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Ports & destinations

Hamburg welcomes MSC Lirica

In the early morning hours of 2 April, the 'MSC Lirica' secured its moorings at its new home port. The symbolic presentation of the Hamburg admiralty plaque to the captain of the MSC Lirica, Captain Corrado Iaconis was undertaken by Harbour Master Jörg Pollmann from the Hamburg Port Authority. Also attending the reception were Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Crociere S.A., Michael Zengerle, CEO of MSC Kreuzfahrten Deutschland GmbH and Senator Frank Horch, President of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport and Innovation.

A trip on the MSC Lirica is particularly suitable for those new to cruising as there are numerous 'mini-cruises' from Hamburg to Helgoland as well as three- to five-day short trips throughout Northern Europe on offer. 'In the coming season, all-in-all the 'MSC Lirica' is offering an exciting range of 21 different ports of call and route distances from the Hanseatic metropolis," explained Michael Zengerle during the on-board event. A fact that ably emphasises the diversity of the routings available from Hamburg.

The port of Hamburg is becoming increasingly important for MSC Cruises. In 2013, the MSC Magnifica, which was also christened in Hamburg and has a passenger capacity of around 2,518, will ultimately adopt Hamburg as its home port.

Senator Horch and Pierfrancesco Vago consider the cooperation between Hamburg and MSC to be highly beneficial for all those involved and are convinced that the coming years will see further development of the partnership.

'The MSC Magnifica was named in one of the finest cities in Germany. Hamburg is an important gateway to both Northern Europe and other cruise destinations. If for no other reason than that, I am convinced that relations between MSC and the City of Hamburg will progress to the mutual benefit of all," stated Vago.

Nestour named Vice President, Global Port and Destination Development – EuroMed Region for Carnival Corporation & plc

Michel Nestour has been appointed to the newly created position of vice president, global port and destination development - EuroMed region for Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise operator.

In this capacity, Nestour is responsible for strategic corporate port and destination development initiatives within the EuroMed region, which includes the Mediterranean and Atlantic coast from Morocco and the Canary Islands in the south to Norway in the north and the Baltic Sea.

Nestour is based in Carnival Corporation & plc's office in Southampton, UK, and reports to Giora Israel, the company's senior vice president of global port and destination development.

Prior to joining Carnival, Nestour spent seven years at the London offices of Ernst & Young LLP working within the company's transaction advisory services division. He also served in the merger and acquisition division of Corus Group, Inc., a leading global steel and aluminum supplier, and held financial positions with global investment firms Schroder Salomon Smith Barney and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"The EuroMed region continues to expand at a rapid pace and Michel brings a wealth of work experience and a unique set of skills that will allow us to enhance the numerous port and destination opportunities that exist within this area," Israel said.

A native of Lorient, France, Nestour earned degrees in economics and Spanish at the universities of Nantes in France and Valencia in Spain, respectively, as well as a masters of arts in banking and finance from the University of Wales' College of Bangor.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise company in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Ibero Cruises, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK).

Together, these brands operate 98 ships totaling 195,000 lower berths with 10 new ships scheduled to enter service between May 2012 and March 2016. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

New Brunswick blossoming as a cruise destination

New Brunswick is blossoming into a popular cruise destination. Studies show more Americans will be cruising north in 2012 and more cruise lines will be sailing to New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada. This year, Disney will have one of five ships making inaugural calls in Saint John, the province’s top cruise port. For the first time, Carnival will sail from Boston to Saint John. And a new cruise terminal will debut in September.

Last year, 184,790 cruised to Saint John on the Bay of Fundy, which New Brunswick shares with Nova Scotia, and for 2012, some 75 ship calls will bring 190,000 cruise passengers. 

New this year:

– Starting June 13, the Disney Magic will call at Saint John nine times between June and September. The port will participate in the Disney Legacy Project. Each child taking the “Whale of a Time” shore excursion will paint a mosaic tile as part of a mural to be displayed at the new cruise ship terminal. 

– 2012 marks the first year Carnival will be sailing from Boston to New Brunswick. Saint John is a port of call on all the four-, five- and seven-day Carnival cruises from Boston, and it is the only stop on the four-day itinerary. Halifax is added to the five-day cruise, and the seven-day itinerary also includes Sydney, Nova Scotia.

– Saint John will receive six inaugural calls from five cruise lines: Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Blount Small Ship Adventures, Saga Shipping and Phoenix Reisen.

