Paul Gauguin Cruises Honored in the Condé Nast Traveler 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, was honored in the Condé Nast Traveler 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards, ranking #2 in the category of “Top Small Cruise Lines.”

Paul Gauguin Cruises was voted #2 in the category of “Top Small Cruise Lines” by readers in 2015 and was also recognized on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2016 Gold List.

In addition to the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards accolades, Paul Gauguin Cruises was recently voted “#1 Midsize-Ship Ocean Cruise Line” by readers in the Travel + Leisure 2016 World’s Best Awards*.

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Condé Nast Traveler Readers Name Seabourn “Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” For 2016

Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line, has yet again been voted “Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” for 2016 by the sophisticated, discerning readers of Condé Nast Traveler. Over the past decade, the line has dominated the “Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” category in the magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards, securing the top honor for the past seven consecutive years.

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Crystal Voted ‘World’s Best’ by Readers of Condé Nast Traveler for Record 23rd Year

Crystal CruisesThe travel savvy readers of Condé Nast Traveler have once again voted Crystal Cruises as the “World’s Best” medium sized cruise line (501-2,499 guests), earning the ultra-luxury company the coveted honors for a record of 23 years. The publication’s 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards included input from more than 300,000 readers, who cast votes for more than 7,000+ hotels, 500 cruise ships, 600+ cities and 200+ islands, resulting in a preeminent list of more than 1,400 of the world’s best travel experiences.

Crystal’s score of 92.24 topped the list of 12 finalist cruise lines in its category, with a margin of 4.8 – the highest in Crystal’s 23 years of winning the award and among the ocean ship categories this year. Criteria voted on included accommodations, service, dining, activities, design and value. Crystal’s acclaimed ocean ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, have each undergone millions of dollars in redesign and updates over the years, both featuring elegantly styled and spacious public areas, posh lounges and theaters, luxuriously appointed guest suites (most with private verandahs), and culinary experiences that include modern gastronomy and signature cuisine from Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa.

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Crystal Mozart Is Cruise Critic ‘Editors’ Picks’ for Best New River Ship

Crystal MozartCrystal Mozart, the inaugural vessel in the Crystal River Cruises fleet, has been named “Best New River Ship” by the discerning editors of, both, the U.S. and U.K. editions of Cruise Critic. Considered a go-to resource for cruise line and itinerary information and up-to-the-minute cruise news, where new and seasoned cruisers can find dozens of message boards full of candid input from travelers, Cruise Critic unveiled the results of its annual Editors’ Picks Awards, which featured a win for Crystal’s ocean vessels for “Best Enrichment” in the luxury category from both editions, and “Best Itineraries” in the luxury category from the U.K. edition.

              Crystal Mozart embarked from Vienna on July 13, sailing along the Danube River on itineraries calling in some of the region’s most stunning locales throughout Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, and Serbia. Measuring 395 feet long (120.4 meters) and 75 feet wide (22.9 meters), the all-suite, 154-guest capacity ship is the largest of all European river vessels and boasts numerous public areas for guests to enjoy.

Crystal Mozart also bears the distinction as the most technologically advanced river ship in the world. Each suite offers Apple® iPad devices that serve as Digital Directories for virtually all of guests’ on-board needs, from dry cleaning and butler service to room service and dining reservations, as well as concierge and Crystal Adventures inquiries and more. Suites also boast 40-inch flat-screen HD televisions, along with backlit bathroom mirrors with integrated televisions. Bathrooms also feature highly advanced TOTO Washlet personal cleaning systems integrated with the toilets, which also offer heated seats, automatic open/close, aerated water and warm air dryer.

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Transforms Compass Rose Into Largest Specialty Restaurant at Sea

Regent Seven Seas CruisesRegent Seven Seas Cruises is revolutionizing its gourmet dining experience fleet-wide by transforming its signature restaurant, Compass Rose, into the largest specialty restaurant at sea. The new concept and menu for Compass Rose offer an unprecedented, fully customized epicurean experience with an unequaled variety of gourmet options available nightly. Completely transforming the main dining room experience, the new Compass Rose experience brings together two Regent Seven Seas Cruises hallmarks – exquisite gourmet dining and unrivaled personalized service.

This bold, innovative new culinary approach provides guests with a seemingly endless combination of dishes to choose from during dinner service at Compass Rose. Guests can select from more than a dozen different meat, fish and seafood items, have it prepared to taste, garnish with a sauce of choice and pick from a wide variety of side dishes and accompaniments to complete the meal. Additionally, each evening the ship’s executive chef creates nightly specials, which adds more than a dozen mouthwatering appetizers, pasta dishes and entrée choices to the menu. To complete the meal, Compass Rose will offer a separate dessert menu with international cheeses, premium handmade ice creams and delectable pastries, cakes, crumbles and soufflés.

The menu for Compass Rose is divided into two equal portions. The left-hand side provides guests with the ability to fully customize their dinner, while the right-hand side feature’s the executive chef’s nightly specials as well as a multi-course “menu degustation.” For the customizable section of the menu, guests can select from a list of high-quality entrees that include seafood items like lobster, shrimp, scallops, salmon and dover sole, or specialty cuts such as New York strip steak, filet mignon, lamb chops and veal medallions.

After making their selection, guests determine how they would like it prepared – grilled, baked, broiled, poached, or roasted – and select from a complementary list of sauces to garnish the dish, such as madeira-truffle, creamy herb, hollandaise, green peppercorn and hickory barbeque. From there, guests can choose from more than a dozen side items that range from lyonnaise potatoes, potatoes gratin and sweet potato fries, to sautéed spinach, brussel sprouts and green asparagus.

Adding to the variety, the ship’s executive chef will prepare a list of special appetizers and entrees for the dinner service. Since Compass Rose is the ship’s primary dining room, the dinner specials will change nightly with sample entrees that include veal medallions oscar, braised turbot fillet, cornish hen, roasted duck Beijing style and seared mahi mahi.

Capping off the gourmet meal, guests will find a dessert menu filled with new decadent offerings each and every night. The dessert menu will always feature a selection of fine international cheeses offered with a glass of port wine, assorted crackers and French bread along with a variety of handmade premium ice creams and sorbets. Guests will delight in nightly specials prepared by the ship’s pastry chef such as Tanzanian chocolate cake, almond croquant, bananas foster and Viennese apple strudel.

Along with the dinner menu, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is also reinventing the lunch menu for Compass Rose on Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner. In celebration of the launch of Seven Seas Explorer, Compass Rose on the line’s other ships will feature lunch selections from the three specialty restaurants on Explorer – Prime 7, Chartreuse and Pacific Rim. As with the dinner menu, the lunch menu will be updated daily and feature entrée items such as Croque-Monsieur or Croque-Madam from Chartreuse, Aromatic Duck from Pacific Rim and Yellowfin Tuna Salad from Prime 7.

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Seven Seas Voyager Next Up For Luxurious Renovations – Second Ship in Regent Seven Seas Cruises $125M Fleet-Wide Refurbishment Program

Seven Seas VoyagerAnother Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship is about to experience a luxurious transformation with Seven Seas Voyager scheduled to undergo renovations later this month as part of the luxury line’s $125 million fleet-wide refurbishment program. Following the refurbishment effort, Seven Seas Voyager will feature the same elegant style and indisputable attention to detail famously featured on Seven Seas Explorer, providing guests with a consistent look-and-feel, no matter which Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship they choose to sail.

Seven Seas Voyager joins Seven Seas Navigator as the second ship to receive this stylish new update to the public spaces and suites onboard, with Seven Seas Mariner scheduled to receive a similar makeover in April 2017. Seven Seas Voyager will emerge from this refurbishment with a sophisticated new look reflective of the pinnacle of luxury.

