News Archive - August 2003

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013

8-29-03 Weekend Cruise News Pride of America Pride of America Click for pic *** Norwegian Cruise Line's new Pride of America will feature hull art depicting the Stars and Stripes combined with the United States' national bird - the Bald Eagle. Graphic designer Keith Allan created the hull art for the ship and for Norwegian Dawn, the first NCL vessel to sport art work on the hull. Pride of America is the first ocean-going U.S. Flagged cruise ship in nearly 50 years. She will sail for the new NCL America division, entering service in July 2004 sailing seven-night Hawaii cruises round-trip from Honolulu. By October 2004, NCL America will have three ships in year-round Hawaii service, all American flagged and American crewed. On board, Pride of America will have eight restaurants, over 660 balcony staterooms, three pools and extensive children's facilities. Firsts for NCL include a Conservatory, a new category of family suites, a tennis court and an art gallery.

*** Costa Cruises new flagship, CostaFortuna, is undergoing sea trials through September 6. Beginning service in November 2003, the 105,000-ton CostaFortuna will be the largest passenger ship in Italian history and the largest ship built by the historic yards in Sestri Ponente. The liners Michelangelo, the legendary Rex and the Andrea Doria were all built at the Sestri yards. With a capacity of 2,720 passengers, CostaFortuna contains a total of 1,359 cabins - 857 oceanview and 458 with large verandas. The wide array of facilities includes 11 bars, four restaurants, a theater extending over three decks, three swimming pools, a casino, disco, ballroom and a gym. Drawing inspiration from the legendary Italian liners that provided regular service between Italy and the Americas, architect Joe Farcus has incorporated scale models of these historic ships into the style and design of the CostaFortuna's various restaurants and other public areas.

*** Royal Caribbean has not placed a firm order for an Ultra-Voyager vessel however it is one of the topics up for discussion at the board of directors meeting in mid-September. The proposed 3,600-passenger, 160,000-ton megaship is based on the design of RCI's 142,000-ton Voyager-class ships (Voyager/Explorer/Adventure/Navigator of the Seas). The increased size will add more passenger space. RCI execs point out that it will not be a dramatically new ship. If RCI goes ahead with the plan, Ultra-Voyager will be built at Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Finland.

*** Windjammer's 'Caribbean Cuisine' cruise will feature world-renowned chef Orlando Satchell, who will share his unique Nouvelle Caribbean culinary styles with passengers. The six-day cruise aboard the sailing ship Legacy sails from Grenada on December 1, 2003. The cruise will feature informal lectures and demonstrations of Satchell's Island Fusion: cooking with ingredients traditionally found in the Caribbean, but in a very untraditional way. Other Caribbean cuisine luminaries will give cooking classes and lead trips to island markets to select the best local produce and spices, and visits to local restaurants that feature indigenous fare.

*** Crystal Harmony sails Crystal's first-ever Hawaii cruises round-trip from Honolulu next year. Cruises depart Honolulu January 24, February 3 and 13, 2004 with Crystal Harmony calling at the islands of Kauai, Hawaii, Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati, and Maui. The Hawaii cruises will feature two separate onboard themes - finance and fitness. Crystal has reduced fares which now start at $2,495 per person, double, - 45 percent lower than previous brochure fares.

*** The World's vacation rental program will continue despite the impending change of ownership. The ship is the world's first resort condominium at sea. Condominium owners are in the final stages of buying the ship from ResidenSea. The vessel's 2004 itineraries will remain unchanged. Details of the rental program under the new ownership have yet to be announced.

*** Carnival's Fantasy is about to have a facelift. Fantasy will undergo a five-week refit a the Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport starting in early September.

*** Celebrity's 2004 Bermuda program features sailings from Norfolk, Philadelphia and New York. Horizon sails Saturdays, round-trip from Norfolk, April 24 to May 22, 2004 and Sept 11 to October 2, 2004 and round-trip from Philadelphia from June 5 to August 28, 2004. All cruises call at St. George's and Hamilton. Two six-night sailings, round-trip from Norfolk depart May 29 and Sept. 5, 2004. Sister ship Zenith repeats her New York-Bermuda program next year sailing Saturdays from New York, April 24 to October 16, 2004. Zenith calls at Hamilton and St. George's, Bermuda and spends two days at sea.

