Who has been named Europes Leading Cruise Line?

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Norwegian Honored by World Travel Awards

Norwegian Cruise Line has been named “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” for the sixth consecutive year by the World Travel Awards. The annual awards, which were presented on Aug. 31 in Antalya, Turkey, recognize travel companies for delivering an outstanding customer experience and are voted by travel agents and consumers worldwide. Norwegian has four ships now cruising in European waters, and two of those will sail there year-round.

Sun Princess Begins Renovations

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Sun Princess Begins $30 Million Transformation

The Sun Princess has begun what Princess Cruises calls a $30 million transformation that will refurbish and enhance the ship. During the two-week makeover, the vessel will receive a new atrium with Princess’ signature International Café, a new sushi and seafood venue, an updated Horizon Court buffet, and a refreshed Lotus Spa.

According to Princess, interested viewers can follow the drydock progress while the ship is at the Sembawang shipyard in Singapore with regular photo updates offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse each day through August 20. The online drydock journal will offer a rare “insider’s” look at the work required to transform the ship with new interior furnishings and finishes, fresh hull paint and exterior refurbishment, and its new contemporary and Asian-style touches.

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New grand voyages for Holland America

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Holland America Line Offers Four Grand Voyages in 2014

Holland America Line will offer four Grand Voyages in 2014, starting off when the Amsterdam departs on Jan. 4 on a 113-day cruise that visits 38 ports on five continents.

Following its 68-day “Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage” in January, Prinsendam will begin its eastward journey across the Atlantic Ocean for a 57-day “Grand Africa and Mediterranean Voyage.” In September, Amsterdam departs Seattle on a 78-day “Grand Pacific and Far East Voyage.”

The Amsterdam’s “Grand World Voyage” sails round-trip from Fort Lauderdale. Rather than taking a traditional course back through Europe, Amsterdam will cross the equator four times and deeply explore the Southern Hemisphere. The ship begins by sailing west with a daylight transit of the Panama Canal followed by two overnights at Callao, Peru. After calling at islands in the South Pacific, Amsterdam will sail the east coast of Australia up to Micronesia, the Far East and Indian Ocean. The ship then travels south to explore several ports in east, south and west Africa before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean en route back to South Florida. Eight segments range in length from 20 to 86 days.

Prinsendam’s “Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage” departs Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 5 on a 68-day itinerary. The trip includes seven days on the Amazon River and four days of scenic cruising in Antarctica, weather permitting. Overnight calls are scheduled at Manaus, Brazil, in the Amazon; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and two nights at Callao (Lima). Segments of 32 and 36 days between Fort Lauderdale and Buenos Aires are available.

For more information, please click on this link;

Top Shows on Cruise Ships

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Cruise ship entertainment is unquestionably better than ever. Even if some of the content --- Broadway reviews, music through the decades, feathers and glitz --- hasn't changed, big-time production shows, the main staple, have gotten more and more professional, a result of improved sets, lighting, sound systems and ever-more talented casts. In addition, depending on the line, cruisers can enjoy ice skating productions, 90-minute-plus versions of Broadway musicals, performances by the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil, magic shows, cabaret shows and live music of all types. To stay competitive, cruise lines are spending more money than ever before on entertainment and it's the passengers who win. Here are some favorites:

China- "the time has come"

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In the central part of Beijing, the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA) has a team with some 20 staff, working diligently to promote the healthy growth and development of the Chinese cruise industry.

Although the CCYIA is registered as a non-profit organization in China, it has the official backing from the National Development and Reform Commission, under the purview of the Chinese State Council (CSC). Thus, the CCYIA can be considered a pseudo-governmental organization, responsible for assisting both the central and provincial governments in formulation of cruise industry policies.

When asked during a Cruise Industry News interview about the long-term prospect of the Chinese cruise industry, CCYIA’s vice president and secretary (the defacto CEO) Wei Hang Zheng was all-smiles and declared optimistically: “The time has come.”

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Europe manages Cruise Growth

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Europe's cruise lines managed to eke out growth in 2012 despite a difficult economy and lingering memories of the Costa Concordia disaster, luring new customers with bigger ships and even heavy metal concerts.

