News Archive - August 2008

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8-31-08 Carnival Issues Sunday Morning Hurricane Update Carnival Issued the following itinerary changes for several ship just a few minutes ago:

STATEMENT REGARDING CARNIVAL FANTASY Updated: August 31, 2008 - 10 a.m. (EDT) Due to the path of Hurricane Gustav, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that the current five-day voyage of the Carnival Fantasy scheduled to end in Mobile on Monday, Sept. 1, will now end in Mobile on Wednesday, Sept. 3. The ship will remain at sea at a safe distance away from the storm.

Additionally, the Carnival Fantasy's next voyage - originally a five-day cruise - has been modified and will now operate as a four-day cruise departing Wednesday, Sept. 3 and returning Sunday, Sept. 7, with a call in Cozumel on Friday, Sept. 5.

Guests sailing on this departure will receive a 25 percent refund of their cruise fare and a 25 percent discount on a future three- to five-day Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

Carnival sincerely apologizes for this disruption of our guests' vacation plans but this itinerary change was made in the interest of the safety and security of our guests and crew - our number one priority.

STATEMENT REGARDING CARNIVAL ECSTASY Updated: August 31, 2008 - 12:30 p.m. (EDT) Due to the path of Hurricane Gustav, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that the current five-day voyage of the Carnival Ecstasy scheduled to end in Galveston, Texas, on Monday, Sept. 1, will now end in Galveston, on Wednesday, Sept. 3. The ship will remain at sea at a safe distance away from the storm.

Additionally, the Carnival Ecstasy next voyage - originally a five-day cruise - has been modified and will now operate as a three-day cruise departing Wednesday, Sept. 3 and returning Saturday, Sept. 6.

Guests sailing on this departure will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare and a 50 percent discount on a future three- to five-day Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

Carnival sincerely apologizes for this disruption of our guests' vacation plans but this itinerary change was made in the interest of the safety and security of our guests and crew - our number one priority.

HURRICANE GUSTAV ITINERARY CHANGES

CARNIVAL ECSTASY - 8/28/08 DEPARTURE (Four-day cruise from Galveston)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/28 - Galveston 8/28 - Galveston
8/29 - At Sea 8/29 - At Sea
8/30 - Progreso (8 a.m. - 6 p.m.) 8/30 - Cozumel (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
8/31 - At Sea 8/31 - At Sea
9/01 - Galveston 9/01 - Galveston
CARNIVAL FANTASY - 8/28/08 DEPARTURE (Four-day cruise from Mobile)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/28 - Mobile 8/28 - Mobile
8/29 - At Sea 8/29 - At Sea
8/30 - Progreso (8 a.m. - 6 p.m.) 8/30 - Cozumel (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
8/31 - At Sea 8/31 - At Sea
9/01 - At Sea 9/01 - At Sea
9/02 - At Sea
9/03 - At Sea
CARNIVAL FANTASY - 9/1/08 DEPARTURE (Five-day cruise from Mobile)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
9/3 - Mobile 9/1 - Mobile
9/4 - At Sea 9/2 - At Sea
9/5 - Cozumel 9/3 - Progreso
9/6 - At Sea 9/4 - Cozumel
9/7 - Mobile 9/5 - At Sea
9/6 - Mobile
CARNIVAL INSPIRATION- 8/30/08 DEPARTURE (Five-day cruise from Tampa)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/30 - Tampa 8/30 - Tampa
8/31 - Key West 8/31 - At Sea
9/1 - At Sea 9/1 - Grand Cayman
9/2 - Cozumel (9 a.m. - 7 p.m.) 9/2 - Cozumel (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
9/3 - At Sea 9/3 - At Sea
9/4 - Tampa 9/4 - Tampa
CARNIVAL LIBERTY - 8/30/08 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Miami)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/30 - Miami 8/30 - Miami
8/31 - At Sea 8/31 - At Sea
9/01 - Ocho Rios (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.) 9/01 - Cozumel (8 a.m. - 10 p.m.)
9/02 - Grand Cayman (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) 9/02 - At Sea
9/03 - At Sea 9/03 - Grand Cayman (7:30 am. - 4:30 p.m.)
9/04 - Cozumel (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.) 9/04 - Ocho Rios (8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.)
9/05 - At Sea 9/05 - At Sea
9/06 - Miami 9/06 - Miami
CARNIVAL CONQUEST - 8/31/08 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Galveston)
Revised ItineraryOriginal Itinerary
8/31 - Galveston8/31 - Galveston
9/1 - At Sea9/1 - At Sea
9/2 - Progreso 9/2 - At Sea
9/3 - Cozumel9/3 - Montego Bay
9/4 - Grand Cayman9/4 - Grand Cayman
9/5 - At Sea 9/5 - Cozumel
9/6 - At Sea9/6 - At Sea
9/7 - Galveston9/7 - Galveston

