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Christine Sustreanu named as COO for FleetPro Group

Travel and Hospitality veteran Christine Sustreanu, will join FleetPro Group starting on 01 June, 2015.

"Christine comes to us with a wealth of Hospitality, and executive management experience," says Robert Straubhaar CEO of FleetPro Group. "Her wealth of knowledge, eye for detail and product execution, as well as her management strength, will be a valuable asset for our company." Christine Sustreanu currently holds the role as General Manager of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise collection, one of the leading providers of luxury river cruises.

Robert Heijlands co-founder and COO of FleetPro decided to resign when handing over the COO role to Christine Sustreanu. "Robert Heijlands has been instrumental in the successful growth and high client satisfaction of former River Advice, currently FleetPro," says Robert Straubhaar CEO of FleetPro Group. "We have made as strong complementing team and his skill set is unsurpassed."

With more than 3000 employees on more than 65 River and Ocean going cruise ships, FleetPro Passenger Ship Management (www.fleetpro-psm.com) has grown to be the largest independent passenger ship management company in the world. What distinguishes FleetPro is a hands-on managing approach with extremely strong technical and top notch hotel operation expertise. This allows FleetPro to service a wide array of clients in the demanding global arena of river cruise operations, ocean going cruising and the itinerary intensive expedition cruise segments.

Norwegian Escape to feature new branded experiences

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced a multitude of new partnerships with leaders in the fields of dining, beverage and entertainment to feature innovative branded experiences onboard Norwegian Escape. During an exclusive event in New York City, the line revealed that their largest ship ever, Norwegian Escape, will include several new culinary experiences, along with two Tony Award-winning musicals, and a unique Supper Club, when she begins sailing from her homeport of Miami in November 2015.

Foodies will delight in Norwegian Escape’s ultimate culinary experiences, which will be helmed by James Beard Award-winning Iron Chef Jose Garces and Miami restaurateurs Jose Mendin, Andreas Schreiner and Sergio Navarro of The Pubbelly Restaurant Group; in addition to new beverage concepts The District Brewhouse, featuring craft beers from Wynwood Brewing Company, and The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. Guests will be dazzled by three new shows, including Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals After Midnight and Million Dollar Quartet, along with a new supper club concept exclusive to Norwegian Escape, For The Record presents Dear John Hughes, featuring classic soundtracks from favorite motion pictures in a one-of-a kind 360° post-modern cabaret and dinner experience.

“With Norwegian Escape, we are transforming culinary experiences at sea and continuing our legacy of innovation that has revolutionized dining in the cruise industry,” said Drew Madsen, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief operating officer. “We are building on our solid foundation of branded partnerships, including Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, and welcoming new ideas and flavors from award-winning chefs. Norwegian also continues to pave the way as a leader in entertainment, as we bring two Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals and a post-modern cabaret direct from Los Angeles to Norwegian Escape.”

New concepts by Jose Garces

James Beard Award-winning Iron Chef Jose Garces will launch two specialty restaurants onboard Norwegian Escape, his first at sea.  Known for his dining concepts from Philadelphia to Phoenix, Chef Jose Garces brings Latin-inspired culinary expertise, ranging from classic Mexican dishes to Cuban specialties. His breadth of culinary expertise along with his passion for cooking made him the perfect choice to lead the signature dining concepts on Norwegian Escape. Bayamo by Jose Garces will highlight Latin dishes with a Cuban-influence in a chic dining room and al fresco on The Waterfront. Dishes will feature the flavors of Latin America with Spanish influences, such as Berenjenas, roasted eggplant with tomato rice and a saffron emulsion; and Bacalao Carbonizado, black cod with a squid ink glaze, saffron, and tomato and chorizo rice, among others.

Pincho Tapas Bar by Jose Garces will offer traditional Spanish tapas à la carte in a lively, casual setting.  Plates will be prepared on an authentic la plancha grill right at the bar in front of guests and feature Latin dishes including Tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelette), Boquerones (white anchovies with pine nuts), and Jamón Ibérico (specialty ham imported from Spain).

Sugarcane Mojito Bar, a Norwegian guest favorite, will complete the space and serve as an entry to Bayamo.  Guests who wish to have a cocktail before dinner can settle into the tropical setting, enjoy live Latin music, and select from more than 10 different mojitos and rum-based cocktails and can even select a “flight” of mojitos to sample to tantalize their taste buds.

Food Republic

A brand new concept for Norwegian, the Food Republic will be a modern, upscale food emporium from The Pubbelly Restaurant Group featuring global cuisine for sampling and sharing. Guests dining in the Food Republic will experience a culinary journey via small plates, with flavors ranging from Asia to Central Europe and the Mediterranean, all available à la carte.

As some of the hottest restaurateurs in Miami, partners Jose Mendin, Andreas Schreiner and Sergio Navarro, have opened six concepts in the Magic City over the past three years.  With a focus on creating unique flavor combinations and precise techniques, Director of Culinary Operations and Founding Partner Jose Mendin has been recognized as a semi-finalist for Best Chef South by the James Beard Foundation for three consecutive years, as well as nominated as People’s Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine.

Open for lunch through dinner, Food Republic menu highlights include Dates with Chorizo featuring smoked bacon, spicy tomato and goat cheese crema; Japanese Amberjack with lemongrass romesco, charred tomato and hazelnuts;  and Black Truffle Braised Shortrib Dumplings, with white corn soy, red shiso leaf, and grana padano. The Food Republic offers guests the freedom and flexibility to choose what they want, when they want it, with convenient iPad ordering.  With a simple swipe of their key card, food is prepared to order and brought directly to the guest’s table.

The District Brew House

A concept never before done at sea, the District Brew House is a hip, urban craft beer hall featuring an exclusive partnership with Miami’s own Wynwood Brewing Company.  Complete with a keg room, 24 draft beers on tap and more than 50 different bottled beers, the District Brew House is sure to be the new hangout onboard for beer connoisseurs and fans alike.  The award-winning Wynwood Brewing Company is known for their signature brew, La Rubia Blonde Ale, perfect for the warm Caribbean weather.  Along with La Rubia, the District will also serve an all-new brew from Wynwood Brewing Company that will be available exclusively on Norwegian Escape.  The District Brew House will also offer a menu of gastropub-style plates for snacking that will complement the beer and beverage offerings, including handcrafted cocktails from Bar Lab’s James Beard Award-nominated mixologists Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi.  Guests sampling the District’s many offerings will also be well-entertained, with interactive nightlife and sing-alongs of everyone’s favorite tunes, as well as a traditional photo booth, where guests can add their photo to the District’s pin board and leave their mark on this cool new space.

The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar

Norwegian Escape will also be home to the line’s first wine bar in partnership with the Michael Mondavi Family - The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar.  From the novice to the enthusiast, The Cellars features an array of immersive wine experiences, focusing on  tasting, education, and the enjoyment of wine, all accompanied by small plates and tapas, available à la carte.

The curated wine list features 35 grape varietals including top selections from Tuscany’s Ornellaia and Michael Mondavi’s own Napa Valley Estate.  The Wine Bar offers guests both a sleek indoor tasting room, and 180 degree ocean views at the outdoor wine bar on The Waterfront, with service provided by a Court of Master Sommeliers certified Sommelier.

Carlo’s Bake Shop

While onboard, guests will also enjoy delicious treats from Carlo’s Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s “Cake Boss” and “Next Great Baker.” The decadent confections that the original Carlo’s bakery is known for, including Carlo’s Bake Shop’s famous cannolis, lobster tails, tiramisu, plus a variety of other unique cakes, cupcakes and Italian cookies, will all be available à la carte for guests who wish to indulge their sweet tooth.

New entertainment offerings

Continuing with Norwegian’s commitment to excellence in entertainment, Norwegian Escape will feature two Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals headlining in the Escape Theater that will have guests dancing in the aisles.  Winner of the Tony®, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Astaire Awards for Best Choreography, After Midnight, which recently completed its run on Broadway, is the smash-hit musical that combines the big-band songs of Duke Ellington, a roof-raising onstage jazz band, and the best dancing from Broadway.   A cast of megawatt singers, dancers and tappers will bring Harlem's Cotton Club to life in a never-before-seen phenomenon at sea.  After Midnight on Norwegian Escape will be presented by special arrangement with Scott Sanders Productions.

