Welcome to the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Blog where we keep you up to date with things about cruises that are part of cruise news, useful, interesting and even irrelevant but fun in the world of cruises and cruising.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Newest and the Largest Cruise Ship Expands Cruise Season

Vacationers can experience the world’s newest, largest and most innovative cruise ship even earlier aboard Allure of the Seas, as Royal Caribbean International announces the expansion of Allure of the Seas’ inaugural season with a special four-night cruise, departing Port Everglades on December 1, 2010.

The special itinerary will feature two days at sea and a call at Labadee, the Royal Caribbean private beach destination on the northern coast of Haiti. Valued members of the Crown & Anchor Society, the cruise line’s loyalty program, and the public can book passage on Allure of the Seas’ new voyage beginning March 31, 2010.

Guests booked on the December 5 inaugural seven-night voyage have until April 30, 2010, to choose to be re-accommodated in the same stateroom on the new cruise. Any price difference will be adjusted on their booking. Additionally, these guests will receive $100 onboard credit per stateroom when adding the new four-night cruise to their existing December 5 booking for an 11-night grand western Caribbean adventure.

Allure of the Seas shares the title of the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship with sister-ship Oasis of the Seas. An architectural marvel at sea, she will span 16 decks, encompass 225,282 gross registered tons, carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms. Allure of the Seas will tout Royal Caribbean’s exclusive neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which will include Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.

The ship will alternate a Western Caribbean with an Eastern Caribbean seven-night itinerary from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Additional information is available at www.AllureoftheSeas.com.

Monday, March 29, 2010

From Liverpool to St Petersburg - intriguing new cruise from Fred Olsen

Offering something very different from the usual Caribbean cruise, or the run-of-the-mill European and Mediterranean cruises, Fred. Olsen now has a cruise to the Baltic aboard Boudicca in May with an intriguing itinerary.

Departing from Liverpool on 21st May 2010 for 14 nights, the cruise - D1009 - is one of a new season from this port for the cruise ship. The route taken from Liverpool is up the north west coast of England and all around Scotland, then across the North Sea to Denmark, where the first port of call is Skagen. Next is the Swedish port of Ystad, then, after a day at sea, Boudicca reaches the architectural gem that is St Petersburg, a treasury of fine art and amazing buildings. There is an overnight stay, to allow time to explore this stunning city, before Boudicca moves on to Tallinn, the picturesque Estonian capital.

On the return voyage, she visits Warnemunde for excursions to Berlin, then transits the Kiel Canal, calling at Zeebrugge for visits to the lovely town of Bruges. This is where Boudicca completes her cruise round Britain, as she travels along the south coast, around the tip of Cornwall and travels north through the Irish Sea, past the western coast of Wales, until she docks back in Liverpool.

The cruise offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the marvellous Baltic and European ports and also to see much of the varied and beautiful British coastline en route.

Prices for this cruise start from £1,129 per person, based on two sharing an inside twin cabin. The price includes all meals and entertainment on board and port taxes.

For more information about Fred. Olsen Cruises visit the cruise line profile at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-fred-olsen-cruises.html or visit the official Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines web site at www.fredolsencruises.com

Photo: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shore Excursions - Finding the Jewels!

Forum members at the Prow's Edge Cruise Forum have lots to say about shore excursions, and our favorite comment comes from one of our regular readers who complains about the "sheep mentality" of the majority of cruise passengers when they take a cruise.

In the forum, Cruising Mike says: "I can't believe how much like sheep cruise passengers are - especially when it comes to shore excursions - they blindly follow the crowds to the shore excursion desk and book away their tours without doing any research and then wonder why they paid $100 for a bus tour they could have done just as interestingly by themselves - FOR FREE!"

While the generalization may be a little unfair, it is astonishing to discover how few cruise passengers really prepare for the shore activities before they get to the ship and their port of embarkation.

Our favorite example of this occurred on a cruise to Alaska calling in at Sitka, where passengers paid over US$100 for a bus tour of the town, including a stop off at a famous landmark. The entire tour could be seen from the deck of the cruise ship. Passengers watched the "sheep" line-up for half and hour to board the bus (the walk into town would have taken 3 minutes) and then followed the progress of the bus as it wound it's way slowly around the tiny town, stopped at the famous church, off loaded the tourists, waited half and hour for them and loaded them all back on – to head back to the dock where it took them all another 20 minutes to get off the bus and head back to the ship.

