June 24, 2019

Holland America expands McKinley Chalet Resort in Alaska

Holland America has added 99 new rooms to is McKinley Chalet Resort.


Holland America Line opened their new luxury guest accommodations at McKinley Chalet Resort June 14. The new 99-room addition features the first-ever junior suites at the McKinley Chalet Resort where guests stay on Holland America Line’s award-winning Land+Sea Journeys. Fifty-four of the new rooms are luxurious junior suites with balconies, larger living areas and enhanced amenities including heated bathroom floors and a stunning floor-to-ceiling map of Denali National Park and Reserve.

“Holland America Line is continually enhancing our hotel offerings in Denali, and the latest addition of this incredible new building with junior suites offers our Alaska guests some of the best rooms in Denali with stunning balcony views,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Many of our Alaska cruise guests are seeking premium accommodations and culinary experiences on their land tour just like those on their cruise, so we were thrilled to celebrate the opening of the new Ridge View building at our McKinley Chalet Resort. These new rooms and suites – in addition to the amazing Denali Square we opened a few years ago with dining, shopping, entertainment, fire pits and more – create an authentic and relaxing lodge-resort experience that makes our guests’ Alaska trip even more memorable.”

The new rooms are an extension of Holland America Line’s overland Alaska experience to Denali, which includes the McKinley Chalet Resort hotel and Denali Square, a gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The addition is located just west of Denali Square, with views of Mt. Healy and Denali National Park and Preserve.

The new rooms are an exciting addition to the McKinley Chalet Resort, Holland America Line’s magnificent 68-acre hotel property on the Nenana River. The hotel — featuring guest rooms, dining facilities and extensive walking trails — serves as home base for all adventures in and around Denali National Park, such as the full-day Tundra Wilderness Tour included on most Land+Sea Journeys as well as optional flightseeing, ATV adventures, fly fishing, river rafting right from the hotel property and more. All accommodations feature stylish décor and premium amenities.

Seabourn unveils suites on new luxury Expedition Ships

Seabourn’s new Venture is scheduled to launch in 2021.


Luxury cruise line Seabourn is giving travelers another look at their guest suites on its two new purpose-built expedition ships set to launch in June 2021 and May 2022. The Veranda, Panorama Veranda, and Penthouse suite categories are masterfully designed spaces that will provide beautiful and relaxing accommodations on Seabourn Venture and the soon-to-be-named sister ship.

“All of our spacious suites provide the expedition traveler with equal parts of adventure together with the best in luxury accommodation and service,” said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. “Seabourn’s suites are created to invite guests to linger longer as we take them to diverse and remote locales around the world.”

Design elements such as parchment texture inspired wall panels and curvilinear arches reflect bygone maritime craftsmanship. Custom bedside panels recall luxury travel from another era yet are decidedly current with toggle switches, an analog clock and a fold away reading lamp, perfect for curling up with a custom Seabourn blanket. Guests are drawn into the space with organic shapes, materials like wood and stone, and intricately textured fabrics. Spacious bathrooms with separate shower and bathtub feature luxurious fittings. The ship’s art collection, curated to reflect that of a seasoned explorer, will extend beyond public areas into the ship’s all ocean front with private veranda suites as well.

Each suite will also have a built-in heated jacket wardrobe, where guests can grab a warm coat before heading out on a cool morning or hang their wet outdoor parkas and other gear to dry quickly once they return from adventures off the ship.

Seabourn Venture is scheduled to launch in June 2021, with a second yet-to-be-named sister ship slated to launch in May 2022. The ships are being designed from conception for expedition travel blended with ultra-luxury and personalized service by leading travel experts and seasoned professionals with great depth of experience in expedition, hospitality, and luxury cruising.

For more details about the award-winning Seabourn fleet, or to explore the worldwide selection of Seabourn cruising options visit Seabourn

Princess and Holland America promote special deals

Princess Cruises Royal class ships carry over 3500 passengers.


