Princess Cruises To Name Fifth Royal-Class Ship ‘Enchanted Princess’

Princess Cruises announced today its fifth Royal-Class ship will be named Enchanted Princess.

Enchanted Princess is scheduled to launch on June 15, 2020 sailing on a series of European voyages and will be a sister ship to Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess and Sky Princess (joining the fleet in October 2019).

Enchanted Princess’ maiden season sailings will be available to book from November 8, 2018.

Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said: “The name Enchanted Princess is captivating and conveys the elegance and grace of our new ship which will introduce more travellers to the pleasures and value of cruising. We are certain Enchanted Princess will exceed the expectations of our guests, ensuring they have the most memorable cruise.” 

Enchanted Princess will be followed by the debut of the sixth Royal-Class ship for Princess Cruises in 2021. The cruise line also has two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ships on order to be delivered in late 2023 and spring 2025, bringing its new ship order to five ships in six years.

Construction of the 143,700-tonne, 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess will take place in the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard with the ship set to feature an evolution of the design platform used for the cruise line’s existing Royal-Class ships.

Princess Cruises currently operates a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, sailing to over 380 destinations across all 7 continents. 

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Posted in Cruise News, Princess Cruises

P&O Cruises Will Drop Daily Service Charge From May 2019

P&O Cruises has announced that it will dropping the daily discretionary service charge.

The change will come into effect across the fleet on cruises sailing from May 2019.

For all cruises departing in 2019 on or after cruise numbers A911, B912, E911/A, J903, N910, R907, X907 the discretionary daily Service Charge on board will be removed.

P&O Cruises’ senior vice president Paul Ludlow said: “We take huge pride in giving guests a holiday experience that’s truly memorable and special. By removing the daily discretionary service charge, P&O Cruises will make enjoying a cruise holiday an effortless experience, knowing that great service comes as standard.”

At present, a £7 daily charge is automatically added to the onboard account of each guest.

This is big news for fans of P&O Cruises!

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Announces 2020-2021 Itineraries

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has revealed its 2020-2021 itineraries, which showcase 167 sailings including maiden calls to 11 new ports across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, four newly-released Grand Voyages and new pre-and post-cruise land tours and accommodations for luxury ocean travellers. The company’s 2020-2021 season opens for bookings today, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018.

What’s New:

New ports of call include La Rochelle, France; Stornoway (Hebrides), Scotland; Aalborg, Denmark; Phu My (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam; Lecce (Otranto), Italy; Crotone (Calabria), Italy; Siracusa (Sicily), Italy; Porto Empedocle (Sicily), Italy; Porto Torres (Sardinia), Italy; and Cabo Frio, Brazil.

Free enriching two-to-three night pre- or post-voyage land-based tour programmes are included on 21 select voyages in all suite categories in destinations including Buenos Aires, Lima, Cape Town, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Bali and Auckland.

Seven Seas Explorer® sails to Asia and Alaska for the first time. Seven Seas Voyager® visits Lecce, Crotone, Siracusa, Porto Empedocle and Porto Torres, Italy and Cabo Frio, Brazil, for the first time. Seven Seas Mariner will sail 117 nights on her World Cruise from Miami to Barcelona. She also calls on a new port, Esmeraldas, Ecuador.

Seven Seas Splendor sails to Havana, Cuba nine times in her inaugural year, the most visits by a Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship to the island.

Four new Grand Voyages include a 91-Night Grand Arctic Discovery, 68-Night Grand Cape Horn Adventure, 76-Night Grand Spice Route Quest, and 61-Night Grand Asia Exploration.

In total, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2020-2021 season features its most overnight stays ever — 114 — and provides access to 352 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Itinerary Highlights By Ship:

Seven Seas Splendor

Guests will be surrounded by the highest levels of elegance, comfort and hospitality as they sail aboard the new, highly anticipated Seven Seas Splendor as she perfects luxury. Seven Seas Splendor’s Inaugural Europe Collection features the Greek Isles, French Riviera, Iberian Peninsula, United Kingdom and more. As guests explore the intimate new ship, they can also discover up to 95 UNESCO World Heritage Sites off-ship including the City of Rhodes and the Painted Churches in the Troodos Region of Cyprus.