*** According to an annual study commissioned by the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), an estimated 9.2 million passengers took cruises worldwide during 2002, a 9.8 percent increase over 2001. Over 80 percent, or 7.5 million, of the global passengers were U.S. residents, up 10.5 percent from the previous year. Industry capacity increased 13 percent over 2001. The North American cruise industry generated $20.4 billion in economic activity within the United States in 2002 - nearly a ten percent increase from 2001 - . $11.9 billion resulted from cruise lines and their passengers' direct spending in the U.S. for goods, services, wages and taxes. For the complete report, visit www.iccl.org/resources/economicstudies.cfm.

*** Two other agencies report an increase in cruise numbers for the top 10 cruise lines: According to the Department of Transport's Maritime Administration (MARAD), Miami is the largest departure port for major lines followed by Port Canaveral (which replaced Ft. Lauderdale this year). The Western Caribbean is the most popular destination followed by Alaska. Passenger cruise travel in 2003 has so far increased by seven percent over 2002 levels. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reports a number of states are benefiting from the expansion of U.S. homeports. Texas led the way in passengers numbers with a 75% increase for the first quarter of 2003 - up from 58,485 in 2002 to 102,433 in 2003. CLIA also reports an increase in the number of single travelers taking a cruise. Member lines indicate as many as 15 percent more singles are booking cabins with single cabins being among the first to sell out. Back to Top

8-25-03 RCI's Voyager to sail from New York in 2004 Royal Caribbean International said it plans to base its 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas in New York City next summer â?" the largest ship ever to operate a regular series of cruises from the Big Apple. The 142,000-ton vessel will operate out of New York from May 16 to October 22, 2004, with alternating five-night Canada cruises and nine-night Caribbean sailings. The former, starting at $579 per person, will call at Halifax, N.S. and St. John, New Brunswick. The latter, priced from $899, will sail to Labadee, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Freeport. The company said this will mark the first time a Voyager-class ship has been based outside Florida or San Juan. Back to Top

8-22-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Serenade of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's third Radiance-class vessel will be christened in New York City today with Whoopi Goldberg serving as Godmother. Whoopi previously named the Viking Serenade, which left the RCI fleet in 2002. The 90,090-ton, 2,110 passenger Serenade of the Seas embarks on four and five-night Canada cruises from New York this fall followed by Caribbean sailings from San Juan to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados. Serenade is a sister ship of Radiance and Brilliance of the Seas. Designed to bring the sea, sun and coastal scenery indoors, Serenade boasts nearly three acres of exterior glass, including floor-to-ceiling windows in most lounges and public areas, the line's highest percentage of balcony staterooms and glass elevators facing the ocean. Serenade also features Royal Caribbean's signature rock-climbing wall, a sports deck with a golf simulator, nine-hole miniature golf course and basketball court, a billiards room with gyroscopic pool tables, the ShipShape Fitness Center and Spa, an adults-only Solarium with retractable glass canopy and expansive Adventure Ocean facilities for kids ages 3-17. Dining venues on board include the two-story, traditional main dining room plus two casual eateries, the Windjammer Cafe and Seaview Cafe and two specialty restaurants, Chops Grille steakhouse and Portofino.

*** Cunard is offering air aboard the world's premier large-cabin business jet in conjunction with Queen Mary 2 transatlantic crossings which start next year. The Gulfstrem IV-SP carries up to 10 passengers in pampered luxury. The air service, operated by Marquis Jet, is offered in combination with any voyage of the QM2. The most luxurious package is "The Ultimate QM2 Vacation" which costs $99,850 per person. It combines the two top suites on QM2 for a six-night crossing between Southampton and New York with one-way transatlantic air via private jet and two-night stays in the Mandarin Oriental hotels in New York and London plus ground transfers by limousine.

*** The American Queen will begin sailing a regular schedule of three and four-night cruises from New Orleans on April 12, 2004. The sternwheeler will depart New Orleans every Monday for a four-night cruise and every Friday for a three-night cruise along the lower Mississippi River with stops at historic sites such as Oak Alley Plantation, Baton Rouge, La., and Natchez, Miss. American Queen is Delta Queen Steamboat Company's newest, biggest and most luxurious riverboat. The 436-passenger sternwheeler will carry the New Orleans theme throughout its cruise, with local entertainment, including the Cajun music and Dixieland Jazz that the area is known for, signature menus and a Mardi Gras ball. Delta Queen is offering "New Orleans & Riverboat Adventure Week" packages which combine a hotel stay in New Orleans and vouchers for restaurants and attractions with one of the American Queen mini-cruises. In New Orleans, participating restaurants include Arnaud's, Muriel's, Emeril's, Broussard's and Tujague's. Renowned New Orleans attractions, include the French Quarter Carriage Tour, National D-Day Museum, Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World, Creole and Cajun cooking classes, and tours of famous gardens, historic areas and haunted sites. Hotel selections include the Windsor Court, Astor Crowne Plaza and the Hotel InterContinental, and are determined by the stateroom categories that guests book for their riverboat cruise. The seven-night land-riverboat package is available for the same price as a four-night riverboat cruise, starting at $995 per person. As part of the company's early booking incentive program, a $300 per person savings is offered on all packages booked by Dec. 31, 2003. Both the three- and four-night riverboat cruise may also be purchased as a cruise-only vacation.

