(Press Release)_Azamara Club Cruises, the boutique cruise line known for its premier destination-immersive voyages, today unveiled its 2019 itineraries to a record 250 ports of call, including 45 maiden ports, 69 countries, 94 overnight stays, and 145 late night stays. New offerings will include Azamara’s first-ever sailings to Alaska, 9 Special Events Voyages and 9 Country Intensive Voyages.
“Our 2019 itineraries span the world with new ports and destinations such as Alaska and go deeper than ever before into local cultures with one-of-a-kind experiences that you can’t find through local tour services. We are confident that our growing number of first-time and millennial cruisers, along with repeat customers, will find that the new itineraries offer the type of personalized and unique experiences they seek,” said Larry Pimentel, President & CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “With the new itineraries, we are continuing to build upon our Stay Longer, Experience More brand positioning, with more onshore opportunities that allow guests to connect with locals for enriching travel moments, both on land and at sea.”
Azamara is offering a variety of Alaska experiences through 11 dynamic voyages each spanning eight to 10 days between May and September of 2019. The line’s new Alaska voyages will feature more time in port with many late night stays, allowing nighttime experiences in this amazing land of the Midnight Sun. Our itineraries will feature a combination of marquee ports, as well as unique and out-of-the-ordinary ports. Our complimentary AzAmazing Evenings events will feature localized and authentic experiences, and carefully curated optional shore excursions in small groups of 20 – 25 guests will bring Alaska to life for our guests. Intimate shore excursion highlights include:
· Haines off the Beaten Path – Meet Local: Take a scenic drive to Picture Point along the Chilkat River to visit the artists’ enclave of Mud Bay with a special tour of Extreme Dreams Art Studio – a handcrafted timber-frame gallery filled with unique creations by select local artisans. Then, return to Haines for a guided visit to the quirky yet fascinating Hammer Museum.
· Icy Strait Point – Taste Local: In Alaska’s wildest kitchen, guests can capture the essence of real Alaskan flavors with fresh seafood tasting in a rustic setting hosted by an Alaskan fisherman and an expert filleting demonstration.
· Juneau Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier – Adventure Local: A dynamic helicopter ride to the Mendenhall Glacier is followed by an exhilarating dog sledding journey with about 300 spirited Alaskan huskies.
· Skagway White Pass Legacy Club Luxury Railway Experience – View Local: Experience the dramatic beauty of Southeast Alaska in opulence while traveling aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route’s luxurious Legacy Club Car, featuring your very own private guide.
Azamara’s Land & Sea Experiences include pre- and post-voyage land programs of two to six nights, combining the cruise with land programs for a truly immersive experience. Curated Land & Sea Experiences include Untamed Alaska, Native Villages for an authentic and traditional community gathering, riverboat cruising, or an afternoon in a local dog handler kennel, learning about the famed Iditarod Dogsled race where guests can meet with some furry and friendly Alaskan Huskies.
More 2019 Voyage Highlights
The line’s immersive itineraries feature longer stays and more overnights across destinations worldwide, including smaller ports that the ships are just the right size to visit, many of which larger ships can’t, making it more convenient to experience many marquee destinations directly off the ships.
· Golf Local with Perry Golf: In partnership with Perry Golf, Azamara has eight new voyages for golf enthusiasts that include The British Open in Portrush, Northern Ireland and The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
· Special Event Voyages: Azamara caters to niche travel interests with a handful of once-in-a-lifetime experiences worth celebrating with front row access to some of the biggest festivals and events around the world. Premier events include two Formula One races (the Monaco Grand Prix and Spanish Grand Prix), the Cannes Film Festival, a round-trip California Wine Cruise from Los Angeles and an Annular Solar Eclipse voyage through the Indian Ocean. The line will also be in Edinburgh for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo thought of by many as the “greatest show on earth”, and on the Azamara Journey’s 28-May-2019 voyage, guests will experience the 75th anniversary of D-Day, as well as the once every five years Rouen Festival featuring many of the world’s largest and most beautiful tall ships.
