Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Norwegian Cruise Line Freestyle Resolution Sale

Norwegian Cruise Line has just started their “Freestyle Resolution” Sales event. Book your Norwegian Cruise now and receive up to $600.00 in onboard credits + more. This is one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s BIGGEST sales ever. Click Here for Details!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises Dominate The 2008 Travel Weekly Awards

The 2008 Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards took place on December 11 at the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. These awards recognize and honor companies in the travel industry (including airlines, car rental companies, hotel chains and cruise lines) who represent “the best of the best”. Because the winners are selected by travel industry professionals (who vote based on their vast personal experience as well as feedback collectively provided from tens of thousands of their clients), the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards are among the most coveted awards in the industry and winning just one such award would make any company extremely proud.

The awards presentation was attended by approximately 400 top travel industry executives and their guests. Greg Coiro (CEO of Direct Line Cruises, Inc.) was honored to attend as a guest and key travel partner of Royal Caribbean International. Tom Coiro (VP of Direct Line Cruises, Inc.) had the privilege of attending as a guest and key travel partner of Celebrity Cruises and its deluxe brand, Azamara Cruises.

When the presentations were completed, it was clear that Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises had dominated the cruise awards. Celebrity Cruises won “Best Premium Cruise Line” (beating out nominees Holland America, Oceania and Princess) and the Azamara Journey was voted “Best Premium Cruise Ship” (beating out 5 other ships that were in contention for that title). Accepting the awards for Celebrity / Azamara was Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President of Sales.

Royal Caribbean walked away with an amazing four awards: “Best Cruise Line: Caribbean”, “Best Cruise Ship Overall” (for Freedom of the Seas), “Best Cruise Line Overall” (beating out nominees Carnival, Holland America, NCL and Princess) and “Best Sales and Service” (a category that recognizes a cruise line for how well it works with the travel agent community and its clients). Accepting the awards for Royal Caribbean were Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Ken Muskat, Vice President of Sales.

The entire staff of Direct Line Cruises congratulates our travel partners at Royal Caribbean and Celebrity / Azamara Cruises and we sincerely thank them for inviting us to join them as their guests at the 2008 Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Fuel Surcharge Removed for Royal Caribbean, Azamara & Celebrity Cruises

In my last blog posting, I had reported that Carnival Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line announced the removal of the fuel surcharge. However, at that time Royal Caribbean, Azamara & Celebrity Cruises had not made any official announcement regarding a change in their policy.

I am now happy to report that Royal Caribbean, Azamara & Celebrity Cruises have now removed the fuel surcharge for all cruises sailing in 2009 and beyond. For guests with existing bookings that are sailing on or after January 1, 2009 and have already paid their balance, they will receive a refund via an onboard credit. For guests that have not paid their balance yet, the fuel surcharge will be removed off of their booking confirmation.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Norwegian Cruise Line & Carnival Cruise Line Remove Fuel Surcharge

Great News! Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruises have just announced the removal of the fuel surcharge. In case you were not aware, due to the rising fuel costs over the last year, pretty much all of the cruise lines added a fuel surcharge to every cruise purchase. This fuel surcharge could cost up to $140.00 per person. Ouch!

Well, now it is time to celebrate! For all 2009 sailings and beyond, consumers booking a Norwegian or Carnival Cruise will no longer be required to pay a costly fuel surcharge. What does this mean for all of you considering purchasing a cruise? Now is the best time to book because cruise prices have dropped dramatically due to the removal of the fuel surcharge.
For clients that have already booked a Norwegian Cruise that is sailing in 2009 or later, they will receive a refund via an onboard credit if their balance has already been paid. If their balance has not been paid yet, Norwegian Cruise Line will remove the fuel surcharge from their booking confirmation.

For clients that have already booked a Carnival Cruise that is sailing between 12/17/08 and 02/04/09, they will receive a refund via an onboard credit. For clients that have already booked that are sailing on or after 02/05/09, Carnival will remove the fuel surcharge from their booking confirmation.

All is quiet on the Royal Caribbean, Azamara & Celebrity Cruises front. We will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

World's Largest Cruise Sale Starts Tomorrow!

The World's Largest Cruise Sale (sponsored by CLIA) is coming with unbelievable cruise line promotions. Starting Thursday October 16, practically every cruise line is offering unbelievable SAVINGS such as 50% reduced deposits, discounted pricing and onboard credits up to $600.00!

This sale is offered for short time period of time for the majority of cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. In-fact Royal Caribbean's offer is so lucrative, they have limited it to one day only on 10/16/08. So, if you were planning on booking a cruise vacation, NOW is the time to do it!

For a complete list of offers, CLICK HERE or call us directly at 1-800 352-8088. Please do not wait or you will miss out on the BIGGEST cruise sale ever!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Royal Caribbean One-Day WOW Sale on October 2, 2008

Don’t miss Royal Caribbean’s One-Day WOW sale this Thursday, October 2, 2008. Book a Royal Caribbean cruise and receive up to $200.00 in onboard credits, 50% off your deposit and FREE travel insurance. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome Back Celebrity Cruises!

I am personally thrilled to be writing this blog today as one of my favorite cruise lines has just announced it will be returning to the Baltimore, Maryland & Charleston, South Carolina cruise ports. That’s right; Celebrity Cruises is back!

The Celebrity Mercury will offer 9 & 12-night Caribbean cruises round-trip from Baltimore, Maryland beginning November 2009 through February 2010. Rates for the 9-night itinerary start at $699.00 per person. Rates for the 12-night itinerary start at $899.00 per person. These are incredibly low rates for a cruise line that is consistently rated by the experts at Conde Nast Traveler as one of the "world’s finest cruise lines".

