News Archive - February 2001

02-27-01 Celebrity's Infinity Sets Sail Celebrity Cruises has officially accepted delivery of Infinity, sister ship to Millennium. The 1,950-passenger ship now sets sail from Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, bound for its new homeport of Ft. Lauderdale. Following U.S. Coast Guard inspections, the vessel will sail on its inaugural voyage, a 14-night trans-canal cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego, departing March 3. The ship's formal naming ceremony will take is scheduled April 29 in Los Angeles, following April and May voyages between Ensenada, Mexico and Hawaii.

Among Infinity's distinctive features is the "SS United States" dining room, which boats glass panels from the famous liner, launched in 1952. Priced $25 per person, the specialty restaurant will feature a recreation of an entree first served in the dining room onboard the original SS United States during the 1950's: Roast Long Island Duckling a l'Orange Stuffed with Fruit. An additional distinctive feature is a full conservatory, the first floral garden at sea, designed for Celebrity by prominent Paris-based floral designer Emilio Robba.

02-23-01 Weekend Cruise News *** Three crew members of Royal Caribbean International's Vision of the Seas were arrested in Miami February 19 after Federal agents found 187 pounds of cocaine and 3000 ecstasy pills when the ship docked.

*** As an enticement to generate more families aboard the Patriot, United States Lines has launched "Eagle Fares" with discounts up to 40% off seven night Hawaii cruise rates. Available now through Dec. 29, 2001, Eagle Fares start at $809 (inside) and $1,109 for oceanview staterooms, per person, based on double occupancy of the selected stateroom. Eagle Fares for kids ages 3 - 17, sharing a stateroom with two adults, start at $209 per child; port charges and taxes are additional. Children's activities aboard the U.S. flagship include separate activity areas for kids and teens, special activities and shore excursions..

*** Carnival Cruise Line will move Ecstasy to Los Angeles May 18, offering three- and four-night sailings. The 2,052-passenger vessel replaces Holiday and will visit Ensenada on three-day voyages with the addition of Catalina Island on four-day voyages. Fares start at $289 for three-night cruises.

*** Royal Caribbean has enhanced its passenger insurance program, "CruiseCare". Effective April 3, cancellations of up to 75% of the penalty will be covered for any reason not covered in the program's provisions. The policy covers baggage protection, medical expenses, trip interruption and cancellation and provides assistance if documents or credit cards are lost.

*** Celebrity Cruises has revised several of its 2001/02 South America cruises. Mercury's 14-night Panama Canal itinerary departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on December 9, 2001 (replacing the "Southbound Exotic Caribbean" cruise on the same date), now with port calls in Aruba, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. The Valparaiso to Rio de Janeiro cruise onboard Mercury departs Valparaiso on December 23, 2001, (holiday cruise; replacing the previously scheduled "Best of Brazil Southbound" cruise) and March 3, 2002. On the new 14-night Celebrity Voyage on March 17 (replacing the previously scheduled "Best of Brazil Northbound" itinerary), Mercury departs Rio de Janeiro, with ports of call in Santos (for Sao Paulo), Brazil; Buenos Aires; Montevideo, Uruguay; Buzios, Brazil; Salvador, Brazil; Porto Seguro, Brazil; and Ilhabela, Brazil.

*** Holland America has added a new medical service aboard the Amsterdam called "MedServe." It provides "dial-up" medical consulting via satellite with specialist physicians anywhere in the world. The 'MedServe' telemedical system enables ship-board physicians to transmit high-quality X-ray images, ECG's and live video images to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. HAL officials said the new system will hopefully decrease the chance that passengers will have to disembark in a foreign country for treatment for medical treatment.. The cruise line employs physicians who are board-certified emergency room physicians or internal medicine/family practice doctors experienced in advanced cardiac life support.

02-22-01 Mistral Refloated First European Cruises' Mistral was safely refloated in open waters yesterday, a day after it ran aground off the south coast of the Caribbean island of Nevis with nearly 1,700 people aboard. The 709-foot luxury liner, carrying 1,139 passengers and 557 crew, was pulled out of shallow waters by two tugboats.