· Country Intensive Voyages: Azamara is the first brand to launch Country Intensive Voyages which allow guests to experience a country in-depth, effortlessly and conveniently immersing themselves in the culture, places and things in a variety of destinations within the country. These itineraries consist of most – if not all – ports of call within the destination. Japan, one of the new intensive voyages, offers 13 ports in 15 days throughout a circumnavigation of the country allowing experiences in every part of the country. Other countries include New Zealand, Mexico, Norway, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia and Greece.
· 45 Maiden Ports of Call: 2019 will see Azamara sailing to a record 45 maiden ports of call including Aalborg, Denmark; Lorient, France; Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK; Boracay Island, Philippines; Stewart Island, New Zealand and many more.
Azamara’s recently launched Cruise Global, Connect Local land programs offer an unprecedented variety of over one thousand new and existing intimate shore excursions. Custom experiences curated by Azamara’s expert team accommodate every travel style whether it be an interest in experiencing local life behind the scenes (Cruise Global, Meet Local), food and wine (Cruise Global, Taste Local), guided historic tours (Cruise Global, View Local), enjoy exclusive, custom after-dinner experiences (Cruise Global, Nights Local), biking (Cruise Global, Bike Local) and much more. Opportunities to travel deeper are endless. Additionally, all guests experience complimentary, bespoke AzAmazing Evenings that provide true cultural immersion and local entertainment in places like a French chateaux, Caribbean gardens, Spanish forts, Russian ballet halls and Roman amphitheaters.
With a maximum of 25 guests per on-shore excursion, Azamara offers a more intimate connection, more local experience and more peace-of-mind. Every excursion is designed and delivered by locals who provide an authentic perspective and individual interaction and are trusted tour operators that provide the highest level of quality, service and convenience.
Azamara’s Boutique Hotels at Sea were recently redesigned, and guests onboard the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest receive warm, authentic and personal service and enjoy fine cuisine and boutique wines from around the world, as well as inclusive amenities, such as gratuities; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee and teas, wines from around the world, international beers and select standard spirits in the ships’ bars, lounges and restaurants; complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centers in ports, where available. The 690-guest ships deliver a true boutique hotel atmosphere with a contemporary design that is inspired by the destinations Azamara visits.
Azamara is more than a cruise line; it's the brand that delivers a rich destination experience worldwide by staying longer and allowing guests to experience more. For a full list of 2019 Azamara Voyages, visit https://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/2019
Loggerhead Summer Camp Open Now
Brightline, the new passenger rail service that will kick off later this summer, has good news for commuters fighting the South Florida "traffic wars" in this new press release:
"If your daily commute in South Florida seems worse than last year the reality is you are right. Miami just received the dubious distinction of cracking the top 10 of cities with the most congested roads in the world.
"The Magic City also ranks fifth in terms of U.S. cities with the worst peak-hour traffic, says transportation analytics firm Inrix. The bad news translates into wasted time and dollars – not to mention aggravation and rising blood pressure.
"Miami commuters spend an average of 65 hours a year stuck in peak-hour traffic, or 8.7 percent of their commuting time. And being stuck in traffic costs you money too – the average commuter wastes $1,762 (in gas and time) just sitting in their car, according to the Inrix study.
"The highway tie-ups directly and indirectly cost the local economy $3.6 billion. “Congestion also costs our country hundreds of billions of dollars, threatens future economic growth and lowers our quality of life,” said Bob Pishue, senior economist at Inrix.
"Lucky for us South Floridians have a solution on the horizon: Travel by train. Brightline passenger trains will soon provide a unique alternative to sitting in traffic jams.
"The only privately-funded, operated and maintained passenger train service in the U.S., Brightline is expected to eventually remove three million cars from Florida roads. The eco-friendly trains will also significantly reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.
