Monday, 20 February 2017

Princess Cruises to Debut Medallion Class on Island Princess in May 2018

Princess Cruises to Debut Medallion Class on Island Princess in May 2018

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The Ocean Medallion will debut aboard the Island Princess on May 16, 2018.

Princess Cruises announced Friday that the Island Princess will be its fourth cruise ship to feature the highly anticipated Ocean Medallion. 
The technology will debut aboard the Island Princess on May 16, 2018, just in time for the Alaska cruise season.
Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald unveiled the next-gen wearable device at CES 2017 in Las Vegas last month. That's when it was announced that the technology would debut on Princess Cruises' Regal Princess Nov. 13, followed by the Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in early 2018.
Medallion Class will be unveiled aboard the Island Princess during its seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers sailing between Vancouver and Anchorage.
The new Medallion Class is powered by the 1.8-ounce Ocean Medallion disc, which doesn't need to be turned on or off, nor charged and can be worn in a variety of ways or simply stored in a guest's pocket. 
"The Medallion, the centerpiece of the company’s One Cruise Experience Access Network, promises to streamline and expedite embarkation and disembarkation, open staterooms effortlessly upon approaching the stateroom door, locate friends and family aboard the ship, allow passengers to buy merchandise without credit cards, paper or even a transaction," writes TravelPulse editor-in-chief Tim Wood.
"As the leading cruise line in Alaska, it's fitting that our fourth ship to feature Medallion Class Ocean Vacations is Island Princess," Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz said in a statement. "Sailing on our most popular Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary, our guests will enjoy the best Alaska has to offer and enjoy an elevated cruise vacation experience."
Carnival Corporation plans to continue to test and evolve the technology aboard Princess Cruises' fleet before bringing it to some of its other cruise brands.

Friday, 17 February 2017

What Would It Take for California to Lure a New Mega Cruise Ship?

What Would It Take for California to Lure a New Mega Cruise Ship?

What Would It Take for California to Lure a New Mega Cruise Ship?
PHOTO: Disney Cruise Line's Disney Wonder docked in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jason Leppert)
As a native resident of San Diego, I’ve recently lamented the lack of brand new cruise ships sailing from Californian home ports. Short of some more recent vessels passing through on repositioning cruises on their way to seasonal Alaska, most are older with the newest ships almost always being earmarked for Florida.
So, now I ask this: what could California and nearby destinations do to warrant the latest mega cruise ship sailing from the west coast?
From Florida, the Caribbean is the classic destination with access now to countries from Cuba to Mexico, but there’s actually a greater variety leaving from Los Angeles or San Diego, also including Mexico. In fact, itineraries can feature Mexican Riviera, Hawaiian or California Coastal varieties, and, in the case of Holland America Line, some combo voyages feature two different routes consecutively. The bottom line, though, is the Caribbean is a more popular cruise destination than either of California’s accessible trio.
Thankfully, the Mexican Riviera is picking back up after a recent slump when it was perceived as dangerous for a period of time, but a wider selection of individual ports could help further. The number of available stops in the Caribbean is massive compared to frequented Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Adding to that list, however, are the likes of Acapulco which is also on the rebound and ports in the Sea of Cortez. The problem is that sailings to these areas are often longer than the week long sweet spot for cruise duration.
The solution though might be to feature at least one Sea of Cortez port in combination with fewer of the classic ports as well as developing them all to be more convenient. True of Hawaiian and Californian cities besides those in Mexico is that many can only be visited via tender. If Cabo San Lucas, Catalina or Lahaina, for instance, were to have docks, they would be more enticing to new mega cruise ships. Or perhaps newly developed ports could be an answer as well.
The other variable in the equation are turnaround home ports themselves—that is: could San Diego and Los Angeles’ San Pedro and Long Beach handle high volumes of passengers embarking and disembarking?
Carnival is investing in its facility at Long Beach for this very reason to soon accept the larger 3,006-guest Carnival Splendor, but it would take more to be able to process 4,000-passenger-plus vessels like Norwegian Cruise Line’s upcoming Norwegian Bliss heading for Alaska. Seasonally, this new ship would’ve been ideal in California when not north, but it too opted for Florida in the winter.
If the facilities could scale up to support the newest cruise ships in California, there would be plenty of other conveniences to tout, especially in San Diego. The ease of transportation from America’s Finest City is exemplary. Nearly a stone’s throw away from the port is the train station and within only three miles is the international airport. In fact, it’s so close you can watch the planes take off and land from onboard the cruise ships just across the bay.
Ultimately, what would make it happen is a cruise line taking a chance to trust in the “build it, and they will come” philosophy. That is, Florida’s cruise traffic may be less a result of the Caribbean’s popularity and more a result of the newest ships drawing people there. If a cruise line decided to put their latest in California instead and of course the facilities existed to support them, cruise travellers would very likely follow to experience it wherever it goes.
Future ships that might still fit the bill in California are Carnival Cruise Line’s third Vista-class ship, Royal Caribbean International’s fourth Oasis-class ship or even Norwegian Cruise Line’s fourth Breakaway Plus-class ship.
With such a glut of new vessels coming online, surely one of them will eventually have to first make it to California.