*** A decision on Carnival's Brooklyn cruise terminal is anticipated by the end of September. The proposed facility would be built at Pier 7 at a cost of $100 million with Carnival and New York City sharing the expense. Pier 7 is long enough to handle the Queen Mary 2 and with the expansion of cruises departing from New York, more cruise berths are needed. The new facility would house two terminals, a conference center and a 1,000-car garage. Designed to rise no higher than the current structure, it will not block the views of nearby residents. It is estimated that the cruise industry currently spends $800 million a year on provisions and services in New York City.

*** Celebrity Cruises is sailing from 11 U.S. homeports, in response to the increased demand for "drive-cruise" vacations. Celebrity is sailing from Jacksonville, Florida and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Caribbean and Bermuda itineraries beginning this fall and Mercury sails from San Francisco calling at California and the Mexican Riviera. Other homeports are San Diego, New York, Baltimore, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa and new in 2004, Galveston, Texas; Norfolk, Virginia and Seattle, Washington.

*** P&O Cruises, Australia, which is now part of Carnival Corporation, is expanding routes and adding new features for the Pacific Sky, formerly the Sky Princess. New in 2004 are the first-ever sailings from Brisbane, weekend cruises from Sydney and the addition of four new ports - the coral atoll of Wala and Luganville in Vanuatu where "South Pacific" was filmed, Poum in New Caledonia and Pentecost Island. The line also announced it will base a ship in Brisbane for the 2004-2005 season. Major changes aboard the 46,000-ton Pacific Sky for next year include a new internet cafe; extended breakfast and lunch hours; the addition of an alfresco Steakhouse Grill; hamburgers, hot dogs and pasta on deck at lunch and a bigger menu in the pizzeria,; expanded wine list, new snacks in bars including oysters, scallops, samosas and shrimps; bigger breakfast selection,; new themed buffet luncheons in the restaurant; new 24-hour in-cabin menu; 24-hour florist, additional shore tours, and new deck furniture. Carnival previously announced it will transfer the Jubilee from Carnival Cruise Lines to P&O Cruises, Australia in October, 2004. She will be refitted and renamed before sailing form Australia.

*** The latest Alaska cruise ship ballot initiative has failed to move ahead in the state legislature. The initiative was denied certification based on the recommendation of Attorney General Gregg Renkes. The proposals included a $50 head tax on cruise passengers. It was filed by Juneau attorney Joe Geldhof and environmentalist Gershon Cohen in April. Back to Top

8-20-03 Song of Flower to leave Radisson fleet Radisson Seven Seas Cruises said that its 180-passenger Song of Flower, the oldest ship in its fleet, will make its final voyage for the company October 15. "The ship has been sold to a European company that will market the vessel under a new name outside North America," said Mark Conroy, the line's president. The line said many of the ship?s crew members will be transferred to other vessels in the RSSC fleet. The Song of Flower will wind up its service with a series of seven-day European and Mediterranean cruises from August 30 through October 15. Back to Top

8-15-03 Weekend Cruise News Empress Empress of the North Click for pic *** American West Steamboat Company's newest sternwheeler cruise ship, Empress of the North, is currently on her maiden voyage, an 11-night cruise from Seattle to Juneau. Empress sails between Seattle and Juneau on four sailings this year, the first time in over 100 years that a paddlewheeler has sailed this route. In 2004 eight-night cruises round-trip from Sitka are planned in addition to Seattle-Juneau sailings. The 3,200-ton, 360-ft. vessel is the world's largest ocean-going paddlewheeler. Empress carries 235 passengers in outside staterooms, most with private verandah. On board decor is authentic Victorian riverboat style with a fine collection of art work depicting three main themes - Alaska and Pacific Northwest images and native art, historic images of the sternwheeler era and Alaska's Russian heritage. The traditional calliope (steam organ), a mainstay of paddlewheelers, is found in the Calliope Bar & Grill which is the 24-hour lido restaurant. The 40-ton sternwheel is 42 ft. in diameter and 32 ft. wide. Empress can cruise at 14 knots employing the sternwheel and two, electric powered Z-Drives which can rotate 360 degrees allowing navigation in any direction. The schedule of the cruise is flexible allowing the ship to avoid bad weather and rough seas and linger in areas of more interest to passengers. The on board historian narrates the route and runs an educational lecture series. Entertainment includes a musical duo and quartet, cruise staff entertainers and step-on performers in ports of call. All shore excursions are included in the fares. For more see www.empressofthenorth.com

