explore4 with Holland America

Why Holland America Line?

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 426 0

Over the years Holland America Line has consistently been a favourite of our valued cruisers and cruise specialists. If you have not cruised before you may be asking yourself “Which cruise line is best for me”.  If you are a seasoned cruiser but have yet to try Holland America you may be asking “Why should I try Holland America when I am happy with the cruise lines I have previously cruised with”. Well, hopefully this answers your question of Why Holland America Line?

 

THE HOLLAND AMERICA GUEST
Holland America Line guests don’t need things like waterslides, go-karts, roller coasters or climbing walls when they cruise. They are explorers, foodies and music lovers of all ages who want to pursue these passions on refreshingly uncrowded ships with one-of-a-kind culinary experiences, the very best in live music and staff that attends to every detail, every day.

 

DESTINATION EXPERTISE & IMMERSION
• Nearly 150 years of experience sailing the world’s oceans
• More than 500 itineraries connecting with over 470 ports of call
• Exclusive Explorations Central™ destination programming that gives guests a deeper understanding of the places you visit

 

UNRIVALED CULINARY EXPERIENCES
• Culinary Council® of world-renowned chefs — plus experts in wine and spirits — who design our onboard dining experiences
• A variety of dining options*, including specialty restaurants, pop-up dining and the exceptional Dining Room
• Live onboard cooking demonstrations
• Culinary shore excursions in partnership with FOOD & WINE® magazine

 

THE BEST IN LIVE MUSIC
• A great cruise deserves a great soundtrack with memorable performances from world-class musicians
• Live music for every taste at Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club, Billboard Onboard, Rolling Stone Rock Room and more*

 

PERFECTLY SIZED SHIPS; RENOWNED SERVICE
• Ships designed with the philosophy that bigger isn’t better, better is better
• Sleek nautical lines, spacious public areas, wraparound decks and sophisticated style
• In every detail, every day, guests experience the best service at sea, with a gracious, friendly staff that’s never in the way but always close at hand

 

When you are ready to Experience the WHY of Holland America don’t forget to contact one of our cruise specialists to help you plan! 

Click here for a list of current Holland America cruise offers for you to take advantage of 

Cruising Alone

4 Tips on Cruising Hawaii Alone

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 711 0

Many people have the misconception that cruising alone is a lonely or scary activity. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Travelling alone can be an epic way to rejuvenate, to gain confidence in yourself and experience the destination in all its glory-all while setting your own agenda! On a Hawaiian cruise, there are many opportunities for single travellers to explore and push the limits, and perhaps learn something new about themselves. The Hawaiian islands accept the lone traveller with open arms, and cruising solo* onboard Pride of America is a blast in itself. So, hey, don’t be afraid to get out there and do your thing! Here are four tips for embracing Hawaii all by yourself.

SAY YES TO ADVENTURE:
So if I’m still not convincing you that travelling alone is fantastic idea (which it is), try easing into it by taking advantage of Norwegian’s Hawaii cruise excursions such as Captain Zodiac Raft, Snorkel & Dolphin Adventure; it’s a guaranteed way to be surrounded by like-minded adventurers! Not to mention, when you’re surrounded by the beautiful features, flora and fauna of Kealakekua Bay off of the coast of Kona, you won’t even be thinking about who is or isn’t standing next to you.

 

DO SOMETHING NEW:
Wait, so you’ve always wanted to try surfing? Then what are you waiting for?! When in Rome…or, should I say, Hawaii…you get the idea. Maui cruises, in particular, have a wide array of surfing programs to choose from for beginner and intermediate surfers. If surfing is something you’re already quite familiar with, why not try kiteboarding? Or windsurfing? Who knows, you might have a hidden talent for extreme sports, and the exhilaration you’ll get from trying is definitely worth falling a couple of times!

 

DON’T BE AFRAID TO DINE ALONE:
Good news: it means more food for you! Hawaii has famously unique food, often with Asian or Hispanic influence. Arguably the most ‘Hawaiian’ delicacy you’ll encounter, poke (pronounced poke-ay), is a must eat. And for those of you who are too shy to sit down by yourself at a table, poke is often grabbed on the go, so munch it down somewhere picturesque! And since you’re indulging yourself with a solo vacation, you definitely have room for the ultimate indulgence: loco moco. Gravy, meat, rice, fried egg—are you drooling yet? Cafe 100 in Hilo is the perfect place to find the loco moco that suits you, with more than 30 different varieties available.

When you’re not out exploring the local delicacies, you’ll still have 19 cruise dining options to choose from onboard Pride of America.

 

TREAT YOURSELF TO LUXURY:
Guess what? You deserve it. After all of the excitement of exploring and adventuring in and around the islands, take a moment to reflect on your vacation with one of Norwegian’s brilliant cruise spa treatments. Loosen up, unwind and meditate on the fact that you’re at one of the most beautiful destinations on Earth. After a good massage, the sunsets will seem even more vibrant, trust me. So park yourself down on a beach, sip on something sweet (and maybe boozy), take a deep breath, and enjoy the time you get to yourself, while you still can!

 

*Pride of America offers award winning Studio Staterooms, specifically designed and priced for the solo traveller.
C/O Norwegian Cruise Lines Offical Travel Blog
Read original article here – https://www.ncl.com/ca/en/travel-blog/hawaii-singles

Hawaii Cruise cruise stories

7 night Hawai’ian Cruise

Posted By : Stephen Smith/ 0 0

My wife and I were very lucky to be invited and hosted by Norwegian Cruise Line on this trip. Most of the itinerary and meals on and off the ship were arranged and paid for by NCL. This is what our partners do from time to time so that we can experience their product and share that experience with our valued clients. We did enhance the experience with a few activities that we paid for ourselves.

Hawaii is a long way from Toronto. But it’s definitely worth the flight.

After a full day of travel, we arrived in Honolulu and spent the evening walking the beach and grabbing a bite to eat. A nice start to the trip.