Two excellent cruise deals have recently been promoted from Princess and Holland America. Princess Cruises is offering its annual Sun-Drenched Deals sale, with savings up to 35 percent and $99 fares for third and fourth guests in the stateroom. The sale offered on cruises departing from Fall 2019 to Winter 2019 includes top worldwide destinations — the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada & New England, Hawaii, Panama Canal, California Coast, Australia & New Zealand, South Pacific, Asia, Mediterranean, Transatlantic, Scandinavia & Russia, South America & Antarctica and Japan.

Guests can book this special cruise deal in all stateroom categories with a deposit of only 10 percent per guest.

Select ships during this promotional period are MedallionClass ships, enabled by OceanMedallion, a complimentary wearable device that elevates the guest experience by delivering enhanced experiences and personalized service resulting in high guest satisfaction scores.

Meanwhile, Holland America has a similar offer this summer with their “Who’s in Your Crew?” promo featuring fares that are up to 50 percent off select Alaska and Europe cruise prices. Plus, third and fourth children or adults in the same stateroom sail free.

On board, there are a wide variety of activities for all ages. Younger travelers can join kids their own age on a treasure hunt with Club HAL while adults get a crash course on European architecture at an EXC Talks presentation. Later, the entire family can come together to share the day’s highlights over freshly made pasta at Canaletto. In port, Holland America Line has crafted family-friendly Shore EXCursions like whale-watching or a trip to Legoland, and at the end of each day guests can unwind in spacious, comfortable accommodations that fit a family perfectly.

Go to Princess or Holland America websites for more details.

Cruise lines scramble with new US rules on Cuba

Empress of the Seas was the last cruise ship to depart Havana after recent US ban.


Cruise lines have had to scramble to adjust to new restrictions from the United States government making it illegal to offer cruises to Cuba. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued a statement shortly after the recent announcement from the Trump administration saying its members have been forced to eliminate all Cuba destinations effective immediately.

The CLIA statement goes on to say the ban affects nearly 800,000 passenger bookings that are currently scheduled or already underway. Passenger bookings had been made under a general license previously issued by the United States Government that authorized “people to people” travel to Cuba. “While this situation is completely beyond our control, we are genuinely sorry for all cruise line guests who were looking forward to their previously booked itineraries to Cuba.”

“We are disappointed that cruises will no longer be operating to Cuba,” said Adam Goldstein, Chairman of Cruise Lines International Association. “While out of our control, we are genuinely sorry for all cruise line guests who were looking forward to their previously booked itineraries to Cuba.”

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian said on Wednesday that they will no longer sail to Cuba, joining Carnival Corporation, which announced earlier in the day that it will no longer operate cruises to the island, effective immediately.

Norwegian Cruise Line rerouted its Norwegian Sun cruise to the Bahamas and, in a statement, thanked guests for their “patience as we navigate this unexpected, last-minute change.”

Royal Caribbean rerouted its Majesty of the Seas cruises, which were scheduled to arrive in Havana on Thursday and Friday. One cruise will now go to Costa Maya, Mexico, and the other will stay at sea for a day of cruising.

“All 2019 sailings on the Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas will have alternative ports in the Caribbean,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement. Guests will have the option of canceling for a full refund or keeping their bookings, but going to a new destination and receiving a 50 percent refund.

In 2016, Carnival was the first U.S. cruise company to sail to Cuba since the 1959 revolution.

(With files from New York Times and CNN.)

Cruise Lines Staying Prepared for Possible Pirate Attacks

Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas built for the Asian market.

From Travel Pulse – Pirate attacks may seem like an outdated relic of sailing, but two cruise lines have instituted preparation plans in case modern day pirates try to board one of the luxury ships.

According to CruiseRadio.net, Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of The Seas and Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess have developed exercises to prepare passengers in case one of the ships is attacked while sailing through areas known for piracy.

The Sun Princess warned travelers in advance they would be working on pirate drills that called for passengers to take shelter in the interior corridors while cruise line officials worked to avoid the sailing criminals. The precautions come as the ship is on a 99-day World Cruise.

As for the Spectrum of The Seas, officials from Royal Caribbean are conducting Safe Haven drills to help prepare passengers for the unlikely possibility that pirates attack the ship. Travelers are asked to move toward the center of the vessel and avoid windows and outside areas.

