Holland America’s Mexican Riviera Cruises In 2019

September 20, 2018.

Cabo San Lucas

Holland America Line has three ships  doing 2019 Mexico cruises.  From January through December 2019, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Oosterdam will sail a series of seven- and 11-day cruises roundtrip from San Diego, California, that include calls at Mazatlán, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Mexican Riviera Sailings Roundtrip from San Diego
All Mexican Riviera cruises will call at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.  Three sea days provide time to relax and explore the abundance of amenities on board.

Guests can expand their cruise to include more of the West Coast aboard Eurodamsailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Oct. 15, on a unique 11-day itinerary down to San Diego that also calls at Santa Barbara, California. For those with less time, this cruise can be taken as a seven-day itinerary departing San Diego Oct. 19. Eurodam offers eight additional seven-day cruises through 2019, and its sister ship, Nieuw Amsterdam, will also explore the region on six sailings starting March 17. Oosterdam will sail into the region Oct. 6 on its first of eight seven-day sailing, including two festive Mexican Riviera Holiday voyages departing Dec. 21 and Dec 28.

Holland America’s 2019 Panama Canal Cruises

September 20, 2018.

Travelers interested in transiting the famous lakes and locks of the Panama Canal will have five Holland America Line ships and 30 cruises to choose in 2019. In addition to the full transits, guest can embark on Panama Canal Sunfarer itineraries that feature a partial transit in combination with southern Caribbean ports of call.

Connect Two Oceans on a Full Panama Canal Transit
From January through December 2019, Amsterdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Eurodam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam and Volendam will make 17 transits between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from four departure cities. Guests can sail to or from Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, California; and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Each itinerary includes a diverse collection of ports along with the exploration of the Panama Canal. On full transits, guests will visit cities in Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and islands in the Caribbean. In addition, some of the sailings include a visit to Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s private island in the Bahamas.

Combine the Caribbean and Central America on a Partial Transit
In addition to the full transits, Zuiderdam and Eurodam will make 13 partial transits between January and December 2019. Conveniently cruising roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, the 10- and 11-day Panama Canal Sunfarer itineraries include an exploration of the Canal’s Gatún Lake with a combination of southern Caribbean calls in Aruba, Curaçao, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Half Moon Cay.

Full Panama Canal transit cruise fares start at $1,329 and Sunfarer cruise rates start at $949, all per person, double occupancy.

Several Panama Canal sailings are eligible for Holland America’s Explore4 promotion where travelers looking to plan ahead for next year or beyond can take advantage of perks to sip, dine, sail and save.

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 third and fourth guests in the same stateroom, and 50 percent reduced deposits. Guests receive all benefits when bookings are made by Nov. 19, 2018.

Explorations Central (EXC) Makes Panamanian Culture Come to Life on Board
Throughout the voyages, EXC programming brings Panama’s local customs, culinary creations and cultural experiences on board. Through the EXC Encounters program, guests can practice their language skills, learn about local traditions or enjoy the simple pleasure of storytelling. Those who want to immerse themselves even further can attend an EXC Talk where a Panama Canal expert recounts the history and drama of the historic construction of the waterway. The EXC Team provides further guidance in customizing each visit for the port calls, while the in-stateroom EXC Channel features a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows exploring the destinations on the itinerary.

Carnival Elation Captain & Crew Receive Award For Maritime Rescue During Hurricane Irma

September 14, 2018.

Captain Gaetano Gigliotti (left) and rescued shrimp boat Captain Edward Potter (right) display award

Captain Gaetano Gigliotti and the crew of the cruise ship Carnival Elation have been recognized with the Cruise Line Humanitarian Assistance Award from the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS), an organization whose mission is to provide worldwide support and assistance to volunteer maritime rescue services and recognize and honor extraordinary maritime rescues.

Presented during AFRAS’ annual reception in Washington, DC, the award honors Captain Gigliotti and his team for their incredible bravery in the rescue of a stranded fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Irma last year.   In addition to the AFRAS Award, Captain Gigliotti was presented with a framed copy of the entry into the Congressional Record by Florida Congresswoman Federica Wilson commending the life-saving actions of the captain and his team.

