June 2007 Cruise News

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013
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6-30-07: Majestic America Announces Theme Cruises Majestic America Lines' 2008 season will include 77 theme sailings featuring the natural and cultural treasures of the United States.

The season launches with a New Orleans-themed cruise on the 436-passenger American Queen. This roundtrip journey gives a full extra day to explore the city with a choice of two included tours from among options such as a historic walking tour of the French Quarter and a culinary adventure at a Cajun cooking school. Enrichment presenters will share insights into the history, culture and significance of New Orleans and the Mississippi River. Seven departures are offered.

Other themes on varied itineraries focus on spring in the South with a focus on plantation history, fall foliage, the Civil War era with experts highlighting major battle sites along the Ohio and Cumberland rivers, a musical Independence Day celebration, and Western heritage holidays on the Columbia River with performances by cowboy poets and musicians.

Customers who book a cruise of seven nights or longer on the Mississippi or Ohio rivers before Oct. 31, 2007, will get free air or a $300 per person roundtrip air credit. Additionally, past passengers receive 5% Early Advantage Savings Rates.

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6-30-07: Celebrity Awarded $15.2 Million in Legionaire's Case According to a report by Seatrade Communications, Celebrity cruises has just been awarded an addition $15,200,000 for lost profits in 1994 and 1995 stemming from a 1994 outbreak of Legionnaires' disease on the Horizon.

A New York federal jury ruled that Pentair, the parent of Essef Corp., the manufacturer of components in a pool deck hot tub that was the source of the outbreak, must pay the damages in addition to an earlier award of $10.4m for expenses incurred by Celebrity.

The cruise line had sought $47.6m in lost profits related to the outbreak in which one passenger died and others became ill, some critically, due to legionella bacteria in a hot tub filtration system.

Last year a jury awarded Celebrity $183m for lost profits and lost enterprise value. A judge allowed $10.4m for expenses but tossed out $135m for lost enterprise value and granted a new trial on the jury's finding that Celebrity was entitled to $47.6m in lost profits.

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6-28-07: Costa on Sale: Free Upgrade & Kids Sail Free Costa is on the second day of a three-day sale where they are offering a free upgrade to the next stateroom category free, and kids sail free.

The category upgrade means that if you pay for an inside cabin you get an oceanview cabin. If you pay for an oceanview you get a veranda cabin. The prices (including upgrades) are now $549 for an oceanview and $749 for a veranda cabin.

You can choose from two of their newest ships: the Costa Fortuna on her inaugural Caribbean season, or the Costa Mediterranea returning for another season. You can choose either the Eastern, Southeastern or Western Caribbean and Saturday or Sunday departures.

Call your travel agent to get this offer. Or call 1-800-GO-COSTA (800-462-6782) or visit costacruises.com and ask for discount code FV.

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6-25-07: Cruise News Wrap up 6-25-07

NCL-America presents Tony & Tina's Wedding, a farewell to QE2, Medevac rescue at sea, name change for cruise line.

*** NCL-America is presenting the legendary off-Broadway show Tony n' Tina's Wedding on its fleet of Hawaii cruisers: Pride of America, Pride of Aloha and Pride of Hawaii. Featuring a 25-member cast, Tony n' Tina's Wedding satirizes a traditional Italian wedding with passengers as "invited guests" to the nuptials of the Vitale and Nunzio families.

The ship transforms an on-board lounge into "Vinnie's Coliseum Restaurant" and perform a classic Italian wedding in which passengers become part of the family, greeted by members of the wedding party, and then eat, drink, dance and interact with the wedding party, their eccentric friends and relatives.

A family-style dinner is provided, along with music and dancing to a live band, aptly named Donny Dulce and Fusion. Throughout the evening, a number of unexpected twists and turns provide humor and drama.

"Initial feedback from guests has been extremely positive. They come to the "wedding" ready to have a good time and the show delivers," NCL president Colin Veitch commented.

Tony n' Tina's Wedding, which is sold as a ship excursion, is held on the evenings when the ships are docked in Maui and is in addition to the shows currently on board the vessels. Tickets for the show are $24.95 per person and can be purchased at the shore excursion desk on board each ship. VIP seating will be available. Tickets are limited to approximately 250 to 350 guests per show, depending on the ship.

Since its original New York opening in 1987, Tony n' Tina's Wedding has garnered rave reviews and is currently playing in venues across the country. This production was supervised by Jeff Gitlin and Larry Pellegrini, the original creators and producers of the New York/Las Vegas Tony n' Tina's Wedding. NCL Corporation has the exclusive rights to produce the show at sea. A cast of twenty-five professional actors portray the many characters involved in the show.

*** Carnival Triumph was the scene for a Coast Guard Medevac of an 82-Year-Old woman from a cruise ship 100-miles southwest of Key West, Fla. The Coast Guard received a call from a doctor on board the ship reporting a woman had arterial bleeding. A HH-65 helicopter from Air Station Miami completed the mission. The woman was hoisted from the ship by the Air Station Miami helicopter crew and was taken to Baptist Hospital in Miami where she was reported in stable condition.

*** Discovery World Cruises, based in Fort Lauderdale, will change its name to Voyages of Discovery. The cruise line markets the 650-passenger mv Discovery to customers in the United States and Canada. It is a division of UK-based All Leisure Group, which markets the ship under the Voyages of Discovery brand in the United Kingdom, Australasia and South Africa.

The line recently announced the addition of a second ship to its fleet. The 394-passenger Explorer II will join the fleet in 2008 after a soft refurbishment. Launched in 1996 as the Minerva for Swan Hellenic, the vessel will operate itineraries in the Baltic, Scandinavia and Mediterranean beginning in May 2008.

The mv Discovery operates cruisetour programs to Antarctica, the Galapagos, Amazon and Greenland, as well as Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and Black Sea. The name change will be immediately reflected in the line's Summer 2008 catalog, said Flager, with online changes to follow shortly.

In 2006, Discovery World Cruises was awarded "Best Value" in the Specialty Cruises category from the World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society.

*** Cunard Line has announced a series of special 'Farewell Voyages' for the Queen Elizabeth 2, prior to her completing service in November 2008. QE2 will begin a new life as a first-class hotel, retail and entertainment destination at The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.

Two voyages already programmed for 2008 have been replaced by a British Isles voyage and two Transatlantic Crossings, while her final voyage to Dubai has also been added. These special voyages offer the perfect opportunity for guests to share in QE2's farewell to her country, where she has long been regarded as the flagship, and also to experience a farewell tandem crossing of the Atlantic, where she will bid farewell to New York, her second home. These voyages also offer a final opportunity for those who have always wanted to experience a voyage on this iconic Grand Dame of the Seas.

