Sarah Stouder
Franchise Partner

News & Notes

September 2019

What’s New at Princess Cruises

Phantom Bridge Mediascape Room onboard Sky Princess

Debuting onboard Sky Princess in December 2019 is Phantom Bridge - the first digitally-enhanced escape room experience. Developed exclusively for Princess Cruises by Farbound, the leader in gamified real-life experiences, Princess guests will face immersive environments as they race to solve puzzles and travel to endangered time periods. The entire ship will transform and respond to guest actions, enveloping them in the story. 

“Phantom Bridge, our newest Discovery at SEA interactive attraction, will offer our guests the exclusive opportunity to live a real-world, gamified experience with more than 700 different outcomes for the ultimate adventure,” said Denise Saviss, Princess Cruises vice president of entertainmim realent experience. “Partnering with Farbound to deliver this unprecedented technology and world’s first interactive Mediascape Room further solidifies our commitment to share innovative and distinctive offerings to our guests.” 

Phantom Bridge will engage players with projection mapping, touch screens, and hidden physical elements to uncover clues to solve the mystery. Players turn the wheel to navigate the vessel and watch as the simulation view changes. Lighting, sound, and digital features are combined to create an immersive, realistic experience.  The experience can be tailored to players of all ages, heights, and physical abilities so families can all play together. 

Newly Designed Reef Family Splash Zone onboard Caribbean Princess

The enhanced Reef Family Splash Zone now offers a refined, playful and relaxing area for adults and kids alike to enjoy the sun and water together. The Reef now offers many enticing features, including:

Splashpad with Whale Feature – this inviting water playground features a splash pool, assorted water sprays and showers, including an interactive whale feature, with ‘rain” from its fluke.

Game Zone – In comfy lounge sectionals, and a kid-friendly bar setting, families enjoy beverages while challenging the kids to a game of Connect Four, Jenga or Cornhole.

Destination Themed Water Table - this educational offering highlights how a cruise ship moves through water, waves, and weather. 

Discovery at SEA 

Princess Cruises partnered with Discovery Inc. to create “Discovery at SEA” onboard programming that brings to life many of the destinations visited, and favorite Discovery and Animal Planet shows. Onboard activities include:

  • Stargazing & Indoor Planetarium – From the top deck of the ship, guests embark on an interactive stargazing tour, identifying major constellations and learning the secrets of the stars. The indoor “Voyage to the Stars Planetarium” displays real-time images of constellations and planets with commentary from Science Channel Ambassador Astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi and Kari Bryon from Mythbusters.
  • Camp Discovery – newly rebranded “Camp Discovery” offers cruisers ages 3 to 17 engaging new experiences and wonder-filled centers inspiring creativity and curiosity. 
  • High Seas Heist with Detective Joe Kenda – Princess guests collaborate with the celebrity detective to solve a heist whodunit.
  • Discovery Hit Shows – Discovery at SEA incorporates content from hit shows like Shark Week, Finding Bigfoot and Mythbusters through activities, challenges, and trivia. 

Contact your Vacation Consultant today to experience all of this and more onboard Princess Cruises!

Norwegian Encore – One Good Thing Deserves Another!

Norwegian Cruise Line’s 17th ship is set to debut this November. Aptly named the Norwegian Encore, she follows in the footsteps of her wildly successful sisters Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy. Here’s what we’re most excited about onboard this highly anticipated vessel!

Spectacular Entertainment

Six-time Tony award winner Kinky Boots makes its debut at sea as the headline production onboard Norwegian Encore. With words and music written by iconic 80s star Cyndi Lauper, this feel-good musical will have you bopping in your seat. 

You can also catch The Choir of Man belting out classic rock tunes at the British pub, the side-splitting comedians at the Social, or the Beatles cover band at the Cavern Club. And don’t miss Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical, set in a New Orleans speakeasy. One thing’s for sure - these fantastic shows will make you shout: “Encore!”

