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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Groundbreaking Ceremonies Held for Amber Cove Cruise Center

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Caribbean’s newest destination, the $65 million Amber Cove Cruise Center, were held this week in the Dominican Republic at the project site on the Bay of Maimon located near Puerto Plata in the country’s North Coast.

The new facility – which represents one of the largest cruise industry investments ever made in the Dominican Republic – is scheduled to open in 2014. The project is designed to re-establish the Dominican Republic’s North Coast as a popular cruise destination. The last cruise ship to call at Puerto Plata was nearly 30 years ago.

The ceremony attracted a number of dignitaries from the Dominican Republic, including President Dr. Leonel Fernandez Reyna, Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia, Minister of Public Works & Communications Victor Diaz Rua, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Ernesto Reyna, Director of the Dominican Republic’s Center for Export and Investment (DR-CEI) Eddie Martinez, Customs Director Rafael Camilo, and Dominican Port Authority (APORDOM) Director Ing. Ramon Rivas.

A joint project between Carnival Corporation & plc and the Rannik family of Grupo B&R, the new two-berth Amber Cove Cruise Center will be able to accommodate up to 8,000 cruise passengers and 2,000 crew members daily. The facility is expected to host more than 250,000 cruise passengers in its first year of operation.

Amber Cove will encompass 30 acres of waterfront property and will feature a welcome center with a variety of retail offerings, including a marketplace for locally sourced Dominican crafts and souvenirs, as well as a wide range of themed restaurants and bars and an exciting water attraction. A transportation hub allowing visitors easy access by land and sea to the surrounding destinations and attractions will be included, as well.

Royal Caribbean Announces 2013-14 Caribbean, Bermuda, and New England/Canada

Royal Caribbean International has announced the remainder of its 2013-14 Caribbean & Panama Canal itineraries, marking the cruise line’s largest deployment ever in the region. In total, vacationers can choose from among more than 630 sailings aboard 15 ships, departing from nine homeports, and calling at 45 different ports on more than 110 distinct itineraries.

From San Juan, Puerto Rico, Royal Caribbean will once again offer year-round options aboard Jewel of the Seas with three Southern Caribbean itineraries in the summer and autumn 2013 seasons, and two itineraries in the winter and spring 2013-14 seasons. Departing every Saturday, the seven-night, round-trip itineraries include calls at a range of exciting ports throughout the Windward and Leeward Islands, including St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Antigua, and the U.S.V.I., as well as St. Maarten, Barbados, Aruba and Curacao. Additionally, Adventure of the Seas returns for the winter 2013-14 season to bolster Royal Caribbean’s offerings from San Juan, alternating two seven-night Southern Caribbean itineraries. On one itinerary, guests call at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba and Curacao, while the second calls at Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Croix. These sailings open for sale today.

Grandeur of the Seas returns to Baltimore, Md. on May 3, 2013 to take over for Enchantment of the Seas, currently deployed in Baltimore through early April 2013. Grandeur of the Seas was Royal Caribbean’s first ship deployed in Baltimore from 2004-09, and is currently undergoing an extensive revitalization to deliver a host of new dining venues – including six new specialty dining choices, technological upgrades and new entertainment features, as well as a refresh of all furniture, carpet, upholstery and staterooms. Families with toddlers can take advantage of the newly installed Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, which cater to the cruise line’s youngest guests, age 6 to 36 months. Guests also will enjoy an oversized LED video screen offering entertainment as guests lounge by the pool, and take in a new high-flying experience, where aerialists glide through the ship’s five-story atrium.

Throughout the year, vacationers can choose among a variety of itineraries to Bermuda, Bahamas, and the Eastern and Western Caribbean. In the summer, the itineraries will alternate between seven-night Bermuda sailings, featuring a two-night call at Kings Wharf, and seven-night sailings to the Bahamas, calling at Port Canaveral, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas; and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island paradise in the Bahamas. In autumn, Grandeur of the Seas will alternate between six-night Bermuda and eight-night Canada and New England sailings. The winter season will consist of rotating 10-night sailings to the Eastern and Western Caribbean as well as eight-night sailings to the Bahamas. These sailings will open for sale on Thursday, May 17, 2013.

Legend of the Seas returns to the Caribbean in Winter 2013-14, alternating an 11-night Southern Caribbean – with calls at Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, and Antigua – and a 10-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary – Tortola, St. Maarten, Dominica, Antigua and St. Kitts – roundtrip from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A 15-night Eastbound and Westbound Panama Canal sailing between Port Everglades and San Diego bookends the season. Scheduled for its revitalization in early 2013, Legend of the Seas will offer guests a virtually new ship that features more dining options, new and exciting entertainment, upgraded technological conveniences and much more. These sailings opened for sale today.

Also in winter 2013-14, vacationers can choose four- and five-night Western Caribbean itineraries aboard Brilliance of the Seas, sailing round-trip from Tampa, Fla. and calling at Cozumel, Mexico on the four-night, and George Town, Cayman Islands and Cozumel on the five-night cruises. Aboard select five-night sailings, guests call at Key West, Fla., instead of George Town. Vacationers also can select a 13-night Southern Caribbean itinerary, departing on Oct. 27 from Boston, Mass. to Tampa. These sailing will open for sale on Thursday May 17.

Short Caribbean Getaways

Enchantment of the Seas arrives at Port Canaveral on the heels of the transfer of Monarch of the Seas to Royal Caribbean’s sister cruise line Pullmantur. Starting Apr. 13 2013, Enchantment of the Seas offers a 12-night Southern Caribbean sailing from Baltimore to Port Canaveral before inaugurating her year-round service, sailing three- and four-night Bahamas itineraries from the port starting April 25. Enchantment of the Seas also is scheduled to be revitalized in Dec. 2012, to offer guests more onboard amenities and refreshed spaces for a rejuvenating Bahamian getaway.