The next morning, we woke up extremely early due to the time difference and decided to go hike Diamondhead which we could see from our hotel. It was a quick Uber ride away and just under an hour to go up and down. The views were spectacular, and the hike was quite rewarding.

Back to the hotel, we packed up and headed to the ship.

A Hawaiian cruise onboard the NCL Pride of America is not about the ship. It’s about the islands and the people. Don’t get me wrong, the ship does its job well. It is 13 years old but had a refurbishment most recently in 2016. The staterooms are comfortable, the restaurants nice and the staff were amazing.

Our first port was in Maui and when I woke up that morning and went up to the top deck to get a coffee I was greeted by the sunrise, a rainbow and a beautiful island. Should it be any other way, I am in Hawai’i after all. Apparently, that is typical!

First day in Maui featured a shore excursion that took us throughout the island. We toured the Ocean Vodka distillery (nothing quite like sampling vodka and rum at 10 AM) and then the Maui Gold pineapple plantation. The highlight for me was the lesson on how to choose a good pineapple in the store. Sorry, if you want to find out the secrets you just have to make your way to Hawai’i.

We then made our way to Paia town for some free time and finished our tour and at Iao Valley. This was a truly spectacular experience. A must see.

Since we were overnight in Maui, the next day we had to ourselves and took a zodiac to Malikani Crater – this was unreal. A mostly sunken crater poking out of the ocean with reefs on one side. We went snorkeling and then off to another coastal area to see some turtles. Now if you have been to the Caribbean to swim with turtles you will know that your hosts typically bring lettuce to attract the turtles. Not so in Hawai’i. Our hosts told us it was hit or miss with seeing these turtles as they now where they like to hang out but that’s it. Lucky for us, we saw two turtles by swimming around an area where a fresh water stream enters the ocean floor. Took about 15 minutes for them to reveal themselves amongst the coral formations 30 feet down. I found one heading to the surface for a breath of air and had a 30 second stare down with him (or her). Wow!

You will hear over and over again, Hawai’i is about the experiences and this was certainly holding true for us.

The next day we were off to Hilo Town in the Big Island for a media event and to visit the university and an expo on the amazing astronomical capabilities (fact check) they have.

Unfortunately, due to a nearby hurricane we were unable to port in Kona as we needed to tender in from the ship and it was too dangerous. Definitely disappointing as I am a coffee person and wanted to visit the home of Kona Coffee. However, my spirits were lifted when the captain of the ship announced that early that afternoon he would slowly sail by the Na Pali coast so we can see it up close and personal. What a site! For those of you who are not familiar, it is the setting for Jurassic Park, this movie and that movie (fact check). Unbelievable – the photos don’t do it justice.

Our next port was Kauai and we started our day off with a round of golf along the ocean at Kauai Ocean Course. A great way to spend a morning.

That night we were off to a Luau – a very spiritual ceremony with dancing and storytelling. I must admit the setting was not the best as we joined 800 other people but you can’t go to Hawai’i and not experience a Luau – the story is amazing and the dancing was captivating.

The ship stayed overnight in Kauai and we decided to spend our last day with some friends we had met on board. They had a great idea of renting a jeep, grabbing some food and refreshments and driving down the coast to find a beach for the day. We had an amazing time. We drove for about 45 minutes to a dirt road, headed along that for 2 miles, then hiked through a bit of vegetation to walk onto a beach that had only 10 other people on it!

We spent the day eating, drinking, swimming and soaking up the beautiful Hawai’ian weather. What more could you ask for?

That night we had a great dinner with our group of new friends and sadly packed our bags to fly home the next day.

Hawai’i was a destination I had yet to experience and had high expectations that were not only met, but definitely surpassed.

For a first time to Hawai’i, a cruise aboard the Pride of America is a great way to see these beautiful islands because you get to see them all. With the two overnights in Maui and Kauai, you don’t feel like you are rushing your way around the islands – you get to truly experience this tropical paradise.

Crystal Theme Cruises

Crystal Shines Spotlight On Experiences Of Discovery Theme Cruises

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 585 0

Crystal Cruises is well known as a luxury line, and our ilovecruising.com cruise specialists certainly agree! But what you may not know is that the enrichment opportunities while sailing are almost limitless. In 2019, 2020 and 2021 Crystal Cruises is expanding their Theme Cruise options even more. So not only will you be able to sail in luxurious style you can pursue a passion of yours or better yet, take a cruise featuring something you’ve always wanted to delve deeper into.

Crystal Cruises “Experiences of Discovery” voyages will offer enhanced programming on a wide array of specialized subjects, special guest lecturers and instructors will be sailing giving you a chance to join in on interactive sessions on board. This also includes onshore experiences to enhance the immersive theme of these voyages. And if you and your travelling companions have different interest, several of the line’s all-inclusive luxury sailings will feature programming for more than one dedicated theme.

“Luxury travelers expect to be enlightened and stimulated as they explore the world with Crystal, and our ‘Experiences of Discovery’ offer opportunities for them to broaden their horizons even further,” said Carmen Roig, senior vice president of marketing and sales. “Whether piquing guests’ interest in a new area or deepening their fascinations with long-held pastimes, the programming for each of these voyages is designed to spark conversation and an increasing curiosity for travelers.”

 

Broadway talent, world-class golf courses, culinary delights and more. Theme cruises in 2019, 2020 and 2021 aboard the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity include:  

 

President’s Cruise – Crystal president and CEO, Tom Wolber, and his wife, Sharon, will host special receptions, Q&A sessions and an excursion ashore aboard Crystal Symphony.

2019: December 1
2020: December 7

 

Crystal on Broadway – Crystal’s stages will feature performances and engaging presentations from the creative talents of stage and theatre, thanks to Crystal’s partnership with multi-Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Kevin McCollum, on voyages in the Mediterranean and Western Europe, Alaska, South Pacific, Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Pacific West Coast and Hawaii.

