MIAMI /PRNewswire/ — Oceania Cruises, the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, has announced seven new exotic summer sailings to French Polynesia and Hawaii on board the 670-guest boutique hotel-style Regatta in 2025, which will open for reservations on October 4, 2023. Sailing with Oceania Cruises is the ultimate way to visit these stunning destinations that offer a utopia of cultural encounters, memorable adventures and pristine natural surroundings.
The new cruises will visit French Polynesia and Hawaii during the ideal months of August, September and October when the regions boast abundant sunshine, pleasant, balmy temperatures and lower humidity. Itineraries span the gorgeous blue lagoon of Bora Bora, the black sand beaches of Tahiti, the colorful coral reefs of Raiatea, the soaring mountains in the verdant jungles of Nuku Hiva and more. Four of the seven new sailings link French Polynesia with the captivating craters, dramatic canyons and lush waterfalls of the Hawaiian archipelago. With Oceania Cruises, you can experience the paradise of these islands firsthand on immersive itineraries, discovering the traditions of native Polynesian culture, tasting the fresh flavors of the local cuisine and exploring the local communities and surrounding natural wonders.
“At Oceania Cruises, we offer a captivating array of sailings in French Polynesia and Hawaii, charting lesser-known coastlines and taking travelers to boutique ports and off-the-beaten-track islands thanks to our small, luxurious ships,” commented Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. “One of the highlights of these parts of the world is undoubtedly the food. Whether you’re exploring Bora Bora and Nuku Hiva or Nawiliwili and Hilo, the flavors of these islands are meant to be savored and enjoyed just as much as the spectacular scenery.”
Sailing from Tahiti or Honolulu, the seven new voyages range from 10 to 18 days, allowing plenty of time for exploration, adventure and relaxation in these stunning regions of the world. While Tahiti may feel worlds away, the gateway of Papeete is readily accessible by flight from New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London and Sydney with convenient 8-hour non-stop flights from Los Angeles and 5-hour non-stop flights out of Auckland. Similarly, Honolulu is just a 6-hour direct flight away from Los Angeles and an 8 ½-hour direct flight from Auckland. In addition to the seven new sailings aboard Regatta in 2025, there are dozens of other destination-rich itineraries to choose from in the South Pacific, as well as Australia and New Zealand, in 2024 and 2025 with Oceania Cruises.
NEW SUMMER SAILINGS IN 2025
Polynesian Dreams: 15 days from Honolulu to Papeete aboard Regatta, visiting Honolulu, Nawiliwili, Lahaina, Kailua-Kona, Hilo, Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Raiatea, Bora Bora and Papeete. Departs August 1 and September 15, 2025, which offers the itinerary in reverse.
Tahitian Legends: 10 days from Papeete to Papeete aboard Regatta, visiting Papeete, Moorea, Fakarava, Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Bora Bora and Raiatea. Departs August 16 and 26, and September 5, 2025.
Divine Pacific Oases: 15 days from Honolulu to Papeete aboard Regatta, visiting Honolulu, Nawiliwili, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Hilo, Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Raiatea, Bora Bora and Papeete. Departs September 30, 2025.
Song of Polynesia: 18 days from Papeete to Los Angeles aboard Regatta, visiting Papeete, Moorea, Rangiroa, Nuku Hiva, Hilo, Lahaina, Honolulu, Nawiliwili and Los Angeles. Departs October 15, 2025.
REGATTA SHIPBOARD HIGHLIGHTS
Carrying just 670 guests, Regatta provides a boutique experience for travelers to explore the region, with itineraries designed to offer a unique flavor of the South Pacific. Guests will experience the ultimate in small ship luxury, with just 340 lavish suites and luxurious staterooms, nearly 70% of which feature private verandas. Lose yourself in one of the hundreds of books in the top-of-ship library, relax and rejuvenate in the Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center or socialize with old and new friends in one of the eight lounges and bars on board. After dinner in one of the four gourmet, open-seating restaurants, take in a show or spend the evening in the casino.
EAT YOUR WAY THROUGH FRENCH POLYNESIA & HAWAII
One of the best ways to delve into the local island culture is through food, and both French Polynesia and Hawaii serve up some mouth-watering specialties, exotic dishes and delicious delicacies.
Try poisson cru: French Polynesia’s version of ceviche, this dish features local raw fish marinated in coconut milk and lime juice, often with vegetables. You’ll have plenty of chances to try it on a variety of excursions, and you’ll regularly see it on local menus.
