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If you’ve never played pub trivia, now is a good time to take the plunge. To start, buy into the concept British homes are generally smaller than yours. The neighborhood or village pub serves as the community living room. People show up in the evening to socialize. Organized pub trivia nights are just one of the ways they keep life interesting. If your ship has lots of British people aboard, chances are there’s plenty of scheduled trivia games in the pub.

Trivia? What’s the Deal?

People initially form spontaneously into teams. Some stay together for the entire voyage. Others are dynamic, newly forming at every session. The moderator might read a group of twenty questions. Groups write their answers on one sheet, which is swapped with another group for scoring once the sessions are completed. The moderator rereads the questions, everyone shouts what they think is the right answer. The moderator gives the correct answer. Yays and groans follow. Finally, the moderator asks the room: “Who has ten or more correct?” Hands go up. This continues until one team is left, with maybe 18 correct answers. Applause follows. Everyone disperses. All this takes about 30 minutes.

What are 10 Reasons I Should Play Trivia?

OK, maybe you aren’t sold yet. Here are some reasons why this makes sense.

  1. It’s an incredibly easy way to make friends. When six people meet for the first time and ponder questions, social barriers disappear. During your voyage, as you arrive early or stay after the game enjoying a drink, you gradually learn your teammates are really interesting people.
  2. They have several games each day. The British love their trivia! Expect morning, afternoon, early evening and late night games. The evening game might be music trivia. The early evening game fits in nicely when the ship is quiet before the dinner seating.
  3. Everyone knows something. As an American, you have American history and geography down cold. You might be stumped in sports or some other category, but you will know your stuff if your team members are Brits, Canadians or Aussies.
  4. No one knows everything. You might think the only people who play are brainy people who sound like Wikipedia on legs. Even if someone knows the colors of every country’s flag, there are questions that stump them. It levels the playing field.
  5. Technology is forbidden. No one is allowed to use Smartphones or tablets. Even if they could, shipboard Wi-Fi is often spotty or slow. There’s usually no cell service, because there are no cell towers in the ocean. It’s brainpower only.
  6. Celebrities behaving as normal people. Cunarder, the magazine for World Club members of Cunard, will occasionally profile celebrities who’ve sailed their ships. You discover some head down to the pub and join trivia teams. Anecdotally, we’ve heard the celebrity lecturers presenting talks on the Queens do the same.
  7. You’ll have highs and lows. You will be convinced of an answer, sway your teammates and score the winning point. You will be convinced of an answer, face down your same teammates, persuade them they were wrong and discover they were right after all. No risk, no reward.
  8. Do you need an excuse to get away? You’re chatting with someone who is boring. Maybe the lecture is putting you to sleep. Your friends just want to sit in the hot sun all day. It’s easy to look at your watch and say: “I’ve got to get down to the pub for team trivia. They are depending on me.”
  9. You will meet incredibly well traveled people. You’ve always wanted to go to Bali. One afternoon, there’s a quiz question and Bali is the correct answer. One of your teammates knows this because they’ve either visited Bali on vacation or actually live there. Now you have a resource who can tell you everything you want to know.
  10. Do you believe urban legends? It’s been said years ago, a group of friends regularly sailed the world cruise year after year. They formed a team for the pub quizzes. Over time, one of them died. It’s been said they actually ran an ad in the New York Times seeking a replacement quiz team player willing to book the world cruise year after year! 

When you cruise, you will discover you have more free time than you ever imagined. Trivia quizzes, announced in the ship’s daily bulletin, are an interesting way to fill the time.

Story courtesy of Bryce Sanders. 

The post 10 Reasons You Want to Play Pub Trivia Aboard Ship appeared first on AllThingsCruise.

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Not every great day on a Viking river cruise is spent on a river. We spent the first day of our “cruise” on dry land – in the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal. We are signed up to cruise the Douro River from Porto to Barca d’Alva, but – since everyone on the cruise flies into Lisbon, 195 miles away from Porto, our point of embarkation — Viking did the sensible thing: scheduled a multi-optional tour day in Portugal’s vibrant, historic capital city. That doesn’t include the half day provided us to recover from jet lag on the day we arrived. It’s much better than a mad rush from the airport to the ship, arriving frazzled and exhausted on the day the boat leaves port.

