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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

Royal Caribbean launches largest selection of high-end wines-by-the-glass found at sea

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Royal Caribbean International’s guests have more reasons to raise their glasses. With the addition of a 48-bottle WineStation system, Royal Caribbean now boasts the largest of its kind, state-of-the-art automated wine serving system aboard both Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas cruise ships in the Vintages Wine Bar.

With the swipe of a SeaPass card, wine drinkers can sip, swirl and savor a world-wide selection using the automated WineStation intelligent dispensing system within Royal Caribbean’s signature wine bar.

"We pride ourselves on always seeking the newest and most effective solutions to provide our guests with an unmatched vacation experience," says Bob Midyette, Director of Fleet Beverage Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "The WineStation has become a very successful option to help our guests explore wines on their own, or with one of our knowledgeable, friendly and engaging wine tenders. We look forward to offering this on more ships in the future."

The WineStation provides an inviting self-serve experience for travelers aboard Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas. The WineStation perfectly preserves wine for 60 days and keeps each bottle pristinely temperature controlled. The beautiful displays allow ship’s guests to explore 48 varieties not typically offered by the glass such as Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Caymus, Penfolds, Torres, and Robert Mondavi, in taste, half- and full-glass portions with the touch of a button. The easy to read LCD screens display the varietal, year and region, and the lit bottles encourage guests to experience the labels.

Adds Nick Moezidis, Co-Founder of Napa Technology, "A wine preservation system like the WineStation is imperative for any venue to have a competitive and cost effective wine program. We are pleased to partner with an industry leader who is committed to fine wine service."

Royal Caribbean International’s Vintages Wine Bar offers guests a venue dedicated to wine education, enjoyment and entertainment allowing guests to explore a wide range of varietals from some of the best wine-producing regions in the world. Guests also can learn about different wines and their distinctive characteristics in wine tastings classes held in the venue.

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