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Windstar Cruises Now Has Two Yachts in French Polynesia

Star Breeze
Windstar’s reimagined, new all-suite Star Breeze yacht carrying 312 guests will begin sailings from Papeete on October 17, remaining on a limited engagement until the end of March, 2022.

Windstar Cruises now has two of its six yachts in French Polynesia, making it the biggest small ship cruise line in the region. 

Windstar resumed cruising in French Polynesia and the Islands of Tahiti in July with vaccinated guests + crew aboard the line’s 148-passenger Wind Spirit sailing yacht, which was specifically designed for the region, capturing the South Pacific trade winds in its billowing sails. Windstar has established roots in Tahiti and amongst the local community while operating in the region for four decades. 

Wind Spirit typically sails year-round from Tahiti; however, Windstar’s reimagined, new all-suite Star Breeze yacht carrying 312 guests will begin sailings from Papeete on October 17, remaining on a limited engagement until the end of March, 2022. 

“It gives guests a unique chance to sail in Tahiti on the larger, more amenity-intensive yacht in spacious ocean-view suites,” explained Windstar President Christopher Prelog. “Tahiti and the local Tahitian community are a big part of Windstar’s family, and we are thrilled to have two ships in this amazingly beautiful part of the world for the first time in the company’s history. I am looking forward to a visit soon.

“In addition, Star Breeze’s presence will allow Wind Spirit to receive some planned maintenance and updates from mid-November through February without interrupting options for our guests to celebrate milestones, rekindle a romance, or just spend time with friends and family in this spectacular location,” added Prelog.   

The line’s three all-suite Star Plus Class yachts (Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride) have been undergoing major transformations, with Star Breeze as the first to launch in June. It has two additional dining experiences (one is an outdoor barbecue concept with grilling guru Steven Raichlen and the other a Spanish small plates restaurant from Anthony Sasso, one of the youngest chefs to be recognized by the Michelin Guide), a true spa and fitness center, an elegant infinity pool, and more outdoor deck and dining areas. 

Windstar offers a complimentary private event on their Tahiti cruises: an exclusive beach party and locally sourced feast on one of Bora Bora’s tiny motus, followed by a kinetic fire-dancing performance. It is available on all sailings/both yachts. An aft Watersports Platform lowers into the water on both yachts to allow swimming from the yacht. Guests have free access to use all watersports activities including snorkeling gear, floating mats, kayaks, paddle boards, waterskiing and tubing. 

For more details on Windstar Cruises, visit www.windstarcruises.com

Holland America Line Names Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands Godmother of Rotterdam

Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
Holland America Line Names Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands Godmother of Rotterdam

Holland America Line has announced that when Rotterdam is named next spring, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands will be the ship’s godmother, carrying on a tradition that began in the 1920s.

Holland America Line’s connection to The House of Orange goes back nearly a century to Prince Hendrik launching Statendam III in 1929. Since then, members of the Dutch Royal Family have launched 11 more Holland America Line vessels throughout the years, including Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet who named Prinsendam (1972), Nieuw Amsterdam III (1983), Rotterdam VI (1997) and Oosterdam (2003).

“We are deeply grateful that Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet will once again act as godmother to a Holland America Line ship, carrying on a long tradition with the Royal Family that continues to honor our Dutch roots,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Rotterdam will be named in Rotterdam next year, celebrating its namesake city and our historic connection with the Netherlands. We look forward to commemorating the occasion where it all started for Holland America Line.”

Additional members of the Dutch Royal Family who are godmothers include Queen Máxima, who named Koningsdam in 2016 and Nieuw Amsterdam in 2010. Then-Queen Beatrix served as Eurodam‘s godmother in 2008. Rotterdam V was launched in 1958 by Queen Juliana. Then-Princess Beatrix named Statendam IV in 1957 and Prinses Margriet in 1960. Nieuw Amsterdam II was launched by Queen Wilhelmina in 1937.

Rotterdam‘s maiden cruise departs Oct. 20, 2021, from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and embarks on a 14-day transatlantic journey to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During its inaugural Caribbean season from November to April, Rotterdam will sail a variety of five- to 11-day itineraries that span the southern, western, eastern and tropical regions, all roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. In mid-April, the ship makes a 14-day Atlantic Ocean crossing back to Europe to spend the summer in Norway, the Baltic, British Isles and Iceland, all sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam.

Rotterdam was delivered by the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy July 30, 2021. The date for naming the ship in Rotterdam will be announced in the coming months.

For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel advisor, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit hollandamerica.com.

Quark Expeditions is Heading Back to the Antarctic

It's Official: Quark Expeditions is Heading Back to the Antarctic starting November 25!
It's Official: Quark Expeditions is Heading Back to the Antarctic starting November 25!