TROPICAL STORM HANNA ITINERARY CHANGES

CARNIVAL MIRACLE (8/29/08 DEPARTURE (Eight-day cruise from NY)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/29 - New York 8/29 - New York
8/30 - At Sea 8/30 - At Sea
8/31 - At Sea 8/31 - At Sea
9/1 - Port Canaveral 9/1 - San Juan
9/2 - Nassau 9/2 - St. Thomas/St. John
9/3 - Freeport 9/3 - Grand Turk
9/4 - At Sea 9/4 - At Sea
9/5 - At Sea 9/5 - At Sea
9/6 - New York 9/6 - New York
CARNIVAL GLORY (8/30/08 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Pt.Canaveral)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/30 - Port Canaveral 8/30 - Port Canaveral
8/31 - At Sea 8/31 - Nassau
9/1 - At Sea 9/1 - At Sea
9/2 - St. Thomas/St. John 9/2 - St. Thomas/St. John
9/3 - St. Maarten 9/3 - St. Maarten
9/4 - At Sea 9/4 - At Sea
9/5 - At Sea 9/5 - At Sea
9/6 - Port Canaveral 9/6 - Port Canaveral
CARNIVAL TRIUMPH - 8/31/08 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Miami)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/31 - Miami 8/31 - Miami
9/1 - At Sea 9/1 - At Sea
9/2 - At Sea 9/2 - Cozumel
9/3 - St. Thomas/St. John 9/3 - At Sea
9/3 - At Sea 9/4 - Grand Cayman (7:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m.)
9/4 - San Juan 9/5 - Ocho Rios (8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.)
9/5 - Grand Turk 9/6 - At Sea
9/6 - Miami 9/7 - Miami
CARNIVAL LEGEND - 8/31/08 DEPARTURE (Seven-day cruise from Tampa)
Revised Itinerary Original Itinerary
8/31 - Tampa 8/31 - Tampa
9/1 - Key West 9/1 - At Sea
9/2 - At Sea 9/2 - Grand Cayman
9/3 - Cozumel 9/3 - Cozumel
9/3 - Belize 9/4 - Belize
9/4 - Isla Roatan 9/5 - Isla Roatan
9/5 - At Sea 9/6 - At Sea
9/6 - Tampa 9/7 - Tampa

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8-30-08 Latest Tropical Storm Cruise Itinerary Changes

Royal Caribbean

Given Tropical Storm Gustav and Hanna's location and projected paths, we are altering the itinerary of three ships:

  • Ships sailing from MiamiLiberty of the Seas, which departs the Port of Miami Saturday, August 30, will sail a revised itinerary, with its ports of call simply reordered. The ship will visit Labadee, Haiti, Monday; San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Wednesday.
  • Ships sailing from Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale)Enchantment of the Seas, which departed Port Everglades, Thursday, August 28, will not visit Cozumel, Mexico, Saturday. Instead, the ship will visit Nassau, Bahamas, Saturday. Mariner of the Seas sailing from Port Canaveral Sunday, August 31, will skip Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean's private Bahamas island.

At this time, no other Royal Caribbean International ships are being adversely impacted by tropical weather.

We will continue to closely monitor weather conditions and will update this information information today, Sunday, August 31, at 10:30 a.m.

NCL

Norwegian Cruise Line is closely monitoring the path of Tropical Storm Hanna as the safety and security of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance.