Also showing in the Escape Theater following a successful run on Broadway and currently touring nationally as well as performing in Las Vegas, Million Dollar Quartet is the smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock 'n' roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. On December 4, 1956, these four young musicians gathered at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life, featuring a score of rock hits including "Blue Suede Shoes," "Fever," "Great Balls of Fire," "Walk the Line," and more. This thrilling musical will bring guests inside the recording studio with four major talents who came together as a red-hot rock 'n' roll band for one unforgettable night.

In a new concept exclusive to Norwegian Escape, the Supper Club has been re-imagined for an unforgettable dinner and show. For The Record is a critically acclaimed Hollywood night that celebrates classic soundtracks of motion picture masters in a one-of-a kind 360° post-modern cabaret. Guests will spend an evening with a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal in this mashed-up retrospective of the John Hughes' coming of age 1980's teen films. The audience will laugh, cry, stomp their feet and relive the classic new wave sounds from Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty In Pink and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Expanding a successful run that began on Norwegian Getaway, Headliners Comedy Club will offer up the nation’s top comedians through the line’s expanded partnership with Levity Entertainment Group, the world’s largest producer of live comedy.  Levity employs over 300 artists nationwide each week, including some of the biggest names in comedy, including Daniel Tosh, Amy Shumer and Jeff Dunham, who is currently the most successful touring comedian worldwide.

Norwegian Escape

Currently being built at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Escape will sail weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean beginning on November 14, 2015. The 164,600 gross ton  ship will be the largest ever to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. Norwegian Escape’s signature hull artwork is designed by marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, Guy Harvey.

Norwegian Escape’s dining and entertainment will include outposts of several popular land-based outlets, including the first-ever floating Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, a music venue and outdoor bar on The Waterfront that will feature live nightly performances where guests can enjoy the sounds of the tropics. Norwegian Escape will also feature Miami’s oldest and most legendary bar, Tobacco Road.

The ship will feature the largest ropes course at sea, a three-story multiplex of heart-pounding challenges complete with two planks and five Sky Rails, zip tracks that allow guests to soar through the air.  Norwegian Escape’s Aqua Park will be the largest at sea and includes a new Aqua Racer slide, while the expansive sports complex boasts a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle miniature golf course.  Adding to the family fun, Norwegian Escape will also feature an expanded Kids’ Aqua Park; entertainment from Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids; along with the line’s first dedicated nursery for young cruisers two and under.

The Mandara Spa will transport guests to a deep state of relaxation and will feature the line’s first snow room and the largest Thermal Suite at sea, with 17 heated loungers, hydro-therapy pool, whirlpools, steam room, dry sauna, sanarium and salt room. In addition to the luxurious spa, adults will have two private lounge spaces to enjoy onboard at Vibe Beach Club and Spice H2O, which will feature an all-new grotto area for guests to cool off after a day of sunbathing.

Accommodations include the company’s signature luxury ship–within-a-ship complex: The Haven by Norwegian; along with Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; and many options for families, multi-generational groups, spa enthusiasts and more. 

Regent Seven Seas reveals the Explorer in New York

With a one-of-a-kind, opulent 3,875-square-foot suite, extravagantly designed lounges and showplaces, and lavish gourmet restaurants, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is setting a new standard for luxury vacations with the launch of Seven Seas Explorer.  

At 56,000 gross-registered tons and carrying just 750-guests, the all-suite, all-balcony ship will boast the highest space ratio in the cruise industry, and is designed to be the most luxurious ship ever built, with every inch of the vessel evoking elegance and grace.   With its debut in summer of 2016, Seven Seas Explorer will offer guests another exciting option to explore the world with Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ signature brand of all-inclusive luxury.

“We set a high benchmark for Seven Seas Explorer, not only to build a ship that far surpasses the current standard in luxury cruising, but to design a ship that will be recognized industry-wide as the most luxurious ship ever,” said Jason Montague, president and chief operating officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises.  “This ship will offer our guests a new level of grandeur throughout, from its lavish suites to its elegant public spaces and gourmet restaurants.  We cannot wait to share this ship with the world when she joins our fleet in the summer of 2016.”   