– The $19.7 million expansion of the port of Saint John is scheduled to be completed by September. In addition to the existing Marco Polo cruise terminal, a second cruise terminal will be built at Pugsley C to facilitate embarkation. Berthing capacity will be expanded at that pier and at Long Wharf. Funding is being provided by the Saint John Port Authority and both the provincial and federal governments. 

Cruise passengers to New Brunswick will be thrilled by its stunning natural beauty, including one of the world’s natural wonders, the Bay of Fundy, one of the finalists in last year’s “New7Wonders” contest. Canada’s oldest incorporated city dating from 1785, Saint John has North America’s oldest market (1876) and Canada’s oldest museum in continuous operation, the New Brunswick Museum whose exhibits present 350 million years of natural history. Offering spectacular views of the city, the Carleton Martello Tower National Historic site, dating from the War of 1812, will interest history buffs.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the big draw is nature and some thrilling soft adventure options. Cruise passengers can experience the highest tides in the world on a boat ride at Reversing Falls on the mighty Saint John River. Whether on a boat excursion, canoeing or kayaking, they are sure to see whales. The Bay has 12 species, including 50 percent of the world’s endangered North Atlantic Right Whales. And adrenaline junkies can take a zip line over the Saint John River. Or they can walk among billion-year-old rock formations at sites in Stonehammer, North America’s first UNESCO-designated Geopark. The recently-expanded Fundy Trail Parkway allows travellers to see some of the last undeveloped coastline in North America. Visitors can opt for taking the 10-mile scenic drive or hiking one of the trails in a 10-mile network. By 2012, the Parkway will connect to Fundy National Park which offers 80 square miles of forest with hiking and mountain-biking trails.

Culture lovers will enjoy “Le Faubourg,” a new show designed specifically for cruise passengers that brings to life the province’s Acadian heritage with live entertainment, food tastings and a multi-media show. 

New this year, Ambassatours Gray Line is partnering with the New Brunswick Southern Railway to offer the “Bay of Fundy Scenic Railway” tour. The train takes passengers on a trip along the Bay of Fundy for four and a half miles and will stop over the dramatic Reversing Falls Rapids. 

Two other ports in the province will welcome cruisers this year. The charming turn-of-the-century seaside resort of St. Andrews-by-the Sea will welcome five new ships: Blount’s Grand Caribe and the Grand Mariner, Saga’s Quest for Adventure and The World. Passengers will be able to visit Campobello, Roosevelt’s summer “White House,” and charming Grand Manan Island. New Brunswick has a rich Acadian culture and is Canada’s official bi-lingual province. Passengers aboard Travel Dynamics’ Yorktown will experience that French flavor at Caraquet on the Acadian Coast. 

Cruise lines announce more Alaska ships to Port of Seattle

The Port of Seattle confirms the announcement of two new cruise products for the 2013 Alaska cruise season. Oceania Cruise Lines will be offering the Regatta, while Celebrity Cruises will be offering the Solstice. Early cruise bookings have commenced for both of these new ships departing from Seattle in 2013.

The Regatta was the first ship of the Oceania Cruises fleet in 2003. Refurbished in 2011, she has an overall length of 594 feet and a capacity of 684 passengers. She will be disembarking and embarking guests from Bell Street Pier at Pier 66, for a total of six calls.

Celebrity Cruise's Solstice-one of the most decorated ships at sea-was built in 2008, will be one of the largest cruise ships to berth in Seattle, with an overall length of 1041 feet and a capacity of 2850 passengers. The Solstice will be making 19 calls, with the bulk of the itineraries being seven day roundtrip cruises departing from Smith Cove Terminal at Terminal 91.

Based on economic impact data, it is estimated that each time a homeport cruise vessel docks in Seattle the activity brings an average of over $2 million into the local economy. There are 202 cruise vessel calls scheduled for the 2012 season kicking off on May 6th. The Seattle cruise business supports over 4,000 jobs in the region. For more information on Seattle cruise, visit us on the web at:

Banana Coast unveils diverse shore excursion program

At a press conference at 2012, principals of, Honduras -- the only new Caribbean cruise destination under construction -- unveiled the port's initial tours in a diverse shore excursion program designed to offer something for everyone, including cultural, soft-adventure and eco-tour offerings.