The Celebrity Mercury will also offer 10 & 11-night Caribbean cruises round-trip from Charleston, South Carolina beginning February 2010 through April 2010. Rates for the 10-night itinerary start at $799.00 per person. Rates for the 11-night itinerary start at $899.00 per person. I cannot believe the low prices that are offered for these itineraries considering the 5-star treatment and service you always receive from Celebrity Cruises.

To help welcome back Celebrity Cruises, Direct Line Cruises is offering an early booking promotion for anyone that books the above cruises before October 31, 2008. Book NOW & receive up to $100.00 in onboard credits + FREE travel insurance. Your onboard credit will be determined by the type of stateroom booked. Here are the details:

-Inside Staterooms will receive $25.00 Onboard Credit + FREE Travel Insurance
-Ocean-View -Staterooms will receive $50.00 Onboard Credit + FREE Travel Insurance
-Balcony Staterooms will receive $75.00 Onboard Credit + FREE Travel Insurance
-Suites will receive $100.00 Onboard Credit + FREE Travel Insurance

Reservations for these sailings will be opening within the next two weeks, but our agency is now accepting pre-reservations to help ensure you receive our early booking promotion. Call us today at 1-800-352-8088 for more information.

Welcome back Celebrity Cruises. We missed you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Oasis of the Seas NOW Open for SALE to all Crown & Anchor Members

After just writing my previous blog post below, I have learned some incredible news. The Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas is NOW open for sale to all Crown & Anchor members. Originally, the Oasis of the Seas was opening for sale this Thursday (08/28/08) to Crown & Anchor members. However, Royal Caribbean just revealed great news and decided to open the Oasis of the Seas for sale earlier than expected.
What does this mean? All you Royal Caribbean fanatics no longer have to wait. Call our agency at 10 AM sharp on Wednesday morning to reserve your stateroom onboard the most incredible cruise ship in the industry.
In case you missed it. Royal Caribbean announced new neigborhoods tonight. Read my blog posting below for details. I have also included some great new photos.

Oasis of the Seas - Pool Deck, Sports Zone, Solarium & Vitality Fitness Center Announced

Just when you thought the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas couldn’t get any better. Royal Caribbean announced new neighborhoods onboard this amazing cruise ship. We already know about Central Park, Boardwalk & Royal Promenade.

But, now we have learned the Oasis of the Seas will have one of the most sophisticated pool decks at sea. The Oasis of the Sea pool deck will overlook Central Park and be split into two different sides. The Oasis of the Seas will feature a total of 4 pools and 10 whirlpools. The pools include a sports dedicated pool, which allows guests to do laps, play basketball, volleyball, etc. Another exciting pool will be the beach pool, which will allow guests to feel like they are sitting right out on the beach instead of a cruise ship. Kids will not be forgotten, as the ever-popular H20 zone is back and better than ever. The H20 kids zone will feature a giant octopus that spits water out from all different directions. And, do not worry. The Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas will have your standard traditional pool that every cruise lover is accustom to.

Wanna get active? If you thought the Voyager and Freedom class ships had an amazing sports deck, then just wait until you see the Oasis. The Oasis of the Seas sports deck will offer a full basketball court, mini-golf, dedicated pool for sporting events, 2 giant flow-riders, 2 rock-walls and a zip-line. If you get hungry during all of these activities, athletes may visit the wipeout bar & café located within the sports deck.

Need time to relax? The adults only Solarium is back, but now offers even more. The Solarium will span 2 decks and offer a bistro dining area in the morning and afternoon. The bistro will feature various types of healthy dining choices. At nights, adults will be offered a casual dinner experience while also having the opportunity to visit the new adults only Solarium bar and nightclub.

Ready to unwind and take care of yourself? Guests onboard the Oasis of the Seas will have the opportunity to visit the Vitality at Sea Fitness Center. The Oasis of the Seas will feature the largest and most state of art fitness center at sea. Guests will be able to enjoy from a wide variety of spa packages in several themed relaxation rooms. In addition, guests will be able to enjoy a healthy snack at the Vitality Café.

Don’t forget that the Oasis of the Seas opens for advance sale to all Crown & Anchor members this Thursday (08/28/08)! For the first 100 bookings made through Direct Line Cruises, we will be providing up to $100.00 in Onboard Credits + FREE Travel insurance. If you are a Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor member and you would like to book on August 28th, please make sure to call us directly at 1-800-352-8088.
Also, do not forget to check out our exclusive website for the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, which is http://www.royalcaribbeanoasisoftheseas.com.

More news to come!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Opens for Sale Soon!

Have you heard the news? For all you Royal Caribbean fanatics out there, get ready for the Oasis of the Seas! The Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas will officially open for sale to the general public on September 3, 2008. You may call or book your cruise online.

Want even better news? The Oasis of the Seas will open up for sale even earlier to Crown & Anchor members. Diamond Plus & Diamond members will have the opportunity to be the first to book on the Oasis of the Seas starting on August 21, 2008. For all other Crown & Anchor members, bookings will be made available on August 28, 2008. Advance bookings for all Crown & Anchor members must be done through our toll-free phone line. Online bookings will not be available until September 3, 2008.

