Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Royal Caribbean streamlines drinks packages

Royal Caribbean International has pared down its offering of beverage packages to four, with just one that includes alcohol. The cruise line said guests can buy a package that includes beer, wine and cocktails for a price of $55 a day (the package includes drinks that sell for less than $12). Guests will get a $12 credit toward any drink that costs more than $12. The package also includes non-alcoholic beverages, premium coffee, tea and bottled water. The new packages went into effect Sept. 6.
Previously, Royal Caribbean offered packages that includes various levels of alcoholic drinks for $39, $57 and $67 a day. It said guests that had ordered a $39 package will be upgraded at no charge.
Royal Caribbean said the changes were made with a focus on making the vacation-planning process easy. Two other nonalcoholic options are the Classic Soda package, which provides soft drinks at $8.50 per day, and the Refreshment Package that includes a spectrum of nonalcoholic drinks for $26 a day. Guests can also order Evian water in packages of either 12 one-liter bottles ($39) or 24 one-liter bottles ($69).

For more information and to make reservations,  contact The Cruise Professionals at  TheCruiseOutlet.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com.  Presently they are offering  exclusive rates and amenities for all RCCL sailing in 2016 and 2017

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Oceania Cruises > Book by 9/30/2016 for sailings through 2/2/2017

2 for 1 Cruise Fares with Free Airfare and Free Unlimited Internet | Free Beverage Package – Free Shore Excursions – Free Shipboard Credit plus our agency exclusive $200 shipboard credit

Stars & Shores > Monte Carlo to Venice - 10 Day / October 22, 2016 / Marina
Veranda Stateroom Fares from $4699
Choose one: 8 Shore Excursions, Beverage Package or $800 Shipboard Credit Plus: Free Airfare, Unlimited Internet and Our Agency Exclusive additional $200 Shipboard Credit $99 Premium Economy Air Upgrade

Jewels of the Riviera > Barcelona to Rome - 7 day / October 26, 2016 / Riviera
Veranda Stateroom Fares from $3599
Choose one: 6 Shore Excursions, Beverage Package or $600 Shipboard Credit Plus: Free Airfare, Unlimited Internet and Our Agency Exclusive additional $200 Shipboard Credit $99 Premium Economy Air Upgrade

Magical Mediterranean > Rome to Lisbon - 10 days / November 11, 2106 /Marina
Veranda Stateroom Fares from $4299 
Choose one : 8 Shore Excursions, Beverage Package or $800 Shipboard Credit Plus: Free Airfare, Unlimited Internet and Our Agency Exclusive additional $200 Shipboard Credit $99 Premium Economy Air Upgrade

Atlantic Horizons >>Barcelona to Miami - 14 days / November 21, 2016 / Riviera
Veranda Stateroom Fares from $3599 
Choose one: 10 Shore Excursions, Beverage Package or $1000 Shipboard Credit Plus: Free Airfare, Unlimited Internet and Our Agency Exclusive additional $200 Shipboard Credit 

Panoramic Panama Canal > Miami to Los Angeles - 16 days / Nov 25, 2016 / Sirena
Veranda Stateroom Fares from $5599 
Choose one: 10 Shore Excursions, Beverage Package or $1000 Shipboard Credit Plus: Free Airfare, Unlimited Internet and Our Agency Exclusive additional $200 Shipboard Credit

Radiant Reflections > Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires - 12 days / Dec 7, 2016 / Marina
Veranda Stateroom Fares from $4599 
All 3 for Free: 8 Shore Excursions, Beverage Package and $800 Shipboard Credit Plus: Free Airfare, Unlimited Internet and Our Agency Exclusive additional $200 Shipboard Credit

Coasts to Canyons > >Los Angeles to Los Angeles - 10 days / Dec 11, 2016 / Sirena
Veranda Stateroom Fares from $3899 
Choose one: 8 Shore Excursions, Beverage Package or $800 Shipboard Credit Plus: Free Airfare, Unlimited Internet and Our Agency Exclusive additional $200 Shipboard Credit

Incas and the Andes > Valparaiso to Miami -17 days / January 5, 2017 / Marina
Veranda Stateroom Fares from $6299 
All 3 for Free: 10 Shore Excursions, Beverage Package and $1,000 Shipboard Credit
Plus: Free Airfare, Unlimited Internet and Our Agency Exclusive additional $200 Shipboard Credit

Caribbean Hideaways > Miami to Miami - 10 days / January 23, 2017 / Riviera
Veranda Stateroom Fares from $2899 
Choose one: 8 Shore Excursions, Beverage Package or $800 Shipboard Credit Plus: Free Airfare, Unlimited Internet and Our Agency Exclusive additional $200 Shipboard Credit