The 10 Best Cruise Ship Water slides

The 10 Best Cruise Ship Water slides
The 10 Best Cruise Ship Waterslides
PHOTO: The AquaDuck water slide aboard the Disney Fantasy. (Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line)

AquaDuck ~ Disney Cruise Line
Probably the most elaborate water slide on a cruise ship today is the AquaDuck aboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Not only is it a single or tandem raft slide, it’s also a full-blown water coaster with exciting dips and turns cantilevered out over the side of the ship leading to uphill sections before a leisurely return to the deck below.
AquaDunk ~ Disney Cruise Line
Like the AquaDuck, the similarly named AquaDunk tells the story of Donald being subjected to the water slide experimentation of his mischievous nephews – Huey, Dewey and Louie. Only this time on the Disney Magic, the raft variety has been replaced with a free-fall one where the floor drops out from under riders before a speedy descent.
Aqua Racer ~ Norwegian Cruise Line

Photo credit Dave Jones. Aqua Racer
As raft water slides go, most only accommodate one set of riders at a time. However, the Aqua Racer aboard the Norwegian Escape can accept two as the tube widens out in sections to see if one might pass the other. All the while, a translucent portion overlooks the ocean below while lit coloured patterns activate the rest.

Free Fall ~ Norwegian Cruise Line
Also on the Norwegian Escape, as well as the Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, are two side-by-side Free Fall water slides, not entirely dissimilar to the AquaDunk on Disney. Except, this time there is so much momentum gained that riders are catapulted uphill for a portion of the loop before finishing off in a dramatic trough splashdown.
Green Thunder ~ Carnival Cruise Line
The last free-fall variety on this list is Carnival’s Green Thunder on the Carnival Legend, Carnival Pride and Carnival Spirit, which is nearly identical to the AquaDunk on Disney, making it a thrilling but quick seven-second or so ride.
Kaleid-O-Slide ~ Carnival Cruise Line
More unique to Carnival is the Kaleid-O-Slide aboard the Carnival Vista. This raft water slide features an enclosed section with translucent colored stripes that are illuminated by the sun and create a chromatic strobing effect as riders approach a final open-air stretch before coming to the finish line.
Slideboarding ~ MSC Cruises
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While not yet sailing, the Slideboarding water slide anticipated aboard the MSC Seaside will be a very unique attraction that will combine a board riders sit in with video game-like controllers. As riders traverse the wet path, lighting effects will prompt them to respond with the onboard buttons, and scores will be ranked upon each guests arrival below. 
Tidal Wave ~ Royal Caribbean International
As dramatic water slides go, Royal Caribbean International features the Tidal Wave as part of its Perfect Storm trio aboard the Liberty of the Seas. This raft slide starts out in a tube that slingshots riders down a fast descent prior to opening up to a half-pipe-like structure that boomerangs riders up and down the sides before levelling off.
Ultimate Abyss ~ Royal Caribbean International
While not technically a water slide, the Ultimate Abyss aboard the Harmony of the Seas must be included as an impressive addition on a cruise ship. This dry slide has riders sit in burlap bags to avoid rug burn as they spiral swiftly down an astounding 10 decks from the FlowRiders above to the Boardwalk district below.
Vertigo ~ MSC Cruises
One final entry aboard the MSC Preziosa is what the line touts as the longest single-rider body water slide at sea. It measures in at 394 feet long and 42 feet high after all, complete with a translucent 30-foot pass suspended over the side of the ship for even more thrills.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Norwegian Cruise Order 4 new class of ship, with a option for another 2