It's a great dinner story, but a sad indication of how so many cruise passengers fail to do their research before going on a cruise.

The key is to spend as much time, if not more, on finding out about the destinations on your cruise as you would on the cruise and the cruise ship itself.

There is a wealth of information about the various ports of call on the internet. This is what Google is here for. And it's your responsibility to find out what your options really are – before you board the ship.

As in the case of the Sitka tour above, clearly a little probing and research would have saved those hapless passengers a lot of money.

Of course, not all shore excursions are designed to take advantage of gullable cruise passengers. And indeed, that Sitka example may well have been perfect for the elderly and those unable to walk very far, and even for those with money to burn who don't want to be bothered to do the research. For some, part of a cruise is not having to think for themselves.

Also, many of the cruise tours and shore excursions are beyond simple internet research – like helicopter tours to fly up to the glaciers in Alaska, or around bubbling volcanoes in Hawaii, and a good number of cruise lines offer fascination and unusual excursions that are simply beyond the the scope of you and I and Google : like those offered by Windstar Cruises as outlined in our news page at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-050310-windstar-cruises.html. who offer exciting options like a bike ride on the city walls of Lucca, Italy, or painting lessons with a well-known Croatian watercolorist in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The bottom line is that you need to take a look at your destinations, see what the various cruise lines offer in the way of exploring the areas, and make your decisions - but make them on the basis of being informed.

This way you might avoid being the butt of a great dinner story and get to take home some truly memorable cruise stories of your own.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Awards for Luxury Cruises - Silversea Tops the Lists

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury cruises segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit.

And Silversea consistently earns recognition for its leadership in the luxury market.

In the USA, Silversea has been voted "World's Best" by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (nine times) and Travel + Leisure (seven times), and rated Number-One luxury cruise line by high-net-worth consumers in the 2008 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI).

International awards include:
• "Best Innovation in Products and Services" from the Italian Innovazione Marketing Oggi Awards (2009)
• "World's Leading Small Ships Cruise Line" from World Travel Awards (2009)
• "Five Star Diamond Award" from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (2009)
• "Number One" small-ship line in the Readers' Choice survey conducted by Britain's Condé Nast Traveller magazine (2007)
• "Best Luxury Cruise Line" Excellence Award by Spain's Cruise News Media Group (2009)
• "Best Luxury Cruise Line" by Australia's Luxury Travel & Style Magazine (2009) and
• "Best Luxury Cruise Operator" according to Asia's Travel Weekly (2008).

For more information about Silversea Cruises visit the recently updated Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine profile for Silversea at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-silversea-cruises.html or visit the official Silversea Cruises website at www.silversea.com.

A Captain Cook Cruise for Art Lovers

Captain Cook Cruises – for those heading down-under – is running a special 3, 4 and 7 night cruise for art lovers on August 27th and 30th featuring guest artist Tony Smith.

Former Master, Captain Tony Smith, is an Associate of the Royal South Australian Society of Arts and has had a love affair with art including painting the spectacular scenery of the Murray River for over three decades. His art is in many private collections around the world and he exhibits regularly at the Royal Society Adelaide where he has been accepted for Fellowship.

Passengers will receive free landscape painting classes from Tony and be shown his favourite scenic locations along the Murray.

Art lovers can book now and receive 25% off the cruise fare.

Other cruise highlights include an exciting selection of shore-side tours, guided nature walks and eco-excursions, onboard presentations, Captains Dinner and Cocktail Party and live entertainment.

The three nights Discovery Cruise departs Mannum on Friday August 27th at 4.30pm and fares start from $583 per person twin share. The four nights Outback Heritage Cruise departs Monday August 30th at 4.30pm and fares start from $779 per person twin share. The seven nights Murraylands & Wildlife Cruise departs Friday August 27th at 4.30pm and prices start from $1199 per person.

Prices include all meals, accommodation, most tours, scenic coach transfers from Adelaide or onsite car parking and all onboard facilities including use of two spas, two saunas, sun deck, two bars, two lounges, single sitting dining saloon and entertainment.