In case you didn't know, the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas will the largest cruise ship in the industry when she debuts in December 2009. She will be 220,000 gross tons and carry 5,400 passengers. Innovative features onboard this cruise ship include the Central Park neigborhood, Boardwalk neigborhood, AquaTheater, Rising Tide Bar, Loft Suites and much more! The Oasis of the Seas will sail 7-night Eastern & Western Caribbean cruises round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Celebrity Cruises Names Direct Line Cruises Elite Travel Partner

We are very proud to announce that Direct Line Cruises was named one of Celebrity Cruises Elite Travel Partners. When our business started in 1995, Celebrity Cruises was the first cruise line we developed a strong working relationship with and we are delighted that 13 years later our relationship has only continued to grow. Thank you to everyone at Celebrity Cruises for acknowledging our agency.

In case you missed our e-mail blast, Celebrity Cruises is running a 2-Day Sale today and tomorrow only. Book select Celebrity sailings and receive up to $200.00 in Onboard Credits. Click Here for a list of sailings.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Norwegian Cruise Line F3 Nightife Comes Alive

It seems like month after month, the travel agent community and cruise enthusiasts are being treated to big reveals onboard competing cruise line new ships. On the same day that Royal Caribbean revealed new secrets about the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, Norwegian Cruise Line announced new public rooms / night clubs onboard their upcoming F3 class cruise ships.

In case you have not been reading my blog postings, NCL has on order two F3 class cruise ships. The first is set to begin sailing in 2010. These ships will be approximately 150,000 tons and offer 4,200 passenger berths. NCL’s first big reveal about these ships were the revolutionary staterooms. For more information on the staterooms onboard the F3 class, please search older blog postings.

Now to the fun stuff. Norwegian Cruise Line’s current reveal seemed to focus heavily on spicing up the onboard nightlife. In addition to the Ultra Bliss Lounge with a Bowling Alley that is featured on the Gem and Pearl, the F3 ships will now have 4 new clubs. Here are the details:

Ice Bar – This bar is literally frozen and I am not kidding. The Ice bar will accommodate 25 cruise passengers and they will all be given fur coats and gloves to keep them warm since the club’s temperature never rises above 17 degrees Fahrenheit. The atmosphere of this club will feature of frozen chamber of iced vodka that is set in a mood of illuminating hues of lights. Sounds Chilling…. To enter this exclusive club, guests must pay a cover charge.

Posh Beach Club – This club is to be used by Adults only and they are required to purchase a POSH pass to enter the exclusive glass elevator that takes them to this outdoor South Beach and Riviera style club. In the daytime, guests can lounge out and soak up the sun as they are completely pampered by the POSH VIP host and crew. Once the sun sets, this is where the action starts and the non-stop party begins within this open air nightclub.

Halo the Uber Bar – There is nothing more exclusive than the Halo bar. Guests staying in the Garden and Courtyard villas will have exclusive VIP passes to enter this club located at the top of the ship on deck 16. This bar features the best liquors, art and jewelry around the world. In addition, private gaming tables will be setup, which will include baccarat and blackjack. This is also an Adult only night club.
Spice H20 - This I found quite shocking. Right after I learned about the Oasis of the Seas new aft pool, I read about NCL’s F3 aft pools. Spice H20 is a giant pool located towards the back of the ship that can be used by all guests during the day to help them soak up the sun. At night, Spice H20 transforms itself into an outdoor amphitheatre featuring DJ’s, live music, entertainers, lights and more.
And, again don’t forget the F3 class ships will also feature the very popular Ultra Bliss Lounge, which features a 4 lane bowling alley. Norwegian Cruise Line has advised that passengers may purchase a “Beyond the Velvet Rope” package to gain access to all of these exclusive clubs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oasis of the Seas Cruise New Features and Neigborhoods Revealed Today

It is official! Royal Caribbean Cruise Line truly creates the most innovative cruise ships in the industry. As I mentioned in my previous blog posting, I was invited to New York City today to witness the next unveiling onboard the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. The first unveiling happened approximately a month ago when Royal Caribbean introduced the Central Park neighborhood. This alone blew me away. Today Royal Caribbean advised us that there are a total of seven distinct neighborhoods onboard the Oasis of the Seas with Central Park being one of them.

I will cut right to the chase and get to the good stuff. The unveiling started at 12:30 PM and we were greeted with an amazing 3D rendering video. This video showed new neighborhoods and features that I could not believe were on a cruise ship. The first new neighborhood is simply called the “Boardwalk”. The boardwalk reminded one of my colleagues of Coney Island. The boardwalk is truly a place for the family to enjoy with a Carousel, Johnny Rockets, Seafood shack, coffee and donut shop, bars, candy stores, ice cream parlor, psychic, tattoo parlor and much more. Okay, so what is the biggest attraction within the Boardwalk? There is no debate. The AquaTheatre is located right near the end of the Boardwalk and at the aft of the ship. The AquaTheatre is a giant pool by day and a theatre by night. Seating is available for over 600 cruise passengers and they will have the opportunity to enjoy concerts, light and water shows and even water acrobats. Personally, this seemed like the greatest idea. While I always loved the stage shows onboard cruise ships, I often felt that I wanted to be outside at night enjoying the warm air. Now, I can get the best of both worlds. I can enjoy an amazing variety of shows while lounging out in the AquaTheatre.

Many travel agents questioned after the first unveiling of Central Park, what would happen to the Royal Promenade that has become so popular on the Voyager and Freedom class. Well, no need to worry. The Royal Promenade is here and is bigger and better than you could ever imagine. The Royal Promenade lies directly below Central Park and the Boardwalk. Guests can get to the Royal Promenade and Central park via the Rising Tide Bar. In case you didn’t know, the Rising Tide bar elevates 3 decks throughout the ship as passengers enjoy a cocktail and take in the sights. Okay, back to the Royal Promenade. This Royal Promenade is the heart of the ship, but it is significantly larger than the Royal Promenades of the past. For starters, the Oasis of the Seas Royal Promenade has a mezzanine level that overlooks the space below. The Royal Promenade features Sorrento’s Pizza, Coffee Bar, Café Promenade, Globe and Atlas Pub, Schooner Bar, Boleros Latin Bar, Champagne Bar and much more.

