Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Nando’s set to open in London Gatwick

London Gatwick has revealed that Nando’s will open its first ever airport restaurant in South Terminal next summer.

The deal between Nando’s and Gatwick marks the start of a major overhaul of the airport’s food and beverage offering in South Terminal.

It follows a complete re-vamp of the North Terminal, which has seen eight new restaurants open in the past two years. New additions range from Jamie’s Italian and Comptoir Libanais to YO! Sushi and new coffee outlets including Starbucks and Pret a Manger.

Charlotte Christiansen, Business Development Manager for Catering at London Gatwick, said: “We are thrilled that Nando’s will be opening its first airport restaurant at Gatwick this summer. Nando’s is a hugely popular brand with our passengers and its extensive menu is perfectly matched to airport dining as it is quick, fresh and delicious. More than a third of our passengers told us they would like to see a Nando’s at Gatwick so we have acted on this.”

Passenger ratings of food and beverage at Gatwick have improved significantly in recent years, with 85% of passengers now scoring the selection of outlets available as either excellent or good². The number of passengers eating, drinking or buying products from catering outlets in the departure lounge has also steadily increased, with nearly 65% of passengers making a purchase – up by nearly a quarter³.

Nando’s, home of legendary Portuguese flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken, will open its doors in Gatwick’s South Terminal in summer 2014. The restaurant group’s first foray into airport dining will seat 200 guests, and create 100 new full and part-time jobs.

Set to provide London Gatwick’s passengers with a menu bursting with flavour, variety and great value, the team behind the new restaurant will spend the next seven months on site constructing the 5,900 sq ft restaurant, which will feature Nando’s unique design throughout, including its eye-catching range of African art.

Garry Duncan, Regional Director of Nando’s, commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to announce we’ll be opening our first airport restaurant in London Gatwick next year.

“It’s a complete new territory for the brand, but demonstrates our forward thinking and desire to offer our fans and customers the best possible Nando’s experience whether they’re on a high street or in an airport terminal. We can’t wait to open our doors!”

This development is in direct response to passenger feedback to see a Nando’s at Gatwick. Recent research saw the brand hit the top spot for restaurant chains passengers would like to visit at the airport – 33% asked for it – ensuring the airport experience truly reflects passengers’ needs.

Nando’s Gatwick will operate approximately 20 hours a day between the hours of 4.00am and 12.00am for passengers to enjoy meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner before they fly.

Technical launch of Costa Cruises’ future flagship, Costa Diadema

Costa Diadema, the future flagship of Costa Cruises, today touched water for the first time during the technical launch ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera.

Costa Diadema (132,500 gross tonnage and 1,862 guest cabins) will be delivered on 30 October 2014. Costa Cruises has invested a total of around €550 million in her construction and the project is employing approximately 1000 shipyard workers plus another 2500 employees of allied industries. The benefits in terms of employment extend beyond the yard, especially regarding the fitting-out of the interiors of the cruise ship, with the involvement of about 400 contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms.

Costa Crociere S.p.A. CEO Michael Thamm commented: “Costa Diadema will be our new flagship and our tangible commitment to the future success and growth of our Company. She is the 10th cruise ship built in Italy by Fincantieri for Costa since 2000, with a total investment worth almost €5 billion. This investment creates wealth and employment for the country as a whole – not only during the building, but also when the ships are in service. Costa Diadema’s winter itinerary will include three ports in Italy: Savona, Civitavecchia and La Spezia. At the same time, thanks to her innovative features, Costa Diadema will open up new horizons for Costa.”

Fincantieri’s CEO, Giuseppe Bono, commented: “For many years now we’ve been applying Italian know-how to form a winning team with Costa. We hope that the country as a whole is proud of these two major companies and will not fail to support their continued growth. We’re also convinced that Costa Diadema, the largest ship ever built for Costa Crociere, bodes very well for the future development of our companies and the entire industry”.

Costa Diadema’s technical launch ceremony was carried out according to seafaring tradition. The launch started with the welding of a coin at the base of what was once the mainmast, a custom considered to bring good luck. Shipyard director, Antonio Quintano, then invited the godmother, Ms. Franca Grasso, to cut the ribbon and break a bottle of champagne against the bow. Once the dry-dock basin where the ship took shape over the last few months had been filled with water, the hull finally touched the sea for the first time.

Highlighting the strong link between Costa and its guests, Franca Grasso is a member of the CostaClub (Costa Cruises’ loyalty club) coming from Giarre (Sicily), who was chosen through a selection on board Costa ships cruising in the Mediterranean Sea at the end of October and beginning of November 2013, involving over 12,000 guests.

Costa Diadema’s distinguishing features will be comfort combined with top quality food, wine and entertainment. The new flagship’s interiors will be even cosier, roomier and more modern in terms of facilities and layout of her public areas. Costa Diadema will offer large, split-level rooms directly overlooking the sea and conveniently interconnected, thus evoking the atmosphere of a buzzing seaside resort.

Among the many innovations on board are new food and wine tasting treats in the shape of the Vinoteca, Birreria (beer house), Japanese Teppanyaki, Pizzeria in Piazza Pizza and Gelateria. 

There will also be new forms of fun and entertainment on board with the advent of the Country Rock Club, the place to go for classic rock music, and the Star Laser room featuring different styles of interactive laser games including the Laser Maze.

The Portobello Market Piazza, at the heart of a 1100m2 area consisting of designer stores and retail outlets, will appeal to shopaholics, while those who enjoy the sun, sea and spectacular ocean vistas will enjoy the open-air promenade and cabanas.

Meanwhile, the purpose-built Samsara Spa on three levels, located on the upper decks, will offer the rejuvenating experience of a wellness cruise.

In Winter 2014/15 Costa Diadema will be deployed on a one-week itinerary including the chance to visit two of Italy’s must-see cities – Rome and Florence – on one cruise. The port calls are Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia.

Monday, 4 November 2013

One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius

One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritian influences reign supreme. Originally opened in 1975 and remodeled in 1999, the resorts relaxed and discreet luxury is complimented by service that is attentive, yet unobtrusive. Here, terraced and balconied rooms all face out privately to the Indian Ocean. Under the calm sway of thousands of coconut palms, immaculate gardens run down to the edge of the coral-sand beach, which seamlessly wraps the peninsula for over a mile.

Package includes: Return flights from Johannesburg to Mauritius. Return coach transfers. Breakfast and dinner daily. Christmas Eve gala dinner. A 30% Early bird offer included in the rates quoted.

Package excludes: Passport + visa costs (if applicable), travel insurance & items of a personal nature. Approximate rates, levies and surcharges of R3550 per adult sharing.

