Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bahamas Forecasts US $22 million Tourism Earnings

NASSAU, Bahamas - The Bahamas tourism industry is expecting to rake in more than US$22 million with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) set to take more than 100,000 tourists to the country.

Starting July, the 1,900-passenger Norwegian Sky will provide three and four-day cruises with twice-weekly calls on Nassau, Great Sturrup Cay and a once-weekly call on Grand Bahama Island.

Tourism Minister Neko Grant said the Bahamas was in a position to earn the money through passenger spend, with Norwegian Sky generating almost 50 per cent of this amount.

"I am pleased to report that a minimum of 42 calls are expected to Grand Bahama Island over the course of the next year. It is expected that the Norwegian Sky will make 21 calls here by the end of this year, an average of one per week delivering at least 39,900 passengers," he said.

He said that Government Head Tax projections from the Norwegian Sky is expected to be in the region of US$7.98 million over the one year period, total Head Tax projections from all NCL ships visiting the Bahamas over the next year and a half is estimated at US$21.49 million.

Mr Grant added that his ministry would be looking at revamping existing tourist offerings and increasing the variety and quality of on-shore excursions available to arriving cruise passengers.

"Today's visitors are more discerning. They are looking for new and exciting experiences in a friendly, safe environment, which offers a variety of soft adventures and interesting attractions, at reasonable prices - and, given the current economic environment, the closer to home, the better," he said.

"My ministry's goal for this sector is to deliver a satisfying and sustainable destination experience for cruise passengers, and sustainable relationships with the cruise industry which will result in increased calls and on-island spend per cruise passenger."

He added that improving service levels would also convert into repeat visitors and therefore greater tourism earnings for the country.

"Increasing passenger spend will only happen if we do our jobs well. This includes the need to provide more authentic Bahamian experiences as well as a critical requirement for improved service standards in our resorts, our restaurants, our shops, our taxis and our bus systems," the Tourism Minister said.

Originally published at; May 26, 2008

Cruise Industry Is Targeting Families

Now 'family' ropes in the relatives, too

Cruise-A-Thon, a conference that brings together the cruise industry and those who sell the products it creates, was held in Vancouver this year.

It was clear at this conference that the fastest growing target demographic in the cruise industry is families -- and a good percentage are multi-generational.

That means not only mom, dad and the kids, but also grandparents, friends and a scattering of uncles and aunts --add it up and you might be looking at a group ranging from six to 26.

If multi-generational families are the hot demographic, its equivalent in destinations is Europe.

Europe as a cruise destination will see double-digit percentage increases this year. When a cruise line launches a new ship in the spring or summer, it struts its stuff in Europe before we see it in North America.

Most attractive for the consumer is the fact that when you pay for your cruise in Canadian or U.S. dollars, that means that your accommodation and food bill are in your home funds.

Now and in the future:

- More mega ships and more personal-sized ships will offer a less crowded itinerary.

- More adjoining cabins for family and friends.

- Pay more to upgrade to the next service level (same as the airlines).

- More kids' facilities. Those facilities will lead to more adult-only areas.

By: Phil Reimer
The Province; May 25, 2008

Cruise Brothers Bargains, Exotics & Affordable Cruise Vacation Choices

A Message From The President & CEO:

It's not to early to plan for your holiday cruise vacation, great choices still available! Check out our weekly bargains, early booking savings and unique sailings.
Our Cruise Specialists will be glad to help plan your cruise vacation or browse & Shop Online - "Don't get soaked on your cruise" - 1-800-827-7779.

Steve, President & CEO

Current & Upcoming Specials:

  • NCL Bermuda, Onboard Coupon Booklets All 2008 sailings: 7-night sailings to Bermuda from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore from $629 - Call our Cruise Specialists or Buy Online today!
  • Sapphire Princess: 7-night Mexican Riviera from $559. Big savings on Fall sailings, Sept 27, Oct 4 &18th. Buy Online or Call us today! Bonus: $50 shipboard credit per cabin.
  • Italy, Italy & More Italy: Oceania Insignia, 12-nights of Ultra Premium Cruising - History, Villages & Architecture galore! Free Air & Shipboard Credit. October 19, 2008 from $3,299.
  • Costa Classica from $899: 7-night round-trip Dubai. Overnights in Dubai, Bahrain & Oman. Limited sailing dates. Call or Buy Online today.
  • Early Savings, Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas. 14-night Panama Canal, San Diego to Ft Lauderdale from $1,599. Solarium & Indoor Pool, Mexican Riviera, Full Transit, Shopping & Beaches. Buy Online or Call Today.
  • Carnival Caribbean Close-Outs from $629. St Maarten, Nassau, Ocho Rios or San Juan, chose your summer sailing; 7-nights from Miami.
  • Royal Caribbean Bahamas, 3 or 4-nights from $319. Short cruises from Port Canaveral or Miami, Summer Getaways, Family & Friends relaxation.
  • Holland America Alaska from $649. Select North & Southbound sailings, Ketchikan, Scenic Glaciers, Skagway - ask about last minute tours too.
  • Norwegian Canada/New England from $549: 7-night NCL freestyle cruising from Boston or New York. August & September dates, Fall foliage & Canadian hospitality. Call or Buy Online today!
  • Princess Alaska: 7-night, round-trip Seattle from $759, Scenic Views, Wildlife and Wonderful Alaska Adventure. Call our Alaska Cruise Specialists for last minute summer sailings.
  • MSC Europe Fall Specials, select sailing dates from $599. Set sail for your Mediterranean cruise, Italy, Greece & Croatia, and bring the kids too! History, Culture and Charm on and off the ship. Click here for sample dates available or call our Cruise Specialists for all the details.

Christmas & New Years 2008 - Book Early & Save!

  • Costa Caribbean, Italian Style Cruising & Christmas at Sea, Dec. 21 Only $839. Stroll around Old Key West, Beaches of Cozumel & Excellent diving at Grand Cayman.
  • Royal Caribbean Holiday ADVENTURE from $1,099 - Rock Climbing, Mini-Golf, Beaches of Aruba, St Maarten & history of Curacao. Onboard Extras, book early for your cabin choice!
  • Mexican Riviera & Carnival Family Holiday Cruising from only $999. Beaches of Puerto Vallarta, ruins and history of Mexico. Sail from Los Angeles or San Diego, Early Savings still available.
  • NEW Celebrity Solstice, Holiday Caribbean sailings from Ft Lauderdale! Innovative and NEW, with a refined elegance in style & design. Check out the expanded SPA facilities and real lawn for your family picnic at sea! Call our Cruise Specialists today for your Holiday vacation.
  • Royal Caribbean Christmas from Tampa: 4-nights from $549. Key West & Cozumel, Bring the Family! Call Cruise Brothers or Buy Online today.
  • Tahitian Princess Exotic Holidays, South Pacific & Panama Canal. 26-nights from Papeete to Ft Lauderdale from $3,579. Plan your Dream Escape: Call or Shop Online.
  • CARNIVAL Caribbean Holidays from $799. 7-night sailings from Miami, Tampa, Port Canaveral & Galveston! Family Fun for All Ages.
  • Oceania Regatta - Affordable Luxury! 12-night Southern Caribbean for the holidays, round-trip Miami, from $2,299. Intimate and casual cruising.
  • MSC Lirica Holiday Sailings from $749. Key West, Grand Cayman, Dominican & more ~ experience Italian Style cruising. Kid Sail Free! Book a Suite and receive $100 shipboard credit. Call Us Today or Shop Online.

For more information on any of these cruise deals, visit the Cruise Brothers' website.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Windstar Cruises May Be The World's Most Romantic Cruise Line

Couples enjoy unsurpassed romance and luxury aboard Wind Star, Wind Surf and Wind Spirit

Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, invites couples celebrating honeymoons, renewing wedding vows or honoring a special anniversary to explore the beauty and wonder of romance at sea.

"It is our honor that guests choose to celebrate their special occasions with us," said Diane Moore, president, Windstar Cruises. "Our relaxed attitude, picturesque destinations and pampering service help ensure that the romance of Windstar Cruises endures."

It's no surprise to returning guests that Porthole Magazine named Windstar Cruises "Most Romantic Cruise Line." Chilled champagne and chocolate-dipped seasonal fruit await couples upon their arrival in deluxe oceanview staterooms. Mornings bring a leisurely breakfast in bed option and the opportunity to indulge in a "Time for Two" massage. Later, couples can take in a tropical sunset while being treated to an elegant dinner for two at a quiet table.