The ship, which had been sailing from Dominica, ran aground early Tuesday about 1,300 feet off the south shore of Nevis, apparently because of a "navigational error". There were no injuries, but the ship suffered minor damage to its hull and took on some water, which was contained. The refloated ship headed for Antigua, maritime officials said. It had not been scheduled to stop in St. Kitts-Nevis, the twin-island nation of some 40,000 people in the Leeward Islands chain. Back to Top

02-22-01 HAL's New Golf Program Holland America is adding golf excursions to its 2001 Caribbean and Mexico cruises, with championship courses in many ports plus two new courses in Mazatlan and Acapulco. The 10-day Mexican Riviera cruises aboard the Statendam now offer 18 holes of fabulous golf at the Estrella del Mar course in Mazatlan and the Mayan Palace links in Acapulco. A third port call at Puerto Vallarta features the Marina Vallarta Club de Golf, for the second year. In the Caribbean, Holland America has an extensive golf program with a total of 14 premier golf courses available on cruises ranging from seven to 14 days. Also in the Southern Caribbean, Holland America's 10-day Seafarer and Wayfarer cruises feature at Royal St. Kitts Golf in St. Kitts, Blue Bay Golf Resort in Curacao and St. Andrew's Golf Club in Trinidad. Its 14-day Southern Caribbean cruises offer many of the above courses, plus the Links at Safe Haven in Grand Cayman. Play at these 18-hole courses ranges in price from $86 to $175 per person, depending on course and season; this includes green fees and transfers between the ship and golf course. Rental of golf clubs is available at all courses. Passengers can book the golf programs during their cruise. Guests receive information about the golf program.Back to Top

02-20-01 Cruise ship runs aground off Saint Kitts and Nevis First European Cruises MS Mistral ran aground off the Caribbean island of Nevis according to maritime officials The cruise ship, launched just last year, is carrying 1,139 passengers. According to the Coast Guard for Saint Kitts and Nevis, the passengers are still aboard, and in good shape. Few other details are immediately unavailable, but as they come along we will offer updates. There are a few different courses of action the ship can take depending on the severity of the problem. The 47,000 ton-ship, built in 1999 and operated by Festival Cruises of Greece, caters to Europeans and regularly travels the Greek Islands and the Caribbean. The ship carries a crew of about 500.

02-19-01 Pollution Inquiry Of Cruise Lines Ever since the U.S. Attorney in Miami settled fraud and pollution allegations against Royal Caribbean, which resulted RCI's payment of in $27 million in fines, lawmakers and environmental officials have stepped up monitoring the industry. The U.S. Attorney's latest target of investigation is Norwegian Cruise Line, which claims that it conducted its own internal investigation and found "a pattern of violations of environmental law on several of its ships." NCL says it has "done everything to correct those problems."

02-16-01 Weekend Cruise News

***Celebrity Cruises will cancel Millennium's summer port calls at Haifa, Israel due to concerns over violence in the area. The cruise line will subsitute Limassol, Cyprus, during the ship's 12-night itineraries. Seabourn will also avoid ports in Israel, instead visiting Alexandria, Egypt. Other cruise lines with 2001 itineraries that include visits to the troubled country are expected to announce similar changes soon.

***Carnival Cruise Line has teamed up with NASCAR racing champ Rusty Wallace to host "racing themed" events for two voyages later this year. The sailings -- a four-day Fascination cruise from Miami June 18 and a week-long Sensation departure from Tampa Dec. 9 -- will feature private cocktail receptions and autograph sessions with Wallace, special on-board contests and raffles, exclusive racing memorabilia and a host of extras.

***CruiseMates announces Happy Birthday to one of the oldest grande dames of the sea still in service. American Hawaii Cruises' 798-passenger Independence celebrated its 50th year in service on Feb. 9. The Independence, built to offer three-week cruises to the Mediterranean in the 1950s and 1960s, was rehabilitated in 1980 for Hawaii service.

