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News & Notes

November 2019

Sampling the Mediterranean with Norwegian Epic

In 2020, the Norwegian Epic returns to Europe with a 7-day classic itinerary to the Western Mediterranean. Sailing between May to November roundtrip from Barcelona, the Norwegian Epic will visit iconic Italian ports of Naples, Rome, and Florence, before spending the day in Cannes, France, and Palma of the Balearic Islands chain in Spain. You can choose to explore Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces in Barcelona, the priceless treasures of the galleries in Florence, and the legendary landmarks in Rome, then take a more leisure pace by sampling pizza in Naples and wandering through the designer shops in Cannes or the Old City streets in Palma. 

Although your feature destination is Europe, the Norwegian Epic itself is also a showstopper! Extensively updated in 2015, the Epic received several enhancements to the entertainment, dining, and nightlife options. Take in a Beatles cover band at the Cavern Club, named after the Liverpool pub at which the Beatles played before they were famous. The Broadway hit show Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical was added as a second full production, and Cirque Dreams, the new dinner-theatre, promises death-defying acrobatic acts with elaborate costumes. Other fun activities for the entire family include the interactive SplashGolf found in the ship’s Aqua Park, glow-in-the-dark bowling, and Escape the Big Top, where players band together to solve the mystery and escape a carnival gone wrong. Adding to this are 16 dining venues including room service, 15 bars and lounges, a two-level outdoor sports complex, pools, hot tubs and spa – your days and evenings will be filled with endless choices for the perfect vacation.

And when it’s time to retire at night, Norwegian Epic offers a multitude of accommodation options. Solo travelers can reserve a studio – a room designed for one, with a full-sized bed and bath. Studio guests also have access to the exclusive Studio Lounge, a living room concept with seating and bar for meeting and hanging out with other solo cruisers.

Standard inside, balcony, and mini-suite staterooms offer affordable accommodations for the entire family, with rooms that sleep up to four. For those wanting a spa vacation, the Epic offers spa balcony and suite categories, with complimentary access to the Thermal Spa Suites in the Mandara Spa.

But the ultimate in indulgence is The Haven complex, featuring luxurious suites and villas housed in a private enclave high atop the ship. Guests staying in The Haven receive unlimited open bar, shore excursion credits, specialty dining, wi-fi, and access to the Haven Courtyard with pool and hot tubs, the Haven Lounge bar, and a private fine-dining restaurant. Additional perks such as reserved seating in the theatre, priority embarkation, disembarkation, and tendering service, butler, and Concierge truly emulates the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

We invite you to experience the wonders of the Mediterranean onboard the beautiful Norwegian Epic – Contact your Vacation Consultant today to find out more!

Royal Caribbean - The Perfect Choice for Family Vacations

Experience an unforgettable family vacation with Royal Caribbean onboard their 27 innovative ships sailing to more than 250 destinations worldwide! Royal Caribbeans’ ships offer spacious, comfortable accommodations for everyone from solo travelers to groups of up to 14. Up on deck, they have poolside movies, pools and whirlpools, and waterparks. Want more? There’s surf & skydiving simulators, rock climbing walls, observation capsules, bumper cars, roller skating, trapeze school, video games and more. How about multi-story thrilling slides and a brand-new bungee trampoline experience? Royal Caribbean has it all.

Their award-winning Adventure Ocean Youth Program provides educational and engaging activities for different age groups. And for teens, Royal has Fuel - a club with soda fountain, computers and dance floor, plus The Living Room - a teen lounge area with movies, games and live DJ.

Where can you take your family on a Royal Caribbean vacation? How about:

The Caribbean

Your perfect Caribbean vacation includes The Perfect Day at CocoCay – their revamped private beach in the Bahamas. With a thrilling waterpark, the largest freshwater pool in the Bahamas, and a tethered helium balloon that whisks you up to 450 feet up in the air, it will be a day of endless fun for your entire family.