Norwegian Cruise Order 4 new class of ship, with a option for another 2

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Norwegian Escape - Breakaway Class Plus

Norwegian Cruise today announced it has reached an agreement with Fincantieri S.p.A. to construct the next generation of extraordinary ships for its Norwegian Cruise Line brand.  Four ships are on order for delivery in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in 2026 and 2027.

The four 140,000 gross ton ships will each accommodate approximately 3,300 guests.  The new class of ships will build upon the highly successful offering of freedom and flexibility found on the brand's most recent Breakaway-Plus Class ships and feature a host of innovative designs that will further elevate its already award-winning guest experience.  A priority of the prototype design is energy efficiency, with the aim of optimising fuel consumption and reducing the impact on the environment.  Details on the ships' many innovative guest facing and first at sea features will be announced at a later date.

"This new class of ships will continue Norwegian Cruise Line brand's legacy of introducing meaningful innovation to the cruise industry," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.  "This order continues to highlight our disciplined newbuild program, extends our growth trajectory well into the future, enhances our already attractive earnings profile, and drives expected long-term returns for our shareholders."
"For the past 50 years, Norwegian Cruise Line has been focused on offering our guests the very best in cruising," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.  "It is with great excitement that we look ahead to our next 50 years, which includes this next generation of ships that will offer guests the innovative experiences that have come to define the Norwegian Cruise Line brand."  

"We are extremely excited to collaborate with Norwegian Cruise Line and this partnership allows us to include a new prestigious client in Fincantieri's portfolio," said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri S.p.A. "We are very proud of the innovative design of these ships and recognise the various stakeholders of the export chain who have contributed decisively to achieving this goal. The significant value of the order will provide substantial economic benefits by extending the employment horizon of our shipyards, and we are honoured to support the growth of our country's economy."

The contract price for each of the four vessels is approximately €800 million per ship.  The Company has obtained export credit financing with favourable terms to fund 80 percent of the contract price of each ship delivered through 2025, subject to certain conditions.

With a combined fleet of 24 ships with approximately 46,500 berths, these brands offer itineraries to more than 510 destinations worldwide. The Company will introduce eight additional ships through 2025, and has the option to introduce two additional ships for delivery in 2026 and 2027.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

10 Talking points about the MSC Meraviglia.

10 Talking points about the MSC Meraviglia.

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MSC Meraviglia will be one of the worlds largest ship in terms of passenger capacity. 

  • Bigger is better - When it launches in June, MSC Meraviglia will become one of the largest ships in the world, catering for 4,500 passengers at double occupancy, Max. Cap. of 5,714 pax., and a crew of 1,536.

  • Prepare for launch - Meraviglia is due to be christened in Le Havre on June 3rd 2017, and will then sail on a range of itineraries around the western Mediterranean; out of three home ports Genoa, Barcelona, and Marseille. Meraviglia will then spend the winter homeported in Miami, Florida.

