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The wildly popular TV show will be brought to life on the high seas. Throughout the cruise, passengers can compete with auditions, mentor rehearsal sessions, the iconic “I Want You” chairs, three charismatic team coaches and ultimately a live finale performance where guests choose the winner.
“Whether guests are up on stage or in the audience deciding who gets their vote, we know The Voice of the Ocean will be a huge hit with Princess guests,” said Adrian Fischer, vice president, entertainment for Princess Cruises.
“Guests will feel like they are part of the globally popular TV show performing on a high tech set almost identical to the hit show, including rotating red chairs and a live Princess band with back-up singers,” Fischer said. “We’re excited to discover and foster undiscovered talent and offer guests a whole new way to express their love of music and performing.”
The Voice of the Ocean singing competition experience aboard Princess Cruises includes:
- Karaoke try out sessions at the beginning of each cruise, for vocalists who are 16 years or older. There will be two opportunities to audition during open karaoke in one of the ships lounges or showrooms. Fellow guests and cruise staff will decide who moves on to compete.
- Selected singers are assigned a mentor who will meet with them during the cruise to rehearse with the Princess Band and back-up singers to prepare for the best possible performance. The mentors will be a Princess musical entertainer or vocalist.
- The Voice of the Ocean Live Show, hosted by the Cruise Director on the last night of the cruise will feature up to nine contestants performing in the Princess Theater for an audience that includes three high-profile team coaches that may include one of our guest entertainers, the Hotel General Manager or even the Captain. Just like the hit TV show, the trio of coaches will listen but not see the performer as they decide to turn their “I Want You” chair to choose the singer to be on their team. Once teams are chosen coaches will then each pick one finalist. From the three finalists, the audience votes for the winner who will be awarded a trophy and most importantly, the title The Voice of the Ocean.
The vocal competition will debut aboard Regal Princess in October, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in November. Eight additional ships will offer The Voice of the Ocean rolling out between January and May of 2016.
Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises
MILOS, Greece – It gave me shivers just to be standing here. Tucked into a hillside on the Greek isle of Milos are the graves of early Christians. These catacombs are from the 1st century AD. It is mind boggling to consider what took place here and how long ago it happened.
“The catacombs are considered to be the most important early Christian monument in all of Greece,” said guide Andreas Belivanakis. “Milos was declared a ‘Holy Island’ by the Greek church because of the catacombs. We believe the catacombs of Milos are older than the ones in Rome.”
The small volcanic island of Milos is beautiful and dotted with thermal springs considered to have therapeutic benefits. It is filled with intriguing history and has about 70 beaches for great swimming, fishing, hiking and boating.
Sporting his “Milos is for Lovers” logo shirt, Belivanakis explained when we arrived for our morning tour that the island got its nickname because it is where the famous statue of Venus de Milo was discovered. The ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty was found in 1820 buried in a hillside by a farmer looking for marble slabs to build his house.
“The farmer was disappointed when he found the statue because he thought it was useless. What he wanted was marble for his house so he started covering the statue back up,” Belivanakis said. “An officer in the French navy saw it and offered to pay the farmer to continue digging it up.”
The base has an inscription with the sculptor’s name – Alexandros of Antioch, Belivanakis said. “No arms were ever found. The arms may still be buried here but it is not a priority for archeologists to dig up this area.”
The famous armless sculpture of a woman is now housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris. “All we have is the sign here to show where the statue was found,” Belivanakis said.
Located next to the discovery site of Venus de Milo are the ruins of an ancient Greco-Roman marble theater along with the remnants of the walls from the old city. You can also enjoy a magnificent view of the bay of Milos from this position.
But back to the Christians catacombs. Those were discovered in the 1830s by children playing in the area. “They were first excavated in 1834 but tomb raiders had already been here years before and taken everything, including the bones,” Belivanakis said.
The catacombs were used by the early Christians first as a burial site and later as a place of worship and a refuge from persecution by the Romans. Only three sections of the sizable necropolis have been uncovered but it is estimated that as many as 2,000 Christians may have been buried here.