The rescued mariner, Edward Potter of Tampa, was reunited at the ceremony with Captain Gigliotti in a poignant and heartfelt meeting of the two seamen.

While undergoing a scheduled dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas, Carnival Elation began monitoring a storm off the coast of Africa that quickly developed into a major Category 5 hurricane.  When it became clear that the storm’s path was projected directly over the Bahamas, the decision was made to move the 70,000-ton ship and seek shelter in the Gulf of Mexico.

As Carnival Elation was sailing from Hurricane Irma’s path, the ship received a relayed distress message from the U.S. Coast Guard alerting them that a fishing boat, the Captain Eddie, was taking on water approximately 60 nautical miles to the east.  With Captain Eddie’s two crewmembers in dire need of assistance, Carnival Elation Captain Gigliotti and his crew immediately set out to assist in the rescue, with the U.S. Coast Guard planning to provide a helicopter to assist in the search and rescue efforts.

Navigating through treacherous conditions, 15 to 20 foot waves and sustained winds of 40 knots gusting to 60 knots, Carnival Elation, without the aid of its normal bridge systems and communication equipment due to the early departure from dry dock, stayed the course, only to be informed that the USCG could no longer provide helicopter assistance because of the dangerous wind conditions.

Nearing the fishing boat, Captain Gigliotti, using the knowledge and experience gleaned from more than three decades at sea, deemed it was too dangerous to allow a Carnival Elation rescue boat to pick up the fishermen.  Instead, he chose to maneuver the ship closer to the life raft to facilitate a rescue through an open shell door in the hull.  Despite high winds and heavy seas, Captain Gigliotti successfully positioned the ship alongside the life raft and several team members, ignoring the potential risk to their own lives, brought the sole survivor, Edward Potter, on board using a harness and hoisting line.

Unfortunately, Potter informed Carnival Elation team that his fellow crew member refused to abandon ship and was lost when the fishing vessel rapidly sank. Carnival Elation medical team took excellent care of him, facilitated contact with his family members and coordinated with the U.S. Embassy to ensure his timely return to the United States after the ship returned to the Bahamas.

Holland America Partners with Rolling Stone to Launch Rock Room Live Music at Sea

September 13, 2018.

Holland America Line is introducing Rolling Stone Rock Room, a new classic rock club developed in partnership with Rolling Stone, the world’s leading authority in music. Rolling Stone Rock Room lets cruisers step into a unique experience as a live band chronicles rock history as they kick out iconic hits by favorite rock stars.

Rolling Stone Rock Room will debut as part of the innovative Music Walk area on Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam when it joins the fleet in December 2018 and Koningsdam that same month.

Rolling Stone Rock Room will feature a live five-piece band playing a collection of hits inspired by the magazine’s top song lists.

The innovative Music Walk on Holland America Line ships offers a variety of musical experiences and genres to create a live experience.  In addition to Rolling Stone on Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam, venues in Music Walk include Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King’s Blues Club.

Limited Time Offer From Norwegian Cruise Line: Free Air For Norwegian Joy Alaska Cruises

September 13, 2018.

Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced a free and reduced roundtrip airfare offer for new reservations on Norwegian Joy’s seven-day Alaska itineraries beginning April 2019 through September 2019.

The offer will be available to the general public for one day only on September 14.   So since you are receiving this on the 14th, you need to act today if you want this offer.

New bookings for a balcony or better will be eligible for free or reduced round trip economy class airfare for up to two guests from over 100 airports across the U.S. and Canada. Guests reserving The Haven or Concierge level will receive complimentary airfare at all eligible airports.  Guests may opt for a discount up to $1,000 per stateroom instead of the airfare offer. The Free Air promotion is also combinable with Norwegian’s Free at Sea offer, where guests can select up to five amenities of their choosing.

The promotion celebrates the repositioning of Norwegian Joy to the U.S. for year-round sailings on the west coast.  Prior to her arrival in Seattle, Norwegian Joy will undergo approximately $50 million in upgrades to enhance her already popular features and bring her designs and offerings to be virtually identical to those of her sister ship, Norwegian Bliss, the newest and most successful ship in the line’s 51-year history.  From dining and entertainment to recreational activities, guests will have more opportunities to experience the innovative features expected of the modern and dynamic fleet while discovering the natural beauty of Alaska.

