News Archive - December 2004

12-31-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Carnival Cruise Lines' Holiday is having to sail a New Year's "cruise to nowhere" due to mechanical problems. The vessel sails round-trip from Mobile, Alabama and was to have called at Cozumel on the four-night cruise. Passengers who did not choose to cancel their cruise received a $100 shipboard credit. The 1985-built Holiday will be repaired when she returns to Mobile on Monday and is expected to sail on her next cruise Monday afternoon.

*** In 2005, four new ships and two new riverboats will enter service while a number of ships are changing fleets. Viking River Cruises will introduce the new Century Sky to its Yangtze River program on March 9 and the Viking Sun to The Rhine River on April 3. The 1,952-passenger Arcadia will sail adults only cruises from Southampton for P&O Cruises starting April 14. NCL America will take delivery of Pride of America June 6 and the vessel begins cruising from Honolulu, year-round on July 23. Carnival Liberty, the 4th Conquest-class vessel, enters service July 20 sailing round-trip from Rome. NCL's Norwegian Jewel, a variation on Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star, sails her maiden voyage from Dover on August 10. The Sea Princess will return to Princess Cruises from P&O on April 28 while the Royal Princess will leave the Princess fleet in May and be transferred to P&O Cruises to sail as the Artemis. The European Stars of now defunct Festival Cruises/First European begins sailing for MSC Cruises in March renamed MSC Sinfonia. The 1988-built Norwegian Sea will be transferred to parent company Star Cruises to sail in Asia following her July 22 cruise. Celebrity's Horizon will leave the fleet following her October 22 cruise and be transferred to Island Cruises of the U.K. RCI's Enchantment of the Seas will be stretched and rebuilt in the spring when she gains a 73 ft. midsection and 151 new staterooms. Starting in April, Lindblad and National Geographic join forces to present a new series of exploration cruises aboard the Endeavour which will be renamed National Geographic Endeavour.

*** Star Flyer, one of Star Clippers' luxury sailing ships, was not damaged in last weekend's tsunami disaster as she was sailing south of her home port of Phuket, Thailand, en route to Singapore. The vessel sails four itineraries from Phuket, some of which call at islands and ports hard hit by the disaster. So far Star Clippers has canceled calls at the Phi Phi islands and other itineraries are under review. Star Flyer is currently sailing back to Phuket from Singapore.

*** Swan Hellenic's Minerva will sail a revised itinerary when she departs Mahe in the Seychelles on Monday, January 3 and heads for Singapore. Minerva was to have called at a number of ports in the Maldives, Sri Lanka and India which are now devastated. Minerva's revised route calls at Praslin, Seychelles; Kochi, India; Penang, Port Kelang (for Kuala Lumpur) and Malacca, Malaysia.

*** Star Cruises has suspended SuperStar Virgo's and SuperStar Gemini's calls at Phuket until further notice. The revised three, four and seven night cruises from Singapore will call at Penang, Malacca, Langkawi and Port Kelang, Malaysia.

*** Crystal Harmony's drydock dates have been altered for 2005 prompting several itinerary changes. Originally scheduled for an early May time slot, dry-dock has been postponed to late November, as more time is needed to manufacture parts for one of the drydock projects. Crystal Harmony's November 25 Mexican Riviera and December 5 Panama Canal cruises have been canceled. A 12-night cruise, round-trip from Vancouver has been added on May 9, 2005 which will include the ship's maiden call at Whittier, one of the gateways to Anchorage. Crystal Harmony will also call at Juneau, Skagway, Seward and Ketchikan, visit Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier and Columbia Glacier, and sail the Inside Passage, College Fjord and Prince William Sound.

*** Past passengers of Royal Caribbean will have the opportunity to book Freedom of the Seas ahead of the general public. The 158,000-ton 3,600-passenger Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world when she enters service in April 2006, sailing year-round Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami. Crown & Anchor Society members will be able to book starting February 28, 2005, two weeks ahead of general sales.