Because of the current expected path of Tropical Storm Hanna, forecasted to pass near the islands of the Bahamas, NCL has altered the itinerary of Norwegian Spirit's six-day Bahamas & Florida sailing, departing New York on August 31, 2008. Norwegian Spirit will now call on the island of Bermuda for this sailing. At this time, NCL is also closely monitoring the weather conditions for Norwegian Sky's four-day Bahamas sailing, departing Miami on September 1, 2008.

NCL will update this information as necessary. We thank our guests for their cooperation and understanding.

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8-26-08 Oasis of the Seas: Bookings Open to ALL Crown & Anchor Members Adam Goldstein just announced that bookings are open to ALL Crown and Anchor Society members effective immediately. It was previously announced that privilege would be held untl August 28th, but that was just changed tonight, Aug 26.

Anyone who has ever cruised with Royal Caribbean qualifies as a Crown and Anchor Society member.

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8-26-08 Oasis of the Seas: Two New neighborhoods Revealed Royal Caribbean just announced the details of two new neighborhoods on Oasis of the Seas; the top pool deck and the spa area.

The pool deck contains many amenities, seemingly something for everyone, from a comprehensive water park for the children to an adults-only solarium with cantilevered hot tubs and a swim-against-the-current swim pool. There will be Flo-riders (not the rumored three) but they will be the biggest ever built. There are two regular swimming pools with an adjacent restaurant and bar called the "Wipe-Out Restaurant" and "Wipe-Out Bar."

Here is the link to the new Oasis of the Seas Pool Deck Video

The children's water park is centered around a huge octopus-representative structure that has slides, water jets and wading pools. It looks very similar to the facility on Freedom of the Seas. There are two minature golf courses in the renderings, so where it is located is hard to say now. The one on a lower deck appears to be close to something like a "beach-pool" which looks like a small wave pool - not suitable for surfing, but it does appear to have something like a beach where the water-level declines gradually.

The adults-only Solarium is two-decks tall and is completely enclosed within glass walls for a greenhouse effect in any kind of weather. It is at the far forward portion of the Pool-Deck with commanding views over the bridge. It is adults only, and it has not yet been announced whether there will be a service charge. It also includes a Solarium Restaurant with healthy-choice entrees available for lunch and dinner. The Solarium will have live plants and temperature control.

The two all-ages pool areas (port and starboard) are behind the Solarium. There are hot tubs as well as large pools. Deck loungers surround the pools in tired levels. The Wipe Out Restaurant and Bar are in this are as well. The sports areas iinclude basketball courts on the top decks and a nine-hole miniature golf course on the Central Park level of the ship.

The zip line begins at nine-decks tall from a crossover suspended high above the AquaTheater. The rock-climbing walls begin on the deck adjacent to the AquaTheater and climb six decks all the way to the Pool Deck.

The Spa is two decks tall (decks five and six) with its fitness center, boxing ring and a health-conscious restaurant.

Other items revealed:

Though it wasn't discussed, details about the main dining room were revealed. It will be four decks tall and will have two seating times.

A new restaurant called Called "150 Central Park" is in Central Park and will have a concept to be discussed in the future.

Some of the two-deck Loft Suites will be located high up adjacent to the Viking Crowne Lounge on decks 17 and 18.

While we do not seem a main theater in the deck-plans , Adam Goldstein did say that the AquaTheater will be a spectacular nighttime entertainment spot. The main theater would have to be huge and almost impossible to hide on the deck plans, so there does not appear to be one. is this such a surprise? Not really, it appears to be the trend of the future.

One thing Oasis will not have is indoor balcony cabins as CruiseMates thought we detected in the early renderings. Why not? We can't say.

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8-26-08 Royal Caribbean Tropical Weather Update

Given Hurricane Gustav's location and projected path, Royal Caribbean International is altering the itinerary of one ship:

Ships sailing from Port Canaveral: Mariner of the Seas Mariner of the Seas, which departed Port Canaveral, Sunday, August 24, will sail a revised itinerary. The ship will not be visiting Labadee, Haiti, on Tuesday; Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on Wednesday; George Town, Cayman Islands, on Thursday; or Cozumel, Mexico, on Friday. Instead, the ship will spend Tuesday at sea; visit St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, on Wednesday; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, on Thursday. The ship will be at sea Friday and Saturday as it returns to Port Canaveral, Sunday, September 1, as scheduled.