  •  Cabins with a view - The ship will have a total of 2,244 cabins across 14 categories - 75% of all cabins will have balconies. These include 23 interlinked "cluster" cabins that can be used by families or groups of up to 10 people, plus 8 suites with balconies and whirlpool baths.

  • They will entertain you - A major selling point will be nightly performances of two exclusive shows by Canadian theatrical producer Cirque du Soleil, who will be the head line act of the programme offering 20 hours of daily entertainment. The major onboard venue will be the 985-seat Broadway Theatre, while other facilities include an 80 meter LED screen with daily shows,a full size bowling ally, casino and 10 dancing floors to boogie the night away.

  • Image result for MSC Meraviglia
  • Making a bigger splash - Onboard water-based activities will be based around four pools and the ships Aqua Park with three water slides including the high speed Champagne bowl slide plus a Himalayan Bridge across the entire width of the deck.

  • Fun for all the Family - As well as the water parks there will be a amusement park and children's area located on the same deck. Doremi Tech Lab will allow kids to try the latest technology and the Lego Experience onboard is sure to be a big hit. There will also be a room especially for babies and their families, that has been created with Italian baby research centre Chicco. There is also a separate room for the Teens.

  • A feast for cruisers - Meraviglia will offer 12 separate dinning options, including Katio Sushi Bar and Butchers Cut American Steakhouse, as well as a chocolate "Atelier" and creperie from pastry chef Jean Phillippe Maury. Flexible dining will be on offer with 8 sittings per night at selected dining venues and fresh food will be available at the buffet 20 hours a day. There will be a choice of 20 bars and lounges for pre- and after dinner drinks.

  • Shop to you drop - Onboard shops will feature a range of 300 brands plus 250 products that will be exclusive to MSC. The line also say there will be a 15% on average in its shops compared with shore prices.

  • Relax and get Pampered - The ship will feature a 1,100sqm Balinese-themed MSC Aureau Spa offering an extensive range of 20 massages and 26 facials. There will also be a gym and walking track for the more energetic.

  • Enhanced Yacht Club - The MSC Yacht Club is an exclusive area of the ship featuring Royal and Deluxe suites, 24 hour butler service, a private treatment room in the Spa, private pool on the ships highest deck and a separate 130 seat restaurant. The club will accommodate 78 suites, 15 inside cabins and 2 apartments.

Monday, 13 February 2017

6 Reasons to Consider a Clothing Optional Cruise

6 Reasons to Consider a Clothing Optional Cruise

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They’ve got special cruises for singles, Weight Watchers members, and foodies. So, why not nudies?
Yes, clothing optional cruises are a thing, and for good reason. With enough people interested in nude cruises, it was inevitable that cruise lines would jump at the chance to get on board.
Bliss Away couple’s cruises offer the world’s only 5.5-star clothing optional cruises for couples “looking for fun, freedom, and exciting vacations.” Of course, other cruise operators have gotten on board, and some travel companies even host nude cruises on Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America ships.
The main thing you should know about these is that you don’t have to go nude, but you should expect plenty of other people to be. If you’re okay with that, then it should be fine.
Meet like-minded people:
The best part about clothing optional cruises is that they attract people who love being naked. If you fall into that category, you should plan on meeting others who feel just like you.
With so much in common already, you’re bound to make friends on a nude cruise. Plus, nude people tend to be carefree, easy-going, and laid-back.
Get comfortable in your own skin:
A lot of people say going nude helps them feel free. With no clothes weighing them down, they’re light as a feather and completely uninhibited.
If you’re someone who has had trouble feeling comfortable in your own skin, being around others who feel so free just being themselves might provide you with comfort. Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to experiment with a clothing-optional setting, what better way to get acquainted with one than to dive right in?
You can get away with packing light:
If you hate lugging around a heavy suitcase or planning your apparel for a long trip, you’re going to love a clothing-optional cruising. Pack about half what you normally would and skip checking a bag. Really, you just need lounge wear and clothes to wear on land and in the airport. As a bonus, you won’t return home to a huge pile of laundry, either.
You got a good shot at some action:
While some nude cruisers may just want to mingle with other naked folks, it’s inevitable that a certain percentage of the crowd is there for more than handshakes and hugs. In other words, you may have a better shot at hooking up than you would on, say, a Carnival cruise mostly packed with families.
There’s no guarantee of this type of thing, but it’s safe to say your chances for intimacy will improve in a crowd of people who aren’t interested in wearing clothing. 
You’ll get a great, even tan:
Hate tan lines? Boy, have we got a treat for you. You’ll never worry about the placement of your straps or swim trunks on a clothing optional cruise.
If you’re wanting a clear, even tan that lasts, sunbathing nude is your best bet.
No kids:
If you want to have fun in an adults-only atmosphere, you can’t do much better than a clothing-optional cruise. Kids aren’t allowed for obvious reasons, so you’ll never have to endure a crying toddler or kids splashing in the pool.
The Bottom Line:
Clothing optional cruises may not be for everyone, but it’s easy to see why this option exists. Even if they never flaunt their love of nudism, plenty of eager travellers want nothing more than to enjoy a vacation without worrying over what to wear.
Should you join? The naked truth is, only you can decide.