Well, I am running out of time before I retire for the day, but I will divulge one last piece of information I learned today. The Zip Line! That’s right; a Zip Line. Guests who are brave enough can now soar through the sky as they are suspended nine decks above the Boardwalk. Guests will race across the open air atrium and enjoy one of the best rides ever at sea. Oh, one more thing. This ship features not one, but two Rock Climbing walls.

There is just too much to talk about, so tomorrow I will discuss the staterooms onboard, provide detailed specifications and onboard amenities, itinerary details and also provide more photos. FYI – There are still 4 more secret neighborhoods and an abundance of other features that Royal Caribbean has not revealed yet. These updates should come on a monthly basis.
For an in depth overview of the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, please make sure to visit our exclusive website at http://www.royalcaribbeanoasisoftheseas.com/.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oasis of the Seas & Allure of the Seas - Next Big Announcement Coming Soon!

Heads Up! Royal Caribbean will be announcing this Wednesday the next big features and neighborhoods onboard the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. This announcement will take place in New York City to a select few in the travel agency community. Luckily, I am one of the lucky guests that will be the first to learn this exciting information. Please make sure to re-visit this blog late Wednesday for updated information or visit our new exclusive websites for these two incredible Royal Caribbean ships. Here are the links:


Stay Tuned!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas & Allure of the Seas

Royal Caribbean announced today the names of their two project Genesis cruise ships. The 1st ship, which is scheduled for her maiden voyage in late 2009 will be called the Oasis of the Seas. And, the 2nd ship, which is scheduled to begin sailing in 2010 will be called the Allure of the Seas.

These two Royal Caribbean ships are set to truly revolutionize the cruise industry. To help celebrate the excitement of these new cruise ships, Direct Line Cruises has launched two new websites that focus exclusively on the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. These website will be updated continually as we learn more information about these great ships.

To visit our Oasis of the Seas website, go to http://www.royalcaribbeanoasisoftheseas.com/

To visit our Allure of the Seas website, go to http://www.royalcaribbeanallureoftheseas.com/

Monday, May 12, 2008

Royal Caribbean One-Day Sale on 05/13/08

Are you ready for a sale? Don’t miss out on the Royal Caribbean One Day WOW sale tomorrow (05/13/08). Up to $200.00 in onboard credits, reduced deposits & onboard coupon booklets are being offered for practically all Royal Caribbean sailings for just one day only! Book your cruise this Tuesday and save.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Welcome back Norwegian Sky

So all of us wondered what would become of the NCL Pride of Aloha? Well, now we know. Norwegian Cruise Line announced yesterday that the Pride of Aloha would be re-flagged and renamed back to the original Norwegian Sky. In case you didn’t know, the Pride of Aloha was actually once the Norwegian Sky, but then it was re-flagged and renamed the Pride of Aloha. Well, now Norwegian Cruise Line is simply reversing the process and going back to the original Norwegian Sky. It works for me.

The Norwegian Sky will offer 3 & 4-day Bahamas cruises round-trip from Miami, Florida beginning July 14, 2008.

The original Norwegian Sky was launched in 1999 and featured more than 240 balcony staterooms, 6 different restaurants, 10 bars and lounges, two pools, children’s center, and sports deck. The ship will enter dry dock and receive all of the new freestyle 2.0 enhancements; with product and hardware upgrades such as adding back a casino.

To help celebrate the re-introduction of the Norwegian Sky, NCL is offering a “Kids Sail Free Summer Vacation” promotion. Reservations must take place from May 6 through May 31, 2008 for sailings taking place from July 14, 2008 through September 26, 2008. Children ages six months to 17 years are eligible to sail free excluding government taxes and fees and fuel surcharges.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Azamara Cruises 1 Year Anniversary

Wow, it has been 1 year since the introduction of Celebrity Cruises new brand, Azamara Cruises. In case you didn’t know, Azamara Cruises is offered as their “Deluxe” or “Premium” brand that offers even more upscale service and fine cuisine than Celebrity Cruises. I couldn’t imagine it getting even better than Celebrity Cruises, but Azamara Cruises delivers even more.

The other nice benefit of Azamara Cruises is the exotic destinations that their two ships visit. Since the ships are smaller, but more intimate ships they are able to navigate around lesser known cruise ports.

To help celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Azamara Cruises, they are now offering up to $750.00 in Onboard Credits for select European Cruises. All you have do to is book your cruise between April 29 & May 5, 2008. For details regarding this promotion, CLICK HERE.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My Norwegian Dawn Cruise Review

The following is a quick review of my recent cruise. We sailed on the NCL Dawn for a two night weekend cruise from New York City on April 18-20, 2008. We have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity Cruises before, all with the traditional dining format. We quickly became big fans of NCL’s Freestyle Cruising. It was very easy-going as well as relaxing. We arrived by 11:30 a.m. and were checked in and dining by 12 noon. Our cabin was very spacious and was ready by 1:00 p.m.

· Restaurants and Reservations – Reservations are necessary for the specialty restaurants so either stop by the reservation desk the day before dining or early in the morning for same day reservations.

· Blue Lagoon Café – Great potato skins, chicken strips with fries and chicken wings (spicy). Tea, coffee and dessert are served all day.

