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MSC Cruises Forges Partnership with

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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MSC Cruises and announced their recent partnership during Vacation.coms recent 13th International Conference & Trade Show, held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, June 19-23. is a new outlet and supplier for selling MSC in this mutually-beneficial agreement. MSC Cruises North American president and CEO, Rick Sasso said, Having as a new business partner expands our exposure to an even broader audience, and the association with such a well-known and respected travel organization in the industry is very valuable, MSC Cruises said in a statement.

This new partnership further expands MSCs existing relationship with Travel Leaders Group and its family of companies. MSC Cruises has created exclusive offers for member agents to sell, including up to a $200 shipboard credit on select 2012 sailings to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Abu Dhabi, Northern Europe and Europe through Vacation.coms Amenity Departure Dates program.

In addition, MSC has developed an exclusive offer for bookings of select 7- and 11-night MSC Yacht Club winter sailings via Vacation.coms Vacation Vignettes program. These hosted cruises feature unique amenities designed to enhance the guests vacation experience, at no additional cost, including a concierge host, an invitation to a private cocktail reception, and an exclusive shore event.

The MSC Yacht Club is an enclave of 71-suites onboard MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida and MSC Divina (which debuts summer of 2012) with butlers and concierge services, complimentary wine and spirits, private dining and more. Plus, with the purchase of Yacht Club accommodations, guests receive free air, hotel and transfers.

American Cruise Lines Awarded Contract to Operate in Glacier Bay 2012

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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American Cruise Lines announced today that it has been awarded a contract[by the Glacier Bay National Park to operate in the famed Alaskan park, making the line one of only several permitted to tour the area. Known for its abundant wildlife and spectacular blue glaciers, Glacier Bay is a highly sought after destination for Alaskan
cruisers and travelers.

American Cruise Lines will offer seven-to-eleven night cruises including roundtrips out of Juneau. Designated a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, Glacier Bay is a nature wonderland.  A National Park Service Ranger and a Native Cultural Interpreter will join passengers aboard each cruise to provide narration and insight into Glacier Bay, as well as help spot wildlife such as mountain goats, whales and brown and black bears.  "Here we can return briefly to a time that doesn't exist anywhere else," noted renowned photographer, Mark Kelley's award-winning book, Glacier Bay National Park: Alaska.

"It was important to be able to feature Glacier Bay on our Alaskan cruises," said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. "As one of the few places where people can still view the world as nature intended it to be, we wanted to make sure we could take our passengers there to experience it for themselves. We're honored to have been awarded such a highly coveted contract and we look forward to showcasing the beauty Glacier Bay and the rest of Alaska has to offer."

Beginning next summer in June of 2012, American Cruise Lines will offer several different Alaskan itineraries, including roundtrip cruises departing from Juneau, Alaska, and one-way cruises between Juneau and Seattle, Washington. New and returning passengers can expect all the modern onboard amenities - oversized staterooms and bathrooms, private balconies, and elevators to all decks, along with exceptional locale-inspired cuisine and highly personalized service, the company said.

Saga Pearl II to become Quest for Adventure

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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Saga Cruises will transfer its 18,859 grosston Saga Pearl II to sister brand Spirit of Adventure in May next year. Theship will be renamed Quest for Adventure and it will take over from the 1980built 9,570 gross ton Spirit of Adventure.

Saga Cruises itself will introduce the 38,000gross ton Saga Sapphire next spring. Built as Europa in 1982, the ship iscurrently in service as Bleu de France. It will undergo a major refit beforestarting service with the British company.

RCL Cruises appoints PR Head

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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RCL Cruises Ltd, which operates the  business of Royal Caribbean International Celebrity Cruises and Azamara in the UK and Ireland, has appointed a new PR Head of Public Relations to bolster its in-house marketing and communications team.
Louise James (nee Moore ) joins RCL Cruises Ltd on 11th July 2011 and will head up the PR function of the business including the press office and new marcomms campaigns for the business. Surinder Manku, press officer for RCL Cruises Ltd will report to James . The new Head of PR will also manage the relationship with Siren PR, the agency who has worked with RCL Cruises Ltd for the past 6 years.
With a track record in lifestyle PR, including luxury hotels and design brands, James joins from agency Purple PR. Previous career experience also includes hotel brands such as Morgans Hotel Group, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and the Passenger Shipping Association - the industry body for the cruise sector - as well as tourist boards and tour operators. James will report to the RCL Cruises Ltd associate vice president and general manager Jo Rzymowska as well as working alongside the 22 strong marketing team.
Jo Rzymowska commented: “The marketing and communications need for the RCL Cruises Ltd business has evolved significantly in recent years. As well as celebrating new ships, we are investing in increasing our brand awareness within the overall holiday sector. The new PR appointment is a key development to aid this area of our communications strategy and I’m excited to welcome Louise James to the team.”


Norwegian Cruise Line launches new tours in Europe

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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Norwegian Cruise Line, named Europe's Leading Cruise Line for the past three years, says it has launched a variety of new shore excursions in Europe for the summer on its three Freestyle Cruising ships sailing the Mediterranean and the Baltic, including

Norwegian Epic, the line's newest and most innovative ship, Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun. Guests can depart from Barcelona, Spain; Venice, Italy or Copenhagen, Denmark and sail to a variety of exotic ports such as Naples, Italy; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; and Izmir, Turkey, among others. With more than 500 shore excursions in Europe, there are a variety of exciting options for guests.

"We are always in search of exciting ways for our guests to experience Europe on and off our ships," said Kevin Sheehan, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. "The variety of unique shore excursions in Europe is extensive as we want to offer our guests the most memorable experiences ashore, along with the best entertainment and
dining at sea."

For culinary-inclined guests who want to dine their way across Europe, the Ultimate Taste of Dalmatia in Dubrovnik, Croatia will please even the most discerning taste buds. Guests travel through the village of Orasac to sample local cuisines as well as a visit to Ston, the "oyster capital" of Croatia. Also included in the tour is a demonstration of how olive oil is made. 

For those who want to combine adventure with their dining experience, the Pisa Fly-over by Helicopter and Wine Tasting is the perfect pairing. The tour starts with a fly over the Tower of Pisa and surrounding vineyards and ends with wine tasting of famed Tuscan wines at the Torre a Cenaia Estate, an ancient property once owned by the Noble Florentine Pitti family. 

If playing the quintessential tourist and spending the day sightseeing the culturally-rich towns and villages sounds appealing, a variety of historical tours are offered. Experience the local culture of St. Petersburg, Russia in a two day tour with Best of St. Petersburg. A local guide escorts guests through Catherine's Palace, an old summer residence of the Royal Family; the Hermitage Museum, the largest art museum in Russia; the Peterhof Grand Palace, a castle that rivals Versailles as well as a stop in the town of Pushkin.

For any Olympic fanatic, the Best of Olympia (Katakolon), Greece is a must. Th excursion explores the history of the Olympic Games with a tour of the first Olympic Stadium, the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Hera and theGymnasium. 

For a day of family fun, visit the local aquarium on the Palma Aquarium and Orientation tour in Palma, Majorca, Spain. Guests of all ages can explore the 55 different aquariums that contain over 8,000 specimens from the Mediterranean Sea, Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

For those with kids of an exploratory nature, the Chugging on the Molli Steam Train excursion from Warnemuende, Germany is a perfect option. "Molli," a narrow gauge steam train, takes guests on a journey from Bad Doberan, a former summer residence of the Dukes of Mecklenburg, to either Heiligendam or Kuehlungsborn. These old seaside resorts offer families the chance to stroll along the beach promenade or village center.