News Archive - April 2005

4-29-05 Weekend Cruise News *** Sea Princess has returned to the Princess Cruises' fleet after sailing for two years as the Adonia for P&O Cruises. Sea Princess sailed yesterday on a 14-night Mediterranean cruise from Southampton, her homeport from now through October. Movies Under the Stars is one of the new additions to the ship following an extensive drydock prior to switching companies. She re-joins sister ships Sun and Dawn Princess as part of the Princess fleet.

*** Holland America Line's Westerdam has completed her Signature of Excellence refit. Statendam is currently in drydock in Victoria B.C. undergoing her conversion in time for the Alaska season. Changes onboard include the addition of the culinary arts center, Explorations Cafe and Internet center, addition of flat screen TVs and DVD players in all staterooms. The next vessels to be converted will be Amsterdam, Volendam and Zuiderdam in Fall 2005 followed by Veendam and Maasdam in Spring, 2006 and Oosterdam in Fall, 2006. For more on the Signature of Excellence changes at HAL, see CruiseMates' article Trying Out HAL's Signature Upgrades.

*** Pride of America will be the home of the morning show "Live with Regis and Kelly" on its maiden voyage, June 18 to 24, 2005 from New York to Miami. Hosts Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa are giving away free cruises to 1,000 contest winners and fans to join them for the cruise through "Live's Pride of America Cruisin Reunion" watch-to-win contest. Every day from May 16 to June 10, Regis and Kelly will give away 20 cruises to one winner, so they can invite a group of 20 family members and friends to sail aboard Pride of America. Viewers can log on to for full contest details. "Live" affiliates will also offer the chance to win, with local contests in each city. Pride of America is the first new, U.S.-flagged cruise ship in a half a century and is the biggest passenger ship ever built for the U.S. registry. The ship has an all-American crew and celebrates a 'Best of America' theme, with public rooms inspired by the diverse regions of the United States. The maiden cruise from New York to Miami will call at Boston, Philadelphia and Norfolk.

*** The new U.S. Direct program will make taking an Alaska cruise from Vancouver much more convenient for U.S. citizens. The Vancouver Port Authority and Vancouver International Airport Authority have devised the new program with the support of Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Passengers will travel in bonded buses between the airport and pier and board their ship without having to go through U.S. customs. Luggage will be taken directly to the ship from the airport so passengers do not need to claim luggage at the airport. On the reverse trip, passengers will bypass the Canada Border Services Agency and immigration lineups. Participants must be U.S. citizens arriving in Vancouver on a flight from the U.S. by 2:00 p.m. on the day of sailing. Alaska passengers wishing to participate should register with their cruise line and purchase an airport-pier transfer. It is estimated that the U.S. Direct program can save passengers as much as two hours on transit days. Participating cruise lines are Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Holland America. U.S. Direct signs at Vancouver airport will direct passengers to the buses.

*** Seabourn Cruise Line is further enhancing its fleet of yachts when they undergo drydock maintenance and interior refurbishments by January, 2006. Planned upgrades include the installation of DVD players and flat-screen televisions in all suites. Seabourn's cruises through April 2007 are now available for booking. Highlights of the 2006-2007 sailings are a new series of 12-day Baltic cruises and nine-night Norwegian Fjords cruises from Copenhagen; the return of Fiji/New Zealand sailings; a nine-night China cruise sailing round trip from Hong Kong to Taiwan, Shanghai and Xiamen; two eight-night cruises between Gloucester, MA, and Quebec City including the new ports of Portland, Maine, Port Saguenay and Perce, Quebec and Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. Additional new ports for the line are Kingstown, St. Vincent; Isla Margarita, Venezuela; Tripoli, Libya; Sarande, Albania; Rovinj, Croatia; Mylos, Greek Isles; Sousse, Tunisia and Xlendi (Gozo), Malta.

*** Silversea has introduced butler service to the largest suites aboard its fleet - the Grand, Royal, Rossellini and Owner's Suites. Passengers in these accommodations will now experience personalized attention from butlers certified by the Guild of Professional English Butlers, the organization which trains and certifies butlers for the royal palaces of Great Britain. Butlers provide unobtrusive service and are available to facilitate everything from packing and packing clothing, to arranging a private car at the next port, to drawing a bubble bath or orchestrating an in-suite cocktail party.

*** Crystal Cruises' 2006 Value Collection offers savings of up to 50% off regular cruise fares aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. New in 2006, Crystal's past passenger specials and onboard booking discounts are combinable with Value Collection savings. The 13 Value Collection sailings include seven to 16-night cruises in South America, Panama Canal, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Trans-Atlantic crossings from April to December, 2006.