For more information about Captain Cook Cruises visit the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine profile of Captain Cook Cruises at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-captain-cook-cruises.html
or take a look at the official Captain Cook Cruises web site at www.captaincook.com.au.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Web-based Cruise Navigator helps pick the right cruise line for YOU!

There is a new tool on the world wide web that engages consumers and helps them discover which brands’ unique style of cruising matches their ideal vacation experience. And it has been introduced by World’s Leading Cruise Lines, a marketing alliance between Carnival Corporation & plc’s six brands serving the North American market – Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Cunard Line, Costa Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn

Through a series of experiential questions, the Cruise Navigator tool asks users to choose from a range of desired vacation experiences, indicating priorities and interests. Their ideal vacation is then compared to a favorite car or a favorite film, for example, to self-select between brands spanning the contemporary, premium and luxury cruise categories. Links to handy travel agent locators are provided as well as brand overview videos and the opportunity to “send to a friend.” Prospective guests enjoy mixing up their answers to see which cruise lines Cruise Navigator suggests they explore further.

Cruise Navigator can be found at the World’s Leading Cruise Lines comprehensive website at www.worldsleadingcruiselines.com, a helpful online resource featuring destination descriptions, profiles of the six member lines and the Best Blogs at Sea www.bestblogsatsea.com. Carnival Corporate Marketing partnered with Boston based integrated agency Arnold Worldwide to develop the tool.

“Vacation time is as precious as ever and each of our brands contributed to Cruise Navigator, enabling the vacation planning public and travel agents alike to select from the diverse experiences offered by these distinct cruise lines, each a leader in its own market segment,” notes Bill Harber, Carnival Corporation & plc’s senior director of marketing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More award-winning shore excursions from HAL

To complement its already extensive and award-winning shore excursion offerings, Holland America Line has put together 55 new tours for its 2010 summer season.

The new excursions range from an afternoon in the French city of Cognac, France, where one can discover the secrets of making Cognac and sample the delights of what many French call “the healing drink;” to a nostalgic steam-hauled train ride which crosses the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct — a 21-arch, 1000-foot span featured in the Harry Potter and Narnia films; to an unforgettable flightseeing Brown Bear and wildlife tour in the wilds of Southeast Alaska, visiting remote areas that only a bush pilot can reach.

“Holland America Line is always looking for new opportunities to provide our guests with a variety of memorable and unique excursions that will enrich their cruise-travel experience,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Our selections not only give our guests the chance to expand their cultural horizons but also cater to a variety of interests including romantic candlelight cruises in Northern Europe, an elegant, white-gloved dinner in the Mediterranean, parasailing in the Caribbean and zipline eco-adventures in Alaska. We have something for everyone.”

Holland America Line offers hundreds of shore excursions to more than 300 ports in more than 100 countries.

For more information about Holland America Line, take a look at the recently updated cruise line profile at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-holland-america-line.html .

To discover more about Holland America Line’s entire award-winning shore excursions program or to pre-book excursions online, visit www.hollandamerica.com and click “shore excursions.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Preview of a New Queen - Queen Elizabeth

Building on the excitement of Cunard’s 2011-2012 Voyage Programme announcement yesterday, Cunard President Peter Shanks (right) and Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono (left) previewed a special cutaway model of the new Queen Elizabeth at Seatrade Cruise Shipping Miami today.

“We are very excited about the progress of Queen Elizabeth, and seeing this masterful cutaway model just adds to our anticipation of her imminent arrival,” said Peter Shanks. “With each passing milestone, we are ever closer to realizing our vision of returning to a three-ship fleet.”

Announced yesterday, the 2011 maiden season for Queen Elizabeth offers a wide-ranging series of itineraries in Europe and beyond from her home port of Southampton, with a total of 52 maiden calls.

Included in next year’s line-up are four sailings to the Mediterranean and one Voyage to the Holy Land, which includes calls in Jerusalem, Galilee and Cairo. Also available will be a series of 14-day Baltic voyages that include a full day and overnight call in St. Petersburg, two 7-day Fjord departures, an 11-day voyage to the North Cape, a maiden Around the British Isles voyage, plus a number of voyages to the Atlantic Isles and Canary Islands.

On 13 January 2011, Cunard will stage another spectacular Cunard Royal Rendezvous of its three Queens in New York City – exactly three years to the day that Queen Mary 2, QE2 and Queen Victoria met there – this time with the new Queen Elizabeth making her maiden call to New York City, to be joined by Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.

