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Status Match Success with MSC Cruises

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Earlier this week I wrote about a new status match offer from MSC Cruises. If you hold elite status with another cruise line or hotel/tour company, they’ll match you to an equivalent status in their MSC Voyagers Club. Voyagers Club is a 5-tier program with benefits that increase in value as you climb up the status ladder. The best benefit of all is a 5% discount off your cruise fare, with bigger discounts and even onboard credits available for select voyages. The perks for elite status are pretty typical, ranging from priority boarding to welcome back cocktails and onboard parties and late check-out/disembarkation. You can view the complete list of benefits here. The Status Match I decided to go ahead…

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Status Matching Sets Sail with MSC Cruises

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HT: FlyerTalk MSC Cruises has introduced a status match option for its loyalty program. I’ve called elite status reciprocity, which is practiced among Azamara, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean the closest thing to status matching in cruising. Now, MSC has for the first time introduced the first true “status match” by a cruise line and is offering equivalent status in their MSC Voyager’s Club to members of other cruise line loyalty programs (hotels too). (Image courtesy of MSC Cruises) Here are the terms and conditions of the offer as listed. MSC Cruises will only consider benefit cards from other Cruising companies, Hotels and/or Tour Operators. Airline Company benefit cards are excluded. Matching is carried out by comparing as much as reasonably possible the level of…

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China Rising – 6th Carnival Ship to China

Carnival Corporation announced today that it will add two ships to its China fleet in 2016, making it the first global cruise company with six total ships based in China. The move will increase Carnival Corporation’s total capacity in China by an additional 58 percent in 2016, further accelerating the company’s leadership position in the growing Chinese market. Clearly, the Chinese market is well on its way to being the largest global cruise market. Carnival Corporation’s China based ships will include expanded offerings from its two leading brands in the market – Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises. Across the two brands, Carnival Corporation will have three year-round ships and three seasonal ships in the market, representing the largest cruise presence in China in 2016. According to Carnival Corporation, Golden…

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Celebrity Cruises Appoints First American Female Captain

Celebrity Cruises announced today that it has appointed Kate McCue as Captain of Celebrity Summit. Captain McCue will join Celebrity from their sister line, Royal Caribbean International. Captain McCue will sign on to Celebrity Summit in August 2015. According to Celebrity, the company “has elevated McCue to the position of Captain based on her 15 years of successful experience and leadership in the maritime industry. During her tenure, McCue has managed ship logistics while sailing worldwide itineraries, including Europe, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and along the Panama Canal. Captain McCue has also served as a maritime leader while sailing several transatlantic and repositioning cruises, and played a notable role in the revitalization of ships in Singapore. Congratulations to cruising’s newest captain! -MJ,…

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Why Carnival Corporation Is Uniquely Positioned to Be First in Cuba

I posted the news on the blog this morning that Carnival Corporation has received approval to operate cruises between the USA and Cuba. Carnival plans to enter the market with its new Fathom Travel brand in May 2016. In June Carnival announced that it is launching its 10th cruise brand, Fathom, with a very unique focus – social impact travel. As I noted when I covered the brand launch, Fathom is focused on making a lasting social impact, not just taking a typical cruise. Carnival is uniquely positioned to be first in Cuba specifically because of the Fathom brand and it’s focus on impact travel. The community development and social impact projects that Fathom and its guests are dedicated to dovetail nicely with the…

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Unlimited Internet Packages From Royal Caribbean

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Royal Caribbean International is now offering unlimited internet packages for purchase before you board your cruise. I was just shopping for some other amenities for our upcoming Enchantment of the Seas cruise when this caught my eye. Just for grins, I decided to run through the purchase process. It’s very easy, and the pricing is somewhat reasonable at $20 per day for one device. A two-device package is $30 per day. I’m assuming for the time being that the packages work somewhat like those available on Quantum of the Seas in that I can log off one device and onto another device as needed. In other words, I can keep my smartphone connected part of the time, and when I…

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BREAKING – Carnival Corp. First US Cruise Line to Cuba

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Carnival Corporation announced this morning that it has received approval from the US Department of the Treasury and the US Department of Commerce to operate cruises to Cuba. Carnival plans to being cruises through the company’s recently unveiled Fathom purpose-travel brand in May 2016. According to Carnival, the company “intends to operate fathom travel itineraries directly to Cuba for the purpose of providing cultural, artistic, faith-based and humanitarian exchanges between American and Cuban citizens. Authorized under current U.S.-to-Cuba travel guidelines, the new Cuban itineraries on fathom will strictly comply with U.S. Department of Treasury rules that allow licensed travel companies to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities that support the Cuban people. Carnival Corporation is in active discussions…

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Majesty of the Seas Not Leaving Royal Caribbean Afterall

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Royal Caribbean International announced today that Majesty of the Seas, the line’s oldest but well-loved vessel, will not be leaving the fleet next year as planned. Instead, Majesty will undergo a major drydock next year, then reposition to Port Canaveral, where the ship will continue to offer 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruises. However, this won’t be your father’s Majesty of the Seas. Highlights of what is to come include New waterslides Poolside movie screen New restaurant options including Sabor Taqueria, Izumi Japanese cuisine, and Chef’s Table Voom interent, the fastest at sea, which will be complimentary for all Majesty of the Seas’ guests According to Royal Caribbean’s press release, the casino will also see upgrades and “suite guests will enjoy…

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Where Have All the Cruise Deals Gone?

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I have endeavored to write a post known as “The Weekly Cruise Deal” for some time now. While I’m still committed to posting about deals from all the cruise lines when I see them, I’m certain you’ve noticed that I’m posting a good bit less than weekly. That’s not from a lack of desire, it’s from a lack of what I consider to be good cruise deals. What happened? There are a few forces at work here, and they aren’t all that different than those in the airline industry. The economy is expanding, unemployment is slowly going down, and people are feeling confident enough to take a vacation leading to increased demand for cruises. Combine that with a bit of…

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Nine Lives Lost in Cruise Excursion Plane Crash

Sad news this morning from Alaska. Eight passengers and a pilot on an airborne shore excursion near Ketchikan, Alaska lost their lives Thursday. The passengers were from Holland America’s Westerdam, which was on a 7-day Alaskan cruise from Seattle. Details are sketchy at the moment, the NTSB has launched a go team to investigate. A remarkably sad and tragic event. NBC News has a few more details in this video.

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