Farewell to the British Isles QE2's Farewell to the British Isles voyage will depart Southampton on September 30, 2008 and replaces the previously announced Canary Islands Splendour voyage. The 10-night voyage will include maiden calls to Dublin and Belfast and an emotional call to the Clyde (Greenock) where QE2 was built, as well as calls to Cork (Cobh), Liverpool (Cunard's ancestral home), Edinburgh (South Queensferry) and Newcastle. Fares start from $2,455 for an M6 grade stateroom, up to $5,695 for a Q1 grade Grand Suite.

Final Transatlantic Crossings On October 10, QE2 will leave Southampton with Cunard's flagship Queen Mary 2 and both vessels will depart on a final tandem crossing to New York. The six-night Final New York Arrival Crossing will arrive in New York on October 16 where QE2 will say farewell to what was her North American home, when she was Queen of the Atlantic for 34 years. Fares start from $1,175 for an M6 grade stateroom, up to $4,395 for a Q1 grade Grand Suite.

Later that day both liners will leave New York as QE2 begins her Farewell to America Crossing. This will be QE2's 806th and final Atlantic crossing and both ships will arrive in Southampton on October 22. Fares start from $1,065 for an M6 grade stateroom, up to $4,295 for a Q1 grade Grand Suite.

These two Atlantic voyages have replaced a Mediterranean voyage scheduled to depart on October 12, 2008.

QE2's Final Voyage In addition, Cunard has also announced QE2's Final Voyage which will leave Southampton for Dubai on November 11 and will call at Lisbon, Gibraltar, Civitavecchia, Naples, Malta, Alexandria and transit the Suez Canal before arriving on November 27. Fares start from $4,615 for a M6 grade stateroom, up to $11,995 for a Q1 grade Grand Suite.

QE2 is likely to attract huge crowds at each port on each of these voyages and special onboard programming will be incorporated into these voyages to honor the completion of QE2's service in the Cunard Fleet.

Guests booked on voyages that are impacted by these changes will be given the opportunity to rebook on one of the new voyages. If they book one of the new voyages replacing their cancelled voyage in the same grade, their original fare will be protected. If the fare on the same grade is lower, then the lower fare will be honored. If a guest decides to book any other 2008 voyage, the applicable fare for that voyage will be charged. Rebooked guests will be offered a $300 onboard credit and those who wish to cancel will be refunded.

The new voyages will be open for booking Wednesday, June 27, 2007, at 9:00am (ET) / 6:00am (PT).

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6-22-07: Celebrity Solstice Opens for Bookings

Just like at the end of the 1990s, when the size and passenger capacity of the average cruise ship grew by leaps and bounds, a whole new wave of growth is about to roll in, and first in line is Celebrity Cruises with the introduction of Celebrity Solstice scheduled for September, 2008.

Now, it isn't as if Celebrity Solstice is a record-breaking ship in terms of size for the cruise world, but it is by far the largest ship Celebrity has ever introcuced. And that is the nature of this industry-wide forthcoming trend. Almost all of the major cruise lines in the U.S. market are individually preparing to introduce the largest ships they have ever built for their own cruise lines - all set to debut between now and 2011.

Celebrity Solstice

And kicking off the celebration, the brand-new Celebrity Solstice will tower over the line's current largest ships of the Millennium Class (93,000 tons and 1950 passengers) by scaling up to 118,000 tons and 2850 passengers. The ship will have 1,425 staterooms, a full 85 percent of them with private verandas. Other features of every state room on the ship include flatscreen televisions sets, enhanced storage and closet space, plush European bedding and wireless Internet access available.

And so, other than sheer size, how is Celebrity Solstice different from other cruise ships? One thing we can certainly look forward to is the new cuisine currently being designed by Elizabeth Blau, who has just been named as the replacement to Michel roux, as the celebrity chef in charge. We expect the kitchen staff to be fully prepared to make the best of whatever surprises Elizabeth has in store for us.

Another outstanding feature of this ship will be a class of 130 staterooms known as the AquaClass. These staterooms will be centered around of the spa area of the ship and will have their own private access to certain spa features including the AquaSpa relaxation room and the Persian Garden, an exotic aromatherapy and steam room. Guests in these staterooms will also receive exclusive, complimentary dining in Blu, an intimate, 130-seat specialty restaurant featuring cuisine with a health conscious flavor.

Celebrity Solstice will make its maiden voyage December 14, 2008. The sister ships scheduled to join her include Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, and a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011.

Solstice' maiden voyage is a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. The itinerary will be offered on Sundays through April 5, 2009, with an alternating itinerary calling on San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Tortola, B.V.I.; and Labadee, Haiti, through April 12, 2009.

Celebrity is already taking bookings for this new ship, having started on June 21st, the date of this year's summer solstice. But so far bookings have been limited to members of Celebrity's "Captains Club" loyalty program. The general public can begin booking the ship on July 5th, 2007.

About Cruise Ship Sizes

The gross tonnage of a cruise ship actually refers to the volume of a ship (as in 100 cubic feet of enclosed space equals 1 gross registered ton), not the amount of displacement the ship creates when in the water (the actual weight of the ship). The years 1996 to 1999 represented a growth spurt in cruising that started with the debut of Carnival Destiny in 1996. That was the first ship to ever exceed the 100,000 tons mark, yet it was the last time to date that Carnival would ever own the largest ship in the world. It was soon superceded by Grand Princess at 110,000 tons. 1999 saw the introduction of both Voyager of the Seas and the Queen Mary 2, both in the neighborhood of 140,000 gross tons.

Today, the largest cruise ships in the world are 160,000 gross tons, the sister ships from Royal Caribbean, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas. They will remain the largest for a few more years despite this coming industry wave towards generally larger ships. However, the crowning touch on this fundamental leap forward will be capped by Royal Caribbean out-sizing themselves when they introduce Project Genesis. Set to debut in 2010 at 220,000 gross tons -- almost 30% larger than today's largest cruise ship, Genesis will carry over 6400 passengers, an increase of almost 90% over today's biggest ship in the world.

Royal Carubbean Genesis Class Ship - set to debut in 2010 - will weigh in at over 220,000 gross tons.

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6-21-07: Celebrity Cruises begins new era in culinary design.

Celebrity Cruises can be credited as the first cruise line to associate its cuisine with a celebrity chef, in its case Michel Roux, renowned three-star Michelin award-winner. Roux was initially hired by Celebrity Cruises' original founder John Chandris over 15 years ago and was the line's guide and mentor in designing the onboard menues and their preparation. The symbiotic relationship between the cruise line and chef went far deeper than any other cruise line has ever had. In the end Roux had his own products for sale aboard Celebrity ships, beyond the usual salad dressings and over mitts. There was everything from meat cleavers to a designer stove that actually sold in the shipboard giftshop for over $20,000. How you got it home was up to you. Award-winning chef Michel Roux

Celebrity amicably announced the end of its affiliation with Roux in January of 2007, and didn't make a peep about a successor for over six months. Just today the line announced the most anticipated culinary replacement in cruise line history. The successor to Michel Roux for the helm of Celebrity Cruises culinary design and implementation will be Elizabeth Blau, a noted food expert who currently lives in Las Vegas where she and her company specialize in creating original cuisine for the finest hotels in the city.