Carnival slates 14-day Alaska sailing on Splendour

Carnival slates 14-day Alaska sailing on Splendor

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Picture of Carnival Splendor in Alaska.

Carnival Cruise Line said its Carnival Splendor will offer a 14-day Alaska cruise from Long Beach, Calif., in 2018.

The voyage will depart Aug. 25 and return Sept. 8, 2018.

In addition to a full day at Hubbard Glacier and Icy Strait Point, the cruise will feature calls in Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka, Alaska, along with a daylong call at Victoria, British Columbia. 

The itinerary is part of the Carnival Journeys longer-duration sailings. Activities will on photography, cooking and arts and crafts, and a 1980s-themed "Throwback Sea Day" will be offered, as well.

The cruise is open for booking with website prices ranging from $1,369 for an inside cabin to $3,459 for a suite.

Norwegian Cruise Line to operate even more Cuba cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line to operate even more Cuba cruises

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Norwegian Sky

Norwegian Cruise Line will extend its sailings to Cuba on Norwegian Sky through December 2017.
The extension adds a total of 25 new cruises to the five that Norwegian had previously scheduled in May.
Earlier this week, Royal Caribbean International said it would add seven Cuba sailings through November on Empress of the Seas, sailing from Tampa.
"We are thrilled to be the first cruise line able to offer weekly sailings from Miami to Cuba through the fall of 2017, all with overnights in the beautiful city of Havana," said Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.
The Norwegian Sky will sail four-day round trip cruises from Miami each Monday. In addition to Havana, they will have a call on Great Stirrup Cay.
Guests will be offered a selection of 15 half and full-day shore excursions that are compliant with the U.S.'s requirement for people-to-people travel, including the opportunity to have a farm-to-table dining experience, explore the flora and fauna of Soroa, and see modern Havana in an American classic car. The Sky sailings also feature an open bar.
Stuart said the Cuba sailings previously on sale have generated "great demand."

