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.

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.

Viking Ocean Cruises Announces Captain of Viking Star

Captain Gulleik Svalastog of the Viking Star.

Captain Gulleik Svalastog Brings 40 Years of Sailing Experience to Viking’s First Ocean Ship

Viking Ocean Cruises® has announced that Captain Gulleik Svalastog will be at the helm of its first ocean ship – the 930-passenger Viking Star – which will take on its first guests in April 2015. Leveraging his experience as a cruise captain in Norway, Captain Svalastog will command and oversee the operation, crew and safety of the ship in its maiden season in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Viking has also released today a new online video interview with Captain Svalastog.

Svalastog brings 45 years of sailing experience to Viking Ocean Cruises. He has held a variety of senior ship management positions and has worked as superintendent for Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises and as Lead Auditor for Det Norske Veritas (DNV). His most recent position held was captain of Color Line Cruises. Svalastog is currently a member of the team overseeing the final stage of outfitting and interior build-out for Viking Star, which touched water for the first time in June 2014 at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard and will be christened in May 2015.

“We could not ask for a better captain for our first ocean ship,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “Captain Svalastog brings an impeccable record that will undoubtedly guide Viking Star and her guests though a successful maiden season.”

Viking Ocean Cruises

With three sister ships now on order, Viking developed its ocean cruises by leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises® passengers, and with experienced travelers in mind. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and “collector ports,” and appeal to those with an interest in history, art and culture. In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising provides unparalleled value—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry and 24-hour room service—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.

Viking Star

Classified by Cruise Critic as a “small ship,” the 930-passenger all-veranda Viking Star – as well as its two sister ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky – is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and debarkation. Light-filled and intimate, the ship features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights include:

· All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. veranda stateroom, all with private verandas, king-size beds, large showers, and LCD TVs.

· Explorer Suites
: Viking Star features 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wrap-around private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.

· Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable dome permitting any-season swimming, the ship features a glass-backed infinity pool, cantilevered off the stern, allowing passengers to swim surrounded by their destination.

· The Spa: In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a “snow grotto” where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air.

· Explorers’ Lounge and Wintergarden: Spaces designed to facilitate mingling and storytelling, the two-deck Explorers’ Lounge at the bow is the perfect spot for taking in scenery through double-height windows over a glass of aquavit or pint of local craft beer; and the Wintergarden is a serene environment in which to relax and enjoy afternoon tea service complete with a hand-selected teas.

· Dining Choices: Viking Star offers multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from The Restaurant and the World Café, serving a variety of global cuisines and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef’s Table, Manfredi’s Italian Grill and The Kitchen Table, all serving meals prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking’s ocean ships offer more al fresco dining than any other ships.

· Enriching Entertainment: Connecting passengers to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking Cruises, and onboard venues include a dramatic three-deck atrium where passengers can enjoy musicians playing regional and classical music; the Star Theater, home of enrichment lectures from scholars and experts; an onboard cooking school where guests can learn local specialties; and Torshavn, a piano lounge where guests can relax, mingle, and exchange stories after a day of exploring.

· Sustainable Features
: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking Star features energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.

Booking Details

From now through October 31, 2014, Viking is offering U.S. residents an Early Booking Discount with 2-for-1 pricing on 2015 and 2016 cruise departures and savings of up to $2,000 per couple ($1,000 per person) on international air. Contact a Travel Agent or call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464).

Celebrity Cruises Announces New Cruise and Partnership

Cruise Alaska with Celebrity Cruises and Boston College Athletics

Celebrity Solstice


Celebrity Cruises and Boston College Athletics are proud to announce a partnership that highlights both brands’ shared commitment to delivering premium experiences and entertainment. Through the partnership, brokered by Fenway Sports Management (FSM), Miami-based Celebrity Cruises will be recognized as the “Official Cruise Line of the Boston College Eagles”, and invites the Boston College community to cruise Alaska with Doug Flutie, legendary Boston College alumnus, football star, and media personality.

“We are extremely excited to be the Official Cruise Line of the BC Eagles, and honored to have Doug Flutie onboard to kick off this great partnership,” said Marla Phaneuf, Regional Sales Manager and Team Manager of New England at Celebrity Cruises. “We are dedicated to raising local awareness about our premium product in New England, and look forward having more New Englanders join us on our stunning ships with enticing itineraries all over the world, including the BC Eagles Cruise to Alaska.”

Setting sail on August 7, 2015, Celebrity Solstice will host Boston College alumni and fans, offering them the opportunity to mingle with Flutie as they explore Alaska in style. One of Celebrity’s more decorated ships at sea, Celebrity Solstice offers an array of innovative and high quality amenities, including the first Hot Glass Show at sea, a custom-designed, outdoor glassblowing studio created in collaboration with The Coring Museum of Glass. Celebrity Solstice is also famed for having the first Lawn Club at sea, and is the first cruise ship to have luxury staterooms designed by five women known as “the Leading Ladies.” Celebrity Solstice is a stand-out cruise ship with specialty restaurants, impeccable cuisine, state of the art staterooms, and a Canyon Ranch SpaClub® and fitness center.

