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Royal Caribbean's Quantum class: new thrills, bigger staterooms

Simulated skydiving. A glass observation pod at the end of a giant, swiveling mechanical arm. A circus arts training school. Bumper cars.

These, as well as larger standard cabins and several new stateroom classifications, will be among the defining features of Royal Caribbean International’s new Quantum-class ships, introduced in renderings to travel agents and the press.

In an interview with Travel Weekly, Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein said that with Quantum, designers started with only a blank sheet of paper and the instructions to develop the ships “farther in the direction we’ve been going throughout our history, [with] a lot of new ‘wows.’ It’s what people expect of us, and what we expect from ourselves.”

The ship will hold 4,180 passengers (double occupancy) at 167,800 gross registered tons — a bit bigger than the 154,410 for the Freedom-class vessels.

The renderings and descriptions of the Quantum of the Seas, scheduled to launch in fall 2014, and the Anthem of the Seas, which will follow in spring 2015, convey a sense of lofty ambition, literally and figuratively.

Each will have two distinctive ascenders to their profiles: RipCord by iFly and North Star.

RipCord by iFly

The 15-minute experience, which will be wheelchair-accessible, is complimentary with the exception of three premium packages: Sunrise and Brunch; Sunset and Specialty Dining; and Private Flights, marketed for weddings and other romantic occasions. All are available through travel agents via Pre-Cruise Planners.

North Star obs pod

North Star features a glass capsule at the end of a boom that extends from atop the shop on Deck 16. The 14-passenger observation pod will — weather, destination and sea conditions permitting — move beyond the perimeter of the ship and to a height of 300 feet above the sea, delivering 360-degree views.

At the stern of the ship, on the Sports Deck, a two-story vertical wind tunnel will be home to RipCord by iFly. The complimentary simulated skydiving experience, which lasts 75 minutes, includes instruction and gear, and culminates in two one-minute “flights” during which passengers will hover in the air.

RipCord will accommodate 13 people per class, with two classes offered per hour. Inventory will also be available through Pre-Cruise Planners.

New stateroom classifications

In all, there are 2,090 staterooms, and the standard cabin is 9% larger than the standard cabins on the Oasis-class ships.

Many interior staterooms will feature 80-inch video display monitors offering live feed from cameras on the exterior of the ship, providing what the line is promoting as “virtual balconies.”

A new stateroom classification, family connected, combines interconnecting rooms configured with multigenerational travel in mind.

The 15 “family-connected junior suites” connect a junior suite, balcony room and interior studio through a shared vestibule, creating a 575-square-foot living space with three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a 216-square-foot balcony.

Overall, a higher percentage of staterooms have connecting doors than previous classes of ships, allowing for four “super categories” of connected stateroom combinations.

In addition, 16 studio staterooms, 12 with balconies, will be sold with no single supplement.

Other new suite categories include superior grand suites (full bathroom with tub, living room, wraparound balcony — eight per ship) and the spa junior suite with balcony (includes soaking tub and sitting area with corner settee — 42 per ship).

And two new loft categories have been added, the 975-square-foot owner’s loft (two decks high, accommodating four guests, with a 501-square-foot balcony), and the grand loft (two decks high, accommodating four guests, size varies with deck).

Familiar is back, but something’s missing

Quite a few Royal Caribbean standard-bearers will be on the Quantum ships as well: the rock climbing walls, FlowRider, Vitality Spa and Fitness Center, the H2O Zone, the Solarium, DreamWorks Experience, an outdoor movie screen and nursery for young children.

The line promises a Broadway musical, to be announced later.

But one “wow” that had become a staple of Royal Caribbean’s fleet since it was introduced with the Voyager-class ships in 1998 will be missing: the ice skating rink.

“We had a lot of elements we were looking to achieve that wouldn’t have been possible to accomplish if we had continued to place the ice skating rink in the center of the ship,” Goldstein said.

Likewise, “there isn’t the Royal Promenade in the way it’s been known,” he said, though he added there would be “a similar environment.”

NOTE: Members of the line’s loyalty program, Crown & Anchor Society, can begin booking May 27 to 31, depending upon their level of status, and general bookings will begin June 4.

1.877.746.2784 CALL TODAY to get on a list to be the first to BOOK and SAIL this new and innovative RCL ship - Quantum of the Seas.

OCEANIA CRUISES ANNOUNCES ITS INAUGURAL AROUND THE WORLD CRUISE

Insignia’s dream voyage to circumnavigate the globe in 180 days

MIAMI, July 8, 2013 – Oceania Cruises, the award-winning upper-premium cruise line, announced today its first ever Around the World in 180 Days cruise, a star-studded, port-intensive 180-day voyage aboard the 684-guest Insignia, setting sail round-trip from Miami on January 10, 2015.

This extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime voyage visits five continents, 44 countries and 89 ports of call and will feature 11 overnight calls plus 4 two-night calls in Cape Town, South Africa; Yangon, Myanmar (Burma); Singapore, Singapore; and Shanghai, China.

Insignia’s 180-day journey begins by visiting boutique ports in the Caribbean then steers south to South America and east to Africa before heading to India, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Hawaii before returning via the Panama Canal to Miami on July 8, 2015.

"As the leading specialist in destination cruising, we wanted to create a unique port- intensive voyage that reflects the dreams of the true explorer, rather than speed across the seas racing to the next convenient port as is the norm in a typical 100- to 110-day world cruise," said Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president. "By eliminating the 100-day time constraint, we freed ourselves to conceive a remarkable dream voyage designed to visit the world’s most fascinating destinations."

In addition to crossing the equator four times and sailing through all 24 time zones, the Around the World in 180 Days cruise will traverse three oceans and 10 seas, call on 45 islands and offer the chance to visit 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Of the 89 ports visited on this extraordinary cruise, 13 are new to Oceania Cruises, including Corinto, Nicaragua; El Guamache (Isla Margarita), Venezuela; Langkawi, Malaysia; Santa Marta, Colombia; and Xiamen, China.

Guests will also enjoy a one-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay in Miami and free exclusive shoreside events in Walvis Bay, Namibia; Myanmar; Bangkok; Beijing and Honolulu.

Offer features 2-for-1 cruise fares, first class airfare, pre-paid gratuities, free luggage valet and free onboard medical service.

Bookings for the Around the World in 180 Days cruise open at 8:30 a.m. EST on July 17, 2013, and feature two-for-one cruise fares, free FIRST CLASS round-trip airfare and free pre-paid gratuities. Additionally, guests will receive a free visa package including entry visas for 16 countries, unlimited Internet and laundry service, luggage delivery, round-trip transfers and free onboard medical service, a first for the industry.

"We expect that many of our Around the World guests will be experienced cruisers and therefore will be over the age of 60," Kamlani added. "In order to eliminate the stress of worrying about everyday medical issues, we have included free onboard medical service for our Around the World guests for the duration of the cruise."

Guests must book by 9 p.m. EST on September 17, 2013, to receive early booking fares beginning at $39,999 per person.

Around the World guests will cruise aboard the Insignia, an elegant mid-size ship. Insignia is spacious enough to offer every modern comfort and amenity of larger ships, yet small enough to call on secluded bays and chic, seaside hamlets not accessible to most vessels. Gourmet cuisine crafted by acclaimed master chef Jacques Pépin is served in four open-seating restaurants, all at no additional charge. The ship features spacious, modern accommodations and a state-of-the-art fitness center, casino, boutique, large pool and the Canyon Ranch SpaClub®.

For more information and the full itinerary give us a CALL TODAY at 877.7 GO CRUISE [877.746.2784]
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ABOUT OCEANIA CRUISES
Oceania Cruises® offers unrivaled cuisine, luxurious accommodations, exceptional personalized service and extraordinary value. Award-winning itineraries visit more than 330 ports in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the Americas aboard two pairs of mid-size sister ships: the 684-guest Regatta, Insignia* and Nautica, and 1,250-guest Marina and Riviera.

ABOUT PRESTIGE CRUISE HOLDINGS
Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH) is the parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. PCH manages select assets in Apollo Management’s cruise investment portfolio and is led by Chairman & CEO Frank J. Del Rio and President & COO Kunal S. Kamlani. PCH is the market leader in the upper-premium and luxury segments of the cruise industry with over 6,400 berths between the Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.
*Insignia returns to the fleet in 2014.

Passenger Bill of Rights for the Cruise Line Industry

Carnival Cruise Lines, along with 25 other CLIA North American member cruise lines, has formally adopted the Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights which details our industry’s commitment to the safety, comfort and care of our guests.

The voluntary implementation of the Bill of Rights formalizes many longstanding industry practices and goes into effect immediately for all U.S. passengers who purchase their cruise in North America regardless of itinerary.

INTERNATIONAL CRUISE LINE PASSENGER BILL OF RIGHTS
The Members of the Cruise Lines International Association are dedicated to the comfort and care of all passengers on oceangoing cruises throughout the world. To fulfill this commitment, our Members have agreed to adopt the following set of passenger rights:
1. The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
2. The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.
3. The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.
4. The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.
5. The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.
6. The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.
7. The right to transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
8. The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
9. The right to have included on each cruise line’s website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
10. The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line’s website.