*** Radisson Seven Seas will continue to operate the Paul Gauguin in Tahiti and French Polynesia until at least January, 2007. It was previously announced that the ultra-luxury ship would leave the South Pacific at the end of 2005. The 320-passenger vessel sails weekly cruises on Saturdays, round-trip from Papeete, Tahiti calling at Raiatea, Tahaa (Motu Mahana), Bora Bora and Moorea with an overnight onboard ship in Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete. Two 14-night French Polynesia/Marquesas cruises sail April 2 and Nov. 19, 2005, round-trip from Papeete calling at Tahaa, Bora Bora, Nuku Hiva/Hatiheu, Marquesas; Nuku Hiva/Taiohae, Marquesas; Ua Huka/Vaipaee, Marquesas; Hiva Oa/Atuona, Marquesas; Fatu Hiva/Omoa, Marquesas; Fakarava, French Polynesia; and Moorea. Special Holiday sailings, 11 nights, December 17, 2005 and 10 nights, December 28, 2005 call at Tahiti and her islands, Tuamotu archipelago and the Marquesas.

*** Delta Queen Steamboat Co. offers a wide variety of theme cruses every year and the line has a number of new themes planned for 2005. Sail the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway on a theme cruise focusing on the history of the mammoth project, Sep. 3, 2005 from Nashville to Mobile and September 11, 2005 from Mobile to Chattanooga aboard Delta Queen. For the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, Mississippi Queen sails two Remembrance cruises and a Veterans Reunion cruise with many special guests, including The Mills Brothers, on all three sailings. The Veterans Reunion departs November 7, 2005 from St. Louis to New Orleans followed by the WWII Remembrance cruises, November 14 and December 5, 2005 round-trip New Orleans. A special 4th of July celebration in St. Louis features a three-day, two-night, pre-cruise hotel stay at the Drury Plaza Hotel, located near the Gateway Arch, followed by a cruise aboard Delta Queen or Mississippi Queen. Psychic phenomenon, quilting, financial planning and Springtime in Texas are other new themes offered next year in addition to the lines perennial favorite steamboat races, Kentucky Derby, food and wine, Big Band, Bluegrass, fall foliage, Civil War, Mardi Gras and many more. Back to Top

12-24-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Celebrity Cruises will send a fourth ship to Europe next summer. The 1,750-passenger Century, previously scheduled to sail 9- and 10-night Caribbean cruises next spring and summer, will join Celebrity's Constellation, Galaxy and Millennium in Europe. Following a 14-night transatlantic cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale on May 7, Century will sail a series of 12-night Baltic cruises round-trip from Amsterdam, one cruise to the Norwegian Fjords and 10- and 11-night Mediterranean cruises, before returning to Fort Lauderdale in October for alternating 9- and 10-night Caribbean cruises. The change in deployment is in response to high demand for Celebrity's European cruises. The new sailings open for booking January 4, 2005.

*** The latest petition for a $50 head-tax on cruise ship passengers in Alaska has been certified for the next statewide election. The petition has 23,286 signatures, enough for it to be added to the ballot in August 2006. The initiative calls for the head-tax on ships with more than 250 berths. In addition, cruise lines would have to pay state corporate income taxes and there would be a tax on gambling while at sea. Passengers would have to be informed which companies and shops in Alaska were paying for advertising onboard. Permits would be required for wastewater discharge and a licensed marine engineer would have to be onboard in Alaska waters. John Hansen, president of the North West Cruise Ship Association which represents ships sailing to Alaska, said the new taxes would be a blow to the industry which is a major part of the Alaskan economy. The cruise industry plans to fight the initiative along with Alaska tourism groups, business partners and communities opposed to the changes. Studies on the proposed $50 head-tax, which has been proposed unsuccessfully in the past, showed that it would actually have a negative effect as passengers would reduce their spending ashore. Nearly 60 percent of visitors to Alaska arrive by cruise ship; a total of 800,000 in 2004.

