Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Breakaway Plus

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has reached an agreement with Meyer Werft of Germany (the same place the Breakaway & Getaway were constructed) to build a new ship, for delivery in October 2015.  The project name is Breakaway Plus. In addition, Norwegian is maintaining the option for a fourth ship, for delivery in spring 2017.

The new ship, at 163,000 gross tons and approximately 4,200 passenger berths, will be larger than the Company’s Breakaway class ships, currently under construction. In fact, it will be the largest in Norwegian’s fleet! Many of the Breakaway class’ unique design elements and innovations will be incorporated into the new build.

“Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have garnered significant attention in the marketplace with their innovative design, rich stateroom mix and world-class amenities.  Building on that momentum, along with Meyer Werft’s expertise and efficiency in the design and construction process, we are extending the excitement and anticipation with a new, larger edition Breakaway Plus class ship to further distinguish the Norwegian brand,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Royal Caribbean Debuts Dining Room Enhancements

Over the past few years, cruise lines have invested a lot of money into including a mixture of specialty restaurants in their new builds, as well as reconfiguring space on older ships to add them. Many cruisers embrace having the choice of dining in restaurants that are dedicated to Asian fusion cuisine, regional Italian, Brazilian churrascaria, French bistro, or whatever, regardless of the added cost.  That positive feedback, however, is not unanimous!  Guests that choose not to pay additional surcharges for alternative dining venues counter that since the inception of the specialty restaurant, the selection and quality of the food in the “free” main dining room has deteriorated.

Those critics may now stand and applaud Royal Caribbean, for actually “putting their money where their guest’s mouth is!” In an announcement made last week, the cruise line stated that they’ll make a multi-million dollar investment to culinary enhancements in the main dining room, fleet-wide. Guests can look forward to seeing an increased variety of menu options, a focus on the authenticity of international flavors, and improved choices for guests with dietary restrictions.

The chef’s of Royal Caribbean can boast of serving a variety of classic favorites that guests would order each and every, evening if possible. Well, now it is possible! Escargot (lots of garlic, please), shrimp cocktail (make mine jumbo, with a tangy sauce), an aged hand-cut Manhattan steak (I eat mine medium rare), crème brulee (ah, the juxtaposition of the crispy/creamy texture)...  I just have one question. Why didn’t my absolute favorite, the Vadalia onion tart, make the list?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Azamara Club Cruises Adds Amenities

Azamara Club Cruises has always been a very inclusive cruise line, but beginning with the 2013 Europe Season, it will be more so.  The onboard Azamara guest experience will soon include the new AzAmazing Evening, along with complimentary standard spirits, wines and international beers throughout the ship during the bars’ opening hours.

 With all of Azamara’s 2013 itineraries featuring late-night departures and overnight port stays, offering guests the opportunity of an exclusive evening experience is a natural extension of the cruise line’s philosophy in giving guests the experience of discovery. ""AzAmazing Evening"", a complimentary and unique evening ashore, is customized to highlights a region’s culture and distinct personality.

 One such evening in Israel, on an Eastern Mediterranean itinerary, invites guests to a classical concert at the Roman theater at Shoni Fortress. A lively Klezmer band welcomes everyone as they arrive at this ancient arena. Stands offering typical Israeli food and beverages will be scattered around. A symphony orchestra will add drama to an already striking setting.

 On a different Mediterranean voyage, guests may find themselves sampling Jerez, Spain’s, famous sherry wine at Gonzalez Byass and later enjoying a private equestrian ballet at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art.

“Azamara Club Cruises’ guests have an unquenchable desire to immerse themselves in the history, culture and night life of the destinations we visit, which is why we offer them longer stays, more overnights and night touring,” said Larry Pimentel, President and Chief Executive. “This new concept is an evolution of Azamara Club Cruises’ core differentiator that resonates with our guests, who love their time onboard, but have made it clear that the cruise experience extends to their time ashore. With these new amenities added to Azamara Club Cruises, guests are offered an unmatched holiday experience at tremendous value.”

Also new, is the expansion of Azamara’s complimentary beverage offerings. In addition to Azamara Club Cruises’ existing selection of complimentary boutique wines, served at lunch and dinner, guests will enjoy a wider complimentary selection that includes a selection of standard spirits, wines and international beers throughout the day at any of the ships’ bars and lounges.

 Both offerings will begin with Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey’s next Europe season, March 27 and May 15, 2013, respectively.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Norwegian Breakaway’s Cutting Edge Spa and Fitness Center

The Norwegian Breakaway, launching in the spring of 2013, will feature an expansive spa and fitness center that spans two decks, and encompasses more than 23,000 square feet! This impressive wellness center will be dedicated to providing guests with everything they need to reach their personal health and wellness goals by offering the finest in fitness services, skin and body care.

The Mandara Spa aboard the Norwegian Breakaway will prove to be an oasis of serenity and comfort, offering peaceful pampering and superior service in an environment that encourages relaxation and rejuvenation. The tranquil thermal suite provides guests spectacular unobstructed views of the ocean, the opportunity to melt away on one of the 13 heated loungers, a vitality pool, whirlpools, sauna, solarium and steam room.

One of the most exciting features is the first-ever salt room at sea. The use of salt for medical purposes goes back to the ancient Greeks. The healing methods of Hippocrates, (460 BC) made frequent use of salt and specifically mentions the inhalation of steam from salt-water for the relief of respiratory symptoms. Popular in top spas around the world, salt room therapy has also been proven to alleviate skin ailments, strengthen the immune system, promote better sleep and have a long-term positive impact on overall lung function.