Azamara Club Cruises ‘Double Upgrade’ Promotion

September 5, 2017.

Azamara Club Cruises’ latest offer – the Double Upgrade promotion – offers travelers a complimentary upgrade from a Club Interior to a Club Veranda Stateroom for select bookings between now and November 30, 2017.

Azamara Club Cruises offers immersive itineraries that allow you to “Cruise Global” and “Connect Local” with unique Shore Excursions that dive deep into local cultures.  With the Double Upgrade promotion, guests can relax on their private balcony after a day or night exploring on shore, for an interior stateroom price.

The Double Upgrade Deal

  • Offer – The Double Upgrade: The Veranda room with the inside price
    • Guests booking a Club Interior room on select 2018 and 2019 voyages will automatically be upgraded to a Club Veranda Stateroom
    • Offer can be combined with onboard savings, reduced single supplements and the early booking bonus
  • Booking window: Now through November 30th, 2017
  • Featured voyages:
    • 10 Night Islands of the Western Med, Azamara Quest – June 2018: After starting the voyage with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, island hop around the Mediterranean, with an overnight on the island of Malta and a sail down the canal into the city of Mahon, only accessible to smaller ships.
    • 11 Night Cities of Northern Europe, Azamara Journey – August 2018: Take an urban voyage throughout Northern Europe, visiting cities like Arhus, Denmark and Oslo, Norway, that offer old-world charm with modern efficiency.
    • 10 Night Circle Cuba Voyage, Azamara Journey – November 2018: Travel from one end of the island of Cuba to the other, taking in all vibrant culture including the Afro-Cuban heritage and art deco architecture before spending a day in the Cayman islands followed by an overnight in Cozumel Mexico.

 

Carnival Horizon’s Bonsai Teppanyaki Menu

August 31, 2017.

A few days ago I announced that the new Carnival Horizon will debut the first teppanyaki Japanese restaurant on a Carnival ship.  You can read that article here.

Today Carnival provided me with the menu for Bonsai Teppanyaki, and it looks great.  I’d have to go with a combination entree.

Bonsai Teppanyaki Dinner Menu

Carnival Horizon debuts in Europe next March and then moves to the United States in May 2018.

Carnival Horizon To Feature Teppanyaki Dining Venue

August 28, 2017.

Carnival Cruise Line will introduce its first-ever teppanyaki dining venue when the new 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon debuts in Europe in spring 2018.

If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of Teppanyaki,  the name is derived from the combination of the words “teppan” or iron plate with “yaki” meaning grilled or pan-fried.

Located on Carnival Horizon’s Promenade Deck, Bonsai Teppanyaki will offer a wide-ranging menu with authentic delicacies from the Far East prepared by highly skilled chefs who will create tantalizing dishes on custom-built stations that form the center of the venue’s two eight-seat tables.   With only 16 seats available reservations will be highly recommended.  The restaurant will offer both a lunch and dinner service.

In keeping with Carnival’s atmosphere of spirited and participatory fun, dinner at Bonsai Teppanyaki will be a fun culinary experience with chefs engaging with diners and dazzling them with their amazing knife skills and other performance elements.

Each meal will begin with an appetizer sampler of five items such as Miso Soup, Pork Belly Yakitori with Sesame Asparagus Fries,  and Spicy Tuna on the Rocks with Onion Sesame Sauce and Den Miso.  Guests will then choose an entree with choices including Lobster Tail with Yuzu Cream and Citrus Kosho, Filet Mignon with Truffle Salt, Garlic Chips and Champagne Cognac Flambe, and Black Cod with Soy Reduction, plus other items.  For dessert a Chocolate Bento Box with Green Tea Ice Cream will be featured.

“Carnival is all about providing our guests with a wide array of choices and that, of course, includes a seemingly endless array of delicious culinary options,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “The new Bonsai Teppanyaki promises to be a wonderful addition to the Carnival Horizon, offering delectable cuisine from the Far East enhanced by show-stopping performances by our talented and engaging chefs,” she added.

More news on Carnival Horizon soon.

Carnival Testing New Breakfast Menu For Port Days

August 22, 2017.

Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald posted a new breakfast menu on Facebook today, and it looks really good.  The menu is being tested on Carnival Victory presently, and is only used in the main dining room for breakfast on port days.  I hope it proves popular and rolls out fleetwide. The menu includes the currently fashionable ‘avocado toast’ as well as other more up-to-date choices.

Azamara Club Cruises Introduces New Breakfast Menu

August 22, 2017.

Azamara Club Cruises has just introduced a new breakfast menu at their Discoveries restaurant – one of the on-board favorites with lively dining and recently renewed décor.  Known for Destination Immersion programming and commitment to immersion into local cultures, Azamara has curated the menu to be destination focused, reflecting the port stops the voyage is making.