When the massive new ship was en route to China, it passed through the Gulf of Aden, and officials closed the Promenade Deck and asked passengers to close the curtains and turn off the lights in their staterooms to avoid drawing any extra attention.
In addition, Royal Caribbean added armed security officers to ensure the safety of passengers.

Holland America expands functionality of popular Navigator app

Holland America Line expands new Navigator tool functionality into a user-friendly,
free app for mobile phones and tablets that can be used on board.


Leveraging technology to further personalize the cruise experience, Holland America Line is expanding the functionality of its popular browser-based Navigator tool into a user-friendly, free app for mobile phones and tablets that can be used on board. iPhone and Android users can download the Navigator app from the iTunes App and Google Play stores, respectively.

Using Navigator, guests can plan daily activities, explore and book shore excursions, view restaurant menus and make dining reservations, view spa treatments, check their account statement and more. Expected to be the most popular feature is the chat function that enables guests to communicate with each other for free while on board.

“The Navigator app makes it easy for our guests to personalize their cruise experience from anywhere on the ship — whether they want to make a reservation at a specialty restaurant, see what the evening entertainment is or create a daily schedule with reminder notifications,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “The most exciting function of Navigator is that it allows our guests to chat with each other for free, which makes it easy to stay connected and make plans with fellow travelers throughout the cruise.”

With Navigator, guests also are able to select and save activities to personalize their daily schedule. Those activities appear alongside booked dining reservations and shore excursions, keeping everything easily accessible in one place. Notifications can be set up to send reminders and alerts for reservations, messages and more.

Guests who forget to download the Navigator app prior to embarking can download it once on board free of charge without using internet minutes.

In the coming months, Holland America Line will extend the app offerings for both mobile phones and tablets — currently only available to use during a guest’s cruise — to offer pre-voyage access so guests can review available services and check out the interactive fleet map at any time before boarding the ship.

New HAL Pinnacle ship to be fourth Ryndam

Holland America’s new Ryndam will be a 99,500 ton ship carrying 2,666 guests


In a nod to its long line of historic ships that helped build the foundation for cruising as we know it today, Holland America Line announced that its next Pinnacle Class ship will be called Ryndam. The newbuild, due for delivery in May 2021, will be the fourth ship in the company’s history to carry the name.

Ryndam will be similar to sister ships Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, weighing 99,500 tons and carrying 2,666 guests. As the third in the series, Ryndam will feature enhanced Pinnacle Class amenities and innovations, along with Holland America Line hallmarks that drive one of the highest guest repeat rates in the industry.

“Holland America Line honors the timeless tradition of cruising while also embracing new innovations for today’s travelers, and the name Ryndam reflects the unique history of this company while honoring previous ships that were progressive in their time as this last Ryndam will be,” said Orland Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “From the first Ryndam more than 100 years ago to the most recent, the namesake ships have been beloved by our guests. The next Ryndam will bring new life to one of the most notable series of vessels in our history.”

The steel cutting for Ryndam, signifying the official beginning of the building process, was held March 13, 2019 at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera, Italy. This will be the 17th ship constructed for Holland America Line by the Italian shipbuilder, which most recently delivered Nieuw Statendam.

Holland America Line’s Historic Ships Named Ryndam
The first Ryndam was part of the Holland America Line fleet from 1901 to 1929, starting as Rijndam before receiving the English spelling in 1923. In 1927 Ryndam I became the first Holland America Line ship to sail a world cruise, although it was chartered as a floating school at sea for that voyage. The second Ryndam served from 1951 to 1973, and the third sailed in the fleet from 1993 through 2015, when it was transferred to sister brand P&O Australia and now cruises as Pacific Aria.

Windstar begins massive ship-lengthening project in Italy

Windstar’s Star Legend accommodates just 212 guests.


Seattle-based Windstar Cruises has begun their ambitious project lengthening three of their ships at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Trieste, Italy. Steel was cut for the first of three new ships sections as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative in early April.

