Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Oceania Presents the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber

Oceania Cruises has teamed with Royal Theatrical Productions to feature "Now and Forever — The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber" on board the upper premium line's new 1,250-guest Riviera, which debuts in May 2012. A 10-member cast of singers and dancers will perform music from many of Webber’s best-known shows, including CATS, The Phantom of the Opera and its sequel Love Never Dies, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Riviera will feature three additional production shows: Up in Flames, showcasing the music of Elton John and Billy Joel; The Dawning of Aquarius, a 60s revue; and Rock On, a love story with a rock-and-roll vibe. Royal Theater Productions, founded by Jean Ann Ryan, is an entertainment group that has produced musical revues for many of the world’s cruise ships and resorts. "We are thrilled that Riviera guests will enjoy the songbook of Andrew Lloyd Webber," said Michael Day, Oceania Cruises’ vice president of entertainment. "Working with Jean Ann Ryan and her team we are assured of the most talented performers and highest quality choreography, sound and lighting." The ship features a Lalique-designed grand lobby, 10 dining venues and numerous bars and lounges. Facilities will include a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and innovative Bon App├ętit Culinary Center. Following her May 16 maiden voyage, Riviera will spend the summer and fall cruising the Mediterranean and then cross the Atlantic to operate a series of winter Panama Canal and Caribbean cruises. For more information contact TheCruiseOutlet.com at 203-288-1884

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cruise Lines Imposing Stiffer Cancellation Penalties

Revisions to Carnival Cruise Lines’ cancellation policies that take effect Jan. 30, 2012 are the latest in a gradual move by cruise lines to impose stiffer penalties further out in the sales cycle.
Cruise line cancellation policies have remained fairly consistent for several years, with the severest penalties applied to cancellations on long cruises, on itineraries to exotic destinations, and on bookings canceled close to departure date. But over the past two years some lines have quietly tweaked their policies. They’ve lengthened the number of days out from sailings when the strictest penalties apply and, in some cases, increased the size of the penalty, sometimes doubling it. To be fair, most lines have not made wholesale changes. Taken together, the changes to cancellation policies reflect cruise line efforts to boost revenues on all fronts. The stiffer penalties have a favorable effect on revenues in two ways. Longer penalty periods encourage cancellations earlier in the sales cycle, and that improves a cruise line’s chances of re-selling cancelled space. Of course higher penalties also allow cruise lines to retain a bigger share of the sale price on canceled bookings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Disney Cruise Line Sets First Miami Departures, Returns to Europe

Disney Cruise Line said that in 2013 it will offer Caribbean sailings from the Port of Miami for the first time, as well as new European cruises from Barcelona. The 2013 schedule can be booked starting Jan. 26.
The Disney Wonder will operate its first cruise from Miami on Dec. 23, 2012. One six- and one seven-night Caribbean sailing will set the stage for four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean between Jan. 5, 2013, and May 2, 2013. The four- and five-night cruises have a variety of itineraries, with ports of call including Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Key West, Nassau and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Beginning June 1, 2013, the Disney Magic returns to Europe to operate four-, seven- and 12-night sailings from Barcelona, Spain. The new 12-night sailings visit destinations such as Venice, Italy, and Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast on one itinerary and Ephesus, Turkey, and the Greek Isles, including Athens, on another. Each itinerary offers a departure in June and July. In 2012, Disney Magic is sailing itineraries out of U.S. ports, including New York City.
The Disney Magic, which will begin sailing from Texas in 2012, will continue to sail to the Western Caribbean from the Port of Galveston through May 2013. Six-night cruises visit Grand Cayman and Cozumel while the eight-night voyages call at Key West, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Beginning May 27, 2013, the Disney Wonder will sail seven-night cruises from Vancouver to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska.
The Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream will continue to sail a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries departing from Port Canaveral. The Disney Fantasy 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, January through April 2013, stop at San Juan, Puerto Rico. All Disney Fantasy itineraries include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The Disney Dream will sail three-, four- and five-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay. Families can enhance seven- and 12-night Mediterranean sailings with Adventures by Disney Onboard Experience packages. These packages offer exclusive activities and concierge service from dedicated Adventure Guides, who will lead travelers at each port. Specific itinerary and pricing information for the 2013 Adventures by Disney will be available in March 2012. For more information, visit the The Cruise Outlet.com or call 203-288-1884.