Excellence in Dining

The culinary highlight onboard Norwegian Encore will be Onda by Scarpetta, showcasing modern Italian cuisine with a focus on signature seafood dishes, freshly-made pastas, and delectable desserts. A result of a new partnership with LDV Hospitality, Norwegian will bring the Scarpetta dining experience onto the ocean for the first time.

“We are passionate about delivering innovative and exceptional experiences to our guests, and this exciting collaboration with LDV Hospitality showcases that commitment beautifully,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Onda by Scarpetta will be the perfect complement to the variety of spectacular offerings available on Norwegian Encore.” 

And those spectacular offerings include favourites such as:

  • American Diner: classic comfort food
  • Cagney’s Steakhouse: premium cuts
  • Food Republic: world fusion flavors
  • Le Bistro: French haute cuisine
  • Los Lobos: premium Mexican fare
  • Ocean Blue: fresh seafood creations
  • Q: authentic Texas barbecue
  • Teppanyaki: Hibachi-style experience
  • Coco’s: over-the-top desserts
  • The Bake Shop: French macarons, bonbons and cupcakes
  • Dolce Gelato
  • Starbucks

Thrills and Spills 

The Speedway: First introduced on her sisters, the race track onboard Norwegian Encore will be 1,100 feet long, making it the largest at sea! And for the first time, it will be suspended 13 feet over the edge of the ship. 

Laser Tag: You’ll feel like you’re in the lost city of Atlantis as you battle your way through the course surrounded by ruins, and the tentacles of a giant sea creature.

Galaxy Pavillion: A fun-filled complex where adults and kids can enjoy VR experiences, simulator rides and an escape room.

Aqua Park: Onboard thrills spill over to the Aqua Park, with looping waterslides, tandem racers, pool and hot tubs.  

Norwegian Encore will be homeported in Miami, sailing to the Caribbean from November through April 2020.  She will then reposition to New York, sailing to Bermuda, and Canada / New England. In fall 2020 she will return to Miami for the winter Caribbean season. Contact your Vacation Consultant today to start planning your next Norwegian Cruise Line adventure onboard Norwegian Encore!

Journey to the Wild Side with Royal Caribbean to Alaska

Voted Best Overall Cruise Line for 16 years running, Royal Caribbean delivers an Alaskan vacation like no other. Onboard, you’ll find accommodations that offer spectacular views and deluxe amenities, from family-friendly connecting staterooms to luxurious suites. A culinary delight awaits you in the main dining room, casual eateries, specialty restaurants, and of course, room service. And after your day of touring, relax in the rejuvenating spa, take a dip in the pool or hot tubs, or enjoy the variety of entertainment and activities that includes original production shows, live music, trivia, shopping, and nightclubs.

For 2020, Royal Caribbean is offering a winning trifecta to Alaska with three beautiful ships sailing to the last frontier, from May to September on 7-night itineraries.

Radiance of the Seas

Radiance of the Seas boasts the most glass of any Royal Caribbean ship, which makes her perfect for glacier viewing, whale watching, and admiring Alaska’s vast mountains, fjords, and waterways.

Sailing between Vancouver and Seward via the Inside Passage, Radiance of the Seas will visit Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, and Hubbard Glacier.

Serenade of the Seas

The younger sister to Radiance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas affords the same panoramic vistas from the acres of glass to ensure you don’t miss a thing on your Alaskan journey. Serenade of the Seas sails roundtrip from Vancouver to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Tracy Arm Fjord via the Inside Passage.

Ovation of the Seas

One of Royal Caribbean’s most ground-breaking ships, Ovation of the Seas showcases Alaska like no other, with the North Star observation capsule. Rising 300 feet above sea level, you can see Alaska from the highest vantage point on any ship. Other notable features include RipCord by iFly sky-diving simulator, and Two70 revolutionary entertainment space. Ovation of the Seas will sail roundtrip from Seattle to Juneau, Skagway, Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier, and Victoria.

See More Alaska

You can opt to see Alaska’s interior by adding a land tour of two to six nights that will take you to Denali National Park, Talkeetna, and as far north as Fairbanks, in conjunction with a cruise onboard Radiance of the Seas. Cruisetours include travel onboard the Wilderness Express glass-domed double-decker train, accommodations at wilderness lodges, guided tours and optional excursions, all escorted by an Adventure Specialist.

Alaska is calling your name! Contact your Vacation Consultant today to get ready to explore The Great Land with Royal Caribbean!

Carnival Cruise Line Adds More Fun with Mardi Gras

Launching in 2020, the newest ship in Carnival’s fleet will bear a familiar name – Mardi Gras. It was the name given to the first Carnival ship in 1972, which launched the Fun Ship cruise experience. Carnival continues to live up to that legacy today, and Mardi Gras promises to deliver fun to all who sail on her.

“When our guests Choose Fun and book a vacation on Mardi Gras, they are going to find many firsts and exciting experiences, all enhanced by the fun atmosphere our great Carnival crew deliver on every cruise,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.  “We’ve specifically designed Mardi Gras to invite everyone to create their own personalized fun vacation experience with options to suit every age, mood or taste.”

Six exciting and distinctive zones onboard the Mardi Gras will invite guests to enjoy new features along with signature Carnival favourites.

Grand Central

The Grand Central atrium will feature three-deck-high floor-to-ceiling windows and a bar offering sweeping ocean vistas. Nearby are Bonsai Sushi and Bonsai Teppanyaki, the Punchliner Comedy Club, and the Piano Bar 88.

French Quarter

French Quarter will be lined with new bars, music, and eateries that perfectly capture the festive spirit of the Big Easy. A two-deck-high promenade leads to a traditional New Orleans jazz club with live entertainment and refreshing hand-crafted libations.

La Piazza

Be transported to Italy with authentic cuisine from the casual family-style Cucina del Capitano and 24/7 Pizzeria del Capitano, a new Mediterranean-themed seafood restaurant. There’s also a bar where guests can savor cappuccino by day or classic Italian cocktails at night, while roaming musicians keep everyone entertained.

Summer Landing

Celebrate summer with Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse with smoked-on-board barbecue favorites created by Guy Fieri.  The Watering Hole is the place to grab Carnival’s exclusive ParchedPig craft beers brewed right on board. You’ll also find an infinity pool and whirlpools, a sports bar, along with ample lounging spaces and hang outs.


Enjoy casual eats such as Guy’s Burger Joint, the New England-inspired Seafood Shack, the Lido Marketplace, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, and the grab-and-go Street Eats, featuring global cuisine on small plates. The Lido is also home to the poolside RedFrog Tiki Bar serving rum-based cocktails in an island-inspired atmosphere. New in this area will be Big Chicken Restaurant by Shaquille O’Neal. The complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner menus will give guests a glimpse into O’Neal’s family traditions as all menu items will be developed and taste-tested by the star himself and based on his favorite recipes.

The Ultimate Playground

This spacious three-deck family-friendly play area is home to the largest and most elaborate Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, an expanded SportSquare, and the much-anticipated BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, the first rollercoaster at sea, where riders race along an 800-foot-long track achieving speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour. 

Contact your Vacation Consultant today and set sail to fun onboard Mardi Gras – your next getaway with Carnival Cruise Line awaits!

Voyage to the Ends of the Earth with Quark Expeditions

Quark Expeditions has been leading polar adventures to the Antarctic and Arctic for over 25 years. And in 2020, they are introducing new and exciting Arctic voyages including the Faroe Islands, Russian High Arctic, and Northern Lights.

Voyages range from a 7-day Spitgsbergen Highlights to a 22-day epic High Arctic Odyssey exploring the remote Russian archipelagos. In between, there are expeditions to Greenland, the Northwest Passage, and the ultimate bucket-list destination – the North Pole. Imagine standing at the top of the world with a glass of champagne in hand, after crushing through layers of ice onboard the world’s most powerful nuclear ice breaker!

