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Celebrity Infinity's 2013 programme "affirms belief in strength of the UK business" - Hanrahan

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Celebrity Cruises is underlining its commitment to the UK with the introduction of a second ship, Celebrity Infinity, to the market for summer 2013,the company said in a statement.


Recently refurbished Celebrity Infinity will offer a range of 10, 11 and 12-night Norwegian Fjords, British Isles and European wine harvest cruises itineraries out of Harwich next year – the first time the port has been used by the cruise line for a full season’s sailings.


The UK deployment of Celebrity Infinity was announced by Dan Hanrahan, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, on a visit to London. In addition, Hanrahan confirmed that Celebrity Eclipse will continue to offer its popular programme out of Southampton in 2013 – its fourth consecutive summer season at the port.


“UK holidaymakers are incredibly supportive of Celebrity Cruises and this is demonstrated by Celebrity Eclipse achieving the highest customer satisfaction ratings of all our ships” says Hanrahan. “Our decision to base Celebrity Infinity in Harwich affirms our belief in the strength of the UK business and is in direct response to increased demand for more Celebrity Cruises holiday experiences.”


Introduced in 2001, Celebrity Infinity has recently undergone a significant refurbishment as part of a $140-million, four-ship enhancement programme which is introducing the most popular and innovative features of its newest ‘Solstice-class’ vessels across the fleet.  This includes new spa inspired AquaClass accommodation paired with the exclusive healthy-eating specialty restaurant Blu, an ice-topped Martini bar, an Italian coffee shop and gelateria Café al Bacio and the award-winning Qsine; the novel restaurant first introduced to Celebrity Eclipse to much acclaim. 


Full details of Celebrity Cruises’ 2013 summer deployment will be announced in early March, and the new Celebrity Infinity cruises from the UK will go on sale in mid-March this year. Celebrity Infinity is scheduled to arrive in the UK in May 2013 with the season of cruises on offer from Harwich extending until late October 2013.


The move follows a decision by the company to operate a series of cruises this autumn by Celebrity Constellation from Southampton instead of a series of Eastern Mediterranean cruises that had been planned for the ship earlier. 


Silversea announces new lower fares

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has announced new lower fares on select voyages sailing March to November 2012, including a few expedition voyages.

The new fares are available on dozens of sailings spanning the globe from Africa, Asia and the Americas to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. And sweetening the deal are Onboard Spending Credits from $500 to $1,000 per suite available on these same voyages (with the exception of expedition cruises). The credits may be applied toward a host of onboard purchases, including shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty restaurants, Internet packages, personal fitness training, and more.

Renowned for its luxurious small ships, personalized service and exotic destinations, Silversea is regularly lauded by travel magazines and guidebooks from around the world. Just last month the company was honored with two major awards: "Best Cruise Line for Luxury Small Ships" by the travel agent readers of Luxury Travel Advisor in the U.S., and "Best Luxury Cruise Company" by the travel agent readers of Travel Weekly in the U.K.

"With these new lower fares, we're offering travelers an irresistible opportunity to experience a luxury cruise vacation this year," said Steve Tucker, Silversea's vice president of field sales for North America. "We're combining an award-winning cruise experience with exceptional savings and generous Onboard Spending Credits, making this the perfect time to reserve a Silversea cruise."

For more information and a complete list of voyages offering the new lower fares, go to

Gaddafi’s newbuilding at STX to MSC Cruises?

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

MSC Cruises, theGeneva-based cruise company that ranks fourth in size in terms of lower berths,may have acquired a newbuilding that wasdue to be delivered to Libya before theevents of last year, a media report says.

“Photos havearrived online suggesting that MSC has purchased the former Libyan cruise shipas MSC Preziosa,” says a report on

The 137,000gross ton ship is the same class as the soon to be launched MSC Divina andsister ships MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida. Previously known as Phoenicia andordered by the General National Maritime Transport Company (GNMTC) of Libyabefore the collapse of Gaddafi’s regime, the shipping line defaulted on itspayment schedule, and STX has been looking for a buyer since. 

Cruise Business Online has been unable to obtain a comment from MSC Cruises regarding the report. 

MSC Cruises adds French Antilles to winter 2012-13 destinations

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

MSC Cruises has announced the introduction of the French Antilles as a new destination for the 2012-2013 winter season. Complemented by an extensive array of fascinating shore excursions, this is an unmissable opportunity for guests to experience this idyllic region at first hand.

The inaugural voyage begins on 30 November 2012 when MSC Lirica departs from Genoa, Italy for a 16-day/15-night cruise, arriving at her new homeport in Martinique just over two weeks later. MSC Lirica's course will take her from the Mediterranean through the Atlantic and on to the Caribbean, with scheduled stops in Marseilles, Barcelona, Funchal and, after five full days at sea, Bridgetown in Barbados. Scheduled stops then follow in Saint George in Grenada, Basseterre in Saint Kitts & Nevis and Castries in Saint Lucia, with MSC Lirica arriving in Fort-de-France in Martinique on 15 December 2012.