The safety of our guests and crew members is always our foremost concern of Royal Caribbean International. We continue to closely monitor the path and progress of Hurricane Gustav to ensure our guests enjoy safe and comfortable cruises, and to make certain our ships steer clear of the storm. We will update this information today, Tuesday, August 26, at 6:30 p.m.

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8-25-08 Oasis of the Seas: Two More Details to be Revealed Tomorrow Royal caribbean will be revealing the two more major details of the new Oasis of the Seas tomorrow in an online virtual show. Travel writers and agents received invitations by email to the "show" which is a highly interactive web site. The site will has interactive displays, live chat for asking questions, videos of new ship features and onboard activities and itinerary details.

So far, each detail has been revealed in a different way. The first detail, Central Park, was brought to light by a simple press release seemingly almaost as an afterthought when the company realized it would be evident to anyone who could see the ship being built in the shipyard.

The second reveal, for The Boardwalk with all of its enhancements such as the AquaPool, and for the expanded Royal Promenade, was given at a press conference in New York City last May. We also got our first shots of the new dual-level staterooms.

What is to be revealed tomorrow remains to be seen, but as yet we still have not heard anything about the major indoor public areas. It has not yet been confirmed whether the ship will have an ice rink like the Voyager-class. We have not heard much about the Children's facilities either, especially whether there will be a water park similar to the Freedom-class ships. Water parks are a popular amenity that are currently built into most new contemporary ships and are being added to many of the older ships of competitor Carnival.

The "Virtual Doors" for the exclusive sneak peak at the next two innovations on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, open tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time (3:00 Central) and CruiseMates will bring you updates as soon as we know them.

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8-20-08 Orient Lines Announces new Flagship Orient Lines, the destination cruise specialists, has announced that its new flagship - Marco Polo II - will carry 650 guests in 325 staterooms, two thirds of which are outside. The cruise liner, which most recently sailed as Maxim Gorkiy, will make her maiden voyage for Orient Lines in April 2009.

Marco Polo II is rich in character and history with proven ocean-going capabilities, including an ice-strengthened hull, deep draft, Denny Brown fin stabilizers, bow thrusters and ample provisional stores, essential for cruising to all seven continents. The vessel has a classic interior décor and handsome exterior profile with a raked bow and traditional cruiser stern.

At nearly 25,000 tons Orient Lines' new flagship is larger in size then Marco Polo yet carries nearly 200 fewer guests. The added space translates to a greater number of public areas and amenities including an indoor spa pool and four separate dining venues, six bars, a show lounge, cinema, casino, library, Internet center, card room, state-of-the-art fitness center and outdoor pool. Marco Polo II will maintain the line's proven service formula with European officers, American and British social staff, and a friendly and gracious Filipino crew.

"We're delighted to introduce Marco Polo II to Orient Lines' large and loyal family of past guests," said Wayne Heller, Orient Lines' president and CEO. "In the very near future we will announce her maiden voyage and inaugural cruise schedule."

Marco Polo II was originally built in 1969 for the German Atlantic Line. She underwent multi-million-dollar refurbishments in 1988 and 1995 and will receive additional enhancements to be fully compliant with Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 2010 requirements.

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8-20-08 Carnival Elation New 3 and 4--day Cruises from San Diego Carnival Cruise Lines will deploy the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation on a new three- and four-day cruise schedule from San Diego beginning Feb. 12, 2009. The ship currently operates four- and five-day cruises from San Diego and will continue that program through the departure of Feb. 7, 2009.

On its new route, Carnival Elation will depart Thursdays on three-day cruises to Ensenada, providing a value-packed long weekend getaway. Four-day cruises will depart Sundays and visit two ports, Ensenada and Catalina Island.

Carnival has offered a similar, highly successful program from Southern California for a number of years, currently on the Carnival Paradise based in Long Beach, with those departures occurring on Fridays and Mondays.