2019: January 5, 6 and 14, April 8, May 29, July 2, 12, 29 and 30, August 10 and 12, September 17, 21 and 28, October 10, 11, 23 and 25, November 8 and 24, December 1, 11, 14, 21 and 22.

 

Crystal Wine & Food Festival – Accomplished and acclaimed chefs, wine sommeliers, mixologists and other culinary masters share expertise with special dinners, hands-on instruction and demos and tastings in the South Pacific, Australia, North Cape, Asia, Caribbean, Western and Northern Europe, Arabian Gulf, North American East Coast, and South and Central America.

2019: January 5 and 14, April 26, June 21, September 28 and November 24
2020: March 3, May 8, June 19, August 30, October 23 and 30
2021: January 5 and 21, April 8 and 24, June 13 and October 27

 

Golf – Golfers can perfect their swing on board with PGA instructors and learn insights of the PGA tour from guest golf celebrities and experts. Ashore, they can challenge their handicap on spectacular and renowned courses in Western Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia and Pacific West Coast and Hawaii, with Crystal taking care of the details, including club transport, storage and cleaning, plus special onboard instruction from pros and friendly competitions among players.

2019: June 10, August 12 and December 21
2020: March 1 and July 25
2021: February 19, April 13, July 20, August 13 and 20 and September 5

 

Big Band & Ballroom Dance – Live daily and nightly performances throughout the ship, plus additional Ambassador Hosts for ladies without dance partners, allow guests to swing, tango, waltz and rhumba their way across the Atlantic and through the Panama Canal.

2019: October 11 and November 12
2020: August 30 and November 21
2021: October 26

 

Jazz Days & Cabaret Nights – Live performances by some of today’s jazz greats and presentations from experts and historians about the legends of the craft add rhythm to the South Pacific, North American East Coast, Mediterranean, Mexico and Costa Rica.

2019: February 19 and September 28
2020: October 30
2021: October 11

 

Mind, Body & Spirit – Health and wellness experts from Tai Chi masters and yoga gurus to nutritionists and Cleveland Clinic medical minds will share tips for living one’s best life on North Cape, Mediterranean, Arabian Gulf, Caribbean and Australia and New Zealand voyages.

2019: June 21 and October 25
2020: May 10 and October 23
2021: December 6

 

Magic – Crystal’s exclusive partnership with the renowned Magic Castle presents the sleight of hand and mesmerizing illusions of talented magicians in the Caribbean, New England and Canada.

2019: November 24
2020: September 20
2021: December 12

 

Film & Theatre – Fans of stage and cinema will be treated to performances and showings of classics, plus entertaining presentations and Q&A with some of show biz’s great minds in Japan, Alaska, Europe and the north American East Coast.

2019: May 26
2020: August 19
2021: September 5

 

Ocean Views – Acclaimed guest speakers join panel discussions on politics and world affairs, inviting guests to engage in Q&A sessions and real-time debate via interactive polling devices on sailings through the Caribbean, South Pacific, Africa, Western Europe, Holy Land, India, Arabian Gulf, China and Japan.

2019: January 5 and 14, March 13 and May 9
2020: January 22, April 3 and May 8
2021: January 5, 21 and 27, March 22 and April 24

 

Crystal Society – Returning guests will be treated to special receptions, excursions and other perks on a celebratory sailing in the Caribbean.

2019: October 25
2020: October 30
2021: January 5 and 21, May 12

 

Detailed information about guest lecturers and experts for each Experiences of Discovery voyage will be announced when confirmed.

Cruising Hawaii

9 Reasons Hawaii is Best Experienced by Cruise

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 686 0

With its sheer natural beauty, warm hospitality, seemingly endless activities and attractions, it’s no wonder 8.9 million travelers visited Hawaii in 2016. But which is better, visiting Hawaii by land or by cruise?

Norwegian Cruise Line offers a no-hassle, stress-free vacation experience in Hawaii with a multi-award winning itinerary incorporating 4 beautiful Hawaiian islands – Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai – with 2 overnight stays in their 7-Day cruise onboard Pride of America.

Still not convinced? Here are 9 Reasons Hawaii is Best Experienced by Cruise.

#1. You’ll sail the Hawaiian Islands from the get-go.
Because she’s a US registered ship, there’s no need to include a lengthy sailing from a US mainland port to get to Hawaii, to begin with. You’ll start your cruise in Hawaii from Day 1.

#2. Inter-island transportation is provided by your cruise ship.
While island hopping sounds like fun, in theory, it’s no fun to waste precious vacation time paradise trying to book flights, followed by standing around airports waiting to take those flights. Like, really, why would you want to?

#3. Efficient planning.
If you’re limited on vacation time (and who isn’t) a cruise provides a pre-planned itinerary, sailing to 4 Hawaiian Islands in 7 days.

#4. Top-rated Excursions.
You can even book your Norwegian Cruise Line shore excursions before you leave home (there are 84 to choose from!), which provides peace of mind in knowing you’ll be getting top-rated tours.

#5. You only have to unpack once.
Chances are if you’re a first-time visitor to Hawaii or even if you’re a repeat guest, you’re going to do some island hopping. This could mean packing and re-packing several times over, but on a cruise, you’ll only do it once.

#6. You’ll always have an ocean view.
But some hotel rooms won’t. Even if you’ve booked a hip Studio Inside stateroom for just yourself, or a Family Inside cabin for 4, you’ll always have an ocean view when the ship is docked at the pier!

#7. Maximized island time.
With the most time in Hawaiian ports over any other cruise line – almost 100 hours including 2 overnight stays – you’ll have the freedom to do what you want when you want.

#8. It makes financial sense.
With an advance booking, a one-way island-hopping flight will cost about $100 per person. But with a cruise, your inter-island transportation is included.

Also, eating land-based meals in Hawaii can get expensive. But you can enjoy the free restaurants onboard Pride of America.

Free at Sea Promotion: For most stateroom categories and all Pride of America sailings through 2020, you can choose 1 of 5 free offers Studio, Inside, Oceanview, and Balcony staterooms.