“The small chambers above the larger ones were used for infant graves,” Belivanakis said. “You can still see the inscriptions on the walls used by the early Christians, used as passwords for each other … You can see the symbols for Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end of the Greek alphabet. For Christians, Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end.”
Although the Bible doesn’t name Milos as the place where Saint Paul was shipwrecked on his way from Athens to Crete, Belivanakis said that scholars believe from the descriptions that the island must have been Milos.
“It is like we are an undiscovered island for most people,” Belivanakis said. “We are a little gem out here by ourselves.”
Story and photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch
Tightly clutching her Bible, Narcissa Whitman tries to explain why she chose to embark on a path that eventually took her life in a horrible massacre. The slaughter also destroyed the very people she sought to help.
Of course, this isn’t the real Narcissa Whitman. She died Nov. 29, 1847.
The woman standing before us on the S.S. Legacy is Assistant Heritage Leader Julie Kehr giving a first-person presentation of that long ago pioneer woman – using journals and letters that Narcissa Whitman herself once wrote.
Soon, the Legacy will be docking in Walla Walla, Washington, and we will be visiting the mission where Whitman lived and died. Voyages on Un-Cruise Heritage Adventure are designed to showcase the history of wherever we are cruising.
For my week aboard the Legacy, we are visiting the Columbia and Snake rivers, following in the footsteps of Lewis & Clark and other pioneers who paved the way through this vast territory.
BECOMING A MISSIONARY
In Narcissa Whitman’s case, the young woman had long wanted to be a missionary, to help others and to lead a more adventurous life. Born March 14, 1808, in Prattsburg, New York, Narcissa met her future husband, Dr. Marcus Whitman, at a prayer meeting at her parent’s home.
The two married in 1836 and set out on an arduous journey for the Oregon country with another missionary couple, Henry and Eliza Spalding. Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding were the first white women to cross the Continental Divide. After a difficult eight-month journey, the couples arrived in Oregon territory in December 1836.
The Whitmans built their mission seven miles west of Walla Walla, Washington. The Spaldings settled among the Nez Perce in what is today Lewiston, Idaho. At first, the Cayuse Indians were interested in what the Whitman missionaries had to share.
However, a clash of cultures resulted. Narcissa never learned the native language and she found it frustrating that so few Cayuse spoke English. She also did not understand why the Cayuse attitude toward privacy and property ownership differed so greatly from hers.
Narcissa complained bitterly that the Cayuse peeked in her windows and wouldn’t stay out of her house. Accustomed to free access to one another’s lodges, the Cayuse resented Narcissa’s efforts to maintain privacy and lock them out.
The situation eased a bit when Narcissa gave birth to her only child. Born March 14, 1837 – Narcissa’s own 29th birthday – the girl was named Alice Clarissa after her grandmothers. She was the first non-native child to be born in what is now Washington state. The Cayuse were intrigued by the baby who soon began to pick up the Cayuse language as well as English.
“She is a great talker,” Narcissa wrote in a Sept. 8, 1838, letter to her sister, adding that the Indians were “very much pleased to think she is going to speak their language so readily. They appear to love her much.”
Sadly, that bond between the Cayuse and Whitmans was broken on June 23, 1839, when 2-year-old Alice Clarissa wandered away and drowned in the river behind the mission house. Narcissa was inconsolable and more distressed than ever at the missionary life she had chosen for herself.
FAILING TO HEED WARNINGS TO LEAVE
In a sad letter home on Oct. 6, 1841, Narcissa told her family she had doubts that she was really suited to be a missionary. “I am entirely unfitted for the work, and have many gloomy, desponding hours,” she confessed.
Over the years, Cayuse tribal leaders made several efforts to get the Whitmans to leave but returning home would have made the missionaries outcasts and failures. Tension reached a peak in the fall of 1847 when more than 5,000 immigrants arrived in Oregon. One of the wagon trains brought in a virulent form of measles. Although Marcus Whitman was able to use his medical skills to save some of the pioneers, he seemed no help for the Cayuse who had no immunity against such “white man’s” diseases.