Carnival, which is the West Coast's largest, most popular cruise line, also offers longer length voyages from Southern California. The Carnival Pride operates seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach year-round (to be replaced by the new Carnival Splendor in March 2009) and the Carnival Spirit offers seasonal eight-day Mexican Riviera voyages from San Diego.

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8-14-08 Trista and Ryan Sutter to Christen Princess Cruises' Ruby Princess America's Most Romantic Couple Celebrates Fifth Wedding Anniversary Milestone by Naming Newest "Love Boat" In celebration of National Romance Week, Princess Cruises announced today that celebrity couple Trista and Ryan Sutter will christen the newest cruise ship in the Princess fleet, Ruby Princess, on November 6 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The Sutters, who met on ABC's hit reality series, The Bachelorette, the most romantic franchise on TV since the Love Boat, will celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary this fall, and will mark this milestone event during the Ruby Princess inaugural, which will be themed around "romantic moments and milestones."

Trista and Ryan are one of the best-known romantic duos in recent broadcast history, as they are the first and only couple from the The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises who have actually gotten married. The Sutters also recently celebrated the first birthday of their son, Max.

Princess Cruises has long stood for romance and reconnection, and so we're delighted to have Trista and Ryan christen Ruby Princess as they celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary," said Jan Swartz, senior vice president for Princess Cruises. "While slightly unconventional, their courtship and marriage was exciting to watch as it unfolded, and we think their fascinating love story epitomizes our inaugural theme of celebrating romantic moments and milestones."

Trista and Ryan Sutter met in 2002, when she was America's first Bachelorette. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette on ABC-TV were the first and are still the most popular reality dating shows in which one man or woman searches for their soul mate out of 25 potential suitors. Over the course of the show, the bachelorette bestows roses on those bachelors she wishes to continue dating. Trista presented Ryan with her final rose and he then proposed on the show's finale in November 2002. The couple wed on December 6, 2003 in an elaborate television ceremony watched by 26 million viewers, making it one of the most widely viewed episodes in the history of reality TV and one of ABC's top rated shows of the year. After their highly visible courtship, Trista and Ryan moved to Vail, CO, where they currently reside with their son, Max. In addition to frequent TV interviews and promotional appearances, he is a firefighter and she is a stay-at-home mom and designer for her new diaper bag line, Trista Baby.

"We're incredibly honored to be invited to be the godparents of Ruby Princess," said Trista Sutter. "It's hard to believe that it's been five years since we got married. This is a wonderful way to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and also to remind people about the importance of marking not only the key milestones in a relationship, but also making time to incorporate romance into our everyday lives. We are so excited to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!"

The 3,070-passenger Ruby Princess includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing array of performing street entertainers. Passengers will also enjoy Princess' other array of dining venues including the signature Sabatini's Italian trattoria and the Crown Grill steak and seafood restaurant, plus a relaxing oasis just for adults called The Sanctuary.

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

During Ruby Princess' inaugural season she will make seven-day weekly sailings from Fort Lauderdale, FL to the Western Caribbean. Calls include Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico and Princess Cays in the Bahamas. Next spring the ship will move to Europe for 12-day sailings in the Mediterranean and Greek Islands.

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8-7-08 Pearl Seas Cruises First Ship Debut Delayed by Several Months The Halifax Chronicle Herald is reporting that Pearl Seas Cruises hoped to have its new Halifax-built cruise ship in business last May of this year, but delays in construction have the delivery date pushed back until early 2009. The 214-passenger luxury vessel is being built at the Halifax Shipyard by Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

It was announced in April 2007 that Halifax Shipyard would build the small, luxury cruise ship for Pearl Seas - with an option to construct a second vessel. The first ship was to be completed by May 2008 for summer sailing along eastern North America coasts and the St. Lawrence Seaway. The winter schedule would be in the Caribbean.

But Pearl Seas decided to increase the size of the ship to 214 passengers from 166, according to the report, and that changed the delivery time. Sailings scheduled for fall 2007 through January 2008 were cancelled. Pearl Seas now has sailings booked in the Caribbean for February, according to its website, but unconfirmed reports say the 214-passenger luxury vessel may not be ready until March.