Oceania Delays New Riviera Cruise Ship Due to Labor Strike at Shipyard

The new maiden voyage is a 10-day "Pearls of the Aegean" cruise that includes an overnight aboard ship in Venice before visiting Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, Monemvasia, Crete, Santorini, Kusadasi (gateway to Ephesus), Delos, Mykonos and Athens.
Guests booked on affected sailings can rebook another cruise and receive a future cruise credit, which ranges from $250 to $1,000 per guest, depending on category of accommodation. In the event guests do not wish to rebook, they will receive a full refund. Further information is available from The Cruise Outlet.com at 203-288-1884
Oceania Cruises rescheduled the maiden voyage of the new Riviera from April 24 to May 16 due to construction delays at the Fincantieri shipyard near Genoa, Italy. All guests affected by the delay will be contacted by their travel agents or by Oceania directly to discuss alternative cruise dates. "We sincerely regret any inconvenience that this may cause our guests," said Oceania President Kunal S. Kamlani. "We are working very closely with the shipyard to ensure Riviera is completed to meet Oceania’s high standards of quality and service." "We know that sophisticated international travelers are anxious to welcome Riviera and we regret that labor strikes have caused this delay," said Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri’s CEO.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crystal Cruises Launches New Fast-Track Embarkation Process

Crystal Cruises has launched a new check-in process designed to minimize embarkation procedures in every Crystal embarkation port. The Crystal Fast-Track Check-In eliminates check-in procedures in port terminal waiting areas, moving guests from dock security to the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity lounges. By utilizing a new barcode on each guests cruise ticket and a new ticket scanning system, the cruise line says it can accelerate the check-in required on the first day of sailing. Instead of processing documentation in the terminal, guests are whisked through and ushered on board to complete registration and receive their room keys/boarding cards with photo identification.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

STX France Receives Order for Two Cruise Ships from Viking

Shipbuilder STX France SA announced today that it has received an order to build two luxury cruise ships for Viking Ocean Cruises, an apparent new affiliate of
Viking River Cruises. The vessels will be delivered in spring 2014 and spring 2015. An option for a third ship is being considered. STX said the vessels will be operated primarily on the Mediterranean seas and be dedicated mainly to Viking’s U.S., British and Australian customers. Calls to Viking’s U.S. office for more information were not immediately returned. The vessels accommodate include 888 passengers in 444 cabins and 444 crew members. Construction is expected to start in mid-September for the first vessel and in mid-September 2013 for the second one. The contract is subject to financing. STX noted that Viking River Cruises currently operates a fleet of 23 river vessels, and has eight river ships under construction. STX said the two ocean-going vessels will be built with destination cruising in mind. For more information on this and booking any Viking River Cruise, contact The Cruise Outlet at 203-288-1884 or email at info@thecruiseoutlet.com

Friday, January 6, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line to Introduce New Youth Program

Norwegian Cruise Line plans to replace its current Kid’s Crew program, which has been in place since 1999, with a new program that will be introduced on Norwegian Gem in mid-February. The rebranded program will then roll out to the rest of the fleet. "We’ve already taken family programming to the next level by offering Nickelodeon experiences on some ships," said Norwegian CEO Kevin Sheehan. "In fact, close to 150,000 children sailed on our ships in 2010 and that number continues to rise." The revamped program will divide children among new age groups: 3 to 5 years old; 6 to 8 years; 9 to 12 years; 13 to 14 and 15 to 17 years. There will also be programming for babies and toddlers ages 6 months to 2 years. The new curriculum is being produced in conjunction with The King’s Foundation and Camps, a U.K.-based organization that provides sport and activity programs. More focus will be placed on sporting activities, arts and crafts, theater and technology. Activities will change every 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the age group, and will be set within blocks of programming time in the morning, afternoon and evening. Norwegian also has engaged Cirque Du Jour, a New York-based company that specializes in teaching children circus skills such as scarf juggling, ball juggling, plate spinning, clowning and acrobatics. Circus workshops and shows will also be offered for the entire family. The company also is increasing the ratio of staff to children and establishing new criteria for the hiring of counselors, including the requirement of a college degree in recreation or child care or the equivalent experience. The line currently offers Nickelodeon family events on three ships: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Gem beginning mid-February.