A record 6.2 million Europeans booked a cruise last year, growth of just 1.3 percent and a far cry from the increases of over 10 percent registered for four of the last 6 years, according to a report published by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) on Tuesday.

The report also showed the cruise industry contributed almost 38 billion euros ($50 billion) to Europe's stuttering economy in 2012, a 3.1 percent increase on 2011.

"There's a sense of pleasure that we have grown despite everything," David Dingle, CEO of Carnival Corp & Plc's Carnival UK, who was speaking on behalf of the CLIA, told Reuters.

One of the ways cruise lines have been trying to battle the economic downturn is by attracting younger travellers and ensuring their ships offer as many entertainment options as possible.

"We need to appeal to new customers and the younger we get them, the more cruises they will take during their lifetime," Dingle said.

TUI Cruises offered a week-long Full Metal cruise in May, while Carnival brand Cunard is selling tickets for a five-day cruise in November starring German rocker Peter Maffay.

"We're building ever larger ships, we can now offer a different restaurant for every night of your cruise and you can have heavy metal at one end of the ship and a string quartet at the other," Dingle said.

However, the CLIA figures reflected a split in Europe's economies.

In powerhouse Germany, the cruise industry contributed 2.95 billion euros to the economy, a 17 percent increase on 2011 and helped by increased shipbuilding, passenger spending and pay rises for staff.

By contrast, the contribution for France and Spain declined by 12.9 and 3.3 percent, respectively, while Italy recorded a 0.2 percent increase.

Dingle said Italy was able to partially compensate for its domestic economic woes thanks to its position as Europe's top cruise destination and the fact that it has the largest cruise shipbuilding industry in Europe.

According to the report, spending on ship building and maintenance at European shipyards stabilised at 3.85 billion euros in 2012 after three successive years of declines. ($1 = 0.7637 euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan. Editing by Andre Grenon) 

Star Cruises Chef Wins Battle of the Chefs

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On 20 June 2013.Star Cruises announced that the chefs from SuperStar Libra, currently home-ported in Penang,  were honored with 14 medals and 13 diplomas at the sizzling culinary battle, the Battle of the Chefs 2013, held from 12-14 June at Straits Quay Convention Centre, Penang, Malaysia.

Led by Executive Chef, Saifol Iskandar Ikhsan, the chef team from SuperStar Libra was awarded one gold, two silvers, 11 bronze medals and 13 diploma awards in the three-day event.

Mr. Pradeep Mohan, the 29-year-old 1st cook from SuperStar Libra, debuted at the Battle of the Chefs with a gold medal. He impressed the judges with his innovative and mouth-watering dishes including Brown Rice Chicken Briyani served with Onion Raita and Lijad Papad, Brown Rice Kofta with Makhani Sauce and Spinach Mashed Sweet Potato.  

Sous Chef Mr. Shah Irwan Omar, 33, snatched a silver medal under Practical cooking Seafood Category, with Symphony of Seafood Mousse Primura with shimeji mushroom and crustacean bisque. Another silver medal won by 20-year-old steward, Mr. Pande Komang Bayu with his innovative cocktail named “Spice Nojito” under Flair King Category.

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Princess Announces Americas Program

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Today Princess Cruises opened the books on its Americas program – including Caribbean, Panama Canal, Canada & New England and West Coast cruises. The new sailings include Regal Princess’ debut in the Caribbean as well as Royal Princess’ first cruises to Canada & New England roundtrip from New York. On the West Coast, new roundtrip sailings from Vancouver add another departure port for Hawaii and California Coastal cruises, and Crown Princess, the line’s newest ship on the West Coast, will offer its first full season sailing from Los Angeles.

In total, 11 ships will sail on 355 departures of 46 itineraries to more than 70 destinations. In the Caribbean, passengers can choose idyllic vacations from three to 28 days, with roundtrips from Ft. Lauderdale and Houston. West Coast cruises sail from Los Angeles, San Francisco and now Vancouver to Hawaii, Mexico, the South Pacific, and along the California coast. For the first time Royal Princess will take passengers to Canada & New England, becoming the line’s largest ship sailing on these fall foliage cruises, joining Ruby Princess, also new to cruising the Eastern Seaboard. And Princess will continue to lead the way in Panama Canal cruising aboard favorite ships Coral Princess and Island Princess.