While the shipboard enhancements extend from bow-to-stern, some of the more notable renovations include:

  • Penthouse, Concierge and Deluxe Suites: The largest collection of suites onboard the ship will receive a luxurious new look. The contemporary design accentuates the spaciousness of the suites and the suites include large oversized marble accented bathrooms. A plush padded leather headboard supports the ultra-comfortable Elite Slumber Bed in the bedroom and the sitting area features a stylish sofa with accent table and new artwork.
  • Compass Rose: The ship’s flagship restaurant will be grander and more resplendent than ever before. Throughout the spacious, 422-seat dining room are subtle geometric patterns underscored with rich wooden accents and antique bronze highlights. Plush cobalt blue drapes accent oversized windows that run along both sides of the restaurant to provide incredible ocean vistas for diners. Grand crystal chandeliers are enhanced by recessed ceiling lights, providing a dramatic dining experience for guests seated at intimate tables ringed by sleek leather chairs adorned with swirls of celestial blue fabric.
  • Chartreuse: Already a guest favorite on Seven Seas Explorer, Chartreuse will make its debut on Seven Seas Voyager as part of the ship’s refurbishment. The restaurant will feature new furnishings, china, flooring and décor elements inspired by the Chartreuse on Seven Seas Explorer. The menu will be identical with specialties such as roasted rack of lamb with rosemary persillade and chickpea fritters, and poached lobster and scallop ballotine, green asparagus and Fava beans.
  • La Veranda: Effortlessly chic, La Veranda will feature a fresh and airy design with light grey colored flooring and accent walls that accentuate the natural light coming from floor-to-ceiling windows that encircle the restaurant. In a major structural change, the buffet area will be more open — allowing guests easy access from both sides of the restaurant. A major highlight is a new cook-to-order grill station at the buffet. Guests can enjoy casual indoor and al fresco dining with a delectable buffet for breakfast and lunch. Each evening for dinner service, the restaurant transforms into an elegant fine dining restaurant Sette Mari at La Veranda, with delectable dishes prepared á la minute.
  • Pool Grill: The outdoor eating area adjacent to the pool deck will be completely refurbished with stylish, yet casual, seating areas that flank both sides of the ship. For the food preparation, a new infrared barbeque grill is planned, so the chefs can prepare savory barbeque specialties such as steaks, chops, lamb and salmon on the open deck.
  • Voyager Lounge: Located on Deck 4, the Voyager Lounge is the perfect venue to meet friends and fellow travelers for a pre-dinner cocktail. Inspired by a modern interpretation of a French cabaret the new décor is timelessly elegant, with large champagne-colored chandeliers cascading down over crimson colored loveseats along a wall of oversized windows. A black-and-white marble topped bar surrounded by plush red leather bar stools anchors one end of the lounge while intimate grey seating alcoves facing the stage spread across the other. Live musicians will entertain nightly and during late hours a DJ will play a variety of tunes for guests’ listening or dancing pleasure.
  • Reception Area: Guests’ first exposure to the renovations will take place in the completely-redesigned reception area, where contemporary and classical design elements seamlessly meet. The reception desk is surrounded with rich wood finishes, plush carpeting and intimate seating areas.

In addition to the aforementioned enhancements, the refurbishment of Seven Seas Voyager will also touch Coffee Connection, Connoisseur Lounge, Card Room, boutiques, casino and the Canyon Ranch SpaClub.

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Berlitz Cruise Guide 2017: Highest distinction 5-stars-plus for EUROPA 2 and EUROPA

Hapag-Lloyd CruisesIn the new edition of the “Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017“ guide, EUROPA 2 and EUROPA have been awarded the highest distinction as the only 5-stars-plus cruise ships worldwide. They defend their pole positions as the world’s best cruise ships in their category for the fourth (EUROPA 2) and 17th (EUROPA) time.

Out of a possible 2,000 points, the EUROPA 2 attained 1,860 points and therefore leads the ranking in the category “top 5 small ships with 251 to 750 passengers”. The EUROPA scores second place with 1,852 points. The expedition vessel HANSEATIC has been awarded 5-stars and 1,721 points and the BREMEN received the distinction 4-stars with 1,495 points.