For more information about Cunard and to book a voyage aboard Queen Elizabeth, consult your Travel Professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to www.cunard.com.

Copenhagen is PORT OF THE YEAR 2009

Princess Cruises has named Copenhagen as its “Port of the Year” for 2009 – a distinction awarded as the result of passenger satisfaction surveys. Copenhagen is the first port outside of North America to earn this honor.

The annual award is given to one of Princess’ 33 worldwide turnaround ports that earn the highest scores for the year, as rated by passengers on each cruise. A turnaround port is where a cruise ends and the next one begins.

The honor recognizes that a port has provided the service, facilities and personnel that have enhanced the passenger experience while boarding or disembarking the ship. In total, the voting measured passenger satisfaction scores from 14 calls in Copenhagen during the summer 2009 season.

“A turnaround port offers passengers their first or last impression of their cruise with us, so it’s very important that they have a good experience as they travel through the local facilities,” said Dean Brown, Princess executive vice president of corporate services. “Copenhagen has been recognized as the highest ranked port for 2009, but they’ve also been one of the highest ranked ports in years past. It’s clear that our passengers appreciate the level of service and efficiency that the port and their staff provide.”

This is the fifth year for the award, and previous Port of the Year designations have gone to Los Angeles, Whittier, Vancouver and Brooklyn.

Copenhagen serves as home port for Princess Scandinavia & Russia itineraries. Star Princess will begin the 2010 cruise season on these popular itineraries on May 12.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at www.princess.com.

Friday, March 12, 2010

International Cruise Victims Association truly goes international

Representing the victims of crime on cruise ships, their families and friends, and those concerned about the problems of victimization and disappearances on cruise ships, the International Cruise Victims Association(ICV) is steadily growing and membership now reaches 20 countries around the world including the following:

Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, England, Ireland, Canada, Norway, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Finland, Holland, Italty, New Zealand, Mexico, New South Wales, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, and Sweden.

To meet the demands of this growing international membership, two of the Board Members are now from outside the United States – Michael Groves in England and Mark Brimble in Australia.

Michael Groves is taking on a leadership role in the EU to state the process of moving forward with legislation.

If you would like to support these new initiatives of the ICV, or if there is a need in your area please contact the ICV direct or Mark Brimble at markbrimble@internationalcruisevictims.org
or Michael Groves at michaelgroves@internationalcruisevictims.org

With Jamie Barnett now heading our ICV Corporation dealing with victim support, major efforts are being made toward that end as well. She, along with over ICV members, are attending special training programs to be better equipped to deal with all of the tragic cases that come to ICV on a regular basis. This includes missing person, sexual assaults, the treatment provided passengers who become ill, robberies, etc. The list goes on and on. They are also in the process of filling their calendars with conferences and speaking engagements throughout the U.S. which will help create public awareness and education.

One of the strengths that ICV has is its unique ability to support victims while maintaining the ability to speak as a unified group to make changes in an industry that has, for too long, gone its own way without anyone holding them accountable for their actions.

For more information about the ICV, visit their web site at www.internationalcruisevictims.org/ or take a look at the SAFETY section at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine that has information on the ICV and on many aspects of making sure you are safe at sea. Also, visit the Prow's Edge blog message boards about safety at sea at to learn even more and to share your own views.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

An Optimistic Wave Season for 2010

This is the busiest time of the year for cruise lines - it is when they take the most bookings, or hope to take the most bookings - and it's called the "Wave Season"! And this year so far, it has been a very successful wave season.

Many of the cruise lines are reporting record sales citing increases of more than 20 % ahead of last year.

Norwegian Cruise line, for example, have claimed an almost 100% increase in overall sales, Hurtigruten are "21 % ahead of the same last year in revenue", and Avalon Waterways tell us that "Europe river cruise bookings in the wave season are up more than 90 percent over 2009.”
Carnival reports record wave season bookings as does Royal Caribbean International.

Even the luxury cruise line sector is doing well. Crystal Cruises reported a 205% increase in sales for January over the same month last year, Seabourn cites a 215 % increase

In a time of economic gloom – these figures are promising, but we shouldn't be too surprised. In our blog about the large number of ships on order from the cruise lines in 2010, (12 so far) a sure marker of the state of the industry, we predicted just such a successful year ahead.

