Dubai multi-entry visa to boost cruise tourism sector

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Recent regulatory changes to the United Arab Emirates’ visa system will have a transformative effect on Dubai’s cruise sector and further boost medical tourism in the emirate.

A new ruling in the UAE which took effect on August 1st 2014, will ensure implementation of a new visa and fees system.

Amendments include a new multiple entry tourism permit for cruise passengers and a range of new entry permits for medical tourists and their companions.

The ruling was signed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president and ruler of Dubai.

These visa options will make travel between UAE and visiting nearby countries easier for travellers who need to make multiple stops whether by air, land or sea.

The new multiple entry tourism permit for cruise passengers at just 200 dirhams (c. US$50) will now make their travel more cost effective and logistically more convenient with particular impact on a number of key markets for which previous regulations made the cost significantly higher, including India, China, Russia & CIS, South Africa, and Brazil.

Hamad bin Mejren executive director of business tourism at Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing said:

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Guatemala grows cruise tourism sector

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One of the reasons to visit Guatemala this year lies within their cruise offering, which allows passengers to experience just enough off the country’s culture, gastronomy and exotic nature to lure back approximately 70 per cent of visitors for a longer stay, according to data published by Inguat – Guatemala’s Tourism Board.

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Norwegian completes $3bn deal for Prestige Cruise International

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Norwegian Cruise Line has confirmed it will buy Prestige Cruises International from its owner Apollo Global Management for a fee of $3 billion.

The deal sees NCL, the third largest of the major cruise lines, expand its high-end luxury cruise offerings.

Prestige registered with US regulators for an initial public offering in January.

The organisation owns upper-premium cruise operator Oceania Cruises and luxury cruise operator Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

It operates eight ships, with about 6,500 berths.

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise operates 13 cruise ships in routes spanning North America, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, Central America and the Caribbean.

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Celebrity Century sold to Ctrip in China

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Ctrip.com International has entered into an agreement to acquire Celebrity Century, a 1,814-passenger cruise ship, from Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Royal Caribbean Cruises will continue to operate Celebrity Century until April 2015.

Exquisite is a wholly owned subsidiary of Skyseas, a co-founded company by Ctrip and other investors, which targets to provide Chinese customers the world-class and tailor-made cruise products.

Ctrip has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Royal Caribbean Cruises to form a joint venture to manage the operations of the acquired cruise ship and potentially broaden the relationship.

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Norwegian Cruise Line recognised by World Travel Awards

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Norwegian Cruise Line has been named Europe’s Leading Cruise Line for the seventh consecutive year by the World Travel Awards.

The annual awards, held in Athens, Greece, recognise travel companies for delivering an outstanding customer experience and are voted for by travel agents and consumers worldwide.

Norwegian, which has been honoured with the accolade since 2008, has for the third consecutive year deployed four Freestyle Cruising vessels in Europe this summer, offering an array of sailings ranging from four to fourteen nights.

The company will deploy its largest ship, Norwegian Epic, year-round in Europe beginning next summer.

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Costa Concordia prepares for final journey

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Stricken cruise ship Costa Concordia is preparing to makes its final journey as authorities in Italy prepare to tow the vessel away for scrapping.

Following a painstaking process to re-float the ship over a period of month, Concordia will now be towed to Genoa to be broken up for scrap.

The removal of the ship has been one of the largest ever maritime salvage operations.

Concordia struck a reef off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012 and capsized, killing 32 people.

The body of Indian waiter Russel Rebello is still missing, with investigators searching the vessel following its re-floating earlier this month.

Concordia was re-floated nine days ago and is being kept above the surface by giant buoyancy chambers.

Over a dozen vessels will help to tow the ship to its final destination, in a journey expected to take four days.

Costa Crociere, owners of the Concordia, have estimate the operation to remove the wreck from the reef and tow it for scrapping will cost

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DFDS Seaways brings gourmet cuisine to high-seas

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Award-winning ferry operator DFDS Seaways has created a tasty new tapas style menu in the a la carte Blue Riband restaurant onboard King Seaways, which sails between Newcastle and Amsterdam.

The delicious new menu draws inspiration from Spanish tapas dishes as well as influences from other European cuisine, creating a menu designed to tempt the taste buds of our passengers.