We had our choice of taking three different city tours, or of relaxing in our hotel room and doing nothing at all. We chose a tour, and went with a guide to see “Cosmopolitlan Lisbon and the Maritime Museum,” taking us through some of the most scenic parts of the city and a stop at Belem Tower, a 16th Century limestone fortification at the edge of the Tejo River that served as a fortress against pirates and Spanish attackers. The limestone structure with elaborate turrets is covered in detailed decoration. Our guide called it, colotfully, “embroidery in stone.” From there we rode to the nearby Jeronimos Monastery which, when it closed as a religious building, was remade into the UNESCO World Heritage Maritime Museum, a Lisbon must-see. its exhibits celebrate Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery, when the great Portuguese explorers set sail in their caravels across the world. Included are maps showing their 16th Century territorial discoveries and many intricate models of ships and original navigating instruments. Samples of the spices that the Portuguese sailing ships brought back from the Far East, including, pepper, nutmeg, cumin, vanilla, anise, ginger and cinnamon, are on display, along with the vats that held them sealed tightly from the humidity. (One urn that was found at the bottom of the sea some 500 years after its ship sank contained black pepper that was still dry and usable.)

An enormous exhibition room holds ceremonial barges from the 18th Century, including a Royal Barge built in 1778, powered by 80 oarsmen. The last time it was taken out on the water was in 1957 when it transported Queen Elizabeth II of England in the river Tagus at the time of her official visit to Portugal.

Our jet lag yesterday after our flight from Boston was alleviated by a restorative swim in the outdoor pool set in the garden of the modern Tivoli Hotel, where our rooms were reserved by Viking. Tonight, Viking has another “off-cruise-ship” treat planned for us – a walking culinary tour in the working class neighborhood of Graca featuring two tastings. At one we will savor a selection of petiscos, small servings of tasty bites accompanied by a locally produced liqueur. At the other, we will visit a wine bar where traditional cheeses and smoked sausages complement the tasting.

Story and photos courtesy of Julie Hatfield.

The post Douro- Day 1 on Viking Helgrim appeared first on AllThingsCruise.

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All Things Cruise by Heidi Allison-shane - 1d ago

Met with All Things Cruise official photographer Dennis Cox this morning at the attractive port of Detroit on the river. We toured the Victory I and met with the cruise director. A magical cruise awaits those who take this Great Lakes voyage. Oh so beautiful, the Great Lakes and America.
– Heidi

The latest addition to my Cruise the World Book was from a trip close to home. The Victory 1 Great Lakes cruise ship docked in Detroit at 7:30 this morning and I was able to go aboard to take some photos. Here is Victory 1 coming up river under the Ambassador Bridge on the Detroit River. Her itinerary began in Toronto and will end in Chicago, then will reverse directions and the ship will be back again in Detroit soon.

Story and photos courtesy of Dennis Cox. 

The post Victory 1 Great Lakes Cruise appeared first on AllThingsCruise.

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The first time my husband and I ever saw a riverboat, we were riding our bikes on a narrow path beside the Danube River in Austria.   Through the trees we could see a long, snake-like boat gliding silently down the river. Tim had an immediate reaction. “Don’t ever sign us up for one of those things,” he declared. “They look like aquatic rest homes.”

That was six years ago. Since then, we have taken two European riverboat cruises – all of which have been “sublime,” he now declares.

Tomorrow we embark on our third. This one will be a Viking cruise on Portugal’s Douro River, from Lisbon to Porto.

Over the years we’ve biked in many countries in Europe but never dared to get on two wheels in Portugal out of cobblestone-fear-for-a -painful-rear. Cobblestones are beautiful to look at but they’re not fun to ride on if you’re trying to traverse them on bikes.

That’s why this year we’ve chosen to see Portugal from a riverboat, guaranteeing as smooth a ride as can possibly be taken through any countryside. We’ll view Portugal’s beautiful landscapes from the water, thank you, and we’ll walk the cobblestones when we’re on the many excursions that Viking offers every day when we’re docked.

Even before we board our brand new Viking vessel, named “Helgrim,” Viking guides have offered us a choice of four different tours in and around Lisbon, from which we’ll depart. We must choose between: 1) exploring picturesque coastal villages near Lisbon, 2) visiting the Maritime Museum in this country of exceptional seafaring explorers, 3) tasting the culinary specialties of the capital of Portugal, or 4) viewing some of the famous ceramics and decorative tiles for which Portugal is famous at the National Tile Museum.

We will be living magically for a week on the Helgrim, named after a Norse god, as are all Viking ships. (The god Helgrim co-led the first Viking mission from Norway to England at the command of Harald I, King of Norway.) Our Helgrim welcomed guests for the first time in April of this year.

She’s a signature Longship design, 262 feet in length, carrying 190 passengers, all of them required to be 55 or over. If they are on this cruise, it’s assumed they’ll be interested in culture, history, science and cuisine. Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen often calls Viking “the thinking man’s cruise” with no casinos, waterslides, or formal nights.   We’ll be on the Douro River, called the “River of Gold.” When the setting sun catches it right, the waters are said to gleam like liquid bullion bars. Even though “douro” may sound as if it means “gold,” the word comes from the river’s source near Duruelo de la Sierra, crossing northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at the city of Porto, which will be our point of disembarkation.