The good news is that despite these figures, there are still amazing deals to be had. Take a look at a few of these in our news section at www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-110310-Cruise-Lines-International-Association-CLIA.html or check out our last blog at http://prows-edge-cruise-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/03/special-deals-from-clia-member-cruise.html devoted to detailing these special deals.

Special Deals from CLIA Member Cruise Lines

The nonprofit Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is North America's largest cruise industry organization representing 25 major cruise lines. Here are just some of the special deals their member cruis lines are offering cruise passengers.

• A "Be our Guest at Oktoberfest" promotion which includes a complimentary 2-night stay in Munich; free airfare or free companion air on select 2010 sailings

• Early bird discounts of $400 per stateroom for any reservations made 3 months in advance of the sailing

• $300-$1,000 off per stateroom on selected European River Cruise Vacations/Avalon Waterways River Cruises; no single supplement on select departures

• 2-for-1 fares and book a Club Veranda Stateroom for the price of a Club Oceanview stateroom when booking by March 31 on 2010 Europe voyages (sailings April 25 - December 9)

• A variety of attractive fares, including Early Saver rates starting at less than $70 per day, with guaranteed lowest rate with Early Saver’s price protection feature

• New low rates; reduced third- and fourth-guest rates; "Upgrade Your View" to veranda accommodations promotion (Offers on select sailings in Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe and Alaska)

• Up to 60 percent off select 2010 sailings; up to $100 in onboard credits for select summer Mediterranean cruises

• Two-for-one fares for all destinations; All Inclusive – As You Wish spending credits for all destinations – up to $2,000 per couple; Free round-trip air with most cruises; Business class air for Penthouse categories in Europe; 2010 Price Guarantees

• Savings of up to $600 per person on Queen Mary 2 transatlantic crossings. Save up to $1,000 per person off early booking fares, based on double occupancy for Balcony staterooms on select Queen Victoria Mediterranean voyages.

• Select European cruises from April 10 through May 5, starting at just $50 per person, per day, including 14-night transatlantic voyage, 10- and 11-night Mediterranean sailings

• Savings of up to 40 percent on ocean-view and verandah accommodations and third and fourth guest savings

• Summer Special – savings of up to 20 percent off retail rate – to promote 6, 7 or 12-day Norwegian Coastal Voyages this summer (May 1 - October 6)

• “Wave Season” special rates on select 3- and 7-night Caribbean cruises, including theme cruises (comedy, baseball, country music, big band and more) on MSC Poesia, for bookings through January 31, including best available stateroom within the same category at time of booking; $100 per person deposits on all cruises

• “Year of the Freestyle Vacation” promotion that includes up to a six category upgrade and onboard savings certificates of up to $400 for all new reservations made through March 14 on any of the line’s 10 Freestyle Cruising ships
• All travel partners with qualifying bookings on balcony staterooms or above made during the promotion will be entered to win a cruise

• Free or 2-for-1 airfare from Los Angeles to Tahiti, plus up to 45% standard published fares for bookings made by June 30, 2010. Also no single supplement on select spring departures

• “Balcony Bonanza” – through February 28, travelers can choose to a private balcony for the cost of an oceanview stateroom; “Denali on Sale” - savings of up to 25 percent on a land and sea Alaska cruise tour

• Two-For-One cruise fares plus value-priced round trip airfare add-ons to all 2010-2011 Europe and Asia cruises aboard Seabourn’s award-winning, all-suite fleet of five intimate, ultra luxury cruising yachts. Bookings must be made between March 23 and June 30, 2010

• Up to 60& savings, plus free air and transfers on select voyages

• Upgrade to Business Class Air from only $199 per person from New York to Europe on select cruises by booking and paying in full by March 26. Spring Savings up to $600 per couple on Europe River Cruises by booking and depositing by April 30. Single Supplement waived on select cruises; and 50 percent off for young travelers on family-friendly cruises

• “Europe on Sale” promotion features 7-day sailings in the Mediterranean and Greek Isles at exceptional savings; $100 per person shipboard credit for bookings by March 31; early payment gratuity package valued at $84 per guest for payment in full 6 months or more in advance

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Holland America Line’s ms Ryndam comes out of dry dock

Holland America Line’s ms Ryndam recently sailed with several new enhancements on its seven-day western Caribbean cruises sailing from Tampa, Florida.

