in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Share Seeking to provide industry insight into the borrowers’ perspective when purchasing a mortgage, “”eLynx””:http://www.elynx.com/ has revealed the findings from its recent panel discussion with lenders and customers. To conduct its survey, eLynx, a portfolio company of “”American Capital””:www.americancapital.com/, assembled an advisory group that included both lending professionals and borrowers, tapping the participants for feedback on the initiatives that could improve the mortgage loan experience and reduce stress during the process.[IMAGE]eLynx’s panelists pointed to several key preferences that might enhance the customer’s comfort in mortgage lending, noting the need a consistent “”touch point”” for interaction. The advisory board specifically identified options they felt strongly about, [COLUMN_BREAK]such as an interactive portal for documentation and status updates from lenders.Borrowers on the panel also emphasized the desire to access information on pending loans from the device of their choice, stating that they want a “”flexible technology that can be accessed from any internet connection.”” Additionally, eLynx’s survey group indicated that the ability to sign documents electronically and submit supporting documents directly to the lender could successfully simplify the mortgage loan process.””In a market where everyone offers historically low rates, our customers understand that a positive interaction between a borrower and lender can help lenders differentiate themselves from their competition and win the borrower’s business,”” said Sharon Matthews, president and CEO of eLynx. “”The advisory panel was a unique opportunity for our lender-customers to share their experiences and develop a set of best practices that could help all lenders create a more positive online environment for their customers. We’ve incorporated these best practices into our latest service offerings.””Matthews went on to add, “”Today’s home loan borrowers are very comfortable with technology, including electronic signatures, but also prefer to have the option of both electronic and paper documents available to them. Lenders must have the flexibility to accommodate the preferences of all their customers without creating separate solutions for individual customers.”” eLynx Examines the Borrowers’ Perspective on Lending Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-05-24 Abby Gregory May 24, 2012 426 Views
“”WFG Title Insurance Company””:http://www.wfgnationaltitle.com/ is expanding its industry footprint. [IMAGE]The organization, which is part of the “”Williston Financial Group””:http://www.wfgnationaltitle.com/ family of companies, recently announced plans to open a retail title office in Irvine, California.[COLUMN_BREAK]To facilitate the opening and growth of its latest branch, WFG Title has hired David Noble as senior vice president for the Orange County area.Noble will be responsible for leading the company’s expansion efforts in the region, as well as oversight of strategic development and day-to-day operations.Prior to teaming up with WFT Title, Noble was part of a major national title underwriter. During his 28 years of industry experience, Noble has performed as a homebuilding division manager, major projects manager, director of operations, and senior underwriter.WFG Title’s executive vice president, Morgan Harris, stated, “”By delivering a superior level of service, we believe David and our Irvine team will command a powerful presence in the California marketplace. WFG clients will make use of their collective experience and knowledge to handle the most difficult challenges, and will likely come to appreciate their high standard of efficient, prompt and professional assistance.”” WFG Title Expanding in Orange County, California in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2012-07-02 Abby Gregory July 2, 2012 391 Views Share
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies DataQuick For-Sale Homes Home Prices Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-08-16 Andy Miller in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing A July monthly property intelligence report (PIR) conducted by “”DataQuick””:http://dataquick.com/, a provider of real estate information solutions, reveals a monthly and annual rise in home prices for every single participating U.S. county out of the 42 evaluated. [IMAGE]In fact, home prices have hiked an average of over 13 percent versus this time last year. Per DataQuick’s data, this rise in price has been directly linked to fewer foreclosures, limited property availability, and an overall decline in total amount of July property transactions. More specifically, 25 out of the 42 counties saw rises in home price tags well over the ten percent mark, with the counties represented running the gamut from mere one percent increases (Suffolk County, N.Y.), to peaking upwards of more than 30 percent (Sacramento County, Calif.). Such sudden and sharp spikes in home prices, paired alongside low sales volumes, could sound the alarm when it comes to a red alert regarding an overall housing market recovery. Gordon Crawford, Ph.D., vice president of analytics for DataQuick, agrees, stating that, “”We are seeing a direct correlation between home price appreciation and sales growth, as markets with the largest decrease in overall sales are those experiencing the most rapid increase in home prices.””Crawford continues by asserting that, “”While economic drivers including job growth and low interest rates are contributing to increases in demand nationwide, prices in markets with tight supplies of available properties are skyrocketing. The main concern in this situation is that it is unclear if strong home price increases would be happening in the presence of more normal sales volumes.””Other July findings include positive quarterly price growth in 41 of the 42 reported counties, sales spikes in 29 of the 42 (over the last month) and 37 of the 42 (over the last quarter), and 28 of the 42 (over the last year). Fewer foreclosures (26 of 42 over the last quarter; 28 of 42 over the last year) were also reported. price,Low Property Supply Sends July Prices Soaring August 16, 2013 434 Views Share
Nationally, asking prices rose 0.8 percent month-over-month and 2.8 percent quarter-over-quarter in April. Yet asking prices rose a mere 9.0 percent year-over-year, the smallest gain in 11 months, according to an analysis of data from Trulia’s Price Monitor and Rent Monitor. With monthly and quarterly increases holding steady, why are yearly increases slipping?One reason for the slippage is from a large price spike during the housing recovery in February and April of 2013, according to Trulia’s chief economist, Jed Kolko. Year-over-year changes in April 2014 no longer include these elevated months, dropping yearly asking price numbers.Asking prices are still relatively similar without the population of foreclosures. Trulia’s Price Monitor noted that monthly and quarterly gains were the same at 0.8 and 2.8 percent, respectively. Year-over-year gains were slightly less at 8.4 percent.Another reason cited by the company is a lag in construction, especially in housing markets with the biggest price rebounds. “The housing markets with the largest year-over-year asking-price increases in April 2014 were Riverside-San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Oakland, Sacramento, and Detroit, all of which are rebounding from steep price declines during the housing bust. However, big price rebounds are no guarantee that a local housing market has recovered,” Kolko said.Furthermore, construction permit data for 2013 from the U.S. Census revealed that markets with the largest price rebounds are still lagging in construction activity. Kolko notes that even in cities experiencing the largest booms in construction, metros like New York, Boston, or San Francisco, gains are for multi-unit buildings to be rented for apartments, not sold as condos.”Nearly all of the markets where asking prices rose most year-over-year still have much less construction than what’s normal for those markets. Instead, builders are building in markets that avoided the worst of the bust and are therefore not having big price rebounds today,” Kolko said.The slowdown of yearly price gains could be problematic for recent sellers, who are increasingly pricing their homes above market value in an effort to capitalize on what they perceive to be a seller’s market. in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Housing Recovery Losing Support from Prices Asking Prices Home Prices Housing Starts Trulia 2014-05-11 Colin Robins Share May 11, 2014 441 Views
