests' interests - including do-it-yourself photo books, movie editing and web design, through programs including iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and iWeb. And whether guests are savvy or novice users of Mac or iPod products, Celebrity's certified staff will be well-equipped to assist, following more than 125 hours of training in operating systems, applications, and products. They also will be poised to illustrate to guests the differences between Macs and PCs.

Guests eager to expand their collection of merchandise will find the Celebrity iLounge an enticing venue, too. As an Authorized Apple Reseller, Celebrity will have products available for guests to purchase, including iPods, MacBooks, and essential accessories.

Located on deck six of Celebrity Eclipse, the Celebrity iLounge will house the 26 MacBook Pro's, classroom and retail area, in addition to display pods, a 56-inch flat-screen TV for use during classes, and an accessible workstation.

The Celebrity iLounge also will be presented on Celebrity Silhouette, which launches in 2011, and the fifth ship in the Solstice Class fleet, which sets sail in 2012.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Royal Caribbean Announces Daily Reservations for My Time Dining Guests

Royal Caribbean International announced Daily Reservations, an online reservation system for guests enrolled in the My Time Dining program. Through Daily Reservations, My Time Dining guests can make nightly reservations in the main dining room for themselves, as well as include other guests at their table. Guests can access, request, and review their Daily Reservations in advance of their sailing through the Pre-Cruise Planner or Cruise Enhancements section of Daily Reservations is currently available for Oasis of the Seas sailings, and will bedeployed fleetwide throughout spring 2010. More information can be found at

Guests selecting My Time Dining can make main dining room reservation requests for each evening of their cruise via and reserve their dining times under Daily Reservations in the Pre-Cruise Planner or Cruise Enhancements section. Dinner reservations can be requested for an intimate table for two or a larger table accommodating up to a total of 10. Guests can request reservations for the same time with the same people nightly or a different time every evening with different companions. If a particular time is unavailable, Daily Reservations will suggest an alternative time that is closest to the request. Guests will then be able to review their daily dinner reservation details in an easy-to-navigate calendar view, as well as request changes for their dinner reservations through

My Time Dining provides guests with the flexibility to enjoy dinner in the main dining room whenever they wish during dining hours. Guests choosing My Time Dining will not have a pre-assigned table, but will be seated in the ship’s main dining room; order from the same dinner menu; and enjoy the same impeccable Royal treatment for which Royal Caribbean is known. To ensure a smooth and undisrupted experience, no additional guests will be seated at a table once dinner service has begun. Guests choosing My Time Dining must prepay gratuities.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Carnival Glory Returns to Service Following Extensive Refurbishment

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory has resumed Caribbean service from Miami following a multi-million-dollar renovation that added a host of new facilities and features, including a Serenity adults-only retreat, a 270-square-foot Seaside Theatre poolside LED screen, and a Circle “C” facility for 12- to 14- year olds.

Eighteen new balconies were also incorporated onto existing ocean view staterooms and a new Mongolian wok venue was added to the casual poolside restaurant. Bow-to-stern Wi-Fi access was added, as well.

From February to May, Carnival Glory operates seasonal seven-day cruises from Miami, alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean. Seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises visit Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk, while the western route features Grand Cayman, Isla Roatan, Belize and Cozumel.

The ship will then be deployed to New York where it will offer a series of four- and five-day Atlantic Canada voyages from June 6 – September 6, 2010, followed by a series of seven-day Canada/New England cruises, from September 11 – October 9.

Norwegian Epic Sea Trials A Triumphant Success

Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest and most innovative ship to date, returned from her first successful sea trials on Sunday, February 14, 2010, after four days of sailing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. During the sea trials, 300 technicians and engineers from STX FRANCE SA, along with 30 Norwegian Cruise Line representatives, checked more than 60 different aspects of the ship’s performance by running trials of the vessel’s speed, maneuverability, hydrodynamics and propulsion, amongst others.

“During her first time ever at sea, Norwegian Epic performed above expectations with excellent marine behavior,” said Roberto Martinoli, Norwegian’s president and COO, who was on-board during the sea trials. “All tests were conducted with positive results. She is a beautiful ship with outstanding performance. Now that sea trials are completed, we can concentrate on finishing the ship and showing her to the world in June.”

A second round of sea trials is scheduled for mid-April in order to finalize all tests, including final speed measurement. The 153,000-gross ton, 4,200-passenger ship is scheduled for delivery on June 15, 2010.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

MSC Poesia Crew Assists in Rescue of Four Passengers of Capsized Boat Near Miami

MSC Poesia was the first point of contact in assisting the US Coast Guard with the rescue of four passengers from a small, capsized boat last weekend off the coast of Miami, Fla.

MSC Poesia was headed for the Western Caribbean after departing Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. at 7 p.m. on February 6. A few hours later at 9 p.m., a small boat was spotted by the MSC Poesia.

