- Weekend Cruise News 4-30-04
- Holland America Christens Westerdam
- Weekend Cruise News 4-23-04
- Norwegian Star Refurbishments
- Carnival Launches "Low Carb" Dining
- Carnival Adds Year-round Mobile Departures
- Weekend Cruise News 4-16-04
- Weekend Cruise News 4-9-04
- Royal Princess Departs Princess Sea Princess Returns to Fleet
- Cunard Orders New Liner
- Revised Schedule for Norwegian Star
- Weekend Cruise News 4-2-04
- Caribbean Princess Christening Webcast
- Back to CruiseMates News Archive
4-30-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Celebrity has a new addition to its series of Celebrity Xpeditions' excursions. The Celebrity Xpeditions Racing Academy has been developed by racing champion Justin Bell in association with the Skip Barber Racing School. The excursion includes four hours at the track, including two hours behind the wheel of a Formula One Dodge racecar capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Professional drivers are on site throughout, providing pre-track briefings and demonstrating racing techniques. All participants also get to experience a "hot lap" - a ride in the passenger seat with champion drivers Justin Bell or Derek Bell at the helm of a 450-horsepower Dodge Viper. The Racing Academy excursion is available in conjunction with Caribbean cruises on Celebrity's Millennium, Century and Summit. Participants stay at the PGA Resort and Spa in Palm Beach where they meet with Justin or Derek Bell at a cocktail reception and presentation prior to the racing experience. Justin Bell is the 2001 TransAm Rookie of the Year and winner of the LeMans 24-hour race and World GT2 Championship. Derek Bell has more than 30 years of racing experience, and is a five-time winner of LeMans. He also was two-time champion of the World Sports Car Championship, and is a commentator for Fox Sports and ESPN. The cost of the excursion is $1,000 per couple with one person participating in the track session, or $1,800 with both guests participating in the track event. Most packages include one or two nights at the PGA Resort and Spa, transportation from the ship to the hotel and racetrack, and the five-hour track experience, including lunch. Additional details and online booking capability are offered via the Celebrity Xpeditions web site at www.celebrityxpeditions.com.
*** Windstar Cruises has updated the WindSpa aboard its flagship Wind Surf as part of the luxury line's recent multi-million dollar fleetwide enhancement program. Nautilus fitness rooms have also been updated and improved. Wrap-around glass windows allow views of the ship and surroundings from the bikes, elliptical machines, stairclimbers or treadmills. Free weights and a multi-workout station are also available in the gym. A new floor and large mirrors have been added to the Nautilus fitness room where fitness classes take place including Cardio Kick-Boxing, Kai-Bo, Yoga, High/Low-impact Aerobics and Pilates. Massage options at the spa range from Reflexology, the ancient Asian pressure point foot massage, to Aromastone Therapy. Ionithermie Algae Detox to firm and tone the skin, a refreshing and purifying Oxygen Lifting Facial, and Japanese Eye Zone Therapy, are some of the body treatments available and personal training, diet consultation and body composition analysis are offered. Aboard the Windstar ships, complimentary water sports are available on most itineraries when the ship is anchored. Aboard all three Windstar ships, passengers can take part in water-skiing, snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, banana boating and kayaking. PADI certified divers lead diving expeditions and conduct diving lessons for a fee.
*** The "Carnival Comedy Challenge" got underway this week with the first event held at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta. Up to 100 would-be comedians in Atlanta, Charlotte and Sarasota, Fla. are competing for the grand prize - an all-expenses-paid comedy performance, including round-trip transportation, aboard a Carnival Ship. The next two events will be held May 25-26 at the Comedy Zone in Charlotte and June 29-30 at McCurdy's Comedy Theater in Sarasota. In addition to an audience vote, a panel of judges, comprised of top talent evaluators, including entertainment scouts from Carnival and comedy club owners, will select 10 finalists from each city to compete for the grand prize. The 10 finalists will then perform a six-minute stand-up act as part of a "comedy showdown," with one winner from each city being chosen to be a featured comedian aboard ship. The Atlanta winner will perform aboard Inspiration's four-day Caribbean cruise from Tampa November 4, 2004; the Charlotte winner aboard Celebration's four-day Bahamas voyage from Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 9, 2004; and the Sarasota winner will board the Imagination's five-day sailing from Miami on Oct. 26, 2004. Would-be comedians interested in competing in the "Carnival Comedy Challenge" can visit emannation.com for additional information and registration.
*** San Diego continues to grow as a cruise port. Cruise lines homeporting in the Southern California city include Holland America Line, Carnival, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises offering cruises to Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal. Ships of Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Silversea Cruises and The World of ResidenSea include San Diego as a port of call on various itineraries. Cruise ship calls have doubled since 2000 and in 2004, San Diego will see a 60 percent increase in calls and a 175 percent increase in passenger count over 2003. This fall and winter Carnival Cruise Lines will homeport in San Diego for the first time when the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit sails new eight-day cruises to Acapulco, Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa and Manzanillo from the port.
*** Seabourn has launched a re-designed web site which includes interactive features and a "Virtual Theater" feature containing interactive, audio-visual ship tours, streaming 360° images of suites, public rooms and deck area, and streaming videos. The Virtual Theater is accessible from numerous links on the site or directly at www.seabourn.com/Theater/Experience_Online.asp (underscore between "Experience" and "Online.") The new site includes numerous links covering all aspects of the Seabourn Experience and itineraries for all three Seabourn yachts through April, 2006. Visit Seabourn web site at www.seabourn.com.