· Cagney’s Steakhouse – Cover charge $20. This service was wonderful with great food and atmosphere.

· Salsa – Tex-Mex cuisine with great appetizers. There is no cover charge but you must make reservations. You could also hear the music from the piano bar while dining here. A real treat was the folk music.

· Garden Café – This was the buffet area for breakfast, lunch and dinner with plenty of room and many tables and booths. There was an omelet and waffle chef in the morning. The deli area for sandwiches with fresh rolls and many types of bread was located behind the buffet. The kids café area had hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, mini burgers, chicken nuggets, fruit and chocolate chip cookies and was a big hit with the young ones.

· Aqua – This was one of two main dining rooms with great food and very fast service.

· Entertainment – The comedy show cannot be missed and the production show featured incredible vocals combined with high-energy dancing. In one late night pub, the crowd was singing along to show tunes from South Pacific and Oklahoma. In another pub, Billy Joel and the Beatles were played on the piano.

This ship was beautiful and easy to navigate. The main pool is large and surrounded by four hot tubs. The pool area was comfortable with plenty of lounge chairs. A poolside barbeque was set up each afternoon with burgers, hot dogs, pasta, fruit and desserts. The fitness center was open 24 hours. Upon arriving back in New York City, our only wish was to cruise to Bermuda for seven nights on the Dawn. Freestyle Cruising is a winning concept.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Wave Staterooms on Norwegian F3 Class Ships

Norwegian Cruise Line made their first big announcement regarding their upcoming F3 class cruise ships. Say goodbye to those standard and boring cruise ship staterooms and say hello to the NEW WAVE staterooms. New Wave staterooms will offer a completely fresh take on bathroom design and provide contemporary curved architecture with much more open living space. No more feeling cramped.

The New Wave stateroom promises to offer a sleek and totally outside the box view on consumer staterooms. Norwegian Cruise Line has maximized the living space with a bathroom that features its own separate shower stall, separate water closet and a modern vanity top sink. The staterooms will feature a sophisticated earth-tone palette accented with a splash of color and rich dark wood. Complimenting all of this will be LED lighting and back-lit domed ceilings to offer a relaxing mood.

New wave staterooms will be offered as New Wave Standard, New Wave Balcony & New Wave Deluxe. All of these staterooms will include upgraded bedding, linens and towels, Euro pillows, Elimis bathroom products, MP3 connectivity, Flat-screen televisions & mini-bar.

Norwegian Cruise Line has two F3 class chips on order. The two 150,000-tons cruise ships will offer a 4,200 passenger berth. The ship’s cabin mix will be the richest of any NCL ship with 100% of outside staterooms featuring private balconies. In total, each F3 ship will have 1,415 balcony staterooms.

The first F3 class ship is set to sail in 2010. As more details come in regarding this ground breaking cruise ship, we will be sure to post the information on our blog. Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Royal Caribbean Genesis Cruise Ship - First Reveal Announced Today

Well, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line never ceases to amaze me. When they introduced the Voyager of the Seas in 1999, I thought nothing could ever get better than this. Who would have ever thought a cruise ship could have an ice-skating rink, rock climbing wall and a Royal Promenade boardwalk? Then, of-course came the Freedom class, which somehow managed to outdo the Voyager class ship with the FlowRider surf simulator, boxing ring and an enormous water park (H20 Zone) for children.

Well now comes “Project Genesis”. As promised, I just came back from New York City where Royal Caribbean did its first of many reveals of great features onboard the Genesis class cruise ship. And, all I can say is WOW! But, before I delve right into the first secret revealed onboard this mega ship, let me make sure you are familiar with the background and specifications of this great cruise ship.

The “Project Genesis” class cruise ship will embark on its maiden voyage sometime in late 2009. The Genesis class ship will be the largest and most innovative cruise ship in the world featuring 16 decks and encompassing 220,000 gross tons and carrying 5,400 cruise passengers. No, that is not a typo. This unbelievable cruise ship will carry 5,400 guests. FYI – The Voyager class ship, which is no small ship, carries 3,114 passengers. The Genesis class ship will sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and most likely embark on Caribbean type itineraries. Just in case you didn’t know. Genesis will not be the official name of this ship. Royal Caribbean is currently conducting a “Name that Ship” contest and the official name of the “Project Genesis” will be revealed soon.

Okay, now for the exciting part. The first brand new feature on the Genesis, which was just revealed today, will be Central Park. So, what is Central Park? If you have ever been on a Voyager or Freedom class ship, then you have most likely experienced the fabulous Royal Promenade interior boardwalk. The Genesis Central Park will be a significantly larger and more spacious boardwalk, but completely outdoors. Central Park will be located near the center of the ship and completely open to the sky. Central Park brings the outdoors in, with a completely open-air space. Lined with balcony staterooms and reaching six decks high, it is 62 feet wide and 328 feet long. Want a better perspective? Central Park is twice the width of the Royal Promenade featured on the Freedom Class ships.

Central Park will feature distinctive neighborhoods with shops, restaurants and lounges of all types to fit almost any mood of the typical cruise vacationer. Surrounding the Central Park neighborhood will be a wide variety of restaurants ranging from fine dining to casual. Guests will have the choice to dine at the new upscale “150 Central Park” or have a more casual picnic lunch at the Central Park Café. Other Central Park dining options will include Giovanni’s Table (Italian restaurant) and Chops Grille Steakhouse.

Several bars will also be scattered all along Central Park. Probably the most innovative and unusual bar is the “Rising Tide” bar. This is the first moving bar at sea. No, I am not kidding. The Rising Tide bar will elevate and descend three decks as guests enjoy a cocktail and enjoy the scenery surrounded by Central Park.