#9. The newly refurbished Pride of America herself!

  • Here are the facts:
    Pride of America sails her 7-Day itinerary roundtrip from Honolulu all year round, so you can vacation in paradise whenever the time is right for you.
  • There are 12 restaurants and bars, along with 15 restaurants including Italian, French, and steakhouse Specialty Dining.
  • Because you’ll be sailing in US waters, Galleria shops and boutiques onboard Pride of America stay open all day long.
  • To keep you active, there’s an outdoor sports court, a jogging track and a fitness center, plus outdoor pools, Mandara Spa & Salon, and a Spa Thermal Suite.
  • There’s also a kids’ pool and a video arcade, along with hot tubs, a casino, and an art gallery.
  • Pride of America entertainment includes the 60’s style Band on the Run production and the thrilling Le Cirque Bijou performance.

Being able to spend more time in port will give you the chance to experience Hawaii like a local, including both sunrises and sunsets in Maui and Kauai! And if you choose, there’s an option to add on a 4-Day Hawaii Cruisetour land package in Oahu for even more time in the Aloha state.

Voted ‘Best Hawaii Itinerary’ for 12 consecutive years, Pride of America and Norwegian Cruise Line are proud to showcase the 50th state to both newcomers and repeat visitors alike. In fact, Hawaii continues to boast a repeat visitor rate of 81%, the highest of all major market areas. Impressive!

 

 

 

Taken from Norwegian’s Official Travel Blog
Original Post Date: January 29, 2018 by Connie Motz
https://www.ncl.com/ca/en/travel-blog/why-hawaii-is-best-experienced-by-cruise

Mickey Mouse in New Orleans

Disney to Sail from New Orleans

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 859 0

Disney Cruise Line to Sail from New Orleans for First Time in Early 2020

In early 2020, Disney Cruise Line will offer families even more ways to explore the world together with the addition of a brand-new home port in New Orleans, Louisiana and a highly anticipated return to the Hawaiian Islands. Disney Cruise Line will also return to Puerto Rico for a limited time and continue guest-favorite itineraries to tropical destinations from Florida and California.

 

First-time Home Port in New Orleans
In 2020, the Disney Wonder will embark on a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises from New Orleans – the first time Disney Cruise Line will have a home port in Louisiana. Not only will this provide families from the region with the magic of having a Disney ship in their own backyard, but it will also draw families from farther away to discover this incredible city before they set sail.

Before or after their Disney cruise, Guests can venture into the city to savor the distinct flavors of famous New Orleans cuisine, visit family-friendly museums and parks, and revel in the sweet melodies of world-renowned jazz music. Travelers will delight in the Southern charm of this new home port, and Disney fans will find magic around every corner as they experience the iconic sights and sounds that inspired the beloved animated film “The Princess and the Frog.”

The Disney Wonder will embark on six cruises during this limited-time season from New Orleans, including four-, six- and seven-night Western Caribbean sailings; a seven-night Bahamian cruise; and a 14-night Panama Canal voyage, departing February 7 through March 6.

 

Long-Awaited Return to Hawaii

After a five-year hiatus, the Disney Wonder will return to Hawaii in early 2020 for two special cruises: a nine-night voyage to Honolulu from Vancouver, Canada, on April 29, and a 10-night sailing back to Vancouver on May 8.

During these dream vacations, guests will discover the breathtaking beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, including the famous beaches of Waikiki on Oahu; the views from high atop the summit of Haleakala Crater on Maui; the lush tropical gardens and waterfalls of Kauai; and the diverse natural wonders of Hawaii Island.

 

Popular Itineraries from Puerto Rico and California
The Disney Wonder continues its standout season with returns to popular home ports on both coasts. First, the ship sets sail for the Southern Caribbean during two seven-night voyages departing January 19 and 26 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, followed by a five-night Bahamian cruise. Then beginning on March 20, the ship embarks on seven sailings to Baja and the Mexican Riviera, ranging in length from two to seven nights, from San Diego, California.

 

Unforgettable Tropical Getaways from Florida
Disney Cruise Line will have three ships sailing to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida in early 2020, and every cruise includes a day of fun in the sun on Disney’s private Bahamian island reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, Castaway Cay.

From Miami, the Disney Magic will sail three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises and five-night Western Caribbean cruises.
From Port Canaveral, the Disney Fantasy will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, plus two special sailings at six- and eight-nights each.

From Port Canaveral, the Disney Dream will sail three- and four-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay.
With a variety of options from Florida, Guests can choose the vacation that provides something for everyone in the family, combining the adventure and relaxation of tropical destinations, the ease and indulgence of an ocean cruise, and the world-class entertainment and service of a Disney vacation.

 

When To Book Early 2020 Itineraries
Platinum, Gold or Silver Castaway Club members, can take advantage of the opportunity to book early 2020 itineraries before they go on sale to the general public on October 4, 2018.

October 1, 2018: Platinum Members
October 2, 2018: Platinum and Gold Members
October 3, 2018: Platinum, Gold and Silver Members
October 4, 2018: all Guests

Celebrate the holidays on a cruise

Cruises Make Happier Holidays

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 703 0

While Ship’s Crew Does the Work, Guests Get to Relax, Enjoy Special Celebrations, Festive Atmosphere

MIAMI, Sept. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Strange things will be happening on the high seas for Halloween, and Santa Claus will be visiting cruise ships around the world in December. No matter the holiday, cruise lines go all out getting into the spirit with special decorations, traditional food and a plethora of fun activities.
Expect to see your ship done up in black and orange and with goblins and witches wandering around for Halloween; serving turkey with over-the-top trimmings for Thanksgiving; festooned stem-to-stern for Christmas; and becoming the scene for extravagant dress-up parties for New Year’s.

And all you have to do is have fun. No need to entertain, or do the cooking – and cleaning — yourself.

