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Broadcaster Martin Nicholson to give talks on Fred. Olsen's Boudicca in October 2012

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines says that the renowned TV correspondent, Michael Nicholson, OBE, MA, is the latest in a line of  speakers to join its Vistas cruise enrichment programme. Michael will be the guest speaker on Boudicca’s 23-night cruise to the Mediterranean, D1223, departing from Portsmouth on 12th October 2012.

Michael Nicholson is best known as a seasoned and highly-acclaimed foreign correspondent, reporting on wars and natural disasters the world over. He has reported from no fewer than 18 war zones during his long and illustrious career, including Nigeria, Biafra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Beirut, Israel, Cyprus, Congo, Rwanda, The Falklands, the Balkans and both Gulf Wars.

Michael was ITN’s first Bureau Chief in South Africa, based in Johannesburg; he reported on news from all over Africa between 1976 and 1981, then journeyed overland back to the UK with his family – a 14,000-mile journey that took six months. He has worked for Channel 4, as Washington Correspondent for the ‘Morning News’, and as co-presenter on its weekly current affairs programme, ‘The World This Week’. He has also worked with ITN, presenting the early evening news, and acting as Chief Foreign Correspondent for ‘News at Ten’.

Most recently, Michael has written and presented a series of documentaries, based on his war experiences, with the title ‘Nicholson Back to the Front’, revisiting some of the hotspots of his career, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Middle East, The Falklands, Vietnam, Angola and Cyprus.

Cruise guests can enjoy Michael's fascinating and informative talks in the comfort and elegance of Boudicca on this exciting Mediterranean itinerary, which visits Portimăo (Portugal), Ibiza (Spain), Valletta (Malta), Piraeus (for Athens, Greece), Çanakkale (Turkey), Istanbul (Turkey), Kusadasi (Turkey), Gozo (Malta), Mahon (Menorca) and Gibraltar, returning to Portsmouth. Prices for this cruise start from £2,179 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin, Grade ‘I’, and include all meals and entertainment on board, and port taxes. 






Norwegian Cruise Line enhances guest loyalty program

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian) yesterday announced  enhancements to its guest loyalty program. Renamed Latitudes Rewards, the new program better recognizes Norwegian's valued loyal guests. Key program changes include new ways for members to earn points, additional onboard recognition and benefits and access to online account tracking.

Current Latitudes members will automatically be enrolled in the new Latitudes Rewards program and will remain in the same tier or will be upgraded to the appropriate higher tier, depending on the total number of cruise nights and stateroom categories sailed.

"The satisfaction and loyalty of our guests is very important to us," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's president and chief executive officer. "Our new Latitudes Rewards program demonstrates our commitment to delivering the highest levels of guest satisfaction while rewarding our loyal guests with enhanced benefits. We are dedicated to making sure our guests have the best possible cruise experience and look forward to welcoming them back on board again and again."

Latitudes Rewards members earn rewards points in four different ways, making it faster and easier than ever before to move up to the next tier. Members now earn one point per cruise night, providing an opportunity to gain more points the longer the guests' sail. Additional points can be earned when booking a suite or any accommodation in The Haven by Norwegian, booking nine months or more in advance, or when taking advantage of the exclusive monthly "Latitudes Rewards Insider" offers. Latitudes Rewards tiers are based on the total amount of points earned: Bronze members are classified as guests with one to 19 points; Silver members are 20 to 47 points; Gold members are 48 to75 points; and Platinum members are those with 76 or more points.

In addition to current member benefits such as priority check-in, members-only cocktail parties, access to an on-board program representative and a complimentary online magazine, new benefits have been added to the program. For cruises departing on or after December 5, 2011 the new loyalty program includes special onboard perks, based on the guest's tier level, such as chocolate covered strawberries, ship pins, nightly treats and discounts on packages in the photo gallery.

TUI Travel reports strong recovery in earnings

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News
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TUI Travel plc, the world’s largest tour operator that is a major retailer of cruises and operator of five ships on the UK market, has staged a strong recovery in earnings in its latest financial year.

