Hapag-Lloyd Cruises to Offer Guests Established Talent and Young Stars During the Ocean Sun and Stella Maris Classical Music Festivals at Sea 

The highest ranked cruise ship in the world, according to the 2012 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships[1] Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ MS EUROPA is offering guests two world-class music festivals in 2012. The “Ocean Sun Festival,” the only classical music festival on the High Seas, will feature internationally acclaimed classical music stars performing on board, as well as exclusive concerts at historical sites ashore. Additionally, the “Stella Maris“ International Vocal Competition will bring together up-and-coming young singers from the most renowned opera houses in the world to perform and compete on board a Middle East and Africa itinerary. These two music cruises are the highlights of a total of nine music cruises aboard the EUROPA in 2012.

Now in its sixth year, the “Ocean Sun Festival” has been compared to the prestigious Festival del Sole in Napa Valley, California and the Tuscan Sun Festival in Italy. For an added dimension to this musical experience, international music critics will offer lectures along the route. On board, “Ocean Sun Festival” guests will experience the breathtaking violinist Janine Jansen, the aspiring pianist Igor Levit and renowned soprano vocalist Marlis Petersen. This musical voyage continues ashore with the soloists joining the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Bergen, Norway. While the classical music concerts are the highlights of this itinerary, the EUROPA will glide through the picturesque Norway fjords, with stops in the charming and multifaceted cities of Bergen and Oslo. This 12-day itinerary from August 12-24, 2012, starts at $6,670 per person/based on double occupancy for a suite.

In cooperation with the prestigious international opera houses, the EUROPA will also be hosting their fourth annual classical music competition at sea, “Stella Maris.”
Under the direction of Canadian tenor Michael Schade, a jury of famous personalities in the classical music field will judge the top talent represented by international opera houses. The distinguishing feature of “Stella Maris” is that the audience determines the winner of the cash prize worth €15,000. This prize, generous compared to others in the world of classical music, is provided by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. The jury will decide on the recipients of the additional prizes, which include: a guest engagement at an international opera house, a concert, and a test recording with Deutsche Grammophon. The competition will occur on board an 18-day Middle Eastern and Africa cruise through the Indian Ocean from November 7-25, 2012, making stops in Dubai, Oman, the Seychelles and Madagascar this November. The itinerary starts at $9,150 per person/based on double occupancy for a suite.

For information on these itineraries visit www.hl-cruises.com or call one of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ sales agencies below.


In the USA and Canada:
Air Travel Marketing Services, Inc. 1-800-888-0200
Euro Lloyd Travel Group, Inc. 1-800-782-3924
Kartagener Associates, Inc. 1-877-445-7447

About the EUROPA:
The EUROPA is the first “all-suites” cruise ship, with staterooms that are never less than 290 square feet, 80% of them having their own veranda, assuring privacy and relaxation. The EUROPA offers guests the largest space per passenger, as well as one of the highest staff passenger ratios, with 280 staff members for max. 408 guests. New to the EUROPA, Dieter Mueller became the first award-winning chef to open his own gourmet restaurant onboard. He’s personally on board 70 days a year. Also recently launched, the EUROPA’s “Baby Welcome Package” offering baby care products and baby food for passengers traveling with infants. The EUROPA will be visiting over 20 countries in 2012, as part of her international (German/English) itineraries.
[1] According to the 2012 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Adventure cruise specialist Cruceros Australis announces the unveiling of its new ship, the Stella Australis. Set to launch in December 2010, the Stella was commissioned in celebration of Cruceros Australis’ 20th anniversary.

The Stella will have a capacity of 210 passengers luxuriating in 100 cabins, each 177 square feet. Guests can choose between cabins with a large double bed or two twin beds. For those seeking roomier accommodations and larger beds, superior cabins are available. Cabin highlights include picture windows, independent climate controls, private bathrooms and a satellite phone.

Travelers will enjoy five decks featuring three lounges, an exercise room and a dining room, as well as a spacious deck allowing for unobstructed views of the spectacular scenery.

The Patagonia Deck, the first deck, includes a galley and the Patagonia Dining Room, which has a number of tables that can accommodate groups of four, six and eight people.

The Magallanes Deck, the second deck, includes a reception area and a gift shop where guests can purchase a variety of equipment for expeditions. The cabins on this deck feature large picture windows that are more than three feet wide and four feet tall.

