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Sail-ers, Seahawks on Crown Princess

A week from Saturday, June 20, the Crown Princess will leave Seattle for Alaska with a passenger load dedicated to “sailing with the 12s.” 

It’s entirely possible that many cruise passengers have no idea what that means, if they aren’t football fans and are unaware the Seattle Seahawks had 12 players on the field in the last two Super Bowls…the “12th” being the Seahawks’ fan base.

So now the 12s — it is not politically correct to say 12th men — are going on a  cruise with some of their favorite people, which is to say anybody with a past, present or future with their beloved football team. As you might expect, there’s enough fervor to sell out three of Seahawks Fan Cruisethe five stateroom categories, with only inside and oceanview accommodation left, 10 days before the cruise.

Who’s going? Among the Seattle celebrities…

• Warren Moon, who briefly quarterbacked the Seahawks after spending most of his career in Texas (Houston) and Canada (Edmonton) on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and who is now on the ‘Hawks’ radio broadcast.

• Defensive end Gregg Scruggs and tackle Justin Britt, members of what the 12s say will be three straight Super Bowl teams, along with safety Jordan Babineau and lineman Edward Bailey, who played on pre-championship Seattle teams.

• Jim Zorn, who spent nine years with the Seahawks and was the first quarterback to take them to the playoffs.

At last report, there was no sign of current quarterback Russell Wilson or running back Marshawn Lynch or defensive back Richard Sherman or head coach Pete Carroll, whose goal-line strategy in the final minute last February still angers some of the 12s.

But hey, there’s always next year. The 12s are in it for the long run.

In the news…

• Capsized Chinese cruise ship cited for safety problems two years ago (Fox News)
• Australia's 10-year market growth 533 per cent (Cruise Industry News)
• Third terminal quietly opened in Germany's biggest port, Hamburg

Today at portsandbows.com: Holland America's Panama Canal cruises

Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas
4 nights
September 14, 2015
Miami (return): Nassau, CocoCay, Key West
Inside: $287
Cost per day: $71

Carnival Tunes In Top Vocal Group


Come Sunday night, a lot of us will be watching the Academy of Country Music Awards because, well, we like them. Also because it always seems to be more about the music than the awards.

Enter Carnival.

The world’s biggest cruise line is writing a huge success story with its Carnival Live series, in which well-known performs board ships in port, then perform one or two concerts for which passengers are happy to pay, given the sizes of the venues.

There are the old standbys — Journey, Styx, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie — from yesteryear. There is a sprinkling of current performers: Rascall Flatts, Little Big Town, Martina McBride.

And now, the series’ summer/fall line-up includes The Band Perry, for three concerts in Nassau on Carnival ships Sensation, Fascination and Magic.

On Sunday night at the ACMs, these two brothers (Neil, Reid) and older sister (Kimberly) are nominated for “Top Vocal Group” which they won in 2014. That was a year that began by performing at the Super Bowl pre-game show, then touring with Blake Shelton. This year, they won a Grammy and now they’re headliners on tour.

Get the message?

The Band Perry is hot in country music and that makes Carnival a winner. Make that, more of a winner. Older passengers enjoyed seeing the stars of the past. Now they’ll be joined by younger, hipper spectators…because of The Band Perry.

Today at portsandbows.com: Deals from AmaWaterways, Avalon

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas
7 nights
May 10, 2015
Galveston (return): Cozumel, Belize, Roatan
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

Carnival A Super Bowl Winner, Too?


If you were among the millions of viewers who watched the Super Bowl yesterday, chances are that you saw Carnival’s commercial. Whether it gets many votes in the Super Bowl ad polls or not, it could surely win an “unexpected” award.

The voiceover by JFK…really? Something good about having “salt” and “water” together? A subtle message about why you should go on a cruise, even if it wasn’t a cruise on one of Carnival’s nine brands.

The message from the late president, who died 51 years ago, was that we are all products of the sea…that we have the same percentage of salt in our bodies as there is in the sea…that even with change there is a human commitment to the sea.

But don’t take our interpretation, check it out yourself at www.superbowl-commercials.org.

All of this is designed to entice viewers to take a cruise on the sea, of course. And while it was the work of Carnival’s creative people, ultimately the decision to use this particular ad on the Super Bowl telecast was made by cruise-line passengers who voted on four commercials produced by the agency BBDO in Atlanta.