We will be cruising through some of the world’s most beautiful wine regions, and stopping at a scattering of World Heritage sites, including the medieval Old Town of Guimaraes, the nation’s first capital, with palaces and monasteries dating to the 10th Century.

My husband, who always puts his bike away with reluctance, is ready for walking and hiking on what our schedule calls “occasionally difficult, unpaved surfaces and/or multiple stairs and steep inclines.” Back on board the Helgrim after these bike-less adventures, you can be sure he’ll be nestled into his comfortable bed in our luxury stateroom for a restorative sleep. After, of course, he has polished off one of Viking’s acclaimed five-course gourmet dinners.

Story and photos courtesy of Julie Hatfield.

The post My Pre-Cruise Story on Viking Helgrim appeared first on AllThingsCruise.

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CALABASAS, CA – (July 11, 2019) – AmaWaterways today christened its revolutionary new ship, AmaMagna, in Grein, Austria. The festive ceremony saw guests on board joining AmaWaterways co-founders Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst along with Godmother Samantha Brown, respected travel expert and Emmy Award-winning television host, as she officially christened the 23rd ship in the fleet.

“With AmaMagna’s double width design allowing for more personal space, amenities and dining venues, I have had this unique ship on my mind for years and today we are thrilled to officially welcome her to the AmaWaterways family,” said Schreiner. “We are grateful to have so many of our friends and travel partners here with us as we celebrate this exciting time for our company.”

Honoring the long-standing tradition associated with ship christenings that originates more than 4,000 years ago, a priest blessed the ship and crew while Godmother Brown broke a champagne bottle against AmaMagna’s hull, signifying good luck on the journeys ahead.

“Through the years, we have celebrated each new ship the Ama way – with lots of love! Samantha shares many values with our company – most notable through her PBS series “Places to Love”, where she discovers the emotional heart of travel through the people who are changing, challenging and strengthening a destination,” said Karst. “She is a perfect fit as Godmother for this very special ship that is also challenging ideas of what river cruising can offer people in search of personalized travel experiences.”

The striking new ship was welcomed by Grein Mayor Rainer Barth and a distinguished group of regional government and tourism representatives. Afternoon festivities included speeches by Schreiner, Karst and Brown, along with lively local entertainment celebrating the Blue Danube Waltz, Sound of Music and Austrian singer Falco. Following regionally-inspired cocktails and a gala dinner, guests were also treated to a sun deck show featuring dazzling LED performers and fireworks to cap off the festivities.

“I am proud to be Godmother to this incredibly innovative ship,” said Brown. “I have always been impressed by the warmth and attentive care that the crew have shown to me and my family during our previous AmaWaterways cruise, but while traveling on board AmaMagna this week, the ship and the service have exceeded all my expectations of what a cruise experience can be.”

AmaMagna is twice the width of traditional river cruise ships, yet welcomes only 20 percent more guests, allowing generous personal space – with more than half of the 98 staterooms designated as suites measuring between 355 and 710 sq. ft.  All staterooms and suites are appointed with stylish décor and natural wood accents. The suites feature full outside balconies, open seating areas and luxurious bathrooms, complete with double sinks and walk-in showers. Six Grand Suites (474 sq. ft.) and an Owner’s Suite (710 sq. ft.) provide even more amenities with separate seating areas and sizable bathrooms complete with spa-like bathtubs.

With four restaurants to choose from, the ship delivers award-winning cuisine and service along with enhanced guest amenities such as an onboard cinema; a large boutique; an expansive Zen Wellness Studio, complete with a large exercise area offering group classes in stretching, cardio and core strengthening and spin classes led by a professionally trained Wellness Host. A juice bar and two massage rooms, along with manicure, pedicure and hair services; and a sun deck with a large heated pool, relaxing whirlpool and sky bar add to the enjoyment on board. All sun deck facilities are easily accessible via an innovative pop-up elevator serving all four decks.

Exclusive to AmaMagna, guests may take advantage of a Concierge Golf Program, providing the opportunity to experience four top-level golf courses in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany while enjoying the magic of river cruising. AmaMagna’s itineraries include Romantic Danube, Melodies of the Danube and Christmas Markets on the Danube.

To book a cruise on AmaWaterways, please click here.

Photo and press release courtesy of AmaWaterways.

The post AmaWaterways Officially Welcomes Revolutionary Amamagna With Festive Christening Ceremony appeared first on AllThingsCruise.

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As anyone knows who has taken a cruise recently, technology is front and center when it comes to the guest experience.

On MSC Seaside, we reserved shows and restaurants on large digital touch screens, and were amazed by how easy disembarkation was at Customs thanks to biometric facial recognition. On Carnival, the Carnival HUB app is like having a concierge in your hand. Princess goes a step farther with their OceanMedallion, a wearable that opens your stateroom, pays for your purchases and knows almost as much about you as you do.