Captain Giacomo Romano notified the US Coast Guard, and for the next 30-minutes, rescue efforts were underway. All four people survived 12-hours in the choppy and cold waters, and were safely taken onboard a US Coast Guard vessel.

Then, MSC Poesia continued her voyage without any delays to Key West, her next port-of- call on the 7-night cruise.

One of the survivors expressed his gratitude for the rescue. “It was challenging to stay positive. The MSC Poesia was one of our last chances for survival. Our families owe you our lives,” said Michael Colon.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Royal Caribbean Expands Allure of the Seas Inaugural Season

Royal Caribbean International has announced that the first revenue voyage for Allure of the Seas’ inaugural season will take place one week earlier than originally planned. The ship’s first revenue voyage will be a seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary, sailing on December 5, 2010. Allure of the Seas’ new cruise for the inaugural season is now open for booking.

Guests booked on the original inaugural season sail date of December 12, 2010, will be contacted by their travel agent or a Royal Caribbean representative, and given the opportunity to move their cruise vacation to the new sailing of December 5. Booked guests who wish to take the December 5 sailing will be re-accommodated in the same stateroom and category, and the cruise fare will be the lower of either the fare paid or current prices. Guests booked on the December 12, 2010 sailing will have until the end of February 2010 to opt to change their cruise to the December 5 sailing and ensure they keep the same stateroom.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Costa Cruises Newest Ship - The Costa Deliziosa

Costa Cruises has taken delivery of its latest ship, the $625 million Costa Deliziosa in Venice. Sister ship to the Costa Luminosa, the 92,600-ton Costa Deliziosa carries 2,826 guests in 1,130 staterooms – including 52 Samsara, 718 veranda cabins, 50 suites and four Samsara suites inside the 11,000 square foot Samsara Spa. There are a host of leading-edge innovations on board including a 20-seat 4D cinema that takes guests on a wild sensory ride, a golf and Grand Prix simulator, a Playstation World and many more.

The Costa Deliziosa is currently on its way from Savona, Italy on a 20-night inaugural cruise to Dubai where it will be based for the winter season along with the Costa Luminosa and Costa Europa.

For more information on Costa Cruises or the Costa Deliziosa, visit us at or call us at 1-800-788-2545.

Carnival Fascination Returns Following Extensive 'Evolutions of Fun' Upgrades

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination resumes its year-round four- and five-day schedule from Jacksonville, Fla., following a $34 million dry dock that included the addition of an expansive new water park, exclusive adults-only retreat, redesigned main pool area and 98 balconies to existing staterooms.

These renovations are part of the line’s $350 million “Evolutions of Fun” refurbishment program for its eight 70,000-ton Fantasy-class vessels. The Carnival Fascination is the sixth ship in the series to receive the extensive upgrades.

Exciting Top Deck Features - Carnival Fascination’s multi-million dollar refurbishment included a total transformation of its open decks, which now feature a massive new WaterWorks aqua park on Verandah Deck. This sprawling, all-ages facility includes an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a splash zone for kids. The ship’s Lido Deck pool was also renovated with a colorful tropical theme featuring oversized umbrellas, vibrant tile work, thatched roofing and huge stylized palm trees, creating a relaxing resort-style ambiance.

New Balcony Accommodations - Ninety-eight balconies were also added to existing accommodations during the dry dock, creating spacious 230-square-foot balcony staterooms that provide the ideal vantage point for viewing the tropical scenery. Sixty-two of the new balcony staterooms are located aft with several of these featuring extended balconies, while 24 are located mid-ship and 12 near the stern. Several suites were also retrofitted with larger, extended balconies.

New Adults-Only Retreat - Another popular “Evolutions of Fun” element added during the dry dock was an adults-only retreat called Serenity, which is located on Promenade Deck aft, providing magnificent ocean vistas. Designed as an oceangoing oasis for relaxation, this area features a tropical design with teak-style decking, colorful umbrellas, and thatched roofing, along with two oversized whirlpools. Guests can relax in comfortable chaise lounges and chairs while enjoying frozen drinks and other icy concoctions.

Dining Enhancements - Delicious new dining options were added to the ship’s casual poolside restaurant, Coconut Grove Bar & Grill. These include a Mongolian wok venue where guests can select their favorite meat, sauce, vegetables and other ingredients and watch as a chef creates their custom-designed stir fry dish, and a rotisserie featuring roasted chicken and traditional side dishes.

Carnival Fascination operates Jacksonville’s only year-round cruise schedule, carrying approximately 170,000 passengers a year. On this program, four-day cruises departing Thursdays visit Freeport and Nassau, The Bahamas; five-day cruises departing Mondays call at Key West, Fla., and Nassau; and five-day voyages departing Saturdays visit the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau.