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Archive for July, 2015

CELEBRITY CRUISES ENHANCES CARIBBEAN ITINERARIES TO OFFER GUESTS EVEN MORE OVERNIGHTS MIAMI, FL – Celebrity Cruises is offering guests an unmatched experience by introducing additional overnight stays on more than 40 Caribbean sailings for January 2016 and beyond, more than any other cruise line. The popularity of Celebrity’s current overnight program has led to 43 newly enhanced itineraries, giving guests the chance to enjoy exciting evenings in destinations such as Cartagena, Colombia; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Cozumel, Mexico; Aruba; Curacao and Barbados. “Guests and travel agents love our overnight program in Europe, Asia and around the world, and their feedback has been amazing. This demand led us to revisit our current Caribbean itineraries and add even more overnights in one of the most beautiful places we sail to each year,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “With more overnights in the Caribbean than any other cruise line, we are offering our guests an incredible, unrivaled experience. They can enjoy the destination like a local before returning to our stylish, modern luxury ships.”  For more information about Celebrity’s newly enhanced Caribbean season, visit celebritycruises.com/ caribbeanovernights. About Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Cruises’ iconic “X” is the mark of modern luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces; dining experiences where the design of the venues is as important as the cuisine; and the amazing service that only Celebrity can provide, all created to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers’ precious time. Celebrity Cruises’ 10 ships offer modern luxury vacations visiting all seven continents. Celebrity also presents immersive cruise tour experiences in Alaska and Canada. Celebrity is one of six cruise brands operated by global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL). For more information, dial 1-866-202-6343, visit http://www.TheCruiseXperts.com.

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Majesty-of-the-Seas,Free-In

Royal Caribbean International won’t retire Majesty of the Seas from its fleet in 2016 after all.

Instead, the cruise line plans to upgrade its oldest ship with new entertainment and dining options and move it from Miami to Port Canaveral for three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas.

Starting in May, passengers sailing on the revamped 2,767-passenger cruise ship also will get free and unlimited access to its high-speed Internet service Voom, Royal Caribbean said.

Voom is already available to passengers sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class and Quantum-class ships at a cost of $15 daily per device, but it will be offered free for the first time to cruisers aboard Majesty of the Seas next summer.

Other new features to be added include multiple waterslides, an enhanced casino, new Izumi Japanese and Sabor Taqueria Mexican eateries and the Chef’s Table, an exclusive restaurant hosted by the ship’s executive chef and Sommelier.

Entertainment additions will include Jacuzzis, a poolside movie screen and the Dreamworks Experience, which offers activities and entertainment with Shrek, Fiona and other characters from the animation studio’s popular movies.

“We are stepping up our game,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

Consumers can now book cruises for the ship’s inaugural Port Canaveral season, which will begin May 27, 2016.

Last November, Royal Caribbean announced that it would transfer Majesty of the Seas to Spanish cruise line Pullmantur Cruises, which is owned by its parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The ship is the last of Royal Caribbean’s Sovereign-class vehicles. Two others — Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas — were previously transferred to Pullmantur.

The 74,077-ton Majesty of the Seas sailed its maiden voyage April 26, 1992, and was built at Chantiers de L’Atlantique (now STX France) in St. Nazaire, Royal Caribbean said.

Enchantment of the Seas will replace Majesty of the Seas at PortMiami and will sail on short Caribbean itineraries, a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman said Thursday.

Arlene Satchell, Sun Sentinel

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By: Jena Tesse Fox, Travel Agent Central

Results from the Greek referendum on Sunday showed voters soundly rejecting the terms of an international bailout, according to the BBC and other sources. Greece’sgoverning Syriza party encouraged its citizens to vote “No” on the bailout, saying the terms were humiliating.

The “Yes” campaign warned that rejecting the terms could see Greece ejected from the Eurozone. Some European officials had also said that a “No” would be seen as an outright rejection of talks with creditors. But Greek government officials have insisted that a “No” vote would strengthen their hand and that they could rapidly strike a deal for fresh funding in resumed negotiations. They expect Greek banks to reopen by Tuesday.

According to Al Jazeera, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande announced after the voting had ended on Sunday that they would meet in Paris on Monday evening (local time) to discuss the results and the country’s future role in the Eurozone. The New York Times is reporting that Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s “combative” finance minister, who took a strong stand in demanding that creditors write off some of his country’s debts, abruptly resigned on Monday morning. Varoufakis had played a key role in rallying votes for a resounding “no” on the referendum, and as the paper noted, Greece’s Eurozone creditors may be more willing to continue negotiations on a further aid package without him. His departure, reportedly at the urging ofPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras, could be seen as a concession to the sensibilities of other Eurozone leaders, whom Varoufakis allegedly alienated.

“I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum,” Varoufakisposted in his blog. “And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.”

The Impact on Travel and Hospitality

The turmoil may be good for Greece’s travel and hospitality industries, however. As the Washington Post notes, the instability and the “massive” stimulus program by the region’s central bank have sent the Euro “plunging” against the dollar. The currency hit a 12-year low in March of $1.05. It began to grow again in the ensuing months, but began sliding again in mid-June as the crisis in Greece became headline news.

This means that the American dollar is now much stronger throughout Europethan it has been in years, meaning visitors may well be able to not only stay longer, but upgrade their hotel and travel experiences.

Several travel sites have advertised deals on European vacations. Orbitz touted Greece as “a world of destinations,” and Lufthansa named Athens its “pick of the week.” (The Post noted the irony in Germany’s flag-carrier promoting Greece’s capital, as Germany has drawn the hardest line among European nations in negotiations with Greece.)

Tourism accounted for about 16 percent of Greece’s economy in 2013 and supported 657,000 jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. The Australian Financial Review noted that international tourist arrivals to Greece rose almost 21 percent in 2014 to more than 24 million. Hotels, restaurants and bars had expected similar growth this year, but with the recent news, “many” visitors have canceled their Greek trips while others arrive with wallets “stuffed” with euros.

According to the country’s ferry operators’ union, bookings for journeys around the Greek islands are down 30 to 40 per cent from the same period last year, and schedules are being pared back to conserve fuel.

The Nation’s Economy

According to the Washington Post, Greece’s banks are at risk of collapse in the coming days, and the country could be forced to leave the historic monetary union. Investors may refuse to lend Greece money at almost any cost, as banks and the government lack essential funds to operate. Over the weekend, formerU.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers wrote:

“Greek banks will run out of cash early in the week, probably on Monday. There will be an immediate need to either provide them with some sort of IOU scrip to meet demand for funds or to resolve them in some way, as Greece lacks the capacity to create Euro. What the Europeans do and the decisions the Greeks make will shape the future of Greece and the Euro area.”

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