*** Princess Cruises offers Western and Northern European cruises aboard Star Princess, Sea Princess and Golden Princess from April 22 to September 22, 2006. Star Princess returns to the Baltic next year sailing two itineraries round-trip from Copenhagen from May 15 through September 12, 2006. Ports of call are Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg (overnight), Tallinn (Estonia) and Gdansk (Poland) on both routes, plus, either Oslo and the Oslo fjords, or, the port of Warnem�nde for an excursion to Berlin. Sea Princess will sail round-trip from Southampton on a variety of sailings next year including a seven-night "edge of the Baltic" cruise on July 15, 2006, which calls at Amsterdam, Oslo, Copenhagen, and the Swedish port of Helsingborg. A 14-night cruise June 17 sails to the Norwegian Fjords and North Cape for the summer solstice while a second 14-night cruise to Britain, Norway and Iceland sailing July 1, 2006. Golden Princess will sail a comprehensive British Isles itinerary, round-trip from Southampton on July 11, August 10 and 30. The August 10 sailing will include a late stay in Glasgow to enable passengers to take an excursion to Edinburgh Castle's famed Military Tattoo. These 10-day sailings call at Falmouth, Holyhead (Wales), Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Inverness/Loch Ness, and Edinburgh. The July 31 and August 20 sailings combine Europe and Britain with calls at Dublin, Glasgow, Bergen (Norway), Rotterdam, Brussels/Bruges and Paris/Normandy(Le Havre) while the July 21, 2006 sailing calls at Brussels/Bruges, Rotterdam (for Amsterdam), Oslo, Copenhagen, Hamburg (for Berlin) and Le Havre (for Paris). Early booking discounts are now in place, starting at $999 per person for a seven-night cruise. Back to Top

4-28-05 Carnival Returns To Norfolk *** Carnival Cruise Lines will return to Norfolk, Va., in 2006 offering four voyages aboard the 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory during the summer and fall. Scheduled voyages include two six-day Bahamas cruises (June 4 and Oct. 8, 2006) and a pair of two-day cruises departing June 10 and Oct. 14. Prices begin at $299 per person for the two-day cruise and $649 per person for the six-day voyage, based on double occupancy. Back to Top

4-22-05 Weekend Cruise News *** Grandeur of the Seas, damaged when she struck the pier in Costa Maya this week during high winds, will be repaired and ready to sail tomorrow, arriving back in New Orleans on Monday, April 25. Passengers who need to be back in New Orleans earlier than Monday will be flown back on charter flights. Grandeur's April 23 sailing has been delayed until 6 p.m. Monday, April 25 with boarding after 3 p.m. Passengers who take the cruise will receive a $300 shipboard credit per stateroom. Those who cancel will receive a full refund.

*** Carnival's Holiday rescued 10 Cubans off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula last Sunday afternoon. The 10 men had been at sea for eight days, trying to reach Texas but their outboard motor ran out of fuel. The men were taken to crew quarters, given food and water and treated by the ship's doctor and put ashore in Costa Maya. Holiday then continued to Cozumel on schedule. The vessel homeports in Mobile, Alabama for Western Caribbean cruises.

*** Crystal Cruises' is adding its Crystal Adventure shore excursions to its website booking engine earlier than ever before. On April 23, Crystal will post its collection of excursions for the 2006 World Cruise that begins on January 18 and concludes on May 5, 2006. Travelers can choose from 250 Crystal Adventures, including 23 overland excursions with a choice of eleven safaris in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Botswana. Crystal has also posted all of its Crystal Adventures for Alaska, Baltic, Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises through October, 2005. By May 1, fall New England/Canada Crystal Adventures will be available for perusal and pre-reservations. Excursions for the remaining 2005 cruises, including its holiday cruises, will be posted by mid-May. Passengers with a booking number can complete the Crystal Adventures shore excursion pre-reservation process by visiting Crystal Cruises' website at A confirmation email is sent to those who pre-reserve online.

*** Emerald Princess is the name for Princess Cruises' new ship, entering service in Spring, 2007. The 116,000-ton vessel is a sister ship of Caribbean Princess and Crown Princess (which debuts in 2006). These ships feature Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, multiple dining and entertainment options, Personal Choice Dining with a choice of either traditional or anytime seating, a variety of alternative restaurants, an Asian-style Lotus Spa with fitness center, an extensive children and teen's center, a wedding chapel and nearly 900 staterooms with private balconies. Princess says it will announce itineraries for Emerald Princess soon.

*** Holland America Line is continuing its new culinary innovations aboard all seven ships in Alaska this summer. Master Chef Rudi Sodamin has developed "Going Wild for Salmon" which will feature a rotation of Alaskan salmon dishes during each cruise. Sodamin and the Holland America Line culinary team developed 50 recipes to showcase on dinner menus, which already offer poached, sauteed or baked salmon as an alternative to featured menu choices. Some of the appetizers and entrees are Thin Salmon Scallops with Fresh Herb Dressing, Hazelnut-crusted Salmon with Sorrel Sauce, Salmon & Lobster Chowder, Salmon Baked in Phyllo with Shitake Mushrooms & Champagne Sauce, and Sesame Crusted Teriyaki Salmon with Braised Bok Choy & Sake Rice. The "Going Wild For Salmon" menu additions will be available five nights a week in the Main Dining Rooms, Lido Restaurants, and Pinnacle Grills on all Alaska cruise ships. The Salmon program will also include special on-board culinary events, cooking demonstrations, and seminars.

*** Silversea has a new enrichment program set to debut aboard its fleet in August. "The Written Word" series will feature leading authors and editors who will give lectures and join passengers for discussions. Among the special guests are Brian Hoey, royal biographer and author; Marie Brenner, award-winning author and writer-at-large for Vanity Fair; and Georgette Mosbacher, writer and chief executive of Borghese, the global cosmetic and fragrance company. The Written Word will take place aboard Silver Shadow: Barcelona to Monte Carlo, August 12 - 19, 2005; Monte Carlo to Rome, August 19 - 26, 2005; Athens to Port Said (Cairo), October 30 - November 7, 2005. Silver Wind: Istanbul to Venice, August 15 - 27, 2005; Venice to Venice, August 27 - September 8, 2005. Silver Whisper: Montreal to New York, September 19 - 30, 2005.

*** P&O Cruises' Aurora is back in service after 10 weeks of work at the Lloydwerft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany. Two main propulsion motors have been replaced and public areas refitted at a cost of �27 million. Aurora sailed from Southampton today for a two-night cruise to Belgium. The vessel's world cruise had to be canceled last January due to the major engine problems.

*** Princess Cruises Mediterranean lineup for 2006 has been announced. Grand Princess, Golden Princess and Sea Princess will offer an extended April 15 to November 29 season in 2006, featuring 33 sailings in the Mediterranean sailings and 11 itinerary options. A new port of call for Princess will be Elba, there will be more Greek Isles sailings and the line will return to Egypt next year. Grand Princess returns to sail the 12-night itinerary between Barcelona and Venice. Grand Princess and Golden Princess will sail 12 Greek Isles sailings, with two different 12-day itineraries between Rome and Venice. Golden Princess' 12-night round-trip form Rome will include calls at Port Said and Alexandria, Egypt and her two, 14-night voyages between Rome and Southampton will visit 11 ports. Sea Princess returns to Europe for a series of 14-night cruises round-trip from Southampton including Mediterranean itineraries on May 6, July 22, August 19, June 3 and August 5. Transatlantic crossings pre and post the Mediterranean season include: Grand Princess, Galveston (or Ft. Lauderdale), 19 (or 17) nights, to Rome on April 15, 2006 which includes a call at the island of Elba; and, Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale, 15 nights, October 19, 2006. Golden Princess, New York to Venice, 16 nights, May 6, 2006.

*** Crystal Cruises' 2006 itineraries include more ports per cruise, more overnight stays and a greater variety of shorter cruises than in previous years. Ranging in length from seven to 106 days, a choice of 63 cruises is available in 2006 aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The line will visit 168 ports in 79 countries - 15 more countries than scheduled for 2005. Complementing the majority of 10- to 14-day cruises in Europe, South America and North America are new seven-day cruises in the Baltic, Mediterranean, New England/Canada, Caribbean, and Mexican Riviera and a 106-day World Cruise that can be taken as a whole or in segments from Los Angeles, Lima, Papeete, Melbourne, Cape Town, Dubai or Rome. Fourteen maiden calls are scheduled throughout the year, including Ayr & Troon, Scotland; Pisco, Peru; Tripoli, Libya; Gij�n, Spain and Les Baie des Ha! Ha!, Canada. Back to Top

4-21-05 RCI Grandeur Damaged At Dock click for full-size pic *** According to CruiseWeek, Royal Caribbean International's Grandeur of the Seas suffered extensive damage yesterday in Costa Maya, Mexico. High winds caused the ship to crash into the pier while docking, resulting in a 45-foot long gash in the vessel's hull. At present, the ship is sitting in Costa Maya and won't return to home port New Orleans until Sunday. The April 23 sailing has been cancelled. Back to Top

4-18-05 NCL Dawn Arrives in NYC Norwegian Dawn arrived in NYC this morning a little after 11:00 EDT. All passengers disembarked safely, some a little more rattled than others. 300 passengers had already disembarked in Charleston, NC, yesterday, not long after the incident occured. Aside from the nerves of some of the passengers, not much actual damage is being reported by the company other than pieces of furniture that fell over and possibly one or more saunas that were reported to have fallen overboard as the ship tipped. Back to Top

4-17-05 Rogue Wave hits NCL Dawn - Delay The Norwegian Dawn was hit by a rogue wave near South Carolina on the return trip to New York City from a Caribbean cruise on early on Saturday morning. There was damage to the ship in the form of breakage of two passenger cabin windows on the front of the ship, flooding in 62 cabins and four passengers were injured with cuts and bruises.

Early reports state the wave was as high as 70-feet, and that the damage was sustained by two penthouse-style cabins on the front of the ship. Passengers in those cabins sustained the injuries and the water went on to damage 62 other cabins. The ship had been sailing in rough seas with gale-force winds, but the rogue wave just appeared seemingly out of nowhere as the sea appeared to be calming down - according to NCL spokespeople.

Arrival of the ship has been delayed until early Monday. Norwegian Dawn diverted to Charleston, South Carolina to conduct repairs. Passengers whose cabins were flooded will be flown home from Charleston. Passengers scheduled for the April 17 cruise will be given a 6-day cruise, commencing on Monday, April 18 at 3:00 pm. There will be 1/7 of the price of the cruise refunded and a $100.00/person shipboard credit for every passenger. A schedule for those passengers is as follows:

Day Port Arrive Depart
4/18 - Mon New York, NY - - 5pm
4/19 - Tue At Sea    
4/20 - Wed Orlando (Port Canaveral), FL 11am 9pm
4/21 - Thu Miami, FL 9am 6pm
4/22 - Fri Nassau, Bahamas 7am Noon
4/23 - Sat At Sea    
4/24 - Sun New York, NY 10am  

NCL has set up a special number, 1-800-625-5672 for passengers to call for updates. In addition, updates will be posted on the Web site:

NCL Dawn was the first ship to schedule year-round cruises out of NYC in over two decades, beginning over a year ago, and had a very timely record up until now. Many other cruise lines, including Carnival and Princess have followed NCL's lead and also scheduled regular cruises out of NYC year-round to begin this summer. Back to Top

4-15-05 Weekend Cruise News *** The new Arcadia of P&O Cruises sailed yesterday on her maiden voyage, a 16-night Mediterranean cruise from Southampton. The vessel was officially named on Tuesday by double Olympic gold medallist, Kelly Holmes during theatrical ceremonies which included a variety of entertainment. The event was transmitted to a giant screen in Mayflower Park near Southampton's waterfront. The newest and largest ship in the P&O fleet, Arcadia is 83,000-tons and carries 1,952 passengers. The vessel does not carry children and features the New Horizons life enrichment program with classes on cuisine, gardening, psychology, reflexology, wine tasting and interior design. The Berlitz Language School teaches conversational French, Spanish and Italian language courses onboard. Celebrity speakers will include chef Gary Rhodes, TV garden designer Diarmuid Gavin and sportswoman Sharron Davies. (New Horizons will also be offered aboard the Artemis, ex Royal Princess, when she joins P&O in June.) Onboard features of Arcadia include an expansive spa with a thermal suite and hydrotherapy pool, three-tier theatre, 3,000 piece modern British art collection, 14 bars and six dining rooms including Arcadian Rhodes, a restaurant developed exclusively for P&O Cruises by celebrity chef Gary Rhodes.

*** Holland America is pulling out of Port Canaveral. Zaandam has been sailing from Port Canaveral during the fall and winter since November, 2002. From Oct. 12, 2005 to April 4, 2006, following her Alaska season, Zaandam will sail round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale's Port Everglades on a 10-night Southern Caribbean/Panama Canal itinerary calling at Half Moon Cay; Curacao; Aruba; Gatun Lake and Colon, Panama; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

*** Carnival Liberty will offer more than 80 shore excursions in the Mediterranean this summer. Sea Kayaking is featured on a tour in Dubrovnik, Croatia while a gondola ride is a highlight in Venice. Tours covering history, culture and art are featured in most ports and from Messina passengers can visit the active volcano, Mt. Etna. Carnival's newest vessel will operate eight, 12-night cruises round-trip from Rome (Civitavecchia) from July 20 to October 12, 2005 with calls at Naples, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice, Italy (two-day call); Messina, Sicily; Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; and Livorno, Italy (for Pisa and Florence). All Carnival Liberty's shore excursions can be pre-booked at and passengers are encouraged to book their preferred tours in advance.