Acquisitions Company News SWBC SWBC Lending Solutions 2014-10-28 Tory Barringer October 28, 2014 455 Views SWBC Launches SWBC Lending Solutions in Headlines, News, Uncategorized Out of San Antonio, diversified financial services firm SWBC announced the launch of SWBC Lending Solutions, a new provider of end-to-end offerings for the financial services industry.Created from the combination of SWBC’s LendingXpress and its recent acquisitions of Quality Valuation Services (QVS) and Equi-Trax Asset Solutions LP, SWBC Lending Solutions was launched to provide products and services to cover all of the settlement services offerings used in originations and default management.”We created SWBC Lending Solutions to provide an end-to-end solution that many financial institutions are asking for,” said SWBC Chairman Charlie Amato. “Compliance and vendor oversight regulations have forced financial institutions to limit the number of vendor partners they work with.”As part of the transaction, Equi-Trax’s Guy Taylor will serve as president of the new organization. Taylor has more than 30 years of senior level experience and led the development of his company’s unique line of hybrid collateral valuation products.Also coming to the new organization from Equi-Trax is Mark Weisgerber, who will serve as SVP and COO. He has more than 25 years of experience and has worked for the industry’s largest title underwriters.Joining SWBC Lending Solutions from QVS is Chuck Mureddu, who signed on as SVP and chief valuations officer. Mureddu also brings more than three decades of combined mortgage lending experience, including appraisal management, enterprise risk, loss mitigation, and whole loan exit strategies.Finally, from SWBC, Joe Ware joins the team as SVP of channel management. Ware has more than 25 years’ experience under his belt, having worked throughout his career in the collateral valuation and settlement services industries.SWBC’s own Ted Robinson will lead the organization as CEO.”We are excited about growing SWBC Lending Solutions,” said SWBC President Gary Dudley. “We will continue to look at strategic opportunities that build on our platform and add enterprise value.” Share
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen served as the lone witness in a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday titled “Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy.” In the semiannual report to Congress, Yellen was questioned about the highly anticipated rate increase, among other topics such as the overall state of the economy, inflation, employment, and monetary policy. She maintained her position on the uncertainty of the rate increase until further economic improvement occurs.”A decision by the Committee to raise its target range for the federal funds rate will signal how much progress the economy has made in healing from the trauma of the financial crisis,” Yellen said in a statement to the committee. “That said, the importance of the initial step to raise the federal funds rate target should not be overemphasized. What matters for financial conditions and the broader economy is the entire expected path of interest rates, not any particular move, including the initial increase, in the federal funds rate.”Chair Yellen updated the Committee on the progress of the economy toward meeting the four benchmarks for the economy as set by the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act (Humphrey Hawkins Act) of 1978: full employment, growth in production, price stability, and balance of trade and budget.Yellen also alluded back to her previous statement she made last week concerning federal funds rates remaining the same due to the increasing, but still lagging economy.Although Federal Reserve officials determined that economic activity is expanding moderately and job gains are increasing, the federal funds rate will remain the same at a target range of 0 to ¼ percent, according to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) June meeting held last week.The Committee determined that labor market indicators that underutilization of labor resources have diminished slightly, and growth in household spending has been moderate, while the housing sector showed some improvement. However, business fixed investment and net export remained soft. More importantly, inflation is still running below the Committee’s objective of 2 percent, reflecting earlier drops in energy prices and falling prices of non-energy imports. Looking ahead, the Committee still expects a moderate pace of GDP growth, with continuing job gains and lower energy prices supporting household spending. Interest Rate Hike Still a 2015 Possibility, Pending Economic Improvements July 15, 2015 528 Views The Fed Reserve Board of Governors also released a Monetary Policy Report in accordance with 2B of the Federal Reserve Act highlighting that the Federal Open Market Committee is committed to promoting maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.“Inflation, employment, and long-term interest rates fluctuate over time in response to economic and financial disturbances,” the report said. “Moreover, monetary policy actions tend to influence economic activity and prices with a lag. Therefore, the Committee’s policy decisions reflect its longer-run goals, its medium-term outlook, and its assessments of the balance of risks, including risks to the financial system that could impede the attainment of the Committee’s goals.”According to the report, the FOMC believes that exceptionally low target range of 0 to ¼ percent for the federal funds rate and has kept the Federal Reserve’s holdings of longer term securities at their current elevated levels to help maintain accommodating financial conditions.”The Committee has reiterated that in deciding how long to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate, it will consider a broad set of indicators to assess realized and expected progress toward its objectives,” the report said. “Since its April meeting, the Committee has stated it anticipates that raising the target range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term. In the June SEP, most policymakers anticipated that these conditions would be met sometime this year. The Committee continues to expect that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.” Share Federal Reserve House Financial Services Committee Monetary Policy Monetary Policy Report State of the Economy 2015-07-15 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News “The Committee continues to judge that the first increase in the federal funds rate will be appropriate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term,” said Janet Yellen, FOMC chair. “At our meeting that ended today, the Committee concluded that these conditions have not yet been achieved. It remains the case that the Committee will determine the timing of the initial increase in the federal funds rate on a meeting-by-meeting basis, depending on its assessment of incoming economic information and its implications for the economic outlook.”
