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May 17, 2018 Update – Group Cruise News


Welcome!  Who says that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?  Somehow, in my 48 years in the tour and travel industry, I had managed to never make it to Japan, other than one time to change planes between Guam and Vancouver at a Tokyo airport.  However, this year the opportunity arose for me to take a three-week, springtime trans-Pacific cruise from Yokohama to Seattle aboard Norwegian Jewel (on which I’m still traveling), so I planned a three-night stay in Tokyo before the ship sailed for additional stops in the “Land of the Rising Sun,” as well as in Petropavlovsk on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, before continuing further to extensive cruising in Alaska.


For some reason, Japan has never been a big selling destination for Americans, other than for those traveling on business.  I had always heard that it was a very expensive country to visit, but surprisingly, I did not find that to be the case at all, so perhaps the prices one expects to pay in other parts of the world have caught up over the years.  I certainly enjoyed my visit to Tokyo…it is a sprawling, fascinating, colorful place filled with plenty of modern skyscrapers, although not a beautiful city like Paris, Prague or Barcelona.  Historic religious (Buddhist and Shinto) sites play a major role in the city’s attractions, but after visiting China, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and now Japan within the past six months, I’m pretty much templed and shrined out.  However, I did visit the historic Meiji-jingū Shinto shrine in a wooded, park-like setting, which was quite nice, although offering little that I hadn’t seen previously elsewhere.  I also took the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus, which was good for general city orientation, but not exceptional like the operations in Dubai and Singapore.


The bustling Ginza area, the Imperial Palace East Garden, the shopping mobs at Shibuya Crossing, and the incredible lighted signage of Shinjuku were highlights for me.  My four-star hotel for $80.59 a night, including taxes and fees, booked through a popular U.S. internet travel site, was excellent…although the room was compact, it was very comfortable and well appointed, and located in a quiet area of office towers within easy walking distance of two metro stations serving five separate lines.  A convenience store was across the street, and a Wendy’s for hamburgers to satisfy “comfort food” tastes like mine was nearby, although the number and variety of restaurants in Tokyo for those more gastronomically adventurous than I am is truly astounding.


The city is safe and remarkably clean, which made me wonder why trash bins are almost impossible to find on the streets.  I found the Japanese people to be helpful and incredibly courteous.  Although most apparently do not speak English, despite being required to study the language in school, I was always able to find someone who could help with directions without too much trouble, as my understanding of Japanese is zero.  It was fascinating to note at each and every intersection where no traffic was passing or even visible nearby, everyone waited for the “walk” light to appear before crossing, and vehicles making right or left turns invariably gave pedestrians the right of way.  But it did take me a day to figure out the inexpensive and extensive metro (subway) and train system, which is surely not user-friendly for folks with disabilities!  But by the time I left the city, I was comfortable enough with the public transportation grid to make it all the way from my hotel to the ship in Yokohama, and without having to climb or descend any steps with my wheeled luggage, for only about $8 total.


Due to necessary maintenance work on Norwegian Jewel, we missed a scheduled port call in Shimuzu, which gave us an overnight and extra day in Yokohama (as well as a $100 per person shipboard credit), which was fine with me, since I walked around town for 4½ hours and found Japan’s second-largest city to be a most worthwhile place to explore.  Here are countless interesting attractions, ranging from an extensive Chinatown to historic marine vessels and even the Cup Noodles Museum…but without the hectic pace of Tokyo, for which it serves as the closest seagoing port.  Although my visit was too late in the season to see the renowned cherry trees in full blossom, and few other flowers could be seen in Tokyo, in Yokohama I discovered a magnificent public garden filled with a wide variety of vividly-colored floral displays.


I took excellent ship-sponsored shore excursions in all three Japanese ports we made after departing Yokohama…from Aomori to Lake Towada, the Oirase Gorge (really spectacular) and Mt. Hakkoda; from Hakodate to Onuma Quasi National Park; and visits to three significant local sights in Otaru.  All in all, our springtime weather was cool but very good, with an exceptionally beautiful afternoon and a full day of bright sunshine and blue sky at our last two stops.  To sum up, learning that not having previously visited Japan was definitely my loss, I’m definitely looking forward to returning in the not-too-distant future.




Adventure Smith Explorations has purchasing much larger office facilities in Truckee, California.  Having departed its former location in Tahoe City, the company has doubled the square footage of its headquarters by moving to the Martis Valley, which sits between Truckee and North Lake Tahoe at a 5,900-foot elevation.


AIDA Cruises has reported lots of news this month.  On April 18, the 500-square-meter bridge unit, which is up to 50 meters wide, weighs 345 tons, and and the largest of its kind in the AIDA fleet, was the last of the 90 blocks to be installed on the hull of the new AIDAnova.  The vessel is scheduled to be christened in front of the Werfthalle in Papenburg, Germany, on August 31.  Elsewhere, AIDAbella successfully completed its two-week shipyard stay in April at the Chantier Naval de Marseille in France.  On board both visual innovations as well as various technical updates were added, including the installation of emission control systems.  In addition, the final installation of a shore power connection was begun, communication systems were modernized, underwater painting was renewed, and new carpets were laid throughout the ship.  Next, the state of Schleswig-Holstein, the state capital Kiel and Seehaefen (Harbor) Kiel teamed up with Carnival Corporation’s Costa Group, of which AIDA is a major component, on April 26 aboard AIDAluna to set the course for further intensification of their cooperation. The aim is to sustainably develop the maritime infrastructure, the economy and tourism in Northern Germany.  In other news, among its numerous charitable efforts, AIDA has now supported social projects “Nana-Recover Your Smile” and “Outside the Box” with €20,000.  AIDA donated €10,000 each for these unique projects and gave both laureates and their families a cruise on AIDAprima around the Canary Islands and Madeira to recover and “recharge their batteries.”  Also, for the seventh time, AIDA sponsored the world’s largest maritime harbor festival earlier this month, and has extended its commitment to do so until 2020.  As one of the most important tourism partners of the Hanseatic city of Hamburg, AIDA attaches great importance to contributing to the success of the Hafensgeburtstag (Harbor Birthday) Hamburg celebration (the 829th this year!) through its ongoing commitment to the event.  During the extended weekend, AIDA annually inspires multitudes of event visitors and cruise enthusiasts, and this year visitors visited three AIDA ships…AIDAvita, AIDAperla and AIDAsol.  On Saturday evening, May 12, an AIDA-sponsored fireworks spectacle transformed the night sky over the Elbe River into a bright sea of ​​colors.  Shortly thereafter, AIDAperla, centerpiece of the lighting and fireworks production, sailed from the harbor towards the North Sea, destined for Le Havre.  In total, 1.3 million visitors experienced a varied maritime program along the harbor mile and on the water for four days.  Finally, to ensure that everyone gets their money’s worth on holiday, AIDA has again expanded its extensive range of children’s activities with a number of attractions.  Included this summer, under the guidance of the head coach of the football league team Hamburg Huskies, kids on board can learn the basics of American football, which is becoming increasingly popular in Germany.  And the prevention project “Little Heroes” will teach children from the age of five, using lots of fun, play and movement, how to behave properly and safely in dangerous situations.


American Cruise Lines announced on April 30th that its tenth and newest cruise ship, the 175-passenger American Constitution, had completed its successful inaugural sailing on Chesapeake Bay.  “American Constitution has been exceptionally well received, and all the spring ‘American Revolution’ cruises are already sold out,” according to a company official.  In late May, the new vessel will head north to operate the line’s “Grand New England Lobsterbake” cruises over the summer and “Hudson River Fall Foliage” cruises in early autumn, before returning to Chesapeake Bay in late October.


