The American Queen Steamboat Company Acquires New Ship, Expands Westward and Partners with the National Trust

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American Empress joins fleet, Pacific Northwest Voyages begin April 2014

The American Queen Steamboat Company, owner and operator of the U.S-flagged American Queen, has purchased the Empress of the North from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) for an undisclosed amount. To be renamed the American Empress, the vessel is scheduled to resume sailings on the great rivers of the Pacific Northwest April 2014, calling her homeport Portland, Ore. The American Empress will deliver riverboat opulence on a grand scale, following in the pedigree of the line’s namesake American Queen, and proudly serve as the largest overnight riverboat west of the Mississippi River.

american empress

The American Queen Steamboat Company has added a new boat, the American Empress, to the fleet.


“The American Queen has ushered in a rebirth of U.S. river cruising, welcoming thousands to discover the heartland of the United States and its iconic port cities,” shares Ted Sykes, president and COO of the American Queen Steamboat Company. “Now the American Empress will continue that tradition as an ambassador to the Pacific Northwest, a region equally rich in American and natural history.”

A U.S.-flagged riverboat, the American Empress measures 360 ft. with five towering decks and accommodates 223 guests in 112 staterooms in seven categories. The American Empress will sail the Columbia River and Snake River, offering seven-day voyages between Portland, Ore. and Clarkston, Wash. Ports of call include Astoria, Wash.; Stevenson, Wash.; The Dalles, Ore.; Umatilla, Ore.; and Richland, Wash.

In describing the American Empress, Sykes said: “The staterooms are very spacious and they are all outside. She is not a steamboat, but she is a paddlewheeler, so the look and feel is similar to the American Queen. They are both American icons. The Empress will be refurbished before she is put into operation next April.” He added that there has been huge interest in the new boat by current passengers, and expects that many of the 600,000 Americans who go overseas for river cruising will look to exploring the rivers of their own country.

In describing the all-inclusive nature of the American Empress cruise, Sykes added that there would be some premium shore experiences, such as jet boating on the Snake River, which would carry an extra cost. These would be fully commissionable to travel agents.

The company has also partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which helps preserve American heritage, culture and promote National Treasures. As a key feature to the partnership, the American Queen Steamboat Company will make a corporate donation of five dollars to the National Trust for every river cruise booking as well as give guests the opportunity to match the donation.

Beginning June 30, 2013, American Queen travelers will have the opportunity to learn more about the National Trust’s National Treasure sites, located along the Mississippi River as well as the Pacific Northwest, where the American Empress will launch in April 2014. Special attention to preservation concepts and techniques, as well as the work of architects, historians and other professionals in the field of historic preservation will be highlighted onboard and onshore.

“We are proud to partner with the American Queen Steamboat Company and help bring America’s National Treasures to life,” shares Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust. “These places along our great waterways present the diversity of our nation’s built history and remind all of us of the importance of preserving the irreplaceable places that tell America’s stories.”

Through the partnership with the National Trust, American Queen Steamboat Company will become a contributing sponsor for four of the National Trust’s National Treasures: Mississippi Delta Heritage Area, Manhattan Project Historic Sites in Washington State, Willamette Falls Navigation Canal and Locks in Oregon and a future site to be named at a later date.

“Thousands of guests onboard the American Queen have rediscovered the treasures the U.S. heartland has to offer over the past year,” said Ted Sykes. “We are honored to play a role in the preservation of these sites with the National Trust and add new treasures for our guest experience as the American Empress sets sail in April 2014 on the majestic Columbia and Snake Rivers.”

American Queen Steamboat Company
The American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) is the owner and operator of the U.S. flagged American Queen, the largest, most opulent riverboat in the world. Longer than a football field, towering six decks in height and laced with fanciful gingerbread trim, she is a marvel of modern engineering. Her journeys through the heartland offer a unique perspective on America’s history, culture and landscape with convenient departures from some of America’s most iconic river port cities including Memphis, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and St. Paul. In April 2014, the AQSC will begin serving the Pacific Northwest with the opulence and grandeur of the American Empress. For additional information and reservations, contact the American Queen Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit online or call a professional travel agent.

The American Queen Steamboat Company Unveils Guest Loyalty Program

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The American Queen Steamboat Company Unveils Guest Loyalty Program: “Steamboat Society of America”

Much of the American Queen Steamboat Company’s early success can be attributed to guests sharing stories of their memorable trips with friends, family and booking another voyage shortly after arriving home.

