The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection celebrated the launching ceremony of its first yacht on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 at the Hijos De J. Barreras Shipyard in Vigo, Spain. Commemorating this milestone in accordance with longstanding maritime tradition, the launching ceremony celebrates a significant moment in the ship building process where after a ceremonial blessing, the yacht slides stern- first down the slipway and touches water for the first time.
As part of this occasion, Douglas Prothero, Chief Executive Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, and Timothy Grisius, Global Real Estate Officer for Marriott International, were joined by HJ Barreras Shipyard’s Chairman, José García Costas, and Tillberg Design of Sweden’s Owner and Executive Project Director Fredrik Johansson. Also in attendance was Anthony Capuano, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Development Officer for Marriott International, alongside The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection executive team and members of investor group Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.
With exterior construction almost complete, this event brings the yacht into the outfitting phase and one step closer to its launch in 2020. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will celebrate its naming ceremony this December, and will hold a christening celebration prior to the inaugural sailing in February 2020.
Windstar Cruises announces 2019 and 2020 Caribbean and Latin America sailings including new visits to ports in Mexico, Honduras, Grand Cayman, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Cruisers seeking active adventure may choose from an impressive 152 departure dates ranging in length from 7- to 56-days. All departures focus on less-visited tropical ports and unusual vacation experiences on board – with the line's signature Open Bridge and Watersports Platform – to exciting wet landings by Zodiac and hand-crafted excursions.
A first for Windstar in 2020, the boutique line debuts a new Star Collector: Grand Caribbean Adventure aboard the iconic Wind Surf, the world's largest sailing ship. The nearly two-month cruise is a new option for travelers ready for an encyclopedic exploration of the Caribbean's Greater and Lesser Antilles and Latin America. The wide-ranging itinerary features a first-time-ever visit to the Panama Canal for Wind Surf where the ship will bring guests on a remarkable journey through the three-tiered Gatun Locks, the historic Atlantic connector locks, followed by scenic cruising on Gatun Lake, then back to the Caribbean through the Gatun Locks that afternoon. Perfect for destination collectors, the journey offers incredible seafaring depth calling on 38 ports and 27 countries in just 56 days.
"At Windstar we are on a mission to deliver the most authentic destination experiences in small ship cruising and this Grand Caribbean sailing is a perfect example of how we do things 180 degrees from ordinary," said Windstar President John Delaney. "No other cruise line has ever offered such an expansive sailing in this part of the world, visiting 38 ports and 27 countries. And the fact that we offer this on the world's largest sailing ship with our open bridge policy, complimentary water sports marina and Signature Beach Barbecues will ensure our guests experience the very best of these beautiful warm water destinations."
Windstar's Caribbean and Latin America cruises provide thoughtful travelers, who appreciate the region's stunning beauty, a welcome alternative. The collection of Sea of Cortez, Coastal, Canal, and Caribbean Sea voyages emphasizes hidden harbors on smaller islands and inland coves like picture-perfect Bequia and Mayreau in the Grenadines, and lush Bahia Herradura, Costa Rica.
"The beaches, wildlife, and rainforests are a sure draw, but the way we plan and approach itineraries is what sets Windstar apart – we discover the most authentic cultural experiences a destination has to offer so that adventurous, imaginative travelers can come away with a different view and an enhanced understanding of their ports of call," commented Delaney.
Destination Authenticity on Small Ships: Why Sail Windstar to the Caribbean & Latin America
The award-winning small ship cruise line will have four of their six ships sailing in the regions accessing tiny harbors, like Man-O-War Bay in Tobago, with many itineraries offering late-night and overnight port calls that allow guests the time to engage in local cultures in a more immersive way. Guests will appreciate the additional time to wander local markets, sample the many great restaurants, and meet the locals.
All Windstar tropical cruises offer a memorable and indulgent day of beach play and fabulous island cuisine during a once-a-cruise Signature Beach Barbecue that is only equaled by an extravagant Signature Onboard Barbecue featuring an amazing array of food including arguably the largest paella pan at sea followed by an enthusiastic deck dance party led by the multi-talented Windstar crew.
