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Articles from 2015 In November

Port of Québec wraps a season of record 122 cruise calls

Port of Québec wraps a season of record 122 cruise calls

Seven ships made maiden calls: St. Laurent, AIDAdiva, Insignia, Marco Polo, Saga Sapphire, Caribbean Princess and Serenade of the Seas.

'The Port of Québec is a must-visit destination in the Canada/New England market and is continuing to prosper in the face of increasing competition from Asia,' said Mario Girard, president and ceo, Québec Port Authority.

He added that the business generates economic benefits for Québec and the region, and expressed appreciation to the port's stakeholders for their key role in the season's operational success.

Seventeen ships turned around in Québec, embarking and disembarking more than 46,636 passengers.

For the Capitale-Nationale region, passengers on homeporting ships spent an average $329 during their visit, while transit passengers spent an average of $111.

Québec City Tourism is proud to partner with the port to welcome international cruise ships, according to director André Roy.

'Whether it is product development, marketing, welcoming passengers, mobilization or regional cooperation, the QCT is actively involved in this industry that benefits the region,' he said. Roy also noted cruise visitors help extend the tourism season.

Again this year, the port and its tourism partners pulled off a logistical feat as nine cruise ships docked over the weekend of Oct. 2-4, bringing more than 35,000 passengers and crew members. On days like these, some 400 skilled workers are required.

Among the parties who facilitated this busy cruise weekend was the city of Québec, whose Centre de coordination d’événements spéciaux (special events coordination centre) helped ensure a fluid traffic flow.

Un-Cruise adds land tour options in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska

Un-Cruise adds land tour options in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska

A scenic train journey explores the sea to sky corridor and the Canadian Rockies. The Rocky Mountaineer extension has two itineraries that combine with either the Alaska or Columbia & Snake River cruises.

The eight-night pre- or post-cruise Rocky Mountaineer tour between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, can be added to the Columbia & Snake River program. Travel is by first-class GoldLeaf rail service, with views pf Howe Sound, the lush farmland of the Pemberton Valley and the dramatic scenery of the Canadian Rockies with overnight stays in Seattle, Whistler, Quesnel, Kamloops and Vancouver. Two nights are spent in the alpine town of Jasper with a half-day guided tour of Jasper National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Rail service, hotel accommodations, excursions/tours, park passes and select meals are included. Rates start at $7,895 per person, double occupancy.

In Alaska, the Exploring Muir’s Wilderness cruise connects with a pre-cruise seven-night Rocky Mountaineer train journey between Calgary and Seattle. First-class rail service travels through the glacier- and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies to the desert-like interior to the lush forests along the coast. Overnights are spent in Calgary, Lake Louise, Banff, Kamloops, Vancouver and Seattle. Highlights include a helicopter tour over the Rockies, the Banff gondola, Yoho National Park, a guided tour of Vancouver’s North Shore and a gondola ride to Grouse Mountain.

Rail service, hotel accommodations, excursions/tours, park passes and select meals are included. Rates start at $5,395 per person, double occupancy.

Also beginning in April, an escorted Denali National Park & Knik River Adventure travels from Fairbanks, Alaska, via an exclusive rail car accessed through a private entrance at the Fairbanks train station. A Un-Cruise Adventures guide accompanies the duration of the tour. Two nights are spent at a back-country lodge inside Denali with ample time for hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking and guided touring. From the Denali rail depot, travelers continue in a first-class deluxe dome rail car to Talkeetna, a historic gold mining town. They explore the area and have a group dinner before a private transfer to Knik River Lodge.

Two days at the lodge are spent in riverside cabins with decks for viewing wildlife, mountains and, possibly, the Northern Lights. At Knik, participants hike the Chugach Mountain trail and explore the historic Independence Mine near the Knik River. At Anchorage they visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center to see presentations of dance, elder talk and Native Olympics, and have time to explore the city during an overnight stay.

Airport transfers, hotel accommodations, rail transportation and select meals are included. Travelers can choose a six-, seven- or eight-night package.

Additional land tours include the Alaska Railroad & Denali National Park Adventure and Winterlake Lodge.


Norwegian Escape's Margaritaville implements à la carte pricing

This Margaritaville hostess is kept busy trying to accommodate diners (Photo: Anne Kalosh)

The casual, alfresco venue has proven to be extremely popular. During inaugural sailings the waits were sometimes up to two hours for what debuted as one of the ship's complimentary dining venues.

Now, snacks like chips, queso and salsa are priced at $2.99, conch fritters are $3.99, fish tacos $6.99 and the Key West fish sandwich is $8.99.

And Margaritaville's famous Cheeseburger in Paradise is $6.99.

Port Everglades, FMT commission new passenger boarding bridge

Pictured at the commissioning of the passenger boarding bridge are, from left, J. David Anderton ll, assistant director of Port Everglades; Jonas Bruun, project manager, FMT; Peter Skoog, managing director, FMT; and Steven Cernak, ceo and port director, Port Everglades

'We are extremely proud of our good, long-term partnership with Port Everglades and our ability to contribute to the growing success of their cruise business,' said Mike McFadden, North American director for FMT.

