Betty White Stars In Hilarious Air New Zealand Safety Video

Betty White Gavin MacLeod Air New Zealand Safety Video
Photo: Air New Zealand

Look around any flight shortly after boarding and you’ll notice that at least 80 percent of your fellow passengers have their head buried in their newspapers or are busy scrutinizing their iPads. Watching the safety video just isn’t a priority for most travelers, even if it should be.

That’s why Air New Zealand likes to put an entertaining twist on its in-flight safety demonstrations, creating videos that get people watching -– even when they’re not on a plane. Previous videos have included elves, dwarfs and wizards, inspired by the movie, “The Hobbit”; an outdoor video featuring nature survival expert Bear Grylls; and a demonstration of safety techniques by the All Blacks rugby team.The latest Air New Zealand safety video to hit the skies features superstar comedian Betty White. The veteran actor visits the fictional Second Wind Retirement Resort where she presents the airline’s safety tips “Old School Style” thanks to the aid of formerMary Tyler Moore Showco-star Gavin MacLeod and a host of other elderly jokesters. Golf carts, hearing aids, and other retirement village props are used to demonstrate safety techniques. But we don’t want to spoil all the jokes for you. Check out the video for yourself below.

The Love Boat Makes Final Voyage

Quail Love Boat
StefanoF, Flickr

The iconic MS Pacific, better known as “The Love Boat,” has made her final voyage.

Purchased for 2.5 million euro by a Turkish ship recycling company and taken to a scrapyard on the Aegean Sea coast of Turkey, the cruise ship will be stripped for metal and parts, as a renovation of the 42-year-old ship would have been too costly.

On the Aaron Spelling comedy, the Pacific Princess sailed between California and the Mexican Riviera from 1977 to 1986, with cruise director Julie, bartender Isaac and Captain Stubing at the helm. The actual ship had been decommissioned years ago and was languishing in Italy’s Genoa port, after sailing for Princess Cruises until 2002 and later Quail Cruises.Take a photo tour of the ship in its glory days here.

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A Tale Of Two Cruise Ships Under Construction

cruise ships

Coming up this spring, Princess Cruises and Norwegian cruise lines – two of the most popular cruise lines with mainstream cruise travelers – have new cruise ships coming out. Considering that both are under construction right now and both offer sister ships being built for later delivery, choosing one might be difficult for cruise travelers. Before we get too far down the road, let’s take a look at the two new ships, what they have to offer and how construction is coming along.

cruise shipsNorwegian Cruise Line has a whole lot of New Yorkers talking about new Norwegian Breakaway, and for good reason. To be based in New York City year-round, the 4,000-passenger ship has been customized for the New York market with everything from shops, restaurants and bars to Sabrett New York hot dog carts positioned around the ship.

Partnering with the New York City Rockettes (Godmothers of the ship), pop artist Peter Max (custom city skyline hull design) and others, Norwegian is making every attempt to pierce the New York market; it even set up “warming stations” around the city this winter.

That’s all in addition to some over-the-top features on the ship set to blow away other new builds that has everyone talking about this new Norwegian ship that will be sailing to Florida, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

%Gallery-179356%An oceanfront boardwalk called the Waterfront on Norwegian Breakaway will combine dining and drinking venues with entertainment and gaming. 678 Ocean Place will be a hub of activity spanning three decks that features seven more dining venues, 12 bars and lounges coupled with shops and other entertainment options.

Continuing what looks to be a pre-sold success story with Norwegian Breakaway, sister ship Norwegian Getaway will debut in 2014, claiming Miami, Florida, as its hometown. Embedding a South Florida theme in the new ship, Norwegian tapped David Le Batard (AKA the artist known as “LEBO”) to create art for the new ship’s hull. Set to debut in February 2014, we’ll have more on that one later.

First, here’s a gallery of photos featuring first-up Norwegian Breakaway, under construction:

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Royal Princess marks the first new build for the cruise line since 2008’s Ruby Princess, the last of Princess Cruises popular grand class ships. They built nine of those and already have a sister ship to Royal Princess in the works too.