Quark Expeditions, the global Leader in Polar Adventures, has confirmed it will resume polar voyages to Antarctica in November, starting with the inaugural voyage of its game-changing new vessel Ultramarine. Quark Expeditions is proud to be one of the first polar operators to return to the Antarctic.

“We’re beyond thrilled to make it official: It’s all systems go for our Antarctic season to launch on November 25, 2021, now that Argentina is opening up its ports and airports to international travelers on November 1,” said Thomas Lennartz, Vice President of Sales at Quark Expeditions. “And we’re doubly excited because our highly-anticipated Antarctic 21/22 season will also be the inaugural sailing season of our technologically-advanced ship Ultramarine, whose maiden voyage will the specially-curated Solar Eclipse 2021: Totality in Antarctica, with South Georgia expedtion.”

While many itineraries in Quark Expeditions’ Antarctic 21/22 season have sold out already, cabins are still available on two one-of-a-kind voyages:

• Essential Patagonia: Chilean Fjords and Torres del Paine: Retrace Charles Darwin’s epic voyage to the “edge of the world” on a 15-day journey into Chile’s spectacular network of fjords and channels.

• Celebrating Shackleton: Journey from Antarctica to South Georgia: This 20-day voyage follows in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–1917), including Elephant Island and wildlife-rich South Georgia.

“All of the voyages in our Antarctic 21/22 season are designed to fulfill the pent-up desires of travelers who’ve long dreamed about exploring the Polar Regions,” said Lennartz. “Thanks to Ultramarine‘s two twin-engine helicopters, 20 quick-deploy Zodiacs, superb onboard amenities—including a spa with floor-to-ceiling windows—and the largest portfolio of off-ship adventure activities in the industry, our guests will celebrate their return-to-travel in the most memorable way possible.”

Learn more about the nine voyages in Quark Expeditions’ Antarctic 21/22 sailing season, and how the Quark Expeditions team is keeping guests safe on their return to polar travel.

Emerald Princess Debuts as Fifth Princess Ship to Return to Service

Emerald Princess Debuts as Fifth Princess Ship to Return to Service

Princess Cruises marked the return to service of the cruise line’s third ship in the U.S. – Emerald Princess – departing yesterday from of the Port of Los Angeles on a 15-day Panama Canal cruise to Ft. Lauderdale. The very first Emerald Princess guests were welcomed onboard by the crew with a special ribbon cutting ceremony.

“Princess has been a part of so many special memories for us,” said Chris and Kathleen Lennon of Monument, CO, the first Emerald Princess guests to board the cruise ship. “This is our 20th cruise and our third time onboard Emerald Princess, and the excitement we felt when we arrived today was overwhelming. It truly feels like coming home.”

Emerald Princess is scheduled to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale on October 30, 2021 and will sail a series of 10-day Panama Canal cruises, roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale through December 2021.

Emerald Princess offers MedallionClass vacations, delivering the ultimate in effortless, personalized cruising. The Medallion is a quarter-sized, wearable device that enables everything from touch-free boarding to locating loved ones anywhere on the ship, as well as enhanced service like having whatever guests need, delivered directly to them, wherever they are on the ship. It’s been recognized as the most advanced wearable device in the global hospitality industry.

Princess Cruises sailings onboard Emerald Princess are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination. All fully vaccinated guests must also produce a negative, medically-observed COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within two days of their embarkation on all Princess sailings. Crew vaccinations are in accordance with CDC guidelines.

For the latest Princess COVID-19 health protocols, please visit https://www.princess.com/plan/cruise-with-confidence/cruise-health/covid-19-guest-protocols/.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel advisor, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at http://www.princess.com/.

An Amazing Array of Dining Options on MSC Cruises’ MSC Meraviglia

MSC Meraviglia
MSC Meraviglia

MSC Cruises owns a rich heritage connected to its Italian roots. The cruise line launched in 1989 in Naples, so passengers naturally expect to get great Italian specialties onboard an MSC cruise.

I discovered that the line’s MSC Meraviglia ship certainly delivers when it comes to pizzas and pastas. But there is also a nice range of other cuisines available across a range of specialty restaurants, as well as at the eateries included in your cruise fare.

I sailed on MSC Meraviglia (launched in 2017) for the first time, on a weeklong roundtrip cruise from Miami, in early October 2021. The ship can carry more than 4,500 passengers, but we were sailing with about 1,500 on our voyage as the cruise industry continues to ramp up its restart after the shutdown because of the pandemic.

We visited Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (twice), Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Nassau, Bahamas, with two sea days mixed in. This itinerary gave me plenty of time to savor all that MSC Meraviglia has to offer when it comes to dining. You have to admit that good food is an essential part of a good cruise.

Let’s check out all the dining options available on MSC Meraviglia.