For his part, ceo and port director Steven Cernak expressed the importance of continual improvements at the terminals to ensure passengers' overall satisfaction when embarking on cruises from Port Everglades.

'FMT’s bridges are the industry standard and FMT helps us achieve that goal,' Cernak said.

Princess road show reached more than 6,000 agents

Princess president Jan Swartz, center, with ProTravel's Lyndee Campbell, left, and Rebecca Hunt, right, at the Come Back New Tour grand finale event

Following the presentation of the line’s new initiatives, a grand prize drawing awarded three partners all-inclusive cruises for two valued at more than $5,300 each.

'Our goal is to demonstrate our commitment to providing guests the best possible cruise vacation experience, resulting in transformative moments designed to inspire them to discover the world,' Princess president Jan Swartz said. 'We are grateful to all of our retail partners for the important role they play in our success, and are proud to share our newest innovations with them through the Come Back New Tour.'

Via a multimedia presentation agents learned about innovations including the line’s exclusive partnerships with award-winning chef Curtis Stone; a new show, 'Magic to Do,' created by Broadway legend Stephen Schwartz; Chocolate Journeys with master chocolatier Norman Love; and television's popular international singing competition brought to the high seas, 'The Voice of the Ocean.'

Attendees were also treated to a guest appearance by actress Jill Whelan, co-star of 'The Love Boat' television series, who was named Princess Cruises' 'Celebrations Ambassador' earlier this year.

John Chernesky, vp North America sales, said it's Princess's goal to become the No. 1 rated cruise line by retail partners and the road show is 'just one of the many ways we strive to support the trade.'

The Grinch will try to steal Christmas on Carnival's holiday cruises

The famously cantankerous Grinch will be popping up on the Fun Ships during December

Never a fan of the holidays, The Grinch will be up to his usual tricks in an attempt to 'stop Christmas from coming.' He will playfully disrupt the on-board festivities and steal items from crew members throughout the ship. He also will participate in the end-of-cruise holiday show.

The appearances and activities are part of Carnival's exclusive relationship with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Arts and crafts sessions where kids can create their own Grinch Christmas ornaments and masks, as well as Grinch-themed face-painting sessions, will be available, while screenings of both the live action and animated classic 'Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas' will be shown on Christmas Day.

Kids can complete their own Grinch Good Deed Tracker and, once the card is filled, receive a certificate affirming that they, just as The Grinch says, grew their heart 'three times its size.' The Grinch also will be incorporated into the Seuss at Sea’s Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends.

Longer stays, port overnights distinguish Crystal's river itineraries

Crystal will field four newly built vessels and the redesigned Crystal Mozart

Crystal president and ceo Edie Rodriguez promised 'innovative vessel designs, unmatched guest service and fascinating itineraries' that focus on longer and overnight stays and daytime cruising, in addition to sailing less traveled routes to avoid port congestion.

The recently acquired and to be redesigned Crystal Mozart will sail in July 2016, and the four newly built vessels, Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler and Crystal Ravel, will embark in June and August 2017.

Crystal Mozart's maiden Danube River cruise will sail July 13. The vessel will operate two itineraries of 10 and 11 nights plus a special 10- to 13-night Christmas and New Year’s Eve voyage.

'Danube’s Capital & Wachau Valley' will take travelers through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Austria’s Wachau Valley and visit Dürnstein, Melk, Linz and Vienna, Austria; Passau, Germany; and Bratislava, Slovakia. 'Countries of Eastern Danube' includes Vienna; Esztergorm, Kalocsa, Budapest and Mohács, Hungary; Vukovar, Croatia; the Iron Gate; Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia; and Bratislava.

'Christmas Markets Along the Danube' charts Austria, Germany and Slovakia for the traditional marketplaces and town squares, from Munich’s Christkindlmarkt to the Viennese Christmas Market at City Hall and Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace.

Crystal Debussy will debut on the Seine River June 4, 2017. The vessel will sail five-, seven- and 10-night voyages from Paris with multiple overnights. The ship’s smaller size—84-passenger capacity—will allow it to berth near the Eiffel Tower.

The 'Best of Paris, Seine River & Normandy' itinerary highlights the villages and valleys that inspired Impressionists like Monet and Van Gogh. A double overnight puts travelers within walking distance of Honfleur and positions them near the surrounding area's attractions including the beaches of Normandy and Deauville.

'Paris & The Arts' will provide in-depth immersion into masterpieces housed in the Musée d’Orsay, d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Louvre before venturing to Rouen in the heart of Normandy then returning to Paris. 'Pre-Christmas Shopping in Paris' enables travelers to immerse themselves in the Marché de Noël outdoor bazaar and see street performances along the Rue du Gros Horloge in Rouen.

