Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Princess Cruises Cancels Three Calls to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan

Princess Cruises canceled calls to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan on three Sapphire Princess sailings departing Nov. 19, Dec. 10 and Dec. 31. “Our security department continues to monitor the actions taking place in specific areas of Mexico,” the company said. “As the safety and security of our passengers and crew is our highest priority and based on the continued violence in these areas, we’ve made the decision to cancel our calls to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.” The itinerary now includes a two-day call in Cabo San Lucas, one day in Ensenada and three days at sea. For more information, call The Cruise Outlet 203-288-1884.

Friday, June 17, 2011

British Immigration Officers

IMMIGRATION officers are taking week-long cruises on the Queen Mary 2 so pampered passengers can avoid queues when they arrive in Southampton. Staff from the United Kingdom Border Agency, criticised last week by MPs for “losing” 74,500 asylum seekers in Britain, are working in the plush surroundings of the exclusive liner, flagship of the renowned Cunard fleet. The American authorities do not let their staff board the liner for voyages to New York from Britain but the UKBA is happy to man the ships so passengers can have their passports and documentation checked before they dock.  Conservative MP Douglas Carswell said yesterday: “It is extraordinary that an agency that declares itself short-staffed and under-resourced can find the manpower to put people on a luxury cruise and not just process the paperwork when passengers arrive back in the UK.  “They would be better off putting their efforts into deporting illegal immigrants rather than spending their time on luxury liners.”

Published, June 5, 2011, by Roddy Ashworth

Monday, June 13, 2011

Disney - Kids Sail Free!

The Disney Wonder offers seven-day cruises round-trip from Los Angeles!

Disney Cruise LineDisney Cruise Line this week unveiled a "Kids Sail Free" deal on most of its Mexican Riviera sailings from October 30 to December 18, 2011.

Children age 17 and under will sail free on the 1,754-passenger Disney Wonder when traveling with two full-fare passengers in the same balcony cabin (categories 4A 6A). Disney said there is no expiration date on the deal, but that the number of cabins allocated for the offer is limited. 

For more information call 203-288-1884!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Royal Caribbean to Base Voyager of the Seas in China in June 2012

Royal Caribbean International, in a bid to capture more of the potentially lucrative Chinese cruise market, said it would base Voyager of the Seas in China during the month of June in 2012. The announcement was made at a press conference at the Shanghai International Conference Center in China before an audience of 300 travel agents and media partners. Michael Bayley, executive vice president-international for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Dr. Zinan Liu, group managing director for China and Asia, unveiled plans for Royal Caribbean to have the 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas sail a series of cruises from Shanghai next year. The ship will feature a wide variety of itineraries, ranging from four nights to 10 nights. Royal Caribbean said the move is designed to offer exciting new cruise experiences to Chinese vacationers, as well as attract cruise guests from around the world to visit China and sail around Asia. “Customer demand for our brand has been very strong in China,” said Bayley, “We are excited to be able to bring such an innovative ship to the China market in 2012.”
“This is a major step forward for the cruise industry in China. We will continue working with the Chinese ports and our travel partners to further develop the country’s overall cruise economy,” said Zinan. “Along with Michael Bayley, we’ve been meeting with various agencies and officials on playing an active role in the development of home ports for international cruise ships. There’s also the need to build necessary support facilities, including bonded warehouses and distribution centers. Our aim is to support cities like Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Xiamen, to grow into world class cruise tourist destinations.”  Royal Caribbean said Voyager of the Seas will be double the size of any cruise ship operating in China or the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. The ship displaces 150,000 gross registered tons, spans 11 guest decks and has 1,556 staterooms. After Shanghai, Voyager of the Seas will offer a variety of sailings to ports in Japan and Korea until August, including Fukuoka and Kobe in Japan, and Busan and Jeju in Korea. The ship will depart for Sydney, Australia in October.
Royal Caribbean said because of the significance of the growing Chinese cruise market and desire to sail with Royal Caribbean International, Legend of the Seas also will return to Shanghai in March 2012 for its fourth season. For the two ships, work is underway to offer a wider variety of tailored onboard products to Chinese guests, including more Chinese language services, authentic Chinese food and culturally appropriate recreational activities and duty-free items. When Voyager of the Seas sails into Shanghai in June 2012, it will introduce several unique concepts never before seen at sea in Asia, including the Royal Promenade, an indoor “main street” stretching nearly the full length of the middle of the ship; “Studio B” Ice Rink, an ice skating rink for guests that doubles as a 700-seat venue for ice show productions; 11 dining venues, including specialty restaurant “Portofino” for classic Italian fine dining, ’50s inspired American diner “Johnny Rockets,” and the three-story, 1,919-seat main dining room. The ship also features an Inline skating track, Royal Caribbean’s signature rock-climbing wall, a nine-hole mini golf course, a golf simulator, a full size sports court with basketball court, three swimming pools and six whirlpools.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Royal Caribbean Special Military Rates!