Oktoberfest and Christmas, German style

Experience an Oktoberfest to remember on the high seas with German line AIDA Cruises. The celebration embraces Bavarian tent-style activities from arm wrestling to yodeling. Popular German bands will be onboard AIDAperla and AIDAprima for live performances. Both ships will serve a special Oktoberfest beer brewed in the ships’ own breweries, to be enjoyed while sitting or dancing on benches. Traditional Bavarian culinary fare will include pork knuckle, sausage salad and dumplings. Wearing traditional dress is encouraged.

Christmas and New Year’s sailings bring AIDA Cruises guests to destinations including the Caribbean, Canary Islands, Mediterranean and Southeast Asia. Ships include the brand new AIDAnova, the first ship in the world powered at sea and in port with liquefied natural gas, the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel. Advent cruises celebrate with Christmas carol singalongs, Advent calendars, trees and other Christmas decorations and gingerbread. Christmas markets take place onboard, making holiday shopping easy. Goose is served on Christmas Eve.

Celebrating with Pirate Patch and The Grinch

For the month of October, Carnival Cruise Line is expanding its already popular “Frightfully Fun” Halloween programming with even more “spook-tacular” activities. The celebration will include costume contests, trick-or-treating and special holiday versions of live deck parties, trivia, Dive-In Movies, arts and crafts, and bingo. The centerpiece of the fun will be Patch, Carnival Cruise Line’s pumpkin pirate, who will stand guard in the atrium on each ship.

Starting in late November, it’s “Grinchmas Time” throughout the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. Though Mr. Grinch may be “a mean one” as part of the line’s exclusive Seuss at Sea program, and decked out in his green “Santy Claus” costume, he’s actually a leader of fun. The young and young at heart can catch a glimpse of the cantankerous curmudgeon as he slinks and slithers throughout the ship, with both scheduled appearances and spontaneous pop-up visits.

Carnival Cruise Line’s 26 ships also celebrate the holidays with ornately decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, mistletoe, caroling and appearances by Santa Claus, as well as traditional food including roast turkey and pecan pie on Christmas Day.

 

British holiday celebrations on P&O Cruises

Beginning in late November, special Christmas Market cruises visit markets around Europe, giving P&O Cruises guests opportunity to stock up on gifts, ranging from fine Belgium chocolates to handmade artisan gifts from Amsterdam and everything in between.

The seven ships in the fleet will be lavishly decorated with a total of 249 Christmas trees, adorned with twinkling lights and more than 44,000 decorations. Christmas dinners, festive-themed entertainment and holiday-themed films get everyone in the holiday spirit. On the line’s family-friendly ships, Father Christmas comes down the ship’s funnel. Guests can choose Christmas sailings in the Caribbean, Baltic and Canary Islands.

Ultra-luxury celebrations on Seabourn

Guests on Seabourn’s five ultra-luxury ships will celebrate the holidays in destinations around the world. There’s Christmas and New Year’s in Australia and the South Pacific or the opportunity to embrace the spirit in the stark white scenery of Antarctica. Guests on Seabourn Odyssey may spend some holiday time beachcombing in the Caribbean, while those on the new Seabourn Ovation will be exploring Thailand and Vietnam.

On all the ships, Thanksgiving brings a traditional turkey dinner. During Hanukkah and Christmas, the Seabourn ships are transformed into holiday wonderlands with gingerbread village displays and evergreen hangings draping railings and balusters. New Year’s Eve brings a formal party with a memorable toast to 2019.

A holiday wonderland on Princess Cruises

It actually snows in the atrium on Princess Cruises ships, even if you’re celebrating the holidays in the sunny Caribbean or other warm local. Passengers mingle with Kris Kringle, as yuletide carolers sing the classics, and the halls are decked with trees with red ribbons – even the ships’ masts get Christmas trees.

There is opportunity to sip eggnog and make gingerbread houses as a family. Christmas dinner brings a choice of roast turkey or goose with all the trimmings. Special holiday parties take place in the youth and teen centers, with cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer on Christmas Eve.

Princess Cruises also goes all out for Halloween, with various spooky decorations, a Fright Night Party and costume contest and a special scavenger hunt for families. Thanksgiving festivities include the ever-popular turkey calling contest.

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is celebrated with a menorah‐lighting ceremony, themed crafts, festive décor and such traditional delicacies as potato latkes. New Year’s brings a countdown party culminating with a balloon drop and celebratory champagne toast.

Relax during New Year’s Day with college bowl championship games shown on the outdoor movie screen and a football tailgate party with game-day treats.

 

Holland America Line ships add holiday sparkle

On the ships of Holland America Line, Halloween is celebrated with a pumpkin-carving contest where passengers vote their favorite. Kids go trick-or-treating around the ship (parents can join in, too) as part of the Club HAL program, and some crew wear costumes. There’s also a costume dance party for guests – with awards (candy) given for funniest, most creative, best team and best overall costumes.

Thanksgiving brings fall décor, spiced pumpkin lattes and an impressive turkey dinner capped with a big selection of pies and desserts.

Whether you are sailing in the Caribbean on the newly launched Nieuw Statendam and other ships or in Australia, Asia, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera or Asia, a highlight of Christmas Eve is a tree-lighting ceremony and Christmas carols in the atrium, with one child chosen to throw “snow” at the tree – a cue for the holiday lights to be turned on. There’s also a Christmas Eve concert featuring international crew members singing carols.

On Christmas morning, Santa arrives and kids, ‘tweens and teens receive wrapped presents. Clergy are onboard leading services for Hanukkah and Christmas.

New Year’s Eve is celebrated with a gala ball and champagne toast, followed by a selection of college football bowl games shown on New Year’s Day.

Embracing tradition with Cunard

A transatlantic or other voyage on a Cunard ocean liner is always an occasion, but even more so when the ships embrace the holiday spirit – especially since the line has nearly two centuries of experience in celebrating.

During the season, Christmas decorations include poinsettias and other seasonal flowers. Gingerbread villages are displayed. There’s a festive buffet lunch on embarkation day, and special menus are created for gala dinners on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Children participate in workshops, decorating cookies and gingerbread.