The Tierra del Fuego Deck, third deck, includes the Yamana Lounge that will have a bar and a game room. The cabins on this deck feature slightly larger picture windows that are nearly five feet wide and five feet tall.

The Cabo de Hornos Deck, fourth deck, includes the Sky Lounge. The cabins on this deck feature even larger picture windows that are more than five feet wide and nearly six feet tall.

The Darwin Deck, fifth deck, includes the Darwin Lounge, bar and fully-equipped gym. The gym has glass panels so that guests can enjoy incredible views while working up a sweat. The three lounges- the Sky Lounge, the Darwin Lounge and the Yamana Lounge- are equipped with modern audiovisual equipment for educational presentations throughout the voyage.


Hapag-Lloyd’s MV Europa

The Cruise Ship That Let’s You Visit Germany, While Seeing America

Hapag-Lloyd’s MV Europa, the 408 passenger, all-suite flagship of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, celebrated its fifth birthday in 2004. Europa is primarily a German ship, whose reputation has spread among sophisticated travelers in many countries. As a result, Hapag-Lloyd has announced that it has begun extending its bilingual sailings on Europa in 2004, and more in 2005, to accommodate the growing interest from the U.S. market.

The Europa attracts people who don’t want the most of everything; they want the best of everything. Passengers on penthouse decks are served by personal butlers 24/7. Europa’s penthouse deck has ten deluxe suites, which each measure 53 square yards, and two 101 square yard penthouse grand suites, each with its own sauna, whirlpool, guest lavatory, and a dining table for six. The other 192 outer suites measure at least 32 square yards; most have their own balconies. Prices start at 5,500 to over 8,500 Euros (our suite cost 6,900 Euros, about $10,000 per person) for an 11-day cruise from Philadelphia to Nassau. (Airfare to and from one’s home city is not included.)

Our onsite experience was entered with great expectations and some unplanned frustrations. With no offices in the US and only a handful of travel agents booking the trip, information was hard to come by. The home website was in German. While the three travel agents we called assured us that wines were included with meals, and that a list of more expensive wines were offered at a supplement, the bad news was they were wrong. All alcoholic beverages bare a supplemental charge (unless you occupy one of the deluxe suites). The good news is that there is a well-selected wine list, starting at just 16 Euros (around $20) for a very drinkable Riesling and 3.10 Euros (a bit over $4) for good beer. We were also told that, except for the top 12 suites, our mini-bar would include only soft drinks. Wrong! Good German beer was included and replaced daily.

We were given a free e-mail account, to which we forwarded our email with some bizarre results. There was a superb library. Currently, all books are in German (we were advised that both problems will be corrected after the first of the year). And be forewarned: “Formal Night” on the Europa is taken seriously, so bring a tux and formal gown.

An elegant cocktail party with free-flowing Champagne and hors d’oeuvres in the delightful piano bar welcomed us as we checked in and were escorted to our suite, which was warm, welcoming and luxurious. The artwork was unbelievably breathtaking and the service, by a crew of always willing, ever smiling young Germans (and some Asians in the Oriental dining room) offered an object lesson on what the service industry is all about.

Room service was a delight and was available 24 hours a day. The breakfast omelets arrived freshly cooked and presented as a lovely coil around sculptured garnishes. All rooms offer turndown service, with traditional European-style covers placed on either side of the bed. The beds were wonderfully comfortable, with goose-down pillows and fluffy duvets.

Our cruise, from October 12 through the 22, 2004, sailed down the East Coast of the U.S. from Philadelphia to Nassau. While visiting some of America’s most appealing cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, Port Canaveral, Miami, Key West, one of the Bahamian “Out Islands” and terminating in Nassau, where passengers disembarked. As part of our “Theme Cruise,” guests had the opportunity to learn about some of the important contributions made by dolphins. Kirsten Kuhnert, the founder of Dolphin Aid was aboard this cruise, accompanied by the prominent ambassadors of her aid organization, Prince Leopold of Bavaria. The mostly mature, very upmarket clientele were charming and many were fluent in English. The young staff had a good grasp of English. It was like being in a floating foreign country.

The food certainly enhanced the out-of-America experience. “The Europa Restaurant,” which has one-seating dining, served “Continental” cuisine. The “Oriental” and “Venezia”, the two specialty restaurants, offered Asian and Italian cuisine respectively in an elegant and intimate environment. All the restaurants (as well as the superb room service) were overseen by the ubiquitous and charming Kurt Hummel and bared no surcharge.

