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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cruises to Ancient Civilizations

Variety Cruises will embark on its newest venture, the Ancient Civilizations of Eastern Mediterranean program, in January 2012. Sailing aboard the 49-passenger Panorama cruiser, the program proposes two embarkation ports for guests’ convenience: Larnaca, Cyprus or Port Said, Egypt. The cruise will sail between both ports from January through April 2012. Regular fares begin at $1,690 per person, per week.

Variety Cruises’ eight-day Ancient Civilizations of Eastern Mediterranean cruises will explore Cyprus, Syria, Israel and Egypt, enabling guests to discover the sites of ancient Eastern Mediterranean empires. Cruises from Larnaca to Port Said will sail January 23, 2012 to April 02, 2012. Cruises from Port Said to Larnaca will sail January 30, 2012 to April 09, 2012.

Itinerary for Larnaca departures:
• DAY 1: Larnaca, Cyprus. Embarkation and overnight sail to Syria.
• DAY 2: Latakia, Syria. Optional excursions to Aleppo, once the third economic center of the Ottoman Empire.
• DAY 3: Tartus, Syria. Excursions to Palmyra to discover its ancient temples and other treasures.
• DAY 4: Tartus, Syria. Home of the antique city of Crack de Chevaliers, the greatest and the most famous medieval citadel in the world.
• DAY 5: Limassol, Cyprus. The major tourism city in Cyprus, the city offers a treasure trove of Byzantine art.
• DAY 6: Haifa, Israel. Visit to Nazareth, the Village of Cana, via the Tiberias to Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
• DAY 7: Ashdod, Israel. Excursion to Jerusalem, Israel’s largest city.
• DAY 8: Port Said, Egypt. Disembarkation.

Cruises departing from Port Said follow the same itinerary in reverse order. Additional port charges are $290 per person. Guests traveling in Category A can benefit from a 30% reduction on the third person.

Variety Cruises’ Panorama, a three-mast sail cruiser, hosts up to 49 passengers in 25 cabins. This 54-meter state of the art sail cruiser was renovated in 2009 and offers the highest standard of accommodation, comfort and safety.

For an overview of Variety Cruises, take a look at the PROW'S EDGE CRUISE MAGAZINE VARIETY CRUISES PROFILE

For more information on Variety Cruises’ Ancient Civilizations of Easter Mediterranean program, please visit www.varietycruises.com

Monday, March 28, 2011

Captain Cook Cruises Launch New Fiji Cruise

Captain Cook Cruises is excited to be launching the first ever Fiji cruise to circumnavigate Vana Levu, Fiji’s second largest island, the seven nights Discovery Cultural Cruise onboard the MV Reef Endeavour.

The Discovery Cultural Cruise will explore the beaches, islands, rivers, towns and rainforests of the remote north and discovers the three different cultures of the Ellice Islanders (Micronesia), Bananas (Polynesia) and Fijian (Melanesian) peoples.

The seven nights Discovery Cultural Cruise has four scheduled sailings for 2011 including 07 June, 02 August, 04 October and 06 December.

“Our new cruise is the only one of its kind operating in Fiji and provides passengers with a unique opportunity to explore and discover the remote north of Fiji. We are so happy to be launching this cruise and we hope it brings even more tourists into Fiji.” Said Jackie Charlton, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing, Captain Cook Cruises.

The Discovery Cultural Cruise visits Tivua Island, beautiful Nananu-i-ra Island and Yadua Island where passengers visit the Crested Iguana Sanctuary and swim with gentle Manta Rays. A trip to Kia Island, the world’s third longest barrier reef, promises passengers an unforgettable snorkelling or glass bottom boating experience.

Passengers also visit the schools, meet villagers and enjoy an introduction to the different culture and lifestyles of the Ellice (Polynesian) and Banabas (Melanesian) on Kio and Rabi Islandsanddiscover the traditional Fijian culture, with a village sevusevu ceremony, meke and lovo feast.

The cultural experience continues with a visit to the thriving market of spices, fish, poultry, goat and local products in Vanua Levu’s largest town, Labasa, followed by a trip to Fiji’s deepest river, Dreketi River, where by tender passengers explore the river, passing villages and towering rainforests.