Holiday cruises Down Under

On the ships of P&O Cruises Australia, Halloween gets spooky with decorations, costumes, themed treats and entertainment for kids and adults alike. Dance enthusiasts can learn routines to iconic tracks such as the “Time Warp” and “Thriller,” before showing off their moves at a special Halloween fright night party. Kids will have a ball with activities that include pumpkin and ice-carving, murder mystery games, scavenger hunts, face painting and a junior Monster Mash party. Expect popup appearances by witches and such.

Christmas on the Australian line’s ships embrace the “throw a shrimp on the barbie” spirit. With the warm summer temperatures, guests can stay in their flip flops while enjoying such activities as carolling, cookie decorating and visits by Santa.

Christmas Eve brings a special variety concert and Christmas Day is all about lunch and dinner. On Boxing Day, the ships sponsor Backyard Cricket on a special pitch at sea. On New Year’s Eve there are parties around the ship including on the top deck, with the South Pacific as the backdrop.

Australia Day on January 26, 2019, is another cause for shipboard celebration, with themed entertainment for guests of all ages – including meat pies and other Aussie eats and an Australian national anthem sing off.

Experience the holidays Italian style

Santa Claus comes onboard to personally host experiences, pose for photos and help make memories at Christmastime on ships from Italy-based Costa Cruises, whether they are cruising in the Mediterranean, South America or the Caribbean. A special show production is themed around the holiday and there are gifts for all kids onboard under a traditional tree. Special menus enhance the festive atmosphere and include a touch of Italian classic tastes – such as Italian panettone or pandoro for dessert.

Memorable New Year’s Eve parties bring surprises, and there is opportunity to celebrate on December 31 at the pool, where the giant LED screen broadcasts New Year’s events in various time zones around the world.

 

Tips for Holiday Cruises

1) Plan ahead. Holiday sailings are popular, so it’s important to book well in advance to get the stateroom of your choice.
2) Splurge on space. Especially if you are bringing the family, you will want room to spread out. Book a balcony and you can feel warm sea breezes in your own space, while you think of your friends and relatives in snowy locales.
3) Leave the bulk of the gifts back home. You don’t want fill your luggage with gifts. Bring one special item for each family member, and plan to open the rest later. Or better yet, seek out surprises in the onboard shops.
4) Bring treats for the crew. These hardworking folks are away from home during the holidays and will appreciate your acts of kindness.
5) Pick up ornaments at each port of call. They’ll help you remember your great holiday experience for years to come.

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Summer 2020 Itineraries

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 655 0

Norwegian Encore, Norwegian’s Highly Anticipated Ship of 2019, to Cruise from New York City. Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Jewel to Summer in Alaska. Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Dawn Make Their European Debut with Cruises from Copenhagen and Venice. Pride of America to Continue Popular Hawaii Inter-Island Itinerary

Miami – Sep 18, 2018: Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in cruise travel, today opened for sale summer 2020 itineraries for 11 of its 17 ships, including upcoming voyages for Norwegian Encore, the company’s highly anticipated ship setting sail in 2019. The cruise line also opened summer 2021 through spring 2022 sailings on its Pride of America ship.

With voyages to the most popular destinations in the world, the summer 2020 schedule includes three ships cruising to Alaska, four ships voyaging in Europe and two sailing to Bermuda from New York City and Boston, including Norwegian Encore, which begins sailing from the city that never sleeps on April 22, 2020.

“We’re proud of the itineraries we’ve carefully curated for our guests, which allow them to experience some of the most sought-after destinations around the globe,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Summer 2020 is especially exciting as our Breakaway-Plus class will be making waves all over the world, from Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss in Alaska to Norwegian Encore in Bermuda and Norwegian Escape’s debut in Europe as our newest ship in the region.”

 

Alaska – Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Jewel

Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Jewel will sail to Alaska in summer 2020, as the youngest and most exciting fleet in the region. Sister ships, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss, return to the state with seven-day cruises from Seattle, Washington beginning May 9 and May 10 respectively. In Alaska, Norwegian Joy will call to Holkham Bay, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, and in British Columbia, she will call in Victoria. Norwegian Bliss will call to Glacier Bay, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, Alaska as well as Victoria, British Columbia.

Rounding out the Alaskan fleet, beginning May 11, Norwegian Jewel returns to Vancouver, British Columbia and Seward, Alaska to sail her incredibly popular seven-day Glacier Bay Northbound and Inside Passage itineraries.

 

Europe – Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Escape will make her European debut on May 29 offering nine-day cruises to the Baltic region from Copenhagen, Denmark with calls to Warnemünde, Germany; Tallinn, Estonia, Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm (Nynashamn), Sweden and an overnight in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Norwegian Escape will be one of the newest and largest Norwegian ships to homeport in Europe offering guests flexibility and choice with over 27 dining options, 21 bars and lounges, Broadway-style entertainment and more.

For the first time, beginning May 15, Norwegian Dawn will cruise from Europe offering seven-to-eleven-day sailings to the Greek Isles from Venice, Italy. From May 8, Norwegian Getaway will offer ten-and-eleven-day cruises to the Greek Isles and Italy from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. Both Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Getaway will visit Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos, Greece, among other Mediterranean cities. Norwegian Epic’s European summer 2020 itineraries will open for sale on October 16, 2018.

 

Bermuda – Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Gem

Following her inaugural season in the Caribbean, Norwegian Encore will reposition from Miami, Florida to New York City offering seven-day cruises to Bermuda beginning April 22, while Norwegian Gem will offer seven-day voyages from Boston to Bermuda beginning May 1. Both ships’ seven-day itineraries overnight in port offering guests three days in Bermuda.

 

Caribbean – Norwegian Breakaway

Beginning April 23, Norwegian Breakaway returns to Miami with a selection of five-and-seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean visiting Roatan and Bay Islands, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and the resort-style island destination of Harvest Caye in Southern Belize. She will also sail a variety of three-and-four-day cruises to the Bahamas calling to Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island.

