Holland America Returning to Asia
(PRESS RELEASE)_Seattle, Wash., Nov. 30, 2022 — For the first time in two-and-a-half-years, cruising will return to Japan, and Holland America Line’s Westerdam is preparing for a series of itineraries in early 2023 that will let guests explore lands where ancient temples and cultures steeped in tradition mix with soaring skyscrapers and bustling capitals.
The government of Japan reported on November 15 it is ready to start receiving international cruise ships again to allow tourists to enjoy the wonders of cruising to the country’s many ports.
“We’re grateful for the work that the Japanese authorities have done to allow for a return to cruising,” said Gus Antorcha, president, Holland America Line. “Holland America Line’s guests love longer voyages to unique parts of the world, and we’ll be sailing to some incredible locations as our season in Japan and the rest of Asia begins.”
Westerdam, currently sailing in Australia and New Zealand, starts the Asia season following a January drydock in Singapore. Beginning February 3, the ship sails a series of Far East voyages showcasing the diversity of countries visited while celebrating histories that have been thousands of years in the making.
Sailing roundtrip from Yokohama, Japan, or Singapore, or between Yokohama and Singapore, cruises are 11 to 14 days and can be combined to form nonrepeating Collectors’ Voyages. Countries explored include Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. Five different itineraries are offered including “Indonesian Discovery,” “Japan, Taiwan & The Philippines,” “Japan Explorer,” "Japan Discovery" and “Southern Japan.” Overnight calls include Singapore; Kobe and Osaka, Japan; and Phuket, Thailand. The season concludes April 24 with a 14-day “North Pacific Crossing” from Yokohama to Seattle, Washington where Westerdam will homeport for its Alaska season.
As protocols for cruising in Asia are finalized, each departure will be added to Holland America Line’s Voyage Lookup tool, which allows guests to see any specific health protocols for their cruise.
For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel advisor, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit hollandamerica.com.
Carnival Named 'Best Value' by Cruise Critic
(PRESS RELEASE)_Carnival Cruise Line is the “Best Value for Money” in the Ocean Category of Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards for 2022. Cruise Critic announced the award winners today.
“The trademark of a Carnival cruise is a fun and memorable experience for the entire family – no matter your age or your interests –where we deliver the best service, food, entertainment and activities at sea at an affordable price. The ‘Best Value’ honor exemplifies the promise we make to our guests and the work our onboard teams put in to uphold it,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
Cruise Critic editors noted Carnival earned the award for the wide array of choices offered to guests at
little or no extra charge, citing popular venues like the BlueIguana Cantina and Guy’s Burger Joint.
“Carnival Cruise Line has been named ‘Best Value’ because it is exactly that: a moderately-priced cruise vacation that doesn’t nickel-and-dime passengers,” Cruise Critic editors noted. “Drinks are reasonably priced, internet packages are economical (and work!), and much of the line’s entertainment options are entirely free.”
The awards are organized by a panel of cruise experts from Cruise Critic, the world’s largest cruise reviews site and online cruise community. The honors are awarded based on first-hand experience and cruise industry knowledge.
Cunard Announces 2024-25 Voyages
(PRESS RELEASE)_VALENCIA, Calif., Nov. 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Luxury cruise line Cunard announces itineraries from April 2024 through January 2025, offering over 190 new voyages fleet wide, including Queen Anne's maiden season.
Featuring in-depth itineraries in the Mediterranean and Scandinavia, and spectacular voyages through the incomparable Norwegian Fjords, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria, and flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will call at 133 destinations in 45 countries, including a maiden call for the fleet in Nordfjordeid, Norway.
"Summertime evokes European glamour aboard Cunard ships," said Matt Gleaves, Cunard's VP of Commercial Development, North America. "Whether it's sailing the waters of the Med or navigating through the Greek Isles, guests will see the world in style and comfort. Queen Anne brings even more opportunities to explore remote waterways, iconic cities, and of course all the pleasures that one would expect aboard our new Cunard Queen."
Cunard's highly anticipated new ship Queen Anne will sail her maiden season in the Norwegian Fjords, Scandinavia, British Isles, and the Mediterranean, with voyages ranging from two to 19 nights. She will make 62 maiden calls in coveted destinations including Reykjavik, Gibraltar, Rotterdam, Dubrovnik, Malaga, Oslo and more. Queen Anne will offer six overnight calls and 14 late evening departures, giving guests time to explore each city to the fullest.