Valued return guests share a passion for U.S. river cruising and can now join the Steamboat Society of America, the company’s loyalty program, for special benefits and rewards on the American Queen and soon-to-be sailing American Empress (April 2014). Among the many benefits, guests receive their 10th cruise free.*

“As I visit with American Queen guests onboard I am always amazed how many have already sailed on multiple voyages with us and are now setting their sights to explore the Pacific Northwest on the American Empress,” shares the company’s President and COO Ted Sykes. “The Steamboat Society of America rewards our most loyal guests and encourages them to share their stories of why they are hooked on river cruising with the American Queen Steamboat Company.”

Among the benefits to the free Steamboat Society of America loyalty program are the following:

· A $100 per guest credit on each cruise and $200 per guest credit towards a future cruise fare when booked with deposit while onboard

· Priority check-in and early vessel pre-boarding

· Member access for breakfast or lunch when American Queen or American Empress are in port near home town and family or friend tours of the boat when sailing **

· Credits toward future cruise fares for members referring friends who book***

· Dedicated reservations line providing special service for members

· Private cocktail party for members-only hosted by the captain and executive officers onboard

*Up to $3,899 per person
**Subject to availability and reservations in advance
***$100 per referred guest booking and $100 per guest booking when providing member’s name at time of booking

To learn more about the Steamboat Society of America, request additional information and make reservations, contact the American Queen Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit online or contact a professional travel agent.

American Queen Steamboat Company

The American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) is the owner and operator of the U.S. flagged American Queen, the largest, most opulent riverboat in the world. Longer than a football field, towering six decks in height and laced with fanciful gingerbread trim, she is a marvel of modern engineering. Her journeys through the heartland offer a unique perspective on America’s history, culture and landscape with convenient departures from some of America’s most iconic river port cities including Memphis, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and St. Paul. In April 2014, the AQSC will begin serving the Pacific Northwest with the opulence and grandeur of the American Empress. For additional information and reservations, contact the American Queen Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit online

New loyalty program for American Queen guests

American Queen Steamboat Company unveils new loyalty program.

or call a professional travel agent.

MSC Roadshow for Agents

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During the MSC Agent Roadshow, agents can discover the latest highlights about the soon-to-arrive MSC Divina.

In October 2013, MSC Cruises kicks off its North American travel agent road show with presentations in New York, NY, King of Prussia, PA, Miami, FL and Toronto and Montreal, Canada. MSC expects to reach more than 400 agents during the tour. (Dates for MSC’s 2014 road shows are to be announced.)

NOTE: Road show events below are by invitation only and on an RSVP basis as space is limited

Agents will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the MSC sales team, discover the latest highlights about the soon-to-arrive MSC Divina, learn about the company’s overall commitment to the North American market as well as its policies, procedures and overall agency support. All events will include dinner presentations and special giveaways for agents.

“This upcoming road show is part of our ongoing commitment to working with agents and helping them grow their business,” said Ken Muskat, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, MSC Cruises USA. “They are truly our number one resource. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with our loyal travel partners and strengthen our relationships, while giving them a taste of what’s to come in North America.”

For more information, contact sales.service@.

MSC North America Roadshow Dates:

New York, NY
October 9, 2013
6:00-8:30PM
Crowne Plaza
66 Hale Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 682-0050
RSVP: http://bit.ly/WhitePlainsNY

King of Prussia, PA
October 10, 2013
6:30-8:30 PM
Little Italy’s Maggianos
160 N. Gulph Road, Suite 205
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Phone: (610) 992-3333
RSVP: http://bit.ly/KingOfPrussiaPA

Miami, FL
October 15, 2013
6:30-8:30 PM
Intercontinental Doral of Miami
2505 Northwest 87th Avenue
Doral, Florida 33172
Phone: (305) 468-1400
RSVP: http://bit.ly/MiamiFLA

Toronto, Canada
October 29th
5:30-8:30 PM
Sapore by Zafferano
8000 Highway #27
Woodbridge
located just north of Highway #407 on Highway #27
Phone: 905.851.3355

Montreal, Quebec
October 30th
Ristorante Bice
1504 Sherbrooke Street West
H3G 1L3
Phone: 514.937-6009

About MSC Divina
Christened by legendary actress and “diva” Sophia Loren, MSC Divina features 1,751 staterooms, 322,900 square feet of public space, a casino, seven restaurants, 18 bars and lounges, five swimming pools (including an infinity pool), a bowling alley, theater, gym, spa, internet café, conference center, kids and teen areas, and the lines signature ship within a ship, MSC Yacht Club.

American Queen Steamboat Company Celebrates River Traditions with 2013 Old Fashioned Holidays Voyages

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Celebrate the holidays Cajun-style aboard the American Queen.