For those who didn’t vote, nobody could have expected this.

Today at portsandbows.com: Two new Seabourn ships have names

Celebrity Millennium
7 nights
May 22, 2015
Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Anchorage
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $78

Cruise For Football Fan With Heart

While everybody’s talking about deflated footballs, in advance of the Super Bowl, are you interested in a tale of inflated sportsmanship?

If so, read on…

After the Seattle Seahawks won their trip to Phoenix for Sunday’s big game, one of their fans (PJ LeDorze) noticed a disconsolate Green Bay Packers fan outside Seattle’s 171144CenturyLink Field. It should be mentioned that all Packers fans were disconsolate after the Seahawks’ incredible comeback, but most of them were not so visible.

LeDorze was wearing a Seahawks jersey. He felt badly for the “opposition” so he gave the jersey to the young Green Bay fan. In Seattle, this is called the “spirit of the 12s” because Seahawks fans are all considered the team’s 12th player.

And now, LeDorze has two tickets for the Sail with the 12s Seahawks Fan Cruise on the Crown Princess in June. The ship spends a week going from Seattle to Alaska and back, and with Seahawks players and ex-players on board for chalk talks, meet-and-greets and all kinds of “spirit of the 12s” events, it doesn’t get much better for one of their fans.

Especially LeDorze.

"I've never been on a cruise,” he told Princess Cruises. “I’ve never been to Alaska. This is unbelievable!"

His gesture was a fatherly thing to do for a young football fan experiencing such a low. Fittingly, the Crown Princess sail on Father’s Day.

Today at portsandbows.com: Features of the Carnival Vista

Celebrity Constellation
5 nights
March 2, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Cozumel, Key West
Inside: $329
Cost per day: $65

Deal Too Good, Too Late To Be True

Normally, we let our “Daily Deal” deliver some value cruises for you to consider but once in a while there’s something extraordinary that deserves an even better treatment…A couple Allureof days ago we had one — you do notice that’s past tense, right?…It was a Transatlantic trip on Allure of the Seas, the (starting) price was $659 with 50 per cent off for the second guest, plus up to $200 for an on-board credit…For 12 days, it worked out to less than $50 a day on one of the two biggest cruise ships in the world, as long as bookings were made by January 31…Well, guess what?…Today is January 20, and it’s no longer available…Obviously, eagle-eyed consumers snapped up the rooms but it does leave you wondering how many Royal Caribbean made available in the promotion.

Now here’s a clever idea: When the AIDAsol arrived in Vietnam this week, immigration AIDAsolofficials boarded the ship at Buoy 1, three hours before docking at Tan Cang-Cai Mep, to process the 2,176 passengers, most of them German…By the time the AIDA ship reached the port, the process was finished and passengers were able to disembark right away…On their most recent health inspections, in Fort Lauderdale, two Holland America ships — the Noordam and the Zuiderdam — were perfect (100) in scores by the Centers for Disease Control.

The line-up for the Olympics has begun…The Norwegian Getaway is first in the line-up of cruise ships for Rio de Janeiro, where the Summer Games will be staged in 2016…The Getaway will be impersonating a hotel from August 5-21 next year, just like its smaller Getawaysibling, the Jade, did at the 2012 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia…With a capacity close to 4,000, the Getaway will help take some of the stress off Rio’s hotels, at the same time providing its “passengers” with luxurious accommodation and presumably earning a few “reals” — you didn’t know that’s what Brazilian currency was called, did you? — for the cruise line…The Getaway has experience at this, having served as a floating hotel at last year’s Super Bowl in New York…It doesn’t hurt that Getaway’s ambiance and treatment are decidedly Spanish.

Super BowlFile this one in the “When Will It End?” drawer…In a major Canadian newspaper (Toronto Star) there was a story about Carnival’s advertising on TV during the Super Bowl next week, and the second paragraph read: “Carnival, of course, is the line whose ship, Triumph, became a PR disaster in early 2013, when it got stuck at sea for almost a week due to an engine fire”…Seriously?…That was two years ago and, after all the things Carnival has done to restore its public stature, the cruise line hardly needed a Super Bowl ad to make image amends.

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival's latest technology

Carnival Triumph
10 nights
February 20, 2015
San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Croix, Falmouth, Galveston
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $54

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