Offers and fares are subject to change on 10/1/16. All fares and promotions are per person, based on double occupancy, for new bookings only and may be withdrawn at any time.  Amenities are per stateroom, subject to change. amenity must be chosen by final payment. Not all promotions are combinable.“Airfare” promotion does not include ground transfers and applies to coach, round trip flights only from select airports.. Oceania Cruises reserves the right to assign gateways based on availability. charges such as baggage fees may apply. Oceania Cruises reserves the right to correct errors or omissions and to change any and all fares, fees, promotions and surcharges at any time. Ships’ Registry: Marshall Islands.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Celebrity Cruises hosting Demi Lovato concert

Pop singer Demi Lovato will put on a concert for guests of four Celebrity Cruises ships in St. Maarten on Wednesday, Dec. 28. The four ships (Equinox, Eclipse, Summit and Reflection) will be in St. Maarten on their holiday cruises on that date. Celebrity said it is incredibly rare for a quartet of its ships to visit the same port on the same day. Tickets for the show will be priced at $100 for general admission and $300 for VIP seating. They are available to guests on the Dec. 19 Equniox departure, Dec. 21 Eclipse departure and the Dec. 24 departures of Summit and Reflection.
For more information and to make reservations on these 4 ships and the concert,  contact The Cruise Professionals at  TheCruiseOutlet.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com.  Presently they are offering  exclusive rates and amenities for these sailing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Carnival makes early boarding more expensive

Carnival Cruise Line has made it more costly to get to the fun quickly on most cruises. 
It has implemented a new pricing structure for its Faster To the Fun program, which offers early embarkation and other perks for a fee. The fee used to be $49.95 to $59.95 depending on cruise length. Now the maximum fee has been raised to $79.95 on cruises of eight days or longer.
The new schedule still starts at $49.95 for two- and three-day cruises.  The fee offers priority in security and check-in lines and express boarding, as well as a cabin ready for occupancy at boarding and priority luggage delivery. Faster to the Fun also comes with priority tender boarding and dining times. The cost is assessed on a per-cabin basis, so one fee covers multiple guests staying in the same cabin.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cuba cruises on hold at Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International is all prepared to go to Cuba, having spent $50 million refurbishing the 1,840-passenger Empress of the Seas for the itinerary. But lacking permission from the Cuban government, Royal Caribbean has put the ship into a holding pattern. It will be at least November before Cuba cruises can start.
This is the right sized vessel for Cuba, and our intention is someday we will be going there. Were just still waiting for the nod, said Vicki Freed, senior vice president .Freed led a tour of the Empress recently  showing off the improvements, including the addition of photos of Cuba in the Boleros nightclub. A Cuban combo in Boleros provided entertainment.
Empress of the Seas, a 27-year-old ship, had been sailing for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.s Spanish brand Pullmantur until earlier this year. A big part of Royal Caribbeans upgrade to the ship came in the galleys, which were completely gutted and redone. All the rooms got new carpets, drapes, linens and other soft goods. The six suites got new furniture and upgrades such as bedside USB ports.

For more information and to be placed on the waiting list or to make  reservations on other Royal Caribbean ships,  contact The Cruise Professionals at theCRUISEOUTLET.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com .

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Disney successfully adds to THE river cruise market