“ ‘Tis the season” and “deck the halls” aboard the largest, most opulent riverboat in the world on the mighty Mississippi River. The American Queen Steamboat Company is stuffing stockings and celebrating classic Cajun and Creole traditions of the antebellum south. Three Old Fashioned Holidays on the American Queen have limited availability remaining with sailings from New Orleans roundtrip or between New Orleans and Memphis, Tenn.

“This December guests on the American Queen will be immersed in Lower Mississippi holiday traditions celebrated by generations,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President & COO Ted Sykes. “We look forward to sharing these many traditions in luxurious fashion and creating lasting memories all will enjoy.”

Holiday itineraries offer guests authentic experiences including the old Louisiana tradition of bonfires on the levees, special Christmas shows in the Grand Saloon, door-decorating contests, the reading of the Cajun Night Before Christmas and nationally renowned Mississippi woodcarver Jim Moore carving a Victorian Santa onboard. Seasonal culinary delights and decadent desserts including a Creole Réveillon Christmas Dinner, prepared by Culinary Director Regina Charboneau’s team, as well as a shore side Cajun deep fried turkey cooking demonstration will be among the tasty highlights.


Voyages in 2013 are the following:

· The nine-day Old Fashioned Holidays voyage begins in Memphis, Tenn. to New Orleans on Dec. 6 and an upriver voyage is available from New Orleans to Memphis, Tenn. beginning Dec. 20 with itineraries calling on favorites including Vicksburg, Miss.; Natchez, Miss.; and Helena, Ark.

· One special nine-night New Orleans roundtrip Old Fashioned Holidays voyage departs Dec. 13, featuring the ports of Oak Alley, La.; St. Francisville, La.; Houmas House, La; Natchez, Miss.; and Baton Rouge, La.

The culinary highlight of each sailing, the typical Réveillon menu served in homes along the Mississippi River or the fine restaurants of New Orleans’ French Quarter included Daube glace or veal grillades, egg dishes, breads, puddings and often included turtle soup and oysters. Naturally there was always an abundance of wines, cordials and fortified drinks. Eventually this tradition slowly began to disappear like many classic holiday traditions on the river. As the Réveillon is revived on the American Queen steamboat, Chef Charboneau’s menu will include Sazerac and Champagne Cocktails, Tomato Aspic with Fried Oysters, Deviled Eggs with Lump Crabmeat and Caviar, Pheasant Gumbo, Pork Grillades over Savory Grits, Almond Tarts and Bouche Noel. This festive dinner will be re-created in the J.M White Dining Room.

Offering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, nine-day Old Fashioned Holidays fares begin at $2,495 per person based on double occupancy. All journeys include a one-night pre-voyage hotel stay, shore tours in all ports, complimentary wine and beer with dinner and a host of other amenities. For additional information and reservations, kindly contact the American Queen Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit online or call a professional travel agent.

Blount Small Ship Adventures Offers Exceptional Cruising Vacations for Retirees

After years of vacationing with kids in tow, empty nesters can find the perfect escape on cruises with Blount Small Ship Adventures. Blount’s casual atmosphere allows passengers to relax and unwind, taking a break from the hustle, bustle and chaos of both a big ship cruise and a family vacation.

With a focus on intimate experiences, a Blount cruise is a great way to meet like-minded travelers who prefer authentic and immersive port excursions versus the long lines and overwhelming crowds often found on larger ships. The Grande Caribe and Grande Mariner ships are equipped with Blount’s patented bow ramp, allowing passengers to disembark directly from the ship to the heart of small ports and destinations. Along with the intimacy of a smaller cruising adventure comes a more personalized experience for guests onboard. Blount offers an array of activities for guests to embrace the local culture, ranging from culinary lessons to historical lectures.

On ‘The Big Apple to U.S. Capital’ itinerary, a 9-day, 8-night trip between New York and Washington, D.C., and the 12-day, 11-night ‘D.C. to Boston’ sailing, local experts offer on-board history lectures about the destinations visited, making these trips especially perfect for history buffs. For empty nesters with more time on their hands, the 16-day, 15-night Great American Waterways trip is a culturally immersive getaway that navigates four of the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal, where no other overnight cruise line can go. Blount is offering a discount of 20% off ‘The Big Apple to U.S. Capital’ or ‘D.C. to Boston’ itineraries and 15% off all other 2015 cruises when guests book by December 31, 2014.

All Blount cruises include three meals daily with menus that are fresh, creative and often reflect the local cuisine, refreshments and snacks 24 hours a day, with complimentary wine and beer during lunch and dinner. Single-seating meals with an open seating policy allows for the freedom to meet many traveling companions. Blount cruises also feature a BYOB policy, with mixers and set-ups for cocktails available throughout the day.

For more information, contact info@blountsmallshipadventures.com or call 1-888-618-4770.