Seven Seas Splendor will then cross to the Caribbean for winter 2020-2021. Nine of her Caribbean voyages call on Havana, Cuba, three of which are overnights, allowing guests to immerse in the fascinating history of this unique island.

Seven Seas Explorer

Seven Seas Explorer sails Northern Europe and the Mediterranean during summer 2020. The season includes two roundtrip Southampton voyages: one traditional circumnavigation of the United Kingdom and one calling on Spain and France, including an overnight in Bordeaux.

  • Her first-ever Asia voyages include a roundtrip Tokyo voyage on April 6, 2021 and the full collection includes overnight stays in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Osaka.
  • Seven Seas Explorer will then sail Alaska for the first time during summer 2021.
  • New ports of call include La Rochelle, France; Stornoway (Hebrides), Scotland; Aalborg, Denmark, and Phu My (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam.

Seven Seas Voyager

Seven Seas Voyager will spend summer 2020 sailing the Mediterranean.

On her November 14, 2020 voyage, she returns to Africa calling on Dakar, Senegal; Banjul, Gambia; Abidjan, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana; Lomé, Togo; São Tomé; Walvis Bay, Namibia; and Cape Town, South Africa.

In early 2021, she returns to South America for the first time in almost a decade, visiting Chile, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, and the iconic coastal cities of Brazil.

New ports of call include Lecce (Otranto), Italy, Crotone (Calabria), Italy, Siracusa (Sicily), Italy, Porto Empedocle (Sicily), Italy, Porto Torres (Sardinia), Italy, and Cabo Frio, Brazil.

Seven Seas Mariner

Seven Seas Mariner will sail Alaska during summer 2020. Two voyages are 10 or more nights and include calls on ports including Victoria, British Columbia and Wrangell, Alaska — ports not visited during shorter, seven-night voyages.

South American voyages include overnights in Lima (Callao), Peru; Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, Argentina; and Manaus (Amazon River), Brazil. Before sailing into the Amazon, she’ll call on a new port, Esmeraldas, Ecuador. She’ll then sail north to the Mexican Riviera and the Caribbean.

Seven Seas Mariner will sail 117 nights on her World Cruise from Miami to Barcelona departing on January 5, 2021. She visits six continents, 30 countries and 61 ports across South America, French Polynesia, Australia, Asia and the Mediterranean, including 11 overnight stays.

Seven Seas Navigator

The voyages on May 22, June 5 and June 15, 2020, feature late spring/early summer calls on Canadian and New England ports.

Seven Seas Navigator will then spend the summer sailing through Northern Europe including the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Russia and more.

Following a trans-Atlantic crossing, she’ll then call upon Bermuda, the Caribbean and the South Pacific in 2021.

 

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Posted in Cruise News, Regent Seven Seas

Princess Cruises Introduces Tea And Coffee Making Facilities In All Sapphire Princess Staterooms

Princess Cruises has recently equipped the 2,670-guest Sapphire Princess with kettles and tea and coffee making facilities in all staterooms. As the main Princess ship sailing from the UK both this year and in 2019, the new amenities onboard will appeal to the British market and in particular their taste for tea.

Sapphire Princess underwent an extensive two-week refit earlier this year, which included the introduction of a new luxury bed in every stateroom. The new in-cabin tea and coffee making facilities will further enhance each room.

Guests on Sapphire Princess and all other Princess ships can also continue to order complimentary tea and coffee in their stateroom via the onboard 24hr room service. 

Sapphire Princess is currently sailing roundtrip out of Southampton up to October 2018, followed by an April to October season in 2019. A variety of voyages are on offer, largely to the Mediterranean and northern Europe, as well as a 24-day Canada & New England voyage in 2019.