The premium ship just completed a 17-day dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas, and now features the new, stylish lounge called Mix, a sophisticated Showroom at Sea with several new productions, the complimentary Italian eatery Canaletto, and a complete new stateroom and bath design.

“We are in the midst of an extensive and exciting phase of our Signature of Excellence enhancements program,” said Richard Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs at Holland America Line. “As the most recent ship to receive the new public areas and soft goods, the Ryndam looks wonderful and our guests will feel like they are sailing on a new ship.

The industry-leading Signature of Excellence initiative is an ongoing and comprehensive program that touches every aspect of the Holland America Line experience and the investment now exceeds $525 million.

Signature of Excellence features and amenities offer guests more luxurious accommodations, enhanced dining experiences, more enriching activities and exceptional levels of service.

Some of these improvements include new carpeting, soft goods and completely renovated bathrooms with new vanities and cabinetry in all staterooms, more experts and expanded education and entertainment options, a new Italian restaurant called Canaletto,

For more about Holland America Line visit Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine for the profile of the cruise line at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-holland-america-line.html

For a cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Around the World in 335 days

Just three days ago, Cruise West’s maiden world voyage aboard the 60-suite Spirit of Oceanus set sail from Singapore on March 6, 2010, with 71 guests (including two solo travelers who are participating on the entire 335-day circumnavigation) and 72 crew.

Not quite around the world in 80 days - but the facilities are a lot more spendid!

At the start of the cruise, guests were welcomed to a special gala at the legendary Raffles Hotel on March 5 that included the hotel’s signature Singapore Sling cocktail, entertainment by a traditional Chinese orchestra, a mystical fortuneteller accompanied by a parrot with ‘divination’ capabilities, a warm welcome by Captains Reidulf Maalen, Malcolm Scanlan and Boris Tsvetkov and a sumptuous dinner featuring Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine. In addition, each guest received a monogrammed fan with hand painted Chinese calligraphy of his or her name, ending the evening with a city tour by night via Trishaws. Concluding the festivities on embarkation day, March 6, was a champagne toast and a colorful, raucous Lions Dance, said to be an auspicious way to begin such an extraordinary series of voyages.

Captain Maalen remarked, “This is truly a grand moment for the Spirit of Oceanus, her guests and her crew. No other line, big or small, has endeavored to circumnavigate the world in 335 days. I am thrilled to be at the helm of five of the 24 voyages and be a part of making history.”

The first of 24 distinct voyages, a Southeast Asian journey, will travel for 15 nights from Singapore to Chennai, India, making stops at Malacca, Malaysia; Georgetown, Penang; Langkawi; Phuket and Kho Yao, Thailand; Similan Islands; Rangoon, Myanmar; and the Andaman Islands en route to Chennai. This is not an ordinary voyage – guests will enjoy exclusive and fascinating included excursions, further exploration of remote islands via Zodiac and presentations by expert guest lecturers.

There’s still time to book one or multiple segments of the 2010 or 2011 world voyages that range from 9 – 18 nights. Each meticulously crafted itinerary from Asia to the Mediterranean, Europe to the Americas and throughout the South Pacific offer the most discerning and well-traveled guests an array of distinctive choices and authentic experiences. Savings are still available. To book a Cruise West voyage for your client or for more information call 1-800-689-1783.

For more information about Cruise West take a look at the Cruise West profile at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-cruise-west.html or take a look at the official Cruise West web site at www.cruisewest.com/

When is a cruise brochure not just a cruise brochure?

New brochures come and they go – they inspire potential passengers and fuel their dreams – and then they find their way to the trash can! Few of them really stick out from the crowd.

Until now - that is.

The recently revamped Azamara Club Cruises brochure does indeed stand out from the crowd.

“Our new destination guide (brochure) was designed to break through the clutter and say, ‘We’re something different,’ particularly through photography,” said Azamara Club Cruises President & CEO Larry Pimentel.

“Upmarket retailers – particularly during the holidays – tend to produce materials in unique sizes, with dramatic photography and design schemes,” said Pimentel. “We concluded that having a unique size was one of the key reasons something got noticed first. So, we opted to follow suit.”

