Tag Archives: Princess Cruises

Cruises Offer More Dining Options

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Celebrity Cruises just announced the introduction of Celebrity Select Dining. This new option allows passengers to dine in the ship’s main restaurant, but not have a preassigned dining time, as is the traditional dinner schedule. Instead, guests can select to dine at any time between 6:00 and 9:30 pm., and even make reservations online up to 4 days before the cruise.

The program is being rolled out sequentially to all Celebrity ships (except for Celebrity Xpedition), starting with the Equinox on the September 26th sailing. It will be completed by February. Reservations will be on a first come, first served basis, and for passengers who elect to participate, gratuities will be automatically charged to the on board account.

It used to be that cruise lines offered 2 set times to dine in the main restaurants. You chose between early and late dining, and were stuck with that choice for the duration of the cruise. If you wanted to have dinner at a different time, you had to go to one of the alternate restaurants. In the last few years, however, starting with Norwegian Cruise Lines, the option to have dinner in the main restaurant (or one of them, at least), has been introduced by several lines. The following is a summary of the offerings:

  • Norwegian Cruise Lines: They were the pioneers of the flexible options with their Freestyle Dining. You’ve surely seen the commercials; do whatever you want, whenever you want. Norwegian has done away with the set dining times altogether, and bases dining service on offering different menus in different restaurants. Their newer ships, like the Jewel and the Gem, have even been designed with the Freestyle philosophy in mind. NCL ships offer smaller restaurants, with up to 13 different restaurants on board.
  • Carnival: The Fun Ships don’t currently offer a flexible option. It’s either early, late, or one of the other restaurants.
  • Royal Caribbean: Their “My Time” dining allows passengers to have dinner at any time in the main restaurants. It’s very similar to Celebrity’s Select Dining, which is likely based on My Time. In addition, Royal Caribbean offers “Family My Time” dining. This program is targeted to families with younger children. Appetizers are served immediately, and the children’s dinner is finished in 40 minutes.  They are then taken to evening activities with Adventure Ocean counselors, while the adults continue the meal at a more leisurely pace.
  • Princess Cruises: Their anytime dining allows passengers to dine at the main restaurant between 5:30 and 10:00 pm. Some ships have dedicated Anytime Dining restaurants, separate from the traditional dining restaurants, but providing the same menu and service.
  • Holland America: Provides an open schedule in its main dining room, as part of their As You Wish Dining program.
  • Cunard: Guests can dine any time between 7 and 9 pm, but some restaurants offer either early or late dining only.

Any way you look at it, dining is one of the prime attractions of a cruise, and a very important part of the cruising experience for most passengers. If you’ve been on a cruise, you understand why. If you have not, I invite you to experience it. Just contact us and we’ll plan the perfect cruise for you.

Regards,

Enrique Brener
KC Travel
N. Miami Beach, FL
www.kctravel.jurni.net
info@kctravel.jurni.net
305-792-0618
FL Seller of Travel Reg. TI-35171

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Deployment News

This past couple of weeks, there have been several newsworthy press releases from several cruise lines, announcing very interesting developments on their 2010-1011 ship deployments:

  • Royal Caribbean will base it’s Freedom Class Independence of the Seas year-round in the U.K. in 2010. Cruise lines have typically limited their European season to the months between April and November. Independence joins Brilliance of the Seas as the only Royal Caribbean ships based in Europe all year. Independence’s Winter season will visit the Italian Rivera, the Sorrento and Naples areas,  and the Balearic islands. Sailings for the 2010 Winter season go on sale this June.
  • Also from Royal Caribbean, year-round Caribbean sailings on 5 ships from 4 ports. Serenade of the Seas expands season sailings from San Juan to the whole year. Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, Independence’s older sisters, will continue to alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral (close to Orlando) and Miami respectively. Finally, the new Oasis of the Seas, and its sister, Allure of the Seas, will sail from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. These two will be the biggest cruise lines in the world and will offer an incredible host of amenities.
  • Princess Cruises has revamped and simplified its Alaska itineraries. Princess is recognized as one of the best cruise lines for Alaska. They will now offer 4 different itineraries aboard 7 ships. They will include more sailings through Glacier Bay National Park, and will include sailings on the smaller Royal Princess, whose size allows to visit some smaller ports.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines is basing it’s newly refurnished Carnival Fantasy in Mobile for 7 night Western Caribbean sailings. The new cruises visit Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The seven-day voyages complement the line’s four- and five-day schedule from Mobile on the Holiday. Carnival Fantasy underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation last year that included the addition of the Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, new Serenity adults-only retreat and redesigned tropical-themed main pool area.
  • Celebrity Cruises is basing its newly refurbished Century, one of their most popular ships, in the Caribbean year-round. Century will alternate 5 and 4 day sailings, which give new cruises an ideal way to experience what cruising, and especially Celebrity cruising, is all about.
  • Azamara Cruises is deploying the Azamara Journey next Winter season with cruises from Miami and San Diego, as well as 2 full Panama Canal transits between these 2 ports. From Miami, Journey will visit ports such as St. John, St. Croix, Saint Martin, St. Kitts, Guadeloupe, St. Barts, Virgin Gorda, St. Lucia andDominica. The San Diego cruises will focus on ports in the Sea of Cortez, such as Mazatlán, Topolobampo, Loreto, Guaymas and La Paz. Panama Canal sailings will add Cartagena, Colombia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua; and Huatulco, Acapulco, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to the itinerary

These new offerings give options to every type of traveler, from the relax of a Caribbean cruise to the exploring opportunities on a European voyage. And this year, prices can’t be better. If you’d like to explore the opportunities available, please contact me and we’ll work together on planning the perfect cruise.