And what better way to sail to CocoCay than on the reimagined Oasis of the Seas! The Oasis will debut with new thrills such as laser-tag, waterslides, an escape room, and new bars and lounges. New dining venues include Portside BBQ, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, and El Loco Fresh Mexican eatery. Oasis sails to the Perfect Day at CocoCay starting May 10, 2020, from Bayonne, NJ.

Europe

Royal Caribbean brings you all-new ways for your family to play and stay in the Mediterranean in 2020 with two “amplified” ships. Explorer of the seas debuts in May with Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, Playmakers Sports Bar, Johnny Rockets Express, and even a Starbucks! An expanded resort-style pool deck with a Caribbean bar will offer three levels of prime pool-front views. Explorer will offer 7 to 9-night Greek Islands cruises from Rome.

Allure of the Seas will offer 7-night Western Mediterranean family adventures from Barcelona with brand new updates such as The Ultimate Abyss, laser tag, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, Portside BBQ, and exciting new bars and lounges including the Bionic Bar featuring robotic bartenders.

Alaska

Royal Caribbean offers the winning trifecta for your family with three beautiful ships sailing to Alaska in 2020. Soak up breathtaking views from every angle as you forge unforgettable family memories onboard Serenade of the Seas on a 7-night Alaska Glacier cruise sailing roundtrip from Vancouver. Or venture deep into the last frontier by land and sea on a 9 to13-night cruisetour onboard Radiance of the Seas. And the biggest ship in Alaska — Ovation of the Seas — returns with 7-night sailings from Seattle, offering thrills like simulated skydiving and 360-degree views from 300 feet up in the North Star.

Contact your Vacation Consultant today to book your next family getaway onboard Royal Caribbean!

Explore New Places & New Spaces with Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises invites you to experience all the “newness” for 2020-2021, with a new ship, new itineraries, and enhancements to the existing fleet!

Celebrity Revolution

Celebrity Cruises is spending half a billion dollars to upgrade its existing fleet to the standards of the award-winning Celebrity Edge! Improvements include redesigned staterooms and baths, new dining venues, enhanced public areas, exclusive retreat and lounge areas for suite guests, and more. The Revolution is underway now and is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

New! Celebrity Apex Debuts in 2020

The Celebrity Apex joins the fleet in April 2020, ahead of schedule! The much-anticipated sister ship to the game-changing Celebrity Edge, the Apex will be inaugurated in Europe with a four-night preview sailing on April 1. Highlights of her summer season include sailings to the Norwegian Fjords, and ten and eleven-night Mediterranean voyages.

New! Celebrity Constellation Homeports in Tampa

The revolutionized Celebrity Constellation will be homeported in Tampa for the 2020-2021 fall and winter season. For the first time since 2007, guests will have the opportunity to embark for their vacation from the western Florida seaport. The Constellation will explore the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, as well as the Panama Canal and Central America in a series of 10 & 11-night cruises.

New! Celebrity Eclipse Sails to Australia/New Zealand

Joining her sister Celebrity Solstice, the revolutionized Eclipse will be plying the waters of the South Pacific, homeporting in Melbourne. The 2020-2021 Australia/New Zealand season will cover 44 destinations, 12 countries, late-night and overnight stays – the most ever in Celebrity’s history in the area.

New! Celebrity Silhouette Heads to South America

South America will welcome the revolutionized Celebrity Silhouette next fall and winter with ten, fourteen, and fifteen-night cruises between San Antonio, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Three special Antarctica cruises are also included in the season (scenic cruising only, no landings), as well as a new Best of Chile and Peru itinerary that features two overnights in Lima to allow for overland excursions to Machu Picchu.

New! Enhanced Summer Season for Celebrity Summit

For 2020, the Celebrity Summit is adding two new Canada & New England sailings in May and June, as well as a new Iceland & Greenland departure in August. The Summit will continue to sail from Cape Liberty on seven-night Bermuda cruises and will relocate to the new port of Boston for the fall Canada & New England sailings.

All aboard – contact your Vacation Consultant today to find out more about exploring all the “newness” in 2020 and 2021 with Celebrity Cruises!