The mahi mahi burger and a mai tai at Bloody Mary’s in Bora Bora are not to be missed. The thatched-roof restaurant with sand floors has served well-known faces including Jimmy Buffet, Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones and movie star couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell – it’s an experience to remember.
Don’t pass on the breadfruit: Called uru in Tahitian, this strangely versatile starch will appear on the table prepared in more ways than you can keep track of and is quintessentially French Polynesian. A staple form on Nuku Hiva involves roasting it over hot coals and then mashing it with coconut milk to create a dish called kaka.
You can’t visit Hawaii without trying traditional poke, a raw fish bowl favored for its simplicity and freshness. Though all sorts of variations have become popular the world over, try ahi poke or tako poke – octopus – in its birthplace for a true taste of the classic dish.
A must-have at luaus, kalua pork is another Hawaiian favorite you’ll find across the islands. The traditional method of slow roasting the pork in an imu, or underground pit, and seasoning it with local sea salt results in a succulent, smoky meat typically paired with rice and sauteed cabbage or coleslaw.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia, one of the most photogenic islands, is dominated by two peaks – Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia – both more than 2,000 feet high. Covered in emerald greenery, they create a dramatic backdrop for Bora Bora’s shimmering lagoon, renowned for its breathtaking turquoise water. Under the sea, the reef encircling the island is a haven for a rainbow of exotic fish and turtles. Explore Bora Bora’s dazzling lagoon, go on a guided off-road adventure across the island or see sharks and stingrays from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat.
Papeete, Tahiti, is the capital of French Polynesia, with clear blue waters, swaying palm trees, balmy weather and rich island culture. Enjoy a wide variety of restaurants and the best shopping in the region – be sure to look out for exquisite hand-carved wooden figurines and bowls as well as colorful patchwork textiles called tifaifai, appliqued quilts that are often handed down for generations. Feeling energetic? Then be sure to hike inland a couple of miles to Fautaua Waterfall, Tahiti’s highest at an incredible 443 feet. Learn about the iridescence and luster of pearls at the Robert Wan Pearl Museum or take a walking tour of the colorful and creative street art and murals painted by talented international artists.
Hilo, Hawaii, is on the east coast of the Big Island and is renowned for its lush greenery. See how the 2018 reawakening of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes, has changed the landscape at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Thrill seekers can choose from excursions such as a helicopter ride to Kilauea Volcano or zip-lining through a river gorge. Or for those who want to take it easier, a visit to Richardson Ocean Park, a black sand beach carved into the rocky shoreline, or a stroll through farmers markets with aisles of colorful fruits, vegetables and flowers, would be perfect.
Kailua-Kona on Hawaii has a laid-back vibe and myriad things to do: roam a national park, swim or snorkel in the sea, or play a round of golf at one of three courses overlooking the ocean. Visit Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation to learn about different beans and roasts and sample some of the aromatic fresh brews. Experience Magic Sands Beach, a beautiful stretch of turquoise water and white sand – when it’s there. It’s named Magic Sands Beach because every so often a big storm will take all the sand out to sea, exposing rock until the sandy beach is returned by the sea over time.
Oceania Cruises offers travelers simply MORE, with virtually everything included in the voyage fare: free roundtrip airfare; free airport transfers; a generous shore excursion credit; and a comprehensive beverage package available during lunch and dinner at onboard restaurants featuring dozens of vintage Champagnes, premium wines and international beers. Created to elevate the guest experience, simply MORE means travelers receive the greatest value in luxury cruising.
For additional information on Oceania Cruises’ small-ship luxury product, exquisitely crafted cuisine, and expertly curated travel experiences, visit www.oceaniacruises.com, call 855-OCEANIA, or speak with a professional travel advisor.
About Oceania Cruises
Oceania Cruises is the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line. The line’s eight small, luxurious ships carry a maximum of 1,250 guests and feature the finest cuisine at sea and destination-rich itineraries that span the globe. Expertly curated travel experiences aboard the designer-inspired, small ships call on more than 600 marquee and boutique ports in more than 100 countries on seven continents on voyages that range from seven to more than 200 days. Oceania Cruises is a wholly owned subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH). To learn more, visit www.nclhltd.com.
SOURCE Oceania Cruises
Pioneering early-onset Alzheimer’s disease study is focus of Alzheimer’s & Dementia special issue
Newswise — INDIANAPOLIS – A pioneering Alzheimer’s disease study led by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers is the focus of a special issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Led by IU School of Medicine’s Liana G. Apostolova, MD, the Longitudinal Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease Study (LEADS) is the largest and most comprehensive study of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, which to this point has been an under-studied condition, in the United States. The study began in 2018 with over $44 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging (NIA).