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

MSC Cruises to develop LNG bunkering system with ARTA

MSC Cruises to develop LNG bunkering system with ARTA

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MSC Seaside

MSC Cruises is to develop an LNG bunkering system for its cruise ships after striking a partnership with ARTA.
The two companies revealed their new partnership at the 2017 LNG Bunkering Summit in Amsterdam, where they said they would create a tailor-made LNG bunkering system that takes full account of the cruise industry’s specific needs.
MSC Cruises LNG project director Yves Bui said: “With up to four LNG-powered cruise ships scheduled to join our fleet, we are highly committed to developing the best possible technologies and systems to support the introduction of LNG to cruising. In ARTA, we have found a partner that matches our focus on innovation and the best maritime technology at sea and that understands our industry’s specific needs.”
The result is a system that features a newly developed coupling and decoupling mechanism and a double-walled hose that will allow MSC Cruises to conduct bunkering operations without disrupting the activities taking place on board the ship.
Andreas von Keitz, managing director of manufacturer of gas and liquid transfer solutions ARTA added: “We are exceptionally pleased with the new system we have developed to suit the cruise industry’s specific bunkering needs. Thanks to our partnership with MSC Cruises we have been able to fully understand these needs and have put over 40 years of our bunkering engineering experience to good use. The result is a technologically advanced solution that will help ensure that the double-wall principle is maintained across the entire LNG bunkering supply chain.”
MSC Cruises and STX France signed a letter of intent last June to build  up to four LNG-fuelled cruise ships – part of the company’s plan for 11 new next-generation cruise ships over the next 10 years.
The first LNG-powered vessel is scheduled for delivery in 2022.

Where will all the passengers come from?

Where will all the passengers come from?

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Norwegian Escape above, Norwegian Bliss to set sail in April 2018.

Where are all the passengers going to come from?

I have to think this question troubles cruise executives now and then more than they let on.

One of the best answers I have heard in awhile comes from Riccardo Casalino, chief marketing officer at MSC Cruises' headquarters in Geneva.

Over lunch in at semi-permanent catering tent at the Fincantieri shipyard in Manfalcone, where MSC is building several vessels, Casalino shared some of MSC's perspective on various cruise issues, including supply and demand.

The question is as critical for MSC as any cruise line out there. It has 11 large ships on order through 2026, having already grown its capacity by 800% since 2003.
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Of course, MSC is looking to North America for growth, by devoting its MSC Seaside to year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami. MSC executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago perhaps spilled the beans a bit early by announcing at a shipyard event that MSC would have three ships in Miami during the 2019-2020 winter season.

And there's further growth afoot in MSC's European back yard, Casalino said.

But another opportunity is the emerging middle class in countries all over the world that are making the transition from third world to first world.

China, clearly, is everyone's favorite example. But Casalino cited another country with an intriguing new population of potential cruisers: South Africa.

There, tens of thousands of black residents that were oppressed and kept out of the middle class during the country's apartheid years are discovering leisure travel for the first time. 

"They're in a country where for most of them, it's a new thing for society at large to take a packaged vacation," Casalino said.

The level of education on how to do that is understandably low. In South Africa, MSC gets questions that it would hardly ever field in the U.S. or Europe.

"They call us up and want to know if they should bring bed linens," Casalino said. "Or whether they should bring food along for us to cook. They want to know how it works."

The vast potential for growth among the new to cruise has become somewhat of a cliche at conferences where panel discussions debate cruise topics.
But MSC is showing that behind the cliche there are real people and real potential customers waiting with new hopes and new dollars to find out how it works.

Monday, 6 February 2017

River cruising still riding high

River cruising still riding high

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After the challenges the river cruise industry faced in 2016, it was hard to tell whether the once-booming travel style had lost its momentum entirely or was merely suffering a temporary setback. 

Towards the end of last year, however, it appeared river cruising was on the rebound, with the lines reporting a robust return of Europe bookings - a trend that appears to have continued into early 2017.

But one indicator that river cruising really never lost its groove is an annual Travel Leaders Group survey ranking European river cruises as the top international luxury "destination" outside North America being booked by affluent travellers for 2017.

Indeed, river cruises beat out Italy, Mediterranean cruises, Australia, France, England, Baltic cruises, Ireland and Bora Bora for the top spot. River cruises also ranked No. 1 for lead luxury travel destination in this same survey last year. So despite a "challenging" 2016, river cruising doesn't appear to have slipped in comparison to other vacation options. 