All Windstar cruises offer "Romance Under Sail," an unforgettable way to celebrate a wedding, birthday or any special occasion. Guests can select a romantic "Picnic for Two" on the beach (offered on select cruises) or relax and have dinner come to them, courtesy of 24-hour room service. There is no better way to express love than by renewing wedding vows. Couples can give in to a lifelong dream and have the ship's captain preside over the ceremony at sea, with the exotic shores of St. Thomas as a witness. From special pampering on board to exclusive shore excursions for two, Windstar offers an experience guests will never forget. Some packages or gift items are available at an additional charge.

Windstar vessels feature billowing sails, sleek lines, intimate size (having room for a mere 148 to 312 guests) and service that makes guests feel as if they're on their own private yacht. Couples can rediscover the joy of being alone as they stroll down an idyllic white-sand beach, linger in a romantic cafe, or head out to sea in a kayak for two.

Windstar's three vessels explore the shores of Europe and the chance to experience the legends and romance of some of the most sought after settings in the world. The Greek Isles are renowned for brilliant blue water, dazzling white beaches and the intrigue of ancient gods. Couples looking for an exotic Costa Rican journey can select the adventure that best suits them, including trips through the magnificent Panama Canal. From the rainforests of St. Lucia to the sunny beaches of Barbados, guests can experience the best that the Caribbean has to offer. Couples seeking the kind of true peace, solitude and relaxation that only days away at sea can bring will be delighted with opportunities for 14-day transatlantic voyages aboard Wind Spirit and Wind Surf.

A leader in defining the small ship luxury cruise experience for the last 20 years, Windstar has won the allegiance of a new generation of contemporary travelers who appreciate the line's casual attire, alternative dining venues, rich mix of shore excursions, complimentary water sports program, deluxe spa facilities and luxurious accommodations.

Windstar's award-wining reputation for sophisticated, yet casual elegance has been recognized by some of the most notable names in the travel world including Porthole Cruise Magazine for Best Tall Ship by readers in the 9th Annual Readers' Choice Awards. Windstar has also earned top honors in Travel + Leisure's World's 2007 Best Awards, was lauded among "The World's Best Small Ships" by Conde Nast Traveler readers in 2007, and was recognized as the best small-ship cruise vacation by readers of Celebrated Living.

About Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises operates three sailing yachts known for their pampering without pretense and their ability to visit the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations. Carrying just 148 to 312 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. For more information including brochures, rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online at

Windstar is a division of Ambassadors International Cruise Group, LLC, awholly-owned subsidiary of Ambassadors Cruise Group, LLC.

PRNewswire - The Earth Times; May 28, 2008

Cruising Still Hot

The economy is troubled and the dollar is weak. But one forecast suggests that Americans aren't giving up international travel.

Travel organization AAA and Global Insight, a forecasting company, predicted 25.1 million Americans will take leisure trips outside the U.S. this summer, up 2.6 percent from last year. The forecast counts Canada and Mexico among international destinations.

"Those that choose to make these trips are reallocating their budgets," said Ken McGill, executive managing director of Global Insight, a forecasting company. "Leisure travel has become not only a necessity to many American travelers, it's become almost a divine right."

Vacationers will cut shopping and entertainment out of their travel budgets, and will cut household expenses before they nix travel plans, McGill said.

The forecast is based on an economic model that includes aggregated data about the U.S. economy, domestic spending, foreign exchange rates, historic travel data, inflation in travel costs and other factors.

Monday, May 26, 2008

MSC Cruises Ups Fuel Surcharge

MSC Cruises increased the existing fuel surcharge on cruise fares to $8 a guest, $16 per stateroom.

"We all know that international oil prices have risen rapidly over the past several months, bringing the cost of fuel, whether for the family car or a cruise ship, to record highs," MSC Cruises USA President and Chief Executive Officer Richard E. Sasso said. "To offset these unprecedented costs, we must make an adjustment to the fuel surcharge implemented late last year."

The new surcharge will apply to new bookings made July 1 for departures after Dec. 1.

Please Note: MSC Cruises is based in Italy. Its U.S. headquarters is in Fort Lauderdale.

South Florida Business Journal; May 9, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Planning A Trip With Your Tax Refund? Think Mexico Cruises.

Good news, cruisers: It'll soon cost you less to go on a shopping spree in Mexican ports.