“Whether travelers have just three days or are ready for a 28-day adventure, they can enjoy the Princess cruise experience from a variety of close-to-home departure ports,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “These North America cruises offer great opportunities to enjoy our newest ships along with some amazing destinations.”

For more on this story go here

Norwegian Cruises welcomes new ship

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Norwegian Cruise Line Welcomes New Cruise Ship

Norwegian Breakaway was officially welcomed to its homeport of New York City this soggy May afternoon. Thousands of specially invited guests crammed the public venues, knocking elbows for a chance to watch the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes christen the ship.

But before the long-legged dancing line did its thing, guests were treated to what was essentially a first-night cruise show, showcasing the variety of entertainment onboard. Performances included short bits from jazz legend Slam Allen, dueling piano act Howl at the Moon, Cirque Dreams and Jungle Fantasy, Burn the Floor and Nickelodeon.

Performances were interspersed with sound bites from Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Kevin Sheehan and pop artist Peter Max, stilted introductions from Buddy Valastro of Cake Boss fame and celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian and a blessing by New York City's Cardinal Dolan.

Serious speeches were in supply as well, including a humorous few minutes from Bermuda's Premier Craig Cannonier, some light-hearted Caribbean rivalry from Bahamas' Prime Minister Perry Christie and a heartfelt welcome to New York City from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

Sheehan, in particular, was clearly thrilled to be introducing the ship.

"It is such an honor for me to bring this magnificent ship here to my hometown." Sheehan loves to tell people he is New York born and bred, even having worked as a taxi driver while he was in college. 

"I know New Yorkers are tough, but they know what they want and they respect quality. That's what we've done with Norwegian Breakaway." 

Full story here 

Holland America reaches 1 Million facebook fans

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Holland America Line achieved an impressive milestone this week when it reached 1 million Facebook fans.

The line’s Facebook page is a social media hub where fans can come together to get the latest news, get cruising advice, find information on specials, find fellow travelers on the Roll Call tab, share photos, enter contests and more.

As Facebook maintains its popularity with users around the world, Holland America Line continues to use the social media channel to communicate with fans and share information about the premium cruise line.

“Our fans, guests and potential cruisers recognize the importance of Facebook as a way to interact and we are excited to reach 1 million fans,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest programs. “Our social community is very engaged and we look forward to continuing to grow our fan base through new initiatives and interesting content.”

For the full story go here 

Costa Atlantica Arrives in Singapore

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On May 3, 2013, Costa Cruises has more than doubled its capacity in Asia with the first call in Singapore of the Costa Atlantica.

The 85,700-ton, 2,680-guest Costa Atlantica will operate alongside the 75,200-ton, 2,394-guest Costa Victoria, already cruising in the area. Thanks to the double positioning, Costa will offer 125 cruises in Asia in 2013, with a total capacity of around 220,000 Guests.

“Since 2006 when Costa Cruises was the first company in the world to market cruises in Asia, we have further strengthened and tailored our product to our local clients’ needs and wishes,” said Gianni Onorato, President of Costa Crociere S.p.A. “The successful results we have obtained until now have encouraged our Company to further expand in the region. With the double positioning of Costa Atlantica and Costa Victoria, Asia becomes the third largest source market for Costa brand, in terms of capacity."

For the full story go here 

Venice Welcomes Carnival Legend and Shows Industry Support

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More than 300 people gathered on the Zattere waterfront in Venice today to welcome the arrival of the Carnival Legend and to celebrate the beginning of the new cruise season. A flash mob was organised by the Cruise Venice Committee, an association that promotes and supports cruise ship traffic in the lagoon, a segment of the economy that the committee said brings more than 5,500 direct jobs to Venice, resulting in direct spending in excess €180 million per year.

The event was attended by representatives of different groups, including porters, mooring crew, security staff and hospitality and tourism service vendors, who chose this festive approach to emphasize the often underestimated importance of cruising for the local economy.

