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Groups on Cruises: Return of the Love Boat

Although it’s been nearly 40 years since “The Love Boat” went on television and introduced viewers to modern cruising, Princess Cruises has selected the show’s original cast members to serve as godparents for its new Regal Princess. All six “Love Boat” cast members are scheduled to reunite and christen the new ship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on November 5. The Night Sky Lounge, the line’s new contemporary outdoor nightclub, will debut on the vessel.

On September 2, Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prestige Cruises International, a leader in the upscale cruise segment and parent company of both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, for $3.025 billion. Previously, the line had decided to build two new Breakaway-Plus-class ships, each 164,600 tons with 4,200 passenger berths, for delivery in 2018 and 2019. Norwegian will also institute smoking policy changes for all sailings beginning November 1, prohibiting smoking on stateroom balconies and limiting casino smoking to players.

Celebrity Cruises is broadening its immersive vacations in 2015-2016 with a new array of Signature Event Sailings featuring iconic global events and celebrations, including the Cannes Film Festival; the Redentore Festival in Venice, Italy; Chinese New Year in Hong Kong; and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The line has also unveiled new Celebrity Explorations that pair ocean cruises with land programs, such as an African wildlife safari along with a cruise to the Iberian Peninsula and a luxury riverboat journey on the Amazon River before a Celebrity Antarctica sailing.

YouGov’s BrandIndex named Carnival Cruise Lines the most-improved U.S. brand in consumer perception, or “buzz,” in its midyear 2014 Buzz Rankings Report. Carnival doubled the improvement level achieved by the company ranked second on the most-improved list. Also, beginning next October, Carnival Pride will operate 10- to 14-day Caribbean cruises from Baltimore, as well as new five-day Bermuda cruises. And Carnival Magic’s 2015 series of four- to six-day voyages from Galveston marks the first time the ship has offered a short-cruise program from Texas.

In 2015, the Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection will offer 33 all-inclusive European itineraries with six new programs and 45 more departures on its Rhine and Danube river cruises; it will also launch its new “super ship,” the Maria Theresa. The line has also announced new India’s Golden Triangle and the Sacred Ganges cruises from New Delhi to Kolkata, to debut in January 2016. The 12-night program will include seven nights on the new all-suite, 56-guest Ganges Voyager II and a five-night land tour.

Holland America Line (HAL) celebrated the keel-laying of its new 2,650-guest Pinnacle Class ship in an Italian shipyard on August 22. The 99,500-ton ship is scheduled for delivery in February 2016. And HAL will return to Bermuda with one-week Veendam sailings from Boston in May, June and July, featuring three days and nights at the capital city of Hamilton.


• Cruise Briefs •

Starting in 2015, each Windstar Cruises itinerary will feature an onshore “private event,” such as a tour and dinner under the stars in the Celsus Library of Ephesus or a private performance in the Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theatre. Eleven new overland adventures in exotic locales are among more than 60 extended mid-voyage excursions Silversea Cruises will be offering in 2015, designed to create intimate personal encounters with local peoples, history, wildlife and natural attractions found beyond ports of call. Seabourn is launching PressReader Offline to offer its guests complimentary full editions of favorite global newspapers and magazines from a selection of more than 2,500 that can be downloaded on mobile devices while in port or at sea.

Astronomy enthusiasts and adventurous travelers will likely be interested in Hurtigruten’s new wintertime Astronomy Voyages. These 12-day sailings along the Norwegian coast will allow guests to join guest lecturers for nighttime sessions watching for the famed aurora borealis, or northern lights, as well as visit the Northern Lights Planetarium in Tromsø.