All Windstar ships offer complimentary watersports and trained Sports Coordinators to help guests enjoy water activities, featuring stand-up paddle boards, small sail boats, gigantic floating sun mats, water trampolines, inflatable tows, and waterskiing. The balance of active adventure, culture, and culinary exploration can't be beat.
Windstar visits destinations where small group shore excursions let guests discover a virgin path far from the crowds; where secluded beaches, aquatic life, adventure, romance, and water play is just around the corner. Variety, depth, and detail are the primary focus that Windstar's Product Development travel experts seek when curating and testing each tour. Nothing is offered to guests that the team hasn't approved of and personally experienced with an eye to appealing to variety of tastes and activity levels.
New shore excursion standouts for the coming seasons include a private chocolate-making tour in St. Lucia where guests actually make their own dark chocolate bar made from cocoa nibs broken down from local, dried trinitario beans. Also on St. Lucia, guests receive expert instruction in a painting class led by a local artist, taking home their creation as a unique memory of the island. Another new favorite is power cruising to Mustique, a 14-acre island off Bequia that boasts a coral reef, coves, and dazzling beaches frequented by the rich and famous with lunch enjoyed at a chic island restaurant.
Long-standing favorite tours let travelers go cave tubing in Belize, windsurfing off Bonaire, snorkeling with friendly sea turtles and rays in waters as clear as glass, climbing the battlements of colonial forts and scaling the arrowhead peak of famous Gros Piton in St. Lucia.
Cuisine Meets Culture in the Caribbean: JBF Culinary Cruise Collection
Water shapes the region's food and beverage heritage, and Windstar's culinary program and affiliation as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation (JBF) is especially valuable as guests find their way through the cultures that blend Mayan, European, and Afro-Caribbean influences. Upcoming JBF Culinary Collection Sailings offer multiple food and beverage fusions, taking place in the region – on December 15, 2018 round trip from San Juan; January 5, 2019 from San Juan to Bridgetown; and on February 16, 2019 from Puerto Caldera to Colón; 2020 sailings will be announced at a later date.
NEW Grand Caribbean Adventure Headlines Star Collectors: Small Ships, Big Adventures
Popular Star Collector cruises provide opportunities for travelers to create epic itineraries that are new era voyages of discovery in 2019/20 starting with the 56-day Grand Caribbean Adventure. Star Collector sailings offer longer voyages that may also be booked in shorter segments to suit cruise guest schedules. Star Collector Voyages combine thoughtful itinerary planning with few (if any) repeat ports, hand-crafted excursions, additional savings, and added value with complimentary daily laundry service.
Star Collector: Grand Caribbean Adventure (56 days, 38 ports, 27 countries)
All the color, colonial charm, history and on-water and underwater exploration travelers could ever want are packed into this ultimate Caribbean itinerary. The 56-day Grand Caribbean Adventure includes 38 ports in 27 countries as Wind Surf makes its way from Philipsburg, St. Maarten through the Greater and Lesser Antilles visiting dozens of diverse island ports enroute to Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and back.
A true highlight for cruise and sailing enthusiasts will be the chance to pass through the century-old Gatun Locks on the way to a day of sailing Gatun Lake with a visit to the Gatun Lake Yacht Club before returning to the Caribbean for more adventure. The ship will be first raised and later lowered approximately 85 feet (26 m.) as it passes through the triple flight of the mighty Gatun Locks made up of three chambers that connect the Atlantic to large Gatun Lake, south of Colón. Wind Surf will sail 21 miles (33 km) of open water across the Isthmus of Panama.
Wind Surf, the world's largest sailing ship with 21,000 feet of sparkling sail cloth, hosts just 310 guests and was recently named by readers of Travel+Leisure magazine as the #1 World's Best Mid-size Ship Ocean Cruise Line in 2018. The Grand Caribbean voyage departs from Philipsburg, St. Maarten on January 4, 2020, and completes the expansive circumnavigation of the Caribbean Sea nearly two months later on Feb. 29. Rates start at $11,924 per person (based on double occupancy) and include complimentary daily laundry.
