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Royal Caribbean announces 2012 schedule for Voyager of the Seas

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Executives of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today Royal Caribbean Internationals 2012 Asia cruises deployment schedule for Voyager of the Seas – the largest and most amenity-filled cruise ship to sail in the region.

At 137,276 gross registered tons, Voyager of the Seas ranks among the world's 10 largest and most innovative cruise ships and will offer vacationers unparalleled experiences in the region. The ships inaugural Asia season will start on May 26, 2012 in Singapore, followed by sailings from Shanghai (Baoshan) and Tianjin in China.

"We have a leading market position in China," explains Dr. Zinan Liu, group managing director of China and Asia for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Customer demand is strengthening and were responding by increasing our commitment to the region with an additional, bigger ship, to offer a wider range of itineraries to even more ports."

With Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas, which has been deployed in China since 2010, Royal Caribbean International will offer 49 sailings out of the country in 2012, and will add Xiamen as its fourth homeport after Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong.

"Voyager of the Seas' deployment to Asia is another milestone for Royal Caribbean International, and a mark of our confidence and commitment to the regions potential, as well as part of our global growth strategy," says Michael Bayley, executive vice president of International, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Voyager of the Seas will offer vacationers a wide range of short cruises – three-, four-, five- seven- and eight-night itineraries in Asia – to longer, 14- to 18-night cruises in the South Pacific to New Zealand and Australia. Chinese guests can also expect to experience a greater variety of products and services tailored to their needs.

Cruises will include the seven-night Pearls of the Orient and Jewels of Asia sailings, calling at various destinations in Japan and South Korea. Vacationers also can choose a repositioning cruise aboard Voyager of the Seas from Singapore to Fremantle, Australia, departing October 22, 2012, and returning on March 9, 2013. Voyager of the Seas will reposition to begin its winter season from Sydney on November 5, 2012. Bookings for Voyager of the Seas 2012 Asia itineraries open today.

When she sails into Asia next year, Voyager of the Seas will introduce several unique concepts never before seen at sea in the region, including the following signature onboard amenities:
" Royal Promenade  an indoor main street stretching nearly the full length of the middle of the ship, lined with places to eat, drink, shop and be entertained. Guests can stroll up and down the four-story street and enjoy regular street parades. 
" Studio B Ice Rink  an ice skating rink for guests that doubles as a sensational 700-seat venue for ice show productions with world-class figure skaters.
" Eleven dining venues include specialty restaurant Portofino for classic Italian fine dining and 50s inspired American diner Johnny Rockets. Theres also the grand three-story, 1,919-seat main dining room.
" Unparalleled sports facilities including an inline skating track, Royal Caribbean Internationals signature rock-climbing wall, a nine-hole mini golf course, a golf simulator, a full size sports court with basketball court, three swimming pools and six whirlpools.

In the evenings, there are award-winning Broadway-style musical revues, or opportunities to recount the days experiences in multiple onboard bars and lounges over cocktails.

Disney Fantasy adds final building dock

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The final building block for the newest Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Fantasy, was placed on September 3 at the Meyer Werft shipyard signaling completion of a major milestone in the ship’s overall construction. The final block placed was a 265-ton portion of the ship’s bow, complete with the signature Disney Cruise Line golden filigree.

The Disney Fantasy will bring to life many of the innovative features guests love on the recently launched Disney Dream including AquaDuck — the world’s first shipboard water coaster. But new design elements and guest experiences will give the Fantasy an identity all its own. Some of the new highlights found on the Disney Fantasy include:

Europa – a nighttime entertainment district exclusively for guests 18 and older that features sophisticated bars and trendy lounges inspired by the very best in European travel.

A new, innovative show for the Animator’s Palate restaurant where diners will serve as guest animators. During the “Animation Magic” show guests are asked to hand-draw a character of their own at the start of dinner. After an entertaining show featuring montages from Disney animated films and shorts, guests prepare for a whimsical finale moment where the guest-drawn characters spring to life and interact with characters from beloved Disney animated classics.

At Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the Disney Fantasy, aspiring young princesses and pirates receive the full fairy tale treatment with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers at this very special salon.

“Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” will take the stage on the Disney Fantasy. During this Broadway-style production, guests laugh along with the wise-cracking Genie and the cast from the classic animated Disney film, “Aladdin.”

The Disney Fantasy will sail alternating seven-night cruises from Port Canaveral, Fla. to the Eastern and Western Caribbean and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay with the maiden voyage scheduled for March 31, 2012.

Noble Caledonia acquires a second ship

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Noble Caledonia, the small ship and expedition cruising company announces the acquisition of a sister vessel to their Island Sky. Formerly known as Renaissance VI and more latterly Hebridean Spirit the company is to take delivery of the vessel in May 2012. To be named Caledonian Sky the vessel is ultimately bound for South America, Australasia and the Pacific Rim but will spend much of 2012 in British and Arctic waters before heading to South America and beyond.