For those looking to avoid rushing breakfast and to enjoy something more than just a buffet, the new menu is brunch inspired with elevated dishes that are completely new, with global flavors and ingredients.  Vegan, gluten free, healthy and vegetarian options are all denoted.  Stand out dishes include:

  • Japanese zucchini noodle breakfast bowl with a fried egg
  • Asian chicken and rice congee with ginger and scallion (I love congee)
  • Arabic Shakshuka with hummus and olives
  • Mediterranean ratatouille toast with scrambled eggs

The full menu:

Holland America’s Popular ‘Explore4’ Promotion Is Back

August 7, 2017.

Holland America Line’s popular Explore4 promotion is back with four offers on more than six hundred cruises from March 2018 through April 2019. Travelers looking to book a cruise or Alaska Land+Sea Journey for next year or beyond can take advantage of all the benefits, which include complimentary beverages and specialty dining aboard ship as well as reduced deposits and free or reduced fares for friends and family. Suite bookings also receive onboard spending money.

The Explore4 promotion for guests booking any category stateroom includes a Signature Beverage Package valued at $1,400 per stateroom (based on a 14-day cruise), dinner at the Pinnacle Grill for two, free or reduced cruise fares for friends and kids in the same stateroom, and 50 percent reduced deposits. Guests receive all benefits, and bookings must be made by Nov. 17, 2017.

Suite Travelers Receive Added Perks
Guests who book a cruise in a suite category stateroom will receive the four offers plus an additional $200 onboard spending money per stateroom ($100 per person).

Beverage, Dining and Other Onboard Amenities Add to Cruise Value
The beverage package includes wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, sodas and coffee. The beverage offer is only applicable on the cruise portion of Alaska Land+Sea Journeys.

Explore4 offers also include a complimentary dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, featuring a menu highlighting steak and seafood dishes like filet mignon and broiled Alaska king salmon, Pinnacle Grill also includes favorites like roasted pumpkin risotto and double-cut Kurobata pork chops.

With reduced cruise fares on select sailings for friends and kids sharing a stateroom with two other guests, a group of four can take an affordable vacation to the Caribbean or a longer journey to an exotic destination. For example, in the Caribbean, fares for seven-day cruises start from US$799 for the first and second guests in an interior stateroom, and free or reduced fares apply for the third and fourth guests. A seven-day European cruise starts at US$1,199 for an interior stateroom for the first and second guests, with free or reduced fares for third and fourth guests. Taxes, fees and port expenses are additional.

By taking advantage of the 50 percent reduced deposit offer, guests will have more flexibility and time before paying the final deposit on their cruise.

Global Itineraries Available with Explore4
Guests looking to take advantage of the Explore4 program can choose select itineraries to nearly all of Holland America Line’s global destinations, including Alaska and Alaska and the Yukon Land+Sea Journeys, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, the Baltic, Bermuda, Canada and New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, Mexico, the Panama Canal and South America. Grand Voyages and Grand Voyage segments are excluded.

Azamara Club Cruises To Feature Venice-Simplon Orient Express Rail Options

August 3, 2017

Today, Azamara Club Cruises announced an enriching new inclusive pre-and-post Land and Sea program in Europe. In partnership with the renowned Venice-Simplon Orient-Express train, this program takes guests deeper into European locales and allows travelers to stay longer and experience even more on land with a unique vantage point.

The iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express travels between London and Venice offering travelers packages designed to extend an Azamara vacation with even more cultural discovery in additional ports. Travelers can relive the golden-era age of travel through the original 1920s vintage carriages, gourmet cuisine and spectacular scenery.

Azamara and the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will provide guests the distinct opportunity to combine train, hotel and cruise travel in a personalized way. Guests are invited to indulge in:

  • Timeless Authenticity: The luxurious private cabins on board the 1920s carriages provide inspiring back stories and history; Sleeping Car 3425 is famously associated with King Carol, who escaped Romania with his mistress aboard the train in 1940. Stunning vintage details such as Rene Prou designs and Rene Lalique glass panels make each carriage feel like a time capsule giving travelers the chance to relive history.
  • Gourmet Cuisine: The train line’s Executive Chef Christian Bodiguel has spent the last 33 years creating culinary masterpieces and prepares 3-course lunches and 4-course dinners of classic French dishes.  Menus change seasonally and everything is cooked fresh on board, with Chef Bodiguel selecting local ingredients from the destinations the train visits.
  • Spectacular Scenery: Europe’s most stunning scenery can be viewed through two different routes spanning the Gotthard Route and the Alberg Route boasting the incredible views of the Swiss Lakes as well as the dramatic Dolomites. Both routes offer breath taking mountain views, crystal clear lakes and quant towns and vineyards tucked into the mountainside.