They say that every person encounters just one great love in life and one city that is life’s home. In the cruise ship game, I can, with confidence say that I have always found one restaurant on board in which I felt totally at home and to which I invariably returned. In the case of the MV Europa, my love affair began and ended with “The Oriental,” in our opinion, the finest specialty restaurant on any luxury cruise ship. The décor with its muted colors, soft forest-green banquettes, large windows, lovely art work and Asian artifacts is at once soothing and captivating. Service by an Asian staff, orchestrated by a terrific German maitress d’hotel, was admirable. The food, basically Indo-Chinese, offered “Adventure Dinners,” such as a Curry Night or Indonesian Festival. Lunch was more informal, offering such majestic plates as sweet and spicy cucumber salad with sesame and Thai lemongrass dressing; incredible “bami” noodles with vegetables and red chili and garlic and chili-marinated prawns in coriander-soy sauce with jasmine rice.

“The Venezia,” the Italian restaurant was equally marvelous. The décor consists of a full wall mural of Venice, spacious tables with crisp white cloths, and lush Italian feel. The service staff was garbed in wonderfully ornate black and red uniforms and the whole is orchestrated beautifully by Maitre d’hotel, Sr. Fiorenzo Morelli. The menu offered a rich selection of appetizers, pasta, entrees, cheese and dessert, like all restaurants on the Europa, one can make any reasonable request and it will be honored. In our case, translucent slices of Italian proscuitto with balls of assorted melon were the quintessential starter. Two exquisite pastas followed this: Spaghetti with a rich Bolognaise sauce and linguini with blanched garlic, hot pepporicini and freshly poured olive oil. A rich and heady Antinori, 2001 was a fine companion and good value at 27 Euros (a bit over $30). Assorted cheese and a lovely orange millefeuille were ideal conclusions.

The Lido Café afforded a more casual ambiance and terrific buffets, as well as an early or late breakfast alternative. The food was simple, but also fresh, carefully prepared and delicious. A typical lunch might consist of a variety of cold appetizers, such as fresh tuna with chive cream sauce, followed by an array of hot and cold entrees: Marvelous soups, salads and hot options followed.

Amazingly, there are no paper or plastic glasses or cups, on the Europa. Even the hot bullion or cold fruit soups were served in china cups, as waiters strolled by on the pool deck, serving fresh fruit, sorbets and cold scented towels to revitalize you.

After dinner, passengers stroll on the Europa Deck, visit The Havana Bar, where cigar smokers stoke up, check out the piano bar, or drop in to the Clipper Lounge for cocktails or a snack. They can also browse Europa’s boutique for clothing, accessories, and necessities. Wempe, the prestigious German jeweler, maintains a presence where high-end jewelry is offered at duty-free prices. Entertainment, ranging from renowned classical musicians to well known popular acts, is provided.

The Lido deck is a great place to relax – with its club, bars, library and auditorium. The Sport deck offered relaxation at the Spa Futuresse Center with sauna, steam bath, massage parlor, Japanese bath, and solarium. A wide range of sports activities are available each day: jogging, table tennis, and classic shuffleboard are a few. A personal trainer is available for individual training sessions and fitness counseling. PGA experts help golfers improve their game at the extensive golf-training unit and facilities, which includes golf simulator, video analysis, two tee-offs, and a putting green.

The swimming pool is one of the longest on any cruise ship. With its magrodome, it is used as an indoor and outdoor pool. Passengers who come to relax in the sun have their chairs set up, and then are intermittently sprayed with Evian water to stay cool.

Frequent lectures and films were presented in the auditorium. The sophisticated Club Belvedere is almost entirely glassed-in, providing a fantastic view of the sea. Families with children are welcome on the Europa, with staff available to entertain the children and special children’s’ programs during vacation periods. Europa also has a fully equipped hospital on board. Two suites specially designed for disabled persons are available.

If you are looking for a truly European experience, but can’t deal with the hassle of airports; if you want to see the world, without sacrificing your creature comforts; or if you just want a taste of a kinder, more gentle way of life, The Europa offers one of the world’s most dignified cruise ship experience.

Cruise Ship Rating: A Major on The Walman Report.