The 114 passenger vessel will continue the expansion of the Noble Caledonia’s small ship and expedition cruising programmes, complementing the excellent reputation forged by the Island Sky. Both vessels were originally built as part of the Renaissance Cruises fleet in Italy in the 1990’s and provide all-suite luxurious accommodation. They offer a private yacht style atmosphere which is popular with well-seasoned travellers who are looking for something more engaging than a typical big ship cruise. Both vessels are highly adaptable and can operate in areas that are off limits to larger ships. A fleet of inflatable ‘Zodiac’ landing craft allow them to explore the most remote of regions and an onboard team that includes specially chosen guest speakers adds to the knowledge and enjoyment of all.

During the coming winter months the ‘Caledonian Sky’ will be subject to a significant refit to bring her in line with the style and quality offered aboard Island Sky. Speaking in London, Noble Caledonia’s Managing Director, Andy Cochrane said; “ We are all delighted to have secured another high quality vessel. Demand in the UK for the specialised trips we operate continues to grow at a fast pace, even in these troubled financial times. Having two remarkably similar vessels allows us to keep Island Sky in Europe, Africa and South and Central America, whilst Caledonian Sky can operate in the vast Pacific region from New Zealand to the Russian Far East. Two of the finest small ships in the world that allow us to reach the most remote and interesting corners of earth.”

Itinerary details for ‘Caledonian Sky’ will be available in the autumn.

Nikki Upshaw joins Oceania Cruises as Vice President, Field Sales

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Nikki F. Upshaw, CTC, has been appointed to the newly created position of vice president, field sales for Oceania Cruises and will assume her position on September 6, 2011.

In this role, Upshaw will oversee Oceania Cruises' field sales efforts, particularly as they relate to its travel agent partners. Upshaw will lead a talented team of regional sales directors, who work with more than 3,000 travel agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada in developing strategic and tactical business opportunities. Upshaw will report directly to Bruce J. Himelstein, Oceania Cruises' president.

A 23-year cruise industry veteran, Upshaw joins Oceania Cruises from Residensea, where for 10 years she headed up global sales and marketing efforts for the ultra-luxury residential vessel: The World. Previously, she was vice president of sales for e-Cruise.com. Prior cruise line experience includes sales management posts for Cunard Line, Seabourn Cruise Line and Royal Viking Line.

"With Riviera launching in April 2012, we are very pleased to welcome Nikki to the Oceania Cruises' sales management team," stated Himelstein. "Her expertise in the upper-premium and luxury segments of the marketplace will be invaluable to our continued growth."

Upshaw, named a "Top 100 Rising Star" three consecutive times by Travel Agent magazine, earned her bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Miami. She and her family live in South Florida.

Norwegian Cruise Line continues Partners First commitment

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

In the four months since the launch of the company's new "Partners First" philosophy, Norwegian Cruise Line has made significant progress in continuing its commitment to put travel partners first. In a recent Vacation.com survey, nearly 75 percent of partners believe Norwegian is making a substantial investment in its initiatives and over 70 percent stated that they are more likely to sell Norwegian Cruise Line than they had been in the past. In addition, Norwegian's post-call survey, given to travel partners interacting with the company's reservations team, showed a more than 90 percent satisfaction rate.

"Travel partners are our top focus and we are continuously looking for new ways to enhance our Partners First commitment," said Andy Stuart, executive vice president, global sales and passenger services. "The feedback from partners has so far been very positive, but we don't want to stop here. We want to continue to find ways to strengthen the communication and relationships."

Norwegian has further committed to their Partners First philosophy by making travel partners the central focus of a recent ad campaign launched in various trade publications. The ads showcase actual travel partners and testimonials. The latest advertisement, launched this week, features real feedback received from partners. One of the featured testimonials from travel partner, Dorothy Pennycooke, of Rance Cruises and Tours in New York, states, "No other cruise line supports travel agents like Norwegian." 

Also new on the Partners First web site (www.partnersfirst.ncl.com) is the first in a series of videos where Norwegian's executives cover industry-specific topics and company policies relevant to partners. Some of the subjects explored are Sales Support, Trade Engagement, Travel Partner Friendly Group Policies and Service, among others. These videos complement Norwegian's chief executive officer Kevin Sheehan's message of the company's enhanced commitment to travel partners.

The company has continued to take more steps to make it easier for travel partners to do business with the line. In addition to the millions invested to enhance booking technology, rate quotes are guaranteed so partners can book with confidence. Norwegian also has the most competitive group booking policy, with more flexibility and the longest lead time, making it easier for partners to find the right package and offer the most compelling prices to their clients. This coupled with the fact that there is no price advantage for guests to book directly with the cruise line, means that travel partners have a competitive advantage over all other channels. 

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