Not only that, but according to the 1,689 U.S.-based travel agents who responded to the Travel Leaders Group survey, their upscale river cruise business wasn't hit all that hard in 2016. Some 36% of Travel Leaders agents reported an increase in luxury river cruise bookings in 2016 compared to 2015, and 46% said their luxe river business was on par with 2015.

So, for those wondering if the river cruise boom is still on, there is some evidence suggesting that it never really was off.

Friday, 3 February 2017

International Expeditions offers India cruise-tour

International Expeditions offers India cruise-tour

I Love Rhino's

International Expeditions has introduced a tour-and-cruise trip that includes India's Brahmaputra River.
The 12-day "India: Kaziranga & Brahmaputra River" will include a cruise on the 58-passenger Mahabaahu. Guests will sail along India's Kaziranga National Park -- known for one-horned rhinos, hoolock gibbons and South Asian river dolphin -- in the Assam region of the country.
Passengers will visit remote villages, tea plantations and see wildlife. They will also get views of the Himalayas during the five-night cruise portion of the itinerary.
There are six departures (two in 2017, four in 2018), with the first taking place on March 30, 2017.
"River cruising is more popular and rewarding than ever. People also crave more meaningful interaction with exotic cultures and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to observe rare and beautiful wildlife," said Bill Robison, IE's director of program development. "This new expedition allows guests to be among the first to explore a remote and evolving corner of our world."
The Mahabaahu's dining room serves a menu of both Indian and continental cuisines. There is a swimming pool, library and spa onboard. 
Prices for the 12-day Brahmaputra River cruise start at $6,698 per person (based on double occupancy), and include accommodations, excursions, transfers, tips to service staff and bottled water.

MSC to sail Meraviglia-class ship in Miami

MSC to sail Meraviglia-class ship in Miami

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MSC Meraviglia Translates to Wonder.

MONFALCONE, ITALY -- MSC Cruises will station a third ship in Miami starting in 2019, the company's executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago told an audience at the Fincantieri shipyard here.
The ship will be a Meraviglia-class vessel. MSC will introduce the first ship in that class in June, when the MSC Meraviglia is christened in Le Havre, France. The 4,500-passenger ship is scheduled to sail in Europe.
Vago's comment is the first indication that a Meraviglia class ship will sail outside of Europe.
MSC officials wouldn't say whether the Meraviglia class ship will stay in Miami year-round or only for the winter season. Beginning this November, MSC will base two ships in Miami when the MSC Seaside arrives to join the MSC Divina, which is already sailing from Miami. MSC Seaside is expected to cruise from Miami to the Caribbean year-round.
Vago commented during an event in which two gold-plated coins were welded into a small chamber on the keel of the second Seaside-class vessel, which will be called MSC Seaview. It is scheduled to be delivered in May 2018.
MSC has orders for 11 ships, with four under construction and an additional seven due by 2026. Vago suggested more of them are headed for the North American market. "We are primed to grow well beyond what we have officially announced today," he said.
The Seaside class boasts a distinct design with what MSC officials are describing as a "Miami condo" look to the aft, where a pool and a large promenade are located. "We wanted to turn a few heads in North America, we wanted to turn a few heads in Miami," Vago said.
He said MSC has signed a letter of intent to base all of its Caribbean ships at in Miami. The Meraviglia-class ship includes a theater custom-designed for Cirque du Soleil, which will form part of the entertainment offering.
After the two commemorative coins, one for MSC and one for Fincantieri, were attached to the keel, a massive 600-ton crane lifted the hull section off the quay and slowly manoeuvred it into position onto blocks in a subterranean construction dock, where other sections of the ship will be welded together until it is in a position to be floated out for finishing later this year.
Vago said MSC has committed to spending €2.5 billion with Fincantieri on the Seaside class, with an option for a third ship yet to be exercised.
He said that on Nov. 30, MSC will dock the ship in nearby Trieste and hold an open house so that the residents of the area can see it before it sails for Miami and a Dec. 21 christening there.