Exploring by train compliments the cruise experience offering a truly unique vantage point to take in Europe’s most famous and romanticized scenery which can be viewed along the journey between London and Venice.  Additional route highlights include:

  • London to Venice Pre-Voyage: Guests will depart London’s Victoria Station aboard the Belmond British Pullman, sister train of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, for the journey to Folkestone. Enjoy a Bellini brunch and silver service as the train passes through the lush Kentish countryside, before transferring across the Channel on the Eurotunnel. Once aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in Calais, a delicious four-course dinner is prepared by skilled French chefs and served in one of the three restaurant cars. Head to the Bar Car ‘3674’ for a nightcap before retiring to your cabin for your overnight stay. Continental breakfast is served in your cabin, followed by lunch in the restaurant car. Relax over afternoon tea as the train makes its way to Venice and then depart the train for an overnight in Venice including luxury accommodations at the Hotel Monaco in the heart of the charming city.
  • Venice to London Post-Voyage: After a relaxing evening spent at the Hotel Monaco guests board the gleaming carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express where they wave goodbye to Venice over a three-course lunch. Afternoon Tea is served in your cabin before guests mingle with fellow passengers in the Bar Car ‘3674’, followed by a dinner in one of the three beautifully unique restaurant cars. Linger over continental breakfast served in your cabin the following morning, followed by a delicious lunch en route to Calais where you will transfer for the Eurotunnel crossing. On the other side, board the Belmond British Pullman, sister train to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, which takes guests from Folkestone to London Victoria Station, with afternoon tea served on the way accompanied by a glass of English Sparkling Wine.

Pre-and post-voyages train packages must be booked in tandem with featured sailings. For more information on the pre-and-post Land and Sea program in Europe visit here.

Nick Jonas To Perform On Carnival LIVE Concert Series

August 3, 2017.

Multi-platinum and Grammy-nominated recording artist and award-winning songwriter Nick Jonas is the latest addition to the popular Carnival LIVE Concert Series, performing aboard Carnival Victory and Carnival Liberty this fall while the ships are docked in Nassau, Bahamas.

Carnival LIVE is a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience that brings the best in live music and comedy to the seas, providing guests an opportunity to enjoy performances by top artists at an incredible value.  Performances are held in the ships’ main show lounges – which range in capacity from 900 to 1,300 – meaning there’s never a bad seat in the house.  I’ve done five Carnival LIVE cruises, seeing famous performers such as Heart, Boston, and Journey, and they were amazing shows.

A recipient of the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s prestigious Hal David Starlight Award, Jonas will perform two concerts  – one aboard Carnival Liberty on November 17 and the other aboard on Carnival Victory November 18.

Jonas released his self-titled, critically acclaimed debut album in November 2014 that included the double-platinum and No. 1 U.S. radio hit, “Jealous” and his sultry chart-climbing radio single, “Chains.”  Jonas released his sophomore solo album “Last Year Was Complicated” in June 2016 featuring the platinum him “Close” featuring Tove Lo that debuted as the No. 1 selling album of the week.

Carnival LIVE tickets for Nick Jonas are $75 for general admission, significantly less than land-based venues.  VIP tickets are available for $250 and include seating in the first few rows, a photo opportunity with the artist and a commemorative concert pass.

Additional Carnival LIVE acts are expected to be announced in the coming months.

A full listing of all Carnival LIVE performances is available at www.carnival.com/CarnivalLIVE.

Cuba Cruises On Norwegian Sun Open For Booking

July 26, 2017.

Norwegian Cruise Line today opened 2018 cruises to Cuba aboard Norwegian Sun, which will homeport in Port Canaveral starting in May 2018, following a dry dock enhancement. Norwegian Sun’s new all-inclusive four-day cruises to Cuba will depart Port Canaveral each Monday, beginning May 7, 2018, and feature a call on Key West, Florida on Tuesdays, followed by an early morning arrival to Cuba’s capital city of Havana on Wednesday, allowing guests the opportunity to experience a full day and night of exploration.

The Norwegian Sun cruises to Cuba will provide guests with cultural immersion during OFAC-compliant* shore excursions.

Just prior to her arrival in Port Canaveral, Norwegian Sun will undergo a two-and-a-half week dry dock in April 2018 as a part of the Norwegian Edge™, the brand’s revitalization program encompassing the entire guest experience. Norwegian Sun accommodates 1,936 guests, with 16 dining options, and 12 bars and lounges. All guests sailing aboard one of Norwegian Sun’s Cuba or Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral will also enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages included in their cruise fare as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive program.