The 7 night BC Eagles Cruise will depart from Seattle, Washington and make exciting stops in Alaska, including: Ketchikan, Tracy Army Fjord, Juneau, Skagway, Alaska Inside Passage as well as Victoria, British Columbia. The cruise includes exclusive events onboard for BC affiliates, meet and greet opportunities with Flutie, a $50 on-board credit, and a Classic Beverage Package for two. Staterooms are now available and can be booked online with Celebrity Cruises or through your local travel agent.

About the Partnership

In addition to the fan cruise, the partnership between Celebrity Cruises and Boston College Athletics includes a variety of different elements that will span throughout the 2014-2015 season.

“We are thrilled to be working with Celebrity Cruises and welcome them to Boston College Athletics as our official cruise line partner,” said Matt Murrey, Fenway Sports Management VP Marketing Partnerships. “Their focus on premium experiences and quality service make this an ideal partnership for both organizations and we are excited to offer this unique opportunity to our loyal and passionate BC Eagles fans.”

About Doug Flutie

Doug Flutie graduated from Boston College in 1984 as College Football Player of the Year and recipient of the coveted Heisman Trophy. He continued with an extensive career in the National Football League, playing for the Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears, and New England Patriots. Post-football, Flutie served as a football analyst on ESPN, ABC, and the NBC Sports Network. In 1998, he founded the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism in honor of his son – an organization that raises funds and awareness for autism research and support.

123go!

Consumers who can’t wait until August 2015 for their Celebrity Cruises vacation can take advantage of Celebrity’s 123go! promotion, now underway through November 4, 2014. For the first time ever, Celebrity Cruises is adding free companion air when you book Suite Class accommodations for your Europe or Alaska vacation. That’s right, the second guest in your party flies free from the top U.S. and Canadian airports. With more than 385 breathtaking itineraries to choose from, departing February 2015 through April 2016, you’re sure to find the perfect vacation with the perfect offer to go with it. 123go! includes your choice of free beverage packages, free gratuities, or an onboard credit up to $300, and if you are traveling to Europe – you choose two of the three offers!

· Free “Classic Beverage Package” for two, allowing guests to pair Celebrity’s delectable cuisine with their favorite beverages – representing a value of up to $1,350 for two guests, based on a 12-night sailing, and including coverage of beverage gratuities; and free Classic Non-Alcoholic Beverage Packages for third and fourth guests in staterooms, as well as complimentary Internet packages for those guests.
· Free gratuities for two, allowing vacationers to fully relax, knowing tips for the unparalleled service onboard Celebrity is covered – representing a value of up to $360 per stateroom based on a 12-night sailing and including coverage of stateroom, waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter gratuities.
· An onboard credit of up to $300 per stateroom, depending on the selected itinerary length, and available for guests to apply to shore excursions, specialty dining, wine tastings, Canyon Ranch SpaClub® treatments, boutique items, or any other onboard purchase.

Carnival Extends ‘Reuniting For Fun’ Group Promotion Through October 31


Promotion Extended Given Positive Travel Agent Response

Carnival Cruise Lines is extending its current “Reuniting for Fun” group promotion through the end of October based on positive travel agent response.

With the promotion, an initial deposit will not be required for group bookings on departures between March 1, 2015, and April 30, 2016. In addition, Carnival is offering travel agents one free cruise berth for every 10 full fare guests berthed, compared to the line’s current policy of one free cruise berth for every 15 full fare guests berthed.

As a special bonus, Carnival is offering one free cruise berth for every eight full fare guests berthed on select five- to 14-day sailings from a number of U.S. homeports, including Galveston, Baltimore, New York, San Juan and Port Canaveral.

“We heard such positive feedback from travel agents surrounding this promotion that we wanted to extend it through the end of October, especially as many agents will be hosting events for CLIA’s National Cruise Vacation Week,” said Joni Rein, Carnival’s vice president of worldwide sales. “With the initial deposit waiver, enhanced free cruise berth opportunity and very attractive fares, this promotion is a great sales opportunity for agents.”

Group fares applicable to this promotion, which are available between now and October 31, 2014, begin at $249 for three- to five-day cruises and $449 for voyages of six-days or longer. Certain restrictions apply.

For a complete list of terms and conditions, travel agents may visit the website.

Holland America Line Offers Explore4 Savings and Onboard Spending Credits for 2014 CLIA Cruise Week


Holland America Line is offering special promotions for CLIA Cruise Week (formerly) National Cruise Vacation Week), which runs Oct. 6-13, 2014. Organized by Cruise Lines International Association, the weeklong event features promotions and online opportunities to give consumers a perfect opportunity to book a cruise vacation while taking advantage of special savings.

