Focus On Cruising

Exploring the Wonderful World of Cruise Ships

Current Cruise Promotions

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The cruise lines are offering some fairly enticing promotions these days.

Cunard’s three-day sales event begins tomorrow, June 16th.  In addition to savings of up to $1000 per person, new passengers will receive on board credit of up to $300 per stateroom and be eligible for reduced deposits on all departures between September 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010.   As usual, all are subject to availability and vary by stateroom category booked and length of voyage.

Oceania will send Regatta to Alaska for the line’s first Alaska season ever in 2011.  2 for 1 cruise fares plus free air and up to $1000 bonus savings on select voyages are offered until August 31st:

“It’s all new — the enticing itineraries, the dramatic destinations and even the regions of North America where we will be sailing in 2011. It’s a new world for Oceania Cruises, and we have bestowed the honor of leading the way to Regatta.

Beginning in May 2011, Regatta will enter the pristine waters of Alaska and expand our world exponentially. Throughout the summer, the absolute prime season to sail here, she will offer brand-new breathtaking itineraries.

All the marquee destinations of the 49th state will be showcased, from the modern capital of Juneau to cosmopolitan Vancouver. Of course, being mid-size, Regatta can go one step further and also present Alaska’s boutique ports in a warm and intimate manner not possible on larger ships carrying thousands of passengers. On some voyages, she actually sails all the way north to Anchorage itself.”

Princess Cruises Denies Rumors

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A rumor has been circulating around the web that Princess Cruises is boycotting Israel.   While this is a ridiculous notion, it could, nonetheless, cause damage if allowed to continue unchallenged.

The following email was sent by Alan Buckelew in response.

Dear Travel Partner,

A false rumor has been spreading that Princess Cruises is boycotting Israel, and we want you to be able to respond to this totally fictitious claim if asked by your clients. This rumor began after a cancelled cruise call to Ashdod, Israel by Pacific Princess on June 2 during a Holy Land sailing.

It’s important for you to know that Princess is not boycotting Israel, nor was our recent cancellation of a visit to Ashdod politically motivated.

Here are the facts:

• Pacific Princess was scheduled to call at Haifa and Ashdod during its last cruise, as part of its 12-day Holy Land itinerary.

• At the time we were closely monitoring the events of May 31, where an incident occurred between the Israeli Defense Forces and a Gaza-bound flotilla that resulted in a number of deaths.

• Pacific Princess did call at Haifa on June 1 for a full day of touring Galilee and Nazareth for our passengers.

• Based on careful review of the situation and information provided by the US State Department and other sources, we were concerned about potential violence in Ashdod in reaction to the incident.

• We made the decision strictly in the best interest of the safety of our passengers and crew, to cancel the call in Ashdod the following day.

• A competing cruise line also cancelled its call to Ashdod the same week.

As you know, Princess has been bringing passengers to the Holy Land for over two decades, and this year alone we have 12 Holy Land voyages between May and November. Pacific Princess is once again scheduled to call in Israel at the end of June, and we fully expect to maintain the published visits to both Haifa and Ashdod during this and subsequent cruises.

Thank you for sharing this information and helping to set the record straight. As always, we appreciate your support.

Sincerely,

Alan Buckelew
President & CEO
Princess Cruises

A Crowded Horizon

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Princess announced last week that contracts with Fincantieri Shipyard have been finalized and two new, as yet unnamed, ships will be delivered to Princess in the next few years. That announcement brings to a total of 11 the number of ships on order across all of Carnival Corporation’s brands.  All 11 ships will be delivered by June 2014.  Some of these ships will hold as many as 3600 passengers.

Joining Carnival’s armada of new ships will be NCL’s Norwegian Epic, debuting mid-June; Royal Caribbean’s immense Allure of The Seas; the Oceania Marina and another, unnamed, vessel; three from MSC Cruises – the Magnifica, Musica, and Maraviglia; the Disney Dream; and a new ship for Celebrity.

The dominant players in the industry, then, will take delivery of 20 new vessels in the space of 4 years.  If we add in the recently launched Celebrity Eclipse and the brand new Seabourn Sojourn, 22 new vessels will be competing for the cruise vacationer’s affections.  To give a sense of perspective, that’s the equivalent of creating a new line with as many ships as Carnival Cruise Lines – but with bigger ships!

What effect will this enormous increase in capacity have on cruise fares?  There simply are too many factors involved to give a glib answer.  Some older vessels may leave the fleets and go to smaller lines, reducing capacity.  The world economy may rebound, generating more demand.  I don’t know.  What I do know is the thought of 22 new ships to explore makes my heart skip a beat.  The possibility that I can explore them at lower cost makes me ecstatic.