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises’ vice president UK and Europe, said: “We fully appreciate how much Brits all enjoy drinking tea and coffee. While it’s still easy enough for guests to order complimentary hot drinks via room service or our onboard restaurants, introducing kettles will give them an extra coffee and tea-making option when it’s time to rise and shine or they’re sitting back and relaxing in their stateroom or balcony.”

 

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Entertainment With An Edge: Celebrity Cruises Unveils Its Most Technologically Advanced Theatre

With its transformational design, Celebrity Edge is poised to raise the bar on modern luxury travel to even greater heights, and the entertainment on board is just as game-changing as the ship itself. On Celebrity Edge, guests will experience the brand’s most technologically advanced main theatre, the most production shows of any ship in the brand’s history, the largest cast of world-class performers on any premium cruise ship, and more entertainment venues than ever before.

INTRODUCING THE THEATRE – A FEAT WORTHY OF A STANDING OVATION

The Theatre on Celebrity Edge throws away the curtain altogether, blurring the line between audience and performance and immersing guests in an entertainment experience like no other. With four stage areas and three gigantic, moving projection screens, The Theatre offers an ever-changing canvas for the productions.

The main stage extends into the audience creating a theatre-in-the-round. A duo-directional rotating platform rises almost seven feet above the stage to take performances to a whole new level. With two rotating spiral staircases, 10 synchronised panoramic projection screens, 16 state-of-the-art video mapping laser projectors, aerial performance rigging, and more, the technology behind the scenes will, at times, steal the show.

To help create an industry-leading theatre space, Celebrity Cruises turned to award-winning architect and designer Scott Butler, founding partner of Wilson Butler Architects, a firm known for designing some of the most innovative arts and entertainment venues in the world.

To make all of The Theatre’s technology run like clockwork, Celebrity Cruises has collaborated with TAIT, a leader in the stage automation business. The entire stage performs a precise synchronisation of rotating stage platforms, rain curtains, spiralling staircases, flying aerial rigs, and the tallest projection screens at sea. TAIT’s automation is coupled with the visions of the UK-based Black Skull Creative group, who’ve created contemporary shows and experiences around the world, including the 2012 London Olympics. Celebrity Cruises has also teamed up with Three In One Entertainment and Consulting, whose creative successes include INFERNO: The Fire Spectacular in Las Vegas.

At The Theatre, guests can enjoy five new full production shows, including the Shakespeare-inspired A Hot Summer Night’s Dream, where light-hearted theatre meets extraordinary acrobatics; The Jewelry Box, with its jaw-dropping technological feats; Kaleidoscope, a high-energy music and dance extravaganza harnessing the stage’s state-of-the-art technology; and two shows as part of Celebrity Cruises’ new Headline Residency program – Get Up, a dynamic pop concert produced by Black Skull Creative, and The Purpose, an uplifting production designed to celebrate the inner self.

WELCOME TO THE CLUB

Brought to life once again in collaboration with the visionaries behind Celebrity Edge’s Eden – Butler and famed designer and architect Patricia Urquiola – The Clubon Celebrity Edge is a progressive space that changes its persona throughout the day and night.

During the day, The Club offers experiences such as the Funovation Laser Maze Challenge, the Drone Hunting laser obstacle course, and more.

At night, The Club undergoes yet another transformation. Undercover at The Club puts a contemporary spin on the Prohibition era with 20’s-inspired craft cocktails and an aerial saxophonist. The futuristic body scanner of Andromeda allows guests to become someone else for the evening. And Celebrity Cruises’ HypnoCam Experience is a first-at-sea dance party featuring a high-tech camera that’s passed around to capture photos, which are instantly displayed on a giant LED screen.

NEVER THE SAME CAMP TWICE

On Celebrity Edge, the brand takes its fully customisable Camp at Sea programme to the next level for younger travellers of all ages with more than 500 activities, including Celebrity Cruises’ first youth coding experience at sea, its innovative STEM programme, and two completely separate contemporary spaces, one for the kids and one for the teens.

ENTERTAINMENT EVERYWHERE

Celebrity Cruises has infused entertainment throughout the ship. At the Rooftop Garden, guests can enjoy experiences such as the Rooftop Concert Series and the Garden Cinema Series, the next evolution of the brand’s Taste of Film experience that’s an under-the-stars movie experience with live musical performances.

The iconic Eden will feature evolving entertainment as the space transforms from a “chillful” escape in the mornings to “playful” in the afternoons to “sinful” at night. Daytime experiences include Meditation at Eden and performances from sitar players to aerialists. As dusk falls, Eve at Eden begins. Developed in partnership with Variety Worldwide, this theatrical journey will indulge every sense and put guests at the centre of the experience, for a fusion of culinary exploration, performance art and nightlife – like nothing else at sea, or even on land.

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Posted in Celebrity Cruises, Cruise News

Oceania Cruises Announces OceaniaNEXT Initiative

Oceania Cruises has announced its OceaniaNEXT initiative, a sweeping array of dramatic enhancements designed to elevate every facet of the guest experience.  The first initiative to be undertaken is the $100 million re-inspiration of the line’s four 684-guest ships (Regatta, Insignia, Sirena, and Nautica) that will result in four better than new ships.  Each will emerge from the re-inspiration process with 342 brand new designer suites and staterooms and stunning new décor in the restaurants, lounges and bars, inspired by the line’s 450 ports of call.

Insignia will be the first to debut on 7th December 2018, followed by Sirena in May 2019, Regatta in September 2019 and Nautica in June 2020.

At the helm of the dramatic refurbishment is Studio DADO, a Miami-based design and concept studio specialising in luxury residential and hospitality design.

Surprisingly New, Delightfully Familiar

With the line’s acclaimed Marina and Riviera as their muses, Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and Sirena will feature richly appointed and stylish new interiors that showcase the best of residential design. Furnishings from Baker and Donghia along with fabrics from Rubelli and Kravet will adorn the public spaces, with new richly-hued custom-milled carpets lining the floors.

Effortless style in an elegant atmosphere will be the defining characteristics of the Reception Hall and Upper Hall.  A sparkling new Grand Staircase framed by intricate railings and balustrades inset with crystal accents will welcome guests onboard. Overhead, a crowning grand chandelier adorned with hanging pieces of smoked and hand-painted glass, will set the space aglow.

The Grand Dining Room will feature buttery soft cream leather dining chairs accented with metallic bronze threading to catch the light from the stunning new crystal chandelier, which will be the room’s defining centrepiece.

Martinis becomes anew with a palette inspired by the stunning coastline of Santorini featuring hues of deep Grecian blue, sienna and chocolate browns and stately pewter. Silver-white marble and tobacco quartz will accent the bar while the trademark walnut panelling adds lustre and whispers of familiarity.

All-New Suites and Staterooms

Wanting guests to feel at home while away from home, the luxurious brand-new staterooms and suites will be lighter, brighter and even more spacious. Stripped down to their studs, every ounce of the re-inspired accommodations will be modernised, featuring custom-crafted furnishings, exotic stone and polished wood finishes and designer accessories, creating a harmonious celebration of style and comfort.

For convenience, USB ports will be incorporated in each of the staterooms, as well as a state-of-the art television system with movies on demand in multiple-languages, live stations and a programme guide, plus itinerary information and weather updates.

Lustrous New Bathrooms

Every fixture and surface of the bathrooms will be new, with designer fixtures, perfect lighting, lavish vanities and chic glass shower enclosures. Penthouse, Vista and Owner’s Suites bathrooms become true luxury retreats, offering more space outfitted with Carrara marble, polished granite and sleek onyx.

Re-Inspiration By The Numbers

  • $100 Million Dollars
  • 1,368 New Suites and Staterooms
  • 1,400 New Marble Bathrooms
  • 8,000 New Light Fixtures
  • 12,000 New Sofas and Chairs
  • 1,000+ Artisans and Craftsmen

FOUR RE-INSPIRED SHIPS

OceaniaNEXT is a sweeping array of dramatic enhancements so transformational, they are inspirational.  The Regatta-Class re-inspiration is the first in a line of exciting announcements and enhancements to come in 2018, 2019 and beyond.  This ambitious brand initiative will elevate every facet of the Oceania Cruises guest experience to new levels.  From thoughtfully crafted new dining experiences and reimagined menus to the dramatic re-inspiration of the iconic Regatta-Class ships, guests will savour The Finest Cuisine at Sea, be pampered aboard intimate and luxurious ships and be enriched through in-depth destination exploration.

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Posted in Cruise News, Oceania Cruises

Enjoy A Dose Of Winter Sun With Holland America Line

With the guarantee of warm climates and even warmer hospitality, it’s easy to see why the allure of the Caribbean now attracts almost 10 million cruise travellers each year. A cruise is the ideal way to experience different destinations and it also offers guests the opportunity to find their favourite Caribbean island.

Holland America Line’s carefully crafted itineraries blend the region’s most popular ports with dozens of fascinating but less-visited gems, such as Oranjestad in Aruba and Cienfuegos in Cuba. There are itineraries from three to 21 days, in the Southern, Western or Eastern Caribbean, as well as some including Cuba and the Panama Canal. With Holland America Line, visitors may discover these tropical gems in greater depth through inside stories, regional cuisine, and authentic destination experiences.

What’s more guests travelling to the Caribbean with Holland America Line can enjoy exclusive access to Half Moon Cay. Located in The Bahamas, the award-winning and privately-owned island by Holland America Line gets its name from the island’s spectacular mile-long, crescent-shaped white sandy beach. Most of this 2,400-acre island is a nature preserve and privileged guests can enjoy activities such as horseback riding in the surf, snorkelling, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, bicycling, private cabanas and villas, and more.

Below is a selection of Holland America Line’s newest Caribbean cruises with availability:

7-night Western Caribbean on new ship Nieuw Statendam

Be amongst the first guests to sail on the newest ship to join the fleet, Nieuw Statendam, as she spends her inaugural season exploring the golden beaches and sun-kissed skies of the Caribbean. Sail on a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise whilst calling at exciting destinations. The trip visits Ochos Rios in Jamaica, famous for its Georgian influences and rich 18th century history, and Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands), which offers travellers endless water activities, including snorkelling, scuba diving, and glass-bottom boat tours. Other ports of call include the lesser known Cozumel in Mexico. This stunning island, located in the Caribbean Sea, offers visitors panoramic sea views and the chance to visit Mayan archaeological sites. The trip then heads back to Florida before guests disembark at Fort Lauderdale.

11-night Southern Caribbean Wayfarer on Pinnacle-class Koningsdam

Escape the gloomy UK weather with an 11-night Southern Caribbean Wayfarer on Koningsdam. This ship offers guests the chance to wake up to scenic views with more spacious balcony staterooms than most cruise lines. This trip calls at Caribbean destinations with French, British, Dutch and Spanish influences. The roundtrip Fort Lauderdale trip calls at incredible destinations including Philipsburg (St Maarten), Castries (St Lucia), as well as scenic cruising of Soufriere Bay in St Lucia, Bridgetown (Barbados), Fort de France (Martinique), St John’s (Antigua), St Thomas in US Virgin Island, a full day at the private Half Moon Cay, in Bahamas, before returning to Fort Lauderdale.

10 or 11-night Caribbean & Panama Canal Sunfarer on Vista-class Zuiderdam

For those looking for a bucket list experience a scenic cruise through the Panama Canal is a must. With Holland America Line’s Caribbean & Panama Canal Sunfarer guests can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America all in one trip. After departing Fort Lauderdale, ports of call include the private island of Half Moon Cay in The Bahamas, Aruba, and Curacao brimming with its Dutch heritage, before heading into the Caribbean Sea. Here, the journey continues to Cartagena in Columbia famed for its Spanish style architecture and sights, Puerto Limon for San José in Costa Rica as well as a daylight transit through the Panama Canal, Gatun Lake and Colon in Panama.

10-12-night Cuban Explorer on Veendam

With Holland America Line’s Cuban Explorer, guests can savour some Caribbean flavour with lots of sizzling Latin heat. After departing Fort Lauderdale travellers will enjoy an overnight stay in Havana, the Cuban capital before venturing into the colonial city of Cienfuegos. This city is the gateway to Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cuba’s Sancti Spiritus province.  After dancing the night away to salsa and drinking mojitos, guests will wake up in Georgetown, Cayman Island. Other ports of call in the Caribbean include Ochos Rios in Jamaica home to the famous Dunn’s River Fall, as well as the private island of Half Moon Cay in The Bahamas.

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Norwegian Cruise Line Transforms Three Ships With Bow-To-Stern Enhancements

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced the completed refurbishments of three ships, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Star, further showcasing its commitment to extraordinary quality and the guest experience.

As part of The Norwegian Edge®, the company’s program designed to elevate the standard of excellence across its fleet, the revitalised ships now feature new designs and venues including Los Lobos Cantina, an upscale Mexican restaurant; the adults-only enclave, Spice H2O; and Syd Norman’s Pour House – an American rock ‘n’ roll bar and lounge, which makes its debut aboard Norwegian Breakaway.

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway, which was built in 2013, debuts the new American rock ‘n’ roll bar and lounge Syd Norman’s Pour House as well as upgraded accommodations, public spaces and more, following a two-week dry dock in Brest, France.

A testament to Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to providing the best entertainment at sea, Syd Norman’s Pour House is an authentic and immersive experience inspired by the greatest clubs in American rock ‘n’ roll history.  Replacing Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club, Syd Norman’s is a tribute to the grandfather of “Rock of Ages” playwright Chris D’Arenso and modelled after influential rock houses such as CBGB’s, The Rainbow and the Fillmore.  Vintage décor, diner-style seating and an unforgettable playlist of classic rock from the late 1960’s to 1980’s come together to bring this high-calibre entertainment offering to life. Three times a week, cast members from “Rock of Ages” will treat guests to speciality cocktails named after rock ‘n’ roll classics such as “The Witchy Woman” among others in the interactive Syd Norman’s Experience. Guests will also rock-out to a five-person band playing classics six nights a week.

Additional upgrades include enhancements to Bliss Ultra Lounge with new, premium furniture; new carpet in all 2,014 staterooms and suites; a full transformation of the gift shop; and new carpet installations in the staircases, elevators and lobbies.

Norwegian Sun

Built in 2001, Norwegian Sun underwent a three-week bow-to-stern renovation in Victoria, BC.  As a result, she now features refreshed staterooms and public spaces, and boasts three new venues including Los Lobos Cantina, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge.

Los Lobos Cantina is a Mexican restaurant offering a modern take on traditional favourites like guacamole prepared table side, al pastor tacos, enchiladas de mole and handcrafted margaritas. Replacing Las Ramblas Bar and Restaurant, Los Lobos Cantina features leather banquettes, dark wood tables and seating and ranchero-style design accents.

Bliss Ultra Lounge, formerly Dazzles, is the new bar and nightclub where guests can begin or end their evenings. Enhancements include an updated look with new plush seating, cocktail tables, bar stools, chandeliers, wall sconces, wall coverings, ornamental ceilings and a wooden dance floor.

The Spinnaker Lounge replaces the Observation Lounge and showcases a fresh design with a natural colour palette reminiscent of blue, beige and tan. New to the venue are leather chairs, carpet, chandeliers, wall coverings and a stone top bar.

All 968 staterooms were upgraded with smart televisions and USB ports as well as new carpet, artwork and select furniture. The newly revitalised accommodations pay tribute to the beauty of the surrounding ocean with a palette of cool blue hues and silver and turquoise accents. The adorning abstract art within the staterooms and suites are the ideal complement to the new and modern feel.

The renovations also touched dining outlets and public spaces including Cagney’s, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, the Mandara Spa, Stardust Lounge Theater, Splash Academy and more.

Norwegian Star

Following a nearly three-week dry dock in Barcelona, Spain, Norwegian Star underwent extensive enhancements to its staterooms, public spaces, restaurants, bars and lounges. The ship, built in 2001, also unveiled three new venues: Sky High Bar, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spice H2O.

Sky High Bar showcases a new design complete with an updated bar and seating for close to 120 guests.  Replacing Bier Garten, the outdoor bar and lounge offers the best views on board.

Bliss Ultra Lounge replaces Spinnaker Lounge for late-night entertainment and now boasts a light, neutral colour palette and a complete redesign with new carpet, custom loungers, seating, an upgraded bar and artwork.

For the first time, Norwegian Star will offer the adults-only enclave, Spice H2O. This well-appointed venue features a private pool, hot tubs, full bar and uninterrupted ocean views. During the day, it makes an ideal spot for sunbathing, and at night, it transforms into an open-air lounge with live entertainment, DJ’s and energising themed nights.

All 1,174 staterooms and suites were outfitted with USB ports, enhanced with over 1,500 works of art and upgraded with new carpet, headboards and select furniture. The three-bedroom garden villas which feature private deck areas and can accommodate up to seven people were also remodelled to offer a light and airy design.

Additional enhancements were made to the bars and lounges, restaurants and public spaces including Atrium Café & Bar, Garden Café and the main dining rooms. A VIP section was also added in the casino.

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P&O Cruises Iona To Sail Norwegian Fjords During Inaugural Season

P&O Cruises has announced that its new flagship Iona, to be launched in 2020, will sail exclusively to the Norwegian Fjords during the inaugural season, a destination that is best experienced by sea.

In all ports of call P&O Cruises has developed a diverse range of excursions and activities for guests.

Olden

Active adventure: For spectacular views over the Fjord landscape guests can take a trip on the dramatic Leon Skylift that carries them up to the summit of Mount Hoven.

Epic vistas:  From Olden visit the unmissable sight of the Briksdal glacier – part of the famous Jostedal ice field, the largest in continental Europe.

Bergen

Active adventure: Adrenaline junkies will enjoy seeing the sights on Norway’s fastest zipline, which soars 300m from Mt Ulriken 643m high to Mt Floyen.

Cultural encounters:  From Edvard Munch’s iconic Expressionism to today’s contemporary culture Bergen is the centre of the Norwegian art scene.   History comes alive in Bryggen, Bergen’s UNESCO-listed wharf area where most of the 60 buildings are 300 years old.

Epic vistas: For a different viewpoint guests can enjoy Bergen’s beautiful setting by helicopter.  Fly over Fjords, mountains and glaciers and look down on one of Norway’s largest Fjords, the Sognefjord.

Local flavours:  A visit to Bergen Fish Market gives a snapshot of Norway’s foodie culture.  It has been a gastronomic destination since 1200 when it was a meeting place for merchants and fishermen.

Hellesylt

Active adventure: Guests can take a fast-paced rafting adventure along 8km of fast flowing river followed by lunch around a bonfire.

Geiranger

Active adventure: Those in the mood for a two-wheeled adventure can descend the 17km by bike from the shores of a lake more than 1000m above sea level.

Geirangerfjord 

Active adventure: Guests can see one of nature’s masterpieces from the water with a kayaking experience that will float them past the amazing waterfalls this Fjord is famous for.

Stavanger 

Cultural encounters: known as the ‘Cradle of the Vikings’ this small city is packed full of history and heritage.

Epic vistas: Take a helicopter ride over Stavanger’s most iconic natural wonder – Pulpit Rock (a 604m-high flat-topped cliff rising out of the Lysefjord).

Active adventure:  The Lysefjord RIB ride will give guests an alternative and unforgettable view of Pulpit Rock.

Local flavours:  Fishing for crayfish is a traditional pleasure for the Norwegians and guests will be able to enjoy this surrounded by stunning mountains.

Alesund:

Cultural encounters:  Alesund offers visitors views of the best-preserved examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Europe.

Hardanderfjord:

Epic vistas: Enjoy the beauty of Norway’s second longest Fjord by light aircraft.

Iona has been designed to maximise views from three storey high glass walls in the Grand Atrium, to the innovative Conservatory Mini-suites. Guests are guaranteed an immersive experience as they cruise through one of the planet’s most spectacular regions on a cleaner and greener LNG- powered ship.

Iona will offer seven-day holidays to the Norwegian Fjords from May 2020, each leaving from and returning to Southampton.

Iona is currently being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg and will be launched in May 2020. Holidays on Iona will go on sale in September 2018.

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Royal Caribbean Introduces SoundSeeker – Turning Your Photos Into Musical Works Of Art

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but what if it was possible to “hear” what it sounds like? In a move that will redefine the modern holiday album, Royal Caribbean International has designed and built a first-of-its-kind tool that transforms holidaymakers’ most memorable photos into an original, shareable soundtrack, with a video to match.

Royal Caribbean teamed up with experts from Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA), and technologists from around the world, to create the unique song generator. More than a year in the making, SoundSeeker™ is a groundbreaking, patent-pending digital experience, powered by artificial intelligence (AI). The innovative tool is specifically designed to use machine learning to seamlessly create original soundtracks based on the content of each photograph.

By simply visiting soundseeker.com, users can upload three photos of their choice, and the AI analyses them based on colour, landscape, backdrop, emotion, body language and facial expression. SoundSeeker then turns them into a shareable and one-of-a kind soundtrack – virtually DJ’ing life’s most brag-worthy moments. Fans can follow along on Royal Caribbean’s social channels, and by searching #SoundSeeker.

SoundSeeker uses machine learning, an artificial intelligence technique that enables computers to simulate human intelligence and make decisions on their own without explicit instructions. The learning process entailed more than 600 hours in which Royal Caribbean and a team of musicians and technologists reviewed hundreds of music tracks along with 10,000 photos, matching each of the 2.5 million combinations to one of 10 moods.

The AI in SoundSeeker uses Google Cloud Vision to identify objects, facial expressions and colours in a user’s photo by referencing the road-map developed by the leaders in music theory at Berklee. SoundSeeker then finds the musical elements corresponding to each mood in the photo to compose a genuinely distinct audio and visual photo album. The Royal Caribbean tool is equipped to generate over one million unique tracks, based on custom base tracks, composed exclusively for the cruise line. The customised tracks take inspiration from a wide variety of music, including 90s hip-hop, rock, modern and electronic dance music.

Berklee leveraged music theory to create a road-map for the tool that helps determine the musical pairing to photos, accounting for pitch, tempo and instrumental combinations, among others. The contributors from Berklee’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) – an on-campus initiative that promotes entrepreneurialism in part by engaging Berklee students and faculty with emerging creative technologies – included Electronic Production and Design Chair Michael Bierylo, associate professors Ben Hogue and Michael Sweet, and assistant professor Jean-Luc Cohen.

SoundSeeker is the latest in a long line of technological advancements introduced by Royal Caribbean. Boasting a nearly 50-year legacy of innovation, the global cruise line has pioneered a number of technological “firsts,” including: SeaSeeker, a custom-engineered scuba mask for Snapchat Spectacles; VOOM, the fastest internet at sea; Virtual balconies, giving interior rooms a view; RFID technology, cocktails served by robots at the Bionic Bar, and a mobile app that boasts smart features like expedited arrival and X-ray vision into behind-the-scenes areas of the ship, such as the navigational bridge. Royal Caribbean continues to evolve its ships and experiences – on board and on land – to excite the most tech-savvy travellers, most recently introducing Symphony of the Seas in March 2018, a bold composition of the cruise brand’s most outstanding features and digital innovations.

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