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New ship No. 2 — Holland America Koningsdam

Second in a series of new ships for 2016

Ship-Konigsdam

It’s been six years between new ships for Holland America, so imagine the anticipation leading up to the launch of the Koningsdam. It will be the first ship in the Pinnacle Class (presumably there are more to follow) and the biggest ship in the Holland America fleet, which will shrink by a ship when the Koningsdam arrives, having despatched the Ryndam and Statendam to another member of the Carnival Corporation family, P&O Australia.

Launch date: April 8

Capacity: 2,650

Sister ships: None yet

Maiden voyage: Rome return (7 days)

Home port: Fort Lauderdale

Ships then in Holland America fleet: 14

Interesting: Since the Nieuw Amsterdam was the last new ship in 2010, it’s safe to assume this will be unlike any of the 13 siblings, starting with the fact it carries 500 more passengers, is one deck (12) higher and weighs 13,000 tons more than Holland America’s last newbie. Besides a more contemporary look and feel, there’s also more of an attempt for passenger participation, with BLEND a wine-making program designed in conjunction with the well-known Chateau Ste. Michelle, and the Culinary Arts Center for hands-on creations at individual cooking stations during classes conducted by celebrity chefs. Holland America has also joined the club in dining with “As You Wish” choice of seating and time.

In the news…

• Norwegian’s new slogan to attract cruiser customers — “Feel Free!”
• Carnival to charge as much as $6 per plate fleet-wide for new room-service items
• Star Cruises positioning ship in near Hong Kong, in Guangzhou, China

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news


Carnival Inspiration
4 nights
February 15, 2016
Los Angeles (return): Catalina Island, Ensenada
Inside: $179
Cost per day: $44
www.carnival.com

A Toast To Cruising 2016!

Best wishes for safe and happy cruising in 2016
from Bob and Nancy


Crown Princess
4 nights
February 9, 2016
Los Angeles (return): Catalina Island, Ensenada
Inside: $229
Cost per day: $59
www.princess.com

Canned Applause For Carnival

The record will show that in Monday Night Football this week, the winners were the Detroit Lions. The disappointing Lions went into New Orleans and beat the equally disappointing Saints 35-27.

But the Lions weren’t the only winners, thanks to Carnival Cruise Line, which saw to it that a lot of New Orleans people did not go away as empty-handed as their Saints.

As the local football team’s “official cruise line” Carnival will provide more than 75,000 meals to hungry families and/or homeless people in the Louisiana mecca during the

Volunteers from the Second Harvest Food Bank work on the world's largest Carnival cruise ship made of cans. (Photo by Peter G. Forest)

Volunteers from the Second Harvest Food Bank work on world’s largest Carnival cruise ship made of cans. (Photo by Peter G. Forest)

holiday season, in a joint initiative. It didn’t happen overnight — neither did MNF’s win and loss for the NFL teams — and it involved students from New Orleans-area schools. Carnival and the Saints provided the incentives (from pizza parties to autographed footballs free cruises for the schools that collected the most cans of food).

Monday night was the celebration, at half-time.

To mark it, Carnival volunteers created “the world’s largest cruise ship built of canned food.” The 17,000 cans of food were part of the haul that will go to the Second Harvest Food Bank in time for Christmas.

There are currently two Carnival ships based in New Orleans — the Dream and the Elation  with the Triumph arriving in the spring to replace the smaller Elation. So the cruise line has a vested interest in being the good corporate citizen. At Christmas, many people in The Big Easy are grateful for that.