 

Bahamas & Florida / Canada & New England – Norwegian Pearl

As of May 23, for the first time, Norwegian Pearl will homeport in New York City offering select seven, ten and eleven-day cruises to Canada and New England with calls to Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; and Newport, Rhode Island. She will also offer seven-day voyages to Bahamas and Florida with visits to Port Canaveral, Florida; Nassau and Norwegian’s private island paradise, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, which will have recently undergone enhancements as part of Norwegian Edge®, the company’s commitment to elevating the standard of excellence across its fleet and resort-style destinations.

 

Hawaii – Pride of America

Pride of America will continue cruising her seven-day inter-island itinerary that offers nearly 100 hours of port time in Hawaii’s main islands, including calls in Hilo, Kona, and overnight stays in Kahului, Maui and Nãwiliwili, Kauai with an afternoon cruising past the breathtaking Nãpali Coast. Norwegian’s Pride of America will depart from Honolulu every Saturday beginning May 1, 2021 through April 2022.

Holland America Line Ship in Hawaii

Holland America Line To Increase Presence In Hawaii

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 769 0

Two Holland America Line Ships Capture Hawaii’s Spirit of Aloha on Nine Extended Cruises in 2018-19. Eurodam and Amsterdam to offer 16- to 20-day cruises that include four Hawaiian ports

SEATTLE, June 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — From fall 2018 through spring 2019, two Holland America Line ships will say “Aloha” to the stunning, sun-drenched islands of Hawaii. Guests interested in exploring the famed island chain can choose from nine cruises with itineraries ranging from 16 to 20 days aboard Eurodam and Amsterdam. Hawaii sailings depart from Seattle, Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia; and San Diego and Los Angeles, California.

Most itineraries feature an overnight call in Honolulu, where guests have extra time to visit Pearl Harbor, relax on Waikiki Beach, take in the breathtaking views from Diamond Head State Monument or spend the evening enjoying traditional Hawaiian food and entertainment at an authentic luau. The cruises also call at Hilo, Nawiliwili and Lahaina, with most adding a call at Kona.

“Hawaii is synonymous with paradise — from the stunning scenery to the laid-back, friendly culture — and these islands beckon cruisers to come explore, relax and become enchanted with their idyllic ambiance,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We are committed to providing guests with an immersive and memorable vacation, so our Hawaii itineraries are further enriched with unique onboard offerings that bring Hawaiian cultural activities and cuisine on board throughout the voyage.”

To kick off the season, Eurodam departs Seattle Sept. 29, 2018, for an 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise that calls at Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, before heading to the Hawaiian ports of Nawiliwili, Honolulu, Lahaina and Hilo. Guests also can choose to embark two days later, Oct. 1, and sail roundtrip from Vancouver on a 16-day sailing.

A second 18-day voyage is available aboard Eurodam Nov. 11, 2018, conveniently sailing roundtrip from San Diego. Guests will visit the same Hawaiian ports, as well as calls at Kona, Hawaii, and Ensenada, Mexico. Those planning for a holiday getaway can enjoy a comparable itinerary on Amsterdam’s 17-day Hawaii Holiday cruise, sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles Dec. 21, 2018.

In 2019, three similar itineraries are available aboard Eurodam, including two 17-day sailings departing Feb. 3 and Feb. 20, as well as a 16-day sailing, embarking April 13. Cruisers interested in extending their vacation can lengthen the April 13 cruise and disembark in Vancouver after visiting Victoria for a 20-day voyage.

Guests who wish to dive deeper into the South Pacific can select Eurodam’s 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas voyage March 9, 2019. Sailing roundtrip from San Diego, cruisers will enjoy visits to six ports in French Polynesia – including overnights in both Bora Bora and Papeete – as well as two ports in Hawaii and a call at Fanning Island. Cruisers can further their exploration of the region on the Amsterdam’s 51-day Tales of the South Pacific voyage Oct. 28, 2019. Sailing roundtrip San Diego, the ship will visit Hawaii, Tahiti, as well as calls in America Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.

Cruise fares for the 16-, 17- and 18-day Hawaii cruises begin at $1,999; fares for the 20-day Hawaii cruise begin at $2,399; and fares for the 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas Voyage begin at $5,179. Cruise fare for the 51-day Tales of the South Pacific voyage begin at $6,899. All rates are per person, double occupancy.

 

Explorations Central Brings Hawaiian Culture on board

Throughout the voyages, Explorations Central programming brings Hawaii’s local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life onboard. Guided by locals, guests can immerse in Polynesian culture through lei making, ukulele lessons, hula dancing classes and Hawaiian language classes. EXC Talks, led by resident EXC Guides provide new perspectives on the region’s stories, while those with an adventurous palate can head to America’s Test Kitchen for a cooking demonstration, cooking class or themed mixology class featuring local fare. The Dining Room and Lido Market will showcase the flavors of Hawaii, while a poolside Hawaiian Luau and Hawaiian beer tastings add to guests’ experience of regional fare.

When journeying ashore, the EXC Team’s insider knowledge of each port helps guests to tailor their experiences, whether exploring independently or on an EXC Tour. Printed EXC Port Maps present a simple view of the best each port has to offer, while EXC Port Guides, featuring tips and information from AFAR Media, allow for a deeper examination of each destination. The in-stateroom EXC Channel features a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows that explores the destinations on the ship’s itinerary.

Azamara 2020 Itineraries

Azamara Club Cruises® Unveils 2020 Itineraries

Posted By : cruising/ 693 0

Azamara Club Cruises® Unveils 2020 Itineraries featuring new immersive land excursions and maiden voyages to destinations including South Africa, French Polynesia and Hawaii

New York, May 2018: The announcement of Azamara Club Cruises’ ® extensive 2020 itineraries highlights the brand’s commitment to creating immersive experiences for travelers to connect with local cultures. In 2020, guests will explore deeper into newly added destinations including South Africa, French Polynesia and Hawaii. With a total of 92 individual cruises across the three ships, Azamara will offer 41 maiden ports, 303 late night stays, 170 overnight stays and 40 country-intensive voyages, where guests can explore numerous ports within one country and stay late or overnight in most cities.

