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Holland America Line to feature new itineraries for 2013 Europe cruise season

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Lucky seven is the magic number for Holland America Line in summer 2013 when the line deploys seven ships to Europe and features seven maiden ports of call. The seven ships sailing on more than 53 unique European itineraries - ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Veendam - will cruise throughout the region on 107 departures that span from the northern tip of Norway to the Black Sea and across the Mediterranean.

"While the popularity of European cruising continues to grow, the region is opening new ports, which enables us to offer more maiden calls and exciting new itineraries," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Whether it's a shorter cruise or a longer Collectors' Voyage, Holland America Line is proud to offer comprehensive experiences around the world, and these new European itineraries are sure to entice any cruise enthusiast."

Ranging from seven to 64 days, these cruises allow travelers the opportunity to explore a variety of destinations, from iconic ports of call as well as smaller, less-traveled and equally fascinating port cities.

The 2013 Europe cruise season reflects Holland America Line's focus on destination diversity, timeless appeal and quality. Maiden port calls include Alanya, Turkey; Alcudia (Mallorca), Spain; Galway and Killybegs, Ireland; Hydra and Igoumenitsa, Greece; and Sassnitz, Germany. A total of 20 overnight stays at some of Europe's popular ports provide guests with more time to explore several of the world's most interesting destinations. Overnight calls include Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Bordeaux, France; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin, Ireland; Venice, Italy; Hamburg, Germany; St Petersburg, Russia; Istanbul, Turkey and more.

Notable new itineraries

Ryndam's seven-day Turkish Explorer voyage sails round-trip from Piraeus (Athens), Greece, with calls that enable guests to experience the landmarks and highlights of Turkey and Greece, including an overnight stay in Istanbul, Turkey. The ship departs Sept. 7, 21 and Oct. 5. Cruise fares begin at $1,099 per person, double occupancy.

The seven-day Homeric Quest voyage also aboard Ryndam sails round-trip from Piraeus (Athens) and is perfect for any Greece lover looking for an in-depth exploration of the country. Guests will experience five different Greek ports, as well as visit the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey, which was once ruled by the Persians and Alexander the Great. The ship departs Sept. 14, 28 and Oct. 12. Cruise fares begin at $1,099 per person, double occupancy.

Eurodam's 11-day Mediterranean Odyssey voyage sails round-trip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, with an overnight stay at Piraeus (Athens). Guest can explore the best of Greece during port calls at Kerkira (Corfu), Katakolon (Olympia) and Santorini, Greece, as well as two calls at the Italian ports of Messina and Naples. The ship departs April 29. Cruise fares begin at $1,499 per person, double occupancy.

The Noordam's 11-day Adriatic Explorer voyage sails between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Piraeus (Athens), and features a fascinating mixture of ports that were once home to the legendary Roman and Greek empires. With overnights in Venice and Piraeus (Athens), guests can take their time exploring these culturally rich cities. The ship departs April 25, May 28, August 4, Sept. 6 and October 9. Cruise fares begin at $1,599 per person, double occupancy.

Also new for 2013 is the 11-day Ancient Mysteries voyage sailing between Piraeus (Athens) and Istanbul aboard ms Noordam. This itinerary offers a unique experience with a call at Port Said, Egypt, the gateway to Cairo. In Cairo, guests can visit the Giza Pyramids, the Sphinx or the renowned Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. During an overnight stay at Istanbul, guests can take time to explore the historic Turkish Bazaar, known for its exotic spices and other Turkish delights. The cruise departs May 6 and 17 and Aug. 15 and 26. Cruise fares begin at $1,699 per person, double occupancy.

Prinsendam's 16-day Mediterranean Explorer itinerary sails from Barcelona to Piraeus (Athens). This cruise gives guests the opportunity to visit many intimate, unique ports such as Sète and Toulon, France; Brindisi, Italy; and Igoumenitsa and Hydra, Greece, while still experiencing popular ports like Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Kotor, Montenegro, and Rhodes, Greece. The ship departs Sept. 16. Cruise fares begin at $3,499 per person, double occupancy.

Popular itineraries return

Other ships calling in Europe in 2013 include the line's newest vessel, Nieuw Amsterdam, and Veendam and Rotterdam. The 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam will sail a series of seven- to 12-day cruises throughout the Mediterranean, visiting some of the region's most popular ports, from Marseille (Provence), France, to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Rotterdam sails a series of seven- to 18-day voyages throughout Europe. Itineraries allow guests to explore the gems of the Baltic, experience the beauty of Norway's fjord-scalloped coastline and discover the Canary Islands.

In July, Veendam sails a 35-day Voyage of the Vikings roundtrip from Boston, Mass., tracing the path of past explorers across the Atlantic to ports in Greenland, Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

Longer voyages offer exceptional value
For true explorers seeking an in-depth experience at an exceptional value, extended Collectors' Voyages ranging from 14 to 33 days offer the ultimate European cruise experience. These artfully crafted, longer cruises combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to visit more ports and spend extra time exploring centuries of art, history and culture. Per-person cruise fares begin at $1,799, double occupancy.