CALL 1.877.7 GO CRUISE TODAY to plan your next cruise or land vacation. We are a full service Worldwide travel specialist and would love to make your Vacation Dreams a Reality! Visit at www.SiemensTravel.com or CruiseOne - Siemens & Associates

Horn on new Princess ship to play 'Love Boat' theme


MONFALCONE, Italy – The horn on Princess Cruises’ next ship will play the theme song from the Love Boat — the 1970s television show that helped make the line a household name.

Princess executive vice president for fleet operations Rai Caluori revealed the custom-made horn this week to journalists touring the still-under-construction Royal Princess at a shipyard in Italy.

During a visit to the 3,560-passenger ship’s bridge, Caluori pushed a button that triggered the horn. It played the first two bars of the Love Boat theme.

Airing on ABC from 1977 to 1986, the Love Boat was set on Princess’ Pacific Princess. Caluori says the Royal Princess’ deck officers only will trigger a Love Boat-themed horn blast at select times such as when the ship departs from a port. The Royal Princess’ horn also will be capable of producing a more standard tone at other times when a horn blast is necessary, such as when the ship is traveling through fog or during an emergency.

The Love Boat-themed horn was “a whimsical decision,” Caluori says.

On some Princess ships, cruise directors play the Love Boat theme over the public address system when departing a port, but it isn’t a fleetwide policy, Caluori notes.

Under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, the Royal Princess is Princess’ first new ships in nearly five years and the first in a new class of vessel for the line. Its maiden voyage is scheduled for June 16.

If you haven’t booked your Royal Princess cruise yet CALL TODAY [1.877.746.2784] and let CruiseOne - Siemens & Associates help you out or visit us at http://www.CruisesNMor.com

Source: USA Today

10 Tips to Save Money on a Cruise

Cruising can be one of your best vacation deals around, considering the costs of most vacations where you pay for lodging, meals/tips, entertainment, activities, and transportation. With cruising you can get it all wrapped up into one upfront cost. But…like most everything these days you have to do your research and know where costs can creep up on you. These tips below should help you understand some things that are not covered and how to save money booking your next cruise.

1. Shop around for the best price. In the Cruise World there is no true one-stop shopping to compare cruise rates, so you’ll have to check multiple sources (like cruise lines’ websites, third-party cruise sellers and travel agencies) to secure the best deals and added-value promotions (i.e., free cabin upgrades or onboard credit). I caution you however, read the fine print to see if any additional charges (taxes, port charge fees, transfer fees, and insurance) might ultimately up the cost of the quoted fare, and know what’s included in the rates for the cruise line you book, before forking over your credit card. Better yet…

2. Use a cruise-specialized travel agent [www.CruisesNMor.com] If you don’t have the time (or patience) to scour countless cruise offers, turn to a trusted cruise travel agent like CruiseOne – Siemens & Associates [CLIA] – 1.877.7 GO CRUISE [46.2784]. Knowledgeable specialists know the ins and outs, and can help match you to the ideal cruise line and ship for your tastes and budget, pick out the best cabins, and, since they buy in bulk and offer repeat business, use their leverage with cruise lines to get better rates and perks than you could likely find independently. Be sure to use a reputable agency that is affiliated with reputed outfits like the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Best of all, note that cruise lines typically pay travel agent’s commissions, so you won’t have to foot the bill.

3. Book early or during “wave season.” - NOW!!!!!! The waiting game rarely pays off when it comes to cruising, with the best rates and preferred cabins going to those who plan ahead. Cruise lines are eager to fill up their inventory as far out as possible, and will lure in early birds with hooks like reduced rates, onboard credits, and cabin upgrades; luxury lines regularly post 2-for-1 fare deals and free airfare, too. Plan on booking your cruise trip at least six months to 9 months out, and if you want to travel during peak times (summer or school breaks), a year in advance is better still.
Another good time to nab deals is during “wave season,” from January through March, when cruise lines looking to book up the year ahead are met by winter-weary travelers yearning for some vacation light at the end of the cold-weather tunnel. Or, keep an eye out for specials posted during National Cruise Vacation Week, held from October 21–27, 2012.

4. Cruise during shoulder season.
Shoulder season sailings—where moderate temperatures, minimal crowds, and reduced rates meet—fall into that magic window between high season (the most popular periods) and low season (when weather conditions and prices dip, and demand is at its lowest). Time your sailing right, and you can get the exact same sailing, on your dream ship, at a fraction of its high-season cost.
For the best bang for your buck in some of the most popular sailing destinations, try Alaska in May where, for enduring slightly chiller temps, you’ll be rewarded with less rainfall than in summer, good wildlife viewing, and mountains still capped with snow. Or, beat the heat and the tourist crush by sailing the Mediterranean in September or October—if you’re not big on beaches or buzzing nightlife, milder faller temps make for far more enjoyable sightseeing conditions than under the baking summer sun.
The Caribbean in late fall, meanwhile, at the tail end of hurricane season, is also rife with bargains. Cruise ships can easily change course to avoid the path of any brewing storms—you’ll just need to have flexibility should itinerary changes be deemed necessary.