Massimo Bernardo, chairman of the Cruise Venice Committee, commented: "The flash mob organised by Cruise Venice in conjunction with the start of the cruise season was intended to emphasize the strategic role that shipping, and the cruise industry in particular, plays in the city’s economy. It was the latest in a long series of invitations to the top cruise lines that dock in Venice not to steer their ships to competing ports, when the direct and indirect benefits of this traffic are felt, among others, by hotel and restaurant operators, taxi drivers, merchants, shipping agencies and freight forwarders, technical and nautical service providers, not to mention the airport and all of related services. ‘Welcome Cruising’ is the symbolic calling card of a city that wishes to remain number-one among the world’s top cruise destinations.”

The full story here

Disney News

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There’s an extra dose of magic coming aboard the Disney Magic, when the Disney Cruise Line vessel relaunches with new spaces, reimagined areas and exciting additions for the whole family, according to the cruise line.

Guests will experience new adventures from stem to stern throughout their journey on the cruise ship that set the standard for oceangoing majesty and family fun.

From a new grand atrium lobby and a children’s area of “super hero” proportions to a three-story water thrill slide and a spa to stimulate the “Senses,” there are plenty of new and magical surprises in store for cruise guests.  The ship features fun new experiences with Marvel characters – the first time Super Hero icons from the Marvel Universe have been introduced on a Disney Cruise Line ship.

“We have always been committed to reinvesting in our fleet and continuously making shipboard enhancements that elevate the guest experience,” said Karl L. Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “What we’re doing with the Disney Magic is yet another step forward in our commitment to delivering the absolute best family vacations at sea.”

“Storytelling is at the heart of everything we do,” added Joe Lanzisero, senior creative vice president for Walt Disney Imagineering.  “Walt Disney was a master storyteller and knew how to engage people’s emotions into stories.  Our job is to take what we learned from Walt and apply it to the experiences on board our ships.”

Here are some highlights of new “magic” in store for guests aboard the Disney Magic after the “reimagineering” transformation of the ship that takes place during dry dock Sept. 7-Oct. 10, 2013 in Cadiz, Spain:

For more on this exciting story go here

Holland America Celebrates 140 years

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In celebration of its 140th anniversary, an official christening of the new Holland America Line “Signature” tulip took place in the Netherlands on Friday, April 19 at the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens. President and CEO of Holland America Line Stein Kruse participated in the ceremony along with the President of the Board of Directors of Keukenhof Walter Jansen and Master Grower Jan Pennings.

A white-petal variety with delicate fringed petals was chosen to honor the company that was founded at Rotterdam, the Netherlands, April 18, 1873, as a trans-Atlantic cargo and passenger shipping company. Today the company’s fleet of 15 premium cruise ships sails more than 500 cruises on all seven continents.

“Holland America Line has a deep connection to the Netherlands, and to have a tulip named especially for our company is a true honor,” said Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line. “I can’t imagine a more appropriate way to celebrate our 140th anniversary than to christen our tulip in the world’s most beautiful and famous gardens.”

For more on the story go here

RCCL announces increased capacity for Australasia

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Royal Caribbean Cruises has 5 percent of its capacity in China this year and 5 percent in Australia, according to Adam Goldstein, CEO and president of the Royal Caribbean International brand, making the comments on today’s Q1 earnings call.

Goldstein described Asia as very promising and expects to allocate more capacity there over time. Meanwhile, itineraries this year have been impacted by the conflict between China and Japan, and Royal Caribbean has cancelled all calls in Japan on cruises originating in China. They are now instead calling in South Korea.

For more on this story go here

Princess Honored with Green Gateway Award from Port of Seattle

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Princess Cruises has been honored by the Port of Seattle with a Gold Level Green Gateway Award for the line’s environmental stewardship.

The port recognized a number of Princess’ environmental activities including fitting vessels with opacity monitors, using oily water separators, and exemplary waste reduction efforts – including providing used cooking oil from ships for making biodiesel.

“We’re gratified that the port has recognized us for making a difference in local environmental efforts,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Passengers come to beautiful ports such as Seattle to experience the area’s natural beauty, so we are committed to doing our part to keep it that way.”