October 1, 2018 910 Views in Daily Dose, Data, News The Strength of the Housing Market According to the latest American Enterprise Institute National Housing Market Indicators Report for Q2 2018, strong home price increases have not had much of an effect on the home sales market. The national home sales market remained solid, according to AEI, reporting that for the four quarters ending in Q2 2018, 6.37 million sales transactions were reported, up 160,000 transactions, or 2.6 percent, from the four quarters ending in Q2 2017.Additionally, the report notes that sales transactions increased 0.2 percent in Q2 compared to a year ago, marking the fifteenth consecutive quarter of such increases. This comes as the FHFA’s national house price index jumps 6.6 percent year over year in Q2 2018.The report also notes the credit easing from several federal agencies, meaning more “credit-challenged” borrowers have remained in the market.“By counter-cyclically buoying demand, these agencies are worsening the housing supply-demand imbalance, which is already at historical levels,” said AEI’s report.AEI states that while several agencies, such as the FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Veteran’s Association have been supporting the the recent boom through their credit easing, Fannie Mae’s credit easing has been “breathtaking.”Looking forward, AEI has four predictions for 2018. First, AEI predicts the limited single-family home inventory to become more limited through the year. The report also predicts the price boom which began in 2012 to continue, accelerated by the limited inventory.Third, first time buyers may face additionally affordability issues as home prices increase, especially on starter homes. First time buyers are also likely to face take on more risk of debt and default given these conditions.AEI found that Fannie Mae and the FHA have been competing for these first time buyers by easing credit access. The report notes that the high levels of the pace of credit easing has been “worrying”, and Freddie Mac has largely resisted the trend. AEI also states that with the tight supply-boosted seller’s market, credit easing will be reflected in the price increases.Find the complete data from AEI here. Health Houisng Market Inventory Prices 2018-10-01 Seth Welborn Share
2019 economic growth Fanne Mae GDP Growth Home Sales 2019-04-18 Mike Albanese April 18, 2019 816 Views Share Fannie Mae Forecasts Slow Economic Growth Ahead in Daily Dose, Government, journal, Market Studies The fading impact of last year’s fiscal stimulus and slow business investments and consumer spending resulted in a sluggish GDP growth outlook for April, according to the Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group’s (ESR) report.The report states economic growth for 2019 continues to be forecast at 2.2%, down from 3% in 2018.“Incoming data continues to support our call for slower economic growth in 2019,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan in the report. “Domestic demand growth has slowed as businesses and consumers exert greater caution amid trade uncertainty and capital markets volatility.”Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s March report foretasted a declaration in the overall economic growth predicting the U.S. GDP growth at 2.5% in 2019 and 1.8% in 2020.The ESR is expecting the second half of the year to yield strong economic growth as the effect of the partial government shutdown and the volatile fourth-quarter stock market diminish.One interest rate hike is still expected this year, but the timing of it has been pushed back to December, according to the report.Home sales in 2019 are projected to remain at 2018 levels and are supported by wage growth, slowing home-price appreciation, and lower mortgage rates. The ESR report states that purchase-mortgage origination volume is projected to rise amid flat home sales and slower home price appreciation.“On housing, the recent dip in mortgage rates to their lowest level in over a year—combined with wage gains and home price deceleration—supports our contention that home sales will stabilize in 2019,” Duncan said. “The greatest impediment to both sales and affordability continues to be on the supply side, as new inventory, particularly among existing homes, is being met quickly by strong demand—as evidenced by the already thin months’ supply hitting a new one-year low.”March’s report predicted the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate to remain unchanged from 2018 averaging 4.6%in 2019 before increasing to 4.9% in 2020.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has announced a new format for this year’s Cruise360 conference in Sydney, with a speaker line-up that features global industry leaders.Group president Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia Jan Swartz and Azamara Club Cruises president and CEO Larry Pimentel will both deliver keynote addresses at the August event.The refreshed format will include enhanced networking opportunities and professional development break-out sessions, as well as seminars and analysis into current cruise and travel industry trends. The dynamic trade show will give conference attendees the chance to meet with cruise line representatives as well as other significant cruise-related suppliers.The Sydney event will be held over two days for the first time, enabling delegates to take part in an inspection of the latest addition to P&O Cruises’ fleet, Pacific Explorer, on the second day.Joel KatzCLIA Australasia managing director Joel Katz said the organisation was excited to have secured Swartz and Pimentel as keynote speakers.“It’s an honour to have two of our industry’s top leaders take the stage at this important CLIA event,” Katz said.Cruise360 will take place on 25 August at the new Hyatt Regency in Sydney (formerly Four Points by Sheraton) followed by the ship inspection on 26 August. Early bird tickets are now available for $220. Online bookings can also be made for the Cruise360 ship inspection. CLIA is urging agents to act quickly as there is limited space.Top image: Cruise360 Australasia 2016 panel session CLIA AustralasiaCruise360