*** NCL America has developed a new shoreside golf program and golf pro shop for Pride of Aloha. Beginning July 4, 2004 with Pride of Aloha's inaugural voyage, the Golf Hawai`i program will offer golf outings to championship courses on all four main islands, including Ko`olau on O`ahu; Poipu Bay and The Prince Course on Kaua`i; Mauna Lani Resort and Hapuna Golf Course on the Big Island of Hawai`i; and Kapalua and Wailea on Maui. All courses feature 18 holes of golf with a variety of layouts ranging from 5,873 to 7,263 yards in length. Prices start from $95 per person. Transportation is included in all rounds of golf. The Pride of Aloha Pro Shop will feature top-of-the-line golf equipment including Callaway clubs and Adidas shoes for rent; NCL Golf Hawai`i logo items for purchase including Callaway apparel, Top-Flite and Callaway balls, gloves and hats. The shop will also feature onboard clinics with local golf pros and three practice nets.
*** A new offer from Amtrak and American West Steamboat Company gives passengers up to 25% off the train fare from California to Oregon aboard Amtrak's Coast Starlight when combined with a cruise aboard the luxury sternwheelers Empress of the North or Queen of the West. Passengers hop on the Coast Starlight at any one of its regular stops between San Diego and Sacramento for the ride to Portland, Oregon. Rail travel can be booked one-way or round-trip and includes one night's first class accommodations each way aboard the Coast Starlight. Passengers spend a night in Portland before boarding the 235-passenger Empress of the North or 163-passenger Queen of the West. The sternwheelers ply over 1,000 miles along the Columbia, Willamette and Snake Rivers. Highlights include traversing eight locks and dams, a close up view of 620-foot high Multnomah Falls, an excursion to the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument, an exhilarating jet boat ride into Hells Canyon, Lewis & Clark's Fort Clatsop and excursions to Astoria, Oregon, and Long Beach, Washington For more information or to request a brochure, call 1-800-434-1232, or visit www.americanweststeamboat.com.
*** Carnival is offering more than 100 different shore excursions in conjunction with the Carnival Spirit's seven-day Alaska sailings this summer. New tours added this year include the Klondike Rock Climbing & Rappelling Adventure and the Sled Dog Discovery and Mushing Camp both available from Skagway; Gold Panning and Salmon Bake Combo in Juneau; FX-11 Expedition Kart Adventure Combo and Amphibian "Duck" Historic City and Harbor Tour in Ketchikan. Spirit sails between Vancouver and Whittier/Anchorage with several round-trip Vancouver sailings at the beginning and end of the season which runs from May 12 to September 15, 2004. Tour details are also listed online at www.carnival.com and click on Shore Excursions in the menu at the top of the page.
*** Radisson's Seven Seas Mariner embarks on a 59-night "Grand Circle South America" voyage sailing round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale December 27, 2004. The voyage is available in four segments of 12, 16 and 19 nights in length. The complete circumnavigation of the South American continent includes the Amazon River, Buenos Aires, the Falkland Islands, Chile's fjordlands, Cape Horn, Rio de Janeiro, and Devil's Island. The four segments sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Callao (Lima, with onboard overnight)for 12 nights, December 27, 2005; Callao to Buenos Aires (plus shipboard overnight) 19 nights, January 8, 2005; Buenos Aires to Manaus, 16 nights, January 27, 2005; Manaus to Ft. Lauderdale, 12 nights, February 12, 2005. Passengers booked on the entire 59-night cruise will receive complimentary first class round-trip airfare from 86 North American gateways, up to $1,000 per suite in shipboard credits, and grand values including three exclusive complimentary events: "Chilean Wine & Song Valparaíso," "Amazonas Filarmonica at the Manaus Opera House," and "High Tea at Sunbury Plantation - Barbados." All passengers will enjoy four complimentary events, one on each segment: a "Gatún Experience from the Panama Canal," a "Penguin Safari from Camarones," a "Brazilian Celebration in Dance from Fortaleza," and a "Boi-Bumba Folkloric Show from Parantins." Back to Top
4-26-04 Holland America Christens Westerdam Holland America Line's Westerdam was christened on Sunday in Venice by Dutch actress Renee Soutendijk. Westerdam is the third vessel in the company's history to be named Westerdam and the third Vista-class ship to join the fleet, sister ship of Zuiderdam and Oosterdam. Following a season of Mediterranean and Northern European cruises, Westerdam will sail to Ft. Lauderdale in November to commence seven-night, alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises through April 2005. Aboard Westerdam there are four dining venues - the Vista Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill Pacific Northwest specialty restaurant, the buffet style Lido Restaurant and the casual Terrace Grill as well as 24-hour room service. Deluxe Verandah and Penthouse Suite passengers can also enjoy refreshments in the Neptune Lounge, a private concierge lounge. Frans Dingemans, principle architect and designer of all Holland America Line ships chose an on board design that reflects "the great history that both Holland and America share" including references to Henry Hudson and Peter Stuyvesant. The museum quality art work on board also feature classic maritime themes including HAL's characteristic depictions of Dutch East India Company ships. See Pictures of the Christening Ceremony in VeniceBack to Top
4-23-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Jewel of the Seas has been delivered to Royal Caribbean International in a ceremony in Eemshaven, Netherlands following successful sea trials in the North Sea. The 90,090-ton, 2,112-passenger vessel is RCI's fourth Radiance-class ship, sister to Radiance, Brilliance and Serenade of the Seas. Jewel will sail a series of short, preview events before arriving in Harwich, England, to commence her inaugural cruising season in Northern Europe. In September, she repositions to Boston to cruise Canada and New England to November, when she moves to Ft. Lauderdale for Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises through April 2005. For photos and more see RCI's special Jewel of the Seas page.
*** Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 will sail in tandem from New York on Sunday April 25. The voyage will be the final transatlantic sailing of the QE2. Prior to sailing, a reception is planned aboard QE2 in celebration of her 35th birthday (May 1) followed by lunch aboard the QM2. In Southampton on May 5, more festivities are planned. The Boston Cup, which has resided aboard the flagship of Cunard Line since 1840, will be moved from the QE2 to the QM2.