*** The blackout on the east coast has disrupted air travel and may cause passengers to be late for their cruise departures. Lines are monitoring flights on which their passengers are booked to see if they need to delay sailing times. However, cruise lines do not know the flight details of passengers who made their own air arrangements. Carnival Victory sailed from New York last night after the electric gangway had to be moved manually due to the blackout.

*** "Fun Ship" Freddy is Carnival Cruise Lines' new mascot. Modeled after the line's signature red, white and blue winged funnel, "Fun Ship" Freddy was created to entertain guests of all ages "Carnival is the family cruise leader - carrying upwards of 400,000 kids annually - and it seems only natural that the 'Fun Ships' feature a friendly, fun-loving mascot to entertain guests vacationing aboard our ships," said Carnival President & CEO Bob Dickinson. In addition to greeting visitors as they arrive on the ship on embarkation day, "Fun Ship" Freddy interacts with guests and poses for photos throughout the voyage and is often found in the children's play area, the focal point of many "Camp Carnival" activities. "Fun Ship" Freddy is currently featured on 17 of 19 Carnival "Fun Ships," with fleetwide implementation by the end of the year.

*** Crystal Cruises will feature a Film Festival and enhanced Creative Learning Institute during Crystal Serenity's, inaugural Transatlantic crossing, November 6. Serenity sails from Lisbon to Ft. Lauderdale with calls in the Canary Islands and Bahamas on the 11-day "Voyage to the New World" which features eight days at sea. The film festival is a salute to motion pictures with a serious yet entertaining look at the history of cinema and the stars of the silver screen. Other enrichment pursuits include the debut of Book Magazine's Book Club as part of the line's new Creative Learning Institute. On this voyage, the Creative Learning Institute classes will include complimentary foreign language instruction, piano lessons, wine seminars, golf instruction by a PGA golf pro plus Computer University@Sea, ACBL bridge play, dance instruction, fitness and yoga classes, personal training and Pilates instruction and Crystal's Culinary Class Series. Fares for Crystal Serenity's inaugural transatlantic begin at only $3,970 per person, double occupancy.

*** Peter Hillary, son of Sir Edmund Hillary - who made the first ascent of Mount Everest more than 50 years ago - and a lauded world adventurer himself, will join the Clipper Odyssey's December 21, 2003, voyage "Exploring the Majestic Fjords and National Parks of New Zealand". Joined by his wife and four children, Hillary will lead informative discussions about his many adventures and answer questions from fellow travelers throughout the cruise. A native of New Zealand, Hillary has climbed to the summit of Mount Everest twice; landed a small aircraft at the North Pole accompanied by his father and astronaut Neil Armstrong; and joined Sir Edmund Hillary in establishing a new route in Antarctica as the first father/son duo to reach the South Pole by land. In addition, Peter Hillary participated in the first team to cross the "Roof of the World," hiking the Himalayan Range from Mt. Kanchenjunga in Sikkim through Nepal and India to K2 in Pakistan. The 17-day cruise offers an in-depth look at the North and South islands of New Zealand. The adventure departs the U.S. on December 21, 2003. Rates begin at $8,400 per person, double occupancy, and include round-trip international airfare from/to Los Angeles, 14 nights aboard the 128-passenger Clipper Odyssey and all sightseeing and shore excursions.

*** Norwegian Cruise Line has added Prince Rupert, BC to the 2004 Alaska sailings of Norwegian Sky. Prince Rupert has a new cruise facility under construction which is scheduled to be completed for the 2004 season. The picturesque city at the mouth of the Skeena River is home of the Museum of Northern BC, Kwinitsa Railway Museum, and is a first nations cultural center. The area is an excellent spot for whale, bear and bird watching and sportfishing. Norwegian Sky will sail round-trip from Seattle May 22 through August 21, 2004 calling at Juneau, Skagway, Sawyer Glacier and Ketchikan plus Prince Rupert.