*** Passengers of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity who have achieved the top two tier levels of the lines' past passenger programs, will be eligible for equivalent recognition with the other line. The "Equivalent Recognition" program will be launched January 1, 2005. As an example, Diamond Crown & Anchor members who sail onboard a Celebrity ship will receive the benefits of an Elite Captain's Club member and vise versa. The benefits of the two programs will stay independent, however, and the number of sailings a member has accrued on each cruise line will not be combined.

*** Carnival Cruise Lines' Presidential Wine Club will launch in January, 2005 under the direction of the line's President and CEO Bob Dickinson, one of America's leading wine connoisseurs and collectors. Club members will receive two bottles of wine each month from around the world, selected by Dickinson who will also be answering questions on wine at the club's web site, Also in development are online courses, local events and seminars. Membership costs $39.99 per month plus $9.99 for shipping with shipments available to 37 U.S. states.

*** Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises will hold their second annual Shine On Miami weekend from January 20 to 23, 2005. The event is a fund raiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and United Way of Miami Dade. Activities during the weekend include a black-tie gala, golf and fishing Tournaments. University of Miami Coach Larry Coker, The Florida Marlins' Mike Lowell, Baseball Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt, Jim Palmer and Gary Carter, and songwriter Paul Williams are among the many celebrities participating in the event. Back to Top

12-17-04 Weekend Cruise News NLC New Ship The New NCL ship to be delivered in May 2007. Click for full size *** Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it will build two new ships for delivery in 2007. One will be a sister ship of Norwegian Jewel, which enters service next August, a variation of Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn. The as yet unnamed ship will be built at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany for delivery in February 2007. It will have 2,384 lower berths, 10 restaurants, an expansive top-of-ship complex of Garden Villas and Courtyard Villas, multiple lounges, bars, and entertainment venues, and 540 staterooms and suites with private balconies. The second vessel is a new design, combining the features of NCL's Freestyle Cruising ships which have been introduced since 2001. This vessel will have 2,430 berths and all outside staterooms and suites will have private balconies - a total of 840. The Aker Finnyards in Helsinki Finland will build this ship for delivery in May 2007. NCL has an option on a second vessel of this type, for delivery in early 2008, which it can exercise by the end of August 2005.

*** Carnival Valor will be christened in Miami this evening with 'Today' Show Co-Host Katie Couric acting as Godmother. The event can be viewed live on the Internet starting at 6 p.m. EST by logging on to The invitation-only naming ceremony will be followed by a private event for Carnival employees. The following evening a fundraiser to benefit the Camillus House and the United Way of Miami-Dade will be held aboard the ship. Carnival Valor then begins year-round seven-day Caribbean service from Miami on Sunday, December 19, becoming the largest Carnival vessel ever based in South Florida. The third of Carnival's 110,000-ton Conquest-class, Carnival Valor houses 22 lounges and bars, a 13,300-square-foot health club, a golf program, a nine-deck-high atrium, expansive children and teen facilities, and four restaurants, including a reservations-only supper club.

*** Sapphire Princess arrives in Sydney, Australia December 23 for a sold out season of Australia/New Zealand cruises. A fireworks display is planned that evening before Sapphire sails on her Christmas/New Year Cruise to Auckland. The vessel will then sail 12-night cruises from January 6 to February 23, 2005, between Sydney and Auckland calling at Melbourne, Australia; Hobart, Tasmania; Fjordland (Milford and Dusky Sounds), Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand. Sister ship Diamond Princess will take over this route for the 2005-2006 season with the port of Tauranga (for Rotorua) replacing Wellington on 12-night sailings, January 8 to April 12, 2006.