Each day passengers can relax, swim or snorkel at a picturesque islands including Druadura Island, GaloaIsland, Yaqaqa Island and Mana Cay Sali Sali Island or choose to stay onboard the MV Reef Endeavour and enjoy a cocktail by the pool or beauty treatment at the ship’s newly renovated Senikai Spa.

Captain Cook Cruises regular 7 night cruises continue to operate and the former “Dateline” cruise has been re-named “Discovery Heritage Cruise” reflecting the significant historical points of interest visited on the cruise including crossing the 180 degree meridian.

The Discovery Cultural Cruise departs Denarau Marina on Tuesdays at 2.00pm and disembarks at 9.00am the following Tuesday. Early Booking Saver fares start from just AU$1399 per person twin share and includes shipboard accommodation, all meals, guided village and island tours, glass bottom boat excursions, on board entertainment and use of the ship's facilities including a swimming pool, spa, sauna, sun deck, cocktail bar and much more.

For an overview of this cruise line see the PROW'S EDGE CRUISE MAGAZINE CAPTAIN COOK CRUISES profile, or for further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free from Australia on 1800 804 843; Int +61-2-9206 1111, or visit www.captaincook.com.au.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Makeover for Silversea Silver Shadow

Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow has a fresh new look thanks to a major renovation completed during the two weeks that the ultra-luxury ship spent in dry dock in Singapore, before returning to service on March 19.

As with the refurbishment of sister ship Silver Whisper last year, the enhancements made aboard Silver Shadow echo the sophisticated contemporary design themes and warm color palettes of Silversea's newest ship, Silver Spirit.

Some of the highlights of Silver Shadow's makeover include:
• New Look for Suites: All carpets, headboards, curtains and veranda furniture were completely replaced. The sofas and chairs feature new upholstery. Each suite has a new mattress custom-made exclusively for Silversea. The mattress features an individual spring system with a soft and firm side that can be reversed to suit each guest's preference. There is also a new memory pillow top that covers the mattress when configured as a queen-sized bed.
• Refreshed Public Areas: La Terrazza, the Bar, Panorama Lounge, Reception area, Card Room and Conference Room received new upholstery, carpeting, curtains and wall treatments. New carpet was laid in the Observation Lounge. The Spa features new wood flooring with new tiling and wall d├ęcor in the treatment rooms. The Restaurant's hardwood floor was completely reconditioned and polished and the chairs dressed in new upholstery. An upgraded sound system was added to the Show Lounge, Panorama Lounge and La Terrazza. New carpet was installed in all corridors, landings and staircases.
• Upgraded Outdoor Spaces: The jogging track features all-new synthetic turf, and the pool area has been outfitted with new deck furniture, plus a new sound and light system for evening entertainment and outdoor shows. The pool itself has been upgraded inside and out with new tiles. A large awning was installed over the outdoor dining section of La Terrazza, along with new outdoor furniture. And the Pool Grill, sporting a new awning as well, will become The Grill for evening dining featuring the popular new Black Rock cooking concept that debuted aboard Silver Spirit. At the new outdoor restaurant, guests will enjoy an interactive dining experience that lets them cook prime meats and fresh seafood on heated volcanic rocks at their table.

For an overview of this cruise line see the PROW'S EDGE CRUISE MAGAZINE SILVERSEA PROFILE or visit the official Silversea Cruises website at www.silversea.com

Thursday, March 24, 2011

4 New Ships for Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruises, the world’s leading river cruise line, today announced the next phase of its $250 million fleet development program as it unveils details of four, state-of-the-art vessels set to launch at the start of its 2012 sailing season. This is the second time in a decade that Viking River Cruises has engaged in four new ship builds in one season—an accomplishment that no other river cruise company has matched since Viking did it in 2001.