Special To: cruise-news.net


· Julia Ann Liantonio or Regina Higgins, Euro Lloyd Travel Group, 1640 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow, NY 11554; Tel: 516-228-4970, 800-334-0284; Fax: 516-228-8258; Website: http://www.eurolloyd.com/; E-mail: elthdq@megapathdsl.net.

· Annemarie Victory, Annemarie Victory Organization, Inc., 136 East 64th Street, New York, N.Y. 10021; Tel.: (212) 486-0353 / Fax: (212) 751-3149

· Chris Conlin, Conlin Travel / Great Lakes Cruise Company, 3300 Washtenaw Avenue, Suite 230, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; Tel.: (734) 477-6052 / Fax: (734) 477-3128

· Mary Dailey, Dailey-Thorp Travel, P.O. Box 670, Big Horn, WY 82833; Tel.: (307) 673-1555 / FAX: (307) 674-7474

· Chuck Cross, Expeditions, Inc., 20525 SE Dorchester Rd., Bend, OR 97702; Tel.: (541) 330-2454

· Greg Nacco, Golden Bear Travel, Inc., 16 Digital Drive, Novato, CA 94948-6115; Tel.: (415) 382-8900



Guests can savor the long, bright evenings of summer on New York Harbor, when Statue Cruises launches its summer Sunset Cocktail Cruises.

The excursions set out each Thursday evening from June 3-August 26, 2010. Guests are treated to a complimentary glass of wine and assorted cheeses aboard the 125-foot John James Audubon, with additional food and beverages available for purchase. Other highlights include background music, fresh breezes and spectacular views of the sun setting behind the Statue of Liberty.

Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday

The Sunset Cocktail Cruise takes place on New York Harbor each Thursday from June 3-August 26, 2010. Guests board at 6:15 p.m. at Liberty Landing Marina or at 6:45 p.m. at Battery Park; cruising follows from 7-9 p.m.

Tickets cost $36 per adult, (ages 21 and over are welcome). Guest parking at Liberty Landing Marina is $7 per vehicle. For more details, or to order tickets, visit www.statuecruises.com or call 877-523-9849.


Statue Cruises is the concessioner authorized by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, to serve the public at the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. Over 3.5 million annual visitors from around the world visit these two icons of freedom and hope. In addition to providing daily ferry service, Statue Cruises also operates special event cruises, private charters and the narrated Liberty Harbor Cruise – a 75-minute tour of the New York Harbor. For more information visit: www.statuecruises.com/pressroom.


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Smithsonian Journeys Guest Speakers, Extraordinary Included Excursions, Air Credit or Free Venice Land Tour and up to 21 Percent Early Booking Savings

Six distinct Mediterranean voyages, from Alexandria, Egypt to Honfleur, France, mark the second chapter of small-ship exploration line Cruise West’s epic world adventure, Voyages of the Great Explorers. Delving deep into the heart of the Mediterranean — rich in myth and mystery — guests will journey to many fabled destinations in Greece and Turkey, and savor the cultural richness and sensory pleasures of Tunisia, Algeria, Italy, Sicily, Malta, Spain, Portugal and France. Guests can enjoy savings up to 21 percent savings if voyage is booked and paid in full by October 15, 2009.

There is incredible value with every voyage. In addition to an included excursion at every port, each of the six voyages will be enhanced by an extraordinary ‘Ultimate Explorers Experiences’ (UEE) excursion, designed to bring guests into direct personal contact with fascinating peoples, cultures and natural wonders. Engaging presentations by Smithsonian Journeys experts and local acclaimed authorities on the region’s culture, history and current events will bring each region to life.

Smithsonian Journeys experts illustrate Mediterranean history
Smithsonian Journeys guest speaker and author Jodi Magnes, Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology injects color into the classics throughout Voyage 5: Alexandria to Istanbul. Magnes will provide rich insights to the region as guests explore Paphos, birthplace of Aphrodite; Hadrian’s Gate, constructed by the second century Roman emperor Hadrian; and ancient Troy. A stop at the island of Lesvos offers a tantalizing glimpse of traditional Greek life before the voyage concludes at the gate of the Western world, historic and exotic Istanbul. Voyage highlights include an exclusive evening concert and reception amongst the ancient Roman ruins on Ephesus (UEE).

The 14-night voyage departs May 4, 2010; prices start at $10,395 per person before savings. Add-on: post-cruise 3-night Land Tour of Cappadocia.