The meticulous level of craftsmanship and lavish detail is what guests will first notice upon boarding the ship through the main atrium lobby.  A beautiful, circular inlaid marble floor marks the heart of the ship.  Steps away and anchoring the lobby are twin, elegantly etched glass staircases that draw the eye upward towards a magnificent cascading crystal chandelier.  After walking through the lobby, it will be evident to guests that Seven Seas Explorer is truly in a category of its own, and that promise of a high luxury standard continues throughout the vessel.  

Suites

Regent Seven Seas Cruises will introduce a new category of luxury suite exclusively for Seven Seas Explorer that sets the tone for the well-appointed and spacious all-suite accommodations found throughout the ship.  Named the Regent Suite, the plush two-bedroom, 3,875-square foot suite comes complete with an in-room spa retreat, a first at sea, with personal sauna, steam room and treatment area.  The suite also features an outdoor, glass-enclosed sitting area aptly named

the Vista Garden, where guests can enjoy magnificent, unobstructed 270-degree views over the ship’s bow and toward the horizon. The astounding design and artistry found in the Regent Suite is evident in every suite throughout the ship.  Each suite category features its own unique layout and design elements, ranging from

the warm and welcoming island manor appeal of the Deluxe Suite to the sumptuous and alluring sapphire jewel inspired Penthouse Suite. The spacious interiors are complemented by the largest verandas in the cruise industry, providing guests ample space to enjoy fresh ocean breezes without leaving their suites.

Dining

Seven Seas Explorer will feature an unrivaled collection of specialty, casual and main dining options for guests to enjoy aboard the ship.  Each restaurant exhibits its own intricate and elegant design, providing a dining atmosphere that deftly complements the high service level and diverse menu offerings.   

Catering to guests’ culinary desires, the ship will offer three distinct specialty restaurants, including Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ fleet-wide signature steakhouse, Prime 7.   Aboard Seven Seas Explorer, Prime 7 will feature a new décor highlighted by dark purple hues, silver accents and plush leather seating, reminiscent of a London private member club.  Intimate seating alcoves specifically for couples looking to enjoy a secluded, romantic meal are sure to be a highlight with guests.  The restaurant’s luscious ambiance will only be matched by the gourmet offerings on its menu.   

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ hallmark main dining room, Compass Rose, will receive a new, contemporary look with the debut of Seven Seas Explorer.  The restaurant’s look features a sophisticated and airy design motif with a beautiful, cascading aqua-blue chandelier that conveys a whimsical grotto feel throughout the restaurant.   Guests can enjoy casual indoor and al fresco dining in the effortlessly chic Italian Riviera-inspired La Veranda on deck 11.   With incredible 270-degree ocean views, La Veranda offers a delectable buffet for breakfast and lunch, and transforms into an elegant fine dining restaurant, Sette Mari at La Veranda, each evening for dinner.

Lounges

Within the luxuriously appointed lounges aboard Seven Seas Explorer, guests can enjoy a wide variety of complimentary libations while being entertained by live musical performances or breathtaking production shows.  

The ship’s primary showplace, the two-tiered Constellation Theater, pays homage to the glamour of Hollywood’s golden age.  The ornate 694-seat theater beckons guests with posh cabaret-style seating intermixed with cocktail tables that feature hand-blown Murano glass lamps.  Subtly woven into the theater’s design is the motif of a swan.  Guests with a keen eye will find abstract and not-so-abstract aspects of this elegant creature in theater’s seating banquettes, ceiling architecture and entry-way mosaic.

The Observation Lounge brings to life the opulence and indulgences of the Roaring Twenties.  A folded metal canopy surrounds the lounge’s signature bar and a delicate crystal chandelier hovers over the dance floor.  As if ripped from the pages of The Great Gatsby, the lounge’s design features a color palate of rich silver, gold, black and white hues.  Floor to ceiling windows surround the room, providing guests with incredible ocean vistas.  Just off the ship’s atrium lobby, the Explorer Lounge provides more of a country club vibe with rich mahogany wood columns, comfortable leather chairs, deep blue fabrics and sumptuous flooring.  On one side of the lounge, a golden proscenium outlines a small stage where live musical performances will take place, and anchoring the opposite end, a polished black marble bar ringed by plush, deep opal blue bar stools stands ready to serve guests their favorite beverages.