Quark Expeditions’ fleet of purpose-built polar class vessels carry 78 guests to a maximum of 199. While nimble enough to navigate through the ice-packed waters of the Arctic, no comfort or amenity has been sacrificed. Enjoy well-appointed cabins with private baths, an open-seating restaurant with freshly-prepared meals, a well-stocked polar library, and a multi-purpose lounge and presentation room. Solo travelers can take advantage of the single share program, and additional savings can be had by booking early.

A day onboard your expedition involves exploring areas of the Arctic with a series of landings, Zodiac cruising, photography, adventure options, wildlife viewing and more. An unparalleled expedition team of experts – including marine biologists, glaciologists, ornithologists, archeologists and more – accompany you every step of the way, providing enrichment lectures onboard and guided visits ashore, making all that you are seeing and experiencing are truly educational and meaningful.

Exploring the Arctic can be a transformational travel experience; doing so with the Leader in Polar Adventures offers you the opportunity to experience the best of it through an exciting portfolio of voyages. Quark Expeditions’ Arctic 2020 season will inspire you to finally check one or more of these unique destinations off your bucket list. And to help you get there sooner, Quark Expeditions is offering savings up to 30% if you book your 2020 Arctic expedition by September 30, 2019.*

Contact your Vacation Consultant today to take advantage of this offer and sail with Quark Expeditions!

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

Rocky Mountaineer – Truly Moving Train Journeys

Rocky Mountaineer is a world-class train journey like no other. Winding through the Pacific Northwest and the heart of the Canadian Rockies, this is where the call of the wild meets luxury, gourmet cuisine, and impeccable service.  

Four Iconic Routes

Choose from four iconic itineraries that beautifully showcase Western Canada’s jaw-dropping Rocky Mountains. The legendary First Passage to the West is the most popular journey between Vancouver and Banff, including an overnight in Kamloops, the spiral tunnels, and the site of the “Last Spike” in Craigellachie. Journey through the Clouds travels north to Jasper, following the route of the Fraser River. To see more of interior BC, opt for Rainforest to Gold Rush, which passes through Whistler, Quesnel, and the Rocky Mountain Trench.  And lastly, the Coastal Passage includes a visit to cosmopolitan Seattle in conjunction with the Rockies routes. These journeys can be up to 14 days or more, and can also be combined to make a circle journey that lets you take it all in. 

Luxury Onboard and Enroute

Each Rocky Mountaineer journey pampers you like nothing else. The SilverLeaf Service offers single-level domed coach with panoramic windows, gourmet meals served at your seat, complimentary beverages and snacks. But to be truly spoiled, upgrade to GoldLeaf Service. Travel in a bi-level domed luxury coach with panoramic views on the top level, and a la carte meal service in the dining room below, along with complimentary beverages and gourmet snacks. The GoldLeaf coach also comes with an exclusive outdoor viewing platform to take in the fresh air, and your overnight accommodations are upgraded to premium hotels. 

Limited Time Offers

Plan your 2020 getaway today and take advantage of Rocky Mountaineer’s Peak 3 Promotion! Get up to 3 free perks worth up to $600 in value per couple when you book a qualifying 2020 package of 8 days or more by October 25, 2019.* Choose from one additional hotel night in Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria, Banff, Jasper or Lake Louise; one private standard airport transfer in Vancouver or Calgary; or one set-menu dinner at a selected package hotel.

Want to go sooner? You can book a qualifying 2019 Rocky Mountaineer package by October 1, 2019 and receive a $50 onboard merchandise credit**.

Contact your Vacation Consultant today to satisfy your wanderlust with Rocky Mountaineer’s Peak 3 Promotion!