Part of the reason for the delay appears to be a change in plans. The was built in the Halifax yard and the accommodations section was supposed to be constructed at Irving's Woodside facility, by floating the hull over to Woodside and having the top portion attached. But Irving won a contract to repair a semi-submersible oil rig damaged during hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Work on the Chemul is taking place at Woodside.

Work on the hotel section of the cruise ship is now being finished at the Halifax yard, but not as quickly as was expected. The ship yard says it is doing the best it can, but infers that certain design issues have made it more complicated than originally expected.

Because of a confidentiality agreement, neither the shipyard or Pearl Seas is commenting further.

In November 2007, Irving informed Pearl Seas that it would not be building a second ship, with a capacity of about 265 passengers. When the contract for the first cruise ship was announced, Irving had hopes it would be able to develop a new expertise and find a niche in small cruise ship construction.

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8-7-08 Carnival Fantasy to Homeport in Mobile, Ala. Through September Carnival Corp.'s Fantasy cruise ship, which normally is based in New Orleans, will operate out of Mobile, Ala., through Sept. 1 because of an oil spill on the Mississippi River.

The Fantasy will conduct six cruises out of Alabama before the ship is dry-docked for 28 days, the company said. The 2,056-passenger Fantasy will return to New Orleans in October, said Jennifer de la Cruz, a spokeswoman for the Miami-based company.

The ship has not departed from or arrived in New Orleans since a tanker and barge collision caused an oil spill in the river on July 23.

In total, nine cruises will be diverted from New Orleans, a move that will cost the Port of New Orleans about $315,000 in dockage, wharf and parking fees, said Gary LaGrange, the port's CEO.

The city also will lose spending by passengers who spend time in new Orleans before and after their cruises.

Carnival had been deciding on a weekly basis whether to return the ship to New Orleans. But de la Cruz said Carnival made the latest move because of more speed limitations along the river and the possibility of future river closures as the oil cleanup continues.

The Fantasy conducts four- and five-day cruises to the west Caribbean.

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8-6-08 Ruby Princess Completes Successful Sea Trials

Ruby Princess has completed another major milestone in preparation for her November 8 debut, with the completion of her sea trials. The new ship set out to sea from her construction dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, and was put through her paces with a series of maneuvers to test her propulsion, steering and navigational equipment. After a successful four days of trials, the ship is now back in the shipyard for further exterior and interior finishing. Ruby Princess will be ready for her maiden voyage from Ft. Lauderdale, a seven-day Western Caribbean sailing taking passengers to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Princess Cays.

Ruby Princess is a sister ship to Emerald Princess and Crown Princess, and will feature the same dramatic piazza-style atrium that have become so popular on those ships. Other ship highlights include Princess' signature adults-only retreat called The Sanctuary, an Italian trattoria, a seafood and steak house, a "Movies Under the Stars" giant outdoor movie screen and 900 cabins with private balconies.

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8-5-08 Newest Silversea Ship to Offer Tahiti Cruising in 2009 Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has just revealed a new 2009 schedule of South pacific expeditions for the Prince Albert II, calling for the ship's deployment in Papeete, Tahiti, from mid-March to late October 2009. For the balance of the year, the 132-guest luxury expedition ship will offer a series of Antarctic explorations with convenient roundtrip departures from Ushuaia.

This collection of new itineraries will feature the less-traveled regions of Polynesia ranging from the southernmost Austral Islands to the sprawling Tuamotu Archipelago and the northernmost Marquesas Islands. These unusual itineraries are the result of successful efforts between Silversea and the French Polynesian government.

The President of French Polynesia, Gaston Tong Sang, said "Since taking office, it has been my goal and intention to take all necessary steps to enable Silversea to visit the region. The unique voyages developed by Silversea will enable travelers to discover the unknown beauties and treasures of our five archipelagoes in exceptional luxury."

In the spirit of true adventure, all itineraries are unstructured by design. Following only a tentative schedule that allows for moment-by-moment flexibility, expeditions stay longer at sites of particular interest, or make slight detours whenever weather, nature or mere curiosity dictate.