"It all starts this summer when five, innovative new train sets built by Sacramento-based Siemens will begin service, comfortably carrying guests from West Palm Beach to Miami, with a stop at the Fort Lauderdale train station. Commuters will be able to conveniently park their cars at the brand new train stations located in the downtown areas of the three cities, and avoid crowded highways altogether.
"The total commute via the frequent passenger trains is less than one hour from West Palm Beach to Miami and less than 30 minutes from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. Taking the train to Miami will actually be quicker (and more enjoyable) than sitting in your car!
"On the fully accessible Brightline trains, you’ll be able to lounge in a spacious seat, watch movies or work on your iPad or laptop (with complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi), buy a freshly brewed cup of coffee, catch a nap or daydream – no need to worry about traffic and the crazy driver in the next lane."
Pirates of the Intra-Coastal
UPDATE: These are actually replicas of the Nina and the Pinta, which will be open to tours at Harbourside. Read more here.
Let's Go to the Hop
Cruise News: Maintaining a Forest at Sea
What does it take to create and maintain an entire forest on a cruise ship? You would be amazed at the answer. Watch this:
BrightPink Joins BrightBlue
(Press Release)_ Brightline, the only-privately-funded express passenger rail system in the country, has welcomed its second completed trainset, BrightPink, to South Florida. Joining BrightBlue, which made its “Sunshine State” debut in January, BrightPink arrived last night to Workshop b, Brightline’s railroad operations center in West Palm Beach, where ongoing preparations for the summer launch of train service are well underway.
BrightPink departed the Siemens Rolling Stock facility in Sacramento, California last week and made the 3,052 mile journey through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana before arriving in Jacksonville, Florida and then on to West Palm Beach.
“It is exciting to reach another important Brightline milestone as BrightPink, our second completed trainset, arrives in Florida,” said Brightline CEO David Howard. “Many South Floridians have caught glimpses of BrightBlue undergoing testing in Palm Beach County and we look forward to having BrightPink on the test track soon, preparing for our summer launch.”
BrightPink is full of innovations from its boarding platform and aisles that exceed ADA compliance standards to complimentary Wi-Fi, powered by multiple antennas on every car. Each Brightline trainset is 100 percent Buy America compliant with components from more than 40 suppliers across 20 states.
The BrightPink arrival milestone signals Brightline’s ongoing commitment of private investment towards transportation infrastructure benefiting the public. Brightline will provide a much needed hospitality-driven alternative to South Florida’s congested roadways. Introductory express service will begin between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale in late July, followed by initial service to Miami in late August. The company is anticipating a grand opening and official launch of the train service in September. For more information, visit: www.gobrightline.com.
(Press Release)_WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - In addition to a wide selection of watercraft and marine accessories on display, the Palm Beach International Boat Show offers fun for the whole family, including live musical entertainment, exciting special events and educational activities for boaters and anglers of all ages. The 32nd annual event sails into West Palm Beach Thursday, March 23rd through Sunday, March 26th.
IGFA School of Sportfishing Seminars
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) is hosting 14 of its highly-acclaimed School of Sportfishing seminars onsite at the show. Featuring instruction by some of the best captains and anglers in South Florida, the seminars share the skills, information and techniques necessary to maximize success on the water. Free with show admission, the seminars are perfect for avid anglers and will take place at booth 746A. For more information, please visit IGFA.org.
Kids' Fishing Clinics by Hook the Future
For aspiring anglers ages four to 16, the Kids' Fishing Clinics offer instruction in basic fishing techniques. Presented by Hook the Future and the Palm Beach Post, the Kids' Fishing Clinics offer interactive instruction in selecting tackle and lures, casting a rod and reel, reeling in a fish and fishing ethics. Upon completion of all learning stations, participants are eligible to win special prizes. Hosted by Captain Don Dingman, the clinics are free with show admission and take place in the Meyer Amphitheater Field located between Datura and Evernia Streets inside the show grounds on Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26 at noon and 2 p.m.
Presented by PassageMaker magazine, CruiserPort offers free boating seminars taught by renowned industry professionals. It's the direct portal into the cruising lifestyle! For more information, visit PassageMaker.com.