Blau is more than a chef, she is a culinary coordinator who finds teams of great chefs who work together to provide clients with fresh, creative and sound business advice required to create exceptional food-and-beverage concepts. Her most recent client is the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, which had already culled a reputation for being one of the city's finest hotels before it even opened. For the Wynn hotel, Blau assembled an all-star team of "chefs-in-residence" to get the attention of Vegas diners. Elizabeth Blau of Blau and Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada

The renowned list of chefs includes several James Beard Award winners, including Daniel Boulud, Alex Stratta, Paul Bartolotta and Takashi Yagahashi, who have all opened namesake restaurants at Wynn. Other culinary talents Blau recruited for Wynn's culinary roster include nationally and internationally recognized names such as Frédéric Robert, Philippe Rispoli, Stephen Kalt, Mark LoRusso, Richard Chen and David Walzog.

Other noted dining establishments that boast what many food critics call "the Blau factor," are Osteria del Circo, Le Cirque 2000, restaurants within the MGM/Mirage and the Bellagio, and restaurants in partnership with Kerry Simon, including Simon kitchen + bar in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, named one of the best new restaurants in America in 2003 by Esquire magazine.

Assisting Elizabeth and her husband Kim Canteenwalla in creating the new culimary program will be full-time Celebrity Cruises President of Food & Beverage Operations, Jacques van Staden, formerly a partner in Blau & Associates.

"Celebrity has long been known for providing outstanding cuisine, as has Blau & Associates, so we're confident our guests will be delighted with the results of our partnership," said Celebrity's President Dan Hanrahan. "The Blau team brings incredible expertise, and clearly shares our passion for food and genuine dedication to exceptional guest service, which will translate beautifully to the dining experience on every Celebrity ship."

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6-20-07: Temporary Passport Reprieve Due to Government Slowdown Today, the U.S. State Department announced a temporary lifting of passport requirements within the Western Hemisphere originally implemented in January. U.S. citizens traveling to the Western Hemisphere countries of Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda who have applied for and not received their passport, are able to travel with proof from the State Department of their pending application and a government issued photo ID, such as a driver's license.

Members of congress who signed a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressing the urgent need for a remedy to the excessive passport processing times. This implementation will help ensure that constituents are able to meet their travel dates without worrying about the last minute arrival of their passports. For those traveling to destinations other than Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda, who will still be required to have a passport, this change will allow for faster processing of their required passports.

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6-20-07: Carnival Passengers Robbed While in Jamaica A shore excursion to a banana plantation in Jamaica turned into a nightmare when 17 passengers onboard a trolley that was touring the plantation were robbed at gunpoint by two men. According to some of the victims, the two men produced handguns from a showbox after approaching the trolley. The men held the guns to the victims heads and faces and robbed them of all their money and possessions including passports.

Jamaica has been known as a high crime island for years now, and this incident resembles a similar one in the late 1990s where a busload of passengers were similarly robbed. In that case, the men were significantly less threatening and the passengers reportedly thought it was possibly a stunt and part of the tour. For the record, CruiseMates ran an editorial back in 1999 suggesting that cruise lines should stop visiting Jamaica because of situations like this, and a overall sense of lawlessness and danger for U.S. citizens.

Some of the victims on the Carnival tour reported that they had signed up for the tour after Carnival employees assured them it was safe. After the gunmen got away, the group returned to The Conquest. Jamaica was just the first stop on the trip that would take them to Grand Cayman, Cozumel and back to Galveston. Carnival says it has suspended the shore excursion to the banana plantation. The Williams family was reimbursed for that excursion and given $200.

According to news stories, one of the robbers was killed in a shootout with Jamaican authorities. Hours later, the police - who were assisted by citizens in a search of the area for the armed men - said they recovered handbags, credit cards and other items believed to be discarded by the bandits in the bushes.

The police later spotted the men and the alleged gunfight ensued.

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6-19-07: Azamara Quest Changes Inaugural Cruise Schedule Azamara Cruises has announced that the first sailing on its second ship, the Azamara Quest, will be cancelled and the date of the Quest's inaugural sailing will be postponed by five days to allow the ship extra time in drydock. The ship will be ready on Oct. 24 and will instead sail a two-day, roundtrip cruise from Miami to the Bahamas and a five-day Caribbean cruise from Miami on Oct. 26. In a letter from Azamara Cruises President Dan Hanrahan to the guests booked on the inaugural sailing, the line said that the "modification will offer us an additional five full days in dry dock to ensure our ship is entirely prepared to welcome guests." The decision came after Azamara had to delay the first sailing on its first ship, the Azamara Journey, by one day to complete the ship's drydock improvements; the line gave passengers on that cruise a full refund.

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6-19-07: Search Resumes for Man Missing from Freedom of the Seas A 24 year old man, whose name was not made public by the cruise line, was last seen resting on his stateroom balcony but has disappeared from the Royal Caribbean ship Freedom of the Seas somewhere between Miami and San Juan. The cruise line said it is investigating and is working with the US government on the disappearance. He was last seen early Monday morning by his brother and a friend, and first reported missing by his family about 7 hours later, just after 8:30 a.m.

Royal Caribbean contacted the FBI and the US Coast Guard, even though the ship was in international waters off the island of Eleuthera at the time of the apparent disappearance. The cruise line said a number of announcements were made aboard the ship throughout the day, and searches had been conducted, but the man was not fund.

Freedom of the Seas, one of the newest ships sailing for Royal Caribbean, reversed course and is still helping with the search as of Tuesday morning, one day after he was reported missing by his family. A spokesman for the US Coast Guard says crews searched by air for the man Monday afternoon, but later called off the efforts until Tuesday morning.

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6-18-07: QE2 to Leave Cunard Fleet and Go to Dubai Cunard Line today announced the sale of QE2 to Dubai World, in a US$100 million deal which will turn the iconic liner into a first-class tourism destination at The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.

QE2 will be delivered to Dubai World in November 2008, where she will cease her role as an ocean-going passenger vessel and be refurbished and adapted for her new home. From 2009, the vessel will be berthed at a specially-constructed pier to create a luxury floating hotel, retail and entertainment destination at The Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island.

The ship, which was launched by Her Majesty The Queen in September 1967, 40 years ago this year, is the longest-serving ship in Cunard's 168-year history, and was their longest-serving flagship. Since she came into service in 1969, she has undertaken 25 world cruises, has crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and has carried more than 2.5 million passengers.

QE2 has been purchased by Istithmar, the investment arm of Dubai World, a wholly owned company of the Government of Dubai. Nakheel, developer of The Palm Jumeirah, is also a Dubai World company.

Carol Marlow, president and managing director of Cunard, said:

"We are delighted that when her legendary career as an ocean liner ends there will continue to be a permanent home for her that will enable future generations to continue to experience fully both the ship and her history."

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai World, said:

"QE2 is without a doubt one of the wonders of the maritime world, and is easily the most famous serving liner in the world today. I am delighted we will be able to create a home for her on the newest wonder of the world, The Palm Jumeirah. QE2 at The Palm Jumeirah will become one of the must-see experiences of Dubai and of the Middle East. We are investing in creating a truly global tourism destination. Dubai is a maritime nation and we understand the rich heritage of QE2. She is coming to a home where she will be cherished."

Istithmar said its refurbishment programme will aim to recreate QE2's original interior décor and fittings. QE2 at The Palm Jumeirah will also include a museum celebrating the rich history of the ship.

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6-13-07: Carnival Elation Goes Year-round from San Diego Carnival's Elation recently began operating San Diego's first and only year-round cruise program encompassing four-day cruises departing Thursdays to Cabo San Lucas and five-day cruises to Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada departing on Mondays and Saturdays, on a rotating schedule.

The Elation will sail on 78 voyages annually from San Diego and joins the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit which has operated seasonal eight-day Mexican Riviera voyages from San Diego since 2004. With Elation and Carnival Spirit, Carnival is expected to carry more than 230,000 passengers annually from San Diego - the most of any cruise operator.

click on pictures below for larger images:

 
Carnival Sensation   Downtown San Diego
 

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6-13-07: Regent Adds Four New Antarctica Cruises in Late 2007 and Early 2008 Regent Seven Seas Cruises has added four new Antarctica cruises in late 2007 and early 2008 due to overwhelming demand for the world's top-rated expedition cruise ship, Explorer II.

Guests can choose from four new departure dates - November 8 and 24, December 20, 2007; and February 25, 2008. Each of these 16-night cruises will depart from the world's southernmost city and capital of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia, Argentina, also known as "the end of the world." These dates will be offered in addition to the already sold-out departures on January 21, 2008 and February 1, 2008.

Explorer II will then cross the Atlantic to the wildlife-rich shores of the Falkland Islands, followed by the glacial coastline of the South Shetland Islands and the mountainous peaks of the Antarctic Peninsula. Guests can be among the very few to step foot on Antarctica and explore, weather permitting. Explorer II then sails along Cape Horn, located at the confluence of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, before moving onward through Drake Passage and returning to Ushuaia. The extended 16-night cruises also include a call at South Georgia, featuring large colonies of king penguins, fur and elephant seals.

These four new cruises will take place during Antarctica's spring and summer seasons, which bring milder temperatures, longer days and unrivaled wildlife viewing including the famous shoreline gatherings of thousands of penguins. Guests may also see seal pups and parents, whales, blooming snow algae, albatross and other seabirds, and spectacular glaciers and icebergs. Explorer II's team of naturalists, historians, marine biologists, geologists, and ornithologists will add immeasurably to guests' adventures in these pristine realms. An onboard enrichment program hosted by a professional photographer will include group discussions and tips on how best to capture these wildlife sightings on camera.

Though a range of shore excursions can accommodate more adventurous travelers, the state-of-the-art Explorer II provide guests a way to experience the beauty of Antarctica in stylish comfort, and its small size and maneuverability brings guests face-to-face with each of the sites. Recently rated among the world's top small cruise ships by readers of Condé Nast Traveler, Explorer II features a polished brass and wood interior with all ocean-view suites and staterooms, two open-seating restaurants, a full-service health club and a salon. Although the ship is designed to accommodate up to 394 passengers, space is limited aboard these cruises to 198 guests for maximum comfort. The vessel's expedition team of highly trained naturalists and biologists, along with the high crew-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.5, ensures the ultimate relaxing and enriching voyage.

Per person prices for Regent's Antarctica cruises start from $9,795 for the 10-night voyages, including a one-night pre-cruise stay in Santiago (Chile); complimentary roundtrip economy air from one of Regent's 86 North American gateways, round-trip charter flights from Santiago to Ushuaia; a city tour and Patagonian lunch on day of embarkation in Ushuaia; and a complimentary backpack and parka. As with all Regent Seven Seas cruises, fares include all shipboard gratuities; complimentary beverages, including select wines and spirits served throughout the ship; and a refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, beer and bottled water replenished daily in higher stateroom categories.

Through The Regent Travel Concierge, guests may select from a variety of exciting pre- and post-cruise land adventures, from horseback riding in Ushuaia to a guided walking tour of the city's Tierra del Fuego National Park, including a trek across the border to Chile.

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6-13-07: Carnival Splendor to Launch Year-Round 7-day Mexican Riviera Cruises Carnival Cruise Lines' 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor - the largest "Fun Ship" ever constructed - will launch year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, CA, beginning in March 2009, following its inaugural schedule of European and Caribbean voyages.

With the arrival of Carnival Splendor, the line expects to carry approximately 650,000 guests annually on west coat cruises -- almost twice the number of any other cruise line.

Carnival is the only cruise line to feature three ships offering year-round cruises from Southern California - two from Long Beach and one from San Diego -- as well as a fourth ship sailing seasonally from San Diego. In addition, Carnival offers the widest available choice of cruise lengths - ranging from three to eight days -- with visits to exciting ports in Baja Mexico and the Mexican Riviera.

The 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor is a new class of "Fun Ship," which will introduce a luxurious 21,000-square-foot health and fitness facility surrounded by 68 exclusive spa staterooms and suites - a first for the line.

Carnival Splendor's Mexican Riviera ports of call include three popular seaside towns: Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

Fabulous pre- and post-cruise land stays, as well as myriad shore excursion opportunities - including snorkeling, canopy tours, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, kayaking, golfing and off-road Jeep adventures - will also be offered in conjunction with these voyages.

Prior to year-round deployment to Long Beach, the new Carnival Splendor will start service on July 13, 2008 and introduce Carnival's first 12-day Northern European cruise program, followed by a series of 12-day Mediterranean departures through Oct. 17, 2008. The ship will then sail on a transatlantic crossing from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Oct. 29, continuing with a series of seven-day Caribbean voyages from that port beginning Nov. 22, 2008.

On-Board Innovations for this new class of "Fun Ships," include:
  • a state-of-the-art health and fitness center spanning the forward portion of two full decks. Including the 68 spa staterooms and suites, the health and wellness center will encompass 40,000 total square feet and will include the line's first thalassotherapy pool, an elaborate Thermal Suite, and 17 treatment rooms for administering a wide range of soothing therapies.
  • a two-level 5,500-square-foot children's play area - part of the line's top-rated "Camp Carnival" program, along with a water spray park on Lido Deck. An expansive teen club and full activity schedule, part of the line's "Club O2" program, will also be offered.
  • a sliding Sky Dome over the main pool area, which will house Carnival's Seaside Theatre -- a massive outdoor screen displaying movies, concerts and other programming.
  • twin two-level main dining rooms, a casual poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, deli, a traditional Indian Tandoori oven, an upscale seafood venue and numerous other choices, and an elegant reservations-only supper club offering prime quality beef and other gourmet cuisine.

The ship will also house 1,503 staterooms, including a wide variety of accommodation categories, including several levels of suites and staterooms with private balconies. All accommodations will feature the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows.

Carnival will begin accepting reservations on the Carnival Splendor's new seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach beginning Friday, June 22, 2007. Prices begin at $549 per person based on double occupancy. Special discounts for third and fourth guests in the same staterooms and round-trip air supplements from a variety of North American gateways are also available.

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6-13-07: Crystal Extends Reduced Business Class Air Promo In a welcome relief effort for over-crowding on planes, luxury cruise line, Crystal Cruises, is extending its reduced business class air promotion on select 2007 summer European cruises booked by June 30, 2007. The special business class air upgrade fares are $999 one way and $1,998 round trip, and are in addition to Crystal Cruises' published coach class add-on fares. Available from selected major gateways in the U.S. and Canada, the upgraded airfares are approximately 50% lower than unrestricted business class airfares to Europe.

The promotion has been extended on Crystal Symphony with all cruises beginning July 18 through August 31 and on Crystal Serenity's cruises beginning July 2 through August 31 - a total of 11 voyages. Cruises begin in Copenhagen, Stockholm, London, Venice, Toulon or Monte Carlo with fares starting at $4,662, per person, double occupancy.

The Northeastern gateways are New York (JFK), Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. (Dulles); the Central and Southeastern cities are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Detroit, Minneapolis and Miami; the Western cities are Los Angeles (LAX), Denver, San Francisco, Portland, Phoenix and Seattle; the Canadian cities are Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver. The offer is capacity controlled and subject to space availability.

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6-12-07: Not Guilty Verdict in Bernson Case A federal jury deliberated for about two hours before finding Roderick "Rod" Bernsen not guilty of two counts of abusive sexual contact with a minor. The charges carried a maximum penalty of four years in prison. Berson, a retired police sergeant-turned-TV reporter who retired to Colorado, was acquitted Monday of allegations he inappropriately touched two 12-year-old boys aboard a cruise ship last fall.

According to reports, Bernson said his life would never be the same. Prosecutors declined comment after the verdict was announced. Previous stories about this incident had the two minors making allegations but their stories didn't exactly match up.

"My life will never be the same," Bernsen said outside court. "I will have to live with the stigma every day of my life."

Bernsen, who now lives in Colorado, was arrested Oct. 7 by FBI agents investigating a complaint by the mother of one of the boys.

Authorities said the boys claimed Bernsen tried to engage them in talk about puberty and erections while exposing himself while in the ship's spa area. They alleged Bernsen then inappropriately touched one boy with his toe as the child left the sauna and slapped the other's bare buttocks.

Bernsen denied touching the boys or making sexual remarks to them.

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6-8-07: Weekend Cruise News 6-8-07 *** Princess Cruises will debut its most extensive Canada/New England season ever in 2008 with an expanded schedule of northeast coast sailings beginning in August, offering more than 50 percent additional capacity. The extended Canada/New England season runs from August 24 and October 29, 2008, featuring 18 voyages on three ships. Itinerary choices include new 11-day Connoisseur sailings on Royal Princess between Montreal and New York, Classic 10-day cruises on Sea Princess between Quebec City and New York and seven-day roundtrip voyages from New York on Caribbean Princess. Royal Princess also offers a 17-day Colonial America sailing.

Caribbean Princess will make her debut in the region, and the program will return to Montreal with a new, longer Connoisseur itinerary that offers more opportunities than ever to experience the dramatic fall foliage, quaint towns and rich history of this colorful destination.

The Connoisseur route also debuts a new port for Princess with calls at New London, Connecticut, the gateway for historic Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Aquarium. This itinerary also offers a dramatic cruise up the beautiful Saguenay River and the opportunity to begin or end the voyage in Montreal.

All cruises include Nova Scotia's picturesque capital of Halifax, Saint John and the natural beauty of New Brunswick, quaint Bar Harbor and Maine's Acadia National Park, and the historic treasures of Boston. Certain itineraries also offer the opportunity to visit the majestic mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, or further explore Canada with visits to the Nova Scotia town of Sydney as well as Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island, the home of "Anne of Green Gables."

New Connoisseur's Canada/New England on Royal Princess - The intimate, 710-pasenger Royal Princess sails between Montreal and New York on this 11-day itinerary featuring Quebec City, Saguenay River Scenic Cruising, Ville Saguenay, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax, Saint John, Bar Harbor, Boston, and the new port of New London. The ship offers four departures between September 15 and October 18.

In addition, Royal Princess will also offer a special 17-day Canada & Colonial America voyage from Montreal to Ft. Lauderdale. This journey departs on October 29 and features calls at Quebec City, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax, Portland, Boston, New London, New York City, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Baltimore, and Charleston.

Classic Canada New England on Sea Princess - Princess' classic route between New York City and Québec City, the itinerary offers calls at Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, Saint John, Halifax, Sydney and Charlottetown, plus an overnight stay in quaint Québec City. Four sailings on the 1,950-passenger Sea Princess depart between September 13 and October 13. Sea Princess also offers the opportunity to sail on an extended 19-day Canada & Caribbean Adventure to Barbados. This option extends the October 13 cruise to include additional calls in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Dominica, St. Vincent, and Grenada.

Roundtrip Canada/New England on Caribbean Princess - A convenient seven-day roundtrip itinerary that features the best of the northeast, this route offers regular New York departures from Brooklyn, with visits to Halifax, Saint John, Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport. The 3,100-passenger Caribbean Princess debuts in the region with nine sailings between August 24 and October 19.

For those who would like to extend their Canada & New England vacation, Princess offers escorted pre- or post-cruise land tours in conjunction with these sailings, in which passengers can travel back through historic America or spend further time in Canada with a complete cruisetour.

Early booking fares for seven-day Canada & New England sailings begin at $945 per person, while 10-day cruises start at $1,545 and 11-day voyages begin at $2,095, based on double occupancy. Caribbean Princess voyages are currently open for sale, and Sea Princess and Royal Princess cruises open for sale on June 7, 200

*** Regent Seven Seas Cruises will inaugurate Vancouver, Canada's new Campbell River cruise ship terminal on June 5, 2007 as part of its 2007 Alaska cruise season. Overlooking Discovery Passage on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, this new cruise destination is an initiative of the Campbell River Indian Band, also known as the Wei Wai Kum, and is the first aboriginal cruise ship terminal in the world. The 700-guest all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner will be the first and only ship in 2007 to call in Campbell River - the "Salmon Capital of the World" - which offers an intimate opportunity to experience British Columbia's unspoiled natural beauty and authentic Aboriginal culture.

To celebrate the port's inaugural call, the Wei Wai Kum Indian Band will host a full day of festivities on June 5 for guests aboard the Seven Seas Mariner, which will be in port from the afternoon until midnight. Notable figures in attendance will include senior representatives for the Government of Canada and the provincial government, as well as executives from Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Cruise guests and other attendees will be treated to a warm "First Nation" welcome including a performance by Wei Wai Kum traditional dancers and opportunities to shop for locally-made delicacies, arts and crafts.

While in Campbell River, Seven Seas Mariner guests can choose from a variety of shore excursions that showcase this beautiful region: hiking the lower reaches of the Campbell River, where five species of Pacific salmon come to spawn; taking a float plane adventure to Read Island, home of Canada's only floating post office, which boasts some of the area's most stunning scenery; or exploring the Campbell River Estuary by kayak, where guests may catch a glimpse of the seals and sea lions that thrive in this wildlife-rich setting.

The inaugural call to the Campbell River cruise terminal occurs during a seven-night cruise from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver that departed on May 30, 2007. Other upcoming Regent sailings featuring calls to Campbell River depart on June 13, June 27 and July 11, as well as select sailings in 2008. Per person prices start from $3,697. Cruise fares include all shipboard gratuities; complimentary beverages, including select wines and spirits served throughout the ship; complimentary 24-hour room service; refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, beer and bottled water replenished daily; and an in-suite bar setup in butler suites.

*** Crystal Symphony's December Jazz theme cruise features solo piano performances to trios, quartets and full seven-piece bands, the many sounds and styles of jazz will take center stage aboard the award-winning. As the ship embarks from Miami on this seven-day voyage through the Caribbean, the entertainment lineup features noted jazz performers and five times its usual complement of musicians. Also on board will be noted jazz historian, professor, author and Grammy Award-nominated producer Dr. Robert G. O'Meally.

From December 1 - 8, 2007, Crystal Symphony will call upon Key West, Florida; Puerto Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Belize City, Belize. Nightly jazz performances will occur throughout the ship, including intimate venues such as the Avenue Saloon that especially lend themselves to the sultry moods and sounds of jazz. A gala jazz brunch will also offer guests an inviting musical backdrop for creative cuisine, conviviality and conversation.

A veteran in orchestrating Jazz tours and cruises worldwide, Jazzdagen Tours has partnered with Crystal Cruises to bring some 25 musicians on board. Joining the cruise is pianist John Bunch, a frequent performer at Carnegie Hall and conductor of the bands of Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Count Basie, and Buddy Rich. He has also conducted the London Philharmonic and L.A. Philharmonic. On vibes and piano is John Cocuzzi, a regular performer at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Lincoln Center in New York. They will be joined on trumpet by Warren Vache, Jr., who is a charter member of the faculty of the Juilliard Jazz Program and has recorded and performed with jazz legends Benny Goodman, Rosemary Clooney and Benny Carter, among others.

Dr. Robert G. O'Meally is the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of Literature and Director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, as well as the author of many books, including Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday, The Jazz Cadence of American Culture, and Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies. An expert on jazz music and culture, he scripted the documentary film Duke Ellington: Beyond Category for the Smithsonian and was nominated for a Grammy as co-producer of the five-CD box set The Jazz Singers.

*** Cunard's newest ocean liner, Queen Victoria's interior public spaces draw upon the well-recorded and rich history of previous Cunard ocean liners to set the tone. From the ship's double and triple-height spaces - a design feature of grand liners of the past - to rooms imbued with an elegant yet understated British charm, the overall effect is both contemporary and historically classic.

According to Teresa Anderson, vice president of Interior Design, "Much of Queen Victoria's interior design was inspired and carefully planned to take maximum advantage of the ship's grand spaces. Classical motifs, along with art deco and nouveau touches blend in a subtle continuity and add an element of surprise."

Dramatic architecture and design is evident throughout the ship, with the Grand Lobby serving as a majestic and powerful focal point. The centre of onboard activity, it forms the core from which the ship's other public rooms flow.

Beautifully proportioned, the Grand Lobby's architecture is in keeping with the ambiance of many of Cunard ocean liners of the past while its interior design offers the contemporary elegance of a modern day luxury hotel. The Grand Lobby's dramatic triple height ceiling, sweeping staircase and sculpted balconies create an immediate and unmistakable sense of grandeur and arrival. A signature piece of artwork anchors the staircase landing, affording a breathtaking focal point viewable from nearly every part of the Grand Lobby. An earth tone colour palette of creamy beige, chestnut brown and gold is carried throughout, from light mahogany walls and circular hand-woven area rugs to intricately designed marble floors. Here, guests will conduct shipboard business at the Purser's Desk, catch up on email at the computer centre and move easily to Decks 2 and 3.

Moving forward from the Grand Lobby, guests pass through the Cunardia museum-display, emerging into the dramatic double-height Queens Room, a loggia-style venue, reminiscent of a grand ballroom in a large country house. With ceilings featuring a pair of gleaming crystal chandeliers and the delicate use of gold leaf, the room's styling is light and elegant. Specially commissioned murals - by British artists - reinforce the line's British heritage, as do the activities which will take place here, including afternoon tea, served by white gloved waiters, formal balls with a live orchestra, the traditional Captain's cocktail parties, Cunard World Club events and even fencing classes.

In contrast is Hemispheres, an ideal venue for daytime pursuits and a nightclub which will be open into the early hours. The most contemporary area on the ship, it is a geometrically dynamic circular shape that is referenced in design elements throughout. The room's glamorous design is evident from the moment of arrival. A backlit perforated metal sphere encapsulated in decorative glazed screens serves as both a dramatic focal point and privacy-enhancing divider wall as guests enter the room. Light mahogany wood paneling, leather-clad columns, metallic wall surfaces, executed in shades of dark blue, burgundy and gold, give the room a modern sensibility. The circular dance floor is handcrafted wood and is highlighted by a gleaming chandelier suspended above. Panoramic views through expansive floor-to-ceiling windows enhance the dramatic location of this unique venue.

The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will offer the very best of Cunard's heritage and traditions, along with all modern day luxuries including some exciting innovations. These will include the first traditional West End-style private viewing boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre, the first Cunardia museum exhibit at sea, housing Cunard artifacts and memorabilia along with the first two-storey, library at sea featuring an elegant spiral staircase. The ship will also feature the line's celebrated Queens Grill and Princess Grill accommodations and dining, further enhanced on Queen Victoria with exclusive deck terraces and an al fresco dining option.

From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at the sophistication that differentiates a Cunard liner. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale, featuring rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory complete with a retractable glass roof.

As well as being the second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Victoria's arrival is particularly noteworthy as it will mark the first time that three Cunard Queens have been in service together in the company's 167-year history (she joins the world's grandest liner, Queen Mary 2 and the world's most famous and best-loved liner, QE2).