*** Glacier Bay Cruiseline's Executive Explorer will re-enter service in Alaska following major renovations. The high-speed catamaran can accommodate up to 49 passengers and features 24 staterooms with extra-large viewing windows and a public lounge offering the same view as the ship's Captain. The Executive Explorer will be the only overnight, high-speed catamaran in Southeast Alaska. The catamaran sails between Juneau and Ketchikan on seven-night cruises departing Sundays, May 8 to August 21, 2005, calling at Haines, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Frederick Sound, Tracy Arm and the twin Sawyer Glaciers, Petersburg, Wrangell, Metlakatla and Misty Fjords. Executive Explorer will position north from Seattle to Juneau, Alaska on an 11-day cruise departing Wednesday, April 27, 2005 as a specially-themed "Culinary Adventure" cruise featuring executive chef Roy Breiman of the Salish Lodge & Spa.

*** MSC Cruises is offering several music and baseball theme cruises in 2005 aboard the MSC Opera and MSC Lirica in the Caribbean. Both ships sail round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale on alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries(Opera) and longer 11-night sailings to the Panama Canal and Southern Caribbean (Lirica). Baseball theme cruises are featured on 1/22/05, 2/12/05, 2/26/05 & 3/12/05 aboard MSC Opera. Some of baseballs greatest players including Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller to batting and fielding legend Graig Nettles will be onboard. Activities include Baseball trivia games, pitching and hitting clinic, passenger pitching accuracy test, baseball player Q & A, autograph session, and talks with the players on hitting & defensive strategies. Musical theme cruises aboard MSC Opera are Italian Music ~ The Caleps (2/19/05) and Classical Music (3/19/05). Musical Theme Cruises aboard MSC Lirica include Music of your Life Big Band Festival (1/13/05 and 1/24/05), Good Time 50's/60's Oldies (2/4/05), Classic/Branson Country Festival (2/26/05), Smooth Jazz/Club Noir (3/9/05 & 3/20/05), Music of Your Life Spring Festival (3/31/05 & 4/11/05).

*** American West Steamboat Company is celebrating the bicentennial of Lewis and Clark with two special cruises which provide an in-depth look at the final 150 miles of the Corps of Discovery's journey to the Pacific Ocean. Departing March 5 and 12, 2005 from Portland, Oregon aboard the sternwheeler Queen of the West, the seven-night cruises explore the winter camp at Fort Clatsop and retrace the start of their eastward bound journey home, visiting Astoria, Oregon; the Columbia River Gorge; Multnomah Falls; Mount St. Helens Volcanic National Monument; Portland Art Museum and the Lelooska Cultural Center. All shore excursions are included in the fare. Rex Ziak, author, historian and contemporary explorer, will be onboard to provide historical interpretation. Each stateroom will receive a complimentary copy of his book detailing the last 30 days of Lewis & Clark's westward journey. Cruise rates range from $1,239 to $3,699 per person. Save up to $800 per couple by booking before February 26, 2005. For more visit the line's web site at Back to Top

12-14-04 New HAL Itinerary From New York The port of New York will get a third ship home porting during winter months. Holland America Line has announced that its next Vista-class vessel, Noordam, will sail between New York and the Caribbean from Feb. 22, 2006 and through April, returning to the port in October. At present, NCL's Norwegian Dawn sails year-round from New York, to be followed by Norwegian Spirit in late 2005. Back to Top

12-14-04 Horizon To Leave Celebrity Fleet Celebrity Cruises' Horizon will move to the Island Cruises fleet in October 2005 under a six-year lease agreement arrangement with the British-based cruise line. The 47,000-ton Horizon entered Celebrity's fleet in 1990 followed by sister-ship Zenith, which will remain with the cruise line. Horizon will complete its current winter sailings to the Caribbean from the Port of Tampa and its summer 2005 Bermuda sailings from the Port of Philadelphia. Back to Top

12-13-04 New Carnival Ship Offers Wi-Fi Carnival Cruise Lines' newest ship, Carnival Valor, sets sail on her inaugural Dec. 19 voyage with the first 100% bow-to-stern wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) enabling passengers to check e-mail, the web, stock quotes and news from anywhere aboard the vessel, including staterooms. The program works with any Wi-Fi-enabled laptop computers. Charges apply for connectivity and Wi-Fi laptop rentals. Back to Top

12-13-04 Crown Princess Keel Laid Princess Cruises officially starting building on the 113,000-ton Crown Princess with a keel laying ceremony at Fincanteri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The first section of the ship was ceremoniously moved into the yard's building dock, where the 3,100-passenger ship will remain until float-out. Crown Princess is part of the Grand Class series of ships and will sail in Spring, 2006 Back to Top

12-10-04 Weekend Cruise News Sovereign of the Seas re-enters service on Monday December 13 with new entertainment and dining options and her first balcony staterooms. The 73,192-ton 2,276-passenger vessel was the world's largest cruise ship when she first entered service and her arrival caused a lot of excitement. Now 62 balconies have been added to Deck 10 staterooms. Boleros Latin lounge has been added for Latin jazz and drink favorites from Brazil, Cuba and Central America. The Follies Theater has been fully refurbished. New dining options include the casual Windjammer Marketplace, the redesigned Windjammer Cafe with multiple self-service islands, offering Asian, Latin, Mediterranean and American/Eclectic cuisine, a cooked-to-order pasta station, carving station, deli, and soup and salad bar. Above the Windjammer, is Sorrento's pizzeria and a Johnny Rockets all-American diner. Seattle's Best Coffee, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream are available at the sit-down Latte'tudes coffee shop and ice cream parlor. The ShipShape Fitness Center and Sovereign Day Spa have been expanded to include a bigger gym with additional cardio equipment, and a full-service spa with a hair and nails salon and 11 treatment rooms, including a two-person room for couples. There is more space for kids and teens onboard. Teens now have three exclusive areas � the Fuel nightclub, a lounge called The Living Room and The Back Deck, a sun deck with an outdoor dance floor. Sovereign of the Seas sails three- and four-night Bahamas itineraries year-round from Port Canaveral, calling at Nassau and CocoCay.

*** Carnival Liberty was floated out from drydock at Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, earlier this week. Construction will now continue in a wetdock to prepare the vessel for entering service July 20, 2005. The 110,000-ton 2,974-passenger Carnival Liberty will sail the line's first Mediterranean cruises through October 2005, after which the vessel will sail on a 16-day transatlantic crossing then launch year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale beginning in November 2005. The Conquest-class vessel is a sister ship of Carnival Conquest, Carnival Glory and the new Carnival Valor which enters service December 19.

*** Crown Princess is the name chosen for the new Princess ship entering service in May 2006 for year-round Caribbean service. The vessel is a sister ship of Caribbean Princess, however, they will not be identical onboard. Princess is planning a piazza-style atrium, even more dining venues and redesigned public spaces. The atrium area will bring a new street cafe environment, including an International Cafe serving pastries in the morning and other offerings throughout the day, as well as a wine and seafood bar. The ship's Internet Cafe will be housed in the atrium as well as the Travel Cafe, a place to plan future travels. The 113,000gt ship takes the name of a Princess vessel that left the fleet in 2002. The original Crown Princess, which debuted in 1990, was the first ship built for Princess by Fincantieri and construction of her successor will soon get underway at the same yard. The first Crown Princess became the A'Rosa Blu for sister company Aida Cruises.

*** Holland America Line has agreed to plead guilty to the discharge of sewage into the harbor at Juneau Alaska in August, 2002. A series of human errors led to the accidental dumping from the Ryndam. HAL ships are equipped with an advanced treatment facility which purifies waste water to drinking level, however, an alarm was ignored which should have alerted the crew that a tank of untreated blackwater nearing its maximum capacity. Holland America will pay $200,000 in fines, $500,0000 in restitution and $1.3 million on a plan to prevent the incident from happening again. The company will also be on probation for three years. The unfortunate incident is a blemish on Holland America's outstanding record of environmental compliance in Alaska.

*** Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises are adding cell phone technology to their ships. The new capability is available on Majesty of the Seas and is slated to launch in the coming weeks on Navigator of the Seas and the Celebrity ship Summit. Service will be extended to its 29-ship Royal Caribbean and Celebrity fleet within the next year. Most passengers with GSM phones will be able to take advantage of the new service, making and receiving both voice calls and text messages as they usually do while roaming on land. Passengers with data-capable GSM/GPRS devices may also be able to access data services, such as email and picture messaging. In addition, the companies intend to expand the offering so that customers of CDMA carriers also can take advantage of the service. Passengers will be billed by their own wireless phone carrier at the roaming rates set by that carrier. The new shipboard service will activate when the ship leaves the range of the closest land-based cell tower. While in port, cell service will revert to the local, land-based towers.

*** The new Los Angeles Cruise Ship Promenade at San Pedro has officially opened. Part of the 'From Bridge to Breakwater' revitalization project for the San Pedro waterfront, the promenade includes four acres of waterfront property, situated between the Vincent Thomas Bridge and World Cruise Center in San Pedro. The ongoing revitalization project will eventually additional cruise facilities for San Pedro with several possible locations currently under consideration. Passengers sailing from Los Angeles can receive a Cruise LA benefits card which gives reduced admission to local attractions and museums and discounts at restaurants, shops and transportation companies. Visit for current offers.

*** Crystal Cruises is once again running the "Kids Sail Free" Alaska promotion in 2005. One child per family, under 12 years of age cruises for free aboard Crystal Harmony when sharing the same stateroom with two adults. Eligible sailings are the 12-night Alaska cruises round-trip from San Francisco departing June 11, 23, July 5, 17, 29, August 10 and 22. All itineraries feature at least one glacier experience; three include two glacier experiences. Crystal Harmony has a fully supervised Junior Activities program for kids ages 2 (must be toilet-trained)_to 17. Fantasia, the ship's dedicated children's playroom, is outfitted with games, craft materials, Sony Playstation video games, and personal computers with entertainment and education software. The Junior Activities Directors include grade school, high school, and physical education teachers on summer holiday, as well as seasoned camp counselors. There is at least one counselor for each 12 participants. Crystal has a special Alaska program for kids featuring a guest naturalist when Crystal Harmony cruises Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm. Cruise fares start at $1,825 per person/double occupancy.

*** Crystal also released details of the world cruise in 2006. Crystal Serenity sails from Los Angeles to Southampton for 106 nights from January 18 to May 5, 2006 on a route to Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and across to the islands of the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. From Western Australia, Crystal Serenity will cross the Indian Ocean to Mauritius and Cape Town, up the east coast of Africa to Tanzania and Kenya, to the Seychelles and on to Dubai, Egypt, Libya and cruise the Mediterranean to Rome. The journey concludes with a European cruise from Rome to England. Seven segments will begin or end in Los Angeles; Lima, Peru; Melbourne, Australia; Cape Town, South Africa; Dubai, UAE; and Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy. Libya, Reunion Island and Mauritius are maiden destinations on the itinerary. Overnight stays are included in Lima (Callao), Peru; Sydney, Australia; Cape Town, South Africa (two nights); Victoria, Seychelles; Dubai; Luxor, (Safaga), Egypt; Monte Carlo; and Bordeaux, France. Optional overland excursions are available to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos as well as safari packages from Cape Town and Durban.