American Queen Steamboat Company is offering savings of up to $1600 per stateroom on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holiday sailings of American Queen and American Duchess, as well as on a special Thanksgiving journey of American Empress.  Bookings must be made by July 1.  In other news, on May 2, American Duchess made her “Great Steamboat Race” rookie appearance on the Ohio River with a resounding win.  A Kentucky Derby Festival event favorite since 1963, the 14-mile course began and ended at the Clark Memorial Bridge in downtown Louisville.  The 166-guest, all-suite paddlewheeler raced alongside Belle of Louisville and Belle of Cincinnati before pulling ahead to take the honor, which included a set of 12-point Silver Antlers and “years of bragging rights.”


Carnival Cruise Line has announced that Jake Elliott, kicker for the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, and Queen Latifah, musical artist, actress and godmother of the new Carnival Horizon, will face off in a special edition of “Lip Sync Battle as part of the ship’s naming ceremony in New York City on May 23.  In other news, Carnival joined forces with Operation Homefront on Sunday, April 29, to host a “day date” event for 100 military couples aboard Carnival Miracle at Port Tampa Bay, Florida.  The event was part of a continuing partnership between Carnival and Operation Homefront, a national non-profit organization that builds strong, stable and secure military families.  Elsewhere, Carnival Legend is undergoing an extensive two-week-long dry dock that is taking place in Portland, Oregon, during which a variety of the line’s iconic food and beverage concepts are being added to the vessel.  Following the dry dock, Carnival Legend will operate a summer schedule of seven-day Alaska cruises from Seattle, then reposition to Australia for a series of departures from Sydney and Melbourne in the fall and winter.  In summer, 2019, she will return to Seattle for another series of one-week Alaska cruises, then operate a series of longer-length “Carnival Journeys” voyages before moving to Tampa in the fall of 2019.  Next, on May 10, Carnival introduced its new Fleet Operations Center (FOC) in Miami.  The 35,000-square-foot facility has been designed for hands-on, around-the-clock monitoring and support of the line’s 26 ships.  The FOC is reportedly the first facility of its kind in South Florida and features a state-of-the-art tracking and data-analysis platform that enables real-time information sharing between Carnival ships and specialized shoreside teams designed to support fleet operations.  New high-tech features include a 74-foot-long video wall composed of 57 LED screens which display the status of all ships, including weather, itinerary updates, safety, engine and environmental updates.  Also, Carnival has expanded its cruises to Cuba with the addition of 23 three to five-day sailings to Havana in 2019-20 aboard five different ships departing from four East Coast homeports:  Carnival Sunshine from Charleston, Carnival Triumph from Fort Lauderdale, Carnival Paradise from Tampa and both Carnival Victory and Carnival Sensation from Miami.  And the line recently launched a “Ready Steady Fun” sale, giving travelers an incentive to book their next adventure at sea with savings of up to $500 and $99 deposits per cabin.  The promotion runs until June 7 for select sailings between June and December.  Finally, the company has announced itineraries for three longer length “Carnival Journeys” cruises in 2019, including a 24-day trans-Pacific crossing aboard Carnival Splendor from Long Beach to Singapore, as well as both a 13-day Panama Canal transit from Tampa to Long Beach and a 14-day Hawaii cruise round-trip from Long Beach aboard Carnival Miracle.


Celebrity Cruises and Canyon Ranch have redesigned the line’s onboard fitness program, including 20 new classes and seminar experiences for guests, encompassing six class categories based on different core needs and exercise groups: Sweat, Conditioning, Longevity, Mindfulness, Nutrition, and Acupuncture.


Celestyal Cruises is celebrating the launch of its newest itineraries with a 20% commission special on seven-day, all-inclusive cruises, applicable on new bookings made by this June 30th for cruises departing through 2020.  On May 7, Celestyal announced that Kyriakos Anastassiadis will conclude his term as CEO of the company on June 30, and thanked him for his contributions to the development of the company.  Chris Theophilides has been appointed to the CEO position as of July 1.  Theophilides has worked in the cruise industry since 2006 and has held the position of Vice President of Strategy and Business Development of Celestyal since October, 2014.  Most recently, he was appointed Chief Operating Officer of the line in January, 2017.