Terms and conditions: *“Three Free Perks” offer (“Offer”) applies only to new 2020 bookings made by October 25, 2019 for qualifying Rocky Mountaineer itineraries booked in GoldLeaf or SilverLeaf Service for travel on selected dates. Offer is per booking and applies to single, double, triple or quad occupancy bookings of 8 days/7 nights or more, must be requested at the time of booking and will not be automatically allocated or retroactively added. Free Perks are: (a) one additional hotel night in Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria, Banff, Jasper or Lake Louise. Additional hotel night must match the accommodation grade and occupancy level of package booked and must be booked as a consecutive night at the same hotel that you begin or end package; (b) one private standard airport transfer in Vancouver or Calgary; and (c) one set-menu dinner at a selected package hotel (not available on rail days). Transfer and dinner are for number of persons on corresponding booking. Guests booking 5-7 day itineraries may take advantage of the “Two Free Perks” offer with the same terms, conditions and restrictions as set out above. All free perks are subject to availability. All bookings are subject to the full booking terms and conditions. Full terms and conditions are available at rockymountaineer.com. Additional conditions apply. **Travel during the 2019 Rocky Mountaineer season on select dates for travel booked before October 1, 2019. Offer is applicable to new bookings only and must be requested at the time of booking at will not be automatically allocated or retrospectively added. Qualifying packages may be purchased in either GoldLeaf of SilverLeaf Service. Offer not applicable to 2-day and 3-day rail only bookings and cannot be deferred to another date, refunded, or used at the Vancouver station kiosk. Not applicable to Group Tour Bookings or Custom Groups. Offer is available in conjunction with Rocky Mountaineer’s current market offer. $50 merchandise credit cannot be split between rail journeys if the guest is taking more than 1 qualifying rail journey. Offer available on select dates only. Promotional blackout dates apply. Additional conditions apply. Contact your Vacation Consultant for full terms and conditions.

Get Away with Apple Vacations

There’s nothing like a vacation to paradise. And when you book with Apple Vacations, you’ll know you’re traveling with the leading name in all-inclusive vacations! Choose from amazing resorts in stunning tropical destinations, and let Apple Vacations take care of the rest! They offer packages to 21 Caribbean destinations plus Bermuda, 6 destinations in Central and South America, 12 destinations spanning the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Mexico, and all the major Hawaiian islands. If you’re looking for sun, Apple Vacations has got you covered!

Best of all, you can leave your wallet behind and enjoy a vacation where everything is right at your fingertips. Each Apple Vacations package includes roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations, and in-resort transfers are ALWAYS included.* Plus, all meals, drinks, entertainment, and tips are included at all-inclusive resorts! And with our pre-bookable excursions such as swimming with dolphins (or whale sharks!), thrilling ziplines, or oceanside golfing, you can plan out your entire vacation in advance, so that when you arrive, you can just sink your toes in the sand and say “Ahhhh!”.

Apple Vacations has partnered with the most popular resorts at each of our destinations to bring you the best vacation experience, ranging from family-friendly properties such as Bahia Principe, adults and couples-only escapes such as Breathless Resorts, spa and wellness retreats such as Zoetry Wellness & Spa, to six-star luxury brands such as The Four Seasons.

At Apple Vacations’ all-inclusive resorts, you’ll dine in gourmet restaurants without ever reaching for the check, sip hand-crafted cocktails at beautiful beachfront bars and cozy lounges, spend the day enjoying non-motorized watersports, and revel in an evening full of shows, live music, and more!

If you’re looking to tie the knot, go on a honeymoon, celebrate an anniversary or renew your vows, Apple Vacations can take care of that as well! They have a fantastic destination wedding department that will look after all your planning needs, to ensure your special day goes off without a hitch.

So, what are you waiting for? Travel with Apple Vacations today and take advantage of competitively priced packages that stand out among the rest. When it comes to all-inclusive vacations, there’s simply no comparison! Contact your Vacation Consultant to get started on planning today!

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

Interview with Expedia Franchise Owners Sarah and Scott Stouder

Are you looking for a career change where you can build equity while doing something you love? Sarah and Scott were looking to open their own business when they discovered the Expedia CruiseShipCenters opportunity, which aligned perfectly with their passion for travel and desire to own their own business. Read about Sarah and Scott’s journey to Expedia Franchise ownership.

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*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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Sarah Stouder
Franchise Partner