From 15 December 2012 through to 16 February 2013, MSC Lirica has a full schedule of ten 7-day/8-night cruises, departing every Saturday from Fort-de-France, Martinique, and every Sunday from Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. During these Caribbean experiences, guests will discover not only the breathtaking beauty but also the rich history of the islands, with scheduled stops in St John’s in Antigua & Barbuda; Road Town on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands; Santo Domingo and La Romana in the Dominican Republic and Philipsburg in St Maarten, Netherlands Antilles.

The French Antilles will bid farewell to MSC Lirica on 23 February 2013, when she starts her 16-day/15-night return cruise from Fort-de-France to Genoa. Scheduled stops are Pointe-à-Pitre, Castries, Funchal, Malaga, Barcelona and Marseille. Excursions meanwhile will range from gentle tours around botanical gardens and plantations through to canopy zip lines high above the rainforest. Those with a thirst for knowledge may prefer a visit to the fishing village where Christopher Columbus landed in 1502 or a Chocolate Tour to the Caribbean’s largest organic cocoa processing plants.

The 59,000 gross ton MSC Lirica has capacity for a total of 2069 guests in 780 cabins. 

Celebrity Cruises adds 100 wines to offering

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Celebrity Cruises has expanded its wine programme to offer guests the opportunity to taste and learn about more wine than ever before. The updated programme introduces more than 100 new selections of wines by the bottle, including 20 additional new half-bottle selections, the company said in a statement.

The programme now also expands beyond the previous emphasis on wines from Italy , France and California , to include more wines from South America , Spain , New Zealand , Australia , Germany , Portugal and South Africa . When the ships are in wine-producing areas such as Australia and South America , guests will now have more opportunities to select locally produced wines.

“Our guests have told us how much they enjoy the wine experience on our ships, from participating in tastings led by our highly trained sommeliers to the convenience of our wine packages, to simply sipping a glass of wine while gazing out at sea,” said Scott Steenrod, Associate Vice President, Food and Beverage Operations. “The updated, now globally focused programme exemplifies modern luxury, with offerings from more wine-producing regions than before, a new emphasis on the many nuances of flavour that make wines unique, and a variety of convenient pricing and packaging options.”

Other highlights of the expanded wine programme include:

·       In the ships’ main restaurants, as well as in “Blu,” the speciality restaurant for AquaClass accommodation guests, wines are listed by flavour profile, identifying primary flavour characteristics

·       A new “Reserve List” within the main restaurant wine list identifies some of the finest wines previously only available onboard in Celebrity Cruises’ speciality restaurants

·       The list of by-the-glass wines served in various bars, restaurants and lounges throughout the ships has grown from 25 to 38 selections, with 60% of the wines by the glass being new wines for Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises’ beverage packages that include wine also have been updated to mirror changes to the overall wine programme:

·       The “Taste of the Vineyards” three-, five- and seven-bottle wine packages that were previously available on the Millennium Class ships and Celebrity Century have also been introduced on the  Solstice Class ships, and 90% of the wines that guests can choose from to create their packages are new wines for the cruise line

·       The “Classic Beverage Package” and “Premium Beverage Package,” both of which include wines by the glass in addition to beer and spirits, now include more wine choices. Over 80% of wines available by the glass are part of the Premium Beverage Package.

Renowned wine educator Brian Connors has developed a comprehensive wine education programme for Celebrity Cruises’ sommeliers, bar staff and restaurant staff. Dubbed “ Celebrity Cruises Wine University at Sea,” the programme provides up to 24 hours of training for Celebrity Cruises’ Cellarmasters and future Cellarmasters.

“We are constantly tweaking and revising our training programme to make it better and more relevant to the changes in the wine market,” Steenrod said. “Our training programme is on par with what organisations such as the Society of Wine Educators, the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and the Guild of Sommeliers offer. What really takes our wine programme from being just a list of names on a menu to being a truly interactive experience is one of the world’s largest teams of highly knowledgeable sommeliers in the world.”

Having trained for his Sommelier certification at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley , California , Connors has extensive experience including certification by the Court of Master Sommelier, a certification through the Society of Wine Educators and a position as a wine educator at Johnson & Wales University ’s College of Hospitality Management .

The enhanced wine programme brings the Solstice Class fleet offering to over 500 different wines, and the Millennium Class ships and Celebrity Century offering to over 300. Guests onboard Celebrity Cruises’ ships also have the opportunity to experience wine tastings and food-and-wine pairing events as part of the line’s Celebrity Life activities programme.