5. Shop around for airfare or cruise from your homeport. Getting to your embarkation port can be expensive, so be sure to investigate airfare expenses before pulling the trigger on your trip. Though booking airfare through the cruise line offers some insurances (like a better likelihood that the ship will wait for you if the flight is delayed), these fares are often inflated in the name of cruise line profit bolstering. Shop around for airfare independently to gauge the going rates, and be sure to factor in extra flight expenses for sailings that start and end at a different port. Or, save even more by choosing a cruise that leaves from your nearest drive-to “homeport” (with more than 20 operating in the US today), and forego the expense of airfare altogether.

6. Choose your cabin wisely.
At first glance, a tempting way to save money is to nab the lowest rate, which is usually quoted for an inside—or, interior—cabin. Only in rare instances do we recommend actually doing so, as being deprived of natural light and ocean views in potentially claustrophobic-inducing conditions isn’t worth the savings. At the same time, considering the little amount of time that you’ll spend in your cabin, the most spacious, priciest suite is rarely worth the splurge either.
We recommend paying a small premium for an outside, or, ocean view, cabin, and, if you are going somewhere with fabulous weather, and at least a day or two spent sailing at sea, to go ahead and spring for the balcony upgrade. Those oceanfront breakfasts and sea-misted champagne sunsets, set just steps from your bed, will pay for themselves in no time.

7. Book your own excursions. Cruise line-sponsored shore excursions offer convenience and certain assurances (like guaranteeing the ship will be held for you if your tour bus gets stuck in traffic), but they are often priced at considerably higher rates than what can be arranged independently. Ask your Travel Agent at http://www.CruisesNMor.com for some recommendation for excursions not affiliated with the cruise lines that offer a discounted rate of up to 30 to 35% — you might be surprised to find that you can see twice as much at half the price (with a fraction of the people in tow). Be sure to insure these excursions with Travel Protections, like Travel Guard, also.
Note: If you are sailing on one of the luxury, adventure, or river cruise lines, chances are that most of your excursions are already included in the upfront rate.

8. Sail an older ship.
Cruise lines charge a major premium to sail aboard their latest and greatest ships, and will reduce rates on the older vessels in their fleet as they are pushed out of the spotlight. If you’re willing to skip out on newfangled frills, sailing aboard line’s older ships can be a real money saver, without necessarily meaning you’ll have to sacrifice comfort, amenities, or itineraries. Do, however, read up on reviews and ask questions when booking to be sure that the ship has been well maintained, or, as is the growing trend, even extensively refurbished to feature some of the more popular features of the line’s newer ships (like dining venues or attractions)—effectively offering very similar experiences at lower fares.

9. Demonstrate brand loyalty. Like airlines with frequent flyers, cruise lines consider repeat passengers their bread and butter, and are in the habit of luring past passengers back for more. The more you cruise with your preferred line, the more return-trip booking incentives you can expect, with past-passenger discounts and promotions offered through special cruise membership clubs. Plus, you can expect special onboard perks like invitations to captain’s dinners or cocktail receptions.
Note: You can also nab discounts by booking a future cruise while still aboard your current sailing. When you are ready to book your next vacation just advise your travel agent that you have a discount available to be applied to your fare.

10. Buy travel insurance.
Booking a cruise vacation is a big-ticket investment, and one that’s worth protecting. Reasonably priced travel insurance policies can easily be purchased from your Travel Specialist (for instance CruiseOne – Siemens & Associates use Travel Guard) which will reimburse the costs of your cruise, airfare, and more should unforeseen circumstances force you to cancel or interrupt your trip. Plus, policies will often include medical travel insurance, too—a vital asset when heading outside US borders, where coverage for most American medical policies ends. Just be sure to read the fine print, to ensure the policy is right for your particular needs. Insurance costs are minimal, typically a nominal percentage of the total trip price, and the policies easily pay for themselves in peace of mind alone.

The best tip we can give you, though, is to make sure you budget in all the little things that aren’t included, but that are still necessary—shore-side expenses, Cruise Line tipping, and flights to and from port are some good examples. And, of course, the not necessary stuff - alcohol and souvenirs Give us a call today [877.746.2784] or place an online order at www.CruisesNMor.com and let us assist you with your vacation plans today!