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Monday, November 28, 2011

Splendour of the Seas Gets iPads in all Staterooms

Royal Caribbean International will mark another industry first with the introduction of iPad mobile digital devices in every stateroom onboard the newly revitalized Splendour of the Seas.

The tablet empowers guests with an additional medium by which to receive, retrieve and use information on their cruise vacation.

With a touch of the screen, guests will be able to access the daily Cruise Compass of events and activities; personal daily itineraries, including shore excursions; monitor their onboard account; order room service; view restaurant menus; access the internet; and watch movies.

The iPads will be available beginning mid-February 2012 on Splendour of the Seas before being extended to all Vision-class ships when each undergoes revitalization in the following two years.

The iPads, which will feature English and Portuguese when they debut on Splendour of the Seas, will offer guests the opportunity to access all of their information not only from the comfort of their staterooms, but through the pervasive WIFI also being installed throughout the ship, will enable guests to enjoy the iPads wherever they go onboard.

In addition to the iPads, Splendour of the Seas, which just emerged from dry dock on Nov. 25, 2011, also has an array of new stateroom amenities such as flat screen televisions, new bathrooms, and completely remodeled interiors, including luxurious new linens and furniture, as well as an additional 124 balconies. The ship also is outfitted with the award-winning digital wayfinding technology that can be found on the line’s acclaimed Oasis-class ships.

The newly revitalized Splendour also will debut new dining options including the Asian Izumi restaurant; the line’s signature steakhouse, Chops Grille; the Boardwalk Dog House hotdog counter; the Park Café deli-style restaurant; and the exclusive Chef’s Table dining experience. Royal Caribbean also will introduce a new à la carte menu in the Viking Crown Lounge that will offer guests the opportunity to enjoy bite sized portions of their favorite classics. Additional Royal Caribbean signature innovations debuting on the ship will be the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, a Diamond lounge, a Concierge Lounge, a Britto Gallery featuring works from Brazilian pop-artist Romero Britto, the new R-Bar as well as a reinvented Centrum experience.

Upon completion of the refurbishments, Splendour of the Seas will sail a trans-Atlantic voyage on November 25 from Lisbon, Portugal to her seasonal homeport of Sao Paulo (Santos), Brazil. From there, she will offer a variety of South American itineraries that take advantage of the summer season in Brazil.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Starbucks Now on Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International announced that guests aboard the cruise line’s Oasis of the Seas will be able to enjoy their favorite hand-crafted espresso beverage at the ship’s new Starbucks store. Royal Caribbean premiered the first Starbucks at sea aboard sister-ship Allure of the Seas, when she launched in December 2010. Through a licensing agreement between Starbucks Coffee Company and Royal Caribbean International, the second Starbucks at sea opened aboard Oasis of the Seas Saturday, November 12, 2011.

As fully licensed stores, the Starbucks aboard Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas offer the coffee company’s menu of signature and seasonal beverages prepared by trained baristas, as well as food and a selection of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew products. The Starbucks stores aboard both ships are open between 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and located at the forward end of the Royal Promenade between the On-Air Club and Boleros Latin-themed lounge. Pricing at the Starbucks store aboard both ships are a la carte.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Princess Cruises Completes Fleetwide Rollout of “The Sanctuary”

With the snip of a ribbon aboard Sapphire Princess, Princess Cruises marked the completion of a three-year project to add the line’s signature “pocket of tranquility” – The Sanctuary – across the line’s fleet. The popular adults-only retreat is now available to passengers on 14 of the line’s ships (small ships Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess do not offer this feature).

The Sanctuary, which debuted in 2006 aboard Crown Princess, was an instant success as it gave passengers the perfect place to take a relaxing break and indulge in a private getaway with plush seating, massage cabanas, signature beverages, light meals, attentive service by “serenity stewards” and soothing personal entertainment.

To make room for the newest Sanctuary, the sports court on Sapphire Princess was relocated to a new space on top of Skywalkers nightclub. This new area high atop the ship also offers extra lounge chairs and dramatic ocean views.

The installation of The Sanctuary on Sapphire Princess marked the beginning of a transformation for the ship, which will receive many more Princess hallmark features when it goes into drydock from January 7 to February 4, 2012. During this extensive revitalization, the ship will receive the signature Piazza atrium with its International Café and Vines wine bar; the line’s second “Alfredo’s” pizzeria which was introduced earlier this year aboard Grand Princess; and the distinctive Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen.

Norwegian Star Now Sailing From Tampa

Norwegian Star arrived for the first time in Tampa last month, her new homeport through April 2012. This is also the first time Norwegian Cruise Line has based a ship in Tampa. The 2,348-passenger ship is sailing a series of seven-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 8, 2012 with stops in Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; along with two relaxing days at sea.

The 2,348-passenger ship underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2010.

Norwegian Star features 10 Freestyle Dining options including Norwegian's signature French restaurant, Le Bistro; nine bars and lounges; a swimming pool with a kid's pool and five hot tubs; a complimentary kid's club and teen lounge; a casino; a full-service spa and salon; and a fitness center offering state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

Norwegian will continue to make Tampa its home in 2012 when Norwegian Dawn arrives on November 11, 2012. The ship will sail seven-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 14, 2013. The 2,224-passenger ship will call on Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Three New Ships for Port of New Orleans

This past weekend marked the beginning of a whirlwind nine days for the Port of New Orleans, as the first of three new and larger cruise ships will call the Crescent City home. The new additions will double the Port’s cruise capacity, bringing the total number of homeported ships from two to four.

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation will arrive at the Port on Saturday Nov. 5 to sail year-round four- and five-night cruises to Cozumel and Progresso, Mexico. The ship replaces the Carnival Ecstasy which replaced the Carnival Triumph September 22.

On Nov. 12, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas will arrive to sail seasonal seven-day western Caribbean itineraries. The ship will be homeported in New Orleans during the winter cruise season from November to April.

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest will arrive Nov. 13 to sail year-round seven-day itineraries to both eastern and western Caribbean ports of call. With the arrival of the Conquest, Carnival will have two ships homeported in New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

The three new ships join Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,018-passenger Norwegian Spirit currently sailing seven-day western Caribbean cruises from New Orleans. In the fall of 2012, the Norwegian Spirit will be replaced by the newer and larger 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star.

Carnival’s two cruise ships will homeport at the Erato Street Cruise Terminal and Parking Garage, which opened in the fall of 2006. Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean will share the new Julia Street Cruise Terminal – which is currently nearing the end of a $17 million complete renovation. Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas is the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in New Orleans.