“Each year CLIA Cruise Week highlights cruising as a vacation choice, and we are celebrating by offering special promotions to entice travelers to book their dream vacation,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “By combining the Explore4 offer and an onboard spending credit, guests can get an exceptional rate this week on a Holland America Line cruise.”

Throughout the week, Holland America Line will be featuring the exclusive Explore4 promotion on select 2015 and 2016 sailings that provides four added-value extras — a free Signature Beverage Package and free Pinnacle Grill dinner for guests booking an ocean-view and higher category stateroom, free or reduced cruise fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom and 50 percent reduced deposits. Suite bookings also receive a $300 onboard spending credit per stateroom ($150 per person) and a free Canaletto dinner in addition to the other four offers.

Guests looking to take advantage of the Explore4 program can choose select itineraries to nearly all of Holland America Line’s global destinations, including Alaska and Alaska/Yukon Land+Sea Journeys, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico/Hawaii, Panama Canal and South America.

Travelers making a booking on select 2014 through 2016 cruises during the week also receive a special Cruise Week onboard spending credit, depending on the length of the cruise and type of cabin booked. Guests can receive up to a $400 per stateroom ($200 per person) onboard spending credit in addition to all four Explore4 offers, when applicable. For example, guests who book a suite on 10- to 14-day cruises receive a $300 per stateroom ($150 per person) onboard spending credit.

For more information about Holland America Line, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit the website.

Paul Gauguin Cruises Presents CLIA Cruise Week Special Offer

PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES CELEBRATES CRUISE WEEK WITH CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION (CLIA)
$100 Shipboard Credit, Savings of 50%, And Included Airfare on m/s Paul Gauguin Itineraries Offered

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, and the 88-guest m/v Tere Moana, is taking part in the “World’s Largest Cruise Sale” during Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) Cruise Week October 6-13, 2014.

This annual opportunity of exceptional savings and special offers is hosted by CLIA, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, with participation by thousands of agents and agencies across the U.S. and Canada along with CLIA’s cruise line members.

Paul Gauguin Cruises will offer agents who sign up and participate in the promotion a $100 per-person Shipboard Credit for new bookings on The Gauguin and The Moana when booked by November 15, 2014. Paul Gauguin Cruises is also offering savings of 50% off standard all-inclusive cruise fares on all voyages of both ships, plus included airfare from Los Angeles on m/s Paul Gauguin itineraries.

To learn more about CLIA’s Cruise Week events and offers, visit the CLIA website.

For additional information on Paul Gauguin Cruises, please contact a Travel Professional, call 800-848-6172, or visit the website.

Carnival Cruise Lines Partners with DJ IRIE to Create New ‘Spin U’ DJ Academy For Teens

Carnival Freedom


Carnival Cruise Lines has teamed up with legendary DJ IRIE – the official DJ of Carnival and the Miami HEAT who has entertained crowds from South Beach and Vegas to Paris and Brazil – to create Spin U, a new shipboard DJ academy exclusively for teens ages 15-17.
Part of the line’s popular Club O2 teen program and inspired by DJ IRIE’s own Spin’iversity – a customized training program exclusively for developing Carnival’s shipboard DJs – Spin U is designed to provide aspiring spin-masters all they need to know about this emerging art form, from bringing a crowd to its feet to pumping up the dance floor with energy and excitement.

Under the guidance of Carnival’s talented and energetic shipboard pro DJs, Spin U students learn not only how to operate the latest mixing and sound equipment but also how to read a crowd and tailor song selections from every musical genre to keep the party moving, while making maximum use of their own personality to create their own memorable DJ persona.

Three different Spin U packages will be offered:

· Intro – a free 30-minute introductory session that includes an overview of equipment basics and spinning and mixing techniques.
· DJ 101 – a 45-minute program that expands upon the Intro program with a comprehensive overview of both mixing and scratching. Cost is $20.
· DJ Master – comprised of three one-hour sessions, DJ Master is exactly what the name implies, helping participants master the art of mixing, mic skills and understanding song structure and transitions. After selecting their own creative DJ moniker, DJ Master students participate in a “Battle of the Beats” against other up-and-coming DJs with one lucky DJ entertaining guests poolside on Lido deck. Cost for the three-session program is $99.

Personalized, one-on-one sessions with Carnival’s shipboard DJs are also available and all DJ Master participants receive a “swag bag” containing a variety of premium branded logo items.

“I am thrilled that Carnival and I were able to cultivate a youth program that involves something I am so passionate about and really translates into a fun guest experience,” said DJ IRIE. “It is exciting to be a part of a program that supports the arts and provides an outlet for young music lovers to express themselves during a family vacation,” he added.

Spin U is currently being piloted on six- and eight-day cruises of the Carnival Freedom from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with fleetwide rollout expected by the end of 2015.

The Spin U program can be booked via the Club O2 venues throughout the fleet.

For additional information, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit the website.
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