*** In Skagway, Alaska, The White Pass& Yukon Route Railway has announced its rates for 2005. The historic railroad which follows the gold rush 'Trail of '98' is one of Skagway's leading excursions. The White Pass Summit Excursion departs daily at 8:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. with an additional 4:30 p.m. departure Monday to Thursday, May 10 to September 9, 2005. The three to three and a half hour journey costs $89 per adult with children three to 12 half price and infants free. Note that trains depart from the depot in town, a short walk from the ships. If you want to get onboard the train beside your vessel, book through your cruise line. Visit the railway's web site at to learn more and to book. Back to Top

12-3-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Carnival Cruise Lines took delivery of 110,000-ton Carnival Valor on Wednesday December 1. The $500 million vessel has sailed from Monfalcone, Italy and is expected to arrive in Miami December 13 then operate a special two-day Bahamas cruise on December 15. Christening ceremonies will take place on December 17 with Katie Couric, longtime co-host of NBC News' "Today," acting as Godmother. Carnival Valor will be the largest Carnival ship ever based in Miami when she begins alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami December 19. Eastern Caribbean cruises call at Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten, while the western route features Belize City, Belize; Isla Roatan, Honduras; Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Carnival Valor is the third Conquest-class ship built for the line, a sister ship of Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory. Valor houses 22 lounges and bars, four swimming pools, a 214-foot-long water slide, an Internet cafe, a 13,300-square-foot health club, a comprehensive golf program, and four restaurants, including an upscale supper club, a 4,200-square-foot children's play room, as well as a teen club/game room. Of the ship's 1,487 staterooms, 60 percent will offer either an ocean view or a balcony.

*** Princess Cruises' has expanded wireless "hotspots" for Internet access throughout the fleet so they are now available in the atrium areas of all 14 Princess vessels. Passengers who bring their laptops can purchase Internet time for 35 cents per minute ($10.50 for 30 minutes) at the front desk. Passengers with computers that do not already have a wireless network card may purchase a 'Windows XP' compatible card on board. Fleetwide, Princess ships provide a range of Internet capabilities. Shipboard Internet Cafes feature between eight and 26 terminals, depending on the vessel. Sun Princess, Dawn Princess and Regal Princess have each recently debuted a new Internet center. Most centers are open 24 hours a day and are easily accessed when passengers swipe their cruise cards through the computer's card reader. Selected vessels also provide computer stations in the ship's library. Terminals offer Internet access with direct links to most popular web-based email providers, and passengers can print from the web for $1 per page.

*** Crystal Cruises has introduced a pillow menu aboard its fleet. Passengers now have a choice of four different pillow types:

  • Hypo-allergenic king- or standard-size pillows, filled with down-like polyfiber.
  • Round neck pillows, sotonic elastic foam-filled, for neck or lumbar support.
  • Firm standard-size pillows, with 95% feather and 5% down filling.
  • Therapeutic sleep-sensitive standard-size pillows, 100% polyester fiber with head and neck indent.
The Pillow Menu is available in every stateroom in every category aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. Earlier this year Crystal introduced Egyptian cotton sheets, king-size goose down pillows and feather bed toppers to all staterooms and suites fleetwide.

*** Celebrity Cruises' has expanded its "Celebrity Discoveries" enrichment program for 2005. Up to four lecturers are presented on every Celebrity cruise as part of the program. Caricature artists are onboard for seven-night Caribbean and Bermuda sailings, while resident naturalists on the line's cruises in Alaska, Hawaii and South America offer illustrated wildlife presentations, live commentaries from the bridge, and small group question-and-answer sessions about the region. Celebrity's wine appreciation program features prominent wine makers who share their expertise during seminars and pre-dinner varietal tastings. Celebrities coming onboard in 2005 include star of stage and screen Orson Bean (January 2, Millennium); Former NBC News Chief Economics Correspondent Irving R. Levine (January 3, Infinity; May 7 and July 25 Galaxy); political analyst and significant figure in President Clinton's re-election, Dick Morris (January 31 Infinity; June 13 Galaxy; July 16 Constellation); founder and director of the Gesundheit Institute Dr. Patch Adams (February 15 Infinity); Actor Ernest Borgnine (May 1 Millennium); Astronaut Walt Cunningham (May 23 Galaxy); Actor Larry Hagman (August 13 Constellation); Olympic gymnast and actress Cathy Rigby (August 14 Millennium); Actress Rita Moreno (July 30 Constellation).