*** Gray Kunz, of Cafe Gray in New York will host Crystal Symphony's Wine & Food Festival cruise, an 11-night sailing from Barcelona to London departing May 26. Chef Kunz will prepare four-course dinners showcasing his signature dishes, and share some of his recipes and cooking techniques during daytime demonstrations. Also onboard will be Paul Einbund, Wine Director at San Francisco's Tartare Restaurant. Crystal Symphony's "Wine & Romance" cruise departs Barcelona May 26, 2005 with calls at Cannes, France; Gibraltar, United Kingdom; C�diz/Seville, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Bordeaux, France (overnight); arriving London on June 6. Fares for the 11-day cruise begin at $2,995 per person, double occupancy. Now in its ninth year, Crystal's Wine & Food Festival sailings feature leading chefs and sommeliers. Already confirmed for Fall New England/Canada sailings are New York's Richard Dean, Master Sommelier and Wine Director at The Mark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and Robin Kelley O'Connor, trade liaison with the Bordeaux Wine Bureau, New York.

*** MSC Cruises' MSC Opera and MSC Lirica will return to the Caribbean in 2005-2006 with new itineraries. Two ports in the Dominican Republic, La Romana and Cayo Levantado have been added. Cayo Levantado is a small stretch of land off the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic in Samana Bay, known for its white sand beaches, rainforest vegetation, and the humpbacked whales which winter there. La Romano on the eastern region of the island has beaches and water sports, an active artists' village, wildlife and flora reserves, horseback riding and several golf courses. Among the attractions arranged for passengers at the new port calls will be whale watching, golf, horseback riding and water sports.

  • MSC Lirica sails a 17-night transatlantic crossing, November 23, 2005 from Genoa to Fort Lauderdale followed by six to 11-night Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale from December 10, 2005 to April 11, 2006. MSC Lirica returns to Europe May 3, 2006 on a 17-night transatlantic crossing from Ft. Lauderdale to Genoa.
  • MSC Opera sails an 18-night southern transatlantic/New Year's crossing from Genoa to Ft. Lauderdale, on December 27, 2005 which includes a call at Funchal, Madeira for the annual New Year's fireworks display. The vessel will sail seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries round-trip from Fort Lauderdale from January 14 to April 1, 2006 calling at La Romana, Cayo Levantado, San Juan and St. Maarten. MSC Opera returns to Europe on a 17-night transatlantic crossing on April 8 from Ft. Lauderdale to Genoa.

*** Windstar Cruises' celebrity chef, Joachim Splichal, is adding 100 new recipes to his Signature Cuisine menu items this summer. Splichal will create 70 new recipes to be served in The Restaurant aboard Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf and 30 new recipes specially for The Bistro on the Wind Surf. Splichal and his culinary team will spend time aboard each of the ships this summer, alongside Windstar's executive chefs, perfecting new menus and recipes. Windstar's culinary team will also refresh their training at the Los Angeles-based Patina, Splichal's signature restaurant. Since 1994, Windstar Cruises has collaborated with Joachim Splichal and The Patina Group, his collection of award-winning, bistro-style restaurants.

*** Celebrity Cruises has announced the winner of its vocal competition. Timothy Greenidge has won $10,000, a free Celebrity cruise for two, and a vocal recording contract. Twelve finalists � three each in the categories of travel agents, Celebrity guests, employees and Captain's Club members � performed songs of their choice onboard Celebrity's Summit, before a panel of judges including Grammy award winners Michael Bolton and Jon Secada; singer, songwriter and actor Paul Williams; producers SebasLa Romana and Cayo Levantadotian Krys and Tom McWilliams; songwriter Aaron Barker, and composer Edo Guidotti. The four finalists then performed "Fueled by Moonlight Dust," the song co-written by Royal Caribbean Cruises' President & COO Jack Williams. Greenidge, who was born in the Bronx, New York and is the son of a preacher, grew up with gospel and R&B music. He now lives with his wife and three daughters in Clackamas, Oregon.

*** Peter Deilmann Cruises is offering special pricing on its Southern Africa/Indian Ocean sailings in 2006 aboard the Deutschland. The three voyages of 15 and 16 nights sail from Port Louis Mauritius to Cape Town, January 4, 2006; round-trip from Cape Town, January 17, 2006; and from Cape Town to Mombasa, Kenya, January 30, 2006. Among the ports of call are Richard's Bay, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, South Africa; Walvis Bay, Namibia; Nosy Be, Madagascar; Dzaoudzi, Mayotte; Le Port, Reunion and Fort Dauphin, Madagascar. Round-trip air add-ons from 48 U.S. gateways for $549 to $699 are available as well as free transfers to and from the ship, a 50% reduction on pre-arranged packages of shore excursions and a 10 percent discount on cruise fares. The 513-passenger Deutschland was built in 1998 and is designed as a classic ocean liner with art nouveau and art deco styles recalling the early days of grand ocean travel. Onboard there are three dining venues, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, three sun decks, open-air promenade deck, a fitness center, sauna, Turkish bath, shopping boutique and beauty salon with massage therapy. Film screenings and lectures take place in the theater while the chandeliered two-level ballroom is the venue for dancing and revue shows.