For more on this and other stories go here

Royal Caribbean dazzle press with details of new ship

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QUANTUM LEAP: The big announcement from Royal Caribbean International came Tuesday, and it did not disappoint.

RCI unveiled details about its next generation of ships, Quantum class, and the company lived up to its promise of “prepare to be wowed.”

Skydiving! Bumper cars! Virtual balconies! Quantum of the Seas, the first ship in the class, will debut in fall 2014. The 4,180-passenger ship will homeport in Cape Liberty, N. J., sailing seven- to 12-night itineraries for the winter season. For many, the ship will be the destination. The 18-deck Quantum will feature RipCord by iFly, which allows passengers to experience the thrill of skydiving in a controlled, simulated environment. The bumper cars will be part of a huge sports and entertainment complex, which also will include roller skating and a circus school with flying trapeze. The ship boasts 2,090 of the “most advanced staterooms ever,” including 373 virtual balcony staterooms. These interior cabins will offer real-time views of the ocean — no more claustrophobia!

Family-connected staterooms are designed for multi-generational families, allowing three different stateroom categories to connect, yet provides private bedrooms and bathrooms for all. Quantum of the Seas also will offer 28 studio staterooms for single travelers, and 34 wheelchair-accessible cabins. But the most distinguishing feature is the North Star. A jewel-shaped glass capsule, it rises more than 300 feet into the air, and swings out over the ocean to give guests 360-degree views.

Ready to sign on?

Bookings will be available to members of RCI’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program starting May 27. The general public may book beginning June 4.More surprises are to come, RCI promises. Keep up with the latest on the new ship at or follow the cruise line on Facebook.

They had me at flying trapeze!!

For more on Quantum of the seas go here

Growth Projections for the Cruise line industry

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Growth of the Cruise Line Industry
The market talks to each other, influences each other.  So progress gets amplified.  The more people who have ocean cruised, the more who will tell others, the more who will want to take an ocean cruise too.
Worldwide, the cruise industry has an annual passenger compound annual growth rate of 7% from 1990 – 2017. Growth strategies to date have been driven by larger capacity new builds and ship diversification, more local ports, more destinations and new on-board/on-shore activities that match demands of consumers.  The industry is also expanding rapidly internationally.  These activities help increase penetration in a core North American market that still has growth potential.  Only 53% of the target North American market (or 24% of the whole U.S. population) have ever taken an ocean cruise.  All the cruise ships in the entire world filled at capacity all year long still only amount to less than ½ of the total number of visitors to Las Vegas

For the full story click here 

HNA Enters the Asia Cruise Market

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2013 promises several crucial milestones for the Chinese cruise market. Apart from the record number of ships calling on Chinese ports, the biggest and most important event may have been the maiden voyage of the Henna on Jan. 26, 2013 by newcomer HNA Cruises. HNA Cruises, established last year, is the first domestic luxury cruise company in China. 

Hao Zhang, the CEO of HNA Cruises, told Cruise Industry News: “The Henna holds a very special significance in our hearts. We are proud to break the monopoly long held by the foreign and international cruise operators in the Chinese market.”

HNA Cruises is a wholly owned subsidiary of HNA Tourism, which in turn is owned by HNA Group. The group is one of the top 120 companies in China, with revenue around Rmb 100 billion (approx. $16 billion) and a total asset value of Rmb 300 billion (approx. $48 billion). 
Midway through 2012, HNA purchased the 47,700-ton Pacific Sun from Carnival Australia, renaming her Henna and refitting her at Sembawang in Singapore.

HNA did not say what their investment was in the ship or refurbishment, although Star Cruises is managing the vessel. 

For the full story go here

Deltamarin To Manage Titanic II Project Development

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Blue Star Line Pty Ltd Chairman Professor Clive Palmer has announced the shipping company has signed a contract with Deltamarin for the project development phase for the Titanic II project.

Blue Star Line has undertaken the task of building Titanic II, a replica of the original RMS Titanic, which is scheduled to sail from Southampton to New York on her maiden passenger voyage in 2016.