Industry watcher Travel Weekly reports that Mexico soon will begin reimbursing the 15% value-added tax (VAT) that cruisers and other tourists pay when buying goods in the country.

The travel publication says that as early as June tourists will be able to use kiosks at five major airports (Mexico City, Cancun, Guadalajara, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta) to get back the tax, though the kiosks won't appear at cruise ports (and other airports) until 2009.

Cruisers only will be able get refunds for purchases totaling at least $115 (1,200 Mexican pesos), and the purchases have to be made at approved stores with cash or credit/debt cards issued outside of Mexico, Travel Weekly says. Other restrictions apply.

Tell us, Cruise Loggers, do you buy a lot when cruising to Mexico? Which Mexican ports do you think have the best goods and what's your favorite Mexican souvenir?

Cruise Industry Pacing For Record Year 2008

Figures published by the National Statistics Office (NSO) show that cruise passenger traffic in Malta amounted to 45,924 passengers, implying an increase of 21.5 per cent over the same month in the previous year.

Most passengers were coming from EU countries, with the major markets being Italy and the UK – which also registered the biggest increases – as well as France and Spain.

Although a slight decrease of 1.6 per cent was registered when taking into consideration the first four months of the year as a whole, VISET general manager Chris Paris was not worried as he stated that 2008 is expected to be another record breaking year for the local cruise liner industry.

“Last year we had 384,000 cruise passengers – an increase of around 20 per cent over the previous year – and we’re expecting a further increase to reach the half a million mark this year,” he explained.

Moreover, VISET had bookings for 395 cruise liners during the course of this year, an increase over last year’s 384, he added.

On the impact of the increasing cost of fuels, he said that its effect on the industry cannot be anticipated since it depended on what the cruise liner companies decided. He also pointed out that even the passengers’ spending money would not be the same.

“Nevertheless, bookings remain healthy for the coming years,” he said.

Mr Paris also said that the Mediterranean region was the second best region after the Caribbean, while the EU source market – which is the major market for Malta – was also growing and was now in excess of four million. also caught up with operators in the industry, who reported they were having good business both locally and, when applicable, overseas.

One particular operator however pointed out that it was difficult to predict whether the momentum would be maintained. He explained that itineraries are prepared well in advance and, even if at present a good job is being done, the destination might still be dropped from such itineraries.

Alaska Cruises Hotter Than Ever

Ships - large, small and even tall - from 15 lines are heading to the waters off Alaska this summer

The year was 1883, the place was Glacier Bay, Alaska, and the vessel was the Idaho - the first of its breed to offer Alaska and Glacier Bay as a cruise experience.

Aboard the Idaho's maiden trip to Alaska was a 27-year-old writer, Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore. Inspired by written reports from famed naturalist John Muir about Alaska's towering mountains, lush virgin forests, island-dotted waterways, massive glaciers, and the great bay that contained so many of them, Scidmore travelled north to see it for herself.

See it she did. And from her talented pen came a succession of articles in U.S. newspapers, magazines and a fascinating book describing her Alaska adventure. Cruising to Alaska was born.

Fast forward to 2008. No fewer than 15 cruise lines will dispatch their vessels to Alaska. Nearly a million passengers made the trip in 2007; more are expected this summer. Cruising patterns have remained largely unchanged from years past with four basic options:

1) Most traditional is an Inside Passage round trip in seven nights, eight days from Vancouver to southeast Alaska and back. Port calls usually include two to four of the principal communities of the region - Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Juneau, Haines and Skagway - plus day-long visits to Glacier Bay National Park and/or other glacier-viewing sites.

2) One-way "Gulf-and-Glaciers" sailing in seven nights/eight days takes in many of the same Inside Passage sights but adds glacier-rich Prince William Sound. A Gulf-and-Glaciers voyage ends (or begins) at Seward or Whittier in the north and Vancouver in the south.

3) Cruises entirely within Alaska can involve either round trips from a single city such as Ketchikan or Juneau or one-way trips between two communities. (Example: sailing one-way in seven nights/eight days through wilderness waters between Juneau and Sitka.)

4)Expedition-type voyages can extend well beyond traditional options to include Aleutian and other remote islands, sub-Arctic ports, and Russian lands across the Bering Sea.

By: Mike Miller
Canwest News Service; Vancouver Province; May 10, 2008