For Full details contact us:
Holiday Cafe / XL Travel by Arrangement
T: 011 794 4900, First Floor Trinity Village,
65 Knoppiesdoring Street
Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg

Friday, 1 November 2013

FREE Travel Insurance

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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Emirates Airline Chauffeur

Complimentary Chauffuer Service for South Africa Passengers From 01 November 2013

All chauffeur drive bookings required for travel from 01 November 2013 for Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban is provided within a 110 driven Km instead of 110Km radius.
The service will be provided by Budget Door 2 Door.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Silversea’s second expedition ship Silver Galapagos sets sail

Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea has launched its second expedition ship. Fresh from a major refurbishment, the 100-guest ship (formerly named Galapagos Explorer II) embarked 28 September on her first-ever voyage as Silver Galapagos.

Prior to setting sail, a christening ceremony was held on board, attended by local dignitaries and company executives. Highlighting the occasion were speeches by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Silversea’s chairman; Santiago Dunn, vice president of Silversea, Ecuador; and Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s director of expedition cruises. Following the traditional blessing by a priest, the chairman’s daughter, Costanza Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the ship’s godmother, officially welcomed Silver Galapagos into the Silversea fleet by cutting a ceremonial ribbon.

The all-suite Silver Galapagos has just completed a major stem-to-stern refurbishment. All public spaces and guest suites have been refreshed with new upholstery, carpeting, curtains, and wall treatments. Each suite is highlighted by a totally renovated bathroom, enhanced with rich marble detailing. Besides a new walk-in rainforest shower, each bathroom features a new vanity, shelving, mirrors, lighting fixtures, and wood flooring. Plus, all guest suites have been outfitted with new flat screen TVs, new mattresses (custom-made exclusively for Silversea), and luxurious Pratesi bed linens.

Other ship enhancements include the installation of Wi-Fi access throughout the ship (including all suites) and a new complimentary service providing streaming movies and live television news broadcasts for guests to enjoy on their portable devices.

And rounding out the renovations are a new fitness centre, massage room, beauty salon, outdoor Jacuzzi, outdoor furniture, and Silversea’s signature outdoor dining venue, The Grill.

In his remarks at the christening ceremony, Lefebvre d’Ovidio stated, “It is our aim that this ship will not only offer our guests the highest level of comfort and service, but also enlighten them to the rarity and beauty of the Galápagos Islands.”

Silver Galapagos sails Saturday to Saturday on seven-day roundtrip voyages from Baltra Island, following either a western or north central route. These expedition cruises offer adventurous travellers the life-enriching chance to discover a wild, pristine paradise that has long been regarded as a natural laboratory of evolution. On complimentary expeditions ashore guided by an experienced expedition team (certified by the Galápagos National Park Service), Silversea’s guests may experience up-close encounters with an abundance of wildlife that includes sun-basking land iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, colourful marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins and Darwin’s famous finches.


World’s Largest Global Cruise Line Celebrates Steel Cutting in Saint-Nazaire, France MIAMI, September 23, 2013 – Royal Caribbean International cut the first piece of steel today for its third Oasis-class ship, marking the first construction milestone for a vessel that, at approximately 227,700 GRT, will be the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard D. Fain and Royal Caribbean International President and CEO, Adam Goldstein together with Laurent Castaing, chief executive officer, STX France, attended the event at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, where the ship will be built. The cruise line’s third Oasis-class ship is expected to be delivered in mid-2016. “The Oasis-class ships have fundamentally changed the cruising landscape with the cornucopia of amenities and innovations that can be found on-board,” said Fain. “We are delighted to be offering a third Oasis-class vessel for our guests as well as to be back at STX France after such a long tradition of building amazing ships together.” “We are excited to once again partner with Royal Caribbean International,” said Castaing, “We have built 12 ships for Royal Caribbean and are extremely proud of the strength of our relationship. Oasis 3 is one of the biggest challenges ever undertaken in the history of our company and our teams are excited and ready to make this a successful project.” Oasis 3 joins sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas which took the cruise industry by storm with their introduction in 2009 and 2010, respectively, featuring a revolutionary design with a split superstructure and the cruise line’s neighbourhood concept of seven distinct themed areas. At 225,282 GRT and spanning 16 decks with 2,700 staterooms, the Oasis class ships also introduced extraordinary “firsts” at sea such as an 82 foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, the Rising Tide elevating bar, the AquaTheater high-diving performance venue, and the Central Park with more than 12,000 live trees and plants. The Oasis class also offers amenities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, such as twin FlowRider surf simulators, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, the H2O Zone kids aquapark, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques, among many others. “Our Oasis-class ships have led the charge in delivering the WOW for which Royal Caribbean is known,” said Goldstein. “We are delighted to get the building process underway and look forward to the next chapter of this amazing class of ships.” Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas sail weekly, alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In October 2014, Oasis of the Seas will sail a short autumn season in Europe from Barcelona, Spain before entering dry-dock for routine maintenance at the Képpel Verolme shipyard in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Details of the third Oasis-class ship will be revealed in the coming months. Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 40-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSE: RCL), the cruise line sails 21 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, South America, the Far East, and Australia and New Zealand. World renowned for its friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, delivered by every staff and crew member, Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 10 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Reader’s Choice Awards.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Fred Olsen to offer meteor shower cruise

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines will be offering guests the chance to take in one of nature’s most spectacular light shows, the ‘Perseid Meteor Showers’, with Braemar’s 13-night M1422 ‘Canaries Meteor Showers’ cruise, sailing from Dover on 4th August 2014.

This exciting ‘experience’ cruise will give guests the opportunity to view the stunning, multi-coloured ‘Perseid Meteor Shower’ at the optimum time, whilst visiting the beautiful Canary Islands and Portugal. The ‘Perseids’ are so-called because the point from which they appear to come, called the ‘radiant’, lies within the constellation, ‘Perseus’. Referred to by many as ‘Nature’s celestial firework display’, the ‘Perseid Meteor Showers’ are the result of material falling from the tail of the comet Swift-Tuttle. Best seen during the early evenings and nightfall within the first two weeks of August, guests on board this cruise can channel their ‘amateur astronomist’, as they look out for these ‘shooting stars’ – which reach a rate of 60 or more per hour at their peak – in stunning surroundings.

This cruise visits Funchal, on the lovely ‘Garden Isle’ of Madeira, for an overnight stay. Compact enough to explore on foot, the island has some fine museums, and its climate and rich soil allow for some exquisite gardens.

Next, Braemar visits Santa Cruz in Tenerife.  Here, guests can discover the wonders of the extinct volcano, Mount Teide, in El Teide National Park, explore the mix of modern and historic buildings, or take a tour to the Pyramids of Guimar. These incredible pyramid-shaped structures date back to the 19th Century and are located in the fascinating ‘Secret Garden’, which contains some of the most dangerous plants in the world.

