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Crystal adds new, shorter itineraries to Crystal Mahler's spring season

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Crystal River Cruises has unveiled four new 2018 itineraries for its second Rhine Class vessel, Crystal Mahler. In April and May next year, the brand new river ship will sail three 7-night “Danube Serenade” routes between Budapest and Vienna, and one 11-night “Reflections on the Danube” sailing. The new voyages are a shorter complement to Crystal Mahler’s 16-day “Grand Europe” itineraries, which sail between Amsterdam and Budapest for most of the year, cruising the Rhine and Main Rivers.

“We’re delighted to offer these new sailings aboard Crystal Mahler, allowing travelers to explore the beautiful locales along the Danube in the sleek luxury of our new ‘Rhine Class’ vessels, with the added convenience of shorter itineraries for those with limited time away,” says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez.

The newly added itineraries depart April 10, 17, 24 and May 1 and visit European hamlets including Krems, Spitz, Linz and Melk, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia. Three of the voyages feature dedicated theme programming, including special guest Nancy Brinker – former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation – aboard the April 10 sailing discussing Art & Diplomacy, the annual “President’s Cruise” with Edie Rodriguez on the April 24 sailing, and an in-depth focus on Jewish Heritage excursions aboard the May 1 sailing.

The added itineraries further enhance the all-inclusive Crystal River Cruises experience, which was recently recognized as the “Best River Cruise Line” in the 2017 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. The line’s first ship, the 154-guest Crystal Mozart, currently sails itineraries along the Danube, while the “Rhine Class” new-builds will predominantly sail the Rhine and Main Rivers. Crystal Mahler will embark on her maiden voyage in September from Amsterdam, joining Crystal Bach on the mighty European waterways. Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel will join the luxurious fleet in 2018.

In each destination aboard every Crystal River Cruises itinerary, travelers can choose from a selection of complimentary Crystal Adventures ashore, or opt for further exploration with additional curated excursions.

Crystal’s Rhine Class river ships are the river cruising industry’s first and only all-balcony, all-suite vessels in Europe, with every category of accommodation perched above the waterline and offering private butler service for each suite. All four river ships will offer Crystal’s acclaimed butler service in every room category, plush king-sized beds, Panoramic Balcony-Windows, walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms in most categories, ETRO robes and slippers, wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs, and Nespresso machines. Additional enticing features include Crystal’s farm-to-table, Michelin-inspired cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries: the elegant Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro cafés and the exclusive Vintage Room; and the Palm Court.

Norwegian Cruise Line to be featured on upcoming episode of CNBC's "The Profit"

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Norwegian Cruise Line will set sail for primetime this summer, as the popular cruise brand will be featured in a one-hour episode of CNBC’s hit reality series “The Profit”. The show follows serial entrepreneur and investor Marcus Lemonis, who puts his own money on the line to help save and grow struggling small businesses across the country. Filmed on board Miami-based Norwegian Escape, the episode will highlight small business Zoe’s Chocolates, as they present their product to Norwegian executives in the hopes of securing a deal.

In each one-hour episode of “The Profit,” Lemonis makes an offer that’s impossible to refuse; his cash for a piece of the business and a percentage of the profits. Once inside these companies, Lemonis does almost everything he can to save the business and make himself a profit; even if it means firing the president, promoting the secretary or doing the work himself. Norwegian Cruise Line is featured on the show as one of today’s top cruise brands, highlighting the line’s unique brand proposition of freedom and flexibility and premium offerings, which are a strong match for the high quality chocolates offered by Zoe’s. Viewers will get an inside look at what cruise executives look for in partners and why aligning with like-minded brands builds strong business relationships that bring value to guests.

The episode featuring Norwegian Cruise Line will be airing on Tuesday, July 25th at 10PM ET/PT on CNBC.

Norwegian Escape, currently sailing the Eastern and Western Caribbean from her homeport in Miami, features 27 dining options, 21 bars and lounges, and entertainment options to thrill cruisers of all ages with the largest Ropes Course at sea, the largest Aqua Park at sea, and dedicated adults-only and kids-only spaces. Norwegian Escape’s dining experiences include outposts of several popular land-based outlets, including the floating Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, a music venue and outdoor bar on The Waterfront featuring live nightly performances where guests can enjoy the sounds of the tropics. Norwegian Escape features Miami’s oldest and most legendary bar, Tobacco Road.

China names fifth cruise tourism development pilot zone

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Alan Lam reports

The southern port city of Fuzhou, in the province of Fujian, has just been named as the fifth Chinese Cruise Tourism Development Pilot Zone (中国邮轮旅游发展实验区)。

Following Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenzhen, and Qingdao, the government of China has designated Fuzhou, a city of 4.5 million inhabitants (7.2 million including its surrounding areas) with a long maritime tradition, as its fifth Cruise Tourism Development Pilot Zone in its effort to wholeheartedly support domestic cruise industry.