Think that’s astounding? You haven’t seen anything yet, according to Jorge Agnese, VP of Consulting at the Travel and Hospitality division of OZ.

Headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, OZ serves a number of business sectors. Their mission: “Help our clients be magic in customer experience through Digital Wizardry.” They just concluded their first annual CXDX Summit. Held at the W Hotel in Miami, it showcased the latest advances in digital services and solutions, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and radio frequency identification (RFID) for Florida travel and hospitality leaders.

Agnese has been at the forefront of developing customer experience solutions since the early 1990s, working with companies who even then were developing facial recognition products and laying the groundwork for many of the technologies cruise ships use today.

In his role at OZ, Agnesemeets with industry leaders on how they can advance the all-important customer experience, and just as important, the employee experience (EX).

“The employee experience is truly what enhances the customer experience,” said Agnese in a recent intview. “If you don’t have the right systems to serve your customers, there’s going to be friction at the interaction.”

He sees a day — coming soon — when the technology will be available to turn every employee on a cruise into a concierge.

“If you can make every employee a concierge, regardless of whether they are a maintenance worker or manager, the guest experience will be phenomenal. For example, you walk out of your stateroom and see somebody working. You ask when the restaurant opens. They not only tell you when it opens, but also make your reservation.”

He admits that’s a lofty goal, but one that is definitely within reach.

At the end of the day, Agnese said it’s all about improving the “car to bar” experience, to quote a cruise industry executive. How efficiently can the cruise line move a guest from their car to the bar on the ship? ‘We would like to make it minutes, not hours.”

Why all the focus on making us feel good about our travel choices? Agnese cited this: “Almost 90 percent of the companies in the travel and hospitality sector believe they will compete solely on the customer experience.” That’s a pretty good reason.

While facial recognition has done wonders for speeding up getting on and off the ship, Agnese talked about an even newer technology to improve the customer experience: Mood recognition.

What if you could scan a room and detect the emotions of the people there? They’re working on that, too.

Potentially, Agnese said, “You could map out emotions, such as people leaving a movie. Are they upset, complaining? We can do that. Or, I go somewhere where the music is too loud. They can detect people aren’t happy and turn it down.”

Working with their conference partner, Medallia, all these customer interactions are detected and fed into the Medallia Experience Cloud, a platform that captures customer feedback and processes it in real-time.

It all sounds like something out of the movie, “Minority Report.” Are there any concerns with privacy? “No,” said Agnese, “as long as the experience is valid and doesn’t interfere with the customer’s privacy.”

While virtual reality is great for creating immersive experiences, Agnese sees a wider range of uses for augmented reality — an additive experience. “You can use augmented reality to power your employees to know your personal preferences,” he said. “It makes you feel like a VIP.” The challenge with both AR and VR is the size of the devices and the power required to run them, he noted.

But “it’s going to get there soon.”

Even though he’s not at liberty to discuss what’s in the works with their cruise and travel customers, you can bet the ideas being tested in their Innovation Lab will one day be game-changers for those of us who love to cruise.

“Customers judge you on every touch point in planning a trip,” he said, from the first notion of taking the cruise and online booking to leaving home and getting back. “Every aspect has to be looked at.” The digital wizards at OZ are hard at work doing the looking.

Story and photo courtesy of Gerry Barker. 

The post Cruising into the Future: The Digital Wizards at OZ appeared first on AllThingsCruise.

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MIAMI (July 10, 2019) – Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, the world’s leading luxury ocean cruise line, today opened reservations for its newest Navigate the World – Elements of the Pacific voyage, which is distinct from previous world cruises.

Enabling luxury travelers to appreciate the natural elements that formed some of the world’s most inspiring regions, the “Elements of the Pacific”-themed world cruise embarks in January 2022 on a 120-night, roundtrip journey from San Francisco, California, circumnavigating the inspiring Pacific Rim aboard the award-winning, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner®. It sails to 17 countries and 59 distinct ports of call with 18 overnight stays, while providing access to 43 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and nearly 300 free shore excursions.

“Elements of the Pacific” is Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ first world cruise to Asia-Pacific since 2009 and reflects luxury travelers’ increasing interest in experiencing Asian-Pacific destinations.

“Our 2022 world cruise itinerary, tours and events present an unrivaled experience to the growing number of luxury travelers craving to visit stunning and culturally enriching Asian Pacific destinations,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “There is no better way to traverse this wondrous part of our world than in the company of like-minded friends in the care of the best staff and crew on the ocean.”

Elements of the Pacific: Water. Earth. Fire. Ice.

Over the ages, our planet’s elements of water, earth, fire and ice crafted and shaped the globe. World cruise guests will discover these elements as they escape to the inviting waters of the South Pacific and earthen wonderlands of Australia and New Zealand, savor the fiery flavors of Southeast Asia and touch on the volcanic edges of Russia before standing in awe of Alaska’s majestic ice fields.