Carnival Cruise Lines' Elation and the Port of San Diego will commemorate the launch of the port's first year-round cruise program with a special VIP event aboard the 2,052-passenger Elation, which departs this afternoon on a four-day cruise to Cabo San Lucas.

Carnival's recently began operating San Diego's first and only year-round cruise program encompassing four-day cruises departing Thursdays to Cabo San Lucas and five-day cruises to Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada departing on Mondays and Saturdays, on a rotating schedule.

The Elation will sail on 78 voyages annually from San Diego and joins the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit which has operated seasonal eight-day Mexican Riviera voyages from San Diego since 2004. With Elation and Carnival Spirit, Carnival is expected to carry more than 230,000 passengers annually from San Diego - the most of any cruise operator.

Dining options include three restaurants - two elegant formal dining rooms and an expansive 700-plus-seat poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria - along with a patisserie and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service. An Internet café, ship-wide Wi-Fi access and cell phone service are also available.

Its family-friendly options include "Camp Carnival" and "Club O2," offering expansive facilities and supervised activities for children and teens, respectively. A comprehensive golf program providing the opportunity to play top courses in Mexico is featured, as well.

The Elation also houses a wide selection of spacious staterooms and suites, all of which feature the new "Carnival Comfort Bed" sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets, and high quality linens and pillows.

Starting fares for this cruise begin at $1,645 per person, double occupancy depending on stateroom selected.

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6-7-07: Jury Finds for NCL in Norwegian Dawn Rogue Wave Suit A federal court jury on June 6th quickly dismissed a $100 million lawsuit against Norwegian Cruise Line by two dozen passengers who were aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Dawn when it was battered by a fierce storm two years ago.

The vessel had encountered heavy weather -- with what was described as a 70-foot rogue wave and gale-force winds that smashed windows and flooded more than 60 cabin -- while returning to New York from a cruise to the Bahamas in April 2005.

The U.S. National Transporation Safety Board subsequently ruled that though the severe weather made the voyage unpleasant, "the safety and integrity of the ship was in no way compromised," and that NCL acted appropriately throughout. Nevertheless, passengers who contended they had been traumatized by the cruise filed suit in U.S. District Court in Miami.

Following a three-week trial, the jury deliberated for less than three hours before returning their verdict for NCL.

"We are pleased with the jury's thoughtful and reasoned decision," said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. "We have always maintained that this lawsuit existed only in the minds of the plaintiffs' lawyers and this verdict confirms our belief."

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6-7-07: NCL Anounces Sale of Marco Polo Norwegian Cruise Lines announced the sale of Marco Polo, from its Orient Lines brand, effective March 23, 2008.

"Marco Polo has an extremely loyal following and the Orient Lines brand is unique in what it offers," said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. "It has been an important part of our business during the transition from the old NCL to the new NCL with the youngest fleet in the industry by the end of this year.

"We have said for the past two years that all of our older ships would progressively leave the fleet as our new, purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships arrived. The timing of Marco Polo's departure always revolved around finding a good next owner, and I am pleased to say we have found one. This unique ship will, from the summer of 2008, have a new lease of life serving a new market under an established brand. The new owner will be announcing the acquisition very soon."

Marco Polo's famously friendly and family-like Filipino crew will continue to delight Orient Lines guests through to the delivery of the ship to her new owner. After that, they will be welcomed into new opportunities within the rest of the NCL fleet. NCL will shortly announce details of a comprehensive on-board program for the farewell season of the Marco Polo. Marco Polo's final cruise will be the March 2, 2008 repositioning cruise from Rio de Janeiro to Lisbon, Portugal.

In the coming weeks, the hundreds of thousands of loyal Polo Club members who have sailed on Marco Polo over the years will be invited and enticed to come and enjoy her warm home-away-from-home atmosphere one last time.

Marco Polo is presently owned by Star Cruises along with two other mid-sized vessels also operated on charter by NCL, Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Majesty. NCL Corporation Ltd. is an innovative cruise company headquartered in Miami, Florida, with a fleet of 14 ships in service and under construction. The corporation oversees the operations of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America, and Orient Lines.

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6-7-07: Man on Trial for Abusive Contact of Minor A well-known former Los Angeles Police Department spokesman, who now lives in Colorado, is on trial in federal court, accused of touching two 12-year-old boys inappropriately on a cruise ship. Roderick Bernsen was indicted on charges of abusive sexual contact with a minor after the boys said he touched them in the steam room of the Diamond Princess cruise ship last September.

The ship was a weeklong cruise to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico from Long Beach, Calif. The indictment alleged Bernsen tried to talk with the boys about sex and then touched one boy's penis with his toe and spanked another's bare buttocks, according to an affidavit. Bernsen was naked at the time, according to the indictment. Read the criminal complaint.

Bernsen denies the accusations. If convicted, he could be sentenced to four years in prison. The federal trial began Tuesday.

Bernsen was KTTV-TV's law enforcement specialist and helicopter reporter until he left the station in 2004. His broadcasting career followed service in the Los Angeles Police Department as a sergeant and LAPD police spokesman. Bernsen is the cousin of "L.A. Law" star Corbin Bernsen. He now lives in Monument, Colo.

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6-6-07: Ruby Princess Newest to Enter Fleet Princess Cruises has unveiled a new ship's name; Ruby Princess, along with its inaugural deployment - a season of seven-day Western Caribbean sailings from Fort Lauderdale.

Ruby Princess is a sister to the enthusiastically received Emerald Princess and Crown Princess, and will make its maiden sailing on November 15, 2008. Its Caribbean program will feature calls at Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and the line's private beach call at Princess Cays in the Bahamas. The ship's first season will run through April 2009.

The new vessel includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing array of performing street entertainers. Passengers will also enjoy Princess' other array of dining venues including the signature Sabatini's Italian trattoria and the Crown Grill steak and seafood restaurant, plus a relaxing oasis just for adults called The Sanctuary.

Ruby Princess will also offer the many other innovations that define the Princess experience, including the popular Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, multiple entertainment options, Personal Choice Dining featuring traditional or Anytime seating, a relaxing Asian-style Lotus Spa with fitness center, an extensive children and teen's center, a wedding chapel and nearly 900 staterooms with private balconies -- perfect for enjoying the scenic Caribbean islands.

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6-6-07: Mariner of the Seas Moving to Los Angeles Mariner of the Seas will be deployed to Los Angeles on February 22, 2009, making her the first Voyager-Class ship to sail regular voyages from the West Coast. From her new homeport, Mariner will offer West Coast vacationers 27 seven-night sailings to the Mexican Riviera.

Open for booking on June 6, Mariner of the Seas's seven-night Mexican Riviera itineraries will call on popular ports-of-call including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. As one of the world's most innovative ships, Mariner offers endless onboard amenities that allow guests to create their own cruise adventure. Cutting-edge features include an onboard ice-skating rink, rock climbing wall, and the Royal Promenade featuring restaurants, lounges, shops and themed parades. In the evenings, guests can enjoy award-winning Broadway-style productions in the three level Savoy Theater, as well as more than 10 lounges and discos.