Highlights of the 2009 French Polynesia program include:

AUSTRAL ISLAND ADVENTURES Nestled in the Tropic of Capricorn, the remote Austral Islands lie hundreds of miles south of Tahiti and enjoy a slightly cooler climate. Tubuai, largest of these volcanic islands, is probably best known for the failed landing attempts of the H.M.S. Bounty. (The island's villagers assaulted the unwelcome ship with a barrage of stones, and ultimately the mutineers sailed off to Pitcairn.) Prince Albert II and her fleet of 8 Zodiac boats will explore the unique culture, flora and fauna of Rapa, Raivavae, Tubuai, Rurutu and Rimatara on five 11-day, roundtrip journeys from Papeete. Silver Sailing fares start at $3,897 per person, based on double occupancy.

JOURNEYS TO THE MARQUESAS The mountainous islands of the Marquesas are located nearly 900 miles northeast of Tahiti and just south of the equator. With a lush, vibrant terrain bursting with myriad exotic flowers and fruit trees, it's easy to understand how this tropical paradise captivated the artist Paul Gauguin, who made the Marquesas his adopted home. On four roundtrip journeys of 14 days from Papeete, Prince Albert II's expedition team will lead in-depth explorations of Fatu Hiva, Pua Mau, Hiva Oa, Atuona, Ua Pou, Nuku Hiva and Tahuata, as well as Manihi and Fakarava Island in the Tuamotu Archipelago and the Society Islands of Bora Bora and Tahaa. Silver Sailing fares start at $4,917 per person, based on double occupancy.

TUAMOTU EXPEDITIONS The isolated Tuamotu Islands, northeast of Tahiti, comprise the world's largest chain of atolls. Its 78 sparsely populated coral islands span over 900 miles of aquamarine waters. Dotted with quaint villages, coral churches and an abundance of wildlife -- from bottlenose dolphins and coconut crabs to the rarest of birds, this remote archipelago offers endless possibilities for real Robinson Crusoe-style adventures. Departing from Papeete, Prince Albert II will embark on five 10-day expeditions to the Tuamotu islands of Tikihau, Rangiroa, Apataki, Arutua and Fakarava, as well as Raiatea, Maupihaa and Huahine in the Society Islands. Silver Sailing fares start at $3,597 per person, based on double occupancy.

The Prince Albert II offers full-scale exploring from an ultra-luxury base at sea, in true Silversea style. With the largest average size accommodations of any expedition ship, guests will enjoy spacious, ocean-view accommodations (many with French balconies or large private verandas), sumptuous gourmet cuisine, warm hospitality and personalized service (with a crew-to-guest ratio of nearly 1 to 1), and Silversea's generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, bottled water, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities. Plus, complimentary Butler Service is provided in the Grand and Owner's Suites.

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8-3-08 Oceania Cruises Commences Construction on Marina; New Oceania-Class Ship Oceania Cruises is pleased to announce that it has commenced construction of its first new Oceania-Class ship during the gala steel-cutting ceremony at the Fincantieri's Sestre Ponente Shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Presided over by Frank Del Rio, Chairman of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Oceania Cruises' parent company, and attended by some of the line's most loyal past guests, the first piece of steel was ceremoniously cut to officially begin construction of Oceania Cruises' first brand-new ship.

During the ceremony, Del Rio also revealed the name of the first ship as Marina along with design details of the Veranda Staterooms and Penthouse Suites.

After the ceremony, Oceania Club members, dignitaries from Fincantieri and members of the media toured the builder's mock-ups of the Veranda Staterooms and Penthouse Suites. These accommodations, which are on average, 50% larger than those on the Regatta Class ships, will set new standards for spaciousness and comfort.

Veranda Staterooms, at 312 square feet, will incorporate larger sitting areas, marble-clad bathrooms with separate tub and shower, copious closet space and extra-large private verandas for relaxation.

The Penthouse Suites will be 429 square feet and feature a large living area, space for in-suite dining, separate sleeping area, extra-large bathrooms, walk-in closets and a host of other amenities.