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line offers SAVINGS  UP TO 20%
ON OVER 100 EUROPE AND CARIBBEAN SAILINGS offering special Military rates on select sailings. We value the valor of our brave service
men and women, and appreciate everything you do to keep us secure. You work hard, you deserve a break. Sailings between May 15 and Dec 31, 2011.

To qualify for a Military rate, at least one guest in the stateroom must be classified as one of the following, 1. Active personnel currently serving in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, Reserves or Canadian National Defense. 2. Retired from any of the divisions listed directly above. 3. Veterans with an Honorable Discharge serving a minimum of 2 years, or 6-months in an active war zone, in any of the United States service divisions listed above. At least one guest per stateroom must be eligible to be considered in compliance with these rates. A guest’s inability to provide proof upon check-in at the pier will result in the reservation being re-priced to the lowest available fare for that particular day and the guest will be responsible to pay for any differences immediately or risking denial of boarding. Offer is subject to availability. Prices are per person, cruise only, based on double occupancy. All itineraries and prices are subject to change without notice. Certain restrictions apply. Government taxes and fees are additional.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Disney Fantasy - 2012

The Disney Fantasy, the new Disney Cruise Line ship set to debut next spring, will bring to life many of the innovative features guests love on the recently launched Disney Dream including AquaDuck -- the world’s first shipboard water coaster. But new design elements and guest experiences will give the Fantasy an identity all its own.  The Disney Fantasy is the second of two newly designed Disney Cruise Line ships that take the family cruise experience to new heights. Sister ship to the Disney Dream, which entered service in January 2011, the 4,000-passenger Disney Fantasy will sail week-long Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Fla., with its maiden voyage scheduled for March 31, 2012.

Animator’s Palate on the Disney Fantasy brings the magic of Disney animation into the dining room with a new show called “Animation Magic.” The dinner show celebrates the magic of Disney animation and allows families to create and participate in a whole new way. Like Animator’s Palate on the Disney Dream, the venue is wall-to-wall whimsy inspired by a classic animation studio. Throughout the restaurant, pillars are fashioned like huge pencils and brushes. Character sketches, maquettes (three-dimensional character models), film strips and other tools of the animation trade adorn the room. As a special nod to Mickey Mouse, the dining room chairs feature red and yellow colors and a trademark design – Mickey Mouse pants with two bright yellow buttons. Upon entering Animator’s Palate, guests are surrounded by artwork featuring their favorite Disney characters. Guests get a sneak peek into the origins of these beloved characters through concept art, storyboards and character studies.  As guests are seated at their tables, they are invited to draw a character of their own using a simple template on their placemat. Then, just before dinner, house lights dim and a sprinkling of pixie dust illuminates the room.