*** Norwegian Sea will be re-named SuperStar Libra after leaving the NCL fleet this summer to sail for parent company, Star Cruises. She will inaugurate short cruises from Mumbai, India, for Star commencing in September.

*** The Port of Los Angeles is encouraging cruise lines to plug into shore power while ships are berthed at San Pedro in order to reduce smoke emissions. Shore power is already in effect in Juneau and planned for Seattle. Port officials have approved an offer of $810,000 to cruise lines homeporting at San Pedro to altar one ship each so it can plug into shore power. The Alternative Maritime Power for cruise ships is a five-year program. Work has already begun on a $4.5 million project to install the AMP technology for Berths 91 to 93. Los Angeles has also initiated an AMP program for container ships calling at the China Shipping Terminal. Back to Top

4-8-05 Weekend Cruise News *** The State Department has issued new regulations which make it necessary to travel with a passport when entering or re-entering the U.S. from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada. The regulations apply to visitors as well as returning citizens and start to come into effect at the end of this year. The changes in travel requirements will affect all United States citizens entering the United States from countries within the Western Hemisphere who do not currently possess valid passports. Most Canadian citizens, citizens of Bermuda and some Mexican citizens will also be affected. Visit the State Department's web site for the official information: a description of the new requirements and a timeline of the impending changes.

*** Viking River Cruises welcomed a new ship on the Rhine River last week. The Viking Sun was named by Norwegian entertainer Wenche Myhre at a ceremony attended by dignitaries and industry representatives. Viking Sun cruises the Belgium to Switzerland itinerary from Antwerp to Basel for 2005. The river cruise vessel was designed by architects Yran & Storbraaten, who have designed ships for Seabourn, NCL and Disney. The 99 cabins are all-outside and are equipped with a private bathroom and shower, telephone, television, safe, hair dryer and air conditioning. 37 have floor-to-ceiling opening French windows while 30 have picture windows that open. The three-deck ship features a restaurant with panoramic windows, lounge with dance floor, bar, library/game room and sundeck. Ports of call along the Rhine include Antwerp, Brugge, Delft, Schoonhoven, Gouda, Amsterdam, Arnhem, Cologne, Koblenz, Rudeshiem, Heidelberg, Speyer, Strasbourg and Breisach, before ending in Basel, Switzerland.

*** Carnival Liberty enters service in Europe this July with a range of new services available in the spa. The new services include barber services for men, tooth-whitening treatments and a spa program aimed at teens. The barber services combine shaving, skin care and scalp treatments while the Gentle Touch Tooth Whitening is a system that uses an FDA-approved non-toxic gel and laser therapy to lift away stains from coffee, nicotine, red wine and other strong food colorants. The 13,300-square-foot Spa Carnival health and fitness center will feature state-of-the-art exercise equipment, fitness and aerobic classes, and a wide variety of European-style treatments. A new youth spa program, called Generation YSPA, will offer treatments created specifically for today's teens. Next November, following a series of Mediterranean cruises and a transatlantic crossing, the 110,000-ton Carnival Liberty will sail year-round from Ft. Lauderdale on eight-night Eastern Caribbean, eight-night Panama Canal and six-night Western Caribbean itineraries.

*** Regal Princess will leave the Princess Cruises' fleet to sail for Ocean Village of the U.K. in October 2006. Ocean Village was launched in 2003, offering fly-cruise packages to the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Known as "the cruise for people who don't do cruises" it attracts those looking for active and informal cruising. The 1,590-passenger Regal Princess has a distinctive profile as it was designed to resemble a dolphin by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Regal entered service for Princess in 1991. Princess currently has two new ships under construction. Crown Princess will debut in early summer 2006 with a sister ship following in spring 2007.

*** Oceania Cruises' Nautica will join sister ships Regatta and Insignia in Europe next year. The trio will sail more than 50 voyages visiting 81 ports on 10 to 16-night cruises in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. New ports visited next year include Saint-Tropez, Kotor, Port-Vendres, Reykjavik and Delos. Oceania's vessels are smaller at 30,277 tons and carrying 684 passengers. They offer many overnight stays in port giving passengers a chance to immerse themselves in the history, culture and cuisine of European ports. All 2006 European voyages are currently available with free airfare and 2-for-1 cruise fares.