Regards,

Enrique Brener
KC Travel
N. Miami Beach, FL
www.kctravel.jurni.net
info@kctravel.jurni.net
305-792-0618
FL Seller of Travel Reg. TI-35171

Carnival Reports Higher Profits

Last month, I wrote about Royal Caribbean’s drop in profits compared to last year.  Last week, it was archrival Carnival Corp.’s time to report earnings. In contrast to Royal Caribbean’s report, Carnival’s profits actually rose from the same period last year. Earnings per share rose by 10%. A closer look at the numbers, though, reveals that the increase is likely due to a reduction in costs, as revenue actually fell.  This is due to the dramatic price reductions we’ve seen due to the economy. As Carnival’s CEO Micky Arison put it: “We’ve had very strong volume against very lousy rates.”

Of course, the drop in rates is very good news for travelers, if not for the cruise lines. Take for example the prices on Carnival Freedom’s upcoming cruises:

Carnival Freedom Offers

When you think of Carnival, though, keep in mind the company not only owns the “Fun Ships”. They own such varied brands as the venerable Cunard, the classic Holland America, Princess Cruise Lines, and the Yachts of Seabourn, among other brands. This range attracts a very diversified customer base, and it allows their customers to “mature” from one line to another. A first time passenger on Carnival may want to try Princess for a different atmosphere, or may move to Holland America or Cunard as they get older and more affluent.

In short, if you want a cruise, it’s likely one of Carnival’s brands will have what you’re looking for. They offer different experiences and are targeted to different audiences. If you’re thinking about a cruise, please let us help you find the right one for you.

Regards,

Enrique Brener
KC Travel
N. Miami Beach, FL
www.kctravel.jurni.net
info@kctravel.jurni.net
305-792-0618
FL Seller of Travel Reg. TI-35171

The 49th’s 50th

This month, Alaska celebrated its 50th year as a State. It was admitted to the Union on January 3rd, 1959, and was followed by Hawaii a few months later.  Fifty years later, Alaska remains one of the country’s distant frontiers and an exotic destination.

There are 3 popular ways of exploring this largest of the States: By cruise, by tour, and by combination tour/cruise.

Alaska cruises are offered by most major cruise lines, and offer the opportunity to visit several ports, get up close  and personal with glaciers, and see spectacular scenery. As can be expected, demand for these cruises increases as the weather gets milder in July and August. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Statehood, Princess Cruises is offering 2-for-1 fares on many of its Alaska sailings. Most Alaska cruises are either 7-day round trip sailings from Seattle or Vancouver, or one-way cruises between one of these ports and Seward or Whittier. The following is a typical round-trip itinerary:

Alaska itinerary

Other cruise lines, which use smaller ships, like Cruise West, also have sailings in Alaska, and offer the opportunity to get to places where the bigger ships can’t.

The second popular way to visit Alaska is by land. Companies like Tauck, Globus, Abercrombie&Kent, Trafalgar, and others, offer tours from 6 to more than 15 days. Some like Tauck, offer tours geared to multigenerational families, so everyone from kids to grandparents can enjoy the State’s attractions, from watching varied fauna that includes bald eagles, moose, beavers, and perhaps even bears, to experiencing true Alaskan traditions like dogsledding, hiking, fishing, etc. A detailed itinerary can be seen here.

The third way to visit Alaska is by combining a tour and a cruise. In my opinion, this is the best option because it combines the opportunity to see glaciers and navigate through the majestic Alaskan waterways with the unique experiences that only an inland tour can provide. You can combine any cruise with any tour, even if they are offered by different companies, provided that the dates match. Cruise lines, however, offer extensions to their cruises that allow travelers to stay in Alaska in combination with sailings starting or ending in the State. Right now, there are very good offers from several cruise lines on cruisetours. For example, Princess is helping passengers save money by allowing them to fly into Seattle instead of Vancouver, and is including a motorcoach transfer to the port, the cruise, tour, flight back to Seattle, and a night’s hotel in  Seattle before the flight back home.  Celebrity is offering $200 shipboard credit per stateroom:

Celebrity alaska

There are many other offers from most suppliers, so feel free to contact us to find the best deal and the best fit for you and your family.

Regards,

Enrique Brener
KC Travel
N. Miami Beach, FL
www.kctravel.jurni.net
info@kctravel.jurni.net
305-792-0618
FL Seller of Travel Reg. TI-35171