Estimates say that half the Cayuse living near the Whitman mission died in a period of two months. Some in the tribe blamed Whitman, saying he was poisoning them to take their land for whites.
It all came to a head on Nov. 29, 1847, when some Cayuse seized the Whitman Mission, killing 13 people and taking 46 others captive. Narcissa was shot in the chest. Marcus was killed with a tomahawk in the back. After a month, the captives were ransomed for tobacco, guns and blankets.
The massacre became a pivotal event in Northwest history. Fellow missionaries Henry and Eliza Spalding were ordered home by the governing American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. White settlers demanded action, which all but decimated the Cayuse tribe.
“The massacre had a ripple effect,” said Ryan Downs, heritage leader on the S.S. Legacy. “The Cayuse were hunted down by the military … Five were hanged and many more were punished. The punishment was felt by tribes across the Columbia plateau.”
Ensuing battles eventually led to treaties that stripped Native Americans of much of their land and confined them to reservations. The Whitman Mission today is part of the National Park Service. A visit starts with a movie about the mission and a tour through the museum which offers displays and artifacts, including a Bible that belonged to the Whitmans.
Outside the visitor center are foundation ruins of mission buildings, plus a restored irrigation ditch, millpond and orchard. Visitors are invited to walk along with a portion of the original Oregon Trail – the 2,000-mile-long path from Independence, Missouri, to the mouth of the Columbia River. Wagon wheels left the road so deeply rutted that it still remains visible at the mission.
Atop a hill is the Whitman Memorial, built in 1897 on the 50th anniversary of the Whitman’s deaths. The 27-foot-high monument commemorates the 13 people who were killed at Whitman Mission. A Great Grave contains the remains of the 1847 massacre victims. A marble slab placed over the grave is inscribed with their names.
“The whole story is tragic on both sides,” Downs said. “It was a tragic misunderstanding that hurt both sides for a very long time.”
Story and photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch
If you’ve ever watched the television series Love Boat, you probably remember bartender extraordinaire Isaac. Now passengers on Princess Cruises can enjoy a special cocktail created by Isaac himself.
Fittingly, the sweet concoction is named “The Isaac.”
“Most people don’t know that while I was serving up drinks on the Love Boat, I also became a licensed bartender in real life,” said Ted Lange, original Love Boat cast member who played Isaac the bartender.
“If a bartender recognizes me, he or she always wants me to try their special drink,” Lange said. “Now, I’m excited for everyone to try my special drink and I know they are going to love it. Like the song says, “Come aboard, the Isaac’s waiting for you.”
The refreshing love potion includes white rum as a salute to Lange’s favorite cruise destination – the Caribbean. Pomegranate syrup channels the famous red jacket Lange’s character wore. And two pineapple leaves as garnish are a tribute to his character’s two-finger signature point.
“The Love Boat put Princess Cruises on the map, bringing the romance and adventure of our cruise vacations into millions of viewers’ homes for the decade it was on air. So, who better to create a special cocktail celebrating love and romance at sea than Ted, who turned his character into the world’s most famous bartender,” said Rai Caluori, the line’s executive vice president of guest experience and product development.
“The Isaac” is the line’s latest new onboard offering furthering Princess’ love quotient. Last fall, the cruise line unveiled “Chocolate Journeys,” an enticing array of onboard chocolate offerings including custom-crafted desserts, chocolate and wine pairings, and exquisite chocolate bites created by one of the top names in artisan chocolate, Norman Love.
The new drink is being served on all Princess cruise ships. But if you aren’t lucky enough to be on a Princess cruise, here is Lange’s special recipe to enjoy “The Isaac” at home.
2 ounces white rum
2 ounces pomegranate syrup
½ ounce fresh lime juice
Splash of club soda
2 pineapple leaf spears
Preparation: Fill highball glass with 2/3 ice or desired amount of ice. Into a cocktail shaker, add ice, white rum, pomegranate syrup and lime juice. Shake and strain into highball glass, filling just to the top of the ice. Top off with club soda and garnish with a fresh lime slice and two pineapple spears.