*** Radisson Seven Seas' 2006 sailings have opened for bookings. The luxury line's worldwide voyages for next year will call at over 300 ports on five continents plus Antarctica. Several longer sailings are featured including a 108-night full globe circumnavigation on the Seven Seas Voyager as well as a 96-night Grand Circle Pacific adventure and 62-night Circle South America voyage with Jean-Michel Cousteau on the Seven Seas Mariner. A series of 10- to 17-night sailings in French Polynesia will operate aboard the Paul Gauguin in addition to her year-round seven-night itineraries from Papeete, Tahiti. Seven Seas Navigator will not return to Bermuda in 2006. Instead Navigator will sail her full summer in Europe since 2002. Seven Seas Mariner will return to Alaska for the summer followed by the extended voyage to the Far East and South Pacific. Again next year, Radisson offers two Antarctic expeditions aboard the Explorer II, on January 16 and 27, 2006. The 11-night voyages will sail round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina.

*** Seabourn has added an operatic production to its Dress Circle enrichment program this year. A soprano, a mezzo soprano and a tenor or baritone from the British repertory troupe, The Reduced Opera Company, will perform a program of popular selections from classical and light opera on six voyages in 2005. Entitled 'Pure Opera', cast members include Charlotte Page, Anne Williams-King, tenor Bradley Daley, soprano Chloe Wright, Welsh brothers Mark and Wynne Evans. During each cruise, the company will present two full performances one of which will be complemented by a special "Night at the Opera" formal dinner in The Restaurant. The Reduced Opera Company is currently performing aboard Seabourn Legend on a sailing from Lisbon to Monte Carlo. The trio will return to the ship for the seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Monte Carlo on April 24. Pure Opera will also be performed on Seabourn PrideMay 6th (16 days Istanbul to Lisbon) and May 22nd (14 days Lisbon to London); August 28th (18 days London to New York) and aboard Seabourn Spirit October 16th (7 days Athens to Alexandria). Special Savings of up to 50 percent are available with fares starting from $2,998 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean-view suite.

*** Royal Caribbean is taking its production shows ashore. The cruise line's singers and dancers will perform at Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale, April 13-17, 2005. The called "What the World Needs Now is Swing, Swing, Swing" combines a first act from the Brilliance of the Seas - a concert tribute to Burt Bacharach - with a second act from Empress of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas which features music from the swing era. The line is giving away a complimentary seven-night Royal Caribbean cruise for two during the Parker Playhouse engagement. Tickets to "What the World Needs Now is Swing, Swing, Swing" are available through and Telecharge. A total of six performances are offered: three matinees (2 p.m., April 13, 16 and 17) and three evening shows (8 p.m., April 14, 15 and 16). Back to Top

4-7-05 Carnival Schedules Europe Golf Excursions *** Carnival Cruise Lines has scheduled its first-ever Europe cruises aboard the 110,000-ton Carnival Liberty this summer. Passengers will have the opportunity to play golf in some very snazzy places including Naples, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice, Italy; Messina, Sicily; Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; and Livorno, Italy. In addition to golfing opportunities at a number of courses throughout Europe, the ship's golf program includes a certified shipboard golf professional who, in addition to escorting golfers during golf excursions, conducts private and group lessons, specialty golf clinics, and complimentary putting contests aboard ship. Advanced reservations are advised; itinerary, course descriptions and pricing information are available online at, or by calling 1-800-324-1106.

Carnival Liberty's Mediterranean cruises are scheduled from July 20 - Oct. 12, 2005, after which the ship will operate a 16-day transatlantic voyage departing Rome (Civitavecchia) Oct. 24, and arriving at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Nov. 9, 2005. Carnival Liberty will then launch the cruise industry's only year-round six- and eight-day Bahamas/Caribbean schedule from Fort Lauderdale beginning Nov. 12, 2005 with exciting golf options available in Caribbean ports. Back to Top

4-1-05 Weekend Cruise News *** Royal Caribbean has formalized its order for a third Freedom-class ship to be delivered in 2008. The first of the class, Freedom of the Seas, enters service June 4, 2006 on year-round Caribbean itineraries from Miami. The 158,000-ton, 3,430-passenger vessel will be the largest cruise ship built to date. The second Freedom-class vessel is scheduled for delivery in 2007.

*** Costa Magica will join Costa Mediterranean in the Caribbean for the 2005-2006 winter season. Costa's flagship and the newest vessel in the fleet, Costa Magica, entered service in November, 2004. Magica is 105,000 tons and carries 2,720-passengers. Both ships Magica and Mediterranea will sail round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale, alternating two Eastern and one Western itinerary: Eastern calls at either San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John, Catalina Island, Casa de Campo/Santo Domingo, Nassau; or, St. Maarten, Tortola, Nassau with three days at sea. The Western route calls at Key West, Cozumel, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman. The call at Casa de Campo is at night allowing passengers to dine and take in the nightlife of this private resort. Costa's Caribbean season operates from November 20, 2005 to April 19, 2006.