Top Stories According to Pro FootballFocus, Dockett didn’t exactly step up.It’s never a good thing when you can only generate asingle quarterback pressure on 52 pass rushes, but that’sexactly what Darnell Dockett (-6.1) contributed on Sunday.He was even worse against the run, managing just oneassist and topping-off his day with a penalty and missedtackle on Ravens running back Ray Rice with 8:48 left inthe game. Going into the game, Dockett was having a solidseason, so it will be interesting to see how he bouncesback from this one. Darnell Dockett, never one to really mince words, may havestuck his foot in his mouth, so to speak.The defensive lineman, who has not exactly dominated thisseason, tweeted last week, saying: I’m back in that kitchen with pyrex Vision!!! I gave6games to give the other cats some now its time to give 90a run. I’m back on my ****! We weren’t sure what that meant at the time, but after hisperformance Sunday against the Ravens one could assume“time to give 90 a run” has nothing to do with makingplays on the field. Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Comments Share D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Ouch. Dockett, one of the team’s captains, is also one of themost talented. However his dissatisfaction with thedefense has been documented, and you have to hope this wasjust a bad game, an aberration in what has been anotherwise solid, if unspectacular, season.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Do the Arizona Cardinals have a running game?Over their last two games — both wins — the Cards have rushed for 298 yards on 59 attempts. The yardage total accounts for 35 percent of the team’s entire rushing output this season, and has added a level of balance to an offense that desperately needed it.“We’re just executing,” running back Andre Ellington said Monday. “We’re just taking what we do in practice every day and getting better. Everyone’s on the same page. The offensive linemen are doing a great job and the backs are, too. And the receivers are as well, getting great blocks on the outside.” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments Share Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Ellington, along with Rashard Mendenhall and Stepfan Taylor, have received the bulk of the carries.Without the threat of the run, defenses could tee off on quarterback Carson Palmer. Now, they can’t.“It helps out a lot,” Ellington said. “It frees up those defensive linemen from taking shots at him and gives him an opportunity to throw the ball down field.”Ellington said the goal has always been to establish that balance, and head coach Bruce Arians noted that it has helped Palmer produce.“That’s probably the biggest thing that helped him be comfortable,” he said. It’s probably no coincidence that the running game has improved since Ellington’s role increased, as the sixth-round pick out of Clemson has gained 209 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries over the last two games. “It just comes in practice,” Ellington said of the increased role. “I bust my butt every day trying to get better. I feel like when I get to the game, it’s just me out there in the zone and I’m having fun. I feel like all the hard work comes during the week, so once the game comes it’s all easy.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo
Top Stories Shazier, from Ohio State, was a popular choice to be the Cardinals’ pick. A pass rushing linebacker, he would have made sense for the team.But of course, they never had the chance, and we’ll never really know if he was their top target. – / 7 The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 0 Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact There are only a couple reasons why a team would trade down in the NFL Draft. Sometimes, the organization just feels a need to acquire more picks, believing it has plenty of holes to fill and the best way to do it is with more players.Other times it’s because the player a team was targeting simply isn’t around when they’re on the clock. So, rather than take a player they don’t value as highly, the idea is to move down, get a player you still like (albeit not as much), and add a pick or two to help soften the blow. It appears the Arizona Cardinals may have gone with option two.Last Thursday, the team decided to make a deal with the New Orleans Saints that saw them move down from pick 20 to 27 while adding a third-round choice (91st overall).Monday, CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora wrote that the Cards had someone in mind at 20, but their guy was gone before they ever had the chance to make the pick.Arizona would have taken linebacker Ryan Shazier if he were still there at pick 20, I was told, but with the Steelers taking him at 16, the Cards began attempts to trade down, and they succeeded. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling
Alabama’s Reuben Foster tackles Clemson’s Hunter Renfrow (13) during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires “For me, I’d probably run to the podium for Reuben Foster,” Davis said on Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 RM. “I know that we are in an age of offense and explosion and all that, but the idea that you can pick up a Reuben Foster, who’s a legit inside linebacker and maybe even expand what you can do with Deone Bucannon.”Arizona had the second-ranked defense in 2016 and is already loaded with excellent players like Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Bucannon.So why Foster? He measures at 6-foot-1 and 229 pounds, and was one of the best linebackers in the SEC. Last season, as a senior, he recorded 115 tackles (13 for loss) and five sacks for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Additionally, he was named as a first team All-SEC linebacker in 2016.“Foster can run, hit, diagnose, I think he drops into coverage well,” Davis said. “He also brings an edge and a tone that I think everyone would like to have on the defensive side of the ball and I think it spreads throughout the team. I think it’s a team that could utilize that, and utilize trying to get their edge back.”Foster isn’t the sexiest pick, but Davis thinks the linebacker would be a great fit in Arizona. Davis also doesn’t think the Cardinals should take a quarterback, even with Carson Palmer nearing the end of his career at age 37. “If you had said this last year, with the team going into last season, I probably would have said (Patrick) Mahomes, because it looked like a team that was prepared to make that big run,” Davis said. “This team doesn’t have that look right now, and the expectation is not there.” LISTEN: Charles Davis, Fox + NFL Network analyst Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact 0 Comments Share The 2017 NFL Draft is just under two weeks away, and at this point there’s no concrete idea of who the Arizona Cardinals will take at No. 13.Will they pick their quarterback of the future? Do they strengthen the defensive side of the ball? Or do they select one of the many great receivers in this draft?Nobody outside of the organization knows for sure, but if Charles Davis of Fox Sports was in charge of the Cardinals, he’d pick a defender. Your browser does not support the audio element.