Crystal Bach will sail its maiden voyage June 18, 2017. The vessel’s 14-night itinerary includes overnights in cities like Amsterdam; Basel, Switzerland; and Ruedesheim, Germany, along the Rhine and Moselle rivers. 'Classic Rhine' adds overnights at Antwerp, Belgium; Nijmegen, Cologne, Cochem, Koblenz, Mainz, Speyer, Kehl and Breisach, Germany, and allows for additional stays in Frankfurt. 

The 110-passenger Crystal Bach's 10-night 'Christmas Markets along the Rhine' itinerary includes two of Switzerland’s loveliest markets— Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz in Basel—plus historic abbeys and cathedrals. The vessel will overnight in Cologne, home to one of Europe's largest Christmas markets.

Crystal Ravel, which will sail the Garonne and Dordogne rivers and the Gironde Estuary, makes its maiden voyage Aug. 8, 2017. The 84-passenger vessel will visit France's best known wine region and explore the UNESCO-designated city of Bordeaux.

The seven-night 'Bordeaux, the Wine Region & Beyond' spends two nights in Bordeaux before cruising to Cadillac (overnight), Pauillac (overnight), Blaye and Libourne (overnight), France, then back to Bordeaux (overnight). The extra nights in Bordeaux give time to visit Arachon in southwestern France for the city’s oysters, white wine and the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s tallest sand dune.

Crystal Mahler, to ply the Rhine, Main and Danube, will begin sailing  Aug. 29, 2017. Its 16-night 'Grand Europe' itinerary is the longest offered by the Crystal river fleet and stretches two nights longer than most other lines sailing the same route. The 110-passenger vessel will transit the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and visit the Netherlands and villages in Germany, with overnights in Budapest, Vienna, Passau and Amsterdam.

Each ship's inaugural voyage will be exclusively available for booking by Crystal Society members (repeat customers) through Dec. 15. Other dates are open for sale now.

A Huelva welcome for Azamara Journey

A Huelva welcome for Azamara Journey

The vessel spent the day berthed at South Quay before departing at 22.00 headed for St. Martin in the Caribbean following a summer spent in Europe.

Passengers were offered a free shuttle bus connection from the berth to the centre of Huelva where they were welcomed near Parque de las Palomas by a local theatre group in costumes replicating the times of Christopher Columbus, who set sail from Huelva in 1492 in search of the New World.

The president of the Port Authority of Huelva, Manuela de Paz, said the final call tally for this year is six ships which is expected to jump to 21 in 2016.

De Paz stressed the important work the Huelva Cruise Network is doing to ensure the quality of services offered to cruise tourists visiting the MedCruise member port. 

The port offers free wifi in the South Quay area for tourists and the ship's crew.

Scanship gets AWP contracts for pair of cruise newbuilds

Scanship gets AWP contracts for pair of cruise newbuilds

The Norway-based company got the business when options for the unnamed vessels were exercised.

Scanship said it will deliver the equipment for the systems in 2016 and 2017.


Another historic rendezvous on Sydney Harbour

RCI regional vp Asia Pacific Gavin Smith with Explorer of the Seas in the background (Photo: Helen Hutcheon)

The 138,000gt Explorer of the Seas, which arrived earlier than scheduled due to a medical evacuation, was making her maiden voyage to Sydney for the start of a cruise season that will run until April.
However, she waited for Voyager of the Seas, which was departing on a seven-night cruise to Tasmania, just off Fort Denison.
Size does matter according to RCL’s commercial director Australasia and South East Asia, Adam Armstrong. Armstrong said the 138,000gt Voyager of the Seas has been the biggest cruise ship to homeport in Australia for extended seasons since 2012. Explorer of the Seas now takes that honour as, according to Royal Caribbean International’s website, she is five feet longer. 
He said the two ships were carrying more than 10,000 passengers and crew, outnumbering the populations of New South Wales towns like Parkes and Byron Bay.
‘We live for big ships and the huge variety of experiences that our megaliners offer our guests,’ he said. ‘We couldn’t be more proud to welcome Australia’s biggest cruise ship to her new home and for our two magnificent megaliners to meet in beautiful Sydney Harbour.
‘With a combined build price of US$1.3bn and a further US$130m injected into bow-to-stern makeovers in the last 12 months, they represent the biggest investment ever made by a cruise line in Australia.’
The 3,114-passenger Explorer of the Seas has replaced the 2,400-passenger Rhapsody of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s first ship to be deployed in Australia when she arrived in October 2007.
Radiance of the Seas completes the trio of Royal Caribbean ships in Sydney for the 2015-16 season, with the 69,130gt Legend of the Seas based in Brisbane from December on a maiden five-month season.
The four ships will increase the company’s capacity in Australia by almost 50%.
Royal Caribbean hosted a cocktail reception for media and travel industry partners Saturday night on board a launch that sailed past the two ships mid-harbour.