Scheduled to sail four of Viking’s most popular European itineraries, including the 10-day Tulips & Windmills, 8-day Romantic Danube, 15-day Grand European Tour and 8-day Danube Waltz, each of the new Viking Longships will be 443 feet (135 meters) long, and feature 95 staterooms per ship. Representing a $120 million investment, each of the new ships will boast key innovations such as:

• Two Explorer Suites, which will be the largest river cruise suites in Europe at 445 square feet, each featuring a separate living room, bedroom, bathroom and private wraparound veranda, offering 270-degree views.
• Seven 270-square-foot Veranda Suites with full-size verandas in the living room and French balconies in the bedroom.
• 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas at 205 square feet.
• Sustainability upgrades such as energy-efficient hybrid engines, solar panels and an onboard organic herb garden.
• A new all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace that reinvents the lounge by bringing the outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors.
• Al fresco dining areas on the Upper deck, adjacent to the lounge to present more dining choices to guests.

The Viking Longships are currently available for booking. Dates and pricing as well as ship and itinerary information are available on the company’s website at www.vikingrivercruises.com.

For an overview of Viking River Cruises visit the Royal Viking River Cruises Profile at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bridge skills with Fred Olsen

Regular cruisers will know that a game of bridge is a popular activity on many cruises. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ships all have dedicated card rooms, and guests regularly get together to enjoy a rubber, whether they are regular players, or just enjoying a friendly game of cards while at sea. On all Fred. Olsen cruises, except the very short mini cruises, there are seasoned bridge players on board to offer advice and tuition for those who wish to learn more.

A real treat for bridge-lovers will be the Balmoral cruise L1107, a 14-night cruise to the North Cape, departing from Southampton on 10th June 2011.

On this cruise, there will be an English Bridge Union, (EBU), Licensed Bridge Tournament, in association with Gill’s Cruise Centre, hosted by Paul Hackett, whose credentials are second to none. Bridge correspondent for the Daily Express, Paul is a current Senior World Champion, having won the last two world championships in Philadelphia, USA and Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is also the chairman and President of the Commonwealth Bridge Championships. Paul is head of a formidable bridge-playing family; his twin sons, Justin and Jason, and daughter-in-law, Barbara, have all won World Championships.

Prices for this exceptional cruise start from £1,370 per person, (inclusive of 5.5% Fuel Cost Supplement), based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin, Grade ‘I’ – as featured in the new Fred. Olsen ‘Summer Selection’ brochure. The price includes all meals and entertainment on board, and port taxes.

To join the Bridge Tournament on this cruise, bookings are exclusively through Gill’s Cruise Centre – call 0845 460 7002 for latest prices. Find out more at www.gillscruise.com/cruise-deals/bridge-cruises

For an overview of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, see the Fred Olsen Profile at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Paul Gauguin Shipboard Credit

For a limited time only, Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, is offering an extra incentive to book a cruise to paradise – a shipboard credit valued at up to $1,000 per couple on select sailings.

Book one of the following select sailings on the Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands itinerary by June 30, 2011, and receive shipboard credit valued at $500 per person, or receive shipboard credit valued at $250 per person on select sailings of all other itineraries aboard the award-winning m/s Paul Gauguin. Plus, enjoy savings of 50% off standard cruise fares and FREE airfare from Los Angeles—an additional value of up to $2,700 per couple—on all 2011 sailings!

Tahiti & Society Islands

7 nights from only $4,147
April 30; May 7; October 29; November 5, 12, 2011

7 nights from only $4,397
June 4, 11; September 17, 24; October 1, 2011

7 nights from only $4,497
July 9†, 16†, 23†; August 20†; December 21†, 28†, 2011

7 nights from only $3,997
December 3, 2011

Cook Islands & Society Islands

11 nights from only $4,997
May 14; July 30†; October 8, 2011

11 nights from only $4,697
December 10, 2011

Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands

14 nights from only $5,997
August 27; November 19, 2011

For reservations, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-800-848-6172, or visit www.pgcruises.com.

Take a look too at the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Cruise Line Profile for Paul Gauguin

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Regent Seven Seas Cruises Concierge Program

Guests booking suite categories E and above on Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner and category D and above on Seven Seas Navigator will receive the following services:

*priority specialty restaurant reservations

*25% off premium purchased wines & liquors

*priority spa reservations

*10% off pre-or-post hotel or land packages

*priority embarkation

*space available upgrades at time of sailing

*priority luggage delivery

*complimentary binoculars

*15 min. worth of free phone calls per suite

*complementary Regent Seven Seas tote bag

*one free hour of internet per suite

*printed air boarding passes

For an overview of Regent Seven Seas Cruises take a look at the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Regent Seven Seas Profile or to receive a brochure or for more information on Regent Seven Seas Cruises, see a professional travel agent, visit www.RSSC.com or call toll-free 800-285-1835.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Special Rates on European Sailings with MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises is featuring its own version of “‘March Madness” and guests who book on select 7-night 2011 European sailings by March 31 are the real winners.