Included Restaurants

MSC Meraviglia offers four main dining rooms, all serving the same menus of your traditional cruise meals. You’ll find the identically designed and decorated L’Olive Doree and L’Olive D’Oro flanking the hallway entrance to the larger Panorama dining room. These three restaurants on Deck 6 at the aft of the ship offer flexible dining, so you show up when you want. 

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Waves is the main dining room for fixed-time meals (the classic cruise experience for dinner)

A deck below, Waves is the main dining room for fixed-time meals (the classic cruise experience for dinner). These restaurants feature a rotating menu of cruise classics like pasta dishes, steaks and tenderloins, as well as excellent seafood preparations and a variety of vegetarian cuisine, including delicious Indian dishes like butter chicken curry.

The Marketplace Buffet is a solid choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The huge space stretches from midship all the way to al fresco seating outdoors at the aft on Deck 15. There are numerous stations, including a carving station serving up pork loin or turkey and other meats and one with fresh-made pizza. The fresh-made pasta dishes are also a mouth-watering choice.

We especially liked the “Wellness” spot where you can get customized salads and fresh fruits. Other areas offer desserts, breads, burgers and hot dogs and plated salads and fruits. 

You’ll also find a spot featuring ethnic cuisine, such as Chinese or Indian specialties. The Kids and Family counter offers goodies even the adults will enjoy, like chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.

If you book a suite in the MSC Yacht Club, like I did, you get a few more wonderful options for dining included in your cruise fare. The Yacht Club is a ship-within-a-ship concept with staterooms and facilities located on Decks 14 through 19 at the very front of MSC Meraviglia. You get butler service and a dedicated lounge, as well as a menu of other amenities.

For dining, MSC Yacht Club has the Yacht Club Restaurant. This is located within the Yacht Club complex and just steps from your stateroom. The menu rotates nightly and offers a range of dishes in similar fashion to those you would find in the ship’s main dining rooms. The bonus is the more intimate surroundings and the extra-special level of service you get from your staff of servers in the Yacht Club who become like family by the end of your cruise.

One deck up, the Yacht Club Sundeck (with pool, loungers and hot tub) features the Yacht Club Bar and Grill, where you can enjoy breakfasts and lunches outdoors under the sun. Breakfasts offer fresh fruits, yogurts and eggs made to order, and lunches typically have grilled items like vegetables, burgers and chicken as well as a fresh pasta dish and desserts.

On the main Atmosphere Pool deck, you will find a soft-serve ice cream station and a pool grill with burgers, hot dogs and pizza. The pizza on the MSC Meraviglia, by the way, deserves a special shout-out.

We ordered it for in-room dining twice during the week, and our pepperoni and prosciutto and parmesan cheese pies were incredibly tasty, made with a delicious dough.

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A Sample of Taco’s from Hola! Tacos & Cantina located on the Galleria promenade

Specialty Dining

Hola! Tacos & Cantina is located on the Galleria promenade, and this is a delightful eatery featuring Mexican dishes served in the style of street food. The menu is priced a la carte, with tacos, burritos, nachos, guacamole and enchiladas. We had an amazingly tasty lunch, trying all of the taco styles: carne asada, barbacoa, al pastor, chipotle carnitas, ancho tinga and chili fish tacos.

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Chips and Salsa from Hola! Tacos & Cantina located on the Galleria promenade

The restaurant offered an all-you-can-eat special during our sailing for $17.99 a person. This meant anything on the menu and as much as you wanted. The fresh-made salsas are fantastic.

Hola! also has a cantina serving up tequila- or mezcal-infused craft cocktails, as well as a range of Mexican beers.

Ocean Cay specializes in seafood served in an intimate setting. You pay a cover charge for a “Dining Experience” for which you can get an appetizer, main course and a dessert. All items on the menu also are available for a la carte pricing.

Seafood aficionados will love Ocean Cay. Appetizers include Boston lobster, crab claws, oysters, caviar, smoked salmon, king crab, little neck clams, octopus and lump crab cake. For main courses, choose from items like sea bass, tuna, lobster tail and black cod.

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Butcher’s Cut is the steakhouse on MSC Meraviglia

Butcher’s Cut is the steakhouse on MSC Meraviglia. I always look forward to a special meal at the steakhouse while on a cruise, and Butcher’s Cut delivered a hearty and delicious meal, indeed.

Items on the menu are priced a la carte, and that can add up quickly. We recommend the “Dining Experience” package, which gets you a starter, main course and dessert. The menu here offers starters like burrata and beet salad, foie deviled eggs and bone marrow. The steak cuts include filet mignon, N.Y. sirloin and rack of lamb. Roasted corn-fed chicken and wild salmon are also available.

For an added fee, you might like the premium cuts like the dry-aged tomahawk for two, rib-eye, American bison and dry-aged T-bone. Be sure to try the decadent desserts, such as lava cake, cheesecake or peanut butter and milk chocolate cookie.

Butcher’s Cut also offers sea day brunches.

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Kaito Teppanyaki and Kaito Sushi Bar offer popular Japanese selections

Kaito Teppanyaki and Kaito Sushi Bar offer popular Japanese selections. The teppanyaki room gathers diners around the chef in a fun, fast-paced dinner show. The sushi counter features expertly hand-crafted sushi and sashimi delicacies.

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An Amazing Array of Dining Options on MSC Cruises’ MSC Meraviglia 8

Jean-Philippe Maury Crepes and Gelato brings onboard the sweet creations from the renowned chocolatier and pastry chef of the same name. The Jean-Philippe Maury Chocolate and Café shop sits across the promenade from the crepes and gelato eatery. The chocolate and café shop is a stunning museum of chocolate creations, with all kinds of sweets for purchase. 

The creperie and gelato shop offers fruit- and chocolate-topped crepes, as well as a case filled with smooth and creamy gelatos. A menu of sundaes is also available.

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The Brass Anchor Pub is a British-style pub where you can listen to live music and participate in trivia contests and more.

The Brass Anchor Pub is a British-style pub, and I spent every night here listening to live music and participating in trivia contests. This is also where you can watch sports on the TVs at the bar. But I was also surprised to see a selection of delicious bar foods available. 

I’ll tell you, don’t underestimate how satisfying an Angus burger with bacon, caramelized onion and fries or fish and chips can be when you get that late-night hunger. These are just $5 each. You also might like the special hot dog (cheddar cheese sauce, jalapenos, caramelized onion and fries) for $3.

It’s pretty convenient, too, if you but don’t want to leave the bar because you’re settled in and having a good time.

The ship offers a wonderful variety of cuisines, as you can see. But the meals were made even better by the friendly and attentive service we saw throughout our weeklong cruise. It was nice to see how engaged the crew was and eager to make their guests happy, a real reflection of how excited they were to be back after such a long time on the sidelines during the pandemic. 

I hope that this level of service and quality of the meal experience can also be realized over the long term as more and more cruisers return to the MSC Cruises’ ships.

Princess Cruises Announces Ship Restarts for February, March and April 2022

Royal Princess, Leaving Southampton 9th June 2013

Princess is announcing plans for additional ships returning to service in the United States for February, March and April 2022 sailing from Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver and Ft. Lauderdale.

Starting between February 13 and April 22 cruises onboard three additional Princess MedallionClass™ ships will take guests to the Caribbean, Hawaii and the California Coast. Crown Princess, Island Princess and Royal Princess join the eight Princess ships scheduled to restart in 2021, representing 79 percent of Princess’ ship capacity.

  • Crown Princess: On February 13, Crown Princess will join Majestic Princess and Grand Princess for sailings from Los Angeles to the California Coast and Hawaii. Then, Crown Princess will position to Seattle to sail on a couple of Pacific Northwest Coastal voyages and to Hawaii. Crown Princess will also add another Alaska departure with a new 8-day Inside Passage cruise with Glacier Bay starting on April 29, 2022.
  • Island Princess: Travels to the Caribbean starting March 6, from Ft. Lauderdale on a 14-day, 10-day and series of 7-day cruises to the Southern, Eastern and Western Caribbean.
  • Royal Princess: California Coast sailings from Vancouver beginning April 8, 2022

“It has been thrilling to have our guests on board enjoying real vacations in Alaska and on the west coast,” said Deanna Austin, Princess Cruises chief commercial officer. “By April of 2022 we will have 11 of our ships back at sea, with the support of government and port officials, creating vacation memories for our guests.”

Princess cruises sailing through February 2022 are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination. Crew vaccinations will be in accordance with CDC guidelines.

We will continue to monitor the latest guidance from the CDC as well as local, state and federal officials in the ports we sail from and those we visit and will adjust our onboard protocols and vaccination requirements, as necessary. Should our vaccination approach change, we would notify guests prior to final payment.

Medallion Class
Princess Cruises Global Fleet to Feature MedallionClass™

Princess MedallionClass Vacation

All Princess ships offer TrulyTouchless™ experiences that simplifies the guest experience and delivers next-level service supporting new health protocols.

The cruise line’s award-winning OceanMedallion wearable device replaces the traditional cruise card and pairs with embedded IoT (“Internet of things”) -driven innovative technology to significantly expand touch-free options and personalization on board, including:

  • Touchless embarkation and disembarkation
  • Keyless stateroom entry
  • Completely contactless commerce
  • Simplified safety training
  • On-demand food, beverages and retail items delivered anywhere on board
  • Guest service requests via mobile device chat
  • Location-based gaming and wagering
  • Entertainment content via smart devices

Princess ships offers the best Wi-Fi at sea, MedallionNet™, so guests can stay connected to the things and people they love and share vacation memories with ease.

