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MSC Private Island

First posted by Cruise Radio;

MSC Cruises has signed a lease with the Bahamian prime minister Perry Christie to develop a private island for the cruise line.  The project will be developed in the next two years and will be called Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. 

The cruise line will work closely with the Bahamian government and ecologists to develop the cay into a thriving marine reserve that will coexist flawlessly with the ecosystem.  The island will offer some of the best beaches in the world, and a variety of Caribbean-inspired experiences.

MSC will invest about $200 million into creating a lush, natural haven from the desert island it currently is.  At 95 acres in size with 11,400 feet of beach front across six beaches, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will be the biggest island development by any cruise company in the Caribbean.  It will feature a berth and pier, meaning that guests will not have to tender; they’ll be able to walk right off the ship onto the island.  All shipboard operations, including the casino, will stay open while docked there. 

The cruise line has an extensive landscaping plan for the island, and will be bringing more than 80 indigenous plants, such as Beach Morning Glory and Jamaica Dogwood, to be planted across the island.  There will be an architecturally accurate Bahamian village, full of shops, restaurants, and bars, all surrounding an island-themed music gazebo.  Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will also feature a family beach with a kids’ restaurant, a inland lagoon, a zip line crossing the island, and a pavilion for weddings and other celebrations.  For MSC Yacht Club guests, there will be an exclusive wellness sanctuary and spa with private bungalows and massage huts on the northwest corner of the island.

MSC plans to break ground in March 2016 and the island will open to guests in December 2017.  Guests aboard the upcoming ship MSC Seaside‘s maiden voyage will be the first to visit the cruise line’s island.

Island rendering and photo courtesy of MSC Cruises.

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NCL

Effective for Norwegian Sky sailings booked on or after 4/22/15 for sailings embarking on or after 1/1/16 – guests will receive Norwegian’s Ultimate Beverage Package which includes spirits, cocktails, bottled beer, draft beer, and wines by the glass, up to and including $15, and unlimited fountain soda and juices, at all bars, lounges, restaurants and Great Stirrup Cay. A 20% discount will be applied to all bottles of wine purchased on board. Does not include room service, package sales, ship specific promotions or beer buckets, designated Super Premium brands (subject to change), bottled wine, mini bar purchases, bottled water, fresh squeezed juices, select Lavazza coffee beverages, energy drinks, vending machines or wine stations. One (1) beverage per person per transaction. Beverages over $15 will receive up to an $15 discount; the difference will be charged to your account, including gratuity. Your check may reflect applicable VAT and/or taxes for certain ports or itineraries. You must be at least 21 years of age to purchase and consume alcohol. See the terms of our guest alcohol policy.

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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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Carnival CruisCarnivalMagic2-300x178wphone Line will build upon its leadership position in Port Canaveral, Fla., expanding capacity on three- and four-day Bahamas cruises by 34 percent and deploying its newest class of ship on seven-day Caribbean voyages in 2016.

Carnival will enhance its short Bahamas cruise program from Port Canaveral with Carnival Victory replacing Carnival Sensation on this popular route in February 2016. The move not only increases capacity on the three- and four-day cruises but also provides guests with a greater variety of on-board features and amenities, including more than 500 balcony staterooms aboard Carnival Victory.

Additionally, Carnival Magic will reposition to Port Canaveral in December 2016 to offer two different seven-day Caribbean itineraries, providing consumers with exciting new week-long cruise vacation choices from Central Florida.   Carnival Magic is part of the line’s newest class of ship and offers such features as a WaterWorks aqua park, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant and SportSquare outdoor recreation area.

In turn, Carnival Sensation, which boasts WaterWorks, Serenity adults-only retreat and numerous other features, will shift to Miami in February 2016 to operate the line’s attractive and convenient year-round four- and five-day cruise schedule.

“We are significantly ‘upping our game’ in Port Canaveral with the addition of these great new ships to the important and growing Central Florida market,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “When these ships join the spectacular Carnival Sunshine, this dynamic trio of ‘Fun Ships’ will offer our guests and valued travel agent partners the widest array of attractive and convenient cruising options from the Space Coast,” she added.

Expanded Capacity on Short Cruises from the Space Coast

Carnival Victory, currently based in Miami, will reposition to Port Canaveral to launch a schedule of three- and four-day cruises beginning Feb. 25, 2016, dramatically expanding the line’s capacity on this program. On this route, three-day cruises depart Thursdays and visit Nassau, while four-day cruises depart Sundays and call at both Nassau and Freeport.

In addition to providing a newer, larger ship on short cruises from Central Florida, Carnival Victory boasts a variety of on-board features, including a 14,500-square-foot spa, four swimming pools – one with a 214-foot-long water slide – along with 18 lounges and bars whose stunning interiors are inspired by the world’s most famous bodies of water.

During their time in the Bahamas, guests can relax on gorgeous white-sand beaches, enjoy numerous shopping, dining and sightseeing opportunities and partake in a wide range of watersports, from snorkeling and scuba diving to kayaking, parasailing and deep-sea fishing.