43 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Guests sailing on the two-ocean, three-continent “Elements of the Pacific” voyage will have access to 43 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including:

  • Taputapu?tea from Raiatea, French Polynesia
  • Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens from Melbourne, Australia
  • Wet Tropics of Queensland from Cairns, Australia
  • Borobudur Temple Compounds from Semarang (Java), Indonesia
  • Historic City of Ayutthaya from Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand
  • Classical Gardens of Suzhou from Shanghai, China
  • Himeji Castle from Kyoto (Kobe), Japan
  • Volcanoes of Kamchatka from Petropavlovsk, Russia 

Exclusive Shoreside Experiences

Voyage highlights include three new unique shoreside experiences, exclusively for world cruise guests.

  • A Classical Rendezvous in Sydney. Sydney, Australia — February 22, 2022

Before the billowing Opera House took center stage, the Sydney Town Hall was the jewel of entertainment venues in the Land Down Under, with stunning Victorian interiors, high ceilings, ornate stained glass and one of the largest pipe organs in the southern hemisphere. Savor an exclusive 3-course lunch at one of Sydney’s final local venues, prepared exclusively as part of this afternoon of entertainment. Then join acclaimed Australian performer and conductor Bernard Walz with full concert orchestra and soloists for an incredible presentation of classical music in the resplendent Centennial Hall. The marble stairs, golden highlights and stunning, 160-globe, European chandelier invite guests into the main foyer as the world’s largest tubular pneumatic organ welcomes them to rest in tantalizing sounds and beautiful arrangements of the afternoon’s performance.

  • Candles, Cuisine & Caves in Ha Long Bay. Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam — March 27, 2022

The enrapturing beauty of Ha Long Bay — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is one of the most stunning sights in Southeast Asia. Its nearly 1,600 islands and islets, jutting out of the bright green waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, have an ancient origin in the mythology of dragons that descended from heaven to protect Vietnam. Arrive at Vung Duc Cave, a fascinating site that is actually comprised of multiple caves, and experience the welcoming of a dragon dance prior to entering. The dinner show, featuring a skilled local band with accompanying dancers, entertains guests as they savor a fresh and delectable local seafood supper complete with wonderful wine pairings.

  • Japanese Ceremony, Art & Cuisine in Tokyo: Tokyo, Japan — April 14, 2022

Tokyo is home to both modern amenities and rich cultural experiences. Towering skyscrapers and glowing signs line the downtown streets, while historic temples and traditional meals are found throughout this incredible city. Step back in time at Meguro Gajoen, a place that celebrates traditional Japanese culture. Enjoy a welcome filled with Japanese hospitality, as guests enter through verdant gardens, art-adorned halls and stunning woodwork. Sample an array of sushi and partake in an authentic tea ceremony. Witness the dramatic art of Kabuki, a classical Japanese dance-drama recalling ancient stories, and be charmed by the beautiful geishas. Stunning performances by genuine ninjas crown the evening’s excitement in a fantastic display of ninjutsu, while the beautiful serenading of a traditional Japanese harp serenely brings the curtain down on this unique excursion.

18 Overnight Stays

The 28,000 nautical-mile voyage includes overnight stays in:

  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Papeete (Tahiti), French Polynesia
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Bali (Benoa), Indonesia
  • Singapore
  • Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Hu/Da Nang (Chan May), Vietnam
  • Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Xiamen, China
  • Shanghai, China
  • Kyoto (Kobe), Japan
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • San Francisco, California

Optional Overland Programs

Several rare opportunities are available to world cruise guests to learn more about the pacific via optional supplemental overland programs. Guests set out in small, private groups, led by knowledgeable guides, to discover off-the-beaten-path gems. They may disembark the ship for as many as five nights and explore through an authentic insider’s perspective, experiencing colorful cultures, dramatic landscapes and historic landmarks before rejoining their ship. These include:

  • Off the Beaten Track: Two-Night from Rotorua (Tauranga), New Zealand | February 10-11, 2022

Guests uncover New Zealand’s culture and beauty on this two-day expedition out of Tauranga. In the lush lands of Waikato, participants enjoy tea and tour the 99-acre tea estate of Zealong. They experience the wonderful local art on display at the Inspirit Art Gallery, committed to supporting local talent, as well as the Lava Glass and Sculpture Garden of renowned glass artist Lynden Over. Guests taste the region’s renowned vintages at the historic Church Road winery with a delicious lunch on your second day before taking in Napier’s wonderful spin on art deco architecture. 