Star Collector: 3 Americas (39 days, 29 ports, 8 countries)
The 39-day 3 Americas expedition aboard Star Legend takes the full measure of the Americas from Vancouver down the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Mexico and through the Panama Canal, concluding in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A portion of the cruise is a James Beard Foundation culinary themed cruise, exploring delicious cuisine, wine and beer delights all down the coast of the Western United States. The cruise departs on September 24, 2019, with rates starting at $9,999 per person (based on double occupancy).
New! 2 Cruises Sail the Pacific Coast, Mexico & the Sea of Cortez on the All-suite Star Legend
Fishing for the Sea of Cortez (7 days)
Cruise aboard Star Legend from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta. The magical Sea of Cortez is packed with sea life and surrounded by laid-back village culture that charmed John Steinbeck and Jacques Cousteau. It is seven days of seafaring, snorkeling (with sea lions) and fishing that are unforgettable.
Southern Mexico: Fish Tales & Mayan Trails (8 days)
Star Legend carries travelers from Puerto Vallarta to Puerto Caldera on a journey that explores Mayan ruins, volcanic summits and UNESCO-designated cultural and snorkeling sites. This trip pairs the adventure of trekking and snorkeling with a glimpse into an important site in the origin of civilizations.
Cruise rates for the two new itineraries visiting Mexico's Pacific Coast start at $2,499 per person, double occupancy.
More! Caribbean and Latin America – 7 New Itineraries Join Popular Favorites
Windstar's Caribbean season in 2019/20 will return to islands including St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, and St. Bart's with classic itineraries like Classic Caribbean and Yachtsman's Caribbean, but the new cruises below reflect additional offerings for the company. Rates for the cruises below start at $1,799 per person, double occupancy and vary by sail date and destination.
The Spanish Main: Rise of the New World (7 days)
This voyage from Colón, Panama to San Juan, Puerto Rico is perfect for the history buff – whether ancient, colonial or pirate – who loves to snorkel, paddle and hike. Star Legend takes guests to the San Blas Archipelago, accessible only by small ship, and Cartagena, a UNESCO site, jewel of the Spanish Main and re-emergent must-see of South America.
In the Wake of the Spanish Armadas (9 days)
Wind Surf makes its way from Oranjestad, Aruba to Colón, Panama, the cruise route traces the history of Spanish exploration in the region. It will mark the first time Wind Surf has entered the famous Panama Canal and will be the closest this gorgeous ship has ever come to the Pacific Ocean. On this journey, guests can explore the fortresses of Aruba and Cartagena, the engineering triumph of the Panama Canal and the lush rainforest canopies of the region.
Mayan Legacies (8 days)
Travelers are not done with this region until they have explored the uncommon Caribbean along the Gulf of Honduras, from Colón to Cozumel aboard Wind Surf. This is a fantastic voyage for nature adventurers studded with chalk-white beaches, underground waterfalls, up-close encounters with howler monkeys and sea turtles, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and Isla San Andres, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve accessible only to small ships, and capped with some of the most breathtaking sites of Mayan history.
Lush & Lovely Islands of the Lesser Antilles (7 days)
Sail from chic St. Maarten to relaxed Barbados enjoying a mix of must-see Caribbean towns and harbors off the beaten path as the ship sails the royal beauties of the Lesser Antilles islands. Explore colonial history in pastel waterfronts, weathered forts and former sugar plantations. See the Caribbean at its most wild and beautiful on Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Kitts. Join the jetsetters on St. Barts, and make a rare visit to Montserrat, the "Pompeii of the Caribbean."
Stars of the Greater Antilles (11 days)
This cruise from Cozumel to St. Maarten aboard Wind Surf will take guests to magical places that fell off the map and tiny gems that were never on it in the first place. This itinerary explores beyond the crowds and beneath the sea including diving on pirate shipwrecks.
Windward Ways & Tobago Cays (7 days)
This Wind Surf transit from Barbados to Aruba is the perfect adventure for those who put watersports and diving at the top of their Caribbean vacation to-do list. With stops at multiple marine parks including Tobago Cays Marine Park and Bonaire National Marine Park and plenty of beach time, the action is on the ocean. Visits to four colonial towns will indulge guests in a taste of yesteryear.