*** Holland America's 2004 South America program includes Prinsendam's first cruise to the Amazon. The 28-day "Amazon Explorer" sails round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale on November 20, 2004, calling at some of the more secluded Caribbean ports and navigate far up the Amazon River. Amsterdam will sail two, 12-day "Wild Side" cruises between Valparaiso, Chile and Buenos Aires, March 7 and 19, 2004, visiting the Chilean fjords, Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn and the Falkland Islands. Amsterdam's 17-day "Wild Side" cruises, Feb. 19, Oct. 25 and Nov. 11 and 28, 2004 sail between Valparaiso and Rio de Janeiro, adding Montevideo, Uruguay to the itinerary. Positioning sailings include two "Lost Empires" cruises, the first on March 31 from Valparaiso to San Diego (17 days) and Seattle (21 days) calling at ports in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Mexico. In the fall, Amsterdam sails a 22-day version, departing Seattle October 3, 2004.

*** Two lines are offering air specials and two-for-one promotions on Europe, Asia and South Pacific cruises:

  • Radisson Diamond - Mediterranean Radisson Seven Seas offers sailings between Rome and Athens or Rome and Nice, September 12, 26, October 10 and 17 with two-for-one savings. Fares start at $1,617 per person. Those with two weeks to spare can take advantage of the buy-one-get-one-free offer on the September 5 and October 3 voyages, turning their seven-night cruises into 14-night journeys at no extra cost. The 350-passenger Radisson Diamond has spacious ocean-view staterooms (70 percent with private balconies). Her innovative twin-hull design makes the ship one of the most stable afloat.
  • Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Radisson Seven Seas' offers complimentary economy airfare from 84 North American gateways, extended Early Booking Savings plus bonus savings of $500 per person on non-balcony staterooms and $750 on balcony staterooms for the September 20, 27, October 4 and 11 sailings. The 320-passenger Paul Gauguin sails roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti, every Saturday night, on seven-night voyages to Raiatea (the cultural heart of Polynesia), Tahaa (for a call at the ship's private islet of Motu Mahana), Bora Bora (for two full days on the island James Michener used as the model of his idyllic "Bali Hai") and two days in Moorea (the inspiration for Herman Melville's novel Omoo).
  • Star Flyer - Thailand Star Clippers offers round-trip economy air from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Bangkok and continuing on to Phuket, for $395 per person and from New York to Bangkok/Phuket for $745 per person on select sailings between November 8, 2003 and March 20, 2004. The four-masted, 170-passenger, sailing yacht sails 11-night, Far East cruisetours including a seven-night cruise of Thailand and Malaysia and four nights at the Montien Riverside Hotel in Bangkok. Fares start at $1,545 per person.

*** Cruise West's "Stowaway Program" allows travelers with flexible schedules to save 25 percent. To become a "Stowaway," travelers select a 30-day period for departure and make a deposit for the cruise itinerary and stateroom category of their choice. Cruise West notifies the "stowaway" at least 30 days in advance of the specific travel date and the total fare. Full payment is due within 24 hours of this notification, and should the traveler decide not to go, the deposit can be applied to a future cruise or converted into transferable Cruise West travel coupons, good for 24 months to any destination. A full refund is offered if Cruise West is unable to offer a departure date within the chosen 30-day period. Savings range from $163 per person for a November, 2004 three-night cruise in a standard cabin in Northern California's wine country to $2,549 for the Grand Titan suite on the 13-night Bering Sea itinerary during June and July. Cruise West's fleet of eight, 78 to 114-passenger vessels sail soft adventure cruises in Alaska, Mexico's Sea of Cortes, Costa Rica, Panama, the California Wine Country, Columbia and Snake Rivers and British Columbia.

*** Holland America Line is offering educators savings up to 70 percent on Holiday sailings. From now until Sept. 30, 2003, currently employed and retired teachers can select from five, seven-day eastern and western Caribbean sailings departing on Dec. 20 and 21, 2003; a 12-day Caribbean and Panama Canal sailing departing from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Dec. 22; and a 21-day South America sailing departing from Valparaiso, Chile on Dec. 18. The special fares for seven-day Caribbean sailings start at $699 per person, double occupancy, including port charges. Teachers must show proof of employment as a teacher by faxing one of the following at the time of booking or with their deposit: Teacher's Certification certificate; Union Card; or Letter from Principal on school letterhead. Back to Top