Tahiti by Gauguin

The islands of Tahiti conjure up images of paradise, with white sand beaches, blue lagoons, and lush jagged peaks that rise out of the turquoise seas. And there is no better way to experience it than a cruise onboard the m/s Paul Gauguin.

Sailing year-round in French Polynesia, the Gauguin brings you to these idyllic South Pacific islands in the most comfortable and stress-free way. Here’s how to experience the best of Tahiti by Paul Gauguin. 

Purpose-Built Ship

Created to sail the waters of the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin carries just 322 lucky guests. More than 70 percent of accommodations have private balconies, and unique to the ship is a fold-out watersports marina at the back, offering complimentary use of kayaks and paddleboards. A rejuvenating spa awaits, and a boutique showcases a wide array of Tahitian black pearl jewelry. Up on deck, the Gauguin features a swimming pool, and plenty of open space to catch the rays or to admire the ever-changing scenery.

Exceptional Dining

Onboard the Gauguin, you’ll savour continental, international, and Polynesian cuisine. At La Veranda, enjoy plentiful buffets and a la carte items at breakfast and lunch, or treat yourself to a special dinner featuring the creations of Michelin starred French chef Jean-Pierre Vigato. Poolside, you’ll find Le Grill, serving casual meals during the day, and Polynesian specialties at night. Dinner can also be enjoyed in L’Etoile, dressed in crisp linens, fine crystal, and china. And of course, there is complimentary room service.

Attentive Service

With nearly one crew member to every guest, the staff onboard remembers your name and your preferences. Even before you think to ask, a steward is pouring you a glass of wine, bringing you a cold towel, or your afternoon ice cream. Les Gauguins & Les Gauguines, a troupe of French Polynesian hosts, delights guests with Polynesian entertainment, music, and dance.

All-inclusive Value*

Your cruise fare always includes roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco, roundtrip airport to ship transfers, all meals and beverages. Polynesian entertainment, arts and crafts classes, as well as enrichment lectures, are included daily. Included gratuities to room steward and dining room staff all add up to an unbeatable value, considering the expensive cost of lodging and meals on these islands.

Itineraries

The m/s Paul Gauguin sails year-round in French Polynesia, visiting the Society Islands, the Tuamotos, and the Marquesas. Itineraries to nearby Cook Islands, Fiji, and Tonga are also available. Every cruise features a stop at the company’s private island Motu Tahana off the coast of Taha’a, and a deserted beach in Bora Bora.

As part of our Expedia Extras, Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering a $100 USD per person shipboard credit when you book select sailings departing in 2020.* The cruise of a lifetime onboard the award-winning m/s Paul Gauguin is closer than you think – contact your Vacation Consultant today to find out more!

*Terms and conditions: Restrictions apply. Contact your Vacation Consultant for full terms and conditions.

PONANT’s Quintessential Collection

PONANT is the World Leader of Luxury Expeditions with ultra-modern, intimate yachts sailing to all corners of the globe. In 2020, PONANT offers a series of themed-immersion cruises known as the Quintessential Collection, focusing on specific areas of interest while cruising the world.


An Immersion in Japanese Culture

This program juxtaposes Japan’s fast-forward modernity with its cherished traditions such as exquisite gardens, tea ceremonies, rice paddies, holy shrines, traditional dance performances, and fine art. Highlights of the itinerary include a private audience with the Abbot of Kofukuji Temple in the heart of Nagasaki and the elegance of a private tea-making ceremony. Optional activities include a special performance of Kagura dances at Itsukushima Shrine; a private visit to the beautiful Yuushien Garden in Sakaiminato; a cooking class demonstrating how to cut and plate deadly puffer fish; and a guided walk through the Busan fish market in South Korea.