To accommodate this restart, select cruises on Crown Princess will be cancelled.  Guests on these voyages will receive information on their rebooking options.

Cruises can be booked through a professional travel advisor, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS

(1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at www.princess.com.

MSC Cruises Adds Second Ship For World Cruise 2023

MSC Magnifica
MSC Magnifica

MSC Cruises revealed today that a second ship, MSC Magnifica, will be joining MSC Poesia on the MSC World Cruise 2023. The two ships in an industry first will host over 5,000 guests for a journey around the world and they will both depart on Jan. 4, 2023, from Civitavecchia and Jan. 5, 2023, from Genoa, Italy, for simultaneous world cruises, taking different routes around the globe. 

MSC Magnifica will replicate the very same itinerary that was supposed to be performed by MSC Poesia for the MSC World Cruise 2022. The decision was made after careful consideration and assessment to cancel the

2022 World Cruise, as it would not have been possible to carry it out due to there being too many ports still facing restrictions as a result of the pandemic. MSC Magnifica will provide a solution to guests impacted by this to have an alternative for their journey of a lifetime.

“Unfortunately we had no choice, but to cancel the 2022 MSC World Cruise; however, we know that a world cruise really is the voyage of a lifetime for many people and so it was important to us to offer the best possible solution for our loyal guests. MSC Poesia’s World Cruise in 2023 was already sold out and so we worked to amend MSC Magnifica’s schedule, a popular world cruise ship, so that we are able to offer the same itinerary as 2022, only one year later, with the ship departing on the same date and calling at all of the same planned ports.”, said Gianni Onorato.

Sales for MSC Magnifica’s World Cruise 2023 are now open and guests booked on the MSC World Cruise 2022 will be contacted shortly and given priority in re-booking their existing reservation on MSC Magnifica. For those guests who move their booking to 2023, as a measure of gratitude, the guest will be able to book a complimentary cruise between Jan. 1 and May 3, 2022, so that they can still enjoy a cruise vacation during this period[1]. MSC Poesia’s World Cruise 2023 is already sold out and has a waiting list, so this also provides an opportunity for those guests to sail on MSC Magnifica.

MSC Poesia and MSC Magnifica will set sail together in 2023 with embarkation in Civitavecchia (Jan. 4) Genoa, Italy (Jan. 5), Marseille, France (Jan. 6), and Barcelona, Spain (Jan. 7). This will be a very special celebratory moment for MSC Cruises’ guests on the two ships as they prepare to set sail around the world. 

Once they cross the Mediterranean Sea, the ships will part ways in the Atlantic Ocean. MSC Magnifica will circumnavigate South America, cross the South Pacific Ocean, then on to the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and through the spectacular Suez Canal back into the Mediterranean Sea.

MSC Poesia on the other hand, will travel the Panama Canal and up the West Coast of Central America and North America whilst moving on to the Pacific Ocean and then an extended period in Asia. Crossing the Indian Ocean, the ship will then return to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal.

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MSC Magnifica Pool

MSC Magnifica’s World Cruise Itinerary

MSC Magnifica will visit 43 stunning destinations in 24 countries with more than 25 UNESCO World Heritage sites across five continents. The spectacular 117-day voyage offers nine extended overnight stays and the ship will cross the equator twice.

Starting out in the Mediterranean the ship will head southwest from via calls in Lisbon in Portucal and Funchal Island, Madeira Island, then on to Mindelo, Cape Verde, where the ship will cross the equator, arriving to South America. Here, 11 unforgettable destinations await across Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile, including two days in each of Rio de Janeiro – the world-famous beach-lined city in Brazil; Buenos Aires, the Argentinian capital famed for its Latin art collection; and Ushuaia, Argentina – with breath-taking scenery and nature. 

Departing South America and crossing the South Pacific Ocean, guests will visit the exotic, paradise islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia and Rarotonga & Aitutaki of the Cook Islands. The itinerary continues to New Zealand and Australia for destinations including Auckland, Napier, and Wellington, as well as two days in Sydney to experience everything this metropolitan-meets-beach city and all its sights have to offer.

More exploration awaits in the secluded beaches of Lifou & Mare islands in New Caledonia, Alotau with their turquoise waters, then Papua New Guinea before heading to the island of Lombok in Indonesia, Singapore and Port Klang for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Before reaching the incredible Suez Canal transit, guests can tick off more unforgettable destinations including Colombo, Sri Lanka and two days to take in the sights, smells and tastes of Mumbai, India, before reaching Salalah, Oman and Aqaba, Jordan for the ancient site of Petra.

With no more than four consecutive sea days, guests will enjoy a total of nine overnight calls in ports including Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Ushuaia (Argentina), Valparaiso (Chile), Callao (Peru), Papeete (Tahiti), Sydney (Australia), Benoa (Indonesia) and Mumbai (India), allowing plenty of time to explore these stunning destinations and enjoying an evening ashore.