Story by Jackie Sheckler Finch. Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises.
The movie musical The Sound of Music and Princess Cruises both commemorate their 50th birthday this year. As part of the celebration, Princess Cruises is making the seas come alive with the sound of music.
The cruise line is screening the movie on all 18 of its cruise ships, as well as featuring sing-alongs, trivia games and other movie-themed experiences throughout the year.
“The Sound of Music isn’t just a classic film – watching the movie together is a classic family activity,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “In a year in which both Princess Cruises and The Sound of Music mark their golden anniversaries, this is truly a fun and memorable way to join in the celebrations.”
Princess Cruises also is offering movie fans chances to win a free cruise and a $500 onboard gift card every month through December 2015.
The Sound of Music will be shown once on every sailing throughout 2015 on Princess Cruises giant Movies Under the Stars top deck screens, with the sing-a-long version featured in the Princess Theater. Songbirds can meet and rehearse for a special The Sound of Music edition of Princess Pop Choir and a themed Trivia Challenge will test fans’ movie knowledge.
A phenomenon upon its debut in 1965, The Sound of Music won five Academy Awards, including “Best Picture” and continues to inspire audiences around the world with unforgettable songs including “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Every Mountain,” and “The Sound of Music.”
Starring Oscar winners Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the film follows Maria (Andrews), the warm-hearted young woman who brings joy and music to Captain von Trapp (Plummer) and his seven children.
Story by Jackie Sheckler Finch. Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises
Remember bell-bottom pants, flower power and smiley faces popping up everywhere? John Wayne and Doris Day ruled the silver screen. And shows like Gilligan’s Island, Get Smart, Lassie and Gunsmoke were beamed into homes on small TV sets.
It was the ‘60s, of course. For everyone who was a part of the love generation – or for those who always wished they were – the 2016 Flower Power Cruise aboard the Celebrity Constellation will be revisiting those memorable years.
For five sun-soaked days and nights of peace and music aboard the Celebrity Constellation, the Flower Power Cruise will come alive with the spirit, the music and the memories of the 1960s.
“There is no generation that is as closely tied to an era than the children of the ‘60s,” said Executive Producer Alan Rubens.
“Their connection to the culture, the music and each other runs deep – bringing them together to revel in the greatest moments of the decade will create a whole new bond for everyone there,” Rubens said.
Headlining the cruise will be some of the most popular singers and musicians who played the soundtrack of the ‘60s – Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice, Felix Cavalieres’ Rascals, Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, The Grass Roots, The Guess Who, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Jefferson Starship, Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie and more.
Departing Feb. 29, 2016, from Ft. Lauderdale, the Flower Power Cruise will include stops in Cozumel, Mexico and Key West before returning to port on March 5, 2016.
“What I experienced in the ‘60s still shapes the way I think and live to this day,” said Mark Volman, “Flo” from The Turtles Featuring Flo & Eddie.
“But I miss being surrounded by the people and the movement – there was nothing like it. Bringing the music and the culture and the feel of that decade together with the people who love it most is going to be one wild ride,” Volman said.
More than 20 live performances will highlight the five-night cruise, along with special events that bring guests side by side with the superstars of the ‘60s for meet and greets, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, wine tasting, live retro game shows, groovy trivia contests and a Make Love Not War vow renewal ceremony. Special themed nights including a Black Light Ball, Psychedelic ‘60s Dance Party and Bell Bottom Blast.
The Flower Power Cruise is the newest charter in the StarVista LIVE fleet of cruises which includes Malt Shop Memories Cruise, Soul Train Cruise and Country Music Cruise.
The wind is howling. Leaves are skittering to the ground. It’s that bewitching time of year and Disney Cruise Line will be treating guests to a wickedly good time. Disney ships will be transformed into a ghoulish wonderland filled with frightfully fun events and activities, special decorations, unique menu items in the restaurants and themed parties on deck.
The 2015 Halloween on the High Seas takes place on most voyages aboard all Disney Cruise Line ships from September through October. This extra-spooky celebration features Halloween-themed parties, lively entertainment and elaborate décor, including The Pumpkin Tree, which magically transforms throughout the cruise.