World Affairs Cruise in the Baltic

Sailing August 5 - 13, 2020, this cruise sails from Stockholm to Copenhagen, visiting historic cities that ring the Baltic Sea, including two days in St. Petersburg.  The captivating itinerary will be equally matched onboard with an opportunity to interact with leading thinkers and policy makers about the current state of U.S. relations with the rest of the world. Featured speakers include former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Admiral James Stavridis; former Ambassador to Russia and current President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, William Burns; and journalist and author Robin Wright, a staff writer for the New Yorker and author of more than half a dozen award-winning books on international security matters.

Celebrate Beethoven’s 250th Birthday - A Musical Odyssey in Northern Europe

This voyage from September 8-17, 2020 will cover the rich cultural heritage of Northern Europe accompanied by world-class chamber musicians performing an all-Beethoven repertoire. Curated by Michael Parloff, former Principal Flutist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, guests will have access to some of the best museums in the world including the acclaimed Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen and the great cultural institutions of Holland and Belgium. Days at sea will be filled with music ranging widely across the great composer’s body of work with an exciting onboard concert during and a private performance in the historic 17th-century Westerkerk in Amsterdam.

Celebrate American Composers with the Conductor of the Boston Pops

Embark on a truly unique musical program curated by legendary Boston Pops Conductor, Keith Lockhart. Departing October 19, 2020, this itinerary explores the waterways of eastern Canada and northern New England, while adding a truly unique musical component. Joined by six extraordinary performers, maestro Lockhart serves as your guide to a musical marriage of Old-World French elegance and New-World American energy featuring exclusive concerts showcasing music by Debussy, Ravel, Faure, Saint Saens, Gershwin, Milhaud, George Antheil, Copland, Ellington, Barber, Ives and Antonin Dvorak.

Contact your Vacation Consultant for more details on these wonderful departures onboard PONANT!

Antarctica with Quark Expeditions – the Leader in Polar Adventures

On almost everyone’s bucket list, Antarctica is probably the most isolated yet fascinating place in the world. With pristine glaciers, diverse wildlife, and awe-inspiring landscapes, this frozen continent can only be fully experienced on an expedition cruise. Quark Expeditions has been leading expeditions to the polar region for over 25 years and is your ticket to Antarctica.

Polar-Class Fleet

Quark Expeditions offers the largest fleet of polar-class vessels with ice-strengthened hulls, carrying no more than 200 guests. Outfitted with well-appointed staterooms, restaurant, lounge, a well-stocked library, and fitness center, these nimble ships explore Antarctica safely while offering guests every comfort available.

This winter, Quark Expeditions will welcome the World Explorer, a 172-guest, all suite, all balcony, ice-class vessel that features an observation lounge, a lecture theatre, a pool, sauna, spa and fitness center, and an outdoor walking track. Suite sizes range from 246 to 355 square feet, accommodating up to three guests.

Expert Expedition Team

Quark’s expedition team members are some of the most fascinating people on the planet! These passionate guides hold degrees in marine biology, history, geology, ornithology, and more, and are experts in engaging with guests to ensure full immersion of Antarctica through lectures, workshops, and guided excursions.  

Well Rounded Excursion Program

Quark offers a comprehensive choice of complimentary activities at each shore landing. Guests can choose from scenic cruising by Zodiac, hiking, snowshoeing, and photography. Activities are tailored to various fitness levels and are guided by expedition team members. Paid activities include kayaking, camping, stand-up paddleboarding, mountaineering, cross-country skiing.

Leader in Sustainability

Quark Expeditions is committed to preserving the sensitive environment in which it sails. As a long-serving member of The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, Quark’s sustainability initiatives include using low emissions, clean-burning fuel, serving only sustainable seafood, recycling, and reducing single-use plastics. In addition, onboard auctions have raised an average of $150,000 each season for charities dedicated to sustainability and conservation in Antarctica, such as The South Georgia Heritage Trust and Penguin Watch.

In 2020, Quark offers three itinerary options to Antarctica, ranging from 8 to 23 days:

The Antarctic Peninsula

Quark’s classic expedition showcases the highlights of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctica Peninsula, with an option to cross into the Antarctic Circle.