In addition to rates starting at $579 that are more than 60 percent off the brochure rate, those who book select Mediterranean cruises using “March Madness” rates will receive a stateroom upgrade of as much as two-categories within the same stateroom category.

A long-time leader in the European cruise market, MSC Cruises’ beautiful ships feature European style and ambiance, impeccable cleanliness, contemporary design and refined elegance as they take guest to some of Europe’s most popular landmarks and most sought-after destinations.

“March Madness” rates are available for select categories and sail dates throughout the spring and summer months to both the Eastern and Western Mediterranean on the following ships and 7-night itineraries:

MSC Fantasia: April 22-Aug. 29 “Mediterranean Fantasy” itineraries departing Civitavecchia, Barcelona or Genoa; rates begin at $579.

MSC Splendida: April 10-Aug. 28 “The Splendid Mediterranean” from Genoa or Barcelona; rates begin at $579.

MSC Magnifica: June 4-Aug. 28 “Magnificent Mediterranean” itineraries from Venice or Bari; rates begin at $699.

MSC Musica: June 26-Aug. 29 “Greek Islands in the Sun” from Venice or Bari; rates begin at $749.

MSC Armonia: June 3-Aug. 26 “Jewels of the Adriatic” itineraries from Venice; rates begin at $799.

Rates quoted are cruise-only, per person, double occupancy, and interior stateroom. Government fees and taxes are additional. The deadline to book using “March Madness” rates is March 31.

For more information about MSC Cruises, see the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine MSC Cruises Profile or visit the MSC website at www.msccruisesusa.com, call 877-665-4655, or contact a local travel professional.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Holland America Line Increases Australia Capacity

Holland America Line continues to strengthen its commitment to the Australian marketplace with the announcement of the Vista-class ms Oosterdam deployment to the South Pacific for the 2012-13 season. This will boost Holland America Line's capacity in the region by almost 25 percent. In preparation for the increase, the line is opening a dedicated sales, marketing and reservations office in Sydney.

This follows an earlier announcement marking the 2011-12 season as the first time the line will have two ships sailing a series of itineraries in the region simultaneously. The 1,926 passenger Oosterdam will join ms Volendam, replacing the 1,432 passenger ms Zaandam in 2012-13. Ten to 25-day itineraries will be introduced in and around Australia and New Zealand.

Said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, Holland America Line, “This is a natural next step in our strategy to expand our premium brand internationally. We are inspired by the continued demand for cruising in Australia.”

Detailed deployment for the 2012-13 Australia and New Zealand season will be announced later this year.

For an overview of Holland America Line visit the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Cruise Lines - Holland America Line profile or visit the Holland America Line site

Norwegian Cruise Line To Raise Fares

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that it plans to raise cruise fares up to ten percent on April 1, 2011.

The cruise line has also announced, however, that the company also announced it will extend its “Free Upgrades For All” Sales Event through March 31, 2011.

This popular Wave Season promotion provides up to a four-category upgrade on select sailings, along with e-coupons in on-board savings of up to $400. This extension will give those planning to book a cruise extra time to take advantage of this offer prior to price increases which will take effect on April 1, 2011.

“We’ve seen exceptional demand spurred by our Wave Season promotion, particularly for the popular summer destinations. In fact, we surpassed our weekly booking record three times in the last eight weeks,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Based on this demand, we will increase our fares on April 1. We wanted to give consumers and travel agents the opportunity to take advantage of these offers before the price increase.”

Norwegian’s signature Freestyle Cruising provides extraordinary value by offering premium deployments on one of the youngest fleets in the industry, and includes an unparalleled variety of dining options along with non-stop entertainment experiences.

For an overview of Norwegian Cruise Line visit the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Cruise Line Profile - Norwegian Cruise Line or for more information on Norwegian or to book a cruise, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 866-234-7350 or visit www.ncl.com