The city – located only a 30-minute-flight from Taipei, Taiwan – is relatively lesser known to the cruise industry. This latest move by the Central Government forms part of its recent “One Belt, One Road” initiative. Fuzhou is also regarded as a hub of China’s Maritime Silk Road network.

A 5.5-square-kilometre area located outside of the city near the port of Son Xia in Changle (长乐松下港), about 18 kilometres from Fuzhou International Airport, has been dedicated to this project. Son Xia is also the gateway to Bin Hai New Town(滨海新城 ).

In its effort to promote domestic cruise industry, this initiative is another sign of China’s effort to focus not only on domestic source market, but also on domestic and neighbouring destinations by opening up more ports within the region.

Cruise Business Review believes that this kind of moves could materially hamper efforts to attract mass Chinese cruise tourists to Europe and Mediterranean. While the cruise industry is increasingly global, China’s development strategy can be perceived as becoming more and more China-centric.

Cruise Critic’s Carolyn Spencer Brown assumes new role

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Carolyn Spencer Brown, longtime editor in chief of, is taking on a newly created leadership role within the company, assuming the role of Chief Content Strategist. Under her new role, Spencer Brown will oversee Cruise Critic’s new Content Studio, and the development of products such as sponsored content and branded content partnerships.

"Cruise Critic's new Content Studio is an exciting opportunity for us to expand into new arenas, opening the door for new types of content and partnerships. It was important for the Studio to be led by someone who has an in-depth knowledge of the industry and a passion for all aspects of cruising -- Carolyn is an ideal fit, and the new role is a natural evolution of her work and experience at Cruise Critic over the past 14 years." – Mike Ewing, General Manager of Cruise Critic

Spencer Brown joined Cruise Critic as editor-in-chief in 2003. Under her leadership, Cruise Critic was a two-time winner of the Society of American Travel Writers’ prestigious Lowell Thomas Award and expanded the site’s footprint to include additional geo-specific markets in the U.K. and Australia. A former staff writer with The Washington Post, Spencer Brown has followed the cruise industry for the past 20 years and has taken more than 350 cruises, sailing with all of the world’s top cruise lines and many lesser-known lines as well.

Colleen McDaniel, Cruise Critic’s senior executive editor, will continue to manage editorial operations of Cruise Critic’s global sites.

Cruise Critic is the world’s largest cruise reviews and information site, offering a comprehensive resource for cruise travelers -- from first-time cruisers to avid cruise enthusiasts.

Majorcan delegate visits AIDAperla

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Last Saturday (July 8, 2017), AIDAperla, the youngest member of the AIDA Cruises fleet, returned to the port of Palma de Mallorca after its christening and maiden voyage. In addition to Barcelona, Germany’s favorite island is one of the departure and destination ports for the 7-night cruises around the western Mediterranean with AIDAperla in its premiere season.

During the stay at port, Captain Boris Becker welcomed a Majorcan delegation of port and tourism representatives, along with professors from the University of the Balearic Islands. The emphasis of the ship visit was to discuss innovative environmental measures with regard to emission reduction and energy efficiency on board AIDAperla.

After its twin ship AIDAprima (put into service in May 2016), AIDAperla is the second cruise ship in the world to be equipped with a dual-fuel engine for the use of low emission liquefied natural gas (LNG) while docking at port. AIDA Cruises is working with authorities and further partners so that AIDAperla can be supplied with liquefied natural gas (LNG) while she is docked in port. In comparison to conventional fuel, emissions are significantly reduced when liquefied natural gas is used for power generation. A prerequisite for this is the availability of LNG at the respective port. AIDA Cruises is discussing this matter with Mediterranean ports.

"It was a very interesting and informative visit on board AIDAperla. We truly hope that these efforts to transform cruise ships into a sustainable vacation option will serve as an example for other cruise lines. We’re pleased to be the home port for such an eco-friendly ship as AIDAperla," says Pilar Carbonell, Director General of Tourism for the Balearic government.

By deploying the twelfth member of its fleet in Palma de Mallorca, AIDA Cruises is further expanding its commitment to the Balearic Islands off-season as well. With five AIDA ships docking here 88 times in 2017, the company continues to be one of the city’s most important partners. Apart from AIDAperla with a total of 34 stops, Palma de Mallorca is also a travel destination and transfer port for guests on AIDAstella, AIDAblu, AIDAbella and AIDAaura.

AIDA Cruises is one of the fastest growing and commercially most successful tourism businesses in Germany. The company employs about 9,000 people from 40 countries on shore and on board AIDA ships. With currently twelve cruise ships, AIDA operates one of the most state-of-the-art fleets in the world. Two new ships built at the Meyer shipyard in Papenburg (Germany) will join the fleet by 2021. From 2018 on, AIDA Cruises will be the world’s first cruise line capable of powering its new generation of ships entirely with LNG (liquefied natural gas).