About Blount Small Ship Adventures

Blount Small Ship Adventures epitomizes the best of small ship cruising, offering highly authentic and personal experiences aboard amazing ships that can simply go where the big ships can’t. The freedom to go anywhere gives the like-minded, curious guests travelling with Blount Small Ship Adventures the chance to travel like explorers, immersing themselves in the best of local culture. Founded in 1966, the company operates two U.S.-registry and U.S.-crewed ships. Each ship holds 88 passengers, features patented designs such as retractable pilothouses and shallow-draft bow landing ramps that enable them to access remote destinations larger ships cannot.

Norwegian Escape to Feature Miami’s Tobacco Road Bar

Miami’s Tobacco Road Bar

In celebration of Norwegian Escape’s one year to launch milestone, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that Miami’s oldest and most legendary bar, Tobacco Road, will find a new home aboard the line’s newest and largest vessel.

The acclaimed establishment, which was issued Miami’s very first liquor license, is closing its original location this week after 102 years in business. In an effort to preserve the tradition of this iconic Miami landmark, Tobacco Road and Norwegian Cruise Line partnered to bring the Tobacco Road experience onboard Norwegian Escape, which will begin sailing from Miami in November 2015.

“We are thrilled to be able to preserve a piece of Miami’s history and provide this famous Miami institution a home at sea on board the incredible new Norwegian Escape,” said Kevin Sheehan, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
Located within 678 Ocean Place, the new location of the celebrated tavern will incorporate elements of the original Tobacco Road, including the iconic neon sign, memorabilia and photographs that will showcase the history of Miami through the lens of events and happenings at the bar over the past century.

In addition to favorite beers and spirits, Tobacco Road Bar onboard Norwegian Escape will also feature a selection of cocktails created by Tobacco Road’s resident mixologist, Leo Holtzman. The delicious libations from Holtzman’s Cocktail Collection will include favorites like the Chili Mule, featuring ginger puree, Cointreau and vodka topped with a sliced seranno pepper; and the Gateway, a rum-based drink that incorporates yuzu juice, elderflower syrup and Prosecco.

Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on November 14, 2015. The ship will be the largest to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. The ship’s signature hull artwork is designed by marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, Guy Harvey, which features an underwater scene of marine wildlife.

Accommodations include the company’s signature luxury ship–within-a-ship complex: The Haven by Norwegian; along with Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; and many options for families, multi-generational groups, spa enthusiasts and more.

For more information on Norwegian Escape, visit this website. To book a cruise on Norwegian Escape, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit the website.

Cruise the Caribbean with an All-Inclusive Package on Holland America’s Holiday Sailings

Holland America’s ms Nieuw Amsterdam


Air, transfers, beverages and shipboard credit included; special packages for third/fourth fares also on offer

Put a holiday cruise aboard Holland America Line on your gift list this season and you just might get your wish. With special all-inclusive packages in verandah staterooms and suites, travelers can leave the hustle and hassle behind and let Holland America Line spread the holiday cheer by doing all of the decorating, cooking and cleaning.

“The holidays are a magical time on our ships, and these special offers make it even more appealing to take a cruise to the Caribbean with us this season,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “We invite our guests to let Holland America Line do all of the work— just come on board, relax and have a great time.”

All-Inclusive Package

Guests looking to splurge on a verandah cabin or suite can take advantage of the all-inclusive package that starts at just $1,899 per person, double occupancy. The package includes roundtrip air from select U.S. gateways*; transfers between the airport and ship; the cruise fare; taxes; a Signature Beverage Package valued at $50 per person, per day; and a $25 per-person shipboard credit. All-inclusive third and fourth fares for guests in the cabin with two full fares start at $799 per person and include air, transfers, cruise and taxes.

Special Packages for Third/Fourth Guests

In addition to all-inclusive fares, Holland America Line offers special cruise-only ocean-view and interior stateroom fares for third and fourth guests on seven-day Caribbean holiday sailings. Making it affordable for a family of four to set sail for as little as $1,596, double occupancy cruise-only rates start at just $599 per person and reduced third/fourth fares begin at $199 per person.

‘Tis the Season to Cruise to the Caribbean

Holland America Line has six ships cruising the crystalline waters of the eastern and western Caribbean on seven-day itineraries in December 2014 that are included in the packages. Guests can sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Westerdam and ms Zuiderdam. Each ship offers two holiday sailings: one over Christmas and one over New Year’s.

The ships call at a variety of ports including Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Falmouth and Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Key West, Fla.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. All roundtrip Fort Lauderdale itineraries include a call at Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, diverse shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and kid-friendly activities.