Braemar then calls at the largest island, Gran Canaria, where the ship docks in Las Palmas. This popular island boasts a fascinating history; in Plaza Santa Ana, there are bronze statues of dogs, referencing the Romans’ naming of the islands after legendary canines.

Arrecife, Lanzarote is the next port of call, a bustling port with two splendid castles overlooking the harbour area, which date back to the 16th and 17th Centuries. The older of the two buildings, ‘Castillo San Gabriel’, houses the Ethnographic Museum, which tells the story of the original inhabitants of the island, the Gaunche. Guests venturing slightly further out of the town can explore the lunar landscape of the Timanfaya National Park.

Lisbon, Portugal’s bustling capital, is the final port of call, a city rich in maritime history. There is much to explore, including monasteries, museums, and Gothic cathedrals. Other attractions include ‘Rossio Square’, the city’s old quarter, and the ‘April 25th’ suspension bridge, one of the world’s largest. For more adventurous guests, there is an exhilarating Jeep Safari tour in the imposing Sintra Mountains.

Crystal reveals new wine & food themed cruises for 2014

Crystal Cruises has set four new Wine & Food-themed luxury cruises for 2014. New to the program next year will be new guest chef-prepared Vintage Room dinners on each of the four sailings—in Asia, the South Pacific, Trans-Atlantic, and the U.S./Caribbean – as well as a new microbrew theme on the last of the voyages.

All of Crystal’s culinary Experiences of Discovery voyages includes complimentary hands-on cooking classes, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, mixology lessons, and a guest chef dinner for all guests in the Crystal Dining Room. In addition, in 2014, each culinary-themed cruise will feature an optional intimate, guest chef-created dinner for 12-14 in Crystal’s Vintage Room, with seven courses featuring local flavors of the region and extraordinary wine pairings selected by the guest wine expert. Building upon the success of Crystal’s recently-added Connoisseur Beer menu, the new microbrew-themed cruise will offer beer pairings, instead of wine, for the dinner, as well as craft beer enrichment and sampling throughout the voyage.

“Our Wine & Food cruises have been one of our most successful, and longest running themes,” says Toni Neumeister, vice president, hotel procurement & food and beverage operations. “With our new program expansions, guests now have even more to love: more beverages, more flavors, more enlightenment about foreign cultures, and more intimate experiences with our culinary experts.”

Held on both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, the cruises will feature local tastes of:

· The South Pacific: Sailing January 20 from Papeete to Bora Bora, Rarotonga, Tonga, Fiji, and Auckland (overnight).

· Asia/China: Sailing April 9 from Hong Kong (overnight) to Xiamen, Shanghai (two overnights), and Dalian, with three days ashore in Beijing included.

· Atlantic, including Iceland and New England: Sailing September 5 from London’s port of Southampton to the Channel Islands, Waterford, Dublin, Belfast, Reykjavik (overnight), Halifax, Bar Harbor, and Boston.

· The U.S. East Coast, South, and Caribbean: Sailing November 5 from New York (overnight) to Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Turks & Caicos, Curaçao, Aruba, and Miami.

While exact programming details are still being finalized, food experts scheduled thus far include Thrainn Freyr Vigfusson, recent Icelandic Chef of the Year and Bocuse d’Or finalist; Stephen Beaumont, co-author of The World Atlas of Beer; Aldo Sohm, Wine Director at New York’s Le Bernadin restaurant and the first-ever representative from America to win “Best Sommelier in the World”; Shailesh Naidu, the only native five-star executive chef in Fiji; and Serge Dansereau, Australian celebrity chef, fresh food movement pioneer, and owner of the iconic Bathers’ Pavilion restaurant in New South Wales.

“Book now” fares for the Wine & Food cruise series start at $3,515/person, and are only guaranteed until October 31.

Extraordinary culinary experiences are a hallmark of every Crystal vacation. Crystal’s extensive, innovative choices for dining include the ultra-luxury line’s coveted cheese and wine cellars, overseen by onboard sommeliers (Court of Master Sommeliers-certified); fresh, chef-like cocktails served by certified mixologists; and gourmet dining options at every meal, whether in the Crystal Dining Room, at afternoon tea, or in Nobu and Piero Selvaggio’s specialty restaurants.

Etihad launches new flights to Los Angeles

Etihad Airways has announced the launch of direct flights to Los Angeles.

The expansion of its US operation will see the airline commence non-stop daily flights between its Abu Dhabi home-base and Los Angeles from June 1st, 2014, subject to regulatory approvals.

The Californian city will be Etihad Airways’ fourth US destination, joining Chicago, New York and Washington DC, and will see the airline provide 28 return flights each week between the UAE and US.

The announcement was made by James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president, Los Angeles.

Hogan said: “We are delighted to add Los Angeles, a major US and global destination with a significant metropolitan population and growing economy, to the Etihad Airways’ network in 2014.

“This expansion will see Etihad Airways offer air travellers daily flights, from our Abu Dhabi hub, to four destinations across the United States.

The new service will increase Etihad Airways’ operations in the US market by 33 per cent and cater for growing leisure and business traffic demands in Los Angeles, as well as the considerable catchment area of the city.

Los Angeles, one of the world’s most iconic, popular, and multicultural destinations with a metropolitan population area of more than 18 million people, is the second largest in the US.

It is classified as a ‘global city’ with strengths in business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, medicine and research.

Hogan added: “The expansion of the US network also will be of considerable benefit to the growing commercial and cultural ties between the US and UAE, with trade between the two countries set to increase beyond the current annual level of USD 22.5 billion.”

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Royal Caribbean International

There is no better way to span two continents in one holiday than onboard a Royal Caribbean International cruise. The cruise line known for the industry’s most innovative cruise ships announced Ocean Voyages, a collection of special sailings that offer unique onboard programming, new shore excursion packages, and unbeatable value on 2014 sailings between Europe and the Americas.

Holidaymakers can choose among 11 Royal Caribbean International ships that call at more than 35 exciting destinations on Ocean Voyages, which also include late 2014 sailings onboard the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship Oasis of the Seas, and the next-generation Quantum of the Seas, introducing its variety of new at sea firsts to the industry.

“Royal Caribbean International’s collection of Ocean Voyages offers unique and enriching WOWs,” said Carol Schuster, senior vice president of Marketing for Royal Caribbean International.

“Our ships are world-renowned for their wide range of exclusive and innovative onboard features and our friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service. Combined with exciting onboard enrichment and interesting itineraries, guests on these sailings will enjoy a distinctive experience that can only be found on Royal Caribbean International.”