There is so much more to tell, but so little time. So, with that said, I leave you with some first-ever photos of the Royal Caribbean Genesis class cruise ship. Enjoy the photos and please keep a close eye on our blog over the next few weeks as I reveal more details and even more photos.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Royal Caribbean Project Genesis First Reveal Coming Soon!

Next week I am attending the first unveiling of Royal Caribbean’s top secret “Project Genesis”. Royal Caribbean will offer the first details of the Genesis class cruise ship on 04/15/08 to a select group of travel agents and press. Luckily, I am one of them!

If Royal Caribbean permits, I will post my details of this exciting event soon after. Keep a close eye on our blog within the next two weeks.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship Review

Recently, my husband and I took a 7 night cruise aboard the Norwegian Gem. It was not our first cruise, but our first out of New York and we’re from New York. The embarkation at the Port of New York was outstanding. We arrived at 12:30pm and boarded the ship by 1:15. We take at least two family vacations a year and I believe that set a record for us, from “curbside” to “on vacation.”

As we stepped on board the ship, we were immediately greeted with smile and a glass of champagne. The staff at the Orchid Garden was offering tastings from the Asian menu, so we stayed and sampled. When we inquired about reservations at the specialty restaurants, they immediately offered to set us up with our first and second night’s dinner reservations. We decided to start with Teppanyaki and try Cagney’s Steakhouse Sunday night. Teppanyaki was a “party” with great food and friends. Steak, chicken, lobster, and shrimp in any combination you choose. Sunday evening at Cagney’s, everything on the menu was “prime steakhouse venue” and do not miss the Bananas Foster Flambé.

We had high expectations knowing the ship was new, but we were still pleasantly surprised at all the little extras. Our oceanview room was clean, with more than enough storage space. We had a flat screen television, coffee maker and a small refrigerator. Our cabin steward was so friendly and accommodating I often felt as though we had our own butler and even though we did not take our daughters on this trip, he pleasantly surprised us with his towel animals each night. I hesitate to admit we even attended the towel folding class on the last day at sea in an attempt to master the craft (with no success).

The pool area is split with an adult only pool and two hot tubs on one side and a family pool with slide and two hot tubs on the other side. Both pools are surrounded by thick cushioned lounge chairs. Let me say, leaving from New York in 40 degree weather does not slow the “Sail away Party” down in any respect. The hot tubs were full and the reggae band was playing. There was also another party going on in the Spinnaker Lounge, an ultra modern lounge, forward on deck 13 with floor to ceiling windows from one side of the room to the other. The view of the Statue of Liberty or passing under the Verrazano Bridge was breathtaking from either location.

We spent most mornings dining at the Great Outdoors buffet for breakfast. All stations were cooked to order and cappuccino machines each morning were a delicious treat. There was also a hostess station for dinner reservations at the entrance and we easily made reservations daily in many of the specialty restaurants. Tequila for tex-mex, La Cucina for Italian and Orchid Garden for Asian. Blue Lagoon is great for a light lunch or late night snack. The buffalo wings and chili were great.

We also discovered queen sized, circular, cushioned lounge chairs one deck above the pool. “Wow”, you say, but so far away from the pool. Not to worry. The pool staff was so great, they were never far away and they had my drink order down perfect every day. Between noon and 2 pm staffers walked around serving cold refreshing towels in case I was too relaxed to walk the 20 feet to the pool. There were black jack tables around the pool, a different band each day and the Hagan Daaz ice cream cart came around about 1 pm.

We did decide to check out some of the shore excursions on Nassau and our Freestyle Daily said we could check everything out on our television. We were able to see a short preview video describing the different excursions and we even booked one from our room right on the interactive screen. When we returned from lunch our tickets for our excursion had already been delivered. This was a great added convenience from waiting on line at the excursion desk.

The entertainment each night was eclectic, something for everyone. Ross Bennet stand up or Second City comedy skits; Duck Cameron, magician or full on Las Vegas musical revues. We loved every show. We even had fun participating in the afternoon activities when we needed a break from the sun. Adult Wii on the giant two story screen in the main lobby on deck 7 was amazing. We had some of the staff take photos of us “boxing” so the kids would believe us. Bingo, martini tasting, magic workshop with Duck Cameron and Q&A with the Captain were some of the highlights.

We will definitely sail the Norwegian Gem again, next time with family and friends. This is one vacation too good not to share!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Final Identification Requirements Issued for Land & Sea Travel

Well its official. On March 27, the Department of Homeland Security and of State issued the final rulemaking regarding the ever confusing identification requirements for land and sea travel.

Effective June 1, 2009, the following rules will apply for cruise passengers:

U.S. citizens on cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port must show proof of citizenship and government issued photo identification. Valid proof of citizenship may include original or certified copy (raised seal) birth certificate. Valid photo identification will include driver’s license.

While passports are not technically required, Direct Line Cruises STRONGLY recommends all of our clients to obtain a passport and use this as your primary source of identification.

All other passengers and / or itineraries (such as cruises which disembark from one U.S. port and return to a different U.S. port or any cruise that begins or ends in a foreign port) will require a passport for cruise travel.

For more information about this policy or to obtain info on how to apply for a passport, simply visit this website: www.travel.state.gov.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Royal Caribbean Searches for Godmother of Independence of the Seas

Royal Caribbean just announced a nationwide search for a British godmother of their newest cruise ship, the Independence of the Seas. In years past, Royal Caribbean has selected the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Estefan, Steffi Graff and many other popular celebrities to hold this prestigious title.