*** New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has announced a plan to modernize cruise ship terminals and build the first passenger ship facilities in Brooklyn. The announcement followed negotiations with Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Lines, the two major lines sailing from New York. The city's aging piers have been in need of upgrading to handle today's bigger ships and higher passengers loads. The new plan will see the Manhattan's berths reduced from five to three. They will be widened to accommodate larger vessels. The area will be renamed the New York Cruise Terminal. New York City will fund the $150-million renovation and also pay the $50 million it had already earmarked for immediate improvements at the West Side terminal. The full $200 million will be recouped over the next 13 years from cruise companies which will pay higher passenger and port fees. Carnival and Norwegian agreed to bring at least 13 million passengers to New York through 2017. Meanwhile Royal Caribbean has been developing a new cruise ship facility in Bayonne, New Jersey in order to avoid the congestion in New York. The facility name Cape Liberty Cruise Port will open in May for sailings by Voyager of the Seas and Empress of the Seas (the former Nordic Empress) through October.
*** HAL's Amsterdam kicked off the cruise ship seasons for Seattle and Vancouver this week but she is not en route to Alaska. Amsterdam is sailing an 18-night Hawaiian Islands cruise, round-trip from Seattle which called at Vancouver on Thursday to pick up passengers. Amsterdam will again offer the unique Hawaii sailing, round-trip from Seattle on a 17-night cruise departing May 5, 2005.
*** Celebrity Cruises is expanding its 'Acupuncture at Sea' program due to overwhelming demand. The program debuted aboard Infinity in 2003. It involves between two to four doctors of Oriental medicine who offer treatment for pain management, smoking cessation, weight loss and stress management; present lectures about acupuncture, feng shui, nutrition and healing with herbs; and diagnose and treat specific syndromes with medicinal herbal formulas. 'Acupuncture at Sea' will be available in 2004 aboard Millennium April 25-November 21; Constellation April 24-October 24; Infinity April 25-May 28 and September 26-December 31; Summit April 30-June 2 and September 17-December 31, and Galaxy May 7-December 31.
*** First European/Festival Cruises' European Vision has been sold at auction in Barbados to MSC Italian Cruises. The vessel will be renamed MSC Armonia and sail for its new owners in the Mediterranean. The future of First European/Festival Cruises is uncertain at this time. As reported earlier, the company has been attempting to restructure financially since earlier this year and has sold its older ships in addition to European Vision leaving the line with only two vessels, European Stars and the Mistral. Back to Top
4-21-04 Norwegian Star Refurbishments Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced that the 91,000-ton Norwegian Star will undergo a multi-million dollar refurbishment, including the addition of elaborate artwork to her hull. Additional changes include the addition of a steakhouse and a 10,000-square foot casino. New decorative artwork will be splashed along both sides of the hull with a burst of colorful stars and streamers running from the bow of the ship almost to the middle of the ship. The green, red, yellow, purple and aqua blue design is a whimsical interpretation of the long-time cruise tradition of passengers throwing streamers from the bow of the ship as the vessel pulls away from the dock at the beginning of a sailing. In addition to the new Cagney's Steakhouse, the ship will also have a Tex Mex and Tapas restaurant. The Teen Club on Deck 7 will be transformed into the Pearl Martini Lounge and the adjoining Karaoke Circus will become the Carousel Bar and Night Club where the existing private Karaoke rooms will be removed to create an expanded space for the night club. The renovations will be showcased the ship's first Alaska cruise. From May 30 through September 12, 2004 the ship will sail from Seattle on one week Alaska cruises. For additional information visit www.ncl.com Back to Top
4-21-04 Carnival Launches "Low Carb" Dining If you're trying to keep weight down, Carnival Cruise Lines' new low carb menu options can help keep you trim. Carnival will begin rolling out specially designated low carb dining selections on Carnival Victory dinner menus this week with a gradual fleetwide implementation over the next month. Dinner menus in the ships' main dining rooms will feature an appetizer, salad and entree with a low carbohydrate count. The number of carbohydrate grams per dish is listed beneath each low carb selection. Carnival lunch and dinner menus in the main dining rooms also feature Spa Carnival selections, which are lower in calories, sodium, cholesterol and fat. Designated items are accompanied by a listing of the number of calories and grams of fat contained within each selection. In addition, all ships fleetwide have health and fitness facilities offering a wide array of fitness classes, exercise machines and free weights Back to Top
4-16-04 Carnival Adds Year-round Mobile Departures Carnival Cruise Lines adds another "first" in its lengthy roster of itineraries when the 1,452-passenger Holiday begins year-round cruises from Mobile, Alabama beginning Oct. 16, 2004. The cruise line has scheduled four-and five-day alternating itineraries. The ship will depart the Port of Mobile Thursdays on four-day long weekend cruises to Cozumel and Mondays and Saturdays on five-day cruises to the popular western Caribbean ports of Cozumel and Calica/Playa del Carmen or Costa Maya. The Holiday currently operates four- and five-day cruises from New Orleans and will continue this program through Oct. 9 prior to launching service from Mobile Oct. 16. Introductory fares begin at $279 per person, double occupancy. For reservations consult your travel agent. Back to Top
4-16-04 Weekend Cruise News *** The 1,848-passenger Westerdam was delivered to Holland America Line yesterday by builder Fincantieri at Marghera, Italy. The new vessel will be christened April 25 in Venice with Dutch actress Renee Soutendijk acting as godmother. Westerdam is the third vessel in the company's history to be named Westerdam and the third Vista-class ship to join the fleet, sister ship of Zuiderdam and Oosterdam. The Westerdam has a passenger space ratio of 46. Oceanview staterooms account for 85 percent of accommodations with 67 percent of all staterooms having verandahs, including the new category of Deluxe Verandah Outside. There is a concierge lounge for the use of Penthouse and Deluxe Verandah Suite passengers. The Westerdam will be the first ship delivered complete with the Signature of Excellence cabin amenities, including Euro-top mattresses, robes and make-up mirrors in all cabins. On board features include the full-treatment Greenhouse Spa and Salon; the multi-level Vista Show Lounge; a second "cabaret-style" theater for late-night entertainment and daytime first-run movies; a golf simulator; two interior promenade decks and an exterior covered promenade deck; Lido pool with a retractable dome; the Club HAL kids and teens areas and the HAL signature Explorer's Lounge and "Crow's Nest" observation lounge.
*** Queen Mary 2 arrived in Cherbourg last Wednesday, 67 years to the day that Cunard's first Queen Mary made her maiden call at the port. A flotila of small craft welcomed the ship and 50,000 people were expected to participate in festivities throughout the day, which included the official opening of Cherbourg's newly renovated Art Deco Transatlantic terminal. Queen Mary 2 was on a four-day cruise, her first European sailing of the year.
*** The Scottish cruise ship Hebridean Princess played a role in the rescue of an injured hiker on the Ilse of Skye today. The woman's husband in search of emergency services met passengers from the ship who were hiking around Loch Coruisk. They returned to the ship which contacted Stornoway Coastguard. A helicopter was dispatched to rescue the unidentified woman who is now in hospital with a broken leg. Hebridean Cruises' Hebridean Princess carries 49 passengers on luxury cruises of three to seven nights in length around the islands, lochs and rivers of Scotland from March to November, including four-night "Hebridean Links" golf cruises.
*** Silversea has introduced online shore excursion reservations starting with Silver Shadow's Alaska cruises and the European sailings of Silver Cloud, Silver Wind and Silver Whisper. Reservations can be made from 60 to 14 days prior to the cruise and are confirmed by e-mail. Tickets will be waiting in-suite upon embarkation and shore excursion charges will be billed to the passenger's shipboard account. To book, visit Silversea's web site at www.silversea.com. Check on the individual day-by-day itinerary page and if there is a "Reserve Now" button visible, you may click on it to review the excursions offered and reserve them in advance. Passengers will be required to indicate their name, booking number and email address (this can also be a travel agent's email address). Tours with limited participation will be available for purchase on board only and overland shore excursions, which include flights and hotels, will have different deadlines in which a tour must be reserved. On board booking will still be possible and passengers will receive a book featuring full port descriptions and available Shore Excursions for their particular voyage with the final documents. The first sailing dates to offer online shore excursion reservations are Silver Shadow June 5; Silver Whisper June 7; Silver Cloud June 12 and Silver Wind June 14.
*** Crystal Cruises is launching a pre-reservation program for passengers who pay in full six months in advance and for penthouse guests after they have paid in full. The program enables passengers to pre-reserve spa and salon appointments, specialty restaurant dinner reservations, "Crystal Adventure" shore excursions and the complimentary Creative Learning Institute classes 180 days in advance of sailing. The web-based program goes into effect April 20 for Crystal Symphony, June 1, for Crystal Serenity and September 1, for Crystal Harmony cruises. Passengers can access the pre-reservation process at www.crystalcruises.com via a link on the sidebar navigation found on every page of the web site. Pre-reservations will be confirmed by e-mail with final confirmation received upon embarkation. Charges for spa/salon appointments and shore excursions will be added to the passenger's shipboard account.
*** Holland America Line continues to introduce its "Signature of Excellence" program aboard its fleet. Four sittings for dinner are available aboard HAL ships with two deck dining rooms. Dinner is served at 5:45 pm (First Upper), 6:15 pm (First Lower), 8:00 pm (Main Upper) and 8:30 pm (Main Lower). Requests for a sitting time and table size are made when booking. Noordam and Prinsendam will continue to offer the traditional two seatings at 6:00pm and 8:15pm in their single deck dining rooms. Holland America's "tipping not required" policy has given way to an automatic system. While tipping is still optional on HAL ships, gratuities of $10.00 per person per day are being automatically added to the shipboard accounts for dining and stateroom service. The amount can be increased, decreased or removed by visiting the front desk. A service charge of 15 percent is automatically added to bar bills. Other "Signature of Excellence" plans include the addition of more adventure activities to its private island in the Bahamas, Half Moon Cay. By the end of 2004 new activities on the island will include a horseback riding and swimming tour, a stingray adventure program, a WaveRunner park and an aqua park.
*** Cruise West had added a second ship to its eight-night Alaska "Wilderness Waterways" itinerary following the success of the cruise last season. From July 7 through August 30, 2004 the 78-passenger Spirit of Columbia and the 84-passenger Spirit of Discovery will sail round-trip from Juneau, calling at Sitka and the Tlingit Indian community of Kake, cruise from Tracy Arm to Icy Strait and the Indian Islands, spend a full day in Glacier Bay and explore the coasts of Chichagof, Baranof and Admiralty islands. Highlights of the itinerary are hidden inlets, waterfalls, boardwalk hamlets, islands, islets, rain forest trails, wildlife refuges, inter-tidal zones and the rarely-visited Tlingit Indian community of Kake. Whale sightings are guaranteed on all Cruise West "Wilderness Waterways" sailings or passengers receive a $250 refund. In Glacier Bay, a National Park Service Ranger kayaks to the ship, joining the cruise for the day, to help passengers identify the wildlife and explain the region's geology and ecology.
*** Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Holland American Line and Princess Cruises will offer the Rocky Mountaineer Rail tour experience in conjunction with Alaska sailings departing from, or arriving in Vancouver this year. Passengers can travel on the Rocky Mountaineer two-day, all-daylight journey through the Canadian Rockies between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Banff, Alberta, before or after their Alaskan cruise. Celebrity has a five-day tour option which adds a free day and night in Vancouver, and full days of motorcoach sightseeing in Yoho National Park near Lake Louise, and in Banff. Passengers can purchase the Rocky Mountaineer trip either through the cruise lines' tour departments, or from their travel agent. For more information on Rocky Mountaineer Railtours, contact 1-800-665-7245, or visit the web site at www.rockymountaineer.com .
*** The Clean Cruise Ship Act of 2004 has gone to the committee stage after being introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The federal legislation aims to unify standards in regard to cruise ship discharge. It would prohibit cruise ships from discharging waste less than 12 miles from U.S. shores and would set higher standards for ships discharging less than 200 miles offshore. An editorial in the Juneau Empire points out that the new federal legislation is too extreme and has not studied the successful measures taken by Alaska regarding cruise ship waste: "Unifying cruise-ship standards across the nation is not a bad idea.... The big problem is that it ignores all the measures Alaska already has taken to preserve its sparkling waters." Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation released a report last January, which showed a dramatic improvement in the quality of wastewater thanks to regulations in effect since 2001, and the new treatment systems aboard cruise ships. Alaska's success in protecting the environment prompted the states of Maine and Washington to look to Alaska in forming their legislation and agreements with the cruise industry. Hawaii has also been working to adopt Alaskan regulations since many ships visiting Alaska also call in Hawaii. Back to Top
4-9-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Silver Cloud has returned to service following a major refit and is acting as Silversea's "10 anniversary" flagship. It was 10 years ago (April 2, 1994) that Silver Cloud first set sail from Rome (Civitavecchia) on a seven-day Mediterranean journey. New additions during refit include the Saletta restaurant, an alternative dining room featuring specialty dishes created by the renowned chefs of Relais & Châteaux -- Relais Gourmands and Silversea's own master chefs. Internet Point is the new computer center with six private computer work stations and high-back executive chairs. Spa facilities have been expanded to include a Tranquility Room and the Fitness Center relocated to the Observation Deck to provide ocean views.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Silversea is offering a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne and a $250 (per suite) shipboard credit to couples sailing on any of its cruises this year and whose 10th Wedding Anniversary falls on any date in 2004. Cruises must be booked by July 31, 2004, and the line needs to be advised of the passengers' 10th Anniversary at least 30 days prior to sailing. Proof of wedding date will also be required at the time of booking.
*** Celebrity Cruises is rolling out an expanded entertainment program on board its fleet, featuring enrichment lectures by stars of stage and screen and new Broadway shows. Among the celebrities entertaining Celebrity passengers this year are Hugh Downs, co-anchor of ABC's "20/20"; talk- and game-show host Regis Philbin; Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine; news correspondents Ike Pappas and Irving R. Levine; actor Theodore Bikel; astronaut Col. Jack Lousma; actor Bernie Kopell, ("Doc" on "The Love Boat") and maritime historians Bill Miller and John Maxtone-Graham. New production shows are "Thoroughly Broadway" debuting aboard Zenith this June, the high-tech enhanced "Celebrate The World" premiering on Constellation during the ship's transatlantic crossing to Europe in May, and two new shows aboard Galaxy - "Elements," an aerobatic show in May, and a yet-to-be-named spectacular slated for October. Celebrity is also planning special performances by nine-time Tony Award winner Tommy Tune, the Manhattan Rhythm Kings and, direct from Las Vegas, musical impressionist Stephen Sorrentino.
***Princess Cruises will add 'Movies Under the Stars' to Grand, Golden and Star Princess following the success of the poolside entertainment aboard the new Caribbean Princess. Movies are shown poolside on a 300 square foot Times Square style screen which and can be seen clearly in daylight as well as in darkness.
*** With the departure of Wind Star from Tahiti next year, Windstar Cruises is offering "Sail & Save" rates including air from 78 North American gateways on its Tahiti and Marquesas cruises for 2004. Two 14-night sailings on June 18 and September 17, 2004 visit the Marquesas archipelago, among the most beautiful and least visited islands in the world. Sailing round-trip from Papeete, ports of call are the Marquesas islands of Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Pou, and Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa in Tuamatu, and the Society Islands of Bora Bora and Moorea. Windstar Cruises has announced that the Wind Star will leave Tahiti at the end of 2004 and begin sailing new itineraries in Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, the Mediterranean and the Greek Islands.
*** Discovery World Cruises will send its ship Discovery on cruises to South America, Antarctica and the South Pacific next winter. Discovery is the former Island Princess which underwent a multi-million refit in 2003. She now offers destination focused cruisetours with a lecture series conducted on board be regional specialists. Many itineraries include an overnight hotel stay and sightseeing tour in the embarkation and/or disembarkation cities and all feature local cultural performances on board to showcase the customs and cultures of the regions visited. "Christmas Voyage to South America" is a 25-night Holiday voyage, departing December 5, 2004, which sails from Lisbon to Buenos Aires, calling at Gibraltar, Madeira, the Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands, Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo. Three cruisetours will visit the Antarctic Peninsula: "Antarctica & the Falklands", 16 nights, December 28; "Antarctica", 13 nights, January 7 and "Antarctica & Chilean Fjords", 20 nights, January 15. Discovery then charts a course shadowing the routes marked by Captains Cook and Blye on an 18-night voyage. "In the Wake of the Bounty" departs January 29 and calls at South Pacific islands including Robinson Crusoe Island, Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Bora Bora and Tahiti. Two South Pacific cruises between Papeete, Tahiti and Auckland follow on February 14 and March 16, 2005 and two 14-night, "Discover New Zealand" cruisetours depart February 26 and March 6, 2005 sailing round-trip from Auckland on a figure-eight path around New Zealand's North and South islands. View April's total eclipse of the sun aboard Discovery on the 19-night "South Pacific Eclipse" voyage from Papeete to Lima, Peru. Discovery then heads for Europe sailing from Lima to Ft. Lauderdale on the 15-night "Maya & Panama Canal" sailing and from Ft. Lauderdale to Harwich, England on the 16-night "Springtime Journey to Europe" sailing. For more see your travel agent or visit the line's web site at www.discoveryworldcruises.com.
*** Seabourn has announced the celebrity chefs who will sail aboard Seaborun Legend, Pride and Spirit for the Chefs' Circle culinary cruises in 2005. Each chef will present cooking demonstrations and tastings, serve up signature dishes at dinners on board and, when possible, guide "Shopping with the Chef" excursions to local markets in search of fresh, local ingredients. Here's the lineup for 2005:
- Gerry Hayden & Claudia Fleming, Restaurant Amuse, New York (Seabourn Spirit, July 11, 2005)
- Dean Fearing, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas. (Seabourn Pride, August 15, 2005)
- Jean Marie Lacroix, Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, Philadelphia (Seabourn Legend, October 12, 2005)
- Todd Gray, Equinox, Washington D.C. (Seabourn Pride, November 7, 2005)
- Rob Feenie, Lumière, Vancouver (Seabourn Pride, December 12, 2005)
*** Oceania Cruises has launched e-brochures of its 2004 European cruises at www.e-travelbrochures.com/viewBrochure.asp?campaignId=21. Using new technology, the e-brochures enable you to flip through photography and imagery while using zoom features to enlarge images and deck plans. Each page links directly to detailed itineraries as well as virtual tours of Regatta and Insignia's public rooms, suites and staterooms. The line's 2004-2005 Caribbean and South America e-brochure will be available shortly and the printed version is now available. Insignia's inaugural season in South America features itineraries ranging from 12 to 18 days. Book by April 30 for 2-for-1 cruise fares and free airfare from over 50 North American gateways is available.
*** Cruise West's six-night Costa Rica "Summer Adventure" cruises are specially designed to combine learning and fun for children, their parents and grandparents. The cruisetours aboard the 100-passenger Pacific Explorer call at Curú Wildlife Refuge, Tortuga Island, Drake Bay, Manuel Antonio National Park, Caño Island and the 100,000-acre Corcovado Conservation Area. Children go on short jungle hikes, searching for monkeys, take Spanish lessons, water ski, play beach games and take banana-boat' rides. Activities shared with parents include wildlife walks, Zodiac river trips to jungle-canopied swimming pools, snorkeling kayaking in the calm coves and beach barbecues. A cruise activities director keeps children engaged, at sea and ashore, with special activities tailored to age groups. A children's dinner hour is served one hour before the adult seating. Adults can spend as much time as they want with the kids, but there's always someone to look after them. Weekly Saturday departures from San Jose, Costa Rica's capital city, run from June 19 through July 24 and are priced from $1,595 to $2,695, double occupancy. Children ages 12 and under and sharing a cabin with an adult save 50%; ages 13 through 21 save 25%. A limited number of triple cabins are available. Prices include all shore activities. Back to Top
4-5-04 Royal Princess Departs Princess, Sea Princess Returns to Fleet Princess Cruises is swapping ships with sister company P&O Cruises, which markets cruises in the U.K. P&O Cruises ship Adonia will be transferred to the Princess fleet and renamed Sea Princess. Royal Princess will become a P&O Cruises ship serving the British cruise market. Both changes will occur in May 2005. The 1,950-passenger Sea Princess was originally built for Princess and entered service for the company in 1998 under the same name and was transferred in April 2003 to P&O. Back to Top
4-5-04 Cunard Orders New Liner Cunard Line has announced that it has placed an order for a new 85,500-ton ship to be named Queen Victoria. The company has transferred the Queen Victoria currently under construction in Italy to its sister line, P&O Cruises. The new 1,850-passenger Panamax vessel will enter service in January 2007. She will be built by Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani SpA, at its Marghera (Italy) shipyard, and is expected to have an all-in cost of approximately EUR 390 million. The ship will feature a Queens Grill and Princess Grill, a two-story Aquitania Restaurant, as well as alternative dining options, including a Todd English restaurant. Other Cunard hallmark facilities will include a grand ballroom, an authentic British pub, and a classic library. Back to Top
4-2-04 Revised Schedule for Norwegian Star NCL has revised the schedule for Norwegian Star's Hawaii itineraries due to damage to the forward thrust bearing in the ship's azipod system. The ship can still travel 18 knots, but she cannot perform the normal 25 knots needed to run the Hawaii itinerary including Fanning Island. Beginning Sunday, April 4th through April 25th, the ship will drop Fanning Island from its itinerary and offer more time in Hawaii. Sailing round-trip from Honolulu, ports of call are Hilo and Kona, Hawaii; Lahaina and Kahului, Maui and Nawiliwili, Kauai with a different order of ports and port times each week. Norwegian Star will enter its previously scheduled dry dock early for repairs to the azipod. As a result, NCL is canceling Norwegian Star's Trans Pacific voyage on May 2nd from Honolulu to Vancouver. Guests booked on this cruise will receive a full refund, a 25 percent cruise credit certificate for the value they paid for the cruise, and applicable airline change fees. NCL has established a special number 1-877-501-6021 for further information. Back to Top
4-2-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Jewel of the Seas is scheduled to leave Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany tonight and sail down the River Ehms to the North Sea. A map and photos of the planned transit are available at www.meyerwerft.de and the event will be broadcast live on the Internet. The 90,090-ton Jewel of the Seas is Royal Caribbean's fourth Radiance-class ship, sister to Radiance, Brilliance and Serenade of the Seas. She begins sea trials next week and will be delivered to RCI at the end of April. The transit is subject to tide and wind conditions. Since Jewel has azipod propulsion, she will travel down the river astern, with the pods effectively "shoveling" the water under the ship. Meyer Werft reports this is the easiest way to maneuver a ship with this type of propulsion. Meanwhile, Meyer Werft has begun constructing the new, still unnamed, 93,000-ton cruise ship for NCL to be completed by mid-2005.
*** Silversea's Chairman, Manfredi Lefebvre, its Chief Executive Officer, Albert Peter, and 22 other employees, are being recognized today for exceptional performance extended last spring during Russian President Vladimir Putin's private charter of Silver Whisper. On behalf of President Putin, Dimitry Skarga, President and Chief Executive of SOVCOMFLOT, the Russian state-owned shipping fleet, will present Silversea with trophies bearing the Russian state emblem during a special awards ceremony aboard Silver Cloud, in Monte Carlo today. In May 2003, the Silver Whisper docked on the Neva River for three days as it hosted world leaders from the G8 countries, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who were attending tricentennial celebrations in St. Petersburg. Silver Whisper was hand-picked by President Putin to provide temporary residence for select dignitaries needing presidential-class accommodations and service. During the St. Petersburg festivities, the ship hosted a Russian state dinner for 46 presidents and prime ministers, plus another 46 ambassadors and ministers. Months of preparation preceded the event, including on-site training of Silversea staff at the Kremlin. "We are very gratified to receive this special recognition from President Putin," said Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea's Chairman. "We knew that a project of this magnitude would present new challenges for us, but we also knew our team of outstanding professionals would ensure its success."
*** Carnival Corporation has placed 46th in 'The BusinessWeek 50', the annual listing of the top performing companies of the S&P 500. The list represents the best American companies in both operational performance and returns for shareholders. Carnival was recognized for its strength during a financially tough 2003 and the travel downturn of the past 2.5 years.
*** Royal Caribbean has suspended calls at Labadee, Haiti, indefinitely. Cruises through the end of April will replace Labadee with either Nassau or Coco Cay, the line's private island in the Bahamas. The latest company statement reports "the top priority of Royal Caribbean International is the safety of its guests and employees. Because of this, continuing unrest in Haiti, and the specific recommendations of security consultants, the company has decided to indefinitely suspend its port calls scheduled for Labadee."
*** Crystal Cruises will call at 185 ports in 64 countries on seven continents in 2005. Among the many highlights, Crystal Symphony will visit Antarctica during her South America cruises next winter. Tracy Arm and the twin Sawyer Glaciers have been added to some Alaska sailings, round-trip from San Francisco aboard Crystal Harmony. Overnight calls at European ports have been added for 2005 and most Baltic cruises feature a three-day, two night shipboard stay in St. Petersburg. Crystal Harmony will sail four seven and four 10-night Mexican Riviera cruises round-trip from Los Angeles in the fall. A record number of seven and eight-night cruises will sail next year in Alaska, Europe, Caribbean, New England/Canada and Mexican Riviera. As reported last week, Crystal Serenity will sail the 101-day world cruise for Crystal in 2005 sailing from Los Angeles to London, January 15, 2005.
*** Celebrity Cruises newest addition to its Xpeditions offerings is the 16-hour "Moscow, Kremlin and KGB" experience available from St. Petersburg during Constellation's Northern Europe cruises. Participants board a one-hour flight from St. Petersburg to Moscow, followed by limousine transportation to the museum of the world-famous Russian Security and Intelligence Service, KGB. Other stops during the day are the Kremlin, Cathedral Square, Red Square, St. Basil Cathedral, Kremlin Towers and Lenin's Tomb. The tour concludes with dinner in a historic mansion and traditional vodka toast, before flying back to St. Petersburg to return to Constellation. . The excursion costs $1,300 per person, including roundtrip airfare from St. Petersburg, limousine transportation, lunch and dinner. Additional details and online booking capability are offered via the Celebrity web site www.celebrity.com.
*** When Jewel of the Seas enters service in May, she will feature a new stageshow "Tango Buenos Aires". The show stars Argentinean tango couple Ruben and Sabrina Veliz and displays the history of the dance. Music for the show includes "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina." Jewel of the Seas will spend the summer in Europe, sailing 12-night Scandinavia/Russia and British Isles/Norwegian Fjords itineraries from Harwich, England. In the fall, she will cross the Atlantic to offer 10-night Canada/New England journeys from Boston before repositioning to Fort Lauderdale for the winter, where she will sail alternating eight-night Eastern Caribbean and six-night Western Caribbean itineraries.
*** Radisson Seven Seas and the Avon Foundation are launching the first-ever "Celebration at Sea" cruise in support of Breast Cancer research. The four-night cruise aboard Radisson Diamond departs November 13, sailing round-trip from San Juan calling at St. Barts, St. Kitts and St. Thomas. "This charity cruise will raise funds to support the development of a novel breast cancer vaccine therapy so that one day we can host a cruise to celebrate a victory over this devastating disease" said Carol Kurzig, executive director, Avon Foundation. Reservations can be made online at www.avoncelebrationatsea.com or by calling (866) 572-7847. Radisson Seven Seas guarantees a minimum of 20% of all proceeds will be contributed to the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade.
*** Paul Burrell, Princess Diana's personal butler and author of "A Royal Duty," will be aboard the Carnival Glory December 4 to 11, 2004 for a charity cruise to benefit Special Olympics of Florida. The week-long cruise will operate round-trip from Port Canaveral and call at Key West; Belize City, Belize; Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico. During the voyage, Burrell will sign copies of his book and host question-and-answer sessions focusing on his more than two decades of service to the Royal Family. Burrell will also auction items from his personal collection of Royal Family memorabilia, with proceeds benefiting Special Olympics of Florida. A private cocktail reception with Burrell will be held and participants will have the opportunity to win a chance to dine with Burrell one night during the cruise. Special Olympics will also host a fundraising auction on board featuring signed memorabilia from various athletes and celebrities. For additional information and reservations, call High Performance Cruise & Travel at 386-252-4423 or visit highperformancetravel.com.
*** Alaska Photographer Mark Kelley will be the special guest aboard Glacier Bay Cruiseline's Wilderness Adventurer July 24. Kelley, a long-time Alaska resident has more than 25 years experience as a professional photographer. He has published six books including 'Glacier Bay National Park: Alaska', winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award in 2000 and has contributed to numerous publications including National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Adventure, National Wildlife, Sierra. The seven-night adventure cruise sails between Ketchikan and Juneau on Alaska's Inside Passage and features sea kayaking, hikes ashore as well as photography sessions with Mark Kelley. For more call 1.800.451.5952.
*** Silversea is offering nine Culinary Cruises and 11 Wine Series voyages in 2004. The culinary enrichment cruises showcase the artistry of award-winning chefs from Relais & Châteaux - Relais Gourmands, the distinguished association of boutique hotels and restaurants, while international wine experts from a variety of estates and wineries will be on hand to host the Wine Series voyages: "Relais & Chateaux" Culinary Cruises and Guest Chefs 2004
- Silver Cloud "Iberian Favorites", six days, Lisbon to Barcelona, May 12 - 18, 2004. Joachim Koerper, Girasol, Moaira, Spain.
- Silver Whisper "A Glorious Passage", nine days, Barcelona to Athens, June 7 - 16, 2004. Guenter Seeger, Seeger's, Atlanta, Georgia.
- Silver Whisper "Princes & Patricians", seven days, Venice to Rome, July 21 - 28, 2004. Robert Carter, Peninsula Grill at Planters Inn, Charleston, South Carolina. Winemaker Co-Host: Grgich Hills Cellar (California).
- Silver Cloud, "Riviera Reflections", seven days, Malaga to Barcelona, September 8 - 15, 2004. Jacques Thorel, L'Auberge Bretonne, La Roche-Bernard, France.
- Silver Shadow, "The Magic of Mexico", 11 days, San Francisco to Costa Rica, September 26 - October 7, 2004. Executive Chef (To Be Announced), Las Mañanitas, Cuernavaca, Mexico.
- Silver Whisper, "New England Medley", eight days, New York to New York, September 30 - October 8, 2004. Eyvind Hellstrøm, Bagatelle, Oslo, Norway.
- Silver Shadow, "Accent on the Panama Canal", eight days, Costa Rica to Barbados, October 19 - 27, 2004. Randy Akey, Kingsbrae Arms, St. Andrews, New Brunswick.
- Silver Whisper, "Caribbean Celebrations", nine days, Ft. Lauderdale to Colon, November 20 - 29, 2004. Christopher Freeman, Topper's at The Wauwinet, Nantucket, Massachusetts.
- Silver Wind, "Chilean Fjord Odyssey", seven days, Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, December 7 - 14, 2004. Anne Desjardins, Hôtel L'eau a la Bouche, Sainte-Adèle, Quebec.
Wine Series and Host Vintners:
- Silver Whisper, "A Taste of Italy & Spain", seven days, Barcelona to Rome, May 5 - 12, 2004. Cloudy Bay Vineyards (New >Zealand).
- Silver Cloud, "Riviera Rendezvous", seven days, Barcelona to Monte Carlo, May 18 - 25, 2004. Scotchmans Hill (Australia).
- Silver Cloud, "Vintage Harbors", 10 days, Monte Carlo to London, May 25 - June 4, 2004. Château Lynch-Bages (France).
- Silver Wind, "Haute Harbors" seven days, Monte Carlo to Barcelona, June 21 - 28, 2004. Leeuwin Estate (Australia) with COPIA - The American Center for Food, Wine & the Arts.
- Silver Wind, "Masterpieces of the Mediterranean", seven days, Barcelona to Rome, June 28 - July 5, 2004. Plumbjack Winery (California).
- Silver Whisper, "Princes & Patricians", seven days, Venice to Rome, July 21 - 28, 2004, Grgich Hills Cellar (California) and Guest Chef Robert Carter, Peninsula Grill at Planters Inn.
- Silver Whisper, "Passage to Antiquity", seven days, Rome to Venice, July 28 - August 4, 2004. Heitz Wine Cellars (California).
- Silver Cloud, "Atlantic Vistas", nine days, London to Malaga, August 30 - September 8, 2004. Penfolds (Australia).
- Silver Cloud, "Mediterranean Interlude" seven days, Nice to Monte Carlo, September 22 - 29, 2004. Shafer Vineyards (California).
- Silver Wind, "Picturesque Passage", seven days, Rome to Barcelona, October 13 - 20, 2004. Castello Banfi (Italy).
- Silver Shadow, "Alaska Reflections", seven days, Seattle to Vancouver, September 1 - 8, 2004. Duckhorn and Spottswoode (California).
4-1-04 Caribbean Princess Christening Webcast The 113,000-ton, 3,100-passenger Caribbean Princess has arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and will be christened tomorrow, Friday April 2. Princess Cruises will broadcast the special celebration live on the Internet. "Love Boat" actress Jill Whelan who played Captain's Stubing's daughter Vicki in the TV series, will christen Caribbean Princess then marry fiance Michael Chaykowsky on board the ship. The dual celebration will be broadcast live from Ft. Lauderdale at www.princess.com from 6-7:30 pm Eastern Time, and will include commentary from Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing) and Bernie Kopell (Doc) from the show's cast. Back to Top