Delivering the Royal Caribbean International WOW in a whole new way, each Ocean Voyage will feature a guest expert, who will lead a line-up of entertainment programming and engaging activities, which feature spotlight topics such as culture, dance, film, visual arts, photography, and wines and cuisine. A highlight of every Ocean Voyage will be the Black & White Masquerade Party, so guests are encouraged to bring along a special outfit for the occasion.

Guests can also sign up for new shore excursion packages at the exciting ports of call for even more memorable experiences along the way. Ocean Voyages shore excursion packages include a choice of three options from a prix fix menu of some of Royal Caribbean International’s most popular shore excursions at each port of call. Each ship’s shore excursion package is customised to its specific itinerary; start at $99 per guest; and offers a great value on shoreside adventures.  Options include visiting side-by-side caldera lakes, on “Sete Cidades Crater Lakes” at Ponta Delgada, The Azores; or explore Mt. Teide National Park in Tenerife, the Canary Islands, on “Canadas del Tiede” for one of the best examples of alpine volcanic ecosystems. At Funchal, Madeira, guests can choose “Emblematic Madeira & Ribeira Brava” to enjoy an incomparable view from Cabo Girao, Europe’s highest sea cliff, and sample Poncha, a local drink made with rum and honey.

On board, guests will finally have the opportunity to fully enjoy Royal Caribbean International’s innovative and exclusive features, including surfing to their hearts content on the FlowRider surf simulator on Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas; ice skating their way across the Atlantic in the Studio B ice rinks onboard Adventure of the Seas; and becoming a billiards expert on the self-leveling pool tables onboard Brilliance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas.

All Royal Caribbean International ships to sail Ocean Voyages will also have completed revitalisation by early 2014. Guests will not only enjoy the special Ocean Voyages programme, but more entertainment, delectable dining experiences and technology upgrades. On Radiance and Vision class ships, guests will be WOW’ed by the award-winning aerial-acrobatic entertainment production, which spans throughout the ship’s multi-story Centrum. Guests also can savour each of the many new or signature restaurants, up to 10 per ship, such as the exclusive Chef’s Table, Chops Grille Steakhouse, Izumi Asian Cruise, Giovanni’s Table, and Rita’s Cantina for an additional charge, and complimentary restaurants, such as the Park Café gourmet deli and Boardwalk Dog House.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Costa Concordia captain blames helmsman

Francesco Schettino, captain of the Costa Concordia, which sank off Italy in 2012, has blamed his Indonesian helmsman for the accident. Schettino claims the helmsman failed to obey orders to slow down and steered the ship onto rocks. The captain is presently fighting charges of causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship.Thirty-two people died when the cruise ship capsized in January 2012. Helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin has already been convicted of manslaughter in a separate trial. He was one of five Costa employees who were granted plea bargains in return for mild sentences in a separate proceeding. He was given a sentence of one year and eight months. Investigators have said previously language problems between the captain and the helmsman might have played a role in crash. Schettino claimed if the helmsman had quickly executed the correct manoeuvre, the Concordia would have steered away from the jagged reef that sliced a hole in its side.

Win 2 Nights at a Protea Hotel of your choice - SA only


Like & Share our Facebook page and you could win 2 Night’s accommodation for you and your partner at a Protea Hotel of your Choice!! (South Africa only)

*Please note - Prize is based on two people sharing in a standard room at any Protea Hotel situated in South Africa (All extras charged at Hotel will be for your own account). Prize is non-transferable or redeemable for cash and must be used between 01 Oct – 30 November 2013. Subject to Hotel Availability.

Supplier Terms & Conditions Apply – Holiday Café & XL Travel by Arrangement  act as agents and are not liable for actions, error and omissions on the part of carriers or third parties who are governed by their respective rules, regulations and conditions.

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Friday, 6 September 2013

Seychelles launches its biggest and fastest high speed ferry

Inter Island Boat Company of Seychelles has this week launched its new high speed ferry on the route Mahe to Praslin Islands. The company has now ensured that Seychellois and tourists alike can enjoy the one hour crossing in total luxury.

The Cat Cocos - Isle of Mahe has been built in Australia, and it arrived in Seychelles aboard a special cargo ship. For the Inter Island Boat Company this latest acquisition represents an investment of over one hundred million Seychelles rupees.

The Cat Cocos -Isle of Mahe, the fourth ferry of the Cat Cocos fleet has been commissioned for the inter island crossing for over five hundred passengers in Business, Comfort Upper Deck and in the main cabin. The owners of the company have been quoted assaying that this new ferry is providing a model of international luxury ferry service in the Seychelles waters.

A state of the art thirty six metre long vessel designed with a dynamic fresco depicting the essence of Mahe with the symbolic Clock Tower of Victoria and Trois Freres Mountain is increasing the comfort of passengers moving between Praslin and Mahe islands.  Guillaume Albert of Inter Island Boat Management Company said that it is the company’s belief that the ferry will bring added benefits to the business of Inter Island ferry service in Seychelles.

“This new boat is also equipped with a state of the art right control system which will accentuate considerably. It is our strong belief that this vessel will contribute to increasing tourism flux between our two islands and ultimately benefit the business of Praslin and La Digue operators’’ Guillaume Albert said.

Addressing the crowd at the launching ceremony, Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture said that the ferry is a big move forward for Praslin and La Digue Islands.

“This is indeed a remarkable success story for the islands. I am sure Seychellois and visitors alike will appreciate that this service, on such a big fast boat is today available in Seychelles. Those of us who know the region well will appreciate that the launching of this modern luxury fast ferry in Seychelles is a success for the region. On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and on behalf of the Government of Seychelles we need to thank Mr Joe Albert and his family, as we need to congratulate you for having brought to Seychelles such a fine product’’ Minister Alain St.Ange said.

Minister St.Ange said with the launching of the high speed ferry service Seychelles realises the mechanism to develop andto stimulate the Inter Island ferry market.

“It was clear a couple of years ago when Mr. Joe Albert and his partners brought in the small Cat Cocos ferry everybody was surprised. Could he make money out of it? Could it sustain that run to Praslin? Everybody was proved wrong because it did not only succeed in proving the need for a fast boat to Praslin, but the owning company made money out of it. That prompted Joe Albert and his family and his Creole Travel Services Company to move forward and bring a bigger Cat Cocos. This big five hundred plus seat Cat Cocos - Isle of Mahe ferry shows you that it was needed. Joe Albert stimulated and developed that business. I salute you Joe and your company for having the fore sight, and for having the bravery that is needed for you to really put your money where your mouth is” said Minister St.Ange.

The Minister went on to say that with the arrival of the new big boat in the Inter Island fleet, this will also bring more competition.

