Princess Cruises launched its newest ship last month. Regal Princess is the second in the Royal class. The first-in-class Royal Princess began sailing in June 2013, and the line celebrated the ship's first birthday this past weekend. Royal has been on 44 cruises and visited 39 ports in 20 countries throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
In The Loop Travel was onboard for the inaugural cruise on brand-new Regal Princess, and we were able to capture some of the main highlights of the 3,560-passenger ship and its itinerary.
Regal Princess offers a couple new features that differ from Royal -- the aft pool and the expanded "promenade" areas. The bottom line: Regal Princess is a luxurious vessel full of great dining and entertainment options. We had a blast.
Check out our video review below. I recommend the Cruise Critic review of Regal Princess for a full bow-to-stern look at the shiny new ship.
Norwegian Cruise Line launched its DASH sale Sunday, offering savings on its sailings of three days or longer fleetwide. Cruisers who book a sailing from June 15 through June 21, 2014, can receive up to $250 per stateroom to spend onboard depending on the category of stateroom booked. Air credits up to $1,000, military, AARP and Latitudes Rewards discounts also apply to select sailings.
Royal Caribbean's Shekhar Grover, a bartender on the line's Oasis of the Seas, has been crowned Diageo Global Travel best cruise line bartender. Grover won the contest held last week in Miami.
Grover, 27, from India, beat out 5,500 bartenders from four of the world's leading cruise lines: Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises. Competitors were tested on different aspects of their craft, creativity and bartending knowledge. He advances to the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year Global Final at the end of July in London to face 50 of the world's best bartenders for the "Bartender of the Year" title.
Holland America Line is offering an "Experience the Game of Thrones" shore excursion at Belfast, Northern Ireland, giving cruisers a behind-the-scenes look at many of the locations where the hit HBO show is filmed. The tour begins at Castle Ward, which fans know as Winterfell, and travels to Audley's Castle -- a backdrop for many scenes and the site of Robb Stark's camp. Throughout the tour, die-hard fans will learn about special effects and costuming, test their knowledge of show trivia and hone their archery skills. Participants also will have a photo opportunity with actual costumes from the series. Audley's Castle was built in the 15th century, and Castle Ward was finished in the 18th century. Holland America Line offers itineraries visiting Belfast on Prinsendam and Rotterdam. The cruises vary in length from 14 to 35 days and depart Rotterdam or Amsterdam.
Celebrity Cruises has unveiled new adventures for its Galapagos Islands sailings. Passengers can enjoy "Authentic Dining in the Highlands." Youâll eat local food at a family's farm in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz, Galapagos. The immersive cultural experience connects passengers with residents and even giant tortoises roaming in their natural habitat.
With the "Scalesia Reforestation Project," you'll take part in close collaboration with the Galapagos National Park in Santa Cruz. Guided by Celebrity's naturalists, you'll join a reforestation project with the goal to plant 5,000 Scalesia trees -- an endemic tree that has lost much of its habitat in the Galapagos, adversely affecting wildlife. The Scalesia-saving project is the first of its kind conducted by a cruise line with the Galapagos National Park.
How about collaborating with farmers for onboard menus for your ship? The one-of-a-kind dining menu onboard Celebrity Xpedition reflects an effort to preserve the natural conditions and support growers and farmers in the Galapagos region. Choose fresh, organic and locally sourced items such as Ecuadorian ceviche, roasted fish, soups and desserts such as tres leches.
Galapagos cruises range from seven to 15 nights aboard the 98-guest Xpedition. Packages may feature all-inclusive amenities, including adventure gear, chartered luxury air transfers, gourmet cuisine, in-stateroom dining and cocktails.