A highlight of the Mediterranean season comes spring 2013 when ms Prinsendam, the line's smallest and most intimate ship -- just 835 guests, departs Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 14, 2013, on its roundtrip 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage. Visiting 32 ports in 14 countries, the itinerary includes overnights in seven world-class ports including Funchal, Madeira; Istanbul, Turkey; Piraeus, Greece; Venice and Sorrento, Italy; and Barcelona, Spain. Per-person cruise fares for the full cruise begin at $7,999, double occupancy. Seven shorter segments are also available ranging from 14-to 46-days.

Engaging unique experiences

Additional exciting Holland America Line Europe itineraries enable guests to be among the few to cross the Arctic Circle, transit Germany's Kiel Canal, cruise the Gironde Estuary into Bordeaux, France, or explore the world's third largest volcano with an overnight stay at Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Other exciting itineraries include visiting the ancient pyramids in Egypt, along with the holy lands in Jerusalem and Nazareth. Those interested in taking a dip in the famous "Blue Lagoon," Iceland's unique geothermal seawater, can choose the Icelandic Adventure aboard Prinsendam, which includes an overnight stay at Reykjavik.

Scottish travel agent head attacks Carnival UK commission policy

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

The head of Scotland’s largest travel agency has described the way agents have been treated by leading cruise operator Carnival UK as ‘deplorable’ following last year’s commission cut, Travel Weekly reports in its emailed newsletter.

Bill Munro, chairman of Barrhead Travel, spoke to Travel Weekly after Carnival chairman Micky Arison said the move to 5% saw it lose only big-discounting agents who were “not good for business”. Munro claimed Carnival UK had, in effect, put the kind of cap on agents’ earnings imposed on independent petrol stations. He said: “It doesn’t matter how many pies, packets of crisps or fuel they sell, earnings are capped.

 

“CCS [Complete Cruise Solutions, Carnival UK sales arm] is saying it doesn’t want us to make any money out of selling its product. If it pays only 5%, all it can expect is order takers, not entrepreneurial agents creatively marketing, which is what agents do for other lines.”

Munro said Carnival Corporation & plc's latest trading result – a 96% profit slump, which was blamed on fuel prices and the Costa Concordia disaster – was “exactly what it deserved." 

“The way they treat the industry is deplorable,” he added. “The sooner they start paying productive agents who actively market their products and discount very little the better. That would be welcomed with open arms, instead of being treated in this appalling manner.”

Responding to claims by Arison and Carnival UK CEO David Dingle that trading was holding up well, Munro said: “I don’t believe it for a moment.” Giles Hawke, Carnival UK sales director, accepted 5% had not worked for all agents, but said: “We are not capping earnings. We have agents doing multi-millions of pounds of business with us. All agents who work proactively with us are doing innovative things. We have been open and taken a commercial approach to how we distribute our cruise product.”

 


 

Captain Tony Draper to lead the senior officer team aboard the new Royal Princess

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News
When the new Royal Princess launches in June 2013, Captain Tony Draper will be at the helm of Princess Cruises’ newest vessel, leading a senior officer team with more than 100 years of seagoing experience among them. The senior four-stripe team will also include Relief Captain Dino Sagani, Chief Engineer Fabio Braccelli, Hotel General Manager Dirk Brand, and Staff Captain Tim Stringer.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship currently under construction in Italy that will debut a number of new features for Princess, including a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a 50 percent larger atrium, a new Princess Live! television studio, and balconies on all outside staterooms.

“It takes a talented team to launch a new ship of the caliber of Royal Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “These experienced officers bring considerable seagoing and management skills that we believe will contribute to the success of the ship’s maiden season.”

Captain Tony Draper – Captain Tony Draper has been in command of a number of the company’s vessels since 2006, including Ruby Princess, Crown Princess, Caribbean Princess, Dawn Princess, Sun Princess and Coral Princess, as well as ships for sister companies P&O Australia and Cunard. Draper began his seagoing career with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service – the UK’s civilian manned supply and logistics division of the Royal Navy. After gaining his Masters Certificate in 1994, he also pursued a lifelong interest in aviation, gaining a UK commercial pilot’s license in the same year. In 1995, he joined Princess Cruises as navigator of the original Island Princess. It was on this ship, one of the original Love Boats, that he met his wife, Joanna. Originally from Scotland, Captain Draper now lives in Cornwall, UK with his wife and young daughter, Alysia.