CroisiEurope inaugurated three new ships this spring, bringing its fleet to a total of 55 vessels.  Two of this year’s inaugurations are for ships that underwent complete redesigns, while the third is a newbuild.  The Van Gogh and Renoir have been completely redesigned and redecorated to meet the requirements of a “Premium Class” ship, each with a total of 54 cabins for up to 105 passengers. Van Gogh is cruising from Lyon on the Rhône and Saône Rivers, while Renoir is navigating the Seine between Paris and Honfleur.  The line’s youngest vessel, Elbe Princesse II, features 45 cabins for a total capacity of 86 passengers, including 3 single cabins and one handicap accessible cabin.  She is cruising the Elbe and Vltava Rivers between Berlin and Prague.  CroisiEurope has also announced a special fare for solo cruisers, in that single supplement fees are being waived on all 2019 cruise departures on bookings made before this June 30th.  And finally, earlier this month, the line launched a revamped version of its website.


Crystal Cruises’ river cruise line, Crystal River Cruises, has announced that singer and actor Rachel York will be the godmother of its newest vessel, Crystal Debussy.  York will officially christen the ship on May 28 during a ceremony at the Port of Amsterdam.  She will next perform as part of the Crystal on Broadway program on Crystal Mahler’s May 28th cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest.  In other news, Crystal has announced that President & CEO Tom Wolber will host the line’s annual President’s Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity this July.  The “Vineyards and Vistas” voyage sets sail on July 29 from London on a 14-day Western European journey to Monte Carlo.  Next, Crustal has unveiled the latest design details for its upcoming expedition yacht, Crystal Endeavor for Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises.  At 19,800 tons, Crystal Endeavor will reportedly be “the largest, most spacious purpose-built polar class expedition yacht in the world, accommodating just 200 guests and boasting all the luxurious amenities and special touches for which Crystal is known.”  The vessel will feature a full-service spa and salon, as well as six restaurants, including Nobu Matsuhisa’s Umi Uma.  Also, the line’s existing 62-guest boutique yacht, Crystal Esprit, will embark on a new season of voyages through the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Oman and the Holy Land in October through December of 2019.  The seven to 11-day sailings will cruise the Arabian Peninsula, with immersive exploration of the ancient wonders and modern marvels in the region.  In other news, Crystal has announced the launch of its new Crystal Partner Advisory Council, a group of 13 luxury global travel partners.  Led by Carmen Roig, Crystal’s senior vice president of marketing and sales, the council will meet quarterly regarding travel partner programs and advancements, future new builds, and client demand for specific luxury experiences, as well as reviewing Crystal’s Strategic Plan, sharing insights into market shifts, and client feedback.  And on April 27, Crystal released the remainder of its collection of 2020 cruises.  In all, 64 Crystal Cruises sailings and 44 Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises were opened for booking on May 1.


Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 called at Dubai, U.A.E., on April 18, coinciding with the opening of the new Queen Elizabeth 2 Hotel, formerly the line’s flagship, now permanently moored in the port.  Elsewhere, Cunard has scheduled celebrations on board Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth on May 19 in honor of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials.  The line’s “Royal Celebration” will include screening of the Royal Wedding, a Royal Wedding Afternoon Tea, celebration cocktails, commemorative dinner and keepsake menu, celebration cake and champagne.  In other news, on May 2, Cunard announced a “Big Balcony Event,” featuring up to $1,400 in complimentary onboard credit per stateroom, as well as  complimentary drinks and gratuities in the Princess Grill and Queens Grill suites, on a range of voyages across its fleet, when booked by July 31.  Included are select Northern Europe, trans-Atlantic, Mediterranean Caribbean and Alaska itineraries.  And today, May 17th, Cunard’s current flagship Queen Mary 2 returns to her homeport of New York for her 2018 Transatlantic Season.  Following another successful World Cruise, QM2 will resume her regularly-scheduled service across the Atlantic, a route that began 178 years ago.