Adventures by Disneys first river cruising season is nearly halfway over, and so far, it has proved a successful move into a market generally overlooked by family travelers.  On this seven-day Danube sailing on the 170-passenger AmaViola from Vilshofen to Budapest, Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Adventures by Disney (ABD), said the company was already looking forward to its expansion to a second river, the Rhine, next summer, and that Disney was broadening river cruisings demographic.  [Were] bringing new people into the river cruise category, Potrock said. Theyre kind of locked into a segment of the population, and we can expand that segment by bringing families into the equation.
Adventures By Disney made its foray into river cruising in partnership with AmaWaterways, which purpose-built the AmaViola with family-friendly design details, including connecting staterooms and suites suitable for three- and four-member families, a rare feature on river cruise ships.  As you would expect with Disney, cruisers will find a family-friendly experience onboard, with movie nights and dance parties for kids. Disney Cruise Line fans will recognize the pirate party with face painting.  Kid-friendly excursions include a walking tour of Bratislava, Slovakia, where kids can complete a puzzle of landmarks; a salt mine tour in Salzburg, Austria, with train rides and wooden slides going into the mine; an Austrian park where kids can walk above the treetops on wooden ledges; and a marionette show offering children a chance to go backstage and try manipulating the dolls themselves.
Parents will appreciate touches such as the tour of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, where Adventure Guides take the kids through garden mazes and to an onsite childrens museum, enabling adults to explore on their own.  Launching the first of this kind of product has been a learning process, and Disney said it would continue to tweak the programming and dining to make it better for both adults and children.   The biggest change so far is the minimum age for its cruises: next year, Disney raised it from 4 to 6, but it still recommends 8, based on feedback and seeing how the different aged kids were dealing with the river cruise experience, said Terry Brinkoetter, public relations director for Disney Destinations.   The line also adjusted its dining options. Previously, everyone ate dinner together in the dining room. Now, kids can choose to eat in the lounge, supervised by Adventure Guides who hang out and play games, giving parents a chance to dine alone. Teens may eat together in the wine cellar, and many on my cruise chose to do so. The main dining room has a kids menu for when families wish to dine together. 
Disney also learned on the go with its bicycling excursions, increasing the minimum age from 12 to 14 years after seeing how challenging the tour was, with rough roads (think cobblestone streets) and non-English street signs. An example of the high level of onboard service is that with no bikes suitable for younger kids such as my 9-year-old for the ride on your own option, the cruise director had local bikes delivered to use. 
Future plans
Potrock, who was also onboard with his family, said over dinner at the ships Chefs Table Restaurant that next years expansion to the Rhine on the upcoming 170-passenger AmaKristina made a lot of sense.  Theres a lot of culture and character in that region of the world, he said. And we think theres a lot of connection to classic Disney lore and stories there.  We think its going to play really wonderfully.  With ABD expanding to two rivers for summer 2017, the next area of growth might be cruise timing, Potrock said, possibly expanding into May or September. Disney currently only offers the cruises from June through August, which works well for ABD and AmaWaterways, he said, because summer is not the strongest market for older couples, the mainstay clients for river cruises, due to the heat and crowds in Europe, but is perfect for Disneys family-oriented approach.   Beyond that, he said he sees an opportunity to focus on the adult-only market and get creative in terms of thematics. With the popularity of wine cruises, he said, Disney could possibly find a tie-in with the Epcot Food and Wine Festival to create a new river cruise product.
ABDs Danube river cruise fares include daily shore excursions; WiFi; gratuities; all onboard and some off-ship meals; unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks with every lunch and dinner; and onboard entertainment, including classes for the kids.   Ports include Vilshofen and Passau in Germany and Linz, Melk, Krems and Vienna in Austria, as well as Bratislava and Budapest. 
For more information, receive exclusive amendities and rates and to make reservations on AMA RiverCruises or the Disney program, contact The Cruise Professionals at theCRUISEOUTLET.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com  For  exclusive rates and amenities.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Review of the new Viking Cruises' Viking Star

July 31, 2016 - Excerpts from an article written by Marilyn Green 

It was clear  after only one week onboard Viking Ocean Cruises luxurious Viking Star that it is, first and foremost, a home to its passengers. The designers have found a way to combine elegance and comfort, making the vessel not only a ship, but also a residence.  When the 930-passenger Viking Star launched last year, most of the spotlight was on the ships hardware, as the line had promised to bring many features over from its river cruise operation.
Now, what stands out the most is the ships culture. Guests dont just cruise  they move in.
Its hard to explain the ships combination of beauty and comfort.
And, as in many homes, food is a key feature that brings people together. Although the dining room fare is beautifully planned and delicious, it was the more informal food offerings that were the topic of conversation among guests. The word got out quickly about Mamsens, the onboard deli that uses recipes from the owners mother (oh, the waffles!), but it was the World Cafe buffet with its open kitchen that truly impressed cruise veterans.
One passenger confessed to me that she had requested made-to-order eggs Benedict from the buffet three times. There were similar responses to the evenings Peking duck, the cooked-to-order steaks and the nightly spread of fresh and gorgeous seafood  crab, shrimp, prawns and sushi. A spread of tapas was also popular, and vegetarians devoured dishes such as mashed sweet potatoes, pastas, curries and soups. Dispensers in the buffet served beverages such as coffee, juice, lemonade, cappuccinos and a choice of still or sparkling water.
The room service menu, too, received high honors from guests, and featured dishes such as Angus New York strip steak, grilled chicken breast, Norwegian salmon and artisan cheeses, gravlax (salmon cured with salt, pepper and dill) and Reuben sandwiches. Cheesecake, apple pie, chocolate mousse and dishes with no sugar added are also available.
Although the destinations Viking visits are incredible, I found it difficult to tear myself away from my stateroom. All accommodations have private verandas, superb king-size beds and bathrooms with glassed-in showers, heated tile floors and towel racks and  Freya toiletries. Rooms are equipped with flat-screen televisions, and guests receive complimentary Wi-Fi access.  Complimentary self-service laundry is available on every deck, and pre-measured laundry detergent is offered at no extra charge.
And its not only the guests who are enthusiastic about what is offered onboard Viking Star. Service is excellent as well, and employees seemed genuinely happy. At the bar, a couple asked the server how the crews quarters were. “ We know how lucky we are, the server told them. They are much bigger and better than on the other lines where I’ve worked”..
Inviting as it is, Viking Star is not for everyone. The minimum age to come onboard is 16, and there is no dazzling entertainment or a casino. But for those who find their match here, its a difficult place to leave

For more information, to make reservations and receive  exclusive rates and amenities on any Viking Ocean ship contact The Cruise Professionals at  TheCruiseOutlet.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com