Norwegian Cruise Line has altered the way it offers a prepackaged selection of specialty dining. For one price, you will now be able to buy alternative dining at the Cagney’s steakhouse, Moderno Churrascaria (a Brazilian steakhouse) and traditional French, Italian and pan-Asian restaurants. The package can be purchased in advance or shipboard during the first or second day of the cruise. Pricing varies by voyage length, starting at $59 per person for a three- to six-day cruise, $119 for a seven-day cruise; $149 per person on eight- to 10-day cruises; and higher on longer voyages. Previously, Norwegian sold a dining package that bundled three specialty restaurants for $47 per person. Some specialty restaurants continue to be excluded, including Ocean Blue, chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s seafood restaurant on Norwegian Breakaway.
Sail onboard the Europa 2 with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and children ages 11 and under travel for free. In addition, child care services are available for kids ages 2 and up. This luxury ship began sailing last May and this year will debut new cruises in Vietnam and Thailand. Its 13-day Vietnam — Between Red River and Mekong cruise travels from Hong Kong to Singapore, featuring a variety of family onshore excursions, such as trips to Vinpearl Land Water Park in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and Kinbalu National Park in Kota Kinbalu, Malaysia. The cruise’s many onboard and onshore activities, including canoeing and cooking classes, are fun for all ages, but children and teens can also participate in specially designed activities on their own. Children ages 4-10 and 11-15 can explore the destinations on guided excursions without their parents, including zodiac trips, snorkeling and more. In addition, the spa offers special treatments for ages 8 and up.
Royal Caribbean is the first cruise line to be certified as “Autism Friendly” by Autism on the Seas, an organization catering to vacationers with autism and other developmental disabilities. In order to receive the certification, Royal Caribbean had to meet a variety of requirements put forth in the newly released Autism Friendly Certification Standard and Training Program. The certification program has four levels, each requiring increased levels of staff training. A bronze level certification indicates a ship is ready to accommodate passengers with autism and other developmental disabilities through equal access to onboard services and amenities. Some of the services that must be provided to passengers are sensory related toys, autism friendly modifications to youth activities and autism friendly movies, as well as priority boarding. The silver, gold and diamond levels focus on increased staff training. Silver level ensures that all youth staff have received basic awareness training in autism. Gold level requires advance training for youth staff and basic training for other shipboard crew. To reach diamond level, all youth staff must go through a hands-on training program. Royal Caribbean enters the program at the bronze level, but is expected to reach silver level certification by year’s end.
Holland America Line will continue its Dancing With the Stars: At Sea program in 2014. The line debuted the extremely popular offering earlier this year. Over the course of each sailing, free classes will teach you the dance that will be judged by the cruise director, entertainment staff and/or ship’s officers members for technical ability, dance flair and entertainment value. The top six dancers will then be paired with a professional dancer for the final round of judging. For each ship, the winner with the highest overall score will be given a free cruise — a Westerdam sailing to the Caribbean in December of next year — to compete in a championship dance-off for the prestigious Mirror Ball Trophy.
Did you know that 2015 cruises are already available for booking on many cruise lines? Disney Cruise Line let us know that all four of their ships will be sailing from Florida ports in the early part of 2015. Disney’s private island Castaway Cay is being featured prominently on the sailings. Every cruise departing from January to April includes a stop at Castaway Cay, a tropical island reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests where your family can enjoy a fun beach day with plenty of watersports, kids activities, spa services, beach BBQ and more. Did you know that Disney also hosts a 5K race on the island for each sailing? It’s a great way to get in your workout in paradise. The line will be offering 3-, 4-, 5- and 7-night itineraries out of Florida.
Book now for 25-35 percent off many models of houseboat rentals from the Lake Powell Marina for your next summer vacation. Choose from 46-75 foot boats that sleep up to 20 with pick-up on either the Utah or Arizona side of the lake. This promotion is available for travel between June 19 and September 5. Rates range from $2,899-$10,125 (plus taxes, fuel and fees) with a seven night minimum required. Travel before June 18 and get up to 50 percent off! Houseboating allows you to explore beautiful canyons, rock formations and grottos while also enjoying great fishing and watersports. Lake Powell starts in northern Arizona and extends into southern Utah and is part of the Colorado River in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The lake is 186 miles long and has almost 2,000 miles of shoreline – longer than the entire west coast of the US!
Disney is offering a combined cruise on Disney Cruise Line and a Disney World Resort stay this winter starting at only $789/person (plus cruise taxes and fees of $63/person) based on two adults and two children ages 3-9. The package includes a 3-night cruise to the Bahamas on the freshly renovated Disney Magic in an inside stateroom. Choose from sailings between January 17 and February 7. Then enjoy a 3-night stay at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort or Disney’s Pop Century Resort in a standard room with a 3-day Park Hopper Theme Park ticket. Transfers between Orlando International Airport, Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line terminal are also included. The Disney Magic recently added a super cool water slide, newly renovated kids club and nursery areas, upgraded restaurants and more. Your package must be booked by December 31 and inventory is limited.
Starting November 11th, Crown and Anchor Society Members with Royal Caribbean can be considered for a complimentary stateroom upgrade the week prior to sailing. Crown & Anchor members must select their upgrade preferences at RoyalCaribbean.com/CrownandAnchor. Complimentary upgrades will only be processed for members whose preferences have been registered. In other Crown and Anchor news, single passengers in a cabin will get extra points for their sailings and members will also be rewarded with a $25 onboard credit for every stateroom your friends and family reserve when they sail with you on your next Royal Caribbean International cruise. Contact us for exciting cruise deals around the world.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is expanding its all-inclusive product with free Wi-Fi. Beginning this fall, concierge-level and higher passengers will receive up to 500 minutes based on the length of the voyage. Sailings of one to seven nights will receive 200 minutes, while eight to 10 nights will get 300 minutes. Itineraries of 11 to 15 nights will come with 400 minutes and all sailings longer than 16 nights will get 500 minutes. Concierge-level and higher passengers may also opt to upgrade to an unlimited package at half the price of a standard package. Regent is also investing several million dollars in upgrading the fleet’s wireless infrastructure. As part of the upgrade Regent will double satellite bandwidth, expand the Wi-Fi signal range to the entire length of the ships, and replace all onboard hardware including modems, routers and bandwidth compression equipment.
Holland America Line is enticing your family to book early for the 2014 season with four exceptional offers under the Explore4 early booking promotion. Explore4 focuses on four value-added exclusive extras when you book select December 2013 holiday cruises and 2014 sailings. To receive all four offers together, bookings must be made by November 15. The Explore4 benefits include a free Signature Beverage Package or beverage card; a free specialty restaurant dinner; free or reduced fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom; and 50 percent reduced deposits. Book early for the best cabin availability and pricing!