And if that was not enough, his style of play is such where it will be tough not to notice him. Also, he reminds some of Tyrann Mathieu, as Cardinals GM Steve Keim said not long after making the selection.Baker is a 5-foot-10, 195-pound safety who played all over the field for Washington; Mathieu, on the other hand, is listed at 5-foot-9 and 186 pounds while filling a similar role for the Cardinals.For Baker, being likened to the Honey Badger is a good thing.“It’s definitely a blessing because I believe he’s one of the best safeties, if not the best safety, in the league,” he told Doug and Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Tuesday morning. “Being able to be versatile, I feel like we need that to play in the NFL.“Times have changed — it’s not that big, banger type of safety; you’ve got to be able to come down and play man, you’ve got to be able to blitz off the edge and do all different types of stuff.”Baker said he was used in a variety of spots last season, seeing time at free safety as well as strong safety.“Throughout the season I played a lot of nickel, just coming down, playing nickel, usually we were playing man on the slot or tight end, blitzing off the edge, all that type of stuff.” 0 Comments Share The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Your browser does not support the audio element. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Sounds like Mathieu, right?While Baker likes the comparison, he made sure to point out that Mathieu is an established veteran and he is a rookie, so he only hopes to become as good a player as his new teammate.That kind of attitude, at least in-part, made the Cardinals want him.There was also the production, which is tough to ignore.In three seasons with Washington, Baker amassed 200 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, five interceptions, 24 passes defensed and three forced fumbles. In 2016 alone, he tallied 70 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and two picks.On a defense that had four players drafted in 2017, he had a way of standing out.When asked to describe his playing style, Baker used the adjectives “feisty” and “smart,” while adding he “has so much passion for the game, loves everything about the game.”That includes every aspect of the game — including film study — as Baker’s goal is to perfect his craft and make good on his potential.If he realizes it, the Cardinals will have themselves quite a player.Baker said he knew the Cardinals liked him, but thought someone else, like Atlanta, Tennessee or Tampa Bay, were going to grab him. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact LISTEN: Budda Baker, Arizona Cardinals safety Top Stories “Just the way the draft process went down, they just didn’t get me,” he said. “And I’m glad.”He is also a bit spiteful.Baker admitted he will always remember the 35 players who were chosen before him, three of which — Malik Hooker, Jamal Adams and Jabrill Peppers — are safeties. While making sure to focus on the present, dropping to the second round has only added to the chip that he has always carried on his shoulder.“Even since high school and college, I was never the big guy and all that type of stuff,” he said. “Yeah, people talked about me, but my lacks, or they said my lacks are my size and my height, but at the end of the day I’ve just kept working and just trying to prove everybody wrong.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Of the seven players the Arizona Cardinals added in the 2017 NFL Draft, arguably the most buzz is surrounding Budda Baker.It makes sense.The Cardinals made a trade to move up and grab the Washington safety, sending second, fourth and sixth-round picks in the 2017 — as well as a fourth-round choice in the 2018 draft — draft to the Chicago Bears for their second-round pick, No. 36 overall, as well as a seventh-round choice in the 2017 draft. Washington defensive back Budda Baker (32) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
0 Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires “I get to go against really good rushers during the week, and I think that really helps,” Veldheer said. “Because it didn’t seem like I needed to speed anything up, slow anything down. It just felt like I could take what I’ve been working on in practice and do it in a game.”And because of that, nothing really surprised him.“It’s like, OK, I’m just going to go out and do the best I can,” he said. “(Let the) chips fall where they will.“It was favorable, so that was good.”Ellington given a chanceNever before has Andre Ellington faced a more important training camp and preseason than this one, and against the Raiders, the fifth-year running back made his mark.Ellington was second on the team with seven carries that he turned into 20 yards, while he also led the team in targets with six, and receptions with four. He tallied 31 yards on his four catches, and afterwards said he felt things went alright.“It was a little flashes of what I’m capable of,” he said. “But far from good enough. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, especially in pass-blocking and things like that. Just with technique, make sure I clean that up and I’ll be fine.” Palmer’s stay on the field was about as brief as anticipated, given how earlier in the week Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the plan was for his starters to play about 15 snaps. While Palmer’s ended in points, the quarterback acknowledged he was not perfect.The most glaring miscue came with the Cardinals facing a second-and-six from the Raiders’ 46, when he faked a handoff and threw deep to an open Jaron Brown, only to have the pass sail a bit long.Sometimes missed connections are on the receiver, but in this case, the QB took all of the blame.“He did a great job,” Palmer said of Brown. “I just missed him.”“He was perfect,” Arians said of his receiver on the play. “He (Palmer) just put a little too much juice on it.”Palmer said the deep ball is a constant work in progress, noting they never feel perfect. The work will be a season-long thing, he added, but feels like completions should be easier to come by when a receiver is as open as Brown was on that play.“He did such a good job of getting open,” Palmer said. “We’ll continue to work it and we’ll get it right.”Given that Palmer and the first-team offense had but the one series, improvements will have to wait another week. The one pass aside, Palmer was efficient in the game, picking up where he left off at the end of the 2016 season. GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carson Palmer got his first taste of preseason action this season, completing 4-of-8 passes for 39 yards.He led the Cardinals to a touchdown on his first and only drive of the game, a 14-play jaunt that was aided by a pair of Oakland penalties and finished with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Brittan Golden.“It was just fun to play,” Palmer said after the game. “It’s been a while since last year, so it was fun to get back on the field.” With David Johnson entrenched as the starter and Chris Johnson the likely backup, there is stiff competition between Ellington, Kerwynn Williams and Elijhaa Penny for roster spots. Rookie T.J. Logan’s wrist injury cleared things up a little, but really, nothing is a given in the room.Asked what he wanted to see from Ellington, Arians on Saturday said explosiveness.