Titanic II, a full scale version of the original ship, is being designed by the Finland-based Deltamarin and will be built by leading Chinese shipbuilders CSC Jinling Shipyard, which since 1996 has built vessels for customers from more than 20 countries.

Get the full story here 

For more on the Titanic II go to their homepage here 

Princess Cruises reveal casual eateries on Royal Princess

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The new Royal Princess will offer a wide selection of casual eateries, in addition to it more traditional dining options, the cruise line announced today.

The expanded atrium on the new ship will offer a variety of options, including Alfredo’s pizzeria, the new Ocean Terrace seafood bar, and the International Café. Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy ice cream and crepes at Gelato, while tea lovers will relish the new tea tower. The poolside Trident Grill will transform into a traditional smokehouse barbecue in the evenings and the Outrigger Bar will feature a range of margaritas accompanied by made-to-order Mexican fare.

For more on the new Royal Princess go here 

For Video of the New Royal Princess go here 

Seabourn unveils new Penthouse Spa Suites

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Seabourn is enhancing its spacious, all-suite accommodations with the introduction of Penthouse Spa Suites on its trio of intimate ships. Seabourn Quest will emerge from a scheduled drydock in May 2013 boasting four new elegant Penthouse Spa Suites located directly above the industry-leading Spa at Seabourn facility.

Guests will access the suites by means of a spiral staircase in the lobby of the spa, and enjoy unlimited access to the spa's Serene Area, as well as spa amenities in the suite itself and the services of a spa concierge during the voyage. The new suites will also be added to Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn during their next scheduled drydocks.

"A growing number of our guests choose Seabourn's new ships specifically because of our beautiful onboard Spa at Seabourn facilities," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. "Some of these guests have expressed a desire to incorporate a more complete spa vacation experience into their cruises, and our Penthouse Spa Suites are designed to fulfill that wish."
Seabourn commissioned the Norwegian architecture and design firm of Yran & Storbraaten -- who designed Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest to come up with a plan to utilize the section of Deck 10 directly above the spa for the new accommodations.

For more on this and some pictures of the new suites go here 


Here is the current list of New Cruise ships on order

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There are currently 24 new Cruise ships being constructed at various ship building yards around the world. This represents close to 30,000 new jobs between now and 2016 for ship based crew.

To see the list and who is building and who is buying go here 

Sydney's new Cruise terminal trialled

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Sydney Ports Corporation’s new $57-million White Bay Cruise Terminal has been trialled this morning with the arrival of P&O cruise liner, the Pacific Pearl. The 63-thousand tonne ship berthed at 7am with almost 2,000 passengers disembarking for the first time through the state-of-the-art terminal. Roads and Ports Minister Duncan Gay said this milestone highlights the NSW Government’s commitment to meeting the huge boom in demand for cruise in Sydney.

“We are just coming to the close of what has been another record Sydney cruise season with 265 ship visits and we have already taken more than 280 bookings for next season.“Given the unprecedented growth in cruising, this new terminal is very timely indeed - its vast open plan arrivals and departures halls are designed to cater for 2,400 passengers at a time, Mr Gay said. “We have also constructed a dedicated terminal access road to ensure minimal impact on local streets by port traffic. 

Get the full story here 


Old Rockers attract cruise ship crowds

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The classic sounds of Los Endos by Steve Hackett, formerly of Genesis, and Close to the Edge by Yes pound out from the stage as musicians who made their names selling millions of albums back in the 70s play in front of their adoring fans.Pacific Pearl.jpg

"Phenomenal," said Terry, from Ontario, who loved what he saw and heard. "Rub shoulders with a few celebrities, see them perform up close. You can't buy those tickets nowadays."But this is a concert with a difference. Musicians and fans are all on board the 3,000-passenger cruise ship Poesia for a five-night rock cruise through the Caribbean.

For the full story go here 

Carnival reimburses US government for Carnival Triumph Costs

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Carnival Corporation issued a statement today that it is in the process of voluntarily submitting payment to the U.S. Treasury Department to reimburse the federal government for costs related to the Carnival Triumph and Splendor incidents.

Get the full story here