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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Children-Friendly Cruise Push from MSC

MSC Cruises has announced a number of new children-friendly initiatives.

First, children can now order from the “kid’s menu” at dinner, and, if they finish food earlier than the rest of their family, the kids’ club staff will come and pick them up.

For kids who relish their independence and would love the freedom of eating with their friends, away from the grown-ups and their dull conversations, MSC Fun Time Dinners have been introduced.

With MSC Fun Time Dinners, children in a separate, specially decorated area of the buffet restaurant with the entertainment team, and then have fun in the Mini and Junior Club while parents enjoy a leisurely dinner alone, picking up the kids when they’ve finished.

Every single night of the week, children aged between three and 11 can eat together with the entertainment team and their new friends. Three of these nights are theme parties- a Welcome Party, Italian Party, and Farewell and Birthday Party- while the remaining four are MSC Fun Time Dinners.

Both the MSC Happy Dinners and the MSC Fun Time Dinner services are now available free of charge on all MSC ships. Dedicated to children aged from 3 to 11, parents simply need to register their children in advance with the Mini or Junior Club and fill inthe special ‘dinner coupons’ with their details.

MSC Cruises has also introduced a second nanny-hour to its kids’ club programmes. Every morning from 09.00 to 10.00 and now also from 17.00 to 18.00, MSC offers a special programme designed for babies and toddlers aged 10 to 36 months to spend quality time with their parents with the support of MSC kids’ club staff.

Staff organize dedicated games and activities aimed specifically at MSC’s youngest guests and their parents, including playing with bricks, musical games, baby disco, puzzle games and drawing.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Holland America Features New Itineraries for 2013 Europe Season

Lucky seven is the magic number for Holland America Line in summer 2013 when the line deploys seven ships to Europe and features seven maiden ports of call.

The seven ships sailing on more than 53 unique European itineraries — ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Veendam — will cruise throughout the region on 107 departures that span from the northern tip of Norway to the Black Sea and across the Mediterranean.

“While the popularity of European cruising continues to grow, the region is opening new ports, which enables us to offer more maiden calls and exciting new itineraries,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Whether it's a shorter cruise or a longer Collectors’ Voyage, Holland America Line is proud to offer comprehensive experiences around the world, and these new European itineraries are sure to entice any cruise enthusiast.”

Ranging from seven to 64 days, these cruises allow travelers the opportunity to explore a variety of destinations, from iconic ports of call as well as smaller, less-traveled and equally fascinating port cities.

The 2013 Europe cruise season reflects Holland America Line’s focus on destination diversity, timeless appeal and quality. Maiden port calls include Alanya, Turkey; Alcudia (Mallorca), Spain; Galway and Killybegs, Ireland; Hydra and Igoumenitsa, Greece; and Sassnitz, Germany. A total of 20 overnight stays at some of Europe’s popular ports provide guests with more time to explore several of the world's most interesting destinations. Overnight calls include Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Bordeaux, France; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin, Ireland; Venice, Italy; Hamburg, Germany; St Petersburg, Russia; Istanbul, Turkey and more.

Notable New Itineraries

Ryndam’s seven-day Turkish Explorer voyage sails round-trip from Piraeus (Athens), Greece, with calls that enable guests to experience the landmarks and highlights of Turkey and Greece, including an overnight stay in Istanbul, Turkey. The ship departs Sept. 7, 21 and Oct. 5. Cruise fares begin at $1,099 per person, double occupancy.

The seven-day Homeric Quest voyage also aboard Ryndam sails round-trip from Piraeus (Athens) and is perfect for any Greece lover looking for an in-depth exploration of the country. Guests will experience five different Greek ports, as well as visit the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey, which was once ruled by the Persians and Alexander the Great. The ship departs Sept. 14, 28 and Oct. 12. Cruise fares begin at $1,099 per person, double occupancy.

Eurodam’s 11-day Mediterranean Odyssey voyage sails round-trip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, with an overnight stay at Piraeus (Athens). Guest can explore the best of Greece during port calls at Kerkira (Corfu), Katakolon (Olympia) and Santorini, Greece, as well as two calls at the Italian ports of Messina and Naples. The ship departs April 29. Cruise fares begin at $1,499 per person, double occupancy.

The Noordam’s 11-day Adriatic Explorer voyage sails between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Piraeus (Athens), and features a fascinating mixture of ports that were once home to the legendary Roman and Greek empires. With overnights in Venice and Piraeus (Athens), guests can take their time exploring these culturally rich cities. The ship departs April 25, May 28, August 4, Sept. 6 and October 9. Cruise fares begin at $1,599 per person, double occupancy.

Also new for 2013 is the 11-day Ancient Mysteries voyage sailing between Piraeus (Athens) and Istanbul aboard ms Noordam. This itinerary offers a unique experience with a call at Port Said, Egypt, the gateway to Cairo. In Cairo, guests can visit the Giza Pyramids, the Sphinx or the renowned Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. During an overnight stay at Istanbul, guests can take time to explore the historic Turkish Bazaar, known for its exotic spices and other Turkish delights. The cruise departs May 6 and 17 and Aug. 15 and 26. Cruise fares begin at $1,699 per person, double occupancy.

Prinsendam’s 16-day Mediterranean Explorer itinerary sails from Barcelona to Piraeus (Athens). This cruise gives guests the opportunity to visit many intimate, unique ports such as Sète and Toulon, France; Brindisi, Italy; and Igoumenitsa and Hydra, Greece, while still experiencing popular ports like Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Kotor, Montenegro, and Rhodes, Greece. The ship departs Sept. 16. Cruise fares begin at $3,499 per person, double occupancy.

American Cruise Lines Launches Service From New Orleans

American Cruise Lines’ brand new 150-passenger paddlewheel vessel set sail on her inaugural voyage Saturday from the Port of New Orleans’ Julia Street Cruise Terminal.

Construction on the 295-foot fully functioning paddle wheeler Queen of the Mississippi was recently completed in Salisbury, MD by Guilford, Conn.-based American Cruise Lines. The vessel is the company’s largest and was previously berthed at Poland Avenue receiving its final touches.

The Queen of the Mississippi will sail between New Orleans and Memphis seasonally from August through November and will berth at the Port’s Poydras Street Wharf.

The Queen of the Mississippi will sail eight-day and seven-night cruises. One itinerary begins in Memphis, Tenn. and ends in New Orleans with stops at Helena, Ark.; Vicksburg, Miss.; Natchez, Miss.; St. Francisville, La.; Baton Rouge, La., and Oak Alley Plantation. The other itinerary begins and ends in New Orleans with stops in Natchez, Vicksburg, St. Francisville, Baton Rouge and Oak Alley Plantation.