Other special experiences include:
- Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, a celebration in addition to Pirate Night with games, dancing and lots of candy! Beloved Disney characters, wearing special Halloween costumes just for the occasion, will join guests for this fun-filled costume party.
- A Nightmare Before Christmas—Sing and Scream, an interactive movie experience where guests are part of the action, followed by a meet-and-greet with Jack Skellington and Sally.
- Haunted Stories of the Sea, where the bravest cruisers gather under the stars to hear some true—or not so true—tales of the sea told by a mysterious sea captain storyteller.
- Creepy Cabaret, a party in the atrium featuring favorite Halloween-themed music performed live by a band of ghostly musicians.
- Halloween Isn’t Just For Kids: For adults, the nighttime entertainment district on each Disney ship becomes the ghoulish setting for a costume contest and a Villainous Takeoveron the dance floor.
- Spooky Movies:To get guests into the spirit of the season, Halloween-themed movies will be shown in Buena Vista Theatre, on Funnel Vision by the family pool and in guest staterooms.
- Ghoulish Delights: Disney Cruise Line chefs have conjured some very special treats for Halloween, including chocolate cake with pumpkin filling, spider cakes and “Spooky Juice.”
- More spooky fun includes mask making and a ghostly takeover of ship announcements.
Photo by Disney Cruise Line
Bring along your dancing shoes for a special chance to dance at sea with “Dancing with the Stars” Mirrorball Trophy winners and America’s favorite TV mom Florence Henderson on Holland America Line.
The voyages mark the final chance to experience “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” before the partnership concludes. Tony Dovolani and Kym Johnson, along with celebrity personality Carson Kressley and Florence Henderson will be on the cruise departing Ft. Lauderdale on Jan. 3 and the Champions Cruise on Jan. 10, 2016.
When ms Nieuw Amsterdam sets sail for the Caribbean on two seven-day voyages, guests will be able to watch these four fan favorites take the stage to perform routines from the ABC hit television show as well as exciting new choreographed dances.
Additional events on these cruises include dance lessons with the ship’s professional dancers; a special fashion show featuring glamorous show costumes from the TV show; and a chance to meet the stars, ask questions and take photos with them.
“We are thrilled to have the talents of Tony, Kym, Carson and Florence entertaining and mingling with our guests on these last two special theme cruises,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line.
“And the Champions Cruise on the Jan. 10 sailing features the exciting grand finale dance-off following a year of guest competitions, and we look forward to crowning a new Mirrorball Trophy winner with the help of these fabulous stars.”
The partnership between Holland America Line and “Dancing with the Stars” the last few years has been popular with passengers, Ashford said. “The program added an engaging element to our cruises that many guests embraced with passion and dedication. We are thankful to ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and BBC Worldwide for an amazing run.”
For a recap about the sea competition, every cruise that departed on or after Sept 21, 2014, and continuing with cruises that end by Nov. 24, 2015, every sailing on all 15 ships in the Holland America Line fleet features exclusive “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea.”
Included are complimentary dance lessons with the ship’s dance pros and a dance competition that gives guests an opportunity to compete for a change to represent their ship on the Champions Cruise. Winners of the guest competitions with the highest scores from each of Holland America Line’s ships receive a free ocean-view stateroom for two on the Champions Cruise. And maybe they will bring home the coveted Mirrorball Trophy and title of Holland America Line’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champion. There will be one winner from each ship on the Jan. 10, 2016, Champions Cruise.
Fans of the TV show probably already know the names. Tony Dovolani is a 19-season veteran of the show – the longest running dance pro – who took home the top prize during the all-star season. Kym Johnson has been on the show for 17 seasons and is a two-time Mirrorball Trophy winner. Carson Kressley was a season 13 participate and is also an Emmy-winning television star, celebrity stylist, author and fashion designer. Florence Henderson kicked up her heels on the TV dance show during season 11 but she is best known as matriarch Carol Brady on the classic TV series “The Brady Bunch.”