“As we are launching this new boat I take the opportunity to salute the ferry operator William Rose and his daughter Cindy for having provide for many years a ferry service of quality between the islands of Praslin and La Digue. Today as we launch another new ferry in Inter Island Boat Group we must anticipate that this brings with it new competition for the inter island ferry businesses. Because of our size, competition should also bring the need for us to relook at how we operate. On behalf of the government I appeal to you all to work in partnership in this ferry business to ensure that as you move forward, everyone in the industry moves with you for a more joyous Seychelles, and for a better environment in our tourism industry’’ Minister Alain St.Ange said. The French Ambassador to Seychelles, Mrs Genevieve Iancu had the honour of smashing the traditional bottle of champagne on the new boat as the ‘godmother’ of the new Cat Cocos - Isle of Mahe and Minister Alain St.Ange and Mr Joe Albert jointly cut the ribbon to declare open the gang way to the vessel. Bishop Denis Wiehe of the Roman Catholic Church and Fr Danny Elizabeth of the Anglican Church blessed the vessel and crew.

Zimbabwe outlines plans for African Disneyland

In a somewhat surprising development given its recent history, the Zimbabwean government has outlined plans for a $300 million ‘Disneyland’ style resort at Victoria Falls.

Speaking to the official news agency in the country New Ziana, tourism minister Walter Mzembi revealed a vision for a new resort filled with shopping malls, banks and exhibition and entertainment facilities.

The government of president Robert Mugabe, who was recently re-elected in controversial circumstances, has reserved 1,200 hectares of land close to Victoria Falls international airport with a view to beginning construction, Mzembi said.

Speaking at the UN World Tourism Organisation general assembly, which Victoria Falls is co-hosting with the town of Livingstone in neighbouring Zambia, Mzembi added: “We want to create a free zone with a banking centre where even people who do not necessarily live in Zimbabwe can open bank accounts.”

The government has plans to invest $150m in expanding the town’s airport to accommodate bigger aircraft, according to the report from Ziana.

Portugal recognized by World Travel Awards

The Algarve has received a prestigious accolade recognising the region’s beach product as the best in Europe at the World Travel Awards ceremony in Antalya, Turkey.

This year the Algarve was awarded the title of ‘Europe’s Leading Beach Destination’ for the second year running, while Portugal took the title of ‘Europe’s Leading Golf Destination’, with voters citing the wonderful golf infrastructure in the Algarve as a contributing factor.

The WTA awards programme, hailed as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’, highlights and rewards the travel brands that have made the greatest contribution to the industry over the past year.

The Algarve is home to over 200 kilometres of golden-sand beaches with 74 of these having been awarded with Blue Flag status for high standards in areas such as of water quality, safety and services.

As well as award-winning beaches and fantastic surrounding scenery, the Algarve has some of the world’s best golf courses with many designed by some of golf’s most famous names.

Desidério Silva, president, Algarve Tourism Board, said: “It is very significant to receive these two awards of such prestige for the region.

“This is indeed a unique achievement as it highlights the importance of the Algarve’s image as the leading beach and golf destination in Europe, which reflects the overall contribution from everybody who made this happen.

“The Algarve has one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world, certified for its environmental quality.

“Most Algarve beaches hold the blue flag and gold awards for cleanliness, safety, water quality and facilities. In fact, the Algarve beaches are tremendously well maintained and a fabulous place to relax and unwind.

“As for the region’s golf courses, golfers have a wide range of courses to choose from which offer value for money and challenging holes.

“This coupled with a year-round pleasant climate provides the perfect recipe for golfing enthusiasts and this award is exactly proof of that.”

Friday, 30 August 2013

FREE Bag Wrapping Service for SA Express Passengers

FREE Bag Wrapping Service

In an attempt to reduce pilferage, SA Express is offering customers a three months free bag wrapping service. Statistics reveal that the wrapping of bags reduces pilferage by up to 70%.

This trial run commences on 1 August 2013 and will only be available to the Domestic markets only at the following airports: Bram Fischer, OR Tambo International, Cape Town International and King Shaka International. 

We encourage you to make use of this value added service.

For any flight quotes please contact us:
Holiday Cafe / XL Travel by Arrangement
T: 011 794 4900
First Floor trinity Village
65 Knoppiesdoring Street
Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg

Monday, 26 August 2013

MAURITIUS up to 22% cash back with Discovery Card

Discovery Card is the Visa credit card that rewards you with cash back for booking your dream holiday. You can get up to 22% cash back (land portion only) when you book and pay for your holiday through us using your Discovery Card. Your cash back percentage is based on your Vitality status. Here is how much cash back you can get with Discovery Card

Vitality status  Vitality status cash back percentage
Blue     15%
Bronze 18%
Silver   19%
Gold    20%
Diamond 22%

Terms & Conditions Apply
Please call us for full details and to find out which Hotels/Resorts apply for the above discounts.

Holiday Cafe / XL Travel by Arrangement
E: holidaycafe@travelbyarrangement.com
T: 011 794 4900
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W: www.holidaycafecruises.com
W: www.travelbyarrangement.com

First Floor trinity Village
65 Knoppiesdoring Street
Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines returns to the Caribbean

Back by popular demand, guests can now take a Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Caribbean fly-cruise in January 2015! With the fun and excitement of the Christmas and New Year celebrations all over, guests will have the opportunity to escape the cold British winter on a Fred. Olsen 14-night sunshine cruise, taking in the stunning Caribbean Islands, aboard 929-guest cruise ship Braemar. Flying from London Gatwick or Manchester and departing from Barbados on 12th January 2015, this exotic cruise is predicted to be one of Fred. Olsen’s most popular voyages, with a general on sale date of Saturday 17th August 2013.

One unusual feature of Fred. Olsen’s most modern ship, Braemar, is the promenade deck – a complete wrap-around deck ideal for a gentle stroll in the evening sun, making it an excellent choice for warmer cruising.

Nathan Philpot, Sales and Marketing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:

“We have been inundated with requests to return to the Caribbean and we are very excited to be able to offer our loyal cruise guests the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and charm of the Caribbean Islands once again, on board Braemar, the ideal ship for relaxed, sunshine cruising.

“New customers can book from Saturday 17th August 2013, but due to the high demand that we expect for this cruise, priority is being given to previous Fred. Olsen guests, who can book before this date.”


This is the first time, since 2012, that Fred. Olsen has offered a Caribbean fly-cruise option. Fred. Olsen had operated a winter fly-cruise programme, based in Barbados, from 2001 to 2012, but this was concluded to extend the wide choice of ex-UK departure ports, giving greater convenience to guests from all over the British Isles, as well as allowing those loyal Braemar fans to cruise on the ship all-year-round from the UK. However, Fred. Olsen has listened to guests’ feedback and brought back this very popular cruise itinerary on board Braemar.