The only ship in the fleet sailing roundtrip from Tampa, Fla., ms Ryndam also has two holiday departures and calls at Key West; Banana Coast, Honduras; Santo Tomas, Guatemala; and Costa Maya, Mexico.

Amsterdam, ms Maasdam and ms Prinsendam also will be in the Caribbean during the holidays, but those cruises are not included in the Holiday all-inclusive packages.

Holiday Cruises Around the World

The Caribbean isn’t the only region to welcome a Holland America Line ship this season. While not part of the packages, travelers can still celebrate the holidays on a cruise to South America, Mexico & Hawaii, the Canary Islands, Far East, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Itinerary and departure dates are available on the website.

‘Deck the Hulls’ Onboard

During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in a special Royal Dutch High Tea with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. The ships’ international crew chorus performs a magical holiday show, while caroling and singalongs take place around the ship. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Claus and holiday-themed crafts.

The New Year’s Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in 2015, featuring a festive holiday ball with a champagne toast at midnight.

*Air gateways for the all-inclusive package are Atlanta, Ga.; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; and New York, N.Y. (JFK only); The all-inclusive package also is available from 21 additional U.S. and Canadian cities for an additional surcharge.

For more information about Holland America Line, contact a travel professional or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.

MSC Divina Celebrates the Holidays

MSC DIVINA CELEBRATES THE HOLIDAY SEASON CARIBBEAN STYLE
Relax, Celebrate and Have Fun with 7-night Cruises from Miami to the Caribbean

This holiday season, MSC Cruises is encouraging guests to take the break they deserve with a 7-night escape on the stunning MSC Divina, one of the largest and most luxurious cruise ships sailing from Miami to the Caribbean.

With MSC Cruises taking care of the catering, entertainment and clean up, guests have the opportunity to relax and spend time with loved ones while enjoying all the beautiful amenities MSC Divina has to offer and visiting some of the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean.

“The holiday season is really about spending quality time with family and friends,” said Ken Muskat, executive vice president of sales, PR & guest services for MSC Cruises. “We’ve worked very hard to ensure that guests sailing on MSC Divina this holiday season can enjoy the festivities and traditions that come along with the holidays such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas, without worrying about all the planning details.”

Highlights of MSC Divina holiday celebrations include:

Thanksgiving – Nov. 22nd departure to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas: Spend Thanksgiving Day at sea enjoying festive entertainment, a traditional Turkey dinner and all-day Thanksgiving football displayed on multiple large screens in the sports bar. Kids ages 3-11 can participate in a special Turkey Day cooking class and a Thanksgiving Day costume parade and show. A Thanksgiving scavenger hunt, flash mob and party will take place for children ages 12-17. Prices start at $379.

Hanukkah – Dec. 13th departure to St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas:
For those celebrating Hanukkah, MSC Divina will host a nightly Menorah lighting as well as serve traditional Hanukkah foods. Special kosher meals can also be ordered in advance. Prices start at $329.

Christmas – Dec. 20th departure to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas:
During Christmas MSC Divina will be decked out in the best traditional trimmings, with sparkling lights, shimmering decorations and festive Christmas trees. Guests will enjoy traditional Christmas carols, a visit by Santa Claus who will present a gift to every child on board, and special Christmas menus honoring the culinary traditions of the holiday. In addition, kids will delight in Christmas-themed cooking classes, parades, scavenger hunts, and disco dances. A Christmas mass will also be available onboard. Prices start at $599

Bookings made by Oct. 31, 2014 qualify for the line’s National Cruise Vacation Month deal, which includes balcony staterooms at ocean view rates for select sailings in both the Caribbean and Mediterranean, plus kids aged 11 and under sail free. MSC Cruises is also offering a complimentary drink package on these select sailings for those who upgrade to MSC Cruises’ new “Fantastica experience.” Finally, bookings made before the end of the month will qualify for pre-paid gratuities for all MSC Divina seven-night Caribbean sailings between now and December 13, 2014.

About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises is a privately-held, family-owned, Italian cruise line with a fleet of 12 ships. The fleet cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in the Caribbean, Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the French Antilles, South America, South Africa, The United Arab Emirates and the Red Sea. In March 2014, the line announced the construction of two new cruise ships by STX France due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. Two months later, the line announced the construction of two additional new builds by Fincantieri due for delivery respectively in Nov. 2017 and May 2018. For more information, visit the website.

Costa Diadema Enters the Fleet with a Series of Dedicated Events

Costa Diadema

Costa Cruises is introducing the new flagship of the fleet with a series of events anticipating the Christening of Nov. 7 in Genoa.

On Oct. 25, Costa Diadema will be officially presented at Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Venice, at the presence of Costa Cruises’ CEO, Michael Thamm and Fincantieri’s CEO, Giuseppe Bono.