Group pre-tax profit amounted to £144 million in financial year to 30 September compared to a loss of £73 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenues increased to £14.7 billion from £13.5 billion. Cost savings and diversification of its product range helped the London based company to achieve the improvement, it said in a statement, adding that online sales had played a key role in it.

“We are very pleased with our robust performance in 2011 and have delivered another year of profit growth, against a backdrop of unrest in key North African destinations and weak consumer sentiment in some source markets,” said Peter Long, Chief Executive Officer.

“The UK, Nordic region, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada and Austria delivered record results. These achievements reflect the strength of our strategy to increase differentiated and exclusive product sales, increase controlled distribution with a focus on online to enhance our customer access and reduce distribution costs, and our delivery of the turnaround and cost efficiency programmes.”

“We remain focused on this successful strategy and through our new business improvement programme we have self help measures in place to help offset the difficult macro-economic environment, including clear plans in place for Germany and France. In addition, we continue to strengthen our cash flow in order to fund the dividend and growth. All of which means that, even in the current challenging market conditions, we continue to operate from a position of strength,” Long said.

MSC Cruises UK and Ireland bookings soar 70% in Oct-Nov on promotions

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

MSC Cruises says it has enjoyed a period of sales during October and November in the UK and Ireland, with bookings up more than 70% year-on-year.

The company attributes these sales figures to an amazing selection of offers including the All Inclusive Drinks Package, United Arab Emirates ‘Mega Deal’ and the ‘Pick Your Gift’ offer where passengers can choose one gift from a list of options including free flights, onboard credit, £200 per person discount or the All Inclusive Drinks Package, just to name a few.

Also, MSC Opera’s ex-UK sailings from Southampton to northern and western Europe are proving to be extremely successful for the second year running thanks to the offers that have been put in placeAt a time when everyone is being forced to tighten their budgets, promotions such as these have made MSC’s cruises accessible to a wider audience than ever before.

Commented Giulio LibuttiMSC Cruises’ Managing Director for UK and Ireland:  “We are delighted with how customers have responded to our programme of promotions.  A 70% increase year-on-year for October and November is a phenomenal result, particularly given the prevailing market conditions. I would like to thank MSC Cruises’ staff, our preferred partners and travel agents that have all worked so hard to make these promotions a success.

“MSC Cruises’ profile has never been stronger in the UK and Irish markets, thanks to our unrivalled reputation for offering high quality cruises at value for money prices.” The company currently has 11 ships cruising five regions of the world. The fleet comprises three ship classes, each unique in size and capacity and designed to appeal to different passenger types. The fleet will increase in size with the addition of the MSC Divina in May 2012.


Cruise Critic wins Gold in Lowell Thomas Awards

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News
Cruise Critic (, the world’s largest cruise news and reviews site, has received a Gold Award in the 2011 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition. The award, the top in the category of Service-Oriented Consumer Article, honored Cruise Critic’s story “The Free Cruise Offer: Scam or Legit,” which was written by News Editor Dan Askin.

The annual competition, sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, is recognized as the most prestigious in the field of travel journalism. The 2011 winners were announced at the SATW convention, held earlier this month in New Zealand. The faculty of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication served as judges of more than 1,200 entries.

In honoring Cruise Critic’s winning submission, the judges said “This is great investigative work into a company drawing hundreds of consumer complaints. Anybody who thinks they are getting a free cruise -- touted on television, online or in “congratulations” mailings of award certificates -- needs to read Dan Askin’s piece.”

While Cruise Critic has received Lowell Thomas Awards in previous years, this year’s award is particularly special for the site. “Winning a Lowell Thomas Award in the Service-Oriented Consumer Article category is especially gratifying because helping cruise travelers be as informed as they can be is really a core mission for Cruise Critic,” says Carolyn Spencer Brown, Cruise Critic editor in chief.

Cruise Critic is the leading source of cruise information on the Web, with more than 80,000 cruise reviews, and is home to the world’s largest online cruise community. 
For the full award-winning article, visit