***The Delta Queen Steamboat Co.'s newest riverboat, the Columbia Queen, enters its second year of operation in the Pacific Northwest with new shows and shore excursions, including helicoptering over Mount St. Helens and a canoe trip accompanied by a Native American guide and storyteller. From May 30 to Dec. 28, 2001, the riverboat sails on one-week voyages, a 1,000-mile journey on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette rivers from Portland, Ore.Back to Top

02-15-01 Ocean Princess Moving to P&O Princess Cruises announced this morning in London that it will move Ocean Princess to its British sister company P&O Cruises in the fall of 2002. Ocean Princess will be renamed Oceana. Delivery will occur at the same time Princess takes delivery of another new ship, the 88,000-ton Coral Princess being built by the French yard Chantiers de l'Atlantique.

02-13-01 New 2001 RCI Itineraries In addition to introducing two new ships -- Radiance of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas -- Royal Caribbean International will offer several new itineraries in 2001. In October 2001, Royal Caribbean will operate Rhapsody of the Seas seasonally out of the Gulf of Mexico on seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries. Rhapsody departs from the Port of Galveston on nine sailings (Sunday departures October 28 through December 23, 2001); the Port of Tampa on five sailings (Saturday departures January 5 through February 16, 2002); and the Port of New Orleans on five sailings (Saturday departures February 23 through March 30, 2002).Back to Top

Also in October 2001, Nordic Empress and Monarch of the Seas will expand "short cruise" offerings in the Caribbean. The vessels will sail a series of alternating four- and five-night Western and Southern Caribbean itineraries. Nordic Empress will offer four- and five-night Southern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from San Juan. Departing from Ft. Lauderdale, Monarch of the Seas will offer four- and five-night roundtrip Western Caribbean sailings.

In December, RCI will operate additional Australia/New Zealand cruises on Legend of the Seas. The "Exotic Destinations" program features seven voyages between Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. These itineraries are the first to include an overnight stay while in port in Sydney and Auckland, allowing passengers a full day and night to explore these cities. The "Exotic Destinations" program offers five other cruise itineraries through Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East.

02-12-01 Celebrity To Sail From Miami Celebrity Cruises announces that Horizon will sail every Friday night at 10:00 p.m. on one-week cruises from Miami to the Western Caribbean, scheduled Nov. 9, 2001 through April 12, 2002. Ports of call include Key West, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and the cruise line's first visit to Progreso, Mexico. The new port on the northern Yucatan offers access to major archaeological sites, Chichen Itza and Uxmal, as well as the city of Merida. Two cruises that precede Horizon's new Western Caribbean itinerary are the Oct. 27, 2001 eight-night itinerary from New York to Aruba, with ports of call in Nassau, Bahamas; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Basseterre, St. Kitts. And, on November 4, Horizon will sail a special five-night cruise from Oranjestad, Aruba, to Miami, with ports of call in Willemstad, Curacao, and Key West. Reservations and additional information may be obtained by contacting travel agents or the cruise line's web site:

02-09-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Millennium will call delete Haifa, Israel from it's 2001 Mediterranean itinerary and stop instead in Limassol, Cyprus. Sailing from Istanbul to Barcelona, Millennium will call at Kusadasi, Limassol (replaces Haifa), Alexandria, Athens, Naples, Rome and Monte Carlo May 31, June 24, July 18, August 11 and September 4, 2001

***Maasdam embarks July 1, 2001 on a celebrity cruise featuring teen stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. There will be many rap and photo sessions with the stars who won the 1999 Nickelodeon kids choice awards as "Best TV Actresses". The seven-night cruise sails round trip from Ft. Lauderdale calling at Nassau, San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John and Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line's private island in the Bahamas.