Azamara’s carefully crafted 2020 itineraries emphasize spending more time in port, enabling travelers to explore beyond the initial layers of a city and fully immerse themselves in the destination. In addition, Azamara will also unveil new Land and Sea packages hosted by Micato Safaris, a luxury safari outfitter that will further enhance the brand’s immersive land products.

“Our guests spoke and we listened; the addition of our third ship, the Azamara Pursuit, has allowed us to expand our footprint across all seven continents, bringing guests to new destinations, new experiences, and new opportunities,” said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “In 2020, Azamara will offer a total of 473 late night and overnight stays, a 12% percent increase from 2019, which will allow us to provide our guests with the opportunity to experience night touring at some of the most compelling destinations.”

(1) South Africa/African Continent and South Pacific Itineraries

Azamara will be expanding its global coverage by calling in South Africa and the African Continent for the first time. Each voyage will offer an exceptional variety of immersive land programs that take travelers to the heart of Zulu culture, South Africa’s most famous wine region, and beyond.

The new South Africa itineraries will coincide with pre-and post-cruise packages from Micato Safaris. Azamara and Micato both embody a similar love of travel, exploration and value creating one-of-a-kind experiences for travelers. Highlights include 30 departures of the two following tours:

• Five-Night Kruger to Cape: A Wildlife & Culinary Safari (offered pre-or post-Azamara voyage) Before embarking on a voyage with Azamara, meet the Micato team in Johannesburg for an exploration from Kruger to Cape Town with stops along the way at a notable game reserve and a visit to the Western Cape, known for its world class wines and top-quality restaurants; an experience that will delight the senses.

• Five-Night Wild Wonders of the World – Victoria Falls & Botswana Safari (offered pre-or post Azamara Voyage): Travel through Zimbabwe to Botswana to experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls. This expedition also includes a dawn game drive through Botswana’s Chobe Game Reserve and an optional helicopter tour of the falls.

In addition to the extensions by Micato Safaris, Azamara continues to expand its extensive Destination Immersion programing (guests can step on land as an insider, and travel deeper, beyond the initial layers of a city across Africa by adding a diverse selection of shore excursions including:

• Cruise Global, Stay Local – Kenya: On this overnight excursion, travelers will fly past Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa – and over the Great Rift Valley to Kenya’s renowned game reserve, Masai Mara, where they will spend the night at the Neptune Mara Rianta Luxury Camp, located along the Mara River. The excursion includes two game viewing drives in search of elephant, lions, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes and more.

• Cruise Global, Meet Local – South Africa: On a day trip to Shakaland – a living monument of Zulu culture – travelers will be met by a Zulu guide who will act as an interpreter as he leads them through the village. Guests will learn how to make a sword and shield as well as build a traditional Zulu “beehive” grass hut.

• Cruise Global, Taste Local – South Africa: Departing from Cape Town, the excursion will take travelers to the Paarl region – one of South Africa’s most famous wine-producing areas – for a formal vino tasting at a wine estate. Following, guests will pay a visit to Haute Cabrière – founded in 1694 and situated on opposite ends of the breathtaking Franschoek – where visitors will get to experience a deep passion for wine as well as a pairing comprised of two farms.

The 2020 itineraries will also feature an 18-night maiden voyage to French Polynesia and Hawaii, visiting some of the most unique Hawaiian Islands (Maui, Oahu and Hilo). During this voyage guests can shop for bright Polynesian silk wrap or shop for items with Tahitian black pearls, an organic gem only found in that region and formed from the black lip oyster. Some of the land experiences guests can participate in include:

• Cruise Global, Eco Local – French Polynesia: Join a marine biologist in this ecotourism and research project on wild, free-ranging dolphins. Learn about the geology of French Polynesia while viewing the dramatic beauty of Moorea from the water. Spinner dolphins, rough-tooth dolphins and pilot whales are seen around Moorea, while an excellent commentary provides details on the remarkable life and society of these wonderful mammals.

• Cruise Global, Adventure Local – Hawaii: Embark on an underwater exploration of Maui onboard a high-tech passenger submarine. The expedition will pass the “Brig Carthaginian,” a sunken ship built in the 1920s that now acts as an artificial reef off of the coast of Maui’s Puamana Beach Park.

(2) Specialty Voyages

In addition to adding new destinations and immersive land experiences to its offerings, Azamara’s 2020 itineraries will feature an assortment of specialty voyages including the following:

• Nearly half of Azamara’s 2020 itineraries will include country-intensive voyages, giving travelers the opportunity to connect to the authentic heart of local life and culture. The new country intensive sailings include Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, and South Africa.

• For the first time, Azamara’s three sister ships will meet on October 8, 2020 in Koper, Slovenia, where the cruise line will host a grand AzAmazing Evening in port for all guests on all three ships, and then sail together to Venice.

• Azamara’s holiday and Christmas sailings provide the opportunity to take part in celebrations around the world including ringing in the New Year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Cape Town, South Africa.

• On February 20, 2020, the Azamara Quest will be embarking on the brand’s second World Journey from Cape Town to Southampton.

• The Triple Tour is a 42-night voyage starting May 26, 2020 from Athens to Copenhagen, allowing guests to sail on all three ships and get an in-depth experience with crew members across the entire fleet, all on one epic voyage. More details on the Triple Tour will be available in early Summer of 2018.

(3) New Stateroom Category:

Starting in 2020, Azamara will offer guests a more inclusive stateroom category called Veranda Plus. The new accommodation will have the same dimensions and features as a regular Veranda stateroom, for a slightly higher cost, but include additional benefits such as: internet minutes, one night of specialty dining, priority embarkation and more. All of these amenities have been built in price, which will provide a value for guests, versus buying individually.