Relief Captain Dino Sagani – Captain Dino Sagani commanded a variety of Princess vessels, including Sea Princess, Dawn Princess, Sapphire Princess and, most recently, Diamond Princess. Sagani was born in Trieste on the North East Adriatic coast of Italy. Following the family tradition, he studied at the Nautical College in Trieste, which is one of the oldest Nautical Schools in Europe. On completion of his studies, he joined the Italian Navy, serving on a minesweeper during the first Gulf War. After the Navy, he joined Princess Cruises in 1995, where he quickly climbed the ranks and was promoted to captain in 2007.

Chief Engineer Fabio Braccelli – Hailing from the town of Lerici along the Italian Riviera, Chief Engineer Fabio Braccelli oversees all the maintenance and operation of the ship’s extensive machinery systems. Braccelli has worked aboard 12 Princess ships, including most recently on Sapphire Princess. A graduate of the nautical school Nazario Sauro in La Spezia, Italy, Braccelli subsequently served in the Italian Navy and first joined Princess Cruises as a cadet in 1990 aboard the original Dawn Princess. He moved up through the engineering ranks and was promoted to chief engineer officer in 2004.

Hotel General Manager Dirk Brand – Hotel General Manager Dirk Brand will oversee all hotel functions aboard Royal Princess, a position he has held aboard a variety of Princess ships, including Ruby Princess during the ship’s inaugural. He has also worked aboard the ships of sister company Cunard. Brand was born in Berlin, Germany and grew up in Munich. After completing his education and apprenticeship in hotel management, he served with the Air Force in Sardinia, Italy. Fluent in three languages, Brand began his career at sea in 1998 as a senior assistant food and beverage director during the inaugural season of Grand Princess. He currently resides in Spain.

Staff Captain Tim Stringer – Head of the deck department and second in command to the captain, Staff Captain Tim Stringer has worked aboard eight Princess ships, plus several vessels from sister companies P&O and P&O Australia. He has also been involved in the plan approval team for the construction of the new Royal Princess. Stringer first joined Princess as a second officer aboard the original Royal Princess in 1995. A native of Bedford, England, Stringer began his career as a cadet aboard tankers, and holds both UK and Canadian master mariner certification.

Royal Princess debuts on June 16, 2013, and will sail on a maiden season of Mediterranean cruises throughout the summer, followed by Caribbean sailings in the fall.

Holland America Line to increase departures, guest capacity in Alaska for 2013

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

For the 2013 Alaska cruise season, Holland America Line is increasing its presence in Alaska with more departures and more guests than in previous years.

Although the number of Holland America ships deployed in Alaska will remain at seven - the same as 2012 - ms Amsterdam will double its departures on new seven-day roundtrip sailings from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As a result, Alaska-season departures will increase 8.5 percent and guest capacity will increase 6 percent over 2012.

Plus, Early Advantage savings feature complimentary upgrades and free and reduced fares for third or fourth guests who share the same stateroom on select sailings. By planning ahead, a family of four can take advantage of fares on select departure dates starting at $699 per person for the first and second guest in a stateroom, and the third and fourth sailing free. Taxes are additional.

"Increasing our capacity in Alaska means that Holland America Line will offer nearly 1.6 million passenger days in the 2013 season," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "These itineraries have always been among our most popular, and Amsterdam's new seven day departures will allow us to bring more guests to Alaska and show off the natural beauty of this part of the world. We also encourage travelers to book early and enjoy greater benefits with Early Advantage savings."

When the 1,380-guest Amsterdam begins its Alaska season May 24, the ship will sail a series of 17 seven-day Inside Passage voyages. The Vancouver sailings feature port calls at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska, as well as scenic cruising throughout Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm Fjord/Twin Sawyer glaciers.

For the 2013 Alaska cruise season, Holland America Line also will feature ms Zaandam and ms Statendam each sailing on 18 Gulf of Alaska departures from Vancouver. Statendam and Zaandam also will sail four total Inside Passage routes, along with Amsterdam (17), ms Volendam (21) and ms Zuiderdam (20). In addition, ms Oosterdam and ms Westerdam are slated to sail 21 and 20, respectively, seven-night voyages from Seattle, Washington.

AIDA ships received top ratings in the ADAC cruise test

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News
The ships of the AIDA fleet, AIDAbella and AIDAdiva, have been evaluated with "very good" in the ADAC cruise test that was published today.

"We are pleased that all AIDA ships tested from the ADAC, got the top rating 'very good'. The test results of the ADAC experts once again confirm the high safety standards on board our ships, " says Michael Ungerer, President of AIDA Cruises.

The ADAC performed independent safety tests on board 10 cruise ships in the Mediterranean. "The ADAC certified all the other ships that were tested, including those of the Costa fleet, a high standard of safety. This confirms once more the high safety standard in the cruise industry. Anyone who is planning a cruise on board our ships can spend a carefree holiday with the assurance that the safety of our guests is a top priority for us, " says Michael Ungerer.

For more information on the subject of safety on board of AIDA visit www.aida.de/sicherheit

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