***Star Princess, the 109,000 ton sister ship of Grand Princess, will debut with a Pacific Rim voyage February 13, 2002. The 26-day inaugural cruise from Singapore to Los Angeles will call at Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taipei, Okinawa, Osaka and Hawaii. Star Princess will then be based in Los Angeles for Mexican Riviera cruises calling at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

***Viking River Cruises has released a 48-page brochure of its European and Russian river cruises for 2001. The line has three new ships making their debut this year; Viking Europe, Viking Pride and Viking Spirit. Cruise. The all-inclusive cruise packages feature round-trip transatlantic flights, transfers between airport and ship, river cruise with outside accommodations, comprehensive sightseeing tours and the line's special cultural program, "Old World Highlights". Viking River's programs are marketed strictly to English-speaking passengers and all staff aboard speak English. To obtain a brochure call 1-877-66-VIKING or visit their web site at

***Tropicale leaves the Carnival fleet this week to join Costa Cruises in Genoa, Italy. The 36,671 ton 1,022 passenger Tropicale has sailed for Carnival since her inauguration in January 1982. She will undergo a complete refit to transform her into a Costa style ship. Back to Top

02-08-01 New Carnival Soda Card Adults who don't drink can save a bundle off the cost of soft drinks when cruising aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships. The adult "Fountain Fun Card" is similar to the program available for children. Purchase the card when you check in and it can be used at any bar, lounge or restaurant for unlimited soft drinks. The per person cost of the card ranges from $14.95 for three day cruises to $29.95 for seven day voyages. The adult and children's soft drink card is available on all 15 ships in the Carnival fleet.

02-06-01 Princess's New Flight Options Princess Cruises is announcing a new flexible air/sea plan that gives passengers more options when planning their cruise. The "FlightChoice" program gives cruisers their air options 60 days prior to their cruise, a month sooner than the industry norm. The cruise line currently offers two air options: Seabird Air, which automatically assigns a flight to correspond with the line's cruise itineraries, and Seabird Gold, a customized program that allows passengers to tailor their flights by choosing alternate dates, opting for first- or business-class seating, or selecting a preferred airline. With the new FlightChoice plan, passengers will have a third option that combines the best of both programs by allowing those who originally choose the regular Seabird program an extended period of time to switch to the customized Seabird Gold air program if they would prefer different flights than those assigned. There is a $35 per person charge for personalized air options, plus any additional costs associated with the customized flights.

02-02-01 Weekend Cruise News

*** Cunard Line is considering transpacific line voyages for QE2 once Queen Mary 2 takes over transatlantic crossings and world cruises in December 2003. The route being studied is San Francisco/Los Angeles to Sydney via Honolulu and Auckland.

*** A cruise ship pier is planned for Costa Maya, in southeastern Mexico. The pier will be built at a cost of 22 million dollars and is expected to increase cruise ship calls to the port. Celebrity, Royal Caribbean International, Princess and Regal Cruises currently call at Costa Maya, an area which is developing for tourism. A hotel has recently been built for the Mexican Explorian chain. Costa Maya's attractions include San Felipe Fortress, in Balacar, the Hondo River, in Chetumal, and the Kohunlich ruins.

*** Society Expeditions' "New" World Discoverer is scheduled to debut May 26, 2001 with a 24-night expedition from Tokyo to Anchorage. The luxury expedition-style ship carries 160 passengers. With a draft of only 14 feet and carrying a fleet of 12 zodiacs, the vessel is able to visit remote destinations. "New" World Discoverer has seven decks with two elevators and the latest communications and navigation electronics. A swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna, library, lecture hall, restaurant, lounges, beauty salon, hospital, boutique and exercise center are found on board. The vessel replaces the World Discoverer which was declared a total constructive loss following an incident in the Solomon Islands last May.

***Silversea's Silver Links Golf Program aboard Silver Cloud will feature celebrity hosts on two sailings next summer. Actor John O'Hurley will be the golf host aboard "Around Britain," a 12-day cruise from Edinburgh to Dublin, August 26 through September 7, 2001. Sports announcer Verne Lundquist will host the program aboard "Castles and Vines," a 12-day cruise from Dublin to Lisbon, September 7-19, 2001, featuring calls in Ireland, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal. Silver Links golf hosts play each round with passengers, participate in putting and chipping contests, and attend dinner and cocktail parties. As well, Lundquist will give a lecture on his coverage of the Masters and his stories about some of the greatest golfers of all time, and O'Hurley will perform a Cabaret show.