New additions to the menu include Spanish-style albondigas (spicy meatballs), which are now offered alongside firm favourites such as homemade burgers.

Created by, chef de cuisine Brian Jacobsen and Thomas Hansen, other menu options include salmon panna cotta to start, carpaccio with truffle mayonnaise and marinated mushrooms, asparagus in serrano ham, Asian grilled pork breast on vermicelli noodles, sizzling prawns with chilli and garlic.

Dessert options include white chocolate mousse and crème brûlée.

The Blue Riband is a contemporary à la carte restaurant, perfect for those looking for an intimate dinner setting.

With first class service, contemporary decor and delicious fresh food, the Blue Riband provides you with a premium dining experience using the finest ingredients, coupled with experienced staff able to recommend the perfect wine or beverage to accompany each dish.

As well as the Blue Riband, there is also the Seven Seas buffet restaurant onboard, which offers a large range of freshly prepared dishes, or you can choose a juicy steak from the Explorers Steakhouse restaurant.

After dinner, you can unwind in one of the onboard bars, soak up the live entertainment in the Columbus Lounge, or take in a movie in the cinema.

When ready to retire for the evening, you can relax in your comfortable en-suite cabin and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning, ready to explore the cultural delights on offer in Amsterdam.

DFDS Seaways is considered the World’s Leading Ferry Operator by the World Travel Awards.

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Royal Caribbean brings Google Street View to Allure of the Seas

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Royal Caribbean has announced it is changing the way how people plan their holiday by working with Google to be the first cruise line to launch Google Maps Business View using Google’s Street View technology onboard the world’s largest and innovative cruise ship Allure of the Seas.

By highlighting Royal Caribbean International’s new Street View technology on Allure of the Seas, agents can now provide consumers with an immersive and interactive experience when they are searching for a holiday.

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Cunard Line readies for James Taylor performance on Queen Mary 2

{focus_keyword} Award-winning singer-songwriter James Taylor and his band during the 27 August 2014 Transatlantic Crossing. The legendary American artist will appear aboard Queen Mary 2 on the heels of his successful summer tour, earning accolades from the Orange County Register, The Seattle Times and other press. Iconic songs such as

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Jamaican vibes for Clipper Round-The-World Yacht Race close

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Jamaica is set to bring a party atmosphere to St Katharine Docks this weekend (12-13 July) as the island marks the close of the 2013/2014 Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race and bids farewell to the crew of Jamaica’s yacht, ‘JAMAICA Get All Right.’

On 12-13 July, an area of St Katharine Docks in London will be transformed into a ‘mini Jamaica’ to welcome the return of the ‘JAMAICA Get All Right’ crew into London.

The celebrations have been arranged by the Jamaica Tourist Board and Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the UK, Her Excellency, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, will be on hand at St Katharine Docks to welcome the return of the crew, which departed that port last September.

The Yachts are expected to arrive from 12 noon on 12 July, with sailors and visitors to the dock encouraged to visit the Jamaica stand to pose next to a cut out of Jamaica’s iconic Olympic sprinter, Usain Bolt. Photos should be uploaded onto social media using the hashtag #boltinthedock with the best ones being posted onto Jamaica Tourist Board’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Those striking the best ‘Bolt’ pose will be eligible for one of several Jamaican-themed prizes on offer.

The celebration provides an opportunity to win the chance to sail around Cowes, Isle of Wight, on 6 August, Jamaica’s Independence Day. Visitors need to simply visit the Jamaica Tourist Board stand over the weekend and drop off their business card or contact details to be in with a chance of winning a place for themselves and a guest on a corporate sail on the ‘JAMAICA’s Get All Right’ yacht.

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The Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race began at St Katharine Docks on 1 September 2013, and over the course of the past ten months, the crews of the world’s longest ocean race visited some of the finest destinations in the world. Based on feedback from crew members, Port Antonio in Jamaica was ranked as one of their most memorable stopovers.

The Race is currently sailing en-route to London for its final voyage into St Katharine Docks from Den Helder, Netherlands.

Elizabeth Fox, Regional Director for UK and N.Europe said:

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