Royal Princess
will be a careful evolution of the Princess product with a ship laid out in typical Princess patterns. Focusing on their mantra to let passengers “escape completely” Princess Cruises has designed a ship totally around that concept. It’s a success formula that has made Princess popular over the years and keeps travelers coming back for more.

But Princess goes a bit over the top themselves too, adding an over-the-water “SeaWalk” that will extend 28 feet over the side of the ship, offering views of the ocean 128 feet below off the ship’s starboard side. On the port side, a SeaView bar will be positioned to offer cocktails and some great views. Here is what that venue and others should look like when complete:

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Top-deck features are a focus of cruise ships industry-wide lately and Royal Princess is no exception. This Princess ship starts with a new adults-only pool surrounded by plush private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water. Two more pools will flank a “tropical island” that will have pool seating by day then become a dance club with a dancing water and light show by night.

Next year’s Regal Princess will be a twin sister to 141,000 ton Royal Princess, complete with a central atrium Piazza area that is 50% larger area than previous versions and casual dining options that include an Italian gelateria, a seafood bar and expanded seating in the passenger-favorite International Cafe.

Under construction right now in Venice, Princess Cruises sent along these photos from the shipyard:

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We will be heading to Venice, Italy, at the end of March for a first-hand look at construction of Royal Princess in-progress. Stay tuned for updates.

So which ship to choose? Here are some points to consider:

  • The value is there for either ship. Both will stack up nicely compared to land vacations to the same places these ships sail, allowing passengers to unpack once but visit multiple destinations.
  • Norwegian Breakaway adds an additional choice, year-round for cruise travelers departing from the upper East coast, eliminating the need for airfare and sailing to Bermuda, the Bahamas and Florida.
  • Royal Princess will sail seven-night itineraries from Florida’s Port Everglades to the Eastern Caribbean from November 2013 through April 2014 after a Mediterranean season that begins June 9, 2013.
  • Traditional cruisers will find their dreams fulfilled on Royal Princess with standard features the line has become famous for – amped up for today’s traveler. Think: turbo Love Boat.
  • Norwegian Breakaway promises an entertainment experience as good if not better than the bar-raising elements added on their last new build, Norwegian Epic. Think: epic flavor, easy to swallow.

[Photo Credits- Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises]

Preview: Princess Cruises New Royal Princess

Princess Cruises Royal Princess

Princess Cruises will debut their latest cruise ship, Royal Princess in July of 2013. The new ship promises to be everything fans of “The Love Boat” line have become accustomed to. At the same time, new Royal Princess has a renewed look for Princess Cruises with updated classic and new features that may very well prove appealing to fans of other lines as well.

“Royal Princess will not only be Princess Cruises newest and largest cruise ship, it will be its most distinguished,” cruise expert Stewart Chiron, CEO CruiseGuy.com told Gadling,

Over the past decade, the cruise industry has pumped out new ships like there was no tomorrow. Luxury cruise liners of all shapes and sizes capitalized on the latest technology to bring over-the-top onboard programming and features. We saw Royal Caribbean roll out gigantic Oasis and Allure of the Seas blowing away every ship in the ocean with enough attractions and diversity to occupy 6000 travelers without seeming crowded. Celebrity Cruises focused on and perfected their modern Solstice class series of ships, raising the bar on mainstream luxury. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic heralded a new era in at-sea entertainment and Carnival Cruise Lines paced calculated, steady growth resulting in Carnival Breeze, a flagship like no other.

Princess Cruises
too grew during that time, adding several more cruise ships but slowed down growth over the last half of the decade, carefully perusing what they might do next.

Princess Cruises new Royal Princess, due out in June of 2013, looks to be a careful evolution of all of their former work. Rabidly loyal Princess fans will feel quite at home with a ship laid out in typical Princess patterns, with all of the Princess Cruises signature onboard programming, features and staff. The big differences look to be a focused concentration on what made the line of “The Love Boat” popular over the years and keeps travelers coming back for more.