Azamara recruited five students obtaining their Master of Fine Arts degrees in photography at the esteemed San Francisco Art Institute and booked each to sail on Azamara Journey to conduct an extensive shoot in photojournalistic style.

“The results were nothing short of stunning,” said Pimentel.

The front cover exhibits a series of die-cut holes revealing brand-inspired phrases, while the back of the book features a pocket for insertion of itinerary summaries, deck plans, and other materials produced in a variety of languages for tailored use around the world.

Already, the popular cruise-trade publication, Cruise Week, has produced a column focused on Azamara’s new destination guide, as has the respected Seatrade Insider. Travel Professionals also have expressed enthusiasm.

At 11”x17” the new Azamara Club Cruises’ destination guide initially seemed a little too big for some travel professionals, but in almost every case, they soon realized why, and appreciated what it’s designed to do! “This brochure was intended not as a mass market piece, but a ‘class market’ piece, to strongly convey our brand’s upmarket position,” said Pimentel. “We designed this piece to help Travel Professionals convey what Azamara Club Cruises is all about. ”

To obtain a printed copy of the new Azamara Club Cruises destination guide, consumers are invited to call 1-877-999-9553. Travel Professionals are encouraged to dial 1-877-222-2526. Or, to download an electronic version of the guide, visit the Azamara Club Cruises web site at www.azamaraclubcruises.com, and click “brochure.”

For more information about Azamara Club Cruises take a look at the recently updated Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine profile about the cruise line at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-azamara-cruises.html

Friday, March 5, 2010

Unusual "Concierge Collection" Shore Excursions from Windstar

For a long time, here at Prow's Edge, we've been vocal about some of the shore excursion "rip-offs" – like the Sitka, Alaska bus tour for $100 in which you spend more time loading on the coach (and off again) than you do on the tour itself which you can do just as easily on foot from the cruise ship gangway.

This is why it's good to see new innovations in the shore excursions on offer these days, like the 33 Concierge Collection excursions Windstar is showcasing in Croatia, France, Monaco, Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey. Due to the intimate style of these excursions, they are limited to small parties. Some of the really unusual New Concierge Collection excursions include:
• Roman Ferrari Adventure in Rome, Italy: Drive a Ferrari F430 Spider F1 along the legendary Mille Miglia
Watercolors with Antonia Ruskovic in Dubrovnik, Croatia: A painting lesson with a well-known Croatian watercolorist
• Galimard Perfumery in Monte Carlo, Monaco: Guided tour of perfume museum and exclusive workshop to create a unique fragrance presented in a 100ml decorative bottle
• Bike Ride on Lucca’s City Walls in Lucca, Italy: A bike ride around the city, high atop the city walls with a guide viewing Lucca’s famous monuments, gardens and highlights
• Bodrum Castle with Underwater Archaeology Expert in Bodrum, Turkey: Tour the Castle of Bodrum with an underwater archaeology expert to view the castle’s Underwater Archaeology Museum and 1000-year-old Glass Shipwreck exhibit
• Sailing on Caldera Lake in Santorini, Greece: Board a traditional sailing vessel to explore the volcanic crater islands of Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni and Thirassia.

For full details on all the new shore excursions on offer from Windstar Cruises visit the latest news page at Prow's Edge at www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-050310-windstar-cruises.html

For more information about Windstar Cruises visit the recently updated profile at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-windstar-cruises.html

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reduced airfare for cruises throughout in Europe with MSC

MSC’s newly released airfare program features reduced airfare for cruises throughout the Mediterranean onboard MSC Magnifica, the latest fleet addition, MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia, and MSC Musica. Airfare prices start from just $369.

Cruise itineraries include:

• MSC Magnifica, “Turkish Treasures and Croatian coasts” from Venice; calling in Bari, Italy; Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Izmir, Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey; and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Departures July 3 - November 13, 2010.

• MSC Splendida, “The Splendid Mediterranean” Western Mediterranean cruise from Genoa and Rome, Italy; calling in Marseille, France; Barcelona, Spain; La Goulette (Tunis), Tunisia; Valletta, Malta; Messina (Taormina), Sicily, Italy; and Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. Departures May 15 – November 6, 2010.

