Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas to Undergo Extensive Refurbishment

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line announced today that the Majesty of the Seas will be dry docked from January 12 through February 9, 2007 to begin renovations that will extend to every area of the ship. Once renovated, the Majesty of the Seas will provide guests with the following updated features:
  • Refurbished staterooms with new bedding and flat-screen TV's
  • Refurbished corridors
  • Remodeled Centrum, dining rooms and pool deck
  • Refurbished casino, theatre and entertainment areas
  • Remodeled Adventure Ocean Youth Program facilities
  • Expanded and redesigned ShipShape Day Spa and Fitness Center
  • New Windjammer Cafe with Sorrento's Pizza and Johnny Rockets
  • Royal Caribbean Boleros Latin Lounge
  • Latte-tudes coffee shop featuring Seattle's Best Coffee and an ice cream parlor
  • Expanded conference facilities
Once completed, the Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas will resume it's 3 and 4-night Bahamas cruise itineraries round-trip from Miami, Florida.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rosie O’Donnell Anointed Norwegian Pearl's Godmother

Following in the footsteps of Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Estefan and Sophia Loren, Rosie O'Donnell was announced today as the godmother of the Norwegian Pearl. The poular talk show host of ABC's morning show "The View" will christen NCL’s newest cruise ship in a ceremony at the Port of Miami on Saturday, December 16 at 5 p.m. The Norwegian Pearl is the newest cruise ship offered by NCL and will be the first-ever ship to feature a bowling alley.

Norwegian Cruise Line has also donated the use of Norwegian Pearl to O’Donnell’s charity, Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation, for a one-night charity event on Friday, December 15. Guests onboard the one-night cruise will enjoy an evening of culinary delights, a Broadway-style show in the Stardust Theater with O’Donnell and guest entertainers direct from Broadway performing, a comedy show by popular comedy troupe Second City and a sail-away cocktail party on the pool deck.

“We are so pleased that Rosie will serve as Godmother of Norwegian Pearl,” said Colin Veitch, NCL Corporation’s president and CEO. “Rosie is a talented entertainer and dedicated philanthropist, and both these qualities will be front and center during the christening and charity event of Norwegian Pearl. We will raise a lot of money for her charitable foundation, which will allow her to expand on the broad range of work already undertaken to improve the quality of life for children all over America.”

NCL will donate the use of Norwegian Pearl, inclusive of all food, beverage and shipboard entertainment for the one-night event with 100 percent of the ticket revenue being given to the charity. “After chartering four ships with NCL, I have experienced the innovative product and exemplarily service of the crew first hand so I’m very proud to serve as Godmother of the company’s newest ship -- Norwegian Pearl,” O’Donnell said. “I’m also thrilled we will be using Norwegian Pearl for a cause that is very close to my heart – helping disadvantaged children. It is the perfect venue to raise money for children in need around the country.”

The 93,500-ton Norwegian Pearl, which will be delivered to NCL on November 28, is the ninth new ship in six years for NCL and continues the company’s plan to completely renew its fleet and by 2010, will feature the youngest fleet in the industry. Norwegian Pearl is the latest edition of the line’s innovative Jewel-class ships boasting an industry first – a four-lane ten-pin bowling alley; and two NCL firsts -- a rock-climbing wall and two top-of-the-ship Deluxe Owner’s Suites on deck 15.

Just like her sisters –Norwegian Star, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Jewel and Pride of Hawaii -- Norwegian Pearl will accommodate 2,400 guests, and features all the elements of NCL’s dynamic modern Freestyle Cruising fleet including multiple restaurants, lively public rooms, versatile, family-friendly accommodations and NCL’s sizzling new style of accommodations - Courtyard Villas - which along with each ship’s two Garden Villas make up the biggest, most luxurious and innovative suite complexes at sea.

After a series of inaugural events in Europe and Miami, the ship will sail two seven-day itineraries to the Caribbean (Eastern and Western) beginning Dec. 22, 2006. On January 5, 2007, Norwegian Pearl features its innovative five and nine-day Western and Southern Caribbean schedule. Ports of call on the five-day Western Caribbean itinerary include stops in Cozumel, Mexico and Belize City, Belize. The nine-day Southern Caribbean route includes calls in Roseau, Dominica; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; St. John’s, Antigua and Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

I will have the opportunity to see the Norwegian Pearl first hand for a travel-agent only 2-night cruise on December 16 to the 18th. I will post a full report after I come back from this cruise.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Royal Caribbean Cruises to Australia

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line will now be offering guests a truly unique vacation experience. On October 16, 2006 Royal Caribbean officially announced that cruise passengers will have the opportunity to set sail to exotic Australia.