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EUROPA 2 Receives the Highest Distinction, 6 stars-plus in Stern’s Guide to the Cruise Vacation 2017

IMS Europa 2n the 28th edition of Stern’s Guide to the Cruise Vacation 2017, the EUROPA 2, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ luxury ship, took top ranking with the highest distinction, 6-stars-plus for cruise ships worldwide. The EUROPA was also honored in the latest edition with 6-stars. The EUROPA 2 is highlighted on the cover and back of the 2017 edition.

The most reliable source for over 40 years Stern’s Guide to the Cruise Vacation keeps track of all the latest and the best about cruise ships, river boats, hotel barges and ports of call. The book is considered one of the leading cruise guide books for the U.S. market.

“Having cruised on over 800 ships, I can honestly say that no other ships was as exquisitely beautiful as the Europa 2,“ said Steve Stern.

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For the second time Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ HANSEATIC navigates the Northeast Passage successfully

HanseaticIn the early morning of September 7th, 2016, MV HANSEATIC, one of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises‘ two expedition vessels, has once again navigated successfully the Northeast Passage. In 2014, the HANSEATIC was the first non-Russian cruise ship to navigate this legendary sea route. After sailing a total of 5,542 nautical miles, the ship will arrive in Nome on September 10th and officially end its cruise.

HanseaticThe Northeast Passage is the legendary sea route in the Arctic Ocean, which runs along the north coasts of Asia and Europe, from the Bering Strait to the White Sea. The HANSEATIC expedition voyage departed from Tromso/Norway on August 16th, 2016. The first port of call was Murmansk/Russia, where the adventure of the Northeast Passage started officially. After cruising through the Barents Sea/Arctic Ocean, HANSEATIC stopped at anchor in Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land, before the ship went on through the Kara Sea to Severnaya Zemlya. Other stops at anchor took place off Siberia, Wrangel Island and Chukchi Island. The Northeast Passage officially ended at 06.00hrs on September 7th, when the ship rounded Cape Dezhnev.

HanseaticThe cruise was fully booked. The crew organized 20 landings and tours with the 14 on-board Zodiacs, rubber boats, which are well suited to expeditions. During spectacular wildlife observations, guests saw walruses and polar bears. On one island, 16 polar bears at the same time were seen, some even mothers with their babies. In total 86 polar bears were counted from the bridge.

HanseaticCaptain Natke summarizes the cruise: “The Northeast Passage is a spectacular voyage and always will be. This route is not comparable to a regular cruise. Nature impresses with unique and exciting insights. On this cruise we have seen a high number of polar bears. I have never before seen so many polar bears on an Arctic cruise. Furthermore, we have seen the fantastic Northern Lights and enjoyed three sunny days with blue skies at Wrangel Island”.

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Hapag-Lloyd Cruises orders two new expedition vessels

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ fleet grows. TUI Group, the world’s number one tourism group, will invest in two new-builds for its Hamburg-based subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. The two, new, 5-star expedition vessels are scheduled for launch in April and October 2019, respectively, following 20 months of construction. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

The two ships will be built at the Norwegian Vard shipyard of Vard Holdings Limited, a shareholding of the Italian Fincantieri shipyard. The vessels will be equipped with state-of-the-art technological features and environmental technology. With PC6, the highest Polar Class designation for passenger ships, they will be able to cruise not only in polar regions in the Arctic and Antarctica but also in warm water destinations such as the Amazon. On-board Zodiacs will allow landings in otherwise inaccessible expedition areas. The ships will also feature a water sports marina.

Further information on the new-builds

  • 5-star expedition segment
  • One new-build to serve German-speaking markets (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)
  • Other new-build to serve German-speaking markets and in addition Belgium, the UK, Netherlands and the US.

Identical ships, data for each ship:

  • GT 16,100
  • Length: 138 metres
  • Width: 22 metres
  • Draught: 5.4 metres
  • Passenger decks: 7
  • Cabins and suites: 120
  • Maximum passenger capacity: 240 persons
  • Crew: Up to 170 crew members
  • High ratio of balcony cabins
  • Restaurants: 3
  • Modern spa and fitness area
  • Interior design: Architecture firm Oceanarchitects
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