MSC opens up ships' Yacht Club space for corporate bookings

MSC Cruises is allowing corporate clients and event planners to book the entire MSC Yacht Club space on either the MSC Fantasia or the MSC Splendida. Previously, the line didn't allow business travel groups to reserve the whole club area, which comprises 71 suites plus a private restaurant, sundeck and executive lounge. The line said that the business center meetings area and other lounges that are outside the club areas also can be reserved.

Independence of the Seas redeployed

Royal Caribbean International is pulling the Independence of the Seas out of Europe in November 2012 and instead will deploy the 3,634-passenger ship in the Caribbean, operating out of Fort Lauderdale for the 2012-13 winter season. The 3,634-passenger ship will sail a transatlantic voyage from Southampton, England, on Nov. 22, 2012, and homeport in Fort Lauderdale from December 2012 through March 2013. The ship will sail a three-night Bahamas cruise before starting a series of alternating eight-night Eastern Caribbean and six-night Western Caribbean itineraries. The Independence of the Seas will return to the U.K. in April 2013 and offer Mediterranean and Europe cruises through summer.

Costa Favolosa is Mideast-bound

Costa Cruises will deploy the 3,800-passenger Costa Favolosa in the Middle East for the 2011-12 season. From Dec. 16 through April 6, the ship will operate a series of seven-night Jewels of the Emirates cruises roundtrip from Dubai. Port calls will be made at Muscat, Oman; Fujairah and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Khasab, Oman.

Windstar beverages on the house

Windstar Cruises added nonalcoholic beverages to its roster of included amenities. Starting in December, passengers no longer will pay extra for bottled water, sparkling water, soda, juice, milk, smoothies, tea, coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, mochas or espresso. The line already includes specialty restaurants in its fares along with watersports and DVD and iPod rentals.

Oceania sets Signature Sailings

Oceania Cruises will begin marketing Signature Sailings in 2012. The set of 10 voyages will focus on culinary, wine, music and health and wellness themes. According to the line, passengers will have opportunities to participate in seminars, hear concerts, enjoy wine tastings and join other activities tied to each theme. All of the themed cruises are detailed on

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