Then the “Regina del Mediterraneo” will set sail from Marghera on Oct. 30 and will reach Trieste, from which her “Vernissage Cruise” will start on Nov. 1. The arrival in the port of Trieste, on Oct. 31 will be an occasion of celebration for the whole city, with the party organized on the ship and the fireworks that will shine above the beautiful setting of Trieste in the night.

Guests who have booked their places on the exclusive “Vernissage Cruise” will leave from Trieste on Nov. 1 for a very special holiday. Indeed, they will have the honor to be the very first guests to cruise on the flagship, ambassador of Italy’s finest, and to discover her new features and amenities. Starting from the wonderful promenade on deck five — a real “terrazza all’italiana,” extending over 500 meters, where guests can go for a stroll and enjoy the spectacular view over the sea, or, even better, relaxing in one of the several bars and restaurant, drinking a cocktail and overlooking the sea. This unique itinerary will call in Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfù, Greece; Malta and Naples, Nov. 6; before reaching Genoa.

On Nov. 7, the city of Genoa, headquarter of Costa Cruises, will host the Christening event of Costa Diadema. The event will be a great surprise for the city of Genoa, and especially for Costa Diadema guests. The celebrations for Costa Diadema will start at 5 p.m. and won’t stop until late night. The grand finale of the event will be a light show and fireworks illuminating the sky of Genoa, when Costa Diadema will give her farewell to the city.

Costa Diadema will leave on Nov. 8 to Savona, the port where the inaugural cruise will start on the evening of the same day. The first call at Savona of Costa Diadema will be also the official inauguration of the second terminal of the Palacrociere, built by Costa with a total investment of 9 million euro.

After Savona, the arrival of the flagship will be celebrated also in Marseille (Nov. 9), Barcelona (Nov. 10), Palma de Mallorca (Nov. 11), Naples (Nov. 13) and La Spezia (Nov. 14): these are the ports where Costa Diadema will call during her 7-day itinerary, from Nov. 8 until the end of 2015 summer season.

Pearl Seas Cruises Announces New Loyalty Program

The Pearl Mist


Pearl Seas Cruises has announced the introduction of its new loyalty program, the Oyster Society, which features a variety of premium benefits for members. The new program is the line’s way of recognizing and rewarding returning guests by providing a more personalized and enhanced cruise experience.

The Oyster Society features an expanded list of special benefits, including:

Oyster Society-only savings and promotions – Members are privy to various unique offers.
Stateroom upgrade – Members receive a complimentary stateroom upgrade at the time of their sailing, when available.
Membership identification – Customized luggage tags and name tags indicate Oyster Society membership.
Invitations to exclusive Oyster Society cruises – Each year, several dates are chosen for exclusive Oyster Society member cruises. These unique sailings are often hosted by company executives and include special tours, receptions and entertainment.
Special Oyster Society gifts – Member gifts range from customized officers jackets to champagne.
Complimentary shore excursions – After an Oyster Society member has cruised three times, shore excursion fees are waived for all future cruises.
Complimentary cruise – Upon completion of 10 cruises with Pearl Seas Cruises, Oyster Society members are rewarded with a complimentary cruise.
“We want to reward our repeat guests for their loyalty with benefits that allow for an even more enjoyable cruise,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of Pearl Seas Cruises. “It’s our way of both showing our appreciation and heightening their experience with us. We look forward to welcoming new members.”

This year’s inaugural season was an exciting one for Pearl Seas Cruises with the launch of its flagship vessel, the Pearl Mist. The 210-passenger ship is currently operating its remaining Canadian Maritimes cruises before heading south to the Caribbean for the start of its 2015 season.

About Pearl Seas Cruises

Pearl Seas Cruises has developed a new style of luxury small ship cruising with its 210-passenger flagship, the Pearl Mist. The brand-new ship features the latest navigation technology and the finest accommodations. Pearl Seas Cruises operates various Great Lakes, Canadian Maritimes, New England and Caribbean cruises. To learn more about Pearl Seas Cruises, visit the website or call 800-983-7462

MSC Cruises Unveils Mediterannean Deal and Free Caribbean Cruise

MSC Divina Balcony Stateroom


MSC CRUISES UNVEILS AIR/LAND/SEA VACATION PACKAGE DEALS FOR 2015 MSC DIVINA MEDITERRANEAN SAILINGS

Guests Who Book Before Oct. 31 Receive a Free* 7-Night Caribbean Cruise on the MSC Divina

MSC Cruises is offering inclusive air/land/sea vacation package deals for guests looking to sail on MSC Divina, the line’s largest and most luxurious ship specifically dedicated to North American travelers, while the ship is in the Mediterranean from May 16 through Sept. 19, 2015.