• MSC Musica, “Greek Islands in the Sun” Eastern Mediterranean cruise from Venice; calling in Bari, Italy; Katakolon, Greece; Santorini, Greece; Mykonos, Greece; Piraeus/Athens, Greece; Corfu, Greece; and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Departures May 9 – October 3, 2010.

• MSC Fantasia “Mediterranean Fantasy” Western Mediterranean cruise from Genoa, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain; calling in Naples (Capri), Italy; Palermo, Italy; La Departures May 9 – November 8, 2010.

Cruises can be combined with airfare only or airfare and hotel. Airline departures are from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New Jersey. Overnight hotel stay is recommended due to cruise arrival times, and can be booked through MSC or on your own.

For more information, visit www.MSCCruisesUSA.com, or visit the newly updated Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine profile for MSC Cruises at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-msc-italian-cruises.html

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Celebrity Eclipse Comes Out Into The Open

A lot of people are excited about the next eclipse of the sun due to stun everyone on July 11 this year, but this month, there's another eclipse to excited about – the Celebrity Eclipse!

The third in Celebrity Cruises' stylish, $3.7-billion Solstice Class fleet, Celebrity Eclipse showed off her sleek profile Sunday as she emerged for the first time from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.

Celebrity Eclipse will enter service April 26 and, following two "short break" cruises, will offer a series of Canary Islands, Scandinavia/Russia and Spanish Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Southampton, England. The new vessel will present Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Miami beginning in November.

For more information about Celebrity Cruises visit the updated profile of Celebrity Cruises at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-celebrity-cruises.html

Monday, March 1, 2010

More News About New Cruise Ships for MSC As MSC Signs Letter of Intent For Yet Another Cruise Ship

Just three days after the MSC Magnifica flag ceremony at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire (France), MSC Cruises signed a letter of intent for the delivery of yet another new ship in June 2012, to join the eleven new vessels built over the past seven years.

MSC Cruises’ worldwide CEO, Pierfrancesco Vago, said, “We are immensely proud to announce the signature of a letter of intent for the building of a new ship, MSC Favolosa.”

The general manager of STX Europe, Jacques Hardelay, said, “We look forward to implementing our expertise to again fulfill the promise of exceptional quality, deliverability, and design for MSC Cruises."

Measuring 1,094 feet in length and 125 feet wide, MSC Favolosa will have 1,751 staterooms and be able to travel at speeds of up nearly 24 knots.

Award-winning naval architects De Jorio Design International is once again designing the newest addition to the Fantasia class, technically called V32. The ship will herald a state-of-the-art concept in space management. Two additional lifts to improve flow of the guests and a total redesign of decks and restaurants to offer guests on board unprecedented comfort and the highest space ratio per guest.

For more information about MSC Cruises visit the newly updated Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine profile for MSC Cruises at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-msc-italian-cruises.html

Another New Cruise Ship for MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has officially taken ownership of its newest ship, MSC Magnifica, from the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

MSC Cruises’ worldwide CEO Pierfrancesco Vago, said, “MSC Magnifica’s delivery brings the fleet to 11; our capacity has increased 10 times in just seven years to reach 1.2 million passengers this year – an unprecedented rate of growth.”

Although the numbers are important, MSC Cruises has earned worldwide recognition for its industry-leading innovations in ship design.

STX Europe’s general manager, Jacques Hardelay, said, “We are honored that STX France has once again contributed to the growth of the most modern cruise fleet. This new cruise ship illustrates the excellent and exceptional collaboration between Saint-Nazaire and MSC Crociere teams.”

After an inaugural visit to Southampton dedicated to England next weekend, MSC Magnifica will begin her pre-christening cruise from Saint-Nazaire on Monday, March 1 calling at Cherbourg, Dover, and Amsterdam before reaching the port of Hamburg for the official christening ceremony on Saturday, March 6.

Screen legend Sophia Loren once again serves as the ship’s godmother, and participates in the ribbon cutting.

When the new ‘Musica’ class vessel comes into service in March 2010, the MSC Magnifica will carry 2,518 passengers, most of them enjoying the luxury of a sea-facing cabin with private balcony. Lucky guests on MSC Magnifica will be expertly looked after by a crew of over 1,000.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit www.msccruisesusa.com, call 877-665-4655, or contact a local travel professional.