8-13-03 Viking River Cruises Plans China Sailings Viking River Cruises, a specialist in European river trips, said it will begin offering cruises and cruise/tours in China next year. Starting in March, Viking said, it will operate five various cruise/tour packages, all of them including a seven-night sailing along the Yangtze River. The company is currently building a new vessel, the 186-passenger Century Star, for the cruises. It will have all outside cabins, an observation lounge, a gym and a massage room. Passengers on the cruises will be able to see the last phase of the massive Three Gorges Dam project. Back to Top

8-8-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Celebrity Cruises has filed a $300 million lawsuit today against Rolls Royce and Alstom Power Conversion, co-producers of the pod-propulsion system, to recover lost revenue and costs associated with failing pods. The lawsuit was filed in state court in Miami-Dade County, Florida after unsuccessful attempts to resolve issues satisfactorily. The lawsuit charges that the Rolls Royce and Alstom Power Conversion pods, brand-named Mermaid, have failed repeatedly, resulting in cancelled cruises and thousands of disappointed passengers. These recurring failures cost the company hundreds of million of dollars, for which the lawsuit seeks restitution. Mermaid pods are installed on the four Millennium-class ships, Millennium, Summit, Infinity and Constellation. All four have had pod problems which caused the ships to be taken out of water, and out of service, to repair. Most recently, Millennium returned to service August 2 after missing a cruise and undergoing drydock in Marseille, France.

*** The new Pacific Princess is proving very popular with passengers who have given her the highest ratings in the fleet in recent surveys. The former R3 of Renaissance cruises, Pacific Princess joined Princess Cruises in late April and is currently sailing Alaska cruises from San Francisco which will be followed by South Pacific cruises in the fall. The 30,000-ton, 684-passenger vessel will sail almost right around the world in 2004, in three unique segments - Papeete to Ft. Lauderdale; Ft. Lauderdale to Cape Town and Cape Town to Sydney. The Papeete to Ft. Lauderdale segment is 24 nights in length. Departing August 29, 2004 highlights include Pitcairn Island, Easter Island; Peru, Ecuador, Panama Canal and the San Blas Islands. The 28-night cruise, Ft. Lauderdale to Cape Town, September 22, 2004 includes calls in the Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa, and Namibia. The 18-night Cape Town to Sydney segment, October 20, 2004 calls at East London and Durban, South Africa; Madagascar; Mauritius; Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Tasmania, Australia.

*** Crystal Cruises is offering Antarctica excursions for the first time in conjunction with Crystal Symphony's South America cruises this fall. Options include viewing Antarctica by air on Crystal's flightseeing adventure or exploring some of its 2.7 million square miles on foot. Other tours will find passengers wandering among penguins, visiting the Falklands Battlefields from Port Stanley, viewing the spectacular Iguazú Falls by chartered aircraft or dancing the tango in Buenos Aires. Pre-and post-cruise tours of Easter Island, Santiago, Vina del Mar and Iguazú Falls from both the Argentine and Brazilian sides are also available. Crystal Symphony sails to South America October 19, 2003, on a 17-night cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Buenos Aires. Cruises between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso, Chile follow on November 6 and 20. Symphony then returns from Buenos Aires to Ft. Lauderdale on Dec. 5.

*** Celebrity Cruises' concierges have become members of Les Clefs D'Or, a society of hospitality professionals founded in 1952 with elite members from around the world. They are the first hoteliers in the premium cruise sector to receive the prestigious "Les Clefs D'Or" - the crossed golden keys signifying a provider of extraordinary service, as recognized by the Union Internationale Des Concierges D'Hotels. Consistent with the organization's motto, "service through friendship," members regularly exchange information with one another to improve their skills, solve problems and expand the number of resources available to assist hotel guests around the world.

*** Costa Cruises has expanded its winter European program with three ships sailing from the new cruise facility in Savona (Genoa) next winter. CostaVictoria, CostaEuropa and the line's new flagship, the 105,000-ton CostaFortuna, which debuts in November, will sail 11-night cruises from November/December 2003 to March/April 2004. CostaVictoria's routes visit Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey and Greece while Europa and Fortuna call at Spain, Morocco, the Canary Islands and Madeira. Meanwhile, Costa's Caribbean program from Ft. Lauderdale next winter features the CostaMediterranea and CostaAtlantica sailing alternating, seven-night, Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.

*** Seabourn Cruise Line has announced Guarantee Rates of $1,995 per person for seven-day "Uncommon Caribbean" cruises aboard Seabourn Pride during November and December, 2003. The fares guarantee cruise accommodation in a 277-square foot, ocean-view Seabourn Suite. Specific suites are assigned 30 days prior to departure. Guarantee Rates of $2,495 per person are also offered for Seabourn Balcony Suites on the same sailings. The rates apply to five different one-week cruises aboard the luxury yacht, departing from Ft. Lauderdale or Barbados from November 8 to December 13, 2003. The itineraries, focus on the un-crowded yacht harbors of the Grenadines and Venezuela's exotic Orinoco River. See your travel agent for details.