*** Visit Copper Canyon on a pre-cruise rail adventure with Cruise West. The April 3-14 cruisetour combines Copper Canyon with a 7-night Sea of Cortes cruise on board Spirit of Endeavour which calls at Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Mulege, Guaymas and Los Mochis. On hand for this cruisetour are Kodak Ambassadors, retired professional photographers who will to assist passengers with their photo opportunities.

*** Cunard Line has announced some of the celebrities who will be on board two of Queen Elizabeth 2's upcoming theme cruises. Actress Karen Allen, who starred in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and recently filmed "The Perfect Storm," will be a guest celebrity aboard the 11-day cinema cruise departing April 22, 2001 from Ft. Lauderdale to Southampton. The Chef's Palate theme cruise, from New York to Southampton, June 24, 2001, will feature popular celebrity chef, Julia Child. Passengers will be able to attend cooking demonstrations by the cookbook author and television host. A question and answer session and book signing will also take place during the voyage.

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02-02-01 Carnival Spirit Photo
Carnival Spirit is on schedule to debut April 29, 2001. The 84,000 grt vessel is a new class of ship for Carnival and at 957 feet is the longest in the Carnival fleet. Eighty percent of accommodations will be outside with 87 percent of those including private balconies. Two consecutive decks of bars, lounges and public areas are featured, the upper one with a wrap-around promenade. On board will be a two-level main restaurant, conference center, wedding chapel, Lido Deck casual eatery and an alternative restaurant which extends over the upper-most section of the atrium. The fitness facility is two-level while expansive open deck space includes several pools, one featuring a magradome. Carnival Spirit's inaugural voyage is a 16-day Panama Canal cruise from Miami to San Diego, followed by Alaska cruises from Vancouver May 23 through September 19. After repositioning to Miami via Hawaii and the Panama Canal, Carnival Spirit will sail 8-day Southern and Western itineraries for the 2001-2002 winter season. Back to Top

02-01-01 Independence - Dry-Dock March 24 American Hawaii Cruises' Independence will dry-dock at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Honolulu, Hawaii for repairs to the bow thruster. Until the repairs are made, Independence will be assisted by tug boats when entering and leaving port. The March 24 cruise has been canceled with Independence scheduled to return to service March 31, 2001. Passengers booked on the March 24 cruise who decide to change sailing dates will receive a two-category cabin upgrade and a $25. per person on board credit. Passengers canceling their vacation will receive a full refund and 50 percent off a future seven-night cruise on the S.S. Independence. A Courtesy Service Desk has been opened for passengers and travel agents affected by the cancellation. Call 800-880-4707 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Back to Top

02-01-01 Princess Expands Caribbean Itineraries The fall 2001/spring 2002 season will see five Princess ships in the Caribbean. Golden Princess sails for the first time in the region while Ocean Princess inaugurates two new 10-day itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale. They will be joined by Grand, Dawn and Sea Princesses:

  • Golden Princess sails Saturdays round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale on 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises calling at St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Princess Cays.
  • Grand Princess sails Sundays round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale on alternating 7-day Eastern and Western itineraries calling at either St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays (Eastern) or Cozumel, Grand Cayman Costa Maya and Princess Cays (Western).
  • Ocean Princess sails two new 10-day Eastern/Southern Caribbean itineraries round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale calling at either Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Princess Cay or Curacao, St. Thomas, Barbados, Dominca, Isla Margarita and Princess Cays.
  • Dawn Princess sails 7-day alternating Southern itineraries from San Juan which can be combined to form a 14-day Caribbean cruise. Departing Saturdays Dawn calls at Aruba, La Guaira (Caracas) Grenada, Dominica, and St. Thomas or Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and St. Thomas.
  • Sea Princess commences Southern Caribbean cruises in January 2002. The alternating 7-day itineraries from San Juan can be combined to form a 14-day cruise. Departing on Sundays Sea Princess calls at Trinidad, Barbados, Antigua, Tortola and St. Thomas or St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Isla Margarita and Curacao. Back to Top

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