*** Windjammer Barefoot Cruises' Pirates Week is set for October 17, 2005 aboard Mandalay, Yankee Clipper, Legacy, Polynesia. Billed as swashbuckling fun for adults, the entertaining week has become a tradition at Windjammer. Several singles cruises are also planned for 2005 aboard Yankee Clipper, April 4 and April 10, 2005; Mandalay, September 4 & 11 2005 and Polynesia, December 19, 2005. Also at Windjammer, the winning photographs from the line's 2004 photo contest can be viewed at the line's website on the theme cruises page.

*** Silversea's 2005-2006 Voyage Atlas is now available. The 160-page publication outlines 140 cruises by the line's four ships from spring 2005 to spring 2006. Highlighting the brochure are descriptions of over 100 pre- and post-cruise hotel and land programs, and a sampling of the more than 2,500 shore experiences that are available. The lifestyle section features images of actress and model Isabella Rossellini, Silversea's new Ambassador, taken by photographer Fabrizio Ferri. The photographs were taken during Rossellini's recent cruises with her daughter, Elettra Wiedemann. For a complimentary copy of the 2005-2006 Voyage Atlas call toll-free (877) 215-9986.

*** Three production shows will be presented aboard the new Carnival Liberty which enters service in Europe this July. The Vegas-style revues will be performed in the 1,400-seat Venetian Palace theater. "Rock Down Broadway" features rock-oriented Broadway productions. "Wonderful World" includes the music of Ireland, Africa, the Caribbean, France and closes with a tribute to West Side Story, that includes a pyrotechnics display. "Singin' with the Band" is a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. The 110,000-ton, 2,974-passenger Carnival Liberty is the sister ship of Carnival Conquest, Carnival Glory and Carnival Valor. Next November, following a series of Mediterranean cruises and a transatlantic crossing, Liberty will sail year-round from Ft. Lauderdale on eight-night Eastern Caribbean, eight-night Panama Canal and six-night Western Caribbean itineraries.

*** Former U.S. Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater and National Geographic Photographer James Blair will be guest speakers aboard Crystal Symphony for the 12-day journey through the Norwegian Fjords this summer, June 28 - July 10, 2005. Marlin Fitzwater, the only press secretary in U.S. history to be appointed by two presidents, served for almost a decade as the public relations strategist to Presidents Reagan and Bush. He is back by popular demand as previous talks aboard Crystal ships were well received. As part of Crystal's photography enrichment cruise, James Blair will give professional instruction on how to capture the beauty of the destination both on board and ashore. A staff photographer for the National Geographic Society since 1962, Blair's photographs have illustrated more than 40 articles concentrating on environmental issues, science and social change. Crystal Symphony will cross the Arctic Circle on a voyage from Copenhagen to London calling at Geiranger, Trondheim, Honningsv�g/North Cape, Bergen, Stavanger, and Oslo, Norway along the way. A first for Crystal is Symphony's maiden call at the �lesund, Norway known for its flamboyant Art Nouveau architecture.

*** Seabourn's third annual "Chefs' Circle" series of cruises has been announced. Each of these guest chefs will give cooking demonstrations and tastings on board, and signature dishes from their repertoires will be served on a special dinner one night in the ship's open-seating Restaurant:

  • Rob Feenie, Lumi�re, Vancouver (Seabourn Spirit, August 28, 2005)
  • Robbin Haas, Baleen, Raku and Chispa, South Florida (Seabourn Legend, August 28, 2005)
  • Mary Sue Milliken, Pan-Latin Ciudad, in Los Angeles and the Food Network's "Too Hot Tamales" (Seabourn Legend, October 2, 2005)
  • Anne Desjardins, L'Eau a la Bouche in the Laurentian village of Ste-Adele, Quebec (Seabourn Spirit, November 25, 2005)

*** Radisson Seven Seas is expanding fleet-wide its "Ambassadors of the Environment" program created in partnership with ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society (OFS). Launched last summer for youngsters on the Paul Gauguin in Tahiti, the partnership will now include a fleet-wide lecture series featuring Ocean Future Society experts, personal appearances by Jean-Michel Cousteau on select sailings, original in-suite TV programming, plus live TV uplinks from dives conducted by Cousteau and his team during some sailings. Jean-Michel Cousteau is scheduled to accompany the Amazon, Falklands and Chilean Fjords segments of the Seven Seas Mariner's 62-night "Grand Circle South America" voyage January 10, 2006. Sailings around the world by the rest of the fleet will feature Ocean Futures Society experts lecturing on topics including "Sharks at Risk; Treasures on the Reef - Sustainable Reefs"; "Plankton - Jewels of the Open Sea"; "Keiko - Return to the Wild"; "Close Encounters with Our Ocean Cousins - Marine Mammal Stories"; "Cosmic Ecology - Our World of Water"; "Manfish - Short History of Diving Technology"; "Cities Under the Sea"; and "Finding Nemo with Jean-Michel Cousteau". Back to Top

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