The $250 Million Star Plus Initiative is the most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project undertaken in cruising. Windstar will take half of its entire fleet – Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride – and renovate each ship in succession. The work on the first of the three ships begins on Star Breeze in October 2019 and shall end with the departure of the Star Pride from the yard in November 2020. This steel cutting marks the beginning of true project construction. The popular ships will be cut in half to allow the installation of a new stepped mid-body section that will lengthen each vessel by approximately 25 meters. The total capacity of the “new” expanded ships will be 312 guests, and additional staff will be hired in order to maintain the line’s impressive 1.5 to 1 guest-to-service staff ratio.

The new sections will be built in Trieste and then will be transported south by barge to the Fincantieri yard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy to be inserted into the iconic Windstar ships along with the new engines. The timeline requires the new sections to be fabricated from April through September, shipped in October, and then inserted into Star Breeze so that she can be completed in time for her arrival for re-inaugural activities at the port of Miami on March 19, 2020.

Cunard unveils 2021 voyages

Cunard’s beautiful Queen Mary 2.


Luxury cruise brand Cunard today unveils their Oceans of Discovery voyage program for November 2020 through May 2021, featuring Full World Voyages and in-depth itineraries in Japan and Australia. The Cunard fleet, including Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, and flagship liner Queen Mary 2, will call at 94 destinations in 38 different countries, including four exciting maiden calls in Japan, Taiwan and New Zealand.

Cunard pioneered the concept of world cruising in 1922 and has since undertaken more world voyages than any other passenger line. In 2021, Cunard will continue the tradition of world cruising by operating Full World Voyages on two ships: Queen Mary 2 will offer the classic East-West voyage to Australia and Asia, Southern Africa, the Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean; Queen Victoria will travel the globe with a westbound circumnavigation via the Panama Canal. Queen Elizabeth will carry out exotic voyages with regionally-focused itineraries in Australia and Japan.

Whether traveling on a two-night short break or a full 113-night world voyage, the Cunard 2021 program will offer a mix of the most celebrated cities along with smaller, off-the-beaten-path but equally charming destinations. Itineraries have been thoughtfully created to offer longer, more enriching days in port as well as plenty of time at sea to enjoy everything Cunard ships have to offer.

In more Cunard news, the company announced the world class team of designers recruited to create the interiors for its eagerly anticipated new ship set to launch in 2022. Working in concert with the project’s world renowned Creative Director, Adam D. Tihany, will be award-winning designers Simon Rawlings of David Collins Studio, Terry McGillicuddy of Richmond International and Sybille de Margerie from her eponymous design company.

“Cunard has amassed the most talented interior designers in the industry to bring our new ship to life. Each member of the team brings a unique skill set to the project and working in symphony with legendary Adam D Tihany will ensure a product that is one-of-a-kind and uniquely Cunard,” said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America.

Carnival Cruise Line adds sailings from San Francisco for 2020

Carnival Miracle will sail out of San Francisco to Hawaii and Alaska.


Following tremendous response to Carnival Cruise Line’s first-ever cruises from San Francisco, the line is adding five voyages from the port to Carnival Miracle’s previously announced inaugural schedule in 2020.
Including the five new voyages, Carnival Miracle will now offer a total of 27 voyages within the wide-ranging program which includes four-day long weekend sailings to Ensenada, Mexico, 10-day cruises to Alaska and 15- and 16-day voyages to Hawaii from March to September 2020. All voyages are now open for reservations.
These newly added sailings are part of Carnival’s ongoing expansion in the West Coast. Carnival carries more passengers from California than any other cruise operator and will further bolster its leadership position with the debut of the new Carnival Panorama from Long Beach in December 2019 and new cruise programs from San Diego beginning in December 2019 and San Francisco in 2020.
Today’s announcement coincides with the San Francisco debut of the Carnival AirShip, a 128-foot-long blimp which, after a busy month of flying across California, will now pass over iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Port of San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf, and other hotspots throughout the city.
“After seeing the incredible reaction to Carnival Miracle’s initial San Francisco sailings announcement last month, we knew we had to continue to Choose Fun and bring even more options to the West Coast,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “And what better time to announce this amazing news than while the Carnival AirShip is flying over the city?”