Starting at $1,899, the 10-night package includes roundtrip airfare to Rome or Barcelona, a seven-night cruise, a two-night post-cruise stay in a four-star hotel, and all transfers needed — including from the airport to the ship, from the ship to the hotel and from the hotel back to the airport.

“As North Americans are becoming increasingly familiar with the MSC Divina, they have expressed a strong interest in sailing aboard the ship when she goes to the Mediterranean next summer,” said Ken Muskat, executive vice president of sales, PR & guest services for MSC Cruises USA. “These package deals offer guests a one-stop shop, making it as easy and convenient as possible for guests who want to sail in the Mediterranean on a brand that knows the Mediterranean best.”

Travelers interested in the package deals have the option of leaving from Miami, New York, or Chicago, and choosing an itinerary on the MSC Divina that departs from either Civitavecchia (Rome) or Barcelona. Guests will be greeted by MSC Cruises personnel upon arrival at the airport of their port destination as well as at the hotel.

Highlights of MSC Divina’s Mediterranean season include:

· Ability to embark at two marquee ports: Civitavecchia (Rome) on Saturdays and Barcelona on Wednesdays
· Late night stays in La Spezia, enabling guests to visit nearby cities of Pisa, Florence, Portofino and the stunning Cinque Terre region
· Late night stays in Palma de Mallorca, allowing guests to enjoy the lively nightlife of the island
· Call in Naples, allowing time to visit Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast
· An array of shore excursions providing guests a full immersion into the region with experiences such as an architectural tour of the famed works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, attending the Pope’s weekly Angelus in St. Peter’s Square in Rome and visiting the ancient ruins of Pompeii

As a special promotion, guests who book the air/land/sea package before Oct. 31 will receive a free*, transferable 7-night cruise on the MSC Divina in the Caribbean for select sailings between now and the end of the year.

Customers interested in learning more about the air/land/sea vacation package should contact their local travel agency, call 1-877-665-4655, or visit the website.

Amras Cruises Announces Inaugural Tulip Serenade River Cruise; Pays 15% Commission on all 2015 Bookings

Amadeus Silver II


Amras Cruises, a recently-launched travel company offering cruises designed exclusively for English-speaking travelers aboard the award-winning Amadeus fleet of river cruise ships, is excited to announce the inaugural sailing of the Tulip Serenade, a week-long cruise through the waterways of Holland and Belgium during tulip/flower season.

The new Amadeus Silver II vessel was modeled after the award-winning Amadeus Silver, recognized as 2013′s “River Boat of the Year” by Germany’s prestigious Kreuzfahrt Guide. The cruise is slated to depart April 16, 2015 and cabins start at $2,950. For more information, visit the website or call 1-844-Go-Amras.

“There’s simply no better way to experience Holland and Belgium than by river cruise,” said Rudi M. Joham, President and Managing Director, Amras Cruises Worldwide. “The Amras philosophy is to include as much as possible into the cruise and land price. No need to think about gratuities, or which shore excursion to buy, or whether or not to have that afternoon Viennese coffee. It’s all included.”

The Tulip Serenade offers travelers a fully-immersive experience in the region, including visits to many of the world’s most famous museums; fully-guided tours of Amsterdam, Volendam, Arnhem, Meddleberg, Ghent and Kinderdijk; visit to a local cheese maker in Edam; and of course, seeing the world’s most famous windmills up-close and witnessing the most famous flower show on earth.

To celebrate the Silver II’s inaugural season, several perks for travelers are included: Amras executives being on board as part of the host team, a complimentary bottle of local sparkling wine for each cabin, $500 off international airfare per person when purchased in conjunction with the cruise, and a $200 off per person first-time traveler benefit.

Gourmet dining, free-flowing red and white wines from Europe’s famous wine regions, all port charges, and gratuities are included. Amras Cruises pays 15% commission on all cruise bookings, including the Tulip Serenade.

About Amras Cruises:

With 10 ships in their prized Amadeus fleet, the Lüftner family is proud to offer their premier collection of river cruises designed exclusively for English-speaking travelers through Amras Cruises. Amras is uniquely situated to provide the North American market with maximum value and flexibility, along with first-class service. The philosophy is to include as much as possible into the cruise and land price, so the Amras client can travel worry free.

arnival Introduces New Bi-Weekly Product Training Podcasts for Travel Agents

Hosted by Senior Managing Director of U.S. Trade Sales Mike Julius, ‘Mike’s Mic’ Podcast Highlights Latest Product Trends to Help Agents Build Business

Carnival is introducing a new series of bi-weekly podcasts for travel agents highlighting the line’s latest on-board product innovations and developments, everything from new children’s programming and entertainment to dining enhancements and itinerary trends.