Emerald Waterways has announced a “Festive Delights of the Danube” sailing, featuring Mary Berry, British baker and host of the popular Great British Baking Show.  The eight-day departure from Nuremberg this December 1 will cruise through Germany, Austria and Slovakia, visiting favorite Christmas markets along the way before concluding in Budapest.  A special Christmas dinner gala onboard will feature courses specially chosen by Ms. Berry.  The line is also offering a variety of deals on eight and 15-day 2018 river cruises in Europe, including itineraries on the Danube, Rhine and Rhône Rivers:  savings of $3,000 per person on select 15-day “Splendours of Europe” sailings between Amsterdam and Budapest; savings of $1,500 per person on select, eight-day Rhône, Rhine and Danube river cruises; and savings of $300 and 50% off cabin upgrades on the above mentioned “Festive Delights of the Danube” trip.  Guests who book any of the applicable sailings by June 30th will also receive €100 on board credit, which can be used to book “Discover More” tours or at the ships’ spa, salon or gift shop.


Holland America Line’s Group CEO Stein Kruse was honored with the Ambassador C. Howard Wilkins, Jr. Award from the Netherland-America Foundation at a dinner in Washington, D.C. on April 12.  Elsewhere, Holland America, which started as shipping and passenger line Netherlands-American Steamship Company in 1873, celebrated its 145th anniversary on April 18.  HAL has also recently redesigned its website, with features including new photography, award-winning travel writing, and an interactive map offering information on destinations and onboard activities.  Finally, to celebrate the upcoming debut of its newest ship in December, HAL has launched the “Nieuw Statendam Sets Sail” sweepstakes for the chance to win a seven-day cruise for two in 2019 aboard the new vessel.  The sweepstakes runs through June 15, and the winner will be announced June 30.  To enter, participants must visit and fill out the entry form.


Katarina Line is advertising the availability of the new 38-guest Adriatic Sun for group charters during the 2019 season.  The vessel, which entered service on May 6, is operating deluxe Adriatic cruises in 2018 from Split and Dubrovnik.


MSC Cruises’ MSC Meraviglia officially made her maiden call at the port of Hamburg on April 30, marking the start of her new season in Northern Europe.  The line has also announced that MSC Grandiosa will be christened in Hamburg on November 2, 2019.  This summer, MSC is offering four ships in Northern European waters, with 36 different itineraries and six possible embarkation ports across Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Denmark.  In other news, on May 8, MSC announced that to date it has raised more than €8 million for UNICEF due to the generous contributions of its guests.  The funds raised are used to provide malnourished children with Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).  To-date, more than 6.5 million sachets of RUTF have been delivered to children in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia and Malawi.  And MSC is preparing to welcome 250,000 children on board its ships this summer, thanks to an enriched family offering on its ships.  Guest of all ages can experience new programs and activities currently on board MSC Seaside, MSC’s new North American-based vessel sailing from Miami to the Caribbean, as well as on the company’s newest flagship, MSC Seaview, launching this summer.




Norwegian Cruise Line, on April 19, took delivery of the 168,028-ton, 4,004-guest (double occupancy) Norwegian Bliss at the Meyer Werft shipyard during a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany.  Then, on May 3, the line debuted the vessel, now the sixteenth ship in its fleet, in New York City, marking the beginning of a month-long inaugural celebration with additional stops in Miami, Los Angeles and lastly Seattle, where she will officially be christened on May 30.  Norwegian Bliss kicked off her two-day inaugural preview in New York City with brand partners, key media and industry representatives on May 4.  Among the guests were the ship’s Godfather, Elvis Duran, and the cast from the Z100 morning show, whose live broadcast from the ship featured all the experiences the ship has to offer.  Norwegian Bliss has now completed yet another milestone, becoming the largest passenger ship to transit the Panama Canal since the completion of the canal’s expansion project in 2016.  She passed through the new sets of locks, constructed as part of the biggest enhancement project since the canal’s opening in 1914, on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides.  The new vessel cruised through the canal on her way to Los Angeles, and is scheduled to complete her first Panama Canal cruise on May 25.


Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., operator of the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, celebrated the groundbreaking of the new and dedicated Norwegian Cruise Line terminal at PortMiami on April 26.  The state-of-the-art terminal is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2019, as Norwegian Encore, the next new ship of the Breakaway Plus class, debuts in Miami with seasonal cruises to the Caribbean.


Pearl Sea Cruises is reportedly looking forward to the start of a nearly sold-out summer season on the Great Lakes, as the line is concluding a successful spring season in Cuba.  Finding that cruising in the Great Lakes has been increasing year after year, beginning this June, Pearl Seas will be offering both an 11-night “Great Lakes & Georgian Bay” itinerary and a seven-night “Great Lakes” itinerary between Chicago and Toronto aboard the 210-passenger Pearl Mist.


Poseidon Expeditions has announced a new 13-day “British Isles: Legendary History & Wild Nature” cruise, scheduled for May 22 to June 3, 2019.  The voyage will depart Plymouth on England’s southwest coast, sailing north on the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, then wrapping around islands off of Scotland’s coast before concluding in Edinburgh.  If booked by November 1, guests will receive discounts of up to 15 percent.  Leading a team of naturalist guides will be historian Huw Lewis-Jones, who holds a doctoral degree from Cambridge University and has served as Curator at the Scott Polar Research Institute and the National Maritime Museum in London.


Princess Cruises’ 2020 World Cruise on the 670-guest Pacific Princess will visit 42 destinations on five continents.  The 111-day roundtrip voyage departs Ft. Lauderdale on January 5, 2020, and Los Angeles on January 20, 2020, following a similar routing to the 2019 cruise.  In other news, Princess is inviting travelers to take advantage of a “Landmark Sale” booking offer on 2019 summer cruises to some of the line’s most popular destinations, including Europe, Alaska, Japan and the Caribbean, with up to $1,000 free onboard spending money per stateroom.  In addition, guests book with a 10% refundable deposit during the promotion.  Then, on May 10, Princess and the original cast of the “The Love Boat” were presented a Hollywood Walk of Fame honorary star plaque in recognition of their contributions to the history of television and support for the preservation of the Walk of Fame.  Actors Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Jill Whelan (Vicki), Ted Lange (Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Fred Grandy (Gopher) were joined by Leron Gubler, CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Donelle Dadigan, co-chair of the Hollywood Historic Trust, which supervises the world-famous walk, and Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises.  The honorary star plaque is located on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the main entrance to the Dolby Theater.


Scenic is offering early booking offers and new on-board experiences and shore excursions for 2019.  Included are free air on every cabin and itinerary, including free premium economy air for some stateroom categories on 11-day and longer sailings, or $1,000 to $1,500 Scenic savings in lieu of free flights; $595 premium economy upgrades; up to $1,000 savings per couple for full payment by August 31, 2018; no single supplements on sailings of 11 days and longer in April, May, July, August, October and November, and 50% off in June and September, as well as all season long on eight to 10-day departures; new active focus on Bordeaux and South of France cruises with yoga sessions, e-bike cycling routes and Nordic hiking; and finally, Salt Therapy Lounge wellness experience available on all Rhine, Main, Danube, Saône and Rhône river cruises.  Online and printed 2019 Scenic European River Cruise brochures will be available in mid-June.  Finally, all eight of the company’s “Space-Ships” plying the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers…Scenic Ruby, Pearl, Jasper, Opal, Amber, Crystal, Jade and Jewel…will be remodeled this winter.  Highlights include reducing the number of cabins/guests to 81/161 (Ruby and Pearl) and 83/165 (on the six others) while keeping the same crew count to provide greater personal service; two new 520 square-foot Royal Owners’ Suites; larger wellness centers which include a gym, massage services and hair dresser; and, unique to Scenic, a Salt Therapy lounge.  On-board yoga and stretching classes, given by the onboard wellbeing coach, will keep the guests limber for a day that can include newer, more active excursions as noted above.