“He’s healthy for the first time in two years, and he showed it on two or three runs tonight and a couple passes,” he said.Ellington said his mindset is to be an explosive player, making the kind of plays he feels like he is capable of making. He feels like he is making progress in large part because he is healthy.“Yeah, when you’re feeling healthy you’re able to play free and not think,” he said. “Just go out there and play loose.”Ellington has the rest of training camp and three more preseason games to prove himself once again.“Just approach it day-by-day like I’ve been doing,” he said of what’s next for him. “Just come back, go to work when we get back tomorrow and try to get another win for the next one.”Follow Adam Green on Twitter Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws under pressure from Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Cory James (57) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) – / 31 The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling In fact, he just wishes he had more time to play Saturday, saying he wanted to “kind of redeem” himself for missing Brown on the deep ball.“I didn’t get that chance,” he said. “I’ve got to wait until next week.”A taste of right tackleOne of the more underrated storylines of this camp and even the season is Jared Veldheer’s transition from left to right tackle. Though he has been working at his new spot for a while, Saturday was his first chance to man the position in a game-type setting.“It’s just one of those firsts,” he said after the game. “It was good to go over and to be able still block guys on the other side.”Arians said he will have to watch the film in order to judge his line play, but Palmer praised the pocket he had to work with on his one drive.“I don’t know if I had anybody around me at all, so it was great,” he said.For Veldheer, Saturday offered a chance to finally get to playing the position rather than think about it, with the game-like reps giving him a chance to just play.Previous experience at the position, albeit in practices, helped prepare him for the role. Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals made no concessions even after a loss to the previously one-win Oakland Raiders. They felt they are, and were, the better football team.Maybe after Oakland beat them 23-21 Sunday in State Farm Stadium, the reality — that both teams have two wins through 10 games — is starting to sink in.“You are what your record says you are,” Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters said. “Right now, we’re not a very good football team, but I think a lot of it is our own fault.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo What went wrong late for the Cardinals?The final possession by Oakland loomed as the most obvious breakdown.But there was also a 57-yard Johnson touchdown jaunt with 2:34 left that would have extended the lead to eight points. That was called back due to a holding penalty on Arizona tight end Ricky Seals-Jones.A play before that, there was an unnecessary roughness call on Arizona tight end Jermaine Gresham. It turned a 2nd-and-12 into a 3rd-and-23.A dropped interception by Cardinals linebacker Josh Bynes with the Raiders backed up at their own 2-yard line just before Arizona’s final possession also tallied as a missed opportunity.“I think if there was an expression that exists of finding a way to lose, I think it applies here,” Rosen said, before offering a promise that would look more appealing if he were the only one to blame.“You either quit or you don’t quit. And I promise you we won’t.” – / 60 Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact 6 Comments Share Pick the moment, and the Cardinals see a path that could have led them to beat the Raiders. That’s how they still felt.Related LinksJosh Rosen explains a naughty rule to follow when making readsLosing to Oakland is rough, but might be best thing for CardinalsThe 5: Explanations for the Cardinals’ blown opportunities vs. the RaidersRapid Reactions: Cardinals lose in disappointing fashion to OaklandCardinals shine early, fall to Raiders on last-second field goal“No disrespect to the Raiders, but we feel as though we were the better football team there,” Arizona quarterback Josh Rosen said. “That’s why this one was really frustrating.”The rookie quarterback was among the long list of Cardinals who shot themselves in their respective feet at key points during the defeat.Rosen went 9-of-20 for 136 yards, three touchdowns but two interceptions. He fumbled a shotgun snap that combined with a penalty to kill a second-half drive with the game tied.And no, that he shared the field at times with a rookie running back, two rookie receivers, a rookie left tackle and rookie center didn’t matter.“It was across the board with everyone,” Rosen said of the breakdowns.Arizona’s offense went stagnant for the second and third quarters after taking a 14-7 lead after 15 minutes, and 14 first-half points by Oakland scored off Rosen’s picks evened the game by the half. But when Rosen and running back David Johnson led the Cardinals on a touchdown drive in the fourth to give their team a 21-20 lead with five minutes to play, it looked like the home team just might hang on. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Instead, it self-destructed with two Cardinals punts coming out of two possessions that would’ve put the game away — or at the very least led to overtime barring a defensive breakdown that ended up becoming reality.“This is definitely going to sting,” said running back David Johnson, who finished with 25 carries for 135 yards.“The Raiders, everybody knows, are trading guys away. They are doing everything to try to rebuild.”After taking a 21-20 lead with 5:02 to play, Arizona’s defense forced two straight Raiders punts, but Oakland’s third possession since falling behind in the fourth was the charm.The Raiders used a 32-yard pass down the left sideline to rookie receiver Marcell Ateman with Cardinals corner Bene Benwikere in coverage to spark a 63-yard drive that ended with a Daniel Carlson field goal from 35 yards out as the final second ticked off.“I think for us, I think it’s important to let it burn a little bit. Let it burn through tomorrow,” Peters said. “I think it’s important for us to feel this, to realize that’s it’s unacceptable to realize how much work and how far we have to go.” Top Stories