Norwegian Joy will cruise a variety of itineraries featuring Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Holkham Bay and Icy Strait Point.

The Free Air promotion is only available with seven-day Alaska itineraries on Norwegian Joy and is based on availability.  The offer includes roundtrip economy class airfare from select airports.  It is not applicable with Sail Away categories.  Additional terms and conditions may apply.

Eight Holland America Ships Sailing The Caribbean From Florida In 2018-19

September 10, 2018.

Holland America will have more than 100 Caribbean cruises to choose from between October 2018 and April 2019, sailing from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.  Ranging from 3 to 21 days, vacationers will have their pick of eight of the line’s mid-sized ships including the newest addition to the fleet, Nieuw Statendam.

Holland America Line’s Caribbean: Best. “Nieuw.” Most. More.
A variety of itineraries explore the eastern, western and southern regions of the Caribbean; some sail to Cuba and others spend a day discovering the Panama Canal. Seven ships will sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, while Rotterdam takes over the roundtrip Tampa, Florida, departures.

Most Fort Lauderdale departures include a visit to what has been called the best private island in the cruise industry: Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, exciting shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and child-friendly activities. Caribbean itineraries this season also introduce Nieuw Statendam on its premier season with cruises from three to 17 days.

From October 2018 through April 2019, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam, Veendam and Zuiderdam sail more than 100 three- to 14-day cruises that can be combined into longer, back-to-back Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 13 to 21 days.

Seven Ships Sail Roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale to Cuba and Beyond
In October 2018, Veendam kicks off the Caribbean season with a series of Cuban Explorer cruises. Guests can immerse themselves in Cuba’s natural beauty and rich cultural history on a variety of seven-, 10-, 11- and 12-day itineraries through March 2019. Along with Havana and Cienfuegos, Cuba, the ship will call at several other Caribbean ports in Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Mexico. Veendam also offers a seven-day eastern Caribbean Holiday cruise in December and an 11-day southern Caribbean itinerary in January that do not visit Cuba.

Nieuw Statendam will kick off its maiden Caribbean season with a four-day cruise to the Bahamas in December. Following its inaugural Caribbean sailing, the ship will feature seven-day itineraries that offer both eastern and western routes. Nieuw Statendam also will offer a 10-day itinerary in January for guests interested in exploring lesser-visited ports in the southern Caribbean such as Kralendijk, Bonaire; Amber Cove, Domincan Republic; and Barbados. Other southern Caribbean itineraries will be available on Nieuw Statendam’s sister ship, Koningsdam, beginning in November 2018. Cruisers can choose seven-, 10- and 11-day itineraries.

Guests looking to experience the eastern or western regions of the Caribbean can do so aboard Nieuw Amsterdam on a series of seven-day cruises that showcase each region, featuring calls at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk, Cozumel, Georgetown, Ocho Rios and more. Similarly, Oosterdam will offer a series of seven-day cruises that spotlight both eastern and western routes, as well as seven-day Tropical Caribbean itineraries that feature calls at ports in the Bahamas and Dominican Republic.

Partial Panama Canal Transits Explore Gatún Lake
Guests looking to explore the Panama Canal can experience a partial transit aboard Zuiderdam, sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on 10- and 11-day cruises. The ship visits several Caribbean ports as it makes its way to Gatún Lake, where cruisers will enjoy a day of spectacular scenic cruising throughout the canal.

Roundtrip Tampa Itineraries
From October 2018 through April 2019 Rotterdam will sail roundtrip from Tampa on eight seven-day western itineraries and five 14-day southern itineraries. The ship visits some of the most beautiful ports and islands in the region including Key West; Curaçao; Mahogany Bay, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; Aruba and St. Lucia.

Combine Back-to-Back Cruises to Form Longer Collectors’ Voyages
Many of the cruises can be extended into Collectors’ Voyages, which offer the ultimate Caribbean exploration with more economical fares than if booking the cruises individually. Ranging from 14 to 21 days, these artfully crafted longer journeys combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to span more than one Caribbean area and have the ultimate island-hopping journey.

Celebrate the Season with a Festive Holiday Cruise
For travelers who like to get away for the winter holidays, a total of 14 holiday sailings will ply the warm waters of the Caribbean on far-reaching itineraries that range from seven to 14 days. Several non-repeating itineraries can be combined to form a longer Holiday Collectors’ Voyage that can be extended up to 21 days.

Guests in search of a unique and extended itinerary can opt for Prinsendam’s 14-day Caribbean Holiday cruise departing Dec. 21, 2018. The ship calls at ports in the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Barbados, Half Moon Cay, the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in special holiday events, many with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Claus and holiday-themed crafts. Hanukkah activities will be available on early December cruises.

The New Year’s Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in a new year, featuring a festive holiday ball with a Champagne toast.

Cruise fares for Caribbean cruises begin at $499. All rates are per person, double occupancy. Several dates are eligible for the Explore4 promotion: Guests booking any category stateroom will receive 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 third and fourth guests in the same stateroom, and 50 percent reduced deposits. Guests receive all benefits when bookings are made by Nov. 19, 2018. Taxes, fees and port expenses are additional.

Explorations Central Brings Caribbean and Cuban Culture on Board
Throughout the voyages, EXC programming brings the region’s local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life on board. Through EXC Encounters and EXC talks, guests can participate in activities to learn unique practices to the ports of call and attend discussions on history, culture and attractions. The EXC Team will provide further customized guidance as well as online EXC Port Guides. For guests who enjoy exploring on their own, printed EXC Port Maps present a simple view of the best each port has to offer.

Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam Completes Sea Trials

August 28, 2018.

Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam, the second Pinnacle Class ship in the fleet has successfully completed two sets of sea trials.

Nieuw Statendam left Marghera, Italy, August 10 and performed the first set of sea trials over two days before going into dry dock at Fincantieri’s Trieste shipyard, where the trial’s data was reviewed and standard hull maintenance was performed. The ship sailed its second sea trials Aug. 18, making its way back to Marghera Aug. 22 where the finishing touches will be completed.

During the sea trials, Nieuw Statendam underwent a series of performance tests on the ship’s systems, machinery and engines. The shipyard’s team of nautical officers, naval architects and builders tested the ship’s maneuvering characteristics and safety systems.

Due for delivery Dec. 1, 2018, Nieuw Statendam will cruise the Caribbean in winter and then move to northern Europe, Iceland and the Mediterranean in summer during its inaugural year. The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will be similar to sister Koningsdam but will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten.

Holland America Line’s first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company’s history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for “new” with the classic “Statendam,” Holland America Line celebrates the company’s past, present and future.

Princess Cruises MONOPOLY Cruise for Cash Promotion – a Chance to Play Slots to Win $200,777 in Cash and Prizes

July 11, 2018.

Princess Cruises has announced it will be offering the cruise line’s largest hosted slot tournament with the highest cash and prizes ever offered through a partnership with Scientific Games Corporation. The MONOPOLY Cruise for Cash promotion will be available on hundreds of cruises throughout 2018, culminating in a $200,000 slot tournament onboard Regal Princess departing Dec. 9, 2018.

Princess Cruises guests have two ways to qualify for a chance to win a seat in the final slot tournament:

  • Winner’s Wheel Promotion – Open to everyone who plays in Princess casinos. For every 100 points earned in gaming, each guest earns one e-ticket. Guests are then automatically entered into the raffle for a chance to spin the Winner’s Wheel. A total of three winners will be selected on each cruise to spin the wheel for a prize, with a chance to win a seat on the Dec. 9 cruise, among other cash and prizes, including a lucky sevens $777 Princess Cruises MONOPOLY-themed gift card.
  • Cruises with Qualifying Tournaments – Qualifying slot tournaments are available now to all guests sailing aboard Princess cruise ships with the MONOPOLY Millionaire slot machines, which include Crown Princess, Caribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, Island Princess, Ruby Princess, Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Star Princess and Grand Princess. Winners will receive a seat certificate for the Dec. 9 grand finale event aboard Regal Princess.