MSC Cruises is known for offering an incredible choice of shore excursions designed to suit all tastes, giving guests the freedom to make the most of every moment ashore. The 2023 MSC World Cruise is no exception, with 15 shore excursions included in the cost of the cruise ticket. Other excursions can be booked both in advance or during the cruise – more information about shore excursions will be available soon.

Guests will sail in style and comfort on MSC Magnifica during this incredible voyage around the world with the cruise ticket also including:

  • Beverage package
  • 15 shore excursions
  • 30% discount on laundry

Voyagers Club members booking the MSC World Cruise 2023 will receive an extra 5% discount and Silver, Gold and Diamond members will enjoy a €/$ 50 per person on onboard credit this is on top of their usual 5% discount. This offer is valid until Nov. 30, 2021. Members booking the World Cruise 2023 will also be credited triple membership points for the type of experience chosen. These points will be assigned at the time of booking.

To find out more about the 2023 World Cruise on MSC Magnifica, visit: https://www.msccruises.com/en-gl/Cruise-Destinations/MSC-World-Cruise-2023.aspx

MSC Seashore Will Be Officially Named At Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

MSC Seashore
MSC Seashore

MSC Cruises has revealed that their latest flagship, MSC Seashore will be officially named at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in The Bahamas on Nov. 18, making this the first Naming Ceremony for a cruise ship to be held at a private island. The event will be attended by travel advisors and media as well as other key Company stakeholders. Departing Miami on Nov. 17, invitees will be able to get a first look at the new ship – the newest and most innovative vessel to be deployed out of Miami this coming season – before she starts her inaugural 7-night cruise and U.S. season on November 20 and make the most of the endless on board entertainment and activities, as well as an incredible choice of bars and restaurants.

As with every new MSC Cruises ship, Hollywood royalty Sophia Loren will perform the important role of Godmother as she officially names her 16th MSC Cruises ship. The festivities will take place both on board and on the island as the ship will remain docked throughout the night, with a gala dinner, live entertainment and more.
The naming of MSC Seashore will see the formal inauguration of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, which opened in late 2019 and closed shortly thereafter due to the pandemic. The island has since gone through further work and significant improvements and this is an opportunity for MSC Cruises to showcase the island to the invitees on this occasion. 

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to launch our newest ship in Miami and celebrate it’s naming in Ocean Cay, as a further demonstration of our commitment to and investment in the U.S. market. Not only have we expanded our footprint in Florida by now offering two homeports with PortMiami and Port Canaveral to make our cruises even more accessible, but we’re also elevating the U.S. guest experience by bringing some of our best and most innovative ships for our North American guests. It is also no coincidence that Ocean Cay will be central to our celebrations next month. We can’t wait for more guests to see firsthand what makes the island so special.” said Ruben Rodriguez, President of MSC Cruises USA.

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Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve Photo credit: Conrad Schutt

MSC Cruises’ Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve opened at the end of 2019 and the former industrial sand extraction site was restored to a pristine island with a flourishing 64-square mile marine reserve. This private island destinationexists in harmony with the local ecosystem and is founded on a strong commitment to the restoration of marine resources and the ongoing conservation of existing marine life, including habitats and species present in the area.This includes the restoration of endangered corals, and the implementation of other conservation and educational programs.

Offering more than two miles of white sandy beaches surrounded by endless sweeping vistas of crystal blue waters, guests can soak up the vibrant spirit of The Bahamas. All MSC Cruises ships out of Miami and Port Canaveral call at Ocean Cay and often remain at the island until late in the evening or overnight, giving guests plenty of time to discover everything that the island has to offer.

During the day there are plenty of ways to make the most of the island – relax on the beach in a private cabana or indulge in a treatment in the spa, try some water sports or other activities as part of the shore excursions program, browse the shops to buy a unique souvenir or spend time in the different bars and food venues around the island with the ultimate ocean backdrop. As the ships dock directly at the island, guests can easily go back on board at their leisure and come back in the evening to enjoy the nighttime festivities that include a beach party with DJ as well as a traditional junkanoo parade topped off by a stunning light show from the Lighthouse.