Princess cruises royal princessThe central atrium Piazza area of Royal Princess looks to be the classic liner hub of activity it always has been with new features and capitalizing on the popularity of tried and true venues. Added to the 50% larger area are new casual dining options that include an Italian gelateria, a seafood bar and expanded seating in the passenger-favorite International Cafe.

Also in the atrium of Royal Princess, Celebrations, a new gift shop has flowers, gifts, chocolates and other items for sale to help celebrate a special occasion. Vines
Wine Bar will feature tapas, sushi and wine by the glass. New to Royal Princess, an adjacent extension takes passengers to the shore excursion and passenger services desks. Next door is signature Italian eatery Sabatinis, featuring a new gourmet a la carte menu.

On upper decks but still in the Piazza area via either of the dual spiral staircases, showcased by a water and light feature, is an Italian-inspired cocktail venue Belinis Bar, Alfredos Pizzeria, the Photo and Video gallery and more.

princess cruises royal princessLike other new cruise ships, a great deal of attention is given to top deck features on Royal Princess.

At one time, a pool or two, a few hot tubs and plenty of lounge chairs made for a good top deck layout. Princess changed all that with their Movies Under The Stars concept years ago and other lines quickly followed.

Royal Princess continues that innovative tradition with new top deck features not before seen at sea.

New features include the first SeaWalk, a glass-floor walkway hovering 128 feet above the ocean, a nighttime interactive sound and light show featuring fountains shooting water 33 feet into the air and a 30% larger screen.

“Princess debuted the outdoor video screen and is the most copied feature on all ships following Caribbean Princess debut in 2004. Royal Princess’ Sea Walk, a previously introduced design on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas, will take passengers farther out over the ocean in the most unique fashion, providing outstanding views,” added Chiron.

princess cruises royal princessPrincess bent over backwards on the Royal Princess design to respect its Love Boat heritage that has served the line so well over the years.

The original Pacific Princess that sailed as TV’s Love Boat was a tiny 19,903 tons. At 141,000 tons, new Royal Princess is obviously a huge ship by comparison and a huge ship by today’s standards as well. But the way Princess has put this one together, it promises to have every bit as big a heart as the original that brought the line so far.

Princess Cruises has a series of videos about the construction and features of new Royal Princess. Here is one released this week about the new top-deck features:


[Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises]

Cruise line to offer immersive Hawaiian experience

immersive hawaiian experienceA Hawaiian cruise takes time no matter how it is done. Its either a long flight to Honolulu or a long sailing from the U.S. west coast with many days at sea. Princess Cruises, the line of the Love Boat, is taking advantage of that time at sea before arriving in Hawaii by offering new on-board programming aimed to prepare passengers for what lies ahead with an immersive Hawaiian experience.

“Our Hawaii sailings offer a wonderful way to enjoy both the spirit of the islands and opportunity to unwind with a leisurely ocean voyage,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “And our onboard programs will give them a true taste of Hawaii even as they sail.”

While at sea, passengers will experience a special “Aloha Spirit” program with Hawaii-themed activities, parties, menu items and learning opportunities. Included in the program are a number of hands-on ways for passengers to immerse themselves in all things Hawaii, such as language lessons, Lei making, playing the Ukulele, Hula dance lessons, Hawaii-themed culinary demonstrations and Kona coffee tastings.
While in port, local artisans will demonstrate traditional Hawaiian arts, including a special Ni’ihau shell lei making presentations by artists providing a unique look at the culture of the “forbidden island.” In Honolulu, passengers will also enjoy an entertaining hula show by children from one of the most-respected local hula halaus (schools). The onboard naturalist will also help cruisers identify local whales and dolphins with top-deck animal-spotting sessions.

Passengers will also dine on dishes inspired by Hawaii’s bountiful fare including fresh fruits such as pineapples and mangos, unique fish and seafood, luau staples such as roast pig, and treats like coconut and macadamia nuts.

Hawaiian Islands sailings begin a new season on September 28.

Can’t wait to get into all things Hawaii? Hawaii is a featured destination on the Princess Cruises blog, “50 Essential Experiences: The Travel Bucket List” in a post titled appropriately Homeward Bound- Aloha Style.


Flickr photo by Smart Destinations

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