Seabourn, on April 27, took delivery of its newest ship, Seabourn Ovation, during an official handover ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy.  The vessel is the fifth ship in the line’s fleet.  Then, on May 11, a festive naming ceremony for Seabourn Ovation took place in the harbor of Valletta, Malta, featuring a live performance by the ship’s godmother, actress and singer Elaine Paige.


Silversea Cruises’ 2018 Venetian Society cruise from Monte Carlo to Lisbon, October 9 to 18, will be hosted by Fernando Barroso de Oliveira, the Ambassador to the Venetian Society for Silversea’s Chairman.  Furthermore, now open for booking, the line’s all-inclusive Venetian Society cruise for 2019 from Civitavecchia to Monte Carlo has been scheduled for September 29 to October 8 next year.  Elsewhere, the line has unveiled a new collection of land programs in nine destinations around the world, named “Signature Land Programs.”  Beginning this September, visits to Iceland, Sri Lanka, Canada’s Great Lakes, Bolivia, Nepal, Chile’s Wine Country, Beijing, Myanmar and Vietnam will be featured.  And on May 3, Silversea announced its winter 2019-2020 itineraries, comprising 89 voyages to Australasia, Asia, South America, the Caribbean, and more, which are all now available for booking.  Also on May 3, the company’s Silver Spirit left the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo 49 feet longer, destined for Civitavecchia and her May 6 inaugural voyage, following the completion of a complex lengthening and refurbishment project.  Finally, Silversea has awarded Fincantieri with an €320+ million order for another luxury ship, with delivery scheduled for late 2021.  To be named Silver Dawn, the new vessel will be a sister of flagship Silver Muse, which was launched from Fincantieri’s Genoa shipyard in April, 2017.  The order of Silver Dawn comes just months after the line signed a contract with Fincantieri for the construction of Silver Moon, another sistership to Silver Muse, which is due to be delivered in 2020.


Star Clippers is offering a variety of summer specials on some of its most popular modern tall ship sailing adventures in the Mediterranean and Indonesia.  Guests booking select seven and nine-day Mediterranean sailings from May through October will receive up to $1,200 air credit per cabin, while those booking longer 12 to 17-day “Grand Voyages” will receive $499 roundtrip airfare per person from any of 11 cities across the U.S.  In Indonesia, travelers on select seven, 10 and 11-night sailings round trip from Bali will receive a complimentary extended Bali land stay and tour.  In other news, the line is now taking bookings for all sailings through March, 2020, aboard its three tall ships.  A wider variety of Panama Canal sailings for Winter, 2019, are being offered, and Star Flyer will spend a full season cruising out of St. Maarten, with 13 departures available between December, 2019, and March, 2020.  New for summer, 2019 are “Mamma Mia Highlights” sailings through the Greek Isles, which will visit several of the islands where Mamma Mia and the yet-to-be-released Mamma Mia 2 were filmed.  And in Southeast Asia, featured new itineraries are 10 and 11-night sailings between Singapore and Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state in the northern part of the island of Borneo.


UnCruise Adventures is injecting more outdoor adventures into a new “Rivers of Adventure” program, sailing the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest, one-way between Portland, Oregon and Clarkston, Washington (and the reverse), with one night hotel included in Portland.  The 86-guest S.S. Legacy has been newly outfitted with adventure gear…kayaks, skiffs, paddle boards, a custom boat launch…and an expedition team for eight departures of the eight-night adventure itinerary beginning August 24, 2018.