*** Commemorative ceremonies for the 60th anniversary of D-Day are well underway in Europe. Continental Waterways, operator of European luxury river and canal barges, has a special Veterans' Offer for D-Day cruises aboard the 38-passenger L'Esprit d'Europe and 50-passenger Anacoluthe. Both river vessels will barge through a picturesque route between Paris and either Honfleur or Rouen, including a night cruise through the heart of Paris with evening mooring near the Eiffel Tower. Excursions in Normandy include a full-day excursion to Caen, center of the battle of Normandy in 1944, a tour of The Memorial de Caen museum, a stopover at the American cemetery at Colleville sur Mer overlooking Omaha Beach, and a visit to La Pointe du Hoc, site of the raid of Colonel Rudder and the Rangers which succeeded the battle. American and Canadian war Veterans and their guests are offered reduced rates when they book before the end of 2003. Fares begin at $1,690 or $845 for veterans, and $1,268 for their guests for the six-night cruise, excursions and all meals. Packages are also offered on www.bargespecials.com, which can include airfare, hotel accommodations and additional sightseeing. For more details see your travel agent or visit the line's web site at www.continentalwaterways.com. Back to Top

8-1-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Serenade of the Seas was handed over to Royal Caribbean International during ceremonies in Eemshaven, Netherlands on July 30. The third Radiance-class ship was built at Meyerwerft Yard in Papenburg, Germany. Serenade of the Seas will be named in New York City on Aug. 22 by godmother Whoopi Goldberg. The new vessel will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to sail an inaugural season from New York. Following a one-time-only, seven-night New England/Canada cruise, Serenade will sail four- and five-night Canadian itineraries from September 1 through October 27. In November, Serenade of the Seas will reposition to San Juan, for weekly, seven-night Southern Caribbean itineraries. The décor of the 2,110-passenger ship includes artwork, ranging from sculptures, textile artistry and paintings to stained glass, photography and colorful outdoor murals. The Balinese-themed Solarium, features a cascading waterfall, retractable glass canopy and lush, tropical plants. Dining options include the two-story main dining room, two specialty restaurants, Portofino and Chops Grille steakhouse and the casual Windjammer Café.

*** The new riverboat, Empress of the North, will be christened in Seattle on Saturday. The newest vessel of American West Steamboat Company, which operates Columbia and Snake River cruises, will operate 11-night Alaska sailings between Seattle and Juneau from August 10 to September 10, 2003. The 235-passenger sternwheeler is 360 feet long and has a 35-foot paddle wheel with Z-drive propeller pods for maneuverability. Once a common site on the West Coast, this is the first time in nearly 100 years that a paddle-wheeler will sail to Alaska from Seattle.

*** Holland America Chairman and CEO, A. Kirk Lanterman, has become an Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau, an honor bestowed by Her Royal Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. The highly coveted decoration was presented to Lanterman by Ivo Opstelton, Lord Mayor of Rotterdam, aboard the Oosterdam during festivities marking the 130th anniversary of Holland America Line. The Netherlands government presents this civilian order of merit to individuals who have contributed exceptional value to Dutch society through their work and achievements in their profession and through community service.

*** 'Royal Reunions' is RCI's new program for families and groups sailing together on the Voyager-class ships - Voyager, Explorer, Adventure, Navigator and Mariner of the Seas. If the group is booking eight or more staterooms, special arrangement can be made including booking connecting staterooms, sitting together at meals, arranging private functions, group photographs and more. The special arrangements can be made by calling Royal Reunions at 1.800.327.2055.

*** With three new ships entering service in 2004, Princess is poised for substantial growth in the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera:

  • Six Princess ships will sail in the Caribbean during the 2004-2005 season, a 75 percent increase in capacity over the 2003-2004 season. Highlights include the new Caribbean Princess, new itineraries, a new port of call in Belize and the new home port of Galveston. The 3,100-passenger Caribbean Princess will join the three Grand-class sister ships, 2,600-passenger Grand Golden and Star Princess on seven-day itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale (Caribbean and Star), San Juan (Golden) and Galveston (Grand). The 1,950-passenger sister ships Sun and Dawn Princess will sail 10-night itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale.
  • The new 2,670-passenger sister ships, Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess enter service next spring. They will sail seven and 10-night Mexican Riviera cruises. Sapphire Princess will inaugurate Mexican Riviera sailings from San Francisco for Princess when she sails 10-night cruises to Catalina Island, San Diego, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, September 22 through November 11, 2004. Diamond Princess will sail round-trip from Los Angeles (Long Beach terminal) on seven-nights sailings to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas from March 13 to April 24, 2004 and September 25, 2004 to April 23, 2005. A special 10-night New Year's sailing, December 29, 2004 calls at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. Both ships sail to Alaska from Seattle in the summer.
For more on Princess' Caribbean itineraries from now through spring, 2005, see CruiseMates' Princess Cruises' Itineraries page.