  • Inside Angkor Wat: Two-Nights from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | March 22-24, 2022

The magnificent Angkor Wat is accessible to guests on this three-day expedition into Cambodia. Guests enter the incredible Bayon Complex through the impressive Southern Gate of Angkor Thom before moving through the Terrace of the Leper King. They uncover the mysterious and overgrown beauty of Ta Prohm Temple, and take in the wondrous Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments in the world, as the perfect conclusion to this shoreside adventure. 

  • The Great Wall & Terracotta Warriors: Two-Nights from Xiamen, China | April 2-4, 2022

The wonders of China are on display during this three-day journey from Xiamen to Shanghai. Guests witness the famed Terracotta Warriors Museum, an excavated burial ground of 7,000 lifesized, uniquely created terracotta warriors, horses and chariots, all armed and ready for battle. They depart for Beijing the next day and explore the Forbidden City, home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, before visiting historic Tiananmen Square. Day three takes guests on a scenic ride to Juyongguan to visit one of the world’s most magnificent man-made wonders: the incredible Great Wall of China.

Voyage Fares and Bespoke Amenities

All-inclusive fares start at $63,999 per guest, with all luxuries included. Past Regent guests and Seven Seas Society Members enjoy fare savings. This unforgettable expedition will begin with a pre-cruise gala event in San Francisco and includes a broad collection of luxurious bespoke amenities, such as free first-class air, door-to-door luggage service, unlimited valet laundry, on-board medical services, visa packages, 300 unlimited shore excursions, three exclusive shoreside experiences in Sydney, Australia; Ha Long Bay, Vietnam; and Tokyo, Japan and more bespoke amenities.

Seven Seas Mariner

Seven Seas Mariner will be guests’ home for 120 nights and is the world’s first all-suite, all-balcony luxury cruise ship. A bow-to-stern refurbishment last year revealed a sleek, contemporary interior décor featuring Italian marble, crystal chandeliers and modern artwork.

An intimate and spacious ship, Seven Seas Mariner’s 500 crew members provide highly personalized service to her 700 guests. Exquisite cuisine is a hallmark on Seven Seas Mariner. Prime 7 is a classic American steakhouse; Chartreuse highlights modern French cuisine; and Sette Mari At La Veranda features authentic Italian specialties and fine wines. The ship’s flagship restaurant, Compass Rose, serves a popular menu offering guests an unprecedented level of personal customization and choice. Guests can also enjoy lunch and casual dinner selections at the outdoor Pool Grill, including steaks, chops, salmon, chicken and sausage, all prepared to order from new infrared barbeque grills.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises redesigned all guest suites during the refurbishment. The elegantly appointed retreats feature new Elite Slumber™ Beds framed by plush, padded leather headboards, sitting areas furnished with comfortable sofas, accent tables and new artwork, as well as private balconies where guests can enjoy breathtaking views of the crystal blue sea and passing landscape. All suites feature walk-in closets and oversized, marble-accented bathrooms with L’Occitane® amenities. Plus, guests of Penthouse Suites enjoy additional in-suite bath amenities by Guerlain, and Distinctive Suite guests also receive Bottega Veneta.

To book a cruise on Regent Seven Seas, please click here.

Photo and press release courtesy of Regent Seven Seas. 

The post Regent Seven Seas Cruises Announces 2022 World Cruise: A Fascinating and Rare 120-Night Asia-Pacific Circumnavigation appeared first on AllThingsCruise.

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Boston, July 2019 – Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours has unveiled two new itineraries for its newest ship, the ultra-luxury Scenic Eclipse. “Taste of the Caribbean” is a 13-day exploration (October 8 to 20, 2019) of one of the world’s most cruise-visited regions – but with a unique focus on some lesser visited ports. The 11-day “Colombia & Panama,” departing Miami on Oct. 20, 2019, combines some of the region’s major ports with off-the-beaten-path opportunities.

Stops on the “Taste of Caribbean” include Long Island, a paradise with cliffs, long white sand beaches and stunning coral reefs; one of the Caribbean’s best birdwatching sites, Great Inagua Island, home to more than 140 species of native and migratory birds including 80,000 flaming reddish-pink West Indian Flamingo; the remote pine-shrouded Guanaja Island in Honduras, a premier destination for snorkeling with 90% of the island dedicated to national forest reserve and marine park; and Half Moon Caye, designated as a wildlife protected area in 1924 due to its sea turtle nesting habitat and home to the red-footed booby. The sailing departs from Nassau, Bahamas and disembarks in Miami. Fully-inclusive fares start at US$7,995 per person, double.

Guests depart Miami on Oct. 20 for the “Colombia & Panama” sailing and, after a fun stop in Key West, head to Central America. In the vibrant Belize City, guests explore colonial houses, seaside parks and Mayan ruins, while in Roatan Island, the focus is on snorkeling amongst the vibrant coral reefs or relaxing for the day on the white sand beaches. Isla de Providencia is part of Colombia—its remoteness made it an ideal location for the former base of the notorious pirate Henry Morgan and now offers guests a place to explore away from the tourist crowds. Other ports include Costa Rica’s Puerto Limón, where guests visit the Jaguar Rescue Centre and Sloth Sanctuary; and the San Blas Islands, home to the remote Kuna people and ideal for snorkeling and learning about the lifestyle of the natives. Disembarkation is in Cartagena, Colombia and fully-inclusive prices start at US$8,095.

Scenic Eclipse, launching on August 15 and spending six weeks sailing along the North American east coast, is the world’s first Discovery Yacht. The Polar Class 6 ship, the highest passenger ship ice class rating, has 114 all-verandah suites range in size from 345 ft² to 2,659 ft²; 10 dining options – from Asian Fusion to French fine dining to a chef’s table to a poolside buffet; a 5,920 ft² spa with a well-equipped gym and separate yoga and Pilates studio; two six-guest helicopters and one six-guest submarine capable of depths of nearly 1,000 feet – to allow for explorations far beyond any done on expedition ships to date; a 240-seat theater for entertainment and lectures; indoor and outdoor plunge pools; butler service for all guests; and an almost 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio. The fully-inclusive fares include everything from gratuities to premium liquor and wines to butler service for every cabin. The only additional costs to guests are excursion in the helicopters, submarine, scuba diving and spa services (beauty treatments and massages).

To book a cruise on Scenic Eclipse, please click here.

Photo and press release courtesy of Scenic Cruises.

The post Scenic Announces Two New Itineraries on the World’s First Discovery Yacht, Scenic Eclipse appeared first on AllThingsCruise.

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SEATTLE, July 9, 2019 – Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury travel experience, has recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation of Seabourn Odyssey, refreshing the look and feel of the vessel with open and airy interiors, modern technology updates, and rich contemporary furnishings that give the ship a completely fresh feel.
The renovation, completed in Genoa, Italy in May, included extensive work to thoughtfully update many public and guest areas throughout the ship.
“Seabourn Odyssey came out of its most extensive refit period to date recently,” said Gerald Mosslinger, vice president of Hotel Operations for Seabourn, “and the response of our guests, both repeaters and first-timers, is likely to garner the same impression: the ship is even more stunning and beautiful.”
Enhancements become visible as soon as a guest walks into Seabourn Square, the communal hub of any Seabourn ship, with new high-end furniture, lighting and a whimsical carpet design in rich neutral tones.
The play of sophisticated color and relaxed comfort continues in The Club, where patterned carpet with lapis blue lines plays off elegantly toned lounge chairs and refreshed banquettes that convey refinement and spaciousness throughout. In The Restaurant, a mouth-watering selection of the finest cuisine is presented in a rich, yet understated elegance realized in handsome toffee-toned woods, creamy caramel accents, and dramatic sheer curtains while new carpet shows off an intricate pattern that feels equally contemporary and timeless.
In the Card Room, new chairs upholstered in a geometrically-patterned velvet are arranged around new card tables, with dark grey carpet providing a contemporary backdrop.
Guest suites have also seen significant updates, with Veranda Suites now showing new stone tops on the bedside cabinet and credenza, joined by a new table, designer bedding soft goods, and sofa pillows. Premium Suites highlight dramatic updates with new furniture and a new color palate throughout the entire range of top-end accommodations on Seabourn ships that rival the finest hotels in the world.
Entertainment and technology systems also received a number of updates during the refurbishment. New televisions are now installed in all guest suites, integrated with an interactive new high-definition TV system that features added channels such as BBC HD, HGTV, The Food Network, and The Travel Channel. New internet optimization technologies have been installed to help improve overall guest experience across the ship. All suites have USB 2.0 outlets on the nightstand, perfect for charging personal devices with ease. Wireless access points have been added to every guest suite and boosted in public areas, which improves overall access to the internet throughout the ship, while additional updates to the network improves overall service.
Whatever the season, Seabourn represents the pinnacle of ultra-luxury travel with intimate ships offering key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, many with verandas and all 100% ocean front; superb dining in a choice of venues; complimentary premium spirits and fine wines available on board at all times; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home on board. The ships travel the globe to many of the world’s most desirable destinations, including marquee cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lesser-known ports and hideaways.

To book a cruise on Seabourn Odyssey, please click here.

Photo and press news courtesy of Seabourn.

The post Seabourn Odyssey Shines for Guests with Extensive Design, Technological Updates appeared first on AllThingsCruise.

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Geneva, Switzerland (July 9, 2019)MSC Armonia, MSC Cruises’ Miami-based ship sailing the Caribbean, will start off its winter season (November 2019 – April 2020), with its maiden call to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve just one week after the island opens. As part of an enrichment of her itineraries for Winter 2019 and Summer 2020, MSC Armonia will visit this exclusive natural island destination every week, as well as other exciting ports across the Western Caribbean. 