*** Oceania Cruises is heading for Asia next year. The line's third vessel, Nautica, will sail a series of cruises in Asia starting with a 24-night sailing from Athens to Singapore on November 28, 2005. Like her sister ships Regatta and Insignia, Nautica was built originally for Renaissance Cruises. All three ships are 30,200-tons and carry 684 passengers. Following the positioning cruise, Nautica will sail from Singapore to Hong Kong, 15 nights, December 22, 2005; January 6, 2006 (reverse); January 21, 2006; from Hong Kong to Bangkok, 15 nights, February 5, 2006; from Bangkok to Beijing, 24 nights, February 20, 2006; from Beijing to Hong Kong, 15 nights, March 16, 2006 then positions from Hong Kong to Athens, 35 nights, March 31, 2006. Oceania is offering two-for-one pricing and free air on the newly announced Asia cruises.

*** Oceania has also announced an additional sailing to Libya and Tunisia in 2005. Due to overwhelming demand, it has added a second Mediterranean voyage aboard the Insignia. This 10-night cruise from Athens to Barcelona on November 17, 2005 calls at Benghazi, Tripoli, Valletta, La Goulette, Monte Carlo and Marseille. A highlight of the voyage is an overnight stay in Tripoli.

*** Windstar Cruises has launched a new web site at The new site design features rotating photography on the home page with cruise specials prominently displayed for quick searches. An expandable tool bar allows users to quickly find what they are looking for without searching through multiple pages. Cruises may be searched by destination, ship or date. Port descriptions and shore excursion information are accessed from each itinerary. Cruise specials and promotions are prominently displayed on the home page and visitors also have access to cruise planning assistance. New electronic brochures, called SailGuides, are available online and may be customized by sailing or destination. Passengers can create their own custom SailGuide based on their intended destination with itinerary, map and shore excursion information. The SailGuide can be emailed to friends and family.

*** Disney Cruise Line is featuring a new Pirates theme evening aboard Disney Magic's seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, round-trip from Port Canaveral. The evening is inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean movie and ride. The fun starts at dinner where servers dress as pirates and passengers wear a bandana while ordering from the pirate-themed dinner menu on a rolled parchment menu. After dinner, Captain Hook visits with a band of pirates, there is dancing including a line dance and a rescue by a surprise hero as part of the festivities. The pirate's night will debut aboard Disney Wonder's three and four-night cruises in early 2005.

*** Crystal Cruises' has announced its schedule of Food and Wine Festival cruises for 2005. A total of 15 voyages will showcase leading chefs and sommeliers who will host special dinners, demonstrations and wine tastings aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. This is the ninth year Crystal has offered the festival. Guest chefs include Andre Soltner Master Chef & Sr. Lecturer The French Culinary Institute; Bradley Ogden Owner/Chef Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Owner/Chef Lark Creek Inn Marin County, CA; Sam Choy, Owner Sam Choy restaurants in Hawaii, Tokyo, Guam, San Diego; Andre Rochat Owner/Chef Andre's French restaurants, Alize at the Palm Hotel & Mistral, Las Vegas; Ted Reader Chef & Host "King of the Q", Canada. Guest wine experts include Bob Bath National Sales Manager Shafer Vineyards; Christian Moueix Owner Dominus Winery Yountville, CA; Robin Kelly O'Connor US Trade Liaison Bordeaux Wine Bureau New York; Jeff Morgenthal Wine Director Drago, Santa Monica & Enoteca Drago, Beverly Hills and Larry Stone the 1st American recipient "Int'l Best Sommelier in French Wines & Spirits". Back to Top

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