Now, Royal Caribbean is searching high and low for an ordinary British woman who has accomplished and done extra-ordinary things in her lifetime for the benefit of others. All potential godmothers must be nominated through Royal Caribbean’s exclusive website, which is http://www.searchforagodmother.co.uk/. The winner will be selected and participate in the official ship naming ceremonies onboard the inaugural sailing of the Independence.

The Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas is the 3rd ship among the Freedom class. This 160,000ton mega ship begins its first official European sailings in April 2008 round-trip from Southampton, England.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Rolls Out Freestyle 2.0

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced yesterday that they are getting ready to roll out Freestyle 2.0 by the end of this month. Freestyle 2.0 is NCL’s fleet-wide initiate to further enhance and improve the guest experience. Some of the enhancements include a major overhaul of the total dining experience, upgrading the stateroom experience, new wide ranging on-board activities for guests of all ages and additional service and amenities for balcony suite and villa occupants.

The first guests to fully experience Freestyle 2.0 will be sailing on the Norwegian Jade’s 12-day Mediterranean cruise. Additional cruise ships will launch Freestyle 2.0 within the following weeks, with fleet-wide roll out fully implemented by June 1, 2008.

For a complete list of Norwegian Cruise Line Freestyle 2.0 enhancements, see below:

Freestyle Dining Improvements:
- A “bubbly welcome” – a welcome aboard glass of champagne for everyone
- New dining menus with expanded choices in every restaurant
- Lobster Galore –Lobster in the main restaurant twice per cruise and in every specialty restaurant every night of the cruise. WOW!
- Steak & Eggs Breakfast feast in Teppanyaki restaurant with unlimited Bloody Mary’s and mimosas
- Signature specialty dish featured in every restaurant
- New and expanded room service menu

Stateroom Improvements:
- Elimis bathroom amenities
- Memory foam mattress toppers
- Upgraded linens and pillows
- Upgraded room service menu
- Expanded mini-bar options

Balcony, Suites & Villa Enhancements:
- Bathrobes included
- Customized Fruit Menu
- Fresh-baked cookie at turn down on last night of cruise
- Personal escort to stateroom on embarkation day
- Priority restaurant reservation and reception hotlines

Suites & Villas Enhancements:
- Upgraded mattress, lines and feather pillows
- Upgraded sofa bed
- Plush bathrobes
- Customized Fruit & Canape menu
- Bottle of Moet Chandon White Star Champagne upon embarkation
- VIP Breakfast & Lunch in Cagneys
- Private Breakfast & Lunch with action station set-up in Courtyard for Villa Guests
- Dedicated Butler in Courtyard

Enhanced On-board Activities:
- Library transformed into coffee shop atmosphere with plasma televisions
- Enhanced nightlife with White Hot Party & Monte Carlo night
- Enhanced pool deck experience with relaxing ambient music, drink flags on every chair & quiet zones

Enhanced Teens Centers
- X-box Game Consoles
- Nintendo Wii
- Expanded table games such as football, billiards and hockey

All of us at Direct Line Cruises are very excited to see the improvements made by Freestyle 2.0. We have witnessed and experienced NCL’s dramatic improvements in the Freestyle cruising experience and we can’t wait to see what more is to come.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Be the First to See the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas

Are you a Royal Caribbean fanatic? Are you ready to witness history? Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Direct Line Cruises is now offering an exclusive cruise contest, which will allow two lucky guests the opportunity to participate in the 2-day inaugural sailing of the BRAND NEW Independence of the Seas. These two lucky guests will be one of the first to experience this amazing new ship and also witness the official naming ceremony. This is truly a unique event that no Royal Caribbean fanatic would want to miss.

The Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas will sail round-trip from Southampton, England on April 28 and return on April 30, 2008. Guests will be treated to ocean-view accommodations or better. All drinks, meals and entertainment will be included courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

How do you participate? It’s quite simple. Click the contest entry link below and enter your name, address, phone and e-mail. Direct Line Cruises will randomly select and notify one winner on April 1, 2008. The winner will be allowed to invite one guest to participate in these unforgettable festivities.

What is Included: Ocean-View stateroom accommodations or better, drinks, meals, entertainment & transfers to and from the Southampton airport.

What is Not Included: Air Transportation to and from Southampton, England

When: April 28 to April 30, 2008

Where: Southampton, England

Contest Terms & Conditions: Contest entries will be open for acceptance on 03/06/08 and end on 03/31/08. One randomly selected winner will be chosen and notified on 04/01/08. All participants must be 21 years or older. It is the sole responsibility of the winner to arrange their transportation to and from Southampton, England.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Norwegian Jade has new home in Europe

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) just announced yesterday the Jade will embark on year-round cruises departing from Europe. This is a first for NCL by fully extending the season for European cruises. The typical European cruise was offered from early April through November, but now NCL has opened the door wide-open.

The Norwegian Jade (previously Pride of Hawaii) is still scheduled to begin its European season on March 30, 2008. The ship will now remain in Europe full time through the spring of 2010 instead of ending in November 2008. As part of their year-round deployment, NCL is introducing three new European itineraries, which are 12 & 14-day Eastern Mediterranean cruises. In addition, 9-day Canary Islands and Morocco sailings will be offered. All of these great new itineraries will sail from Barcelona, Spain.

The Jade was originally scheduled to offer Bahamas & Caribbean cruises round-trip from New York City beginning early December 2008 through April 2009. While everyone at Direct Line Cruises (NY based company) is sad to learn the loss of this great ship in the New York market, we wish Norwegian Cruise Line the best of luck with the Jade in its new homeport of Europe.