*** Radisson Seven Seas Cruises has launched an enhanced web site at www.rssc.com featuring enhanced search capabilities, "Special Offers" and "Spotlight Cruises" sections offering savings and theme cruise listings, a "My Cruises" area allowing users to save itineraries, plus a "Find an Agent" resource section. Design elements are based on the line's tagline "Luxury Goes Exploring".

*** Windstar Cruises' 10-year collaboration with chef, Joachim Splichal, has resulted in the line's acclaimed Signature Cuisine. Splichal's philosophy is to use the best seasonal ingredients in the most straightforward manner, yet always with an element of surprise. Menus reflect the different foods, flavors, and aromas indigenous to the Windstar's destinations. Splichal recently received Bon Appetit magazine's coveted "Restaurateur of the Year" award. Said Tom Russell, Windstar's vice president of marketing and sales. "We were thrilled to learn of Joachim's latest accolade from Bon Appetit, but certainly not surprised. The culinary program he has spearheaded aboard our ships is an integral part of Windstar's award-winning success."

*** Clipper Cruise Line celebrates the holidays on a number of unique expeditions. The line's 2003 lineup includes expedition cruising in Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falklands, aboard the 122-passenger, Clipper Adventurer. The 23-day cruisetour leaves the U.S. on December 18, 2003. The 128-passenger Clipper Odyssey visits the Majestic Fjords and Hidden Bays of New Zealand with the 17-day cruisetour departing the U.S. on December 21, 2003. Two Clipper ships will sail in the Caribbean for the Holidays: The 100-passenger Nantucket Clipper will be exploring the yachtsman's Caribbean from St. Thomas, with departures on December 20 and 27, 2003. The 138-passenger Yorktown Clipper explores the Spanish, British, and U.S. Virgin Islands from St. Thomas for 10 days departing the U.S. on December 24, 2003. Starting fares range from $2,020 per person for the seven-night Caribbean sailings to $10,670 for the Antarctic expedition. For more on Clipper's Holiday sailings, contact your travel agent or visit the line's web site at www.clippercruise.com.

*** Orient Line's Crown Odyssey will be transferred to Norwegian Cruise Line next month to sail as the Norwegian Crown. The ship has already undergone a drydock during which additional restaurant space was added to meet the demands of NCL's 'Freestyle Cruising'. Norwegian Crown will sail Canada/New England itineraries this fall from Baltimore and NCL has announced the vessel will repeat these cruises in September and October, 2004. Two unique sailings which include, Canada, New England and the Colonial coast are offered, round-trip from Philadelphia on April 4, 2004 and April 10, 2005. The 14-night cruises call at Halifax, NS; Saint John, NB; Boston; Martha's Vineyard; Norfolk; Baltimore; Charleston; and Savannah. For the winter Norwegian Crown will reposition to South America.

*** The all-suite Seven Seas Navigator will wrap up her first season of New York-Bermuda cruises with four voyages featuring the award-winning cuisine of top chefs from the Big Apple, plus wine, vodka and caviar tastings. In addition, a special value offer allows guests to opt to extend their seven-night cruise vacations with a complimentary two-night pre-cruise stay at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria, including a ticket to a choice of Broadway musicals. Other values include a complimentary tour of Colonial Williamsburg offered from Norfolk, Virginia. Special guests on the culinary sailings are chef Tim Kelley of Zoë in NY's trendy SoHo area (August 27); Christian Albin, executive chef of New York's landmark Four Seasons Restaurant and Julian Niccolini, the owner of the Four Seasons, who will conduct tastings of Domaine Chandon wines (September 3); Mats Engstrom, owner of Tsar Nicoulai Caviar and Ansley Coale of Hangar One Vodka presenting domestic vodka and caviar tastings (September 10) and Kurt Gutenbrunner, chef and owner of Wallse, a New York Austrian eatery (September 17). Back to Top

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