In the news…

• Disney drops Greece, Turkey from 2016 Mediterranean cruises
• Grounding damages Windstar’s Star Pride in Panama; cruise canceled
• Carnival Corporation to use 100 per cent cage-free eggs on ships

Today at portsandbows.comDiana Ross on the Carnival Breeze


Carnival Inspiration
4 nights
February 29, 2016
Los Angeles (return): Catalina Island, Ensenada
Inside: $179
Cost per day: $44
www.carnival.com

Friday File: The Princess Celebration

Yesterday was the big day for Princess Cruises, which has had many big days over the last 50 years. Yesterday being December 3, it was the actual 50th anniversary of the first Princess cruise — Los Angeles to Mexico on the Princess Patricia. It was also the first day of the cruise to re-create that first itinerary, this time on the Pacific Princess. That was the name of The Love Boat that is credited with bringing cruising to the masses, but this is a more recent iteration, one that joined the fleet in 2002. The original Pacific Princess is long gone but her memories were ever-present yesterday at the 50th Anniversary bash in Southern California…

Princess Cruises celebrates their 50th Anniversary with the original cast of The Love Boat aboard Pacific Princess at the Port of Los Angeles on Thurs., Dec. 3, 2015, in San Pedro, Calif. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Princess Cruises/AP Images)

It’s been 29 years since The Love Boat’s nine-year reign ended on prime time television but six members of the cast were on hand yesterday: Bernie Kopell (Doc), Fred Frandy (Gopher), Ted Lange (Isaac), Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki Stubing).

Princess Patricia

The ship that started it all, the Princess Patricia, which sailed the Mexican Riviera on the first week of December 1965.

Pacific Princess-1

It was the original Pacific Princess that became The Love Boat and made a TV show, a crew of actors and the cruise industry famous.

Royal Princess-Kate

Two years ago, Kate the Duchess of Cambridge christened the Royal Princess to join the family of Princess Godmothers — which includes Princess Diana.

2015 Princess Rose Parade Float Photo by Rob Comeau for Princess Cruises

The 50th anniversary celebrations kicked off 328 days ago, with a float in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Capt. Ravera

Gavin MacLeod notwithstanding, Captain Stefano Ravera is our favorite Princess captain, from an Alaska cruise on the Star Princess.

Majestic Princess

To validate how far the cruise line has come since 1965, take a peek at the Majestic Princessdue to make its maiden voyage in 2017.

– Love Boat reunion photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Princess Cruises/AP Images) & Rose Parade Float photo by Rob Comeau

In the news…

• Carnival Live’s new performer: comedian Kathy Griffin, for two cruises in February
• MSC Armonia and Opera both to have Havana as home port next November

Today at portsandbows.comPrincess does it right for passengers 


Holland America Amsterdam
1 night
May 21, 2016
Vancouver, Seattle
Inside: $99
Cost per day: $99
www.hollandamerica.com

Holland America And ‘Flight Ease’

Even the name is enticing…Flight Ease. Whatever happened to “flight ease?” Those were the days, weren’t they? Was it simply a victim of terrorism, or was it an economy that became consumed with bean counters, who creatively came up with ways to separate us from our money?

Now, Holland America is introducing Flight Ease.

Boeing-CaptainmHere’s why:

“Planning a cruise vacation from start to finish should be a seamless process, and Flight Ease ensures that our travel partners have the most advanced tools to coordinate their clients’ air and cruise itineraries.”

Well, Holland America is right about one thing…a cruise vacation should be seamless from start to finish.

And seldom is.

In attempting to make it so, Holland America is providing access to a website that is more intuitive for cruise connecting, by allowing travel professionals to:

• choose the best flights for clients based on a number of factors that include price, travel time, duration
• use a logic-driven calendar based on ship embarkation and debarkation times
• review more detailed schedule displays
• use an easy booking flow process

Now, there are lots of search engines to find flights, and this one is designed to drive business to travel agents. But if it really does make getting to your ship “seamless” — or even close — it will drive business somewhere else.

To Holland America.

- photo by Captainm

Today at portsandbows.com: Why we find a Mekong river cruise so-o-o different

Star Princess
10 nights
October 4, 2015
Vancouver (return): Los Angeles, Catalina Island, Santa Barbara, San Francisco
Inside: $639
Cost per day: $63
www.princess.com

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