Dustin B. Hammers, PhD, an associate professor of neurology at the IU School of Medicine and the lead neuropsychologist on the LEADS study, said given that so little has been established about early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers strove to choose pieces for the special issue that characterized the condition according to its presentation clinically, cognitively, genetically, and from a biological-marker perspective. The latter includes using MRI and PET imaging and cerebrospinal fluid measurement to look at hallmark changes in the brain related to temporal lobe atrophy and the presence of β-amyloid and tau proteins.
“Smaller studies have long suggested that early-onset Alzheimer’s disease may present differently than traditional-onset Alzheimer’s disease, but until the LEADS study, concerns related to study sample or methods interfered with interpretation,” said Hammers, who is also the principal investigator on the NIA- and Alzheimer’s Association- funded LEADS-sub-study Lifestyle Interventions for the Treatment of Early-Onset AD Study (LITES). “With this special issue on LEADS, the reader is provided a collection of findings on the most well-characterized sample of patients with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, all in one place. Our goal with this special issue was to permit the reader to have a more thorough understanding of early-onset Alzheimer’s after reading it.”
Hammers said none of this research could have occurred without the visionary leadership of Apostolova and other principal investigators Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, of the Alzheimer’s Association; Brad Dickerson, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; and Gil Rabinovici, MD, of the University of California San Francisco; as well as the generous support of the NIA and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Source: Indiana University
Scientists uncover how fermented-food bacteria can guard against depression, anxiety
Newswise — University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have discovered how Lactobacillus, a bacterium found in fermented foods and yogurt, helps the body manage stress and may help prevent depression and anxiety. The findings open the door to new therapies to treat anxiety, depression and other mental-health conditions.
The new research from UVA’s Alban Gaultier, Ph.D., and collaborators is notable because it pinpoints the role of Lactobacillus, separating it out from all the other microorganisms that naturally live in and on our bodies. These organisms are collectively known as the microbiota, and scientists have increasingly sought to target them to battle disease and improve our health. UVA’s new research represents a major step forward in that effort, providing scientists an innovative new approach to understand the role of individual microbes that could facilitate the development of new treatments and cures for a wide variety of diseases, both mental and physical.
“Our discovery illuminates how gut-resident Lactobacillus influences mood disorders, by tuning the immune system,” said Gaultier, of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience, the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG Center) and the TransUniversity Microbiome Initiative. “Our research could pave the way towards discovering much-needed therapeutics for anxiety and depression.”
The Microbiota and Depression
Our guts are naturally home to countless bacteria, fungi, and viruses. There are more microorganisms living in and on us than there are cells in our bodies. That may sound disgusting, even alarming, but scientists have increasingly realized that these tiny organisms and their endless interactions are critical to our immune systems’ health, our mental health, and many other facets of our well-being. Disruptions of the microbiota, whether from illness, poor diet, or other causes, are known to contribute to many diseases and even help cancer spread. So, researchers have been hugely excited in recent years about the potential to battle diseases by targeting the microbiota.
Early attempts to manipulate the gut flora with beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, have produced mixed results. A big part of the problem has been the sheer complexity of the microbiome. It’s estimated that there are 39 trillion microorganisms inside each of us, so trying to understand what specific bacteria or fungi do – much less how they interact with all the other microorganisms and their host – can be like trying to count grains of sand on the beach.
Gaultier and his team took an innovative approach to hone in on Lactobacilli in specific. Prior research from Gaultier’s lab suggested that the bacteria could reverse depression in lab mice – a hugely promising finding. But the researchers needed to understand how.
“We were aware from our prior research that Lactobacillus was beneficial in improving mood disorders and was lost following psychological stress, but the underlying reasons remained unclear, primarily due to the technical challenges associated with studying the microbiome.”
Gaultier and his team decided to continue their depression research using a collection of bacteria, known as Altered Schaedler Flora, which includes two strains of Lactobacillus and six other bacterial strains. With this rarely used bacterial community, the team was able to create mice both with and without Lactobacillus,circumventing the need for antibiotics.
Sure enough, the Altered Schaedler Flora produced exciting results. Gaultier and his colleagues were able to explain exactly how Lactobacilli influence behavior, and how a lack of the bacteria can worsen depression and anxiety. Lactobacilli in the family Lactobaccillacea, they found, maintain the levels of an immune mediator called interferon gamma that regulates the body’s response to stress and helps stave off depression.