Friday, February 15, 2008

NCL Bids Farewell to Pride of Aloha

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announed on February 11, 2008 the withdrawl of the Pride of Aloha from the Hawaii cruise market. In addition, the Pride of Aloha will be permanently leaving the NCL fleet and transferred to Star Cruises. The following is a press release issued directly from Norwegian Cruise Line:

NCL Corporation (“NCL”) today announced the withdrawal of Pride of Aloha from the Hawai‘i market effective May 11, 2008. The ship is being transferred to Star Cruises and will be re-flagged and deployed in Asia in the summer of 2008.

The remaining year-round ship in Hawai‘i will be the larger and newer Pride of America, introduced in 2005, a vessel specifically designed and built for Hawai’i cruising. The company announced, and put on sale, Pride of America’s sailings through 2010 offering its popular inter-island cruises departing every Saturday from Honolulu.

Since the announcement a year ago of Pride of Hawai‘i’s temporary transfer to NCL's European deployment, renamed as Norwegian Jade, the company has embarked on a major fleet-wide initiative called Freestyle 2.0 featuring significant product and hardware upgrades to its modern fleet, including Pride of America. The Freestyle 2.0 program will further enhance the on-board experience taking Freestyle Cruising to the next level. Enhancements include a major investment in the total dining experience; upgrading the stateroom experience; new wide ranging on-board activities for all guests; additional recognition, service and amenities for balcony, suite and villa guests; and the establishment of casual action-station restaurants taking the place of the “traditional” buffet experience. Freestyle 2.0 will be in place on Pride of America and across NCL’s fleet, now the youngest fleet in the cruise industry, by the middle of May 2008.

“Pride of Aloha pioneered the new inter-island market but, as we move forward with Freestyle 2.0 to take our product to the next level across what is already the youngest fleet in the industry, we cannot justify further investment in this ship,” said Andy Stuart, NCL’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services. “Withdrawing Pride of Aloha was an extremely difficult but necessary commercial decision; however we see a strong future for the long-term flagship in Hawai‘i, Pride of America. In Pride of America, we have created a commercially successful modern U.S. Flag cruise ship home ported in Hawai‘i - the first time that has ever been achieved. With Pride of America, we are offering a high quality product, on a world class ship sailing one of the most exciting itineraries available in the industry.

“With today’s announcement of Pride of America’s itinerary through 2010, our guests and travel partners can choose a Freestyle Cruising vacation on a big, modern ship visiting all four main islands and featuring more time to explore ashore than any other cruise line sailing in Hawai‘i. In the longer term, as demand continues to grow for this premium experience, we hope to bring back our other modern purpose-built U.S.-flag ship, Pride of Hawai‘i.”

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Direct Line Cruises Wins Norwegian Cruise Line Freestyle Agency of the Year Award

From left to right: Andy Stuart, NCL executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services; Cindy Zalesky, NCL business development director, Northeast region; Sara Moran, NCL business development manager; Greg Coiro, CEO, Direct Line Cruises; Helen Coiro, president, Direct Line Cruises; Tom Coiro, vice president, Direct Line Cruises; Chris Coiro, vice president, legal affairs and acquisitions, Direct Line Cruises; Terri Burke, NCL vice president of business development; and Scott Rogers, NCL senior vice president of marketing and sales.

On December 19, 2007, while onboard the Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) named Direct Line Cruises its “Freestyle Agency of the Year”. This award was one of only three awards given out that evening and this year was the first year that this award was given out.

At the end of a wonderfully informative and entertaining evening, NCL announced that it had five awards to give out (two of them were previously given out). The fifth and final award was the “Freestyle Agency of the Year”. Before announcing the winner of the award, Vice-President Terri Burke provided the audience with a nice little history of Direct Line Cruises, which was filled with compliments. Additionally, she discussed the partnership between NCL and Direct Line Cruises and the efforts Direct Line Cruises has taken to become an excellent partner. It was just an absolutely wonderful introduction that put smiles on every last member of our staff as well as the founders, Tom and Helen Coiro.

Terri Burke then announced Direct Line Cruises was the winner and we were invited on stage to accept two extremely heavy awards and a future cruise in one of their luxury courtyard villas. We had our pictures taken on stage and Tom Coiro was permitted to give a speech, thanking NCL, the entire Direct Line Cruises staff and our NCL sales representatives, Sara Moran and Cindy Zalesky.
I would like to take this opportunity to briefly reiterate what Tom Coiro stated by sincerely thanking our entire staff at Direct Line Cruises. Without every single one of them picking up the telephone, sending out confirmations, addressing customer service issues, etc., there would quite possibly be no Direct Line Cruises because I personally would probably stink at selling the cruises.

Another thank you must go out again to Sara Moran and Cindy Zaleky. As with any business relationship, things are not always perfect, but you both always try to find a way to get it as close to perfect as you can. And if it was not for your persistence in making sure the things we needed were obtained for us, it is quite possible that we would still not be selling NCL cruises today.

We also must thank Tom and Helen Coiro who are the founders of Direct Line Cruises. They started this business from the basement of their home and despite many times over the first few years of wondering whether they should shut down the business, they stuck with it to make it what it is today. Their efforts are the real driving force behind what Direct Line Cruises has become.

Finally, I must thank everyone at NCL. I can not fully express how honored we at Direct Line Cruises feel especially considering we have only been selling NCL product for a little over two years. NCL has done many things in the past to let us know how much they appreciate our business but this one absolutely takes the cake. We will proudly display our awards and look forward to living up to our title as NCL’s Agency of the Year.