The final tournament onboard Regal Princess, which has the largest slot floor throughout the fleet, departs Ft. Lauderdale on Dec. 9 for a seven-day, Eastern Caribbean cruise. Stops include Princess Cays, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. In addition to the MONOPOLY Cruise for Cash tournament, guests have other chances to ‘win big,’ including the popular Paradise Lotto and MONOPOLY scratch tickets.

 

Carnival Hosts ‘Humor For Heroes’ Event At Naval Base Point Loma

June 29, 2018.

 

Carnival Cruise Line – which carries more active and retired military personnel than any other cruise operator – last night partnered with Operation Homefront to honor the brave men and women of the Armed Forces to host “Humor for Heroes” at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego featuring stand-up comedy performances, BBQ, fun activities and more.

(I’m former military so I’m not sure what’s going on with the ribbon location on the sailor to the left. They are supposed to be on the left side)

Featured comedians included “Workaholics” star Adam Devine, who last year performed several shows overseas for the USO, as well as two comedians from Carnival’s Punchliner Comedy Clubs, keeping the crowd of 500 service members and families laughing throughout the show.

In recognition of its long standing partnership with Operation Homefront, Carnival Cruise Line donated $25,000 to help the organization fulfill its mission of building strong, stable and secure military families.

 

Royal Caribbean Invests in Ultra-Luxury Line Silversea Cruises

June 14, 2018.

Manfredi Lefebvre D’Ovidio and Richard Fain sign agreement

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (NYSE: RCL) and Manfredi Lefebvre D’Ovidio today announced an agreement for RCL to acquire a stake in privately-owned Silversea Cruises, bringing together two companies with bold, long-term visions for the cruise industry.   .

Under the agreement, Royal Caribbean will acquire a 66.7% equity stake in Silversea Cruises based on an enterprise value of approximately $2 billion.  The purchase price of the equity being acquired is approximately $1 billion.  RCL plans to finance the purchase through debt.  In addition, Lefebvre will qualify for an estimated contingent consideration of approximately 472,000 RCL shares, payable upon achievement of certain 2019-2020 performance metrics.

The strategic rationale for the partnership includes:

  • Driving long-term capacity growth in the burgeoning luxury and expedition markets at a much larger scale than what Silversea would achieve independently;
  • Diversifying Royal Caribbean’s portfolio and increasing its expedition offerings by adding a premiere ultra-luxury brand;
  • Leveraging the global footprint of the combined companies to generate demand and increase vacation and destination options for the guests of both companies;
  • Realizing significant synergies related to global market access, supply chain, purchasing power and other economies of scale.

Lefebvre said he is confident that the significant investment stake he is retaining will sizably increase its value through the growth this long-term partnership will enable.

Lefebvre and Fain also confirmed that Silversea’s CEO Roberto Martinoli will continue in his role, working with the existing Silversea management team.

Silversea, with its intimate, all-suite ships, full spectrum of global cruise offerings sailing to more than 1000 global destinations, and unique luxury expedition vessels, adds a pioneering ultra-luxury brand to RCL’s industry-leading brand lineup. RCL’s largest brand, Royal Caribbean International, is a contemporary brand focused on adventure-seeking families, Celebrity Cruises is a premium brand providing a modern luxury experience to discerning global travelers, and Azamara Club Cruises is a destination immersive brand offering luxury voyages to unique ports. The company also operates the regional TUI Cruises and Pullmantur brands as part of long-term joint ventures.

The closing is expected to be completed later in the year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Regarding 2018, Royal Caribbean reconfirmed its latest adjusted EPS guidance of $8.70 to $8.90 per share. This updated guidance does not include any potential impact from the transaction, although RCL does not expect the transaction to materially impact near-term adjusted earnings per share.

Operationally, the company’s forecast for the third and fourth quarters has remained unchanged, but increases in the market price of fuel and the strength of the dollar are expected to cost the company roughly 25 cents per share.  Fortunately, strong close-in demand for core products and better than expected performance below the line is expected to drive improved results for the second quarter.  These improved results are expected to completely offset the impact of the FX and fuel headwinds in the second half of the year, which allows the company to maintain its guidance for 2018.