The Oceania-Class represents an evolution of the line's extremely popular Regatta-Class ships. This new class of mid size cruise vessels will retain all of the warmth, popular design elements and signature amenities of the Regatta-Class while affording guests an additional level of comfort, convenience and many new luxury amenities. Designed to cruise to all corners of the globe, the new ships will boast a cruising speed 20% faster than the Regatta-Class. In addition to their greater speed, the new ships will have a greater range that enables them to undertake the itineraries to virtually any destination worldwide.

The new ships will be awash in rich, dark woods, Italian marble, lustrous granite, fine wool carpets and sumptuous leather. No detail is being overlooked to create an array of spacious, yet intimate public spaces and luxurious staterooms and suites.

They will accommodate 1,252 guests in 626 staterooms and suites who will be served by more than 780 staff members. 96% of all accommodations will feature private teak verandas and guests will dine in their choice of six open seating restaurants.

Additional details on the ships' public spaces, suites and dining venues will be revealed in the comings months.

Oceania-Class Facts:

MARINA: Debuts September 2010
Oceania Class II: Debuts July 2011
Guest Capacity: 1,252 (Double Occupancy)
Tonnage: 66,000 - estimated
Builder: Fincantieri; Sestre Ponente, Italy
Length: 782 feet
Width: 105 feet
Draft: 24 feet
Cruising Speed: 20 knots
Propulsion: Diesel Electric, 2 controllable pitch propellers
Restaurants: Six Open Seating Restaurants
Accommodations: 626 Guest Staterooms and Suites:
3 Owner's Suites
6 Vista Suites
10 Oceania Suites
121 Penthouse Suites
440 Veranda Staterooms
20 Ocean View Staterooms
26 Inside Staterooms

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8-1-08 Book This Month for 2009 Azamara European Cruise Savings A special Azamara cruise vacation booking promotion for guests who book any 2009 Azamara Cruises Europe sailing offers $150 onboard credit for each oceanview or veranda stateroom or $300 for each suite. Additionally, the first and second guests in each room will enjoy complimentary standard gratuities. Azamara's 2009 Europe sailings are offered at a cruise-only or air-inclusive rate.

Bookings must be made between August 1 and August 31, 2008.

The 694-guest Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest will sail in Europe between April and November 2009. Itineraries include 20 new ports and overnight stays in some cities. In total, Azamara's series of seven- to 15-night Europe itineraries in 2009 will visit 91 ports in 36 countries, and depart from five different homeports: Athens, Greece; Barcelona, Spain; Copenhagen, Denmark; Rome and Venice, Italy. Overnight stays will be offered in Barcelona, Edinburgh, Scotland; Florence and Ravenna, Italy, Istanbul, Turkey; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Stockholm, Sweden. Late-night (10 p.m. or after) departures will be offered in 10 ports of call, allowing guests to capture more of the flavor of each locale's nightlife.

The 2009 Europe booking promotion is not combinable with any other offer. The offer is not available for European, Middle Eastern and Africa bookings. For individual reservations, the offer only applies to bookings made between August 1-31, 2008. For groups, the offer is only available for individual reservations within that group that are both fully named and deposited within the booking window of August 1-31, 2008. The offer is based on availability. The onboard credit in this offer is per stateroom, and the complimentary standard gratuities are applicable only to the first and second guests in the stateroom.

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8-1-08 Carnival Fantasy Aug. 4 Cruise to End in Mobile, Ala Due to the ongoing issue on the Mississippi River, the current voyage of the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy will end in Mobile, Ala., on Monday, August 4, instead of its regular homeport of New Orleans. Disembarking guests will be provided complimentary motorcoach transportation back to the Port of New Orleans or the New Orleans airport.

Carnival Fantasy's next five-day cruise, set to depart on Monday, August 4, will also depart from Mobile. Carnival will provide complimentary motorcoach transportation from New Orleans' Erato Street cruise terminal to Mobile.

All guests for the next voyage are instructed to proceed to the Port of New Orleans to board a motorcoach to Mobile, because at the end of the cruise, the Fantasy is expected to return to New Orleans. The only exception would be individuals who are being dropped off and not leaving a car and prefer to proceed on their own to Mobile.

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