The Palm Beach International Boat Show will once again feature the AquaZone by Nautical Ventures, an exciting and engaging attraction designed to give Palm Beach boat show-goers an upfront and personal experience with a variety of water sports and innovative products. The AquaZone's 60-foot by 30-foot, 40,000-gallon demonstration pool will be located within the Meyer Amphitheater area and will be home to in-water demos, hands-on testing, and a one-stop learning center for information and product knowledge from Nautical Ventures and AquaZone exhibitors. Expect to see live paddle boarding, SUP Yoga, Hobie kayaks, hovercrafts, life rafts, Lehr propane outboards, the Evinrude G-2 outboard, a WaveJet self-propelled SUP, and VersaDock modular docking systems, and much more!
Hands-On Boat Handling Classes
Presented by Carefree Boat Club, all sessions are taught by US Coast Guard licensed captains who are professional, certified instructors. Offering something for everyone, from absolute beginners to seasoned skippers, participants will learn basic and advanced skills that will last a lifetime. Topics cover basic and advanced docking skills, open water boat handling, anchoring and multi-vessel rafting techniques, and more. Space is limited; advanced registration recommended. For the full schedule of classes, visit www.goo.gl/CTd9gd.
About the Palm Beach International Boat Show
The 2017 Palm Beach International Boat Show is owned and presented by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Inc. (MIAPBC) and managed and produced by Show Management. For more information, visit ShowManagement.com, download the show's free smartphone app MyBoatShow, or call 954-764-7642. To make travel arrangements contacts the show's official travel partner, BoatShowHotels.com.
2017 Show Schedule:
12 p.m. - 7 p.m. Thursday, March 23
10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Friday, March 24
10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25
10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday, March 26
Doris Italian Market & Bakery presents “An Evening with the Champ,” Tony DeMarco meet & greet on Tuesday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Doris Italian Market & Bakery in the Shoppes at City Centre, 11239 U.S. Highway 1, North Palm Beach. Open to the public, the meet and greet will include a brief video presentation and offer guests the opportunity to ask Tony DeMarco questions and have him sign copies of his best-selling book, “Nardo: Memoirs Of A Boxing Champion.” Admission to the event is free. For more email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954-572-5269.
(Press Release) _ Brightline, the only privately-funded express passenger rail system in the country, is within months of its much anticipated service launch, marking the first time a new private infrastructure passenger rail project will initiate operations in the US in more than 100 years.
Today, the company announced projected timing for the pre-launch and initial introduction of the hospitality-focused service, providing a needed alternative to South Florida’s congested roadways. Introductory express service will begin between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale in late July, followed by service to Miami in late August. The company is anticipating a grand opening and official launch of the train service in September.
Brightline will welcome BrightPink, the second of five custom built, innovative trainsets, next week. Three additional brightly hued trainsets will be delivered by May. Built by Siemens Rolling Stock in their state of the art Sacramento, California facility, Brightline’s trains are 100 percent Buy America compliant, using components from more than 40 suppliers across more than 20 states.
The line’s 60,000 square foot stations in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale are nearing completion. The expansive MiamiCentral station that includes elevated tracks is expected to be operational in conjunction with the introductory Miami train service. Rail infrastructure improvements on the corridor between West Palm Beach and Miami are 80 percent complete.
The company announced earlier this week that Dave Howard, a veteran executive from the sports and entertainment industry, has joined Brightline’s leadership team as Chief Executive Officer. Howard’s main focus will be setting a global standard of service excellence and exceptional care for Brightline’s guests.
Ticket fares and frequent rider passes, along with Brightline’s mobile application, will be announced closer to the launch of service.
The company’s second phase will extend express train service to Orlando. While the line has been focused on launching the first phase of service from Miami to West Palm Beach, progress continues on Phase 2 to Orlando. The company is currently finalizing permitting and will have a better idea of timing to Orlando after operations begin this summer.
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
GERRY PRONOUNCED GARY
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"