The maiden voyage for Seven Seas Explorer will be a 14-night sailing from Monte Carlo to Venice on July 20, 2016.  The ship will remain in Europe for its inaugural season, sailing 11 voyages that crisscross the Mediterranean and visit sought-after destinations such as Barcelona, Ibiza, St. Tropez, Venice, Istanbul, Alexandria (Egypt) and Jerusalem.

Micky Arison takes helm of FCCA Executive Committee

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) proudly announces the appointment of its new Executive Committee Chairman-Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman. He takes the reins from Kevin Sheehan, past president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd., who served as FCCA Chairman for the last five years and proved crucial to growing the FCCA Platinum Membership program and further developing relationships with destinations through his hands-on dealings and unwavering dedication.

"I am honored and excited to again serve as the FCCA Executive Committee Chairman," said Arison. "My past tenure showed the significance of the Committee uniting Member Line presidents, CEOs and/or chairmen to discuss operations within the Caribbean and Latin America, and I look forward to continuing this role, which has become even more crucial as cruise lines continue to expand their capacities and markets."

"Micky's appointment further paves the path for the Executive Committee's future," said Michele Paige, FCCA President. "He served as chairman for 10 years and knows the importance of keeping a constant dialogue between the cruise lines and destinations to achieve mutually beneficial arrangements. His wealth of knowledge about the industry and destinations will lead the way to successful operations for both."

Besides his functions during Executive Committee meetings, Arison will interact with the FCCA's members and destination partners during FCCA events. In all, his efforts will further advance the Committee's and FCCA's purposes: discussing cruise industry issues; building bilateral relationships with FCCA's partner destinations' private and public sectors; maximizing cruise passenger, cruise line and cruise line employee spending; and enhancing the destination experience and amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors.

Arison grew up in the cruise business and spent the better part of two decades learning it from the ground up. He followed his education with a two-year stint in Carnival Cruise Lines' sales department; became reservations manager in 1974; and assumed the post of vice president of passenger traffic in 1976. After his appointment as president of Carnival in 1979 and more than a decade of successful operations, the Carnival Corporation & plc board of directors named him chairman and CEO in 1990. Last year, that role split, with Arison continuing as chairman and Arnold Donald, longtime board member, named CEO.

A wide range of international organizations has recognized Arison's contributions to the cruise industry. He was named an "Officer of the French Legion of Honor," by French President Jacques Chirac and awarded the Decoration of Commander, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland by the President of the Republic of Finland, as well as the insignia of "Onorificenza al Merito della Repubblica Italiana" by the president of Italy. He also received an honorary doctorate in naval architecture from the University of Genoa. In 2010, he was inducted into the Cruise Lines International Association's Hall of Fame.

American Cruise Lines announces plans for new fleet of modern riverboats

American Cruise Lines announced today its plans for the construction of a new fleet of modern riverboats, which will add a new dimension to river cruising in the United States, and a wide selection of new river itineraries throughout the country. The concept for the new riverboats will differ from that of the line’s existing paddlewheelers and coastal ships by offering a more contemporary approach to their design.

Modern exteriors and spacious, elegant interiors are planned. The new riverboats will feature open deck plans to allow for maximum exposure of natural light and unobstructed viewing for guests. Glass-enclosed lounges with panoramic views, spacious, well-appointed staterooms with large, furnished balconies, and a variety of outdoor public spaces are planned.

Additional details on the line’s future expansion, including new designs and artists’ renderings of the new riverboats, and newly-introduced itineraries in additional regions of the U.S., will be announced in the coming months.

The new-design riverboats are in addition to the Victorian-style riverboats American Cruise Lines is currently building, which include the American Eagle, a new paddlewheeler for the Mississippi River nearing completion at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD.

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