Tuesday, June 26, 2012


MIAMI, June 26, 2012 – For the ninth consecutive year, Royal Caribbean International placed first among 28 cruise lines in the 2012 Canadian Travel Press Agents’ Choice Awards.
            “We are honored to be recognized as the top cruise line for the ninth consecutive year by our valued travel agent partners in Canada,” said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of Sales, Trade Support and Services, Royal Caribbean International. “This recognition re-affirms our ongoing and unwavering support of the travel agent community - what we call Loyal to You Always. Our commitment to building meaningful relationships through personal interaction with travel agents is one of the ways that sets Royal Caribbean apart.”
             "We are thrilled to receive such a special award from our valued travel agent partners who help make Royal Caribbean International one of the world’s top global cruise brands," said Lisa Connell director of Sales & Marketing Canada, Royal Caribbean International. "It's been an exciting year with the introduction of a dedicated sales team catering to Canadian travel agents and vacationers in order to further Royal Caribbean International success in this market."
            Loyal to You Always is Royal Caribbean’s continuous commitment to the travel agent community and is built on four principles: Personal interaction and support; Valuable resources that get results; Increasing profits for travel agents; and award-winning travel agent education and development programs. Royal Caribbean has always been loyal to travel agents and they have overwhelmingly responded to the cruise line’s commitment to the industry with recognitions such
as this.
            Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 22 innovative ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.
            Royal Caribbean provides a world-class vacation experience with a wide range of signature onboard amenities, entertainment, and award-winning family programming. The cruise line has a 40-year history of giving guests the Royal Advantage – the most innovative cruise ships, exciting itineraries to popular destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for nine consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow Royal Caribbean on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean or on Twitter, @RoyalCaribbean. Travel professionals should visit www.cruisingpower.com or call (800) 327-2056.
            Royal Caribbean International is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSX: RCL), a global cruise vacation company that also operates Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Pullmantur, CDF Croisieres de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture with TUI AG.  The company owns a combined total of 40 ships and has one under construction and two under agreement.
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Saturday, June 2, 2012


By Darlene Donloe

It’s time to get serious about the car you drive. There are lots of vehicles from which to pick. Here are some stellar choices. Below are reviews on the 2012 Beetle Turbo, Nissan Pathfinder, Quest 3.5 LE, Passat SE and Tiguan.



This is not your momma’s Beetle. This is a Beetle Turbo, baby and it has the 200 horsepower to prove it.   For a small vehicle, it’s big on looks, power and prestige. It goes from 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds. The interior is spacious and the ride is smooth and comfy. The steering is A-OK and the hatchback is practical. Everyone loves the Beetle. It’s legendary.

VEHICLE AT A GLANCE:  2.0L turbocharged, 200 horsepower, 207 lbs-ft. torque in line, 4 cylinder direct injection engine, six-speed dual-clutch automatic, electro-mechanical power steering, independent front and rear suspension,, electronic stability control, anti-slip regulation,  18” alloy wheels and more.

MSRP: $29,865
THE DRIVE: Turbo-licious!



I like this car! This car is fun and it’s easy to drive.  But, in reality, I can also say – this truck is fun and it’s easy to drive. Take your pick. It’s roomy, it’s cool looking, it’s efficient, it’s sturdy and it’s still trendy!  Ok, to be honest, the Pathfinder hasn’t changed in a while. It’s skews toward a more mature audience. Can you say family vehicle? But the ride is still smooth enough and it’s well-balanced.

VEHICLE AT A GLANCE: Standard engine – 266-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6. There is an optional 310-hp, 5.6-liter V-8.  A flat-fold passenger seat in front, a 40/20/40-split second row, and a 50/50-split third row—with the third row only good for kids. Multi-function display, power driver's seat, power-adjustable pedals, upgraded seat fabric, illuminated steering-wheel audio controls, rear climate control, fog lamps, running boards, a garage-door opener, and a rear-view monitor. The Silver Edition adds Bluetooth, heated seats, leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, and more. Depending on the model: Intelligent Key, XM Satellite Radio, and upgraded Bose audio with ten speakers, a heated steering wheel, leather seats, and wood trim on the top LE. For 2012, the LE includes navigation, and the Silver Edition can be optioned with a moonroof and DVD player.

MSRP: $20,290-$43,970
FUEL ECONOMY: 2WD-4WD - 13-15/18-22

2012 QUEST 3.5 LE

THE CAR: 2012 QUEST 3.5 LE

Yes, it’s a minivan. It’s big, it’s bold and it’s confident! Teens and young adults might not have it on the top of their lists, but it’s a great vehicle for families. It seats up to seven. It’s not only spacious, it has some power under its hood.

When it comes to safety, features include antilock disc brakes with stability control, traction control, brake assist, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front-seat active head restraints.

Dash controls are within a reasonable reach for driver. Power is right, steering is good, turns are tight. It does well with bumps in the road, thanks to the suspension.

VEHICLE AT A GLANCE: 3.5 liter DOHC 24-VALVE 6-Cylinder, 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft. torque, 4-wheel vented disc brakes, Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), 18” alloy wheels, 8-way power driver’s seat with memory function, 4-way power front passenger’s seat, and heated front seats.

MSRP: $43,715



Make no mistake about it, you will like this car. Why? For the money, it rocks!  Volkswagen also wants you to like this car.  This is a solid, practical car with several engine choices including: a 3.6-liter V6 and a 2.0-liter turbo diesel four .  It looks good, it’s comfortable, it handles well and has nice, wide leather seats and adequate interior space. The dash is cool. You don’t have to guess what a thousand buttons are for Thank you for that, Volkswagen!!! There is lots of legroom in the rear and a big trunk

VEHICLE AT A GLANCE: 2.5 L, 170 horsepower, 177 lbs. ft. torque, in line five cylinder engine, partial zero emission vehicle,  hydraulic power steering, electronic stability control, anti slip regulation, 17”alloy wheels, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, anti-lock braking system.

MSRP: $25,595
THE DRIVE: Whoo Hoo!



The Tiguan, available in the S, SE and SEL levels, is practical for a single person or a small family. Technically, it’s not a sporty car, but it’s sleek chrome grille and other chrome accents give it some sporty overtones.  Space is not an issue and there is plenty of storage in the front of the cabin. Some cars are a bear when it comes to connecting the Bluetooth, but not this car. I was able to pair my phone quite easily.  The only downside is that occasionally, during acceleration, the car seems a bit sluggish. However, after a minute or so, the speed kicks in.

VEHICLE AT A GLANCE: Features include: redesigned exterior, roof rails, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED, daytime running lights and AFS, panoramic sunroof and keyless access with push-button start, power tilting/sliding panoramic sunroof, RNS 315 navigation system with touchscreen, SIRIUS satellite radio,  8" alloy wheels, 3-spoke, leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel, height-adjustable, with telescopic steering column, Chrome application to exterior side window frames and doors, silver roof rails

MSRP: $22,840–$30,525
THE DRIVE: Me likey!