The Falkland Islands & South Georgia

These longer expedition options – up to 23 days - present an unparalleled opportunity to encounter wildlife, and includes visits to old whaling stations and the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Fly/Cruise Expeditions

For those short on time, or would prefer to forgo the Drake Passage crossing, Quark offers Antarctic Express expeditions, flying guests from Punta Arenas, Chile to Antarctica to board the ship for their expedition.

Don’t miss out on these spectacular adventures to Antarctica with Quark – contact your Vacation Consultant today!

Explore Ireland & Britain with CIE Tours

CIE Tours has been the leader in travel to Ireland and Britain for 87 years, with new offerings every year to deepen traveler experiences. New exciting tours include:

Ireland South Daytripper: 7 days from $1,699. Live like a local in the picturesque village of Adare, staying at a luxury, family-run hotel and taking day trips to the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula, with a scenic rail journey to the seaport town of Cobh.

Castles & Manors of Ireland: 8 days from $2,649.  Take part in the “feeding of champions” at the Irish National Stud and Gardens, sip Irish coffee at Europe’s oldest pub, and enjoy dinner in a 12th century castle keep, staying each night in a historic manor house or castle.

Ireland by Road & Rail: 8 days from $1,999. Explore Ireland via modern coach, rail, boat and even a vintage double-decker bus—complete with afternoon tea—on this adventure that starts and ends in Dublin.

London Daytripper: 6 days from $1,599. This tour is home-based in London, starting with a visit to the Tower of London and a welcome dinner at the hotel. Day trips include Windsor to see the Queen’s official residence, Stonehenge, the Roman baths in Bath, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon, Leeds Castle and Canterbury Cathedral.

Best of London & Paris: 7 days from $1,999. Experience two of the world’s great capital cities, starting with afternoon tea while touring London in a vintage double-decker Routemaster. Take in the British Museum, a London pub food tour, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. Then it’s off to Paris by Eurostar train, followed by a Seine River cruise. Visit the Louvre, Montmartre, and enjoy free time to explore the City of Lights.

Best of Northern England: 8 days from $1,999. Enjoy independent sightseeing in London before journeying to Oxford and Cambridge. Ely Cathedral, York Minster, Whitby’s ancient seaport by vintage train, and the Victorian spa town of Harrogate are among the stops. A scenic cruise down Lake Windermere and a train ride through the Leven Valley follow before ending with free time in Liverpool.

Best of Southern England: 8 days from $2,149. This London roundtrip tour includes Blenheim Palace—birthplace of Winston Churchill and the real-life inspiration behind Downton Abbey, a ride in a private capsule on the London Eye, and a tour of Kensington Palace.

Taste of England: 14 days from $4,099. This sweeping tour from London to Liverpool combines the Best of Northern England and Best of Southern England tours, with all the main attractions of this fascinating country.

CIE Tours guided vacation experiences include daily sightseeing admissions, full breakfasts, entertainment, most dinners as well as unique visits. This inclusive advantage means no upselling by tour guides or optional extras to buy. All guided tours can be customized for group travel and individual Private Driver experiences.  Contact your Vacation Consultant today to book your next guided vacation with CIE Tours!

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Terms & Conditions

*Expedia Extras offers are per stateroom (unless otherwise stated) on select sailings, based on double occupancy, apply to new bookings only, are not combinable with any other offer, are capacity controlled and may be withdrawn without notice. Certain restrictions may apply. For full terms and conditions, click the specific Expedia Extra offer or contact your Expedia CruiseShipCenters Vacation Consultant.

Prices are per person (based on 2 passengers in the same stateroom), cruise only in USD dollars. Airfare, transfers, taxes, fees and port expenses are additional (unless otherwise stated). Prices vary by ship, stateroom type and sailing date. Prices and offers are subject to availability and change without notice, and are capacity controlled. Fuel supplement may apply. Expedia CruiseShipCenters is not responsible for errors that may occur due to the transfer of information from selected third parties, technical error, or human error.

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