NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE, one of the world’s largest cruise operators, sails a 21st-century fleet of 16 ships, all dedicated to delivering a full resort experience. NCL pioneered its contemporary freestyle cruise mode a quarter-century ago. Quite casual and sporty, Norwegian voyages are rife with recreational facilities and “eat what you want, when you want, where you want” dining, designed to appeal to active adults and families on a spree.
Norwegian brings its “South Beach Miami” experience primarily to the world’s two most popular cruising destinations, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, ideal waters for a vacation. Such ships as the 4,266-passenger Norwegian Epic sail from Miami into the Caribbean, stopping to party at NCL’s private resort island in The Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. North Americans are also booking NCL’s Mediterranean cruises at an accelerating rate, as cruises to Europe are on an upswing. Due to this rising demand, NCL redeployed its 3,929-passenger Norwegian Getaway from Miami to the Baltic Sea. And next summer the 4,028-passenger Norwegian Breakaway will relocate to Copenhagen for nine-day Russian and Scandinavian sailings.
Norwegian Cruise Line keeps a strong presence, too, in Alaska, Hawai’i, North America, Australia and Asia. The 3,900-passenger Norwegian Joy, launched this year, is specially designed for the Chinese market. The 2,376-passenger Norwegian Jewel, based in Australia, offers several itineraries throughout the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. The 2,186-passenger Pride of America is the only cruise ship of its size to offer regular cruises in Hawai’i, which it does weekly (although this ship has not met with universal acclaim). Norwegian also conducts cruises to New England, eastern Canada, Florida, Bermuda and The Bahamas from New York. And next year, NCL will launch its latest creation, the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Bliss, from its home port in Seattle. The Norwegian Bliss will become the largest cruise vessel serving Alaska, with summer 2018 cruises originating from Seattle’s Pier 66, a port NCL helped redevelop and will manage for the next 15 years.
NCL’s fleet is divided between its mid-sized resort ships, carrying about 2,000 passengers, and its large resort ships, with about double that capacity. Facilities vary somewhat, but don’t be surprised to find Las Vegas-style entertainment, acrobatic dinner shows, dozens of small eateries and wine bars, spacious spas, casinos, water parks, climbing walls, even bowling alleys. It’s basically a towering tropical resort with a lively waterfront boardwalk reshaped to fit inside a watertight hull.
Whichever ship and whatever its destination, passengers can expect to be bombarded with all the freestyle options and non-stop activities that make up an NCL playground at sea. But many ships offer at least one onboard escape: The Haven, a ship-within-a-ship of suites with private restaurants, pools, sun decks and butler services, is perfect for those desiring a partial escape from the madding crowds.
Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Swiss-Belhotel International boasts an impressive portfolio throughout 22 countries, including 10 ASEAN member countries. This growth is continuing with the group’s new plans to debut four properties in Thailand.