Story by Jackie Sheckler Finch. Photo courtesy of Holland America Line
To celebrate the new Dr. Seuss book What Pet Should I Get? Tampa Bay Rays all-star Evan Longoria and Carnival Cruise Line have teamed up to help animal shelters. Longoria will be donating $100 to Pet Pal Animal Shelter for every home run he hits during the 2015 season. Carnival will be matching that donation.
Carnival also sponsored special readings of the book by Longoria aboard the Carnival Paradise in Tampa and broadcaster Angela Hill aboard Carnival Dream in New Orleans. In addition, Carnival is donating money to the Tampa Bay and Louisiana Chapters of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“Carnival is the No. 1 cruise line for families and we’re delighted to team up with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to bring the joy of reading to kids with these special presentations in Tampa and New Orleans while supporting local animal rescue organizations,” said Carnival’s president Christine Duffy.
“The kids were absolutely thrilled to have been treated to a reading of the first new Dr. Seuss book in 25 years and our most sincere thanks to Evan and Angela, as well as the SPCA, for the valuable work they do each and every day,” she added.
The author, whose real name was Theodor “Ted” Seuss Geisel, died in 1991 at the age of 87. When his widow, Audrey Geisel, was remodeling the home after her husband’s death, she found a box of text and sketches. She set it aside and 22 years later – in the fall of 2013- the box was rediscovered.
Audrey Geisel said she was not surprised to find an unpublished book since her husband always worked on multiple projects at the same time. The book What Pet Should I Get? was likely written between 1958 and 1962. It features the same brother and sister seen in Dr. Seuss’ 1960 classic One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.
Wearing Dr. Seuss’s signature striped hat and surrounded by SPCA rescue dogs, Longoria and Hill read What Pet Should I Get? to happy children. Following the reading, children and adults joined The Cat in the Hat, Sam I Am, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 for Carnival’s popular Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends, part of Carnival’s exclusive Seuss at Sea program.
Launched in 2014, Seuss at Sea is a fleet wide program featuring youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences inspired by the world and words of Dr. Seuss. The program includes such fun activities as the Seuss-a-palooza Parade and Story Time, as well as character interactions, Dr. Seuss toys and games and popular movies.
Photo by Carnival Cruise Line
Relax aboard a Carnival cruise ship and sip GIFFT Pinot Noir Rosé wine as you watch the ocean roll. The new wine was officially launched this week by “Today” show host Kathie Lee Gifford as part of her GIFFT wine collection.
“I love that I’m launching our Pinot Noir Rosé aboard Carnival with whom I’ve had such a fantastic partnership for so many years now,” Gifford said in a news release. “The fact that we can expand on that relationship through a love of wine is just all the better. I can’t imagine a better spot for folks to enjoy a glass of GIFFT wine than while relaxing out on the ocean aboard a Carnival ship.”
The new brand joins the GIFFT Red Blend and Chardonnay that were introduced fleet wide aboard Carnival ships earlier this year. The limited-edition Pinot Noir Rosé is 100 percent estate-grown and features ripe strawberry, raspberry and red apple aromas to exhibit bright fruit flavors framed by a crisp juicy acidity.
The wine was created with California-based Scheid Relax on a Carnival cruise and Family Wines, one of the largest vineyard owners in Monterey County known for having the longest growing season in California.
Carnival is the only cruise line featuring GIFFT wines. In its tasting ratings, Wine Enthusiast magazine rated the GIFFT red with a 91 of a possible 100 points while giving the chardonnay 88 points.
“Our guests have really embraced GIFFT wines to make them among the most popular offerings on our wine list,” said Eddie Allen, Carnival’s vice president of beverage operations. “The aromas and flavors of this rosé are very food friendly and complement so much of Carnival’s vast shipboard culinary offerings.”
Gifford originally became associated with the “Fun Ship” brand in the 1980s when Carnival launched the cruise industry’s first national television campaign. She appeared in the “If You Could See Me Now” and “Ain’t We Got Fun?” ads.
Story by Jackie Sheckler Finch. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines