The Cruise Cafe

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Carnival to Homeport in Boston in 2012

For the first time, Carnival Cruise Lines will operate an extended schedule of voyages from Boston with a series of round-trip four- and five-day eastern Canada cruises aboard the 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory beginning in June 2012. Carnival will be the only cruise line offering short cruises from Boston to the Canadian Maritimes.

On the new program, Carnival Glory will sail from the recently refurbished Black Falcon Cruise Terminal on four-day “long weekend” cruises departing Thursdays to Saint John, New Brunswick, and five-day voyages departing Mondays and Saturdays to Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Saint John. The program will operate June 10 to July 26, 2012. A special seven-day cruise will be offered June 3-10, 2012, with visits to Portland, Maine; and Saint John, Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Holland America Ships Complete Drydockings

Holland America Line’s ms Maasdam recently completed a stem-to-stern, multimillion-dollar Signature of Excellence dry dock at Freeport, Bahamas, April 24. Also completing dry-dock refurbishments in April were ms Eurodam, ms Volendam and ms Veendam.

The 1,258-guest Maasdam’s added facilities and features included new stateroom furnishings and bathroom upgrades; Canaletto, a complimentary Italian eatery; the sophisticated Showroom at Sea; and the stylish lounge called Mix, which combines three distinct bars into one area. Twenty-nine new Lanai staterooms also were added to Maasdam during the refit, and 16 staterooms across Verandah Suite, Outside and Inside categories were converted into Spa Staterooms. The refurbishment was part of the company’s now more than $566 million Signature of Excellence ongoing fleet-wide program.

Volendam’s dry dock in Singapore included new carpet in most of the public areas and restaurants. Audio and lighting enhancements were completed in the show lounge. Guest staterooms received new carpeting and soft goods, and all furniture was re-upholstered and refinished. Crew cabins and recreation areas were also updated. The hull was repainted and a number of technical maintenance repairs were performed.

Eurodam’s dry dock at Freeport involved new carpets, privacy curtains along the Atrium side of the Pinnacle Grill, hull coating and some routine technical upgrades. Veendam’s dry dock, also at Freeport, included routine technical updates. The aft Lido Deck retreat area was modified with a new design with more open deck space, two pools and two hot tubs.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sneak Peek of the New Carnival Breeze Staterooms

Carnival offered the first glimpse of a new cabin decor it plans for its next ship, the Carnival Breeze, revealing artist renderings of standard balcony rooms with light wood furniture, light-colored walls, blue floor coverings and blue accents.

Artist renderings of premium balcony cabins also showed blue as well as light brown accents.

Carnival says the decor of the cabins on the 3,690-passenger vessel will take its cue from the Caribbean region where the ship will be sailing after it debuts in 2012 -- specifically the cool island breezes and warm tropical sunsets of the area.

Currently under construction at a shipyard near Trieste, Italy, the 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze -- Carnival's only new ship on order -- is a sister vessel to the Carnival Magic. It's scheduled to enter service on June 3, 2012.

The Breeze will sail a one-time voyage from Venice to Barcelona on June 3, 2012 before beginning a season of 12-night Mediterranean voyages out of Barcelona through Oct. 25, 2012. The ship then heads across the Atlantic to Miami, where it will sail six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises year-round.

Oceania Puts Select Voyages on Sale

Oceania Cruises has announced unprecedented savings on select 2011 and 2012 departures. Travelers can save up to 75 percent on 18 cruises, all of which include free airfare from 22 North American cities.

The high-value promotion includes eight Mediterranean cruises from September through November as well as longer fall voyages that visit South America and South Africa.

Closer to home, two Panama Canal passages and a 12-day Caribbean cruise are featured. The latter voyage is a round-trip from Miami aboard Oceania Cruises’ stunning new Marina, departing December 10.

Select sailings in 2012 include a grand South America cruise from Rio de Janeiro around Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chile; two Asia cruises and voyages that transit the Suez and Panama canals.

In total, the line is offering 18 cruises from 10 to 35 days, with starting prices that range from $949 to $5,999 per person, based on double occupancy, including round-trip Economy Class air.

For more information call us at 1-800-788-2545 or visit

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Grand Princess Returns to Service

Following the most extensive drydock in Princess Cruises history, today the first passengers set sail aboard the completely transformed Grand Princess in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The ship's remarkable 24-day drydock that transformed it from top to bottom also made the vessel a media star with daily video updates that attracted more than a half million views.

The Grand Princess Drydock Journal captured the dramatic process with 26 video updates plus more than 300 photos of the daily progress at the shipyard in the Bahamas, including the unforgettable removal of Skywalkers nightclub from the ship's stern and the complete demolition and rebuilding of the atrium to create the new Piazza. Hosted by Grand Princess Cruise Director Martyn Moss, the video series delved behind the scenes with reports on all aspects of the drydock process.

Now that the ship has been transformed, passengers will find a completely new Piazza atrium, several new eateries -- including Alfredo's Pizzeria and the Crown Grill -- and the line's first specialty tea lounge called Leaves. Also included in the renovation were seven new window suites; remodeled casino, boutiques and art gallery; enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa, and wedding chapel; and the addition of Crooner's Martini Lounge. The new nightclub, The One5, that replaced Skywalkers, will open May 21.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available by calling 1-800-788-2545 or by visiting our website at

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Saturday Night Fever Debuts on Liberty of the Seas

Acclaimed West End-show “Saturday Night Fever: The Musical” has made its debut aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas, the first Broadway show featured on a Royal Caribbean cruise in Europe.

“We are delighted to offer a West End hit aboard Liberty of the Seas, just in time for the ship’s maiden season in Europe this summer,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “Exceeding the expectations of our guests is part of the Royal Advantage that we deliver at Royal Caribbean International, and the new ‘Saturday Night Fever: The Musical’ show is set to be a real hit onboard. We can’t wait to see our guests singing the catchy tunes while they are rock climbing, surfing, ice skating and enjoying all the other activities that Liberty of the Seas offers. With all this, and now a true West End show included in the cruise fare, there are more reasons for guests to vacation at sea.”

Based on the hugely popular 1970’s feature film, “Saturday Night Fever,” the storyline and music that created the worldwide disco phenomenon includes cult-classic songs from The Bee Gees including “Stayin’ Alive,” “Tragedy,” and “More than a woman,” and KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Boogie Shoes.”

In addition to “Saturday Night Fever,” Liberty of the Seas has received some of the most popular features that debuted aboard Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas as part of the multi-ship Royal Advantage revitalization and enhancement program. The Royal Advantage delivers a most memorable vacation onboard some of the world’s most innovative cruise ships that sail to exciting destinations and feature the widest array of exclusive and cutting-edge onboard amenities.

Disney Cruise Line Makes Inaugural Visit to San Francisco

In a photo taken April 29, 2011, in San Francisco, the Disney Wonder cruise ship sails under the Golden Gate Bridge on the way to the Port of San Francisco. This is the first time Disney Cruise Line has visited San Francisco. The ship stopped here for two days as part of a repositioning itinerary heading north to begin Disney Cruise Line’s first Alaska season. During the seven-night Alaskan itinerary, the Disney Wonder visits Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway and Tracy Arm Fjord. (Jimmy DeFlippo/Disney, photographer)