Hypoallergenic Staterooms for Crystal Cruises

Allergy sufferers can check their discomfort at the door – of 70 Crystal Serenity doors, that is – when ultra-luxury Crystal Cruises launches the cruise industry’s first hypoallergenic staterooms. Already renowned for the highest standards of sanitation and comfort, Crystal is introducing a whole new category of luxury accommodations for the most refreshing night’s sleep possible on the world’s #1 cruise line: Deluxe PURE Staterooms.

Crystal is partnering with PURE Marine Solutions, sister company of leading allergy-friendly hospitality innovator PURE Global, for a comprehensive transformation utilising the only hypoallergenic process patented and proven to deliver a safe and healthy environment.

During Crystal Serenity’s “Extreme Makeover” dry-dock in November, each of the current 70 “AA” balcony rooms will undergo PURE’s seven-step air and surface purification process to remove allergens and reduce the risk of common irritants.  Among the many steps to maintain this superior allergy-friendly indoor environment, a state-of-the art medical grade air purifier will continue to filter out 99.9% of all impurities and dust. While PURE rooms are usually sold at a premium at shoreside luxury properties such as the SLS Beverly Hills, Park Hyatt Toronto and Fairmont Chicago, Crystal’s Deluxe PURE Staterooms will be available to guests at no additional cost. The rooms debut on 27th November and will be designated as “P1” and “P2” in April.

“Imagine returning to your room after a full day ashore in a bustling city such as Rome or Bangkok, and then slipping into your purified sanctuary of ultra-clean air and hypoallergenic bedding,” says Philip Ordever, Crystal’s vice president of international sales & marketing.  “For guests who suffer from allergies, have mild respiratory issues such as asthma or who simply desire a respite from the air quality in many cities, these staterooms will become a haven of fresh air – at no additional cost.”

How does a room become PURE?


Phase 1: Disinfection
Deep Clean Air-Handling Unit: Each room’s air handling systems (heat and air-conditioning), including fan blades, condensation lines and drop pans, are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using PURE’s advanced treatment, leading to a dramatically improved overall air quality in each room.
PURE Clean: Every surface of the room, including furniture, curtains and carpeting, is deep-cleaned and sanitised using special vacuums and a patented PURE cleaning solution that disintegrates bio films and maximises removal of dirt and bacteria that traditional cleaners may leave behind.
High Ozone Shock Treatment: An advanced shock treatment completely eliminates particles, viruses, germs, and odors from every inch of the room, resulting in a fresh, crisp environment.

Phase 2: Prevention and Maintenance
*  PURE Shield. A patented bacteriostatic barrier is applied everywhere, from light switches and TV screens to countertops and artwork, repelling new micro-organism growth for up to two years and making it nearly impossible for bacteria and viruses to survive in a PURE environment.
*  PURE Tea Tree Oil Cartridge. A natural anti-microbial disinfectant, safe even for scent allergy sufferers, is strategically placed to maintain the room’s sanitised conditions.
*  Air Purification System. A patented PURE air purifier is discreetly installed inside the room, providing 24-hour defence against airborne irritants. Listed by the FDA as a Class II Medical Device, PURE’s state-of-the-art system is 150 times more efficient than HEPA and proven to eliminate 100% of organisms from the air as they pass through the purifier.
*  Allergy-Friendly Bedding. Micro-fibre, mono-filament mattress and pillow encasements add an extra layer of allergen protection while sleeping.

Crystal’s housekeeping staff will be trained in any daily maintenance routines required.  Every six months, PURE specialists will also re-service the rooms ensuring spaces are kept to the highest of hygiene levels indefinitely.

What are the tangible results guests may see, feel, and experience from staying in a Deluxe PURE Stateroom?

*  Relief from allergies and mild respiratory issues, including coughing, sneezing, sniffling and watery eyes.  (Crystal’s PURE particle-free reduction process exceeds asthma and allergy community recommendations.)
*  More sound sleep, waking refreshed.
*  Breathing of clean, crisp, ultra-fresh air, thereby enhancing the relaxation and recuperation that people expect from holiday.
*  No chemicals, no lingering odours—PURE’s cleaning solutions are completely invisible to the eye, smell, and touch.

Panama Canal continues investing in maintenance

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will invest in its fiscal year (FY) 2014 (October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014) approximately US$238 million in maintenance of structures and equipment to continue providing an efficient service to the international maritime community.

“The key to the Panama Canal’s operational excellence is a combination of its committed workforce and constant maintenance,” Executive Vice President for Operations Esteban Saenz said. “Each year we dedicate significant resources to this aspect of the Canal.”

About to reach its centennial, the Canal guarantees its efficiency through the permanent maintenance and modernisation of its infrastructure. Approximately, US$2 billion have been invested since 2000.

The Panama Canal will continue the maintenance programs necessary to ensure the waterway’s optimal operating conditions. The main areas of maintenance include, among others, the navigation channel through dredging operations; the control of erosion and landslides; floating equipment such as tugboat, dredges, cranes and launches; the locks and their components; and the dams, landfills, power plants, buildings and facilities.

Belfast Harbour welcomes back Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is ‘bringing the world closer’ to the people of Belfast, with three exciting cruise itineraries in Autumn 2013. Sailing on board 880-guest Boudicca, guests will have the opportunity, for the first time since 2007, to embark on a Fred. Olsen cruise from Belfast, without having to endure an expensive flight or long ferry crossing to reach its ships. Boudicca will be offering a 10-night D1322 ‘Scandinavian Cities Cruise’, departing on 23rd September 2013, a 12-night D1323 ‘Portugal, Madeira & the Canaries’ cruise, departing on 3rd October 2013, and a two-night mini-cruise, D1324 ‘Liverpool Highlights’, departing on 15th October 2013.

Fred. Olsen’s historical connections with the seafaring city of Belfast run deep; the Fred. Olsen group of companies includes Fred. Olsen Energy, which comprises Offshore Drilling and Engineering & Fabrication, owner of the Harland & Wolff Shipyard, where the ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic was built.

Joe O’Neill, Commercial Director of Belfast Harbour, said:

“We are delighted to once again have the opportunity to work with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and offer the Northern Ireland public the opportunity to begin a cruise from their local port. Belfast Harbour previously worked alongside Fred. Olsen in 2007, when 500 local people embarked on the Black Prince to begin their cruise.”

Nathan Philpot, Sales and Marketing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:


“Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is very excited to be sailing from Belfast again. This will give our guests from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland the opportunity to begin a cruise so much closer to home, and we are reaching out to them with an extensive national and regional TV and radio advertising campaign until late August 2013. We are also planning to increase our sailings from Belfast in 2014 to five departures, highlighting our commitment to Belfast Harbour and our local guests, and further enhancing our reputation as the UK’s ‘local global cruise line’.”