Dutch Treats Steel Drum Beats (11 days)
Wind Star island-hops the colonial confections of the Dutch Caribbean from St. Maarten through Willemstad and on to Colón. St. Bart's pink-sand beaches and Bonaire's blue tangs keep excursions colorful for guests immersing themselves in the parks, sites, and culture of this itinerary.
On Monday, October 8th 2018, at 08:00 pm AIDA said “Cast off and have a good trip!” to AIDAaura. After the grand send-off with fireworks, the ship sallied forth to its first world cruise. 20 countries and 41 ports are awaiting a visit from the globetrotter. Besides famous and popular destinations, new stops such as South Africa, Namibia, Melbourne, Tasmania and the archipelagos Fiji, Samoa, and New Caledonia are on the schedule.
The first part of her world cruise leads AIDAaura across the equator from Europe to South America. Dream destinations in Brazil and Argentina are awaiting the cruise guests. Alongside the breath-taking coast of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, the route leads to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia.
After a few stops in Chile, the cruise gets exotic. On her way to Australia, AIDAaura visits Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Fiji, where guests get the chance to snorkel with colourful schooling fish, rays and turtles. After landings at New Caledonia, Australia and the wild landscapes of Tasmania, AIDAaura continues its voyage towards Mauritius, crossing the Indian Ocean.
Animal lovers get their money worth at the coast of Africa. Newly included are ports in South Africa and Namibia, which not only inspire with their diversified nature but also offer the opportunity to see The Big Five with your own eyes.
After crossing the equator a second time, ship and guests say ¡Hola! to the Canary Islands, Salut! to Paris and eventually Moin! in Hamburg when, after 117 days, the journey comes to an end on February 2nd 2019.
Carnival Maritime GmbH announced today that Sandra Diana Bratland has been appointed Director, Destination Affairs for Carnival Group Norway, a new representative office in Bergen, as of October 1st.
“Norway is a strategic destination for Carnival’s Brands,” said Remco Buis, Senior Vice President Port Operations & Development at Carnival Maritime,“ and we believe we can ensure better stakeholder engagement and dialogue with relevant institutions through local representation.”
In this newly created role, Bratland will represent all relevant Carnival companies in the region and work closely with all stakeholders on active destination development and further improving sustainable cruise tourism.
Bratland possesses extensive experience on ports and destination related matters and was most recently employed by the Port of Bergen as the Head of Cruise Development after spending almost four years as the Managing Director for Cruise Norway. Other positions include Director of Shore Excursions for European Cruise Services.
Carnival Maritime is the marine service unit for Costa Group, the leading cruise company in Europe and Asia and part of Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest leisure travel company.
American Song, the 1st modern riverboat in U.S. history, departed from the Port of New Orleans this past Saturday, October 6, 2018. "Underway at 100% capacity, this historic new riverboat is off to a great start and is cruising the Mississippi River on its 8-day inaugural sailing between New Orleans and Memphis. American Song’s 184 guests are enjoying an unforgettable cruise with stops at Oak Alley, Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, Natchez, and Vicksburg, arriving in Memphis Friday, October 12th," American Cruise Lines said in a statement.
American Song is the first ship in American Cruise Lines’ new modern riverboat series – the 2nd ship in the series, American Harmony, is already well under construction and will be launched in a few weeks. American Cruise Lines is pleased to offer American Song and its new series of modern riverboats in addition to its current fleet of authentic paddlewheelers.
After this week’s inaugural cruise, American Song will continue to cruise the Mississippi throughout 2018. In 2019, American Song will reposition out West to the Columbia & Snake Rivers and 2nd modern riverboat, American Harmony, will begin cruising the Mississippi.
Equipped with every modern advancement, including a unique bow with a retractable gangway, American Song represents the historic evolution of American Riverboats. Showcasing gorgeous interior design elements, from a five-story glass atrium to spectacular spacious lounges, American Song inspires. Thoughtfully designed to bring the outside world in, American Song boasts sweeping views throughout the ship. With the largest staterooms in the industry, floor-to-ceiling glass doors, and private furnished balconies, American Song is the first ship of its kind available on U.S. Rivers.