Cruising to the Top

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Celebrity Cruises serves up high-end restaurants such as Murano.
RCA Winner Logo carnival cruise lines When it comes to value, Carnival Cruise Lines continues to shine with its 12th consecutive wins as Best Cruise Line—Value in Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

“Carnival has always appealed to a large segment of the market because our guests can bring their entire family on vacation at a cost that is less than typical land-based vacations,” says Joni Rein, v.p., worldwide sales, Carnival Cruise Lines.

The launch of Carnival Magic was the big news this year, sporting a lot of “firsts” for Carnival, including the SportSquare outdoor recreation area featuring the first ropes course at sea, a WaterWorks aqua park, and the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub. In 2012, Carnival Breeze launches with all of the new “Fun Ship” elements found on Carnival Magic.

Carnival also began a new initiative called “Fun Ship 2.0,” a multi-year effort offering new dining choices, more bars and lounges, and entertainment options through innovative partnerships and new branded spaces. In the first phase alone, which extends through 2015, Carnival will invest more than $500 million across its fleet. New partnerships include entertainer George Lopez, who will enhance Carnival’s fleetwide comedy clubs and Food Network star Guy Fieri, who will develop a burger venue called Guy’s Burger Joint.

celebrity cruises Celebrity Cruises gets a double-win in Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Awards, being singled out as Best Cruise Line—Spa and Best Cruise Line—Cuisine. The line has won in the spa category 11 years in a row, and 2011 marks the seventh consecutive win for Celebrity’s cuisine offerings.

“As a cruise line, Celebrity is thrilled by these wins,” says Dondra Ritzenthaler, sr. v.p., sales, Celebrity Cruises. “On a personal level, it gives me great satisfaction to know that our travel partners recognize what makes Celebrity the ultimate modern luxury vacation. Pampering spa treatments…sumptuous cuisine—it doesn’t get more luxurious than that!”

Celebrity Silhouette (Celebrity’s fourth Solstice-class ship) made its debut in 2011 and that included an entirely new dining concept for the industry with the Lawn Club Grill, an interactive culinary grilling experience. The ship also debuted the new Spa Vibes program, which allows each guest to personalize his or her face or body treatment choosing elements that will stimulate each of the senses. Celebrity Reflection, the fifth Solstice-class ship, enters service in 2012, and she will offer the first-ever AquaClass Suites, adding on to the existing AquaClass experience, which is “inspired by the spa enthusiast lifestyle.”

crystal cruises Being a 12-time winner as Best Cruise Line—Luxury for Crystal Cruises is all about consistency says Jack Anderson, Sr. V.P., sales and marketing.

“It’s the combination of having a consistently excellent cruise experience that delivers extremely satisfied clients along with the service we regularly provide to agents through our reservations agents, field sales force, inside sales team [and agent programs] Crystal’s CruiseBuilder, ‘Sell 3 Sail Free’ and Crystal Cruises Academy,” he says. “It’s gratifying to know that the efforts we put into supporting our major network of dedicated travel professionals is recognized and appreciated.”

The big news for 2012 is that starting in the spring all Crystal Cruises will be all-inclusive with complimentary fine wines and premium spirits throughout the ship, open bar service in all lounges, and pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff, including Nobu Matsuhisa’s complimentary Silk Road and other onboard gourmet dining destinations.

Looking towards 2013, the cruise line will be adding Private Tour Options and salon and fitness offerings on select cruises including Pilates reformer equipment, Zumba, more yoga and new massages and beauty treatments. Crystal Serenity will also go through a redesign in 2013.

The SkyCourse on the Carnival Magic

seabourn Seabourn won this year as Best Cruise Line—Small Ship in Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Awards and John Delaney, sr. v.p., marketing and sales, believes what really made the cruise line stand out this year is “the new ships and the service on board.”

The 450-guest Seabourn Quest made her debut in June and is the third new ship and the sixth to join Seabourn’s fleet, completing a 3-year expansion for the line. Seabourn Odyssey entered service in June 2009, followed by Seabourn Sojourn in June 2010. The number of suites per ship fleetwide on Seabourn runs only either 104 or 224 suites.