MSC Seashore, NEW Infinity Pool
MSC Seashore, NEW Infinity Pool

MSC Seashore Highlights & New Features

MSC Seashore is the first Seaside EVO ship, an evolution and enrichment of the game-changing and pioneering Seaside class designed in the style of Miami beach-front condos. This class of ship is renowned for its innovative and glamourous design features and is intended to connect guests with the sea. MSC Seashore offers a host of brand-new features, venues and experiences for guests as 65% of the public areas have been reimagined to take the guest experience to a whole new level. The ship offers 140,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space (the most of any ship in the fleet) with a whole host of ways to enjoy the outer decks whether lounging by a pool, sipping on a cocktail in one of the bars or simply sitting on the balcony of the cabin.
Some of the key highlights include:

  • The largest most luxurious MSC Yacht Club – the all-inclusive ‘ship within a ship’ premium concept
  • Five specialty restaurants housed in the stylish Chef’s Court on deck 8 with two elegant bars for pre- and post-dinner cocktails plus al fresco dining for The Butcher’s Cut
  • brand-new lounge, Cabaret Rouge, spanning two decks with panoramic views of the sea, offering new entertainment experiences
  • Six stunning swimming pools with an enlarged indoor pool, a new interactive waterpark and a spectacular new aft Infinity Pool
  • The exclusive Top 19 Solarium with its chic outdoor lounge area and bar for Aurea guests
  • 12,215-square-foot casino with 182 slot machines, 12 tables and the latest gaming technology
  • Times Square with an LED wall spanning four decks with a projection of this iconic Manhattan attraction. Dueling pianos bring the area to life, playing popular hits as guests join in the countdown to watch a New Year’s Eve-inspired ball drop spanning a different decade every night

First Cruise Ship To Feature Fincantieri Developed ‘Safe Air’

MSC Seashore is the first cruise ship in the world to feature a new air sanitation system developed by Fincantieri. ‘Safe Air’, uses UV-C lamp technology eliminating 99% of viruses and bacteria to guarantee clean and safe air for guests and crew. 100% fresh air is used on board and there is no recirculation of air.

MSC Cruises’ Third U.S. Based Cruise Ship

MSC Seashore will become the third MSC Cruises ship based in the U.S and the Company is offering a range of different length cruises from mini cruises, regular 7 night sailings through to longer cruises of 8-night and 11-nights. New for this season is Port Canaveral where MSC Divina began operating in September.

This new homeport is convenient and easily accessible and is close to popular attractions and major cities like Orlando, Tampa and South Florida for those wishing to make the most out of their holiday either before or after the cruise.

When MSC Seashore arrives, MSC Meraviglia will move to Port Canaveral for the rest of the season and MSC Divina will move to PortMiami.

For summer 2022, MSC Seashore will remain in Miami offering cruises for summer 2022, along with MSC Divina out of Port Canaveral.

Captain Kate McCue To Take The Helm Of Celebrity Cruises’ Newest Ship – Celebrity Beyond

Captain Kate McCue
Captain Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain, watches as construction continues on Celebrity Beyond at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France

Exciting news today, as Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo announced Captain Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain, will take the helm of Celebrity BeyondSM, the company’s third ship in its industry-transforming Edge Series debuting in spring 2022.

The dynamic and decorated captain will usher in a new era for the new-luxury brand, sailing a ship brought to life by a dream team of modern lifestyle icons including multi-award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE; celebrated American designer Nate Berkus; the culinary gifts of Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud; and featuring wellness experiences and products from goop CEO and founder Gwyneth Paltrow, the brand’s Well-Being Advisor.

For Captain Kate, the seed to be a captain was planted following a cruise the then-12-year-old McCue took with her family. She told her father that she wanted to be a cruise director when she grew up. His advice to her was that she could do anything she wanted, including captaining the ship.

Captain Kate McCue To Take The Helm Of Celebrity Cruises' Newest Ship - Celebrity Beyond | 19
Captain Kate – Captain of Celebrity Beyond

Since that time Captain Kate has been a pioneer and trailblazer, breaking the gender barrier in 2015 when Lutoff-Perlo named her to be the first — and still only — American female to captain a major cruise ship – Celebrity Summit. She moved to Celebrity Equinox before being appointed to helm the exquisite Celebrity Edge® in September 2019. On March 8, 2020, McCue further cemented her place in the history books when she captained the history-making, barrier-breaking sailing on Celebrity Edge that comprised a cruise ship’s first-ever all-female bridge and officer team.

Captain Kate also led the Celebrity fleet – and the industry – back into operation when, on June 26, 2021, Celebrity Edge became the first cruise ship to sail with guests from a U.S. port in more than a year due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a day that I’ve been waiting for since we made the first cut of steel on our beautiful Celebrity Beyond. Captain Kate has transcended what it means to be a captain as a voice and example of inclusivity, diversity, and change,” said Lutoff-Perlo.  “She constantly thinks about how she can go above and beyond, mirroring the exceptional design and imagination of the ship she will captain. I’m beyond excited to see her take our guests to locations that will open their eyes to the beauty of the world around them and experience travel on a new-luxury ship without comparison.”

Since taking on the mantle of captain, McCue has inspired others to shoot for the stars and encouraged people from all walks of life to follow their dreams. The endearing and charismatic McCue has also become a social media celebrity, amassing nearly 3.5 million followers across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube by humanizing the profile of captain and sharing behind the scenes looks at seafaring life.