“Inspired by books and with a respect for nature” is the mantra of The Library, a unique hotel in the heart of Chaweng Beach in Koh Samui Thailand.Francis Gan, Senior Marketing Manager of The Library, and Sally Morgan of The Unique Tourism Collection hosted a lunch on Tuesday 16 May to present the resort to the media and talk about the 20 new pool villas that will open later this year.Francis Gan, Senior Marketing Manager, The Library, and Sally Morgan, The Unique Tourism CollectionDavid Thompson’s Long Chim in Sydney with its delicious Thai street food menu was the perfect venue for the event.Guests shared several delicious dishes such as beef skewers with cumin, coriander and turmeric, and sour orange curry of ling fish and a spicy duck egg omelette.Koh Samui businessman Mr Kasemtham Sornsong is the owner and Managing Director of The Library. Talented concept designer Ms Tirawan Songsawat helped to create the cool, minimalist spaces with their strict colour palette of grey, white and black with zingy touches of scarlet.The red swimming pool is a talking point. It’s tiled with scarlet, yellow and orange mosaics and seems to glow in the natural tropical surroundings of green velvet lawns and mature trees with pale sand beaches and blue sea beyond.The actual library, the heart of the resort, is a huge space that encourages guests to relax and read. It’s stocked with over 2000 carefully chosen books on many subjects and a collection of 2500 movies and documentaries.Although the theme of the resort is based on classic books and the printed word, guest rooms, villas and suites all have the latest technology and modern fittings.The indoor/outdoor/barbecue restaurant is called The Page. It serves authentic Thai and fusion food and has won many awards.The Library is a member of Design Hotels. The Library Red Pool
Go back to the enewsletterCunard has revealed it Oceans of Discovery voyage program for November 2020 through May 2021, featuring Full World Voyages and in-depth itineraries in Japan and Australia. The Cunard fleet, including Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and flagship liner Queen Mary 2, will call at 94 destinations in 38 different countries, including four exciting maiden calls in Japan, Taiwan and New Zealand.In 2021 Cunard will continue its tradition of world cruising by operating Full World Voyages on two ships: Queen Mary 2 will offer the classic East–West voyage to Australia and Asia, Southern Africa, the Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean; Queen Victoria will travel the globe with a westbound circumnavigation via the Panama Canal. Queen Elizabeth will carry out exotic voyages with regionally focused itineraries in Australia and Japan.Whether travelling on a two-night short break or a full 113-night world voyage, the Cunard 2021 program will offer a mix of the most celebrated cities along with smaller, off-the-beaten-path but equally charming destinations. Itineraries have been thoughtfully created to offer longer, more enriching days in port as well as plenty of time at sea to enjoy everything Cunard ships have to offer.Cunard World Club members will be able to book exclusively beginning on 12 March 2019, and booking will open for the public the next day.Queen Mary 2Queen Mary 2 will undertake her classic East–West World Voyage in 2021 to Australia and Asia, which includes the Mediterranean, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Southern Africa. The World Cruise can be taken as a roundtrip from either New York (113 nights) or London (99 nights). Shorter voyage options range in length from two to 64 nights and can be combined in many ways, allowing guests to create the ideal travel experience to the cities of their choice.The beginning of the voyage is routed via South Africa and the Indian Ocean to Australia. From there, Queen Mary 2 will head north to Hong Kong and on to Singapore via Vietnam. She will then travel through the Malacca Straights across the Indian Ocean to the Arabian Gulf. The final leg of the voyage is the return to London from Dubai, which is routed via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea. The voyage includes many overnight stays allowing guests to be immersed in the various cultures of these destinations.Queen Mary 2‘s 2021 deployment features:The World Voyage, by CunardGrand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions, by Cunard45 voyage combinations ranging from three to 113 nightsOver 47,000 nautical miles37 ports in 22 countriesOvernight stays in Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and a double overnight in Cape TownTransit of the Suez Canal34 UNESCO World Heritage SitesQueen VictoriaQueen Victoria‘s World Voyage will be a westbound circumnavigation through the Panama Canal, which can be taken as a roundtrip from either Hamburg (112 nights) or London (108 nights), or a one-way voyage starting in Fort Lauderdale and ending in London (97 nights). Her voyage will begin by crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Florida via Bermuda, followed by a trans-Panama segment. Queen Victoria will then cross the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii and Samoa to New Zealand and from there she will call in Sydney, Australia’s Gold Coast and Great Barrier Reef before travelling to Hong Kong via Darwin and Vietnam. Following her Asia visit, she will return to London via Singapore, the Indian Ocean and South Africa.Queen Victoria‘s 2021 deployment features:The World Voyage, by CunardGrand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions, by Cunard38 voyage combinations ranging from two to 112 nightsOver 41,000 nautical miles39 ports in 24 countriesOvernight stays in San Francisco, Honolulu, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore and Cape TownScenic cruising through the Panama Canal25 UNESCO World Heritage SitesQueen ElizabethIn December 2020 and early 2021, Queen Elizabeth will offer a series of roundtrip voyages from international ports with deeper, richer and more regionally focused itineraries. In between these deployments will be exotic grand voyages that capture the imagination and spirit of adventure in travel lovers across the world.Queen Elizabeth will operate four roundtrip voyages from Melbourne and four from Sydney, covering the popular regions of South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. New in 2021 is a pair of “open-jaw” New Zealand voyages, travelling from Sydney to Auckland and the reverse.At the end of the Australian season in March, Queen Elizabeth will travel north to Japan via Southeast Asia. The voyage will include a variety of exciting destinations such as Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines.Queen Elizabeth‘s Japan deployment, mid-April to mid-May 2021, will consist of four roundtrip voyages out of Tokyo.Two nine-night voyages will highlight the multi-faceted nature and deep cultural roots of Japan’s main islands of Honshu and Kyushu and are timed to coincide with the spectacular spring blooms across the region.The third roundtrip voyage, a seven-night sailing, will coincide with Golden Week, a celebratory time which features several Japanese holidays.The fourth roundtrip voyage will be a new itinerary, travelling to the Okinawa archipelago and Taiwan, setting contrast to the mountainous regions of Northern Japan. This voyage will feature a maiden call to the island of Miyakojima and is scheduled to arrive in the archipelago’s tropical islands at the start of their peak season.Queen Elizabeth‘s 2021 deployment features:Grand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions, by Cunard.82 voyage combinations ranging from two to 39 nightsOver 49,000 nautical miles46 ports in 10 countriesMaiden calls in Lyttleton and New Plymouth, New Zealand; Hualien, Taiwan; and Miyakojima, JapanOvernight stays in Auckland, Wellington, Hobart, Singapore and Hong KongScenic cruising in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand24 UNESCO World Heritage SitesAdditional 2020–2021 Fleet VoyagesIn