Hosted by Mike Julius, senior managing director of U.S. trade sales, each 10-minute “Mike’s Mic” podcast will feature interviews with a variety of Carnival product experts and will be posted every other Friday on GoCCL.com, the line’s travel agent Internet portal.

“One of the most popular topics of discussion our sales team has with agents in the field is about the many exciting product developments Carnival has made over the last couple of years,” said Julius. “With these new podcasts, we’re helping agents increase their product knowledge – and ultimately their selling opportunities – with helpful information from leading experts in our industry,” he added.

The first podcast, currently available online, features an interview with Cruise Director Butch Begovich who discusses the recent enhancements to the line’s top-rated children’s offerings, including the new Camp Ocean and Seuss at Sea programs.

Future podcasts will highlight topics such as dining and beverage trends, the popularity of adult-only spaces, innovations in entertainment and more. Podcasts will include an interview with Mike Julius and each product expert, sales tips on the topic in question, as well as a question of the week with pre-submitted agent inquiries.
For additional information regarding the “Mike’s Mic” podcast series, travel agents may visit the website.

Norwegian Jewel Debuts in Houston

Left to Right: Houston Port Authority Commissioner Clyde Fitzgerald joins Norwegian Jewel Captain Kenneth Harstrom, Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria and Port Commissioner John Kennedy for a traditional plaque exchange upon the ship’s arrival in Houston on Saturday.

Recently-Enhanced Norwegian Jewel to sail from Houston’s Bayport Cruise Terminal through April 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line returned to the Port of Houston for the first time in more than seven years with the arrival of Norwegian Jewel on Saturday, October 11 at the Bayport Cruise Terminal.

This inaugural call marked the beginning of the 2014 Fall Cruise Season for the Port of Houston Authority, where the Houston Ship Channel is celebrating its 100th year. The 2,376-passenger Norwegian Jewel, featuring Norwegian’s signature Freestyle Cruising with 16 dining options; 13 bars and lounges; exclusive Nickelodeon programming and activities; and the largest suites at sea – the almost 5,000 sq. ft. Garden Villas – began sailing the first of 27 Western Caribbean cruises through April 11, 2015.

During a ceremony onboard, Norwegian Jewel’s Captain Kenneth Harstrom tipped his new cowboy hat to the great state of Texas, as he welcomed officials from the Port of Houston Commission including Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria.

“We are excited about the impact Norwegian Jewel will bring to the City of Pasadena and the greater Houston region. According to an independent research firm, just one sailing season will create nearly 100 jobs and $50 million economic impact locally,” said Chairman Longoria.

Norwegian Jewel will also be the first large cruise ship to call in the Western Caribbean’s newest cruise port of Banana Coast, the deep-water Bay of Trujillo, Honduras, on October 15. Other port calls include Cozumel, Mexico; and Belize City, Belize.

The ship recently underwent an extensive refurbishment and was the first in Norwegian’s fleet to be retrofitted with the popular O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, a casual pub eatery. In addition, the ship’s Moderno Churrascaria, the Brazilian-style steakhouse, was relocated to a more intimate setting on Deck 13 and the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, first introduced on Norwegian Getaway, was added adjacent to the new restaurant.

While onboard, guests can also enjoy delicious cannoli and cupcakes from Carlo’s Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s Cake Boss and Next Great Baker, which have been added in the Java Café. Norwegian’s innovative digital signage were also added to the ship, the touch screen signs allow guests to order specialty items, get directions and reserve dining and shore excursions simply with a scan of their stateroom key.

Norwegian Jewel offers guests the opportunity to sail in style in The Haven, Norwegian’s exclusive and luxurious accommodations that include the largest suites at sea – the 5,000 square foot, three-bedroom Garden Villas. Guests can dine around the world with 16 dining options including French, Asian, American and more. Norwegian Jewel also features three swimming pools; six hot tubs; a contemporary spa and fitness center; sports deck with basketball, volleyball and tennis court; the Jewel Club casino; and spectacular stage shows like Le Cirque Bijou and Band on the Run in the ship’s Stardust Theatre.

Onboard Norwegian Jewel, families will delight in the exclusive Nickelodeon programming. Activities include the Pajama Jam breakfast with the characters, where kids – and kids at heart – can eat, sing and play with SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Patrick, Diego and more; meet and greets with popular Nickelodeon characters; and other family activities offered, including Nick Jr. story time, family trivia and special arts and crafts sessions.

To book a cruise on Norwegian Jewel from Houston, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit the website.