“To be the ‘take out’ captain for a new vessel is an honor for any captain and it is an absolute dream come true for me. I always say that if you see it, you can be it and I hope that Celebrity Beyond sails as an inspiration for all to see past convention in pursuit of any goal in life,” said Captain Kate McCue. “I’m forever grateful to Lisa for entrusting this labor of love to me to captain. The thoughtfulness and imagination she put into this ship is only matched by her forward thinking to move the industry beyond what it is now and see what it should be.”

Celebrity Beyond will not only hold the title of the largest ship in the fleet, but the distinction as the brand’s most luxurious vessel.

Celebrity Beyond stands at 17 decks high and 21 meters longer than her innovative predecessors Celebrity Edge (2018) and Celebrity Apex (2020). Every element of Celebrity Beyond’s look and feel has been carefully curated with newly imagined spaces and expanded versions of the brand’s popular signature spaces, including:

  • The Retreat, an exclusive area for suite guests, now featuring a two-story sundeck
  • Transformational accommodations, from modern two-story villas with plunge pools to staterooms with infinite verandas, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living
  • An expanded Rooftop Garden and stunning resort deck featuring cantilevered float pools
  • A stunning multi-level, multi-terraced Sunset Bar that defines the ship’s aft
  • A first-ever Daniel Boulud fine-dining restaurant at sea called Le Voyage
  • A redesigned Grand Plaza spanning three decks and creating an airiness never-before experienced on a cruise ship
  • And, the Magic Carpet®, an engineering feat soaring cantilevered above the sea, offering guests uninterrupted vistas while sipping cocktails or having dinner.

Celebrity Beyond‘s maiden voyage will depart on April 27, 2022, from Southampton, England, for a 10-night Western Europe cruise visiting Bordeaux, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Seville, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain.

She will then offer a variety of Mediterranean journeys including nine-night Italian Riviera and France itineraries and 10-night Greek Isles itineraries through early October, when she then heads to the Caribbean. Voyages are on sale now.

For more information on all Celebrity Beyond inaugural 2022-2023 season sailings, visit https://www.celebritycruises.com/cruise-ships/celebrity-beyond

How You Can Easily – and Properly – Plan the Best Weekend Party Ever

How You Can Easily – and Properly – Plan the Best Weekend Party Ever

Many of us have busy and hectic weekdays, and once the weekend comes, we want nothing more than to relax and have a little bit of fun. Most everyone looks forward to the weekend, and if you’ve been itching to relax with your friends and get some well-deserved rest, what’s better than a weekend party? Weekend parties are great because they give you a chance to bond with your mates in a different setting, and you can have an entire house all to yourself! But planning and organising a weekend party isn’t for the faint-hearted – there’s a lot to consider and do, for sure. It doesn’t have to be all that difficult, however. With the right know-how and resources, your weekend party should be a roaring success. Here, then, is how you can easily – and adequately – plan the best weekend party ever.

  • Make your list of guests. Your guest list will determine your venue, after all, because your venue or accommodations should be big enough to fit everyone you intend to invite. 
  • Set the date with everyone in mind. Once you have decided whom to invite, set the date with them to ensure that everyone on your list can attend. 
  • Once everyone has said yes, and you have confirmed your list, look for a place where you can all stay. Party houses to rent are plentiful, and some areas are pretty amazing – including Cornwall, Suffolk, Gloucestershire, and more. You should also make a list of the amenities you’d like your party house to have, whether it’s a good kitchen, a pool, games rooms, a hot tub, and so on. Your chosen venue should have the appropriate number of rooms for your guests, and ask your guests whether they would room with someone or would prefer to stay alone.
  • Think about the accommodation’s accessibility and consider how your guests will get there – be it by car, rail, or even plane. 
  • When you’ve made arrangements for the accommodation and venue, determine your supplies, e.g., food and drinks. Your supplies will also depend on the number of guests, whether you decide to cook or prepare dishes or hire a caterer. Don’t forget snacks, either – lots of crisps and drinks plus fresh fruits are always welcome.
  • If your weekend party has a theme, it would be better to get a volunteer to handle it. They can work on the entertainment and games, if any, and make sure to inform everyone about the theme.
  • It would be good to arrive at the place the night before or on the morning of the event. This way, you can fix the details and make sure everything is according to plan.

If you want your weekend party to be a great success, hire a DJ. They can take charge of the music and get everyone’s heart pumping. You can hire a band for an evening, too, but make sure they play the kind of music you and your guests would want! Here’s another pro tip: if you want your party to be extra spectacular, choose a place with the best facilities that can allow your guests to unwind at their leisure, whether it’s a great indoor pool, a sauna, a tennis court, a lovely garden, gorgeous views, and more.