In October 2016, Carnival Valor — currently based in Port Canaveral and scheduled to undergo an extensive dry dock in March 2016 that will add a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations — will take over Carnival Victory’s three- and four-day Bahamas cruises from Central Florida on a year-round basis. Carnival Valor will be the only ship operating three- and four-day cruises to offer the line’s highly acclaimed Fun Ship 2.0 features. Carnival Victory will subsequently move to another homeport.

Exciting New Seven-Day Choices from Port Canaveral

Carnival Magic will kick off its Port Canaveral-based program with a special eight-day cruise departing Dec. 9, 2016, and featuring St. Thomas, San Juan, Amber Cove (Dominican Republic), and Grand Turk.  The ship will then launch year-round seven-day cruises from Port Canaveral Dec. 17, 2016, offering two distinctly different week-long itineraries – a western Caribbean route featuring Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya; and an eastern Caribbean option calling at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau or Amber Cove.

Carnival Magic features a wide variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, including a massive WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 312-foot-long Twister water slide, the DrainPipe funnel-style water slide and a 300-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket, along with an expansive SportSquare outdoor recreation area highlighted by a suspended ropes course with breathtaking views to the sea 150 feet below, and a Caribbean-inspired watering hole called RedFrog Pub.

Carnival Magic will join Carnival Sunshine which offers seasonal five- to eight-day Caribbean voyages from Port Canaveral and is the only ship in the Carnival fleet to offer all of the line’s Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, along with unique features like the Speedway Splash water attraction, Ji Ji Asian Kitchen and the Latin-infused Havana Bar.

Special 12-Day Carnival Journeys Cruise on Carnival Magic

In preparation for its Space Coast debut, Carnival Magic will offer a special 12-day Carnival Journeys cruise departing Galveston Nov. 27 and arriving in Port Canaveral on Dec. 9, 2016.  Featured ports will include Cozumel; Limon, Costa Rica; Colon, Panama; Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia; Aruba, and Grand Turk.  Carnival Journeys is a unique collection of nine- to 15-day voyages featuring exotic, less visited ports in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Hawaii and offering a number of exclusive on-board experiences and activities.

Carnival Sensation’s New Miami-Based Short Cruise Program

Carnival Sensation will reposition from Port Canaveral to Miami to offer year-round four- and five-day cruises featuring top ports in the Caribbean, Mexico, The Bahamas, and Florida beginning Feb. 25, 2016.  On Carnival Sensation’s new Miami-based schedule, four-day cruises depart Thursdays visiting Key West and Cozumel or the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, and Nassau, while five-day cruises depart Mondays and Saturdays featuring some of the top ports throughout the Caribbean and Bahamas, including Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Amber Cove, Freeport, Nassau and Half Moon Cay.

Additional Information and Reservations

These new itineraries from Port Canaveral and Miami are currently open for reservations.

Best of Orlando 2014 Award

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14041346_WAVE2015_Consumer_FlyerBook between now and December 31st, 2014 to get:

  • 50% off the Second Passenger
  • $300 On Board Credit (up to)
  • 50% Reduced Deposits

Take advantage of these special offers now and plan ahead for next year or beyond. Take the time to make payments and take the stress out of having to pay for your dream vacation. We are here to help. No Fees to Book and we have the best prices anywhere.

Call The Cruise Experts: (866) 202-6343

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CEI_Logo

Royal Caribbean Incentive Rewards certificates are normally reserved for purchase by businesses only, but now they’re available to you through this exclusive offer.

Give friends and family (or yourself!) the gift of WOW – an unforgettable cruise for two starting at just $583* on 3-4 night Bahamas cruises. Choose from endless options for departure ports, ships, itineraries, nights and accommodations. Plus, there’s no expiration date so your gift can be used at any time!

Act fast – buy a certificate between November 1 – December 31, 2014.

 

 

RCCL,Gift-Cert

 

Give the Gift of WOW!

Gift Certificates starting at $583.00*

Call The Cruise Experts at (866) 202-6343 for all the details.

 

 

 

 

 

*Certificate Rates are for 2 people based on double occupancy. Each purchase includes two Certificates (one per person) and both must be applied to the same cruise reservation. Certificate rates are inclusive of the cruise fare, taxes and fees, and standard recommended gratuities (except for Bronze Level Certificates, which only include cruise fare). Additional cost for 3rd and 4th guest at the prevailing rate for the sailing. All Certificate Levels exclude Oasis Class Ships except for the Royal Crown Diamond Level. All Certificate Levels excludes Quantum Class Ships. Interior Staterooms based on categories Q and N. Ocean View Staterooms based on categories H and I. Balcony Staterooms based on categories D1 and D2 for Sovereign and Vision Class, E1 and E2 for Radiance, Voyager and Freedom Class and D8 and D7 for Oasis Class. Blackout Dates (Christmas and New Years Week) apply to all Certificates. Certificates can be upgraded or applied to a different sailing at time of redemption (recipient pays difference between Certificate value and lowest fare publicly available from the cruise line at the time of redemption, excluding special rate programs- see Terms and Conditions for more details). No money is refunded if lower cost sailing is booked. Certificates are nonrefundable and not replaceable if lost, stolen or damaged. The two certificates issued per purchase must be submitted together at time of redemption and at least seven (7) business days prior to the sail date.

For more cruise choices, click here.

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