addition to Cunard’s 2021 winter program, Cunard is happy to announce additional voyages on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. These include Queen Mary 2‘s signature seven-night Transatlantic Crossings departing 8 and 15 December 2020, 3 January and 19 April 2021; and a 12-night Caribbean roundtrip sailing out of New York departing 22 December 2020. In both January and April 2021, Queen Victoria will offer two- and four-night Short Break voyages from Southampton and Hamburg.World Voyage BenefitsThose booking a full World Voyage on Queen Mary 2 (99 or 113 nights) or Queen Victoria (97, 108 or 112 nights), will receive the following benefits:Welcome aboard receptionServices of a World Voyage concierge and use of private loungeUnique commemorative giftWorld Voyage cocktail partiesShoreside Gala eventComplimentary daily gratuitiesEarly Booking World Voyage BenefitsGuests travelling on a Full World Voyage booked by 31 August 2019 will receive a variety of exclusive benefits:Onboard credit of up to $3,000 per stateroomGround transfers (in Oceanview and Balcony) and upgraded private transfers (in Grill Suites)Complimentary Captain’s Wine Collection (in Oceanview, Balcony and Grill Suites)Alternative dining credit (in Oceanview, Balcony and Grill Suites)Laundry service (in Oceanview, Balcony and Grill Suites)Early Booking Benefits for Voyages 25 to 88 nightsFor guests travelling on voyages 25 to 88 nights, the Early Booking Benefit will include an onboard credit up to US$1,500 per stateroom when booked by August 31 2019. Promo Code: ZERGrill BenefitsGuests booked in a Grill Suite on voyages seven nights or longer will receive Free Gratuities and Free Drinks. Promotion may not combine with other offers. Promo Code: ZEDCunard World Club Member SavingsMembers will receive a discount of up to US$2,000 per person off launch fares effective at program launch, subject to inventory availability. This discount applies on all cruises, for past guests only, until 31 August 2019. Discount amounts vary by voyage length and category booked.Full details and terms about Cunard’s 2021 Voyage Program can be found here.More at www.cunard.com.Go back to the enewsletter
Martha Stewart & MSC Cruises ExcursionsInitially taking place in destinations across the Caribbean, the uniquely curated Martha Stewart & MSC Cruises Excursions focus on some of Martha’s passion points and feature a variety of activities, including hands-on culinary classes and tastings of local delights, horseback riding in the ocean, hiking to hidden coves, visits to craft markets, lessons from local fisherman and garden tours. In addition to highlighting key landmarks at a destination, these specially crafted tours truly embody the locals’ favourite spots and tell the story of the local culture.Image Credit: Douglas Friedman“In addition to being designed around Martha Stewart’s interests, together we created these shore excursions with insight from the local tourism boards to identify the true, hidden treasures of the islands and really provide our guests with an exceptional and rare experience,” said Ken Muskat, EVP & Chief Operating Officer of MSC Cruises (USA).For the initial roll-out, excursions will be available at all destinations visited on itineraries served by MSC Seaside and MSC Armonia including: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Nassau, Bahamas; Philipsburg, Saint Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Roatán Island, Honduras. Starting November 2019, additional excursions will be available in destinations visited by MSC Divina and MSC Meraviglia while sailing the Caribbean. Future roll out will also include an excursion on MSC Cruises’ new private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, which will welcome its first guests in November 2019.Prices for Martha Stewart & MSC Cruises Excursions in the Caribbean range from US$115 per adult to US$199 per adult, depending on the specific tour.Image Credit: Douglas FriedmanSpecial Holiday Dinner Menus and RecipesTo make the holidays even more special, MSC Cruises and Martha Stewart are offering special holiday dinner menus specifically created for Easter, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Inspired by her own experiences and family traditions, for each holiday Martha Stewart has designed dinner menus for guests dining in the main restaurant as well as guests staying in the MSC Yacht Club, MSC Cruises’ ship-within-a-ship premium offering including its own private restaurant. As a memorable add on, guests will also receive the recipe from their meal to take home.Martha Stewart Celebration Surprise PackagesTo complement the tasting menus during the holidays, MSC Cruises will offer Martha Stewart celebration surprise packages that guests can order for delivery to their stateroom, to celebrate birthdays, honeymoons or anniversaries. Guests or travel advisors will have the option of selecting from three different prepared packages that can be pre-purchased prior to sailing or purchased once on board. The celebration surprise package options include:Martha Stewart Delightful Surprise: Personalised letter from Martha Stewart and special Martha Stewart dessert and recipe card. Price: US$10Martha Stewart Sweet Delight & Cheers: Personalised letter from Martha Stewart; special Martha Stewart dessert and recipe card; and specially selected wine. Price: US$30Martha Stewart Sensational Celebration: Personalised letter from Martha Stewart; special Martha Stewart dessert and recipe card; specially selected wine; free digital and printed photo taken by a MSC Cruises’ professional photographer; 5×7 picture frame; and canvas beach tote bag. Price: US$89Martha Stewart offerings will launch on MSC Seaside and MSC Armonia starting 1 June, 2019.For at www.msccruises.com/MarthaStewartLead image: Martha Stewart with an MSC ship in the background. Image credit: Douglas FriedmanGo back to the enewsletter Go back to the enewsletterMSC Cruises has formed a partnership with internationally acclaimed home and lifestyle expert Martha Stewart on a collection of new, exclusive culinary and discovery experiences on board and ashore. The arrangement — themed Celebrate, Discover, Experience — includes specially curated shore excursions, celebration surprise gift packages, and onboard special holiday dinner menus and recipes.“Martha Stewart’s philosophy and passion for discovery is a perfect match for MSC Cruises and we are excited to bring her innovation, style and expertise to life in this special partnership designed to help our guests create memorable vacation moments with friends and family,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises.“I’ve always enjoyed introducing people to new experiences, and I’m thrilled to be working with MSC Cruises on a partnership that embodies the true celebratory nature of travel, exploration and discovery,” said Martha Stewart. “The excursions showcase some of my favourite activities and help MSC Cruises’ guests discover some of the authentic and hidden treasures of destinations throughout the Caribbean. The holiday dinner menus and surprise gift packages encompass what I believe celebrations should include: good food, good company and commemorating great adventures and inspiration wherever we are.”