Imagery is revealed on several large monitors showing animated, black and white drawings of Mickey Mouse. Mickey then places the Sorcerer’s hat upon his head which transforms him, as well as all of the other pencil drawings shown throughout the room, from black and white to color. Mickey then invites guests to sit back, relax and enjoy a taste of animation as a montage of memorable food-themed moments from Disney and Pixar films set to “Be Our Guest” begins to delight guests. After the “Be Our Guest” number is complete, animated curtains are drawn on the monitors for a brief intermission. During this time, guests are encouraged to complete their own drawings, if they have not already done so, so they may be whisked off to Mickey Mouse who is conjuring a magical final act. While guests enjoy dinner, the restaurant’s walls fill with classic Disney and Pixar characters gathering food, eating and drinking together, and celebrating over meals. After dinner, the animated curtains are opened on the screens and Sorcerer Mickey returns for the exciting finale. With a flourish and musical crescendo, Mickey works magic as only Disney can do. Mickey conjures the guests’ drawings – now fully animated and brought to life – into the onscreen action. A parade starts as Mickey leads the guests’ drawings in a march across the screens around the dining room. The animation of the drawings becomes increasingly more elaborate, and then the drawings step into scenes from beloved Disney movies and skip, skate and dance side-by-side with characters such as Mickey Mouse, Jiminy Cricket, Cinderella and Snow White. At the conclusion of the show, Mickey returns to say “so long” to the guests and, as he does, credits roll on screen showing each guest’s name listed as a guest animator. To commemorate the experience, each guest will have their character drawing returned to them, with an added touch… a golden seal proclaiming them an Official Disney Animator.

Europa Nighttime Entertainment District

On the Disney Fantasy, adult guests step into a world that’s all their own at Europa – a nighttime entertainment district exclusively for guests 18 and older that features sophisticated bars and trendy lounges inspired by the very best in European travel.

La Piazza is a lounge that draws inspiration from Italian cities and their decorative outdoor plazas. The bar is modeled after a colorful vintage carousel. Venetian masks, romantic couples’ booths and a classic Vespa with a sidecar add Italian flair. Skyline is a chic bar that provides ever-changing birds-eye views of stunning European city skylines that transform from day to night. Skyline’s “windows to the world” give guests a glimpse of spectacular locales in panorama such as Paris, London, Barcelona, Athens and St. Petersburg. O’Gill’s Pub is a rollicking Irish bar with modern-day twists. Dark woods, brass accents and a selection of Irish beers create the perfect pub atmosphere where guests can sip a pint while watching live sporting events on one of several high-definition televisions. Ooh La La is inspired by an elegant French boudoir adorned with velvet tufted walls, Victorian furniture and Louis XIV-style chaise lounges. A sensuous color palette is accented with ornate framed mirrors, gold details and a “jewel box” feature bar backed with sparkling diamond-like facets. The Tube transports guests to a vibrant metropolitan club via the London Underground. Guests “mind the gap” as they walk across a Tube route map, lounge among mod furniture, pose by a red English phone booth, dance atop an illuminated Union Jack dance floor and enjoy cocktails at a bar inspired by Big Ben and London’s many train stations.

A new ship means new main stage entertainment at the 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre. New to Disney Cruise Line, “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” takes the stage on the Disney Fantasy. During this Broadway-style production, guests laugh along with the wise-cracking Genie and the cast from the classic animated Disney film, “Aladdin.”In this fast-paced musical comedy, Aladdin is back as the “street rat” of Agrabah meeting up with a Genie who grants him three wishes, battling the evil Jafar, and falling in love with Princess Jasmine. Many of the classic scenes and songs from the movie are re-created on stage and some of the action even spills out into the aisles, like Prince Ali's jubilant arrival in Agrabah on the back of a stallion. Magic lamps, wise-cracking genies, princesses and evil wizards are all part of this musical production. And of course, an Aladdin production would not be complete without a magic flying carpet scene, which combines mechanical wizardry with state-of-the-art projections, allowing Jasmine and Aladdin to soar as they perform a heartfelt duet of “Whole New World.” Many of the songs from the movie are featured in the 45-minute musical production, including “Friend Like Me,” which is performed as a lively, Las Vegas-style production number featuring special effects, illusions and more than a dozen dancing genies. Composer Alan Menken, who created the original soundtrack with songwriters Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, composed an original song for the stage production entitled "To Be Free."

At Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the Disney Fantasy, aspiring young princesses and pirates receive the full fairy tale treatment with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers at this very special salon. When young princesses-to-be make their royal entrance at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, they are greeted by their very own Fairy Godmother-in-training who transform them with magical makeovers such as the Disney Diva, the Pop Princess or the Fairy Tale Princess. A variety of royal treatment packages include combinations of hairstyle, shimmering makeup and nails. Princess costumes, complete with crown, wand and shoes also are available.

Exclusive to Disney Cruise Line, Captain Mickey Mouse, Princess Minnie Mouse and First Mate Minnie Mouse makeovers plus special Under the Sea packages will be offered. On pirate party nights aboard the Disney Fantasy, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique transforms into the Pirate’s League, where swashbuckling boys, girls and grownups can get ready for the pirate life.

Each guest checking in at the plunder-filled pirate’s lair gets an official pirate name. Then it’s off to Muster Station for applications of beards and bandanas, swords and scars, earrings and eye patches – all done with the savvy skill of a pirate master who shares his own tales of sea-sailing adventures. After the new buccaneers recite a sacred pirate oath, they are officially part of Captain Jack’s motley crew, leaving their old identities behind. The shipmates and scoundrels are then turned loose on their pirate vessel. Guests can choose from two pirate packages – First Mate (includes bandana, facial scars tattoos, fake teeth, earring, eye patch, sword and sheath) or Empress (includes bandana, shimmering makeup, face gem, tattoos, nail polish, earring, eye patch, sword and sheath).

The magnificent three-deck atrium lobby on the Disney Fantasy is reminiscent of grand ocean liners of the Golden Age. Art Nouveau-inspired details and patterns in hues of vibrant blue, green, pink and gold lend to the sophistication. Glamorous and graceful design elements include a sweeping grand staircase, towering fluted columns, grand piano and an exquisite marble and stone inlay floor. A focal point is a cascading chandelier of stained glass and crystal beads. The pièce de résistance of the magnificent space is the atrium lobby statue – Mademoiselle Minnie Mouse. Inspired by travel of the 1920s and 1930s, Minnie, cast in bronze and dressed in vintage fashion with a parasol and steamer luggage at her side, serves to welcome all guests who board the ship.

Royal Court Restaurant
At Royal Court restaurant, guests are immersed in the lavish surroundings of an elegant dining room fit for a grand palace. Royal Court takes design inspiration from the classic Disney films “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Décor features ornate details and custom furnishings and fixtures that incorporate iconic symbols from the films – glass slippers, apples, roses and tiaras.  An Austrian glass chandelier is a focal point, while eight custom brass and glass lighting fixtures modeled after Cinderella’s coach adorn the room. Hand-crafted mosaic tile murals of the princesses – Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Jasmine, Ariel and Sleeping Beauty (Aurora) – and their princes grace the walls. Inspired by the mosaic tile murals in Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, the Disney Fantasy mosaics are being meticulously created by skilled Italian craftspeople using more than 200,000 individual tiles, with 23 mosaic panels depicting six different vignettes. With careful attention to detail, many of the restaurant’s features are modeled precisely from the inspirational films. The Royal Court’s chandeliers, chair backs and columns with marble bases and fluted tops are fashioned after those seen in “Beauty and the Beast.” Wall sconces, decorative patterns, throne-style chairs and the circular floor plan are recreated from “Cinderella.”

The Disney Fantasy will depart on her maiden voyage March 31, 2012, and will sail out of Port Canaveral on seven-night Caribbean itineraries – alternating eastern (St. Maarten and St. Thomas) and western (Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel). Special Eastern Caribbean sailings in November and December 2012 stop at St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico. All Disney Fantasy itineraries include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.