- 10-night D1322 ‘Scandinavian Cities Cruise’, departing on 23rd September 2013

Guest feedback has shown that cruises with extra time in port are an increasingly popular option, so Fred. Olsen is offering this great-value ‘Northern European City Stay’ cruise. A bonus for guests is that, in this increasingly cost-conscious climate, what better – and cheaper – way to visit the famously-expensive highlights of Scandinavia than by cruise ship, where there are no worries about flights, hotel accommodation, food or drink?

The first stop, Norway’s capital, Oslo, boasts the National Gallery, home to Edvard Munch’s haunting ‘The Scream, as well as works by other European artists, from Manet to Picasso. Overnighting in the city gives guests the chance to take in all these incredible sights, now reported to be the most expensive in the world.

From Oslo, this cruise visits Gothenburg, Sweden’s second city, with its Dutch-designed 17th Century canals and its famous ‘Fish Church’, ‘Feskekôrka’, named after the building’s resemblance to a Gothic church.

Two September days are perfect for strolling around Copenhagen, the cosmopolitan capital of Denmark. As well as the famous Little Mermaid, a highlight of any visit must be the delightful Tivoli Gardens – blueprint for Disneyland – with its award-winning combination of scenic, themed gardens, traditional rollercosters, including the world’s oldest, and the most modern ‘white-knuckle’ rides.

- 12-night D1323 ‘Portugal, Madeira & the Canaries’ cruise, departing on 3rd October 2013

This Autumn, the first stop for guests on board Boudicca’s Iberian cruise will be Leixoes, for tours to Oporto, Portugal’s second largest city. An eclectic mix of styles, Oporto is filled with narrow medieval alleyways, baroque churches, lush squares and wide boulevards, and no visit here would be complete without sampling some of the region’s famous Port wine.

Boudicca then moves onto Funchal, Madeira, which is set in a natural amphitheatre looking out over the Atlantic, from where guests can explore the city and enjoy its many cafés and restaurants, or can visit its botanical and tropical gardens and the surrounding countryside.

The Canary Island of Tenerife is the next stop, where guests will visit the capital Santa Cruz, with gorgeous beaches, a wildlife park and its very own volcano, Mount Teide. After stopping at Arrecife, Lanzarote, the ship moves onto Lisbon, Portugal’s stylish capital. Visitors can delight in its tree-lined streets, Gothic cathedrals, monasteries and museums, and gain a real taste of Portuguese life, before heading back to Belfast.

- Two-night D1324 ‘Liverpool Highlights’ cruise, departing on 15th October 2013

Guests looking for a short break somewhere a little closer to home could consider Fred. Olsen’s two-night mini-cruise to Liverpool. Boudicca will take guests to the conveniently-located Pier Head Cruise Terminal, right at the heart of the city. This 2008 ‘European City of Culture’ is home to Tate Liverpool, the Maritime Museum and The Beatles Story, so there will be plenty to see and do before it is time to board the ship once more to return to Belfast.

Norwegian offers bonus for booking newest ship

In anticipation of the upcoming launch of Norwegian Getaway, Miami’s hottest new ship, Norwegian Cruise Line has launched “Norwegian Getaway Bonus Days”, offering guests who book any seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailing on Norwegian Getaway a $100 on-board credit, regardless of stateroom category. Guests who take advantage of this limited time offer before August 24, 2013, can use the credit towards an array of shore excursions in the Caribbean; treatments in the ship’s award-winning Mandara spa; dinner in any of Norwegian Getaway’s delicious specialty restaurants, including Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian, and much more. Additional offers such as free upgrades, AARP and Military discounts and up to $1,000 in air credits are also available on select sailings.

Setting sail from Miami year-round, this spectacular new ship will call on some of the Caribbean’s most popular ports of call including: Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Embodying the essence of the Magic City, the ship’s hull artwork was designed by Miami’s own David “LEBO” LeBatard featuring a whimsical mermaid holding the sun above the waves.

Entertainment lovers who set sail on Norwegian Getaway will enjoy two first of its kind entertainment experiences; the GRAMMY® Experience at sea, which will include artifacts chosen and curated by the GRAMMY Museum® along with live performances by past GRAMMY winners and nominees, among others, and The Illusionarium is an all-new dining and entertainment experience that will envelop guests in the fascinating world of magic, inviting them to experience the astonishing illusions of world-class magicians and supernatural special effects. In addition, Norwegian Getaway boasts sizzling Latin-inspired dance productions by Broadway sensation, Burn the Floor; performances of the seven-time Tony Award nominated musical LEGALLY BLONDE; hilarious comedy headliners produced by Levity Entertainment Group; and the sing along fun of the dueling pianos of Howl at the Moon.  To cap off a spectacular cruise experience, every sailing will feature a dazzling fireworks show at sea, set to music and part of a dance party at Spice H20.

Similar to sister ship Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway will dazzle guests with the excitement of 678 Ocean Place and The Waterfront, a variety of interconnected indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that creates multiplex of dining, activities and more and enhances guests’ connection with the ocean.

Foodies setting sail from Miami on Norwegian Getaway can feast in their choice of 27 incredible dining options, including one of Celebrity Chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian’s three dining concepts: Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian; Ocean Blue on the Waterfront and The Raw Bar.

Monday, 5 August 2013

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Saturday, 3 August 2013


Holiday Cafe / XL Travel by Arrangement

T: 011 794 4900
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First Floor trinity Village, 65 Knoppiesdoring Street,
Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg

Monday, 29 July 2013


T: 011 794 7900
E: holidaycafe@travelbyarrangement.com
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W: www.holidaycafe.co.za
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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Princess Cruises announces benefit cruise to support American Heart Association

Princess Cruises announces benefit cruise to support American Heart Association
Princess Cruises is celebrating CPR awareness during the month of June by announcing a special cruise to benefit the American Heart Association (AHA). Expected to raise $1 million for the Association’s heart health programs and educational outreach, the cruise is the second in Princess’ new “Cruising for a Cause” series that devotes an entire sailing to support a charitable cause.
Sailing from February 10-15, 2014, aboard Ruby Princess on a Caribbean cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, the five-day voyage will offer passengers a heart-themed experience, focused not only on “affairs of the heart,” but also a variety of onboard features themed around heart health awareness – including special guest speakers, educational activities and other programs to foster healthy living.
A portion of each passenger’s cruise fare, totaling approximately $500,000, will be matched by Princess Cruises with an additional $500,000, for a total of $1 million. The proceeds will be used to support the American Heart Association’s mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States, with one in every three deaths attributable to heart disease and stroke,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Because we care about the health and well-being of our employees, passengers, and all members of the Princess family, we felt the American Heart Association would be the perfect fit for our second charity cruise.”
The American Heart Association cruise will sail on a Western Caribbean itinerary roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, with calls at Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
Cruise fares range from $599 to $1,649 per person based on double occupancy. A tax-deductible portion of each fare ranging from $100 to $300 per person, depending upon cabin category, will be donated to the American Heart Association.
The cruise is the second of the company’s new “Cruising for a Cause” initiative where Princess will dedicate entire sailings to support select charitable causes. This new, industry-leading program will provide the line’s passengers, many of whom are looking for opportunities to make positive contributions to their communities and the world, a way to make a difference even as they vacation. The first cruise, to support U.S. veterans, will sail November 5-9, 2013, aboard Caribbean Princess.