Carnival Reports Record Cyber Monday
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Nov. 29, 2022 – Carnival Cruise Line got a jumpstart on what it hopes will be a busy 2023 cruise season as it posted a record Cyber Monday booking day yesterday that was 50 percent above volume for Cyber Monday 2019.
With November’s introduction of service by Carnival Luminosa in Australia and Carnival Celebration from Miami, and three additional ships joining the fleet over the next 18 months, Carnival is giving its guests plenty of vacation options. 24 ships are in guest operation, and 26 ships are open for sale – some already into 2025 – with the pending arrival of Carnival Venezia and Carnival Jubilee. The pent-up demand for cruising has manifested in multiple ways in 2022, as Carnival was the first major cruise line to have its entire fleet back in operation. Earlier this year, Carnival had said that the one-week period of March 28-April 3 was its busiest booking week in the company’s history, showing a double-digit increase from the previous record seven-day booking total. Carnival now has more capacity sailing (as measured by ALBDs – available lower berth days) than it was sailing in 2019.
“The Cyber Monday sale activity showed consumer demand across the fleet, and we were particularly pleased with the booking activity for Carnival Venezia’s new year-round service from New York, and our new extended six-month program for Carnival Magic out of Norfolk,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Our very successful naming ceremony for Carnival Celebration on November 20 and all the media coverage it generated clearly kept Carnival top of mind as vacationers got started on their holiday shopping yesterday.”
For additional information on Carnival Cruise Line and to book a cruise vacation on Carnival, 1-800-CARNIVAL, visit http://www.carnival.com, or contact your favorite travel advisor or online travel site.
Vantage Debuts Ocean Odyssey
(PRESS RELEASE)_BOSTON, November 21, 2022 – Vantage Deluxe World Travel, a world-renowned deluxe cruising tour operator, is proud to debut the new five-star Ocean Odyssey premier small ship, built for global luxury expedition travel. The ship’s inaugural cruise departed Aqaba, Jordan on course around the Arabian Peninsula bound for Dubai, UAE, on November 20. Ocean Odyssey and its sister ship Ocean Explorer will navigate worldwide with 48 itineraries that will bring travelers to all seven continents.
“The maiden voyage of the Ocean Odyssey marks yet another way travelers can indulge in far-flung adventures as big as the globe with the award-winning, elevated experience of a small ship environment," says Deirdre Dirkman, EVP Worldwide Operations & Marketing at Vantage Deluxe World Travel. “At Vantage, we provide the ultimate in small-ship luxury experiences and set the standard for women’s solo travel.”
Virgin Donates Cruises to Healthcare Heroes
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, Fla. - Nov. 29, 2022 - Virgin Voyages, Richard Branson’s newest travel brand and internationally acclaimed cruise line, celebrates Giving Tuesday by paying it forward and honoring local healthcare heroes with the vacation of a lifetime. For the second consecutive year, the South Florida-based travel and lifestyle brand is partnering with Baptist Health South Florida and donating 2,023 complimentary voyages – totaling an estimated $5.9 million – for deserving employees to ring in the new year with their friends and loved ones.
“For the past three years, our local healthcare workers put everything on the line to care for the community, and now it's our turn to pay it forward,” said Jill Stoneberg, Virgin Voyages’ Senior Director of Sustainability and Social Impact. “We’ve turned a corner, and we’d love to offer our frontline workers a much-deserved break. The Virgin Voyages team is honored to give our friends at Baptist an incredible vacation on the high seas where they can unplug and escape for a few days.”
MSC Bringing Luxury to the Seas
(PRESS RELEASE)_Geneva, Switzerland – November 28, 2022 – MSC Cruises is stepping up its high-end retail selection on board with an enriched catalogue of luxury brands further augmented by a new partnership with TimeVallée. The two Geneva-based companies are bringing the “Swiss touch” to the high seas, delivering the elegance and quality Switzerland is known for, along with a host of revered Swiss watch brands for guests to purchase onboard.
MSC Seascape’s TimeVallée concept will be the first of the retailer’s stores at sea when the ship launches in November. Since its inception in 2014, TimeVallée has been making waves in the luxury watch retail sector. Its curated multi-brand selection creates a shopping destination that offers some of the most prestigious watches available from more than 30 top luxury brands.
