Friday, June 23, 2006

NBA Trophy Goes to Sea ...

Heat Prize On Whirlwind Tour: The Miami Heat’s NBA Larry O’Brien Championship trophy embarks on a big hoop-big whoop cruise-ship tour this weekend, chaperoned by Heat owner Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation chairman and CEO. The three-continent, 18,000-mile marathon kicks off Sunday, June 25, when Arison displays the trophy aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2,794-passenger Carnival Valor in Miami. On Monday, June 26, Arison and the trophy board a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Genoa for Costa Cruises’ new 3,000-passenger Costa Serena and Costa Concordia, and Carnival Cruise Lines’ 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor, all under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard. Next comes Hong Kong for a two-day cruise to Shanghai aboard the 1,000-passenger Costa Allegra departing June 30, marking the Costa Asia product debut. Arison and the trophy then return to Italy for Costa Concordia’s inaugural with a July 4 Genoa to Rome one-nighter featuring Andrea Bocelli in concert and supermodel Eva Herzigova as godmother. The trophy eventually goes on permanent display at Miami's American Airlines Arena.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Paul Gauguin Stokes Up Fares ...

Oh, Oh, South Pacific Gets Pricier: Hotels employed surcharges to offset higher power costs in the '80s, and some cruise lines have done it of late on fuel. Now comes Regent Seven Seas Cruises (formerly Radisson), with a "Dear ..." e-mail communique under the heading of "Important Information Regarding Paul Gauguin 2007 Pricing." It goes on: "As you are no doubt aware, the price of fuel has increased dramatically over the past few months. These increases have been particularly acute in remote areas of the world such as the South Pacific, and are having an obvious adverse effect on our operating costs." Regent then cuts to the chase: "... we have decided that rather than implementing a fuel surcharge with periodic changes (as we have done in 2006), we have factored the additional fuel costs into our revised cruise fares for 2007. Effective July 1, 2006, all 2007 cruise fares on Paul Gauguin will increase by $100 per person, and will not be subject to fuel surcharges throughout the year." There's more: "... Effective July 1, 2006, all 2007 air/sea programs on Paul Gauguin ... will increase by $200 per person. This takes into account all existing airfare increases and air fuel surcharges as of today." Regent warns further price hikes from airlines will be passed on. Now, for good news: "Any bookings for 2007 that are booked and deposited by June 30, 2006, will be protected at the current published rates." For details, call (866) 213-4800.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MSC Musica & Sophia Loren ...

It’s official: MSC Cruises took delivery of MSC Musica in St. Nazaire, in the presence of assorted VIPs from the cruise line and ship yard. But the glamour of it all escalates on June 29th when godmother Sophia Loren officially launches the vessel in Venice. MSC Musica, the latest ship custom-designed for MSC Cruises, carries advanced technology and security developed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique/Aker Yards France. Most staterooms are oceanview, with balconies. After celebratory hoopla, MSC Musica departs Venice on her inaugural Mediterranean cruise, calling in Greece, Turkey and Croatia. MSC Musica is the first of five MSC ships commissioned from Aker Yards France. Next up: MSC Orchestra, followed by MSC Poesia and MSC Fantasia in 2008 and MSC Serenata in 2009. Fantasia and Serenata are the biggest ships ever commissioned by a European line.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Seabourn's Got Style ...

China, Turkey & More: Ultra luxury small ship specialist Seabourn Cruise Line’s new 104-page catalogue features cruises aboard its three yacht-like, all-suite ships through the first quarter of 2008. The 15-month schedule includes 125 cruises aboard Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend, calling at more than 225 ports in 64 countries between January 2007 and April 2008. New for '07 are “Sail & Stay” packages combining cruises with luxury pre/post extensions in Hong Kong, Singapore, Istanbul, and Athens. Itineraries contain a wealth of new calls, and returns to other ports not recently visited. In first quarter of '07, Seabourn Spirit returns to China after extended absence, with a 9-day r/t voyage from Hong Kong including a three-day stay in Shanghai. For catalog, call (800) 929-9391.