Majesty of the Seas will complement this program continuing her three- and four-night year-round itineraries from Miami. Departing every Monday and Friday, both ships call at Nassau and CocoCay. The four-night itinerary for Majesty of the Seas also features a call in Key West.

Liberty of the Seas will round out the short Caribbean itineraries with four- and five-night cruises sailing from Port Everglades. The four-night itinerary calls at Cozumel, while two five-night itineraries alternate Cozumel and Belize City, Belize, and Falmouth and Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private destination in Haiti. Liberty of the Seas features world-class entertainment including Saturday Night Fever, the Broadway show, and the DreamWorks Experience bringing the popular characters from Shrek, Madagascar and more into Royal Caribbean’s renowned entertainment programs including themed parades, ice shows and character breakfasts. These sailings open for sale on Wednesday, May 23.

Autumn Charms of New England

Throughout autumn 2013, Brilliance of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas will deliver the incredible colors of autumn foliage and unmatched charm of New England and Canada. Brilliance of the Seas offers six sailings every Sunday from Boston on seven-night round-trip itineraries from Sept. 15 through Oct. 20, while Grandeur of the Seas will offer four sailings from Baltimore on eight-night round-trip itineraries departing alternate Thursdays from Sept. 5 through Oct. 17. Guests aboard both ships will call at Portland and Bar Harbor in Maine; and Saint John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Norwegian Breakaway to Feature Three-Story Sports Complex

Norwegian Breakaway will take recreation and outdoor fun to new heights when it launches in April 2013. The ship’s top decks will feature the first Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides, including twin Free Fall slides, the first ever at sea, and a three-story sports complex that includes the largest ropes course at sea, a nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall and more.

The line also announced that the ship will feature Nickelodeon experiences for the whole family and will include a Nickelodeon themed Kids’ Aqua Park.

The Aqua Park is Norwegian’s biggest yet and features five multi-story water slides. Norwegian Breakaway is the first cruise ship to feature the Free Fall – two side-by-side slides where guests will stand up and have the floor drop from underneath, propelling them into a thrilling loop.

Offering another first with a twist are two additional side-by-side twister slides – called The Whip -- that deliver an unforgettable adrenaline rush as they plunge guests on a spiral race to the finish line. For those who prefer a more relaxing ride, there is a family-friendly open-flume body slide.

The Aqua Park also features a Kids’ Aqua Park, two swimming pools, four hot tubs and the Breezeway Bar & Grill, a semi-open air eatery.

In the Kids’ Aqua Park, children can cool off with colorful, whimsical and larger than life Nickelodeon characters from Bikini Bottom, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick, Squidward and more. The tropical area will include a kid-sized pool and slide, along with multiple water features that squirt and shower guests with delight.

The three-story sports complex will be Norwegian’s largest and feature the line’s first ever ropes course, the largest one at sea. The ropes course with its multi-level structure will challenge guests to more than 40 different elements, including a zip track.

For a thrill like no other, guests will confront The Plank, a platform that extends eight feet over the side of the ship.

Those who choose to test their courage on The Plank will be rewarded by having their photo taken after conquering this heart-pounding, yet breathtaking, feat. Kids will be challenged as well with a special ropes course just for them.

In another first for the line, the nine-hole ocean-themed miniature golf course is located beneath the ropes course, offering family fun with friendly competition. A rock climbing wall, bungee trampoline and spider web, a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage complete with a spiral slide, round out the activities.

Seabourn Adds New Patio Grill Menus

Seabourn has expanded the variety of menu options served at dinner time in the Patio Grill aboard Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest. The popular casual poolside eatery now offers an additional three new themed menus, more than 40 new appetizing dishes, and features a different pasta dish and pizza every day.

The line has added three new themed dinner menus, supplementing the popular Surf and Turf menu. The new ones are Chop House, Al Fresco and BBQ, and feature many new appetizing dishes. Entrees on the Al Fresco menu include Garlic and Herb Roasted Suckling Pig, Pancetta Wrapped Veal Tenderloin, Grilled Branzino and Rack of Lamb Chops. The Chop House theme features Cowboy Beefsteak, Veal Chop, Single Bone Lamb Chops and Fresh Salmon Cotelette. For a barbeque experience, guests can choose such tasty dishes as BBQ Beef Short Ribs, BBQ Glazed Corn Fed Chicken Breast, Glazed Salmon and Tamarind Glazed Jumbo Shrimp.

Also new in the Patio Grill dinner menus is a selection of "pick and go" appetizers and desserts, allowing guests to choose from a selection of four of each, already prepared and beautifully plated. The new appetizers include Seared Beef Carpaccio (Al Fresco), Prawn Cocktail with Horseradish Cream (Chop House), Smoked Halibut (BBQ) and much more. The menus also offer a different featured pasta dish every day, such as Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese and Shrimp Tagliatelle, as well as a different pizza creation daily.

Complementing the new dinner menus, Patio Grill will continue to feature a variety of grilled specialties, salads and sides for lunch, as well as daily specials celebrating 15 themes, such as West Indies, delicious Panini creations, gourmet tacos, satay and more. The highly popular, freshly baked pizzas will also be available throughout the afternoon, as well as pastries in the morning.

The Patio Grill has been a popular dining spot for Seabourn guests since it was first introduced on Seabourn Odyssey three years ago. The new dinner themes and dishes offer more choice and variety for guests, inviting them to return often and enhancing their dining experience when they sail on Seabourn.