Royal Caribbean International is combining its signature active cruise experience with crocodiles, kangaroos and koala bears, when the cruise line returns to the land of 'down under' for the 2007/8 season. Rhapsody of the Seas will embark on a series of new cruise itineraries to the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand as she heads for her recently announced Far East adventure.

Three out of the five new cruise itineraries on Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas, sailing September 28, October 15 and November 24, 2007, have been chartered by Cruiseco, a consortium of more than 120 cruise specialist travel agencies in Australia. On Sept. 28, Rhapsody departs Honolulu for Sydney on a 16-night sailing, stopping in Maui, Hawaii, before she visits the distinctive and captivating island destinations of Papeete, Moorea, and Bora Bora, French Polynesia; as well as Lautoka in the Fiji Islands. On Oct. 15, Rhapsody will sail on a 12-night South Pacific cruise from Sydney, Australia calling on the exotic ports of Noumea and Isle of Pines in New Caledonia; Suva in the Fiji Islands; and Vila in Vanuatu, where visitors can discover the quaint French and English colonial architecture. On Nov. 24, she will depart on a 15-night cruise to Singapore, and visiting the ports of Brisbane, Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef, Cairns and Darwin in Australia and Bali, Indonesia.

On Oct. 27 and Nov. 10, Rhapsody of the Seas will feature 14-night round-trip cruises from Sydney to New Zealand, cruising through Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound and visit the ports of Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga and Auckland. These cruises will be available for sale through travel agents in all global markets except for Australia where bookings for the New Zealand sailings will be sold exclusively through Cruiseco.

For passengers wanting to enhance their cruise vacation with a land-based experience, Royal Caribbean offers some exciting cruise-tour packages out of Sydney. Explorers can take a charter flight to Cairns - the best place to see crocodiles and native wildlife in Tropical North Queensland - and experience the "Quicksilver" boat tour, which enables guests to experience various marine adventures at the Great Barrier Reef, including swimming, snorkeling, diving or exploring the Reef from an underwater observatory. At the Olgas, vacationers have the opportunity to discover ancestral secrets of the desert land during the aboriginal Liru tour or visit the vividly colored dome rocks rising from the plains.

For more information on this Australia cruise vacation offered by Royal Caribbean, please reply to this post and I will provide you with details.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Royal Caribbean Sails to Exotic Asia

The following is a press release issued directly by Royal Caribbean International on September 15, 2006:

MIAMI, Sept. 15, 2006 - Royal Caribbean International announces its return to Asia in December 2007, bringing the active cruising experience to the region. The Vision-class ship, featuring the line's signature rock-climbing wall and indoor glass walls providing exotic views of Asian landscapes, will offer a series of exciting cruises out of Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, visiting exotic ports of call in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

"The introduction of Rhapsody of the Seas into Asia, together with our previously announced deployments of ships to South America and the Dominican Republic are all part of the company's strategy of international business development and expansion into emerging and high-growth markets," said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International. "We have had the pleasure of hosting thousands of satisfied Asian guests onboard our vessels over the past several years and intend to bring to Asia all of the elements and the characteristics of our style of cruising that have made our brand globally recognized as an award-winning vacation experience."

Rhapsody of the Seas will debut December 10, 2007, in Singapore offering a series of sailings that will call on Malaysia and Thailand. The ship's Asia tour continues on from Hong Kong, where she will arrive in time for the Chinese New Year holiday season, offering a series of itineraries calling at ports in Taiwan, Japan, and Sanya, Hainan Island. Then moving to Shanghai, China, Rhapsody will call on ports in Japan and Korea. Additional details of Rhapsody's itineraries will be available by mid-October 2006.

"We are confident that the Asian market and the Pan Asia regions, in general, have tremendous growth potential, and view this as a first step in a long-term plan that will define cruising in the region. In addition, there has been an increased level of awareness and interest in travel to Asia from India, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East which we predict will become strong secondary source markets," said Goldstein. "I would like to extend my gratitude to the various governmental authorities, port authorities and tourism boards in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai for their encouragement that helped us to make this exciting decision."