Founded on a deep commitment to ecological principles, Ocean Cay will be a private island destination like no other, surrounded by protected waters rich in marine and coral life. It has been developed to immerse travelers in the natural beauty of the Caribbean and The Bahamas. 

Snorkeling tours, scuba diving, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking are among the outdoor activities that MSC Armonia’s guests will be able to enjoy at Ocean Cay. Guests looking to relax can choose from eight white-sand beaches, or select a treatment at the island’s new luxurious spa concept. Families will also have plenty to do, with a dedicated family beach and activities for all ages to not only have fun, but also learn about the environment. MSC Armonia will stay docked at the island from 9am to 11pm, allowing guests to easily enjoy activities during the day, retreat to the ship to freshen up, and then enjoy sunset and evening activities, like a traditional junkanoo parade. 

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO commented, “As we continue to grow our presence in the region, we have enriched MSC Armonia’s itineraries to offer our guests an even more immersive Caribbean experience. Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will be a key highlight, with a 14-hour call to let our guests explore and enjoy this beautiful island, and its surrounding waters, during the day and into the night. MSC Armonia will also visit other gems across the Western Caribbean, in Jamaica, Mexico, the Cayman Islands and beyond.” 

From November 2019 to April 2020, MSC Armonia will depart on one-week cruises from Miami every Monday, giving long-haul travelers a unique opportunity to spend the weekend in one of North America’s most vibrant cities. Then, from April to November 2020, MSC Armonia’s departure from Miami will be moved to Sunday. 

TAKE IN THE GORGEOUS VIEWS OF JAMAICA’S COAST 

MSC Armonia will regularly visit a range of exciting ports and destinations across the Western Caribbean region. In Jamaica, MSC Armonia offers three different ports of call depending on the itinerary. In Ocho Rios, guests can zip through the hillside on a Jamaican bobsled or climb the famous Dunn’s River Falls, with 600 ft. of natural limestone terraces cascading with cool, refreshing water. In Montego Bay, on Jamaica’s north-western coast, MSC Armonia’s guests can paddle through rapids in white-water rafting, tour an old plantation at the Good Hope Estate or learn about the mysteries of Rose Hall Great House and the infamous White Witch.  

As of January 2020, MSC Armonia will also visit Falmouth on Jamaica’s north coast, home to the Glistening Waters, a glowing lagoon on the north coast of Jamaica. Cruisers visiting the luminous lagoon, where the Martha Brae River and the Caribbean Sea meet, will experience first-hand how these two bodies of water mix to create bioluminescent micro-organisms that glow. 

DISCOVER THE BEST OF THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN 

In addition to Ocean Cay and Jamaica, MSC Armonia will regularly visit Costa Maya, in Mexico’s Caribbean coast, where guests can choose between an array of cultural, outdoor and relaxation activities. In addition to Mexico, each week the ship will also visit George Town, Cayman Islands, offering crystal blue waters and flourishing sea life. 

Next summer season (April to November 2020), Key West (Florida, USA) will become another regular feature in MSC Armonia’s itinerary. There, guests will be able to visit the Historic District at the Old Town, which includes the island’s most popular spots, such as Mallory Square, Duval Street and Fort Zachary Taylor, as well as the Southernmost point in the United States.

MSC ARMONIA’S ONBOARD DELIGHTS 

MSC Armonia incorporates a range of features that turn the ship into a destination itself, having recently gone through a major refurbishment. In terms of food and dining, the new Surf and Turf Restaurant offers the best of land and sea, including tender filet mignon and buttery cold-water lobster tail. Bringing the Caribbean experience on board, the Rum Bar blends a range of cocktails, whether traditional or out-of-the-box.  The White Lion Pub offers a complimentary menu featuring hand-helds like a Mojo Chicken Quesadilla, an Avocado and Tuna Salad Wrap and a Spinach and Artichoke Dip to share, along with a wide selection of beers, including Newcastle Brown Ale, Murphy’s Irish Stout and Lagunitas IPA. 

In addition to MSC Cruises fan-favorite parties like the White Party and Silent Disco, a highlight of MSC Armonia’s entertainment offering is its evening theater entertainment, with an entire line-up of dynamic performances on board. Cruisers can marvel at a different, distinct show each evening. For families on board, MSC Armonia offers a dedicated LEGO kids area, through its partnership with the toy giant, as well as a splash park.  

In November, MSC Armonia will undergo another dry dock operation at the Bahamas’ Grand Bahama Shipyard.

To book a cruise on MSC Cruises, please click here.

Photo and news release courtesy of MSC Cruises.

The post MSC Armonia’s New Itineraries to Feature Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve for Winter 2019 and Summer 2020 appeared first on AllThingsCruise.

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