Silversea introduces complimentary streamed movies for guest mobile devices

Silversea introduces complimentary streamed movies for guest mobile devices
In a cruise industry first, ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has launched a complimentary service that provides streaming movies and live television news broadcasts to guests’ mobile devices aboard Silver Cloud.
The service can be accessed on any Wi-Fi-enabled laptop, smartphone, tablet, or even e-book reader—anything with a browser. It includes access to an extensive library of classic and recent Academy Award-winning feature films, with more than 80 per cent of the movies offered in five languages: English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish.
Fabio Agostini, Silversea’s chief information officer, said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this innovative service to enhance our guests’ onboard experience. Smartphones and tablets are a necessity for today’s travellers, who rely on instant access to information. Jason Cohn, our director of infrastructure, and his valuable team worked closely with RedCell Technologies, HMS, and On-Board Movies to develop a streaming media service that would fit seamlessly with our guests’ increasingly technology-driven lifestyle.”
A limited supply of iPad minis is also available (on a first-come, first-served basis) to Silver Cloud guests wishing to borrow a tablet to view the streamed movies and television during the voyage.
By the end of 2013, the service will be rolled out to four additional ships: Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, Silver Wind and Silver Galapagos. In the coming months, the company is also planning to add an expansive selection of international newspapers to its menu of streamed media offerings, an option currently in the testing phase.

Windstar Cruises celebrates America’s birthday

Windstar Cruises celebrates America’s birthday
Windstar Cruises, a leader in yacht-style cruising, celebrates the Fourth of July with exceptional savings on 2013 sailings. Guests can book the yachting vacation of their dreams for as low as $1,776 per person on more than 25 grand voyages through July 8, 2013. Take advantage of these savings and cruise in Windstar Style, the perfect pairing of comfort and luxury. Experience the glamorous ports of the French Riviera on Glitter & Glam of the Riviera. Fall in love with Spain’s coastal jewels, a unique blend of east and West, on the Splendors of Southern Spain. Windstar’s Facebook fans will enjoy an additional special offer during this saving event.
Guests can also explore the beautiful islands of the Mediterranean on Windstar’s Islands of the West Med for the exceptionally low price of only $1,576 per person. For those looking to unwind and relax, Windstar’s Ocean Crossing is the perfect fit with voyages starting at $976 per person. No matter which voyage they choose, guests sailing on board Windstar Cruises will enjoy pampering without pretense, extraordinary destinations, and casual elegance that feels like their own private yacht.

Monday, 10 June 2013

River cruises affected by flooding

Heavy rains and flooding in Central Europe last week has resulted in river cruise lines altering and cancelling cruises in the area.


The cruise line has not cancelled any sailings with most cruises operating as scheduled, while some itineraries have been altered slightly.

One June 6, guests embarked the Amadolce on the line’s Magnificent Europe schedule on the Rhine River. The sailing is continuing as scheduled.
The Enchanting Rhine itinerary which embarked on June 7 began with one night’s hotel stay in Amsterdam, with a sightseeing tour of the city on June 8 before transferring to Cologne. Guests will embark the Amacello in Cologne and continue their cruise on schedule.
Guest travelling on the Melodies of the Danube will begin their cruise with one night at the Hilton Westend in Budapest on June before transferring to an alternate ship, the AmaBella for the remainder of the cruise.  

Guests sailing on the Blue Danube Discovery itinerary had excursions planned to Salzburg, Vienna, Durnstein and Melk. Further updates will be posted on June 10.

Guests embarking on the Legendary Danube itinerary on June 12 will check-in as planned in Prague on June 9, and embark the ship in or near Nuremberg depending on water levels.
 For the Blue Danube Discovery itinerary, embarking June 11, guests checked-in as scheduled on Sunday June 9 at the Sofitel Hotel in Budapest for their pre-cruise extension. For guests without a pre-cruise extension in Budapest, the Tuesday June 11 meeting point will be at the Sofitel Budapest. There are three meeting times: 10hoo, 14h30 and 17h30. All guests will then be transferred to Bratislava for one night at the Sheraton Bratislava. On Wednesday June 12, the itinerary will continue with a hotel stay in Vienna. Further updates will be posted on June 10. 

Uniworld River Cruises

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has cancelled the June 7 cruise of River Ambassador and the June 9 sailing of River Beatrice. Impacted passengers will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit of $500. Uniworld has also cancelled the June 16 sailing of the River Empress. Passengers were encouraged to rebook another date but were also being given the option of a full refund. They will also be compensated with a $500 per person future cruise credit. 

The flooding also caused Uniworld to either alter the itinerary or cancel the remainder of several cruises that were in progress. Passengers with cruises cancelled mid-sailing will also receive a full refund and future cruise credit. They can elect to remain onboard while the line helps them make arrangements to return home. 

For more details refer to http://www.uniworldcruises.co.za/important-notice

Scenic Cruises:

For a list of affected cruises visit: http://us.scenictours.com/new-page-284/

Avalon Waterways has cancelled the following cruises:

Legendary Danube (June 2); Blue Danube Discovery and Jewels of Central Europe (both June 7); Magnificent Europe (June 8 and 9) and Austrian Highlights & Bavaria (June 10), an 18-day Grand Danube cruise from Bucharest to Prague leaving Saturday (June 8) and a 13-day Blue Danube Discovery from Budapest to Prague (June 13).

Affected passengers are being contacted, and will receive full refunds and discount vouchers for a future cruise, as well as refunds on airfare booked through Avalon and change fees for independent air arrangements. 

Other Avalon sailings have had alternations, such as transferring passengers to different ships on the other side of the Main-Danube canal or doing a partial sailing combined with hotel stays. These passengers are receiving some compensation, commensurate with the number of cruising days affected. In nearly all cases to date, passengers are able to visit the destinations and attractions outlined in the original itineraries.