As Mariner of the Seas makes her way from the East Coast to Los Angeles for the 2009 season, she will offer cruisers a spectacular journey around South America and the historic Cape Horn. Details of these unique repositioning cruises will be announced in the near future.

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6-1-07: Weekend Cruise News 6-1-07 *** Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Hosts the American Institute for Stuttering for a first-ever gala luncheon to raise funds for the study and treatment of stuttering. To be held aboard the company's flagship Queen Mary 2, the event will include lunch in the renowned Queens Room, an awards presentation and performances by Otis and the Hurricanes and comedian J.D. Lawrence.

The gala luncheon will be emceed by CBS News anchor Katie Couric and co-chaired by Sir Harold Evans, James Manley (CEO of Atlantic Pacific Capital), and Tina Brown. During the gala, the Institute will award its first annual Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Leadership Award to honorees Dominick Dunne, Jake Steinfeld, Kenyon Martin, and Carly Simon.

Docked at its New York home of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, Queen Mary 2 - the world's grandest ocean liner - will serve as the elegant setting for the afternoon's festivities. The ship will depart later that day for a Transatlantic Crossing to Southampton.

Guests expected to attend include Andrè Aciman, Eric Alterman, Marie Brenner & Ernie Pomerantz, Joan Buck, Candace Bushnell & Charles Askegard, Susan Cheever, Ron Chernow, Monica Crowley, Peter Duchin, Patricia Duff, Linda Fairstein, Donna Hanover, Susan Fales-Hill, A.M. Homes, Lauren Hutton, Henry David Hwang, Joel Klein, Elsa Klench, Kevin Kline, John Leo, Brian McNally, Michael Nouri, Faith Popcorn, Rex Reed, Reese Schonfeld, Senator Charles Schumer, Sir Howard Stringer, Calvin Trillin, Sam Waterston, Jack & Suzy Welch, Lynne White, and many more.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that there are over 3 million adults in the United States who stutter and approximately 1 out of every 30 children is affected by stuttering. Though the condition is widespread, the general public is still very misinformed about this genetic and neurological condition, which can lead to inappropriate treatment or even a total lack of treatment. As a result, many people who stutter find themselves isolated or limited by their condition.

*** Dielmann Cruises to offer river cruises from Potsdam, just outside of Berlin, to Prague and explore three historic cities - Berlin, Dresden and Prague - on weekly seven-night cruises on the five-star MV Katharina von Bora and MV Frederic Chopin. The two 79-passenger river ships sail alternately from the German city of Potsdam, 45 minutes from Berlin, and the Czech capital of Prague. The ships sail on the Havel, Elbe and Vltava rivers and provide a view through the ages from medieval times to the Baroque, from the religious reformation to the industrial revolution and from a divided Germany to today's unified country.

A third five-star Deilmann vessel, the 106-passenger MV Dresden, offers seven-night sailings weekly on the Elbe River, alternately from Hamburg and Dresden, that also visit Luther's town of Wittenberg, where the Protestant Reformation movement began, porcelain-famous Meissen, stately Pillnitz Palace, the stylish sea port city of Hamburg and beautifully restored Dresden, returning to its former glory. These cruises also offer an optional full-day excursion to Berlin from Magdeburg.

Prague departures offer pre-cruise add-ons in Prague, Vienna and Budapest and a post-cruise package in Berlin. The Prague package includes three nights at the Intercontinental Hotel, daily breakfast, city tour and transfer to the ship. The Elbe Explorer cruise-tours are priced from $1,895 per person. The Discovery three-night packages are priced from $299 per person for Prague and $349 per person for Berlin. Air fare is additional.

*** Queen Elizabeth 2 will host 100 Southampton veterans at a special lunch, in conjunction with the City of Southampton, to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Falklands Campaign on Sunday June 10 while QE2 is berthed in her homeport.

QE2 joined the ranks of other famous Cunarders, including Mauretania, Aquitania, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth when she was called up to serve her country. She was almost unrecognisable following the nine-day conversion to troopship when the public lounges were turned into dormitories, fuel pipes were taken through the ship down to the engine room so she could be refueled at sea; helipads were constructed fore and aft, and the carpets were covered with 2,000 sheets of hardboard.

Over 650 crewmembers volunteered for the voyage to look after the 3,000 members of the Fifth Infantry Brigade which the ship transported to South Georgia. During the voyage south, in order to avoid detection the ship was blacked out and the radar switched off and Captain Jackson and his fellow officers on the bridge were plunged into a navigational nightmare as they steamed on without modern aids, through an icefield in the dark.

Her tumultuous welcome home with the warship survivors on June 11, 1982 was a national event and HM The Queen Mother welcomed QE2 home from the decks of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

*** Michael Mankamyer, 35, of Orlando, who was rescued about eight hours after he jumped off Carnival Glory was later arrested on sex charges, bonded out of jail Wednesday, authorities said. Mankamyer was charged with sexual battery not likely to cause injury and lewd or lascivious molestation on a victim older than 12.

Mankamyer's bond was set at a total of $5,000 for both counts. He did not yet enter a plea, said Liz Malavet of the Orange County jail's inmate records department. The charges stem from an FBI investigation into Mankamyer's fall about 70 feet after jumping from the balcony of his room aboard the Carnival Glory in March.

The FBI reviewed cruise ship records that revealed Mankamyer had escorted at least four teenage boys on separate cruises, said Sgt. Rich Mankewich of the sheriff's sex crimes unit. Mankamyer, an MRI technician at Florida Hospital South, has said he is innocent and did not know why he was in custody. He also declined to speak with investigators, saying he had retained a lawyer. The name of his attorney was not immediately known.

*** Empress of the North must head south for repairs to the damage done when it hit a charted rock near Juneau earlier this month. The company has canceled its sailings through June 23 so far. That's a total of six cancellations since the May 7 accident. The Ketchikan shipyard, where the sternwheeler has been in dry dock for the past week, has another obligation and cannot complete the work.

The shipyard will do a portion of the Empress of the North's permanent repairs and stabilize the vessel for its passage south by the middle of next week. Built in 2003 in an old-fashioned sternwheeler style, the Empress of the North is owned by Seattle-based Majestic America Line, a subsidiary of Ambassadors International Inc.

The company is offering passengers affected by the cancellations to rebook another trip later this season or be fully reimbursed. Passengers also are offered a 25 percent credit on future voyages with any ships in the company's fleet.

The 360-foot ship ran aground on the submerged portion of a charted rock about 45 nautical miles from Juneau, forcing the early morning evacuation of 206 passengers and a portion of the 75 member crew. The impact ripped several holes in the ship's hull and damaged one of the propellers used in steering the ship. The National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard are investigating.

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