Armed with this information, researchers are poised to develop new ways to prevent and treat depression and other mental-health conditions in which Lactobacillus plays an important role. For example, patients struggling with (or at risk for) depression might one day take specially formulated probiotic supplements that will optimize their levels of helpful Lactobacillus.
“With these results in hand, we have new tools to optimize the development of probiotics, which should speed up discoveries for novel therapies,” said researcher Andrea R. Merchak, Ph.D. “Most importantly, we can now explore how maintaining a healthy level of Lactobacillus and/or interferon gamma could be investigated to prevent and treat anxiety and depression.”
The UVA scientists have published their findings in the journal Brain Behavior and Immunity. The research team consisted of Merchak, Samuel Wachamo, Lucille C. Brown, Alisha Thakur, Brett Moreau, Ryan M. Brown, Courtney Rivet-Noor, Tula Raghavan and Gaultier. The researchers have no financial interest in the work.
The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, grants T32 NS115657, T32 GM008136, F31 AI174782, T32 GM007267 and T32 GM148379; the Owens Family Foundation; the Miller Family; the UVA TransUniversity Microbiome Initiative; and the UVA Presidential Fellowship in Neuroscience.
UVA’s TransUniversity Microbiome Initiative, or TUMI, serves as the central hub for the University’s cutting-edge microbiome research. The initiative aims to expand our understanding of the microbiome to better treat and prevent disease.
McDonald’s and Google Cloud Announce Strategic Partnership to Connect Latest Cloud Technology and Apply Generative AI Solutions Across its Restaurants Worldwide
CHICAGO and SUNNYVALE, Calif. /PRNewswire/ — McDonald’s Corporation and Google today announced plans for a new multi-year, global partnership to connect Google Cloud technology across thousands of its restaurants worldwide. This partnership is a significant step for McDonald’s in advancing its restaurant technology platform to become the most sophisticated and productive in the industry. McDonald’s plans to leverage a wide range of Google Cloud’s hardware, data, and AI technologies to implement innovation faster and create even better experiences for its customers, restaurant teams, and employees.
“We see tremendous opportunity for growth in our digital business and our partnership with Google Cloud allows us to capitalize on this by leveraging our size and scale to build capabilities and implement solutions at unmatched speeds,” said Brian Rice, McDonald’s Executive Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer. “Connecting our restaurants worldwide to millions of datapoints across our digital ecosystem means tools get sharper, models get smarter, restaurants become easier to operate, and most importantly, the overall experience for our customers and crew gets even better.”
As part of this partnership, McDonald’s will roll out significant advancements to its restaurant and customer platforms – from its popular mobile app that serves as the gateway for its 150 million member-strong and quickly expanding loyalty program, to its thousands of self-service kiosks in restaurants worldwide. With a consistent approach, McDonald’s expects to deploy innovations with much greater speed and agility. McDonald’s will use edge computing from Google Cloud to power these new platforms, bringing information storage and high powered computing into individual restaurants.
Google Distributed Cloud, a combined hardware and software offering, is planned to be deployed to thousands of McDonald’s restaurants so they can leverage both cloud-based software applications and their own software and AI solutions locally on-site, as needed. With Google Cloud edge computing capabilities, McDonald’s will be able to draw new insights into how equipment is performing, enact solutions that reduce business disruptions, and diminish complexity for crew so restaurant teams can focus on delivering amazing hospitality to customers. McDonald’s will be the largest global foodservice retailer to use Google Distributed Cloud’s new capabilities, with plans for thousands of restaurants to begin receiving their hardware and software upgrades next year.
Through this new partnership, a dedicated Google Cloud team in Chicago will work in close proximity to McDonald’s global innovation center, known as Speedee Labs. Together, they’ll focus on applying generative AI across a number of key business priorities to power exciting new experiences for crew and customers, with McDonald’s unmatched convenience and value.
“Through this wide-ranging partnership, Google Cloud will help McDonald’s seize on new opportunities to transform its business and customer experiences, empowering restaurants worldwide with the latest technologies for near-term impact,” said Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud’s Chief Executive Officer. “Pairing the iconic brand, size and scale of McDonald’s with Google Cloud’s deep history in AI and technology innovation will redefine how this industry works and what people expect when they dine out.”
About Google Cloud
Google Cloud accelerates every organization’s ability to digitally transform its business and industry. We deliver enterprise-grade solutions that leverage Google’s cutting-edge technology, and tools that help developers build more sustainably. Customers in more than 200 countries and territories turn to Google Cloud as their trusted partner to enable growth and solve their most critical business problems.
McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with over 40,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 95% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business owners.
SOURCE Google Cloud
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