Carnival Celebration Calls on Grand Turk
(PRESS RELEASE)_Carnival Cruise Line’s new flagship Carnival Celebration arrived in Grand Turk today, (Nov. 23) making the ship’s first call to a Caribbean port. The ship is currently sailing its inaugural voyage, a special six-day Thanksgiving cruise.
“It is an honor to bring our new flagship to Grand Turk as its first Caribbean port of call and welcome our guests to experience the beauty of the island,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Grand Turk is a popular destination with our guests and I’m looking forward to Carnival Celebration making many memorable visits going forward.”
After the visit to Grand Turk, Carnival Celebration will continue its journey with a visit to Amber Cove on Thanksgiving Day and then stop in Nassau on Friday before spending Saturday at sea and returning to PortMiami on Sunday.
Carnival Celebration accommodates more than 6,000 guests and features more than 20 dining venues, and a dozen bars and lounges across six unique zones and more than 2,600 staterooms. The ship’s top deck features the award-winning all-electric roller coaster BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster.
On Sunday, the ship’s second cruise from Miami kicks off alternating week-long Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings. Eastern Caribbean itineraries include stops in various destinations, including Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Amber Cove and Nassau. Western Caribbean cruises visit Cozumel, Costa Maya and Mahogany Bay. To see sailings offered on Carnival Celebration, visit Carnival.com.
SeaDream Honors Loyalty Club Members
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, FLA., November 22, 2022 – SeaDream Yacht Club’s Club Members are loyal to SeaDream. Aboard the current voyage of SeaDream I, the luxury yachting brand celebrates a new milestone of 10,712 total-days sailed by SeaDream Club Members aboard the same voyage. The days are shared among 72 Club Member guests and spread across 907 voyages. Additionally, 31 Club Members have each sailed more than 100 days with SeaDream. SeaDream I’s Captain, staff, and crew will host a special onboard cocktail party for Club Members to commemorate the occasion. SeaDream welcomes guests like family, because SeaDream is a family owned and operated company. Every SeaDream staff and crew member delivers the line’s award-winning, highly personalized hospitality and recognize Club Members by name and remember their preferences for a carefree, luxurious yachting experience. For more information about SeaDream Club Member benefits, please visit: https://seadream.com/about/seadream-club/.
SeaDream Appoints Sales Director
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, FLA., November 21, 2022 – SeaDream Yacht Club announced that industry-veteran John Webley has joined the luxury yachting line. With more than 30 years of experience, John is named SeaDream’s Sales Director, Southeast Region, and will support and advance the line’s valued travel partners in delivering SeaDream’s most distinctive, luxury yachting experience to their clients. John will serve travel advisors throughout 10 southeastern states, as far west as Arkansas and Louisiana, and as north as Kentucky and North Carolina. For more information about SeaDream Yacht Club, please visit www.SeaDream.com.
“John adds to SeaDream Yacht Club’s team of some of the industry’s most experienced and respected executives and staff,” said Andreas Brynestad of SeaDream Yacht Club. “His immense experience makes him a strong advocate for our valued travel advisor partners. Additionally, John’s extensive industry relationships will help promote SeaDream to new audiences who seek a distinctive, luxurious yachting experience.”
John has extensive experience working in all aspects of agency and client sales and most recently focused on marketing and selling bespoke, private-jet tours. During his career, he also served as Vice President of Sales, North and South America for Abercrombie & Kent. John is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.
Family owned and operated, SeaDream Yacht Club has achieved the industry’s highest accolades for its boutique yachting experience aboard twin casually elegant mega-yachts. Each accommodating a maximum of only 56 couples and manned by 95 exemplary crew members, SeaDream I and SeaDream II feature plentiful open deck spaces and call on exclusive harbors and secluded ports around the world on seven- to 15-night voyages. The line’s “It’s Yachting, Not Cruising” trademark defines not only the small size of the vessels but their distinctive, luxurious onboard lifestyle. Guests enjoy highly anticipatory service on a nearly 1-to-1, staff-to-guest ratio and fares include an expansive array of special services, activities, watersports equipment, gourmet cuisine, premium wine and beverages, and gratuities. SeaDream yachts also supplement guests’ holistic wellness lifestyles and feature the only raw and living food menu at sea and the only Thai-certified Spa at sea, the SeaDream Spa. For more information about SeaDream Yacht Club, please visit www.SeaDream.com or call in USA +1 800 707 4911, in EU +47 67 792 585.
Stay current with the latest news from the cruise lines.
Follow Gerry Barker
on All Things Cruise.