The tours enable guests to explore the area from land, air and sea. In addition to the signature tour -- Campo del Mar Nature Park & Beach Break -- highlights include a VIP airplane ride to the Mayan ruins at Copan, a zipline that runs through a lagoon, rainforest and over the beach; a snorkeling adventure at a beautiful starfish bank, and kayaking in the pristine Guaimoreto Lagoon. Guests looking to stay on land have the chance to discover the port's appeal through an exciting mountain ATV ride, a culinary tasting tour or a trolley ride through the colonial town of Trujillo.

"Banana Coast Tours has put together a collection of shore excursions that highlight the charms of the colonial Spanish town of Trujillo, the historic surrounding areas, the beautiful seashore and the lush tropical rainforests," said Shannon McKee, director of Banana Coast Tour Company. "There are few Caribbean cruise destinations that are able to offer cruise lines such a wide array of shore excursions as Banana Coast."

Initial shore excursions include:

Adventure Tours
Guaimoreto Zipline Adventure

Travel at exhilarating speeds through a labyrinth of 18 towers while enjoying incredible views of the Guaimoreto Lagoon with its system of mangroves, canals and a multitude of bird and animal species.

Jungle ATV Extreme
Ride through the jungles of Honduras on your own all-terrain vehicle. Relish this off-road adventure through the magnificent cloud forests with spectacular views and unlimited fun. Cool off with an ocean dip and then indulge in an outdoor barbecue party.

Reef & Starfish Snorkel
Experience the waters that Christopher Columbus discovered 500 years ago in the Cayo Blanco eco-system. Here you'll experience the underwater magic of colorful coral and vibrant fish before you continue your travels over the azure seas to the unique starfish bank. Dive beneath the pristine waters to get your own "touch" experience with these beautiful ocean creatures.

Ruins of Copan

Soar via private plane over the breathtaking mountains and rainforests of Honduras on your way to the legendary ruins of Copan, a feature attraction with its rich stone sculptures and intricate hieroglyphics. Discover with a private guide this Mayan civilization that flourished for more than 2,000 years and was thought to be one of the most lavish cultural centers in the New World.

Tried & True
Trujillo by Trolley

Discover the highlights of the colonial town of Trujillo on board an open-air trolley train. You'll learn about Christopher Columbus' landing here in 1502, American filibuster William Walker, the Santa Barbara Fort, the escape of the Garifuna people and more, all while relaxing in the cool ocean breeze. Hop-on. Hop-off. Discover the sights at your leisure.

Best of Trujillo
Combine the history of the trolley train, cultural diversity of the Garifuna, the flora and fauna of Campo del Mar, the intricate eco-system of the Guaimoreto Lagoon and the natural wonders of the hot springs -- and you'll experience the best of Trujillo.

Taste of Trujillo
Local cuisine, wine, bitters and chocolate -- all made the traditional way. Journey through time on a tasting tour that will take you to the days of the banana boom, the tall ships with their controversial cargo and finally, the legendary Mayans. Experience how it was done not just 100 years ago, but 1,000 years ago. An educational, yet deliciously satisfying, sensation for your taste buds.

Fun in the Sun
Campo del Mar Nature Park & Beach Break

Circulate among the 22 acres of flora and fauna, drink from a coconut, make a few animal friends and just bask in the warmth of the sun on the unspoiled beaches to truly immerse yourself in the delights of Campo del Mar. Cool off with an ocean dip for a perfect day.

Waterfall & Lagoon Adventure
With two large mountains and multiple rivers, waterfalls are everywhere at Banana Coast. Trek through a small local village, wade through streams, hike quartz-filled hills to discover the hidden waterfalls and lagoon of Betulia. Swim in the refreshing mountain stream lagoon, snorkel for fresh-water shrimp or explore the riverside.

Guaimoreto Lagoon Kayak
Discover the delicate bio-diverse ecosystem found in the mangroves as you kayak through the fascinating Guaimoreto Lagoon, which encompasses a complex area of wetlands rich in birdlife, flora, fauna and indigenous Central American animals.

The $30 million Banana Coast project, led by Grande Trujillo Authoridad, Desarollos Vision de Vida and Miami-based Global Destinations Development, currently is in the site-work stage with dredging, marine works and site-fill under way.

Plans for Banana Coast call for construction of a two-berth, Post-Panamax dock and a 50,000-square-foot shopping facility and transportation hub on 10 acres of beachfront land. Themed "Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea," Banana Coast is in talks with several cruise lines and expects to accept its first cruise ship reservations for the 2013 season.