For a limited time, guests can take advantage of Norwegian’s Havana Nights offer and enjoy $50 in free onboard spending money** when they book a new cruise now through August 31 for 2017 and 2018 Cuba sailings. Those who act fast and take advantage of Norwegian’s Havana Nights can also enjoy $50 deposits*** now through August 7.

*Norwegian Cruise Line is currently authorized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer carrier services to authorized travelers between the United States and Cuba under the travel guidelines for US citizen travel to Cuba. Norwegian Cruise Line will continue to work with the administrations in both Cuba and the US to comply with any policy changes and regulations so that the brand may provide guests with educational and culturally rich experiences in Cuba, with all sailings subject to potential changes due to governmental relations.

** Offer not applicable to categories IX, OX, BX, or, MX.

*** (Suite categories are not applicable for this offer. Offer is only applicable for mini-suites and below. Offer available for new bookings made more than 90 days from sail date.

 

Norwegian Garners Several Beverage Awards & Accolades

July 20, 2017.

Following Norwegian Escape’s Head Mixologist Marc McArthur’s win at the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year semifinals competition on June 20, Norwegian Cruise Line is once again in the spotlight for its outstanding onboard beverage program. Led by Wesley Cort, Senior Director of Restaurant and Beverage Operations, and Luis Ortega, Manager of Beverage Operations Development, Norwegian’s beverage team is celebrating the recognition stemming from several honors received in the first half of 2017.

2017 Diageo WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Semi-Finals

On June 20, Marc McArthur, head mixologist aboard Norwegian Escape, took home the gold in the semi-finalist round of the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year competition and was awarded the title of Diageo Global Travel’s Best Bartender in the cruise industry division.

In the competition’s Mystery Box Challenge, the bartenders were asked to create cocktails using several secret ingredients, provided just 15 minutes prior to the challenge. McArthur served up two concoctions, pulling inspiration from legendary public figures – Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana. For his first drink, inspired by Nelson Mandela, McArthur combined Zacapa Rum, passion fruit, peanut butter, green chartreuse, sweet vermouth and cardamom. His second cocktail evoked the distinctively elegant spirit of Princess Diana with Matcha-infused Tanqueray 10, fresh lemon, simple syrup, gooseberries and pink peppercorn.

In the Cocktails Against the Clock Challenge, the bartenders were asked to create as many unique cocktails as they could in just five minutes. McArthur bested the competition, meticulously executing six incredible signature cocktails – Zacapa Mai Tai, Winter Old Fashioned, Sherry Martini, Marilyn Monroe, Smoke n’ Fire and the Traquila – serving up his final cocktail just before time ran out.

McArthur will now continue on to represent Norwegian at the WORLD CLASS global finals event in Mexico City on August 20. He will compete against 56 top bartenders from around the world for the coveted title of WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year 2017.

2017 BACARDI® Legacy Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year

Earlier this year, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Wade Cleophas bested competition from more than 2500 entries across 13 different cruise lines to win the title of 2017 BACARDÍ® Legacy Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year. The finals took place in Miami on February 13 in a live competition judged by a panel of experts from the beverage industry, held at award-winning restaurant Alter in Miami’s hip Wynwood neighborhood.

Wade’s winning creation – the ‘Legend Reviver’ – was inspired by classic cocktails with spices reminiscent of exotic destinations. The cocktail, featuring BACARDÍ® OCHO (8) ANOS, was mixed with star anise infused sweet vermouth, caramel/cinnamon syrup with drops of whisky barrel aged bitters and finished with a mist of Absinthe.  His perfectly presented cocktail was artistically finished off with a garnish resembling the sails of a merchant ship and the wings of the BACARDÍ bat. A key element of the competition was the requirement for finalists to promote their cocktail around the world.  In the three months that Wade was promoting Legend River Reviver, Norwegian sold almost 2000 servings of the specialty drink.

 

2017 Vista Awards Best Beer and Wine Programs

Rounding out Norwegian Cruise Line’s beverage kudos for the first half of 2017, the line was recognized as having the Best Beer Program and the Best Wine Program out of all hotels, cruise lines and casinos at the 2017 Vista Awards, held on Tuesday, February 28 during the VIBE Conference, the premiere on-premise beverage conference for beverage executives. Norwegian was the only cruise line honored at the awards.

VIBE Vista Awards recognize the top performers in the beverage industry through the creation, training, execution, management and ongoing positive results of beverage programs. Entries were reviewed by a panel of Johnson & Wales University beverage faculty, staff and alumni and were judged on positive beverage sales initiatives, efficient operational innovations and training and service programs producing high quality standards.