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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Princess Cruises Unveils Exclusive Onboard Photo Exhibit

Princess Cruises has unveiled a special exhibit aboard its seven Alaska ships that takes passengers back in time to the early days of cruising in Alaska. Developed in partnership with Princess and the Alaska State Museum, the show, entitled “Then & Now: 100 Years of Cruising Alaska’s Waters,” gives cruisers a glimpse of Alaska and the Inside Passage as it was a century ago, as experienced by early steamship “excursionists.”

Displayed in the atrium of Princess ships during the port of call in Juneau, the exhibit features a selection of 30 historical photographs and artifacts largely from the collections of the Alaska State Library and Alaska State Museum, both in Juneau.

The images, taken in the early 20th century in Vancouver, Victoria, Ketchikan, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway and the Inside Passage are paired with premier historical artifacts from the museum’s collection. Most of the places in the photos are still traveler destinations today, so cruisers can learn the history of places they’ll visit during their vacation, and see how these places have changed over the past century.

Alaska tourism had its beginnings in the late 1870s, not long after the United States purchased Russia’s claim to Alaska in 1867. “The steamships of the era were tiny compared to the cruise ships of today,” said Steve Henrikson, senior curator of collections for the Alaska State Museum, “and carried cargo and passengers, visitors as well as locals.”

Steamship accommodations were cramped and visitors were treated to, for better or worse, a “real Alaskan experience,” which could include visits to Native villages, big game hunts, wading through muddy streets, and frequent groundings. The early tourists didn’t just learn about history—they lived it. They encountered U.S. Navy ships practicing “gunboat diplomacy” with Alaska Natives, rubbed elbows with miners heading to the Klondike Gold Rush, or were even swindled by criminals such as Skagway’s Soapy Smith.

“Then & Now: 100 Years of Cruising Alaska’s Waters” will run through the summer Alaska cruise season.

Coca-Cola and Royal Caribbean Introduce Freestyle Machines Onboard

Royal Caribbean International will introduce Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, featuring 125 different flavors of Coke products, on its fleet in 2013, with a few ships scheduled for installations in 2012, and the Majesty of the Seas being the first, getting her machine this past June.

Coca-Cola and Royal Caribbean began the effort three years ago to integrate the changes needed for the machines to work onboard the ships, which included a few health code modifications for a marine environment as well as the addition of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) to use with souvenir soda cups.The RFID cups allow guests to serve themselves for the period of their voyage and automatically expire after their voyage.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line Launches the Great Upgrade Event

Norwegian Cruise Line is offering guests the opportunity to receive free stateroom upgrades during “The Great Upgrade Event” for a limited time.

Vacationers planning to set sail on any three-day or longer cruise vacation in 2013 or 2014 will receive an up to four category stateroom upgrade and reduced deposits on sailings to Alaska, the Bahamas & Florida, Bermuda, Caribbean, Canada & New England, Europe, Hawaii and the Mexican Riviera, when they book before August 12, 2012. In addition, those who take advantage of the offer will receive e-coupons worth up to $300 in onboard savings.

Norwegian offers many exciting new cruise options during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, including the launch of Norwegian Breakaway. Departing from New York City on seven-day cruises to Bermuda beginning May 12, 2013, the ship will spend three full days in Bermuda, along with three days at sea giving guests the opportunity to experience all of the innovative public areas, exciting entertainment and incredible dining that will be found onboard the line’s newest ship. Following her Bermuda season, Norwegian Breakaway will set sail on seven-day cruises from New York City to the Bahamas & Florida between October 13, 2013 and April 27, 2014.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian to Debut Dining Concept on Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Cruise Line announced last week that it has engaged celebrity chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian to create and oversee a seafood concept to open May 2013 on the line’s newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway.

The restaurant, Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian, is envisioned as a luxury seafood dining experience, utilizing all of the ingredients and techniques that Zakarian would employ in a land-based establishment. In addition to the dining room that will focus on elegant modern presentations, Zakarian will have The Raw Bar, an adjacent bar highlighting crustaceans and wines by the glass; and Ocean Blue on The Waterfront, a more casual dining option serving fun and easy fare. With an eye for detail, Zakarian will orchestrate not only the menus, but every aspect of his dining areas, from the uniforms to the glassware. On select sailings, Zakarian will also host meet-and-greets with Norwegian Breakaway guests, along with in-person cooking demonstrations and intimate cooking experiences for smaller groups.

Zakarian's taste, style and passion for fine cuisine have defined his career, which has spanned more than 25 years. An accomplished chef who has presided over some of the country's top kitchens, he currently has two popular restaurants in New York City – The Lambs Club and The National; one in Atlantic City – The Water Club at Borgata; and a highly acclaimed cookbook “Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table.” Zakarian emerged victorious in the recent fourth season of Food Network's The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs. He appears regularly on Iron Chef America, demonstrating a razor-sharp knowledge of culinary techniques in this fast-paced cooking competition. When he's not battling in the kitchen stadium, Zakarian stays busy filming CHOPPED, where he is featured as a recurring judge, and highlights his favorite dishes on The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

Currently under construction at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Breakaway will arrive in her year-round homeport of New York City in early May 2013. The ship will begin weekly summer seven-day cruises to Bermuda on Sunday, May 12, 2013. From October 2013 through April 2014, the ship will offer voyages from the heart of Manhattan to the Bahamas & Florida and the Southern Caribbean.

Port Canaveral Begins Construction on New Welcome Center

Construction began last month at Port Canaveral on a new $21 million Welcome Center, a seven-story building that will feature an observation deck, exhibits, event space, auditorium, gift shop and café. The project is the first phase of a revitalization of the Canaveral Cove.

The iconic structure is expected to be a magnet for visitors to Brevard County, Florida and convey the maritime history of Port Canaveral, as well as reflect the rich stories of the region’s military battles, space exploration, and beach culture. The 22,000 square foot facility is designed by GWWO Architects of Baltimore. Skanska of Orlando is general contractor, working with Ivey’s Construction of Rockledge. A public viewing platform will allow visitors to monitor progress of the project set for completion by July 2013.