News Archive - February 2003

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013
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2-28-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' newest ship, Seven Seas Voyager, was handed over in ceremonies yesterday at R. Mariotti shipyard in Genoa, Italy. The 49,000-ton vessel will be christened at the new port facility in Monaco on March 31. Her maiden voyage sails April 1 - a 12-night cruise from Monaco to Venice. Voyager features four dining venues. She is the world's second all balcony-suite vessel, a sister ship, but not an identical twin, of Seven Seas Mariner. Voyager will host the Club Mariner Youth Program on selected summer voyages and offer butler service in 88 suites.

*** Port Everglades, the port of Ft.Lauderdale, is celebrating its 75th anniversary today. An evening fireworks display is planned, symbolizing the 1928 blast which completed the formation of the harbor. That year, when engineers blasted the final barriers that separated Bay Mabel from the Atlantic Ocean to create Port Everglades, nearly 85 percent of the 30,000 residents turned out to watch and celebrate the dedication which was promoted as the "Wedding of the Waters." Tonight the fireworks will be held at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center at the John U. Lloyd State Park in Dania Beach. The fireworks display will be visible from viewing areas on the 17th Street Causeway. Port Everglades has more than 40 cruise ships and 19 cruise lines calling this year.

*** Princess has extended the time period for booking shore excursions online from 60 days ahead of sailing to between four and six months ahead of sailing, depending on cruising area. Passengers use their booking number to access the shore excursion booking area at the Princes web site, www.princess.com. Tickets are waiting in the cabin upon arrival at the ship. The web site contains descriptions of excursions and shore excursion brochures can be downloaded.

*** Cunard's Queen Mary 2, is still on schedule for delivery in December, 2003, despite the discovery of a technical problem in two of her four Mermaid Pods. The azipod propulsion pods are the largest ever built. They have been returned to the manufacturer, Rolls Royce, for repair.

Meanwhile Cunard Line has started an $8 million ad campaign entitled 'Can you Wait' to promote the arrival of their new flagship. The $800 million Queen Mary 2 will be the largest, longest, tallest and most expensive passenger ship ever built. She will feature sweeping staircases, expansive promenades and luxurious accommodations for 2,620 guests, nearly three-quarters of which will have private balconies. World-famous chef Daniel Boulud will be the ship's culinary consultant. Facilities include 10 dining venues, including the only shipboard restaurant by celebrity chef Todd English, the only Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea, the world's first planetarium at sea, the largest ballroom at sea, the largest library at sea, and the largest wine collection at sea. There will also be several elegant bars and showrooms, a two-story theatre, a casino, five indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, boutiques, a pet kennel, and a children's facility, complete with British nannies.

*** Carnival has introduced pre and post cruise packages aboard the original Queen Mary in conjunction with sailings from the new Long Beach cruise facility. Ecstasy and Elation will sail from the new port from April 14. The Queen Mary packages are for one, two or three nights and include hotel room, tax, an Enterprise car, and admission for a self-guided tour aboard this historic liner. The elegant Queen Mary is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and remains one of the most famous ships in history. She features 365 '30's-style staterooms with Art Deco furniture, an elaborate Champagne Sunday brunch, award winning restaurants, a wedding chapel and 16 Art Deco reception salons for private celebrations. Per person rates, double occupancy, for the packages range from $105 to $240.

*** Crystal Cruises has expanded its Computer University@Sea. Offered since 1997 aboard Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, the program now features new state-of-the-art computers, an increased number of computers, 24-hour Internet access from every lab computer and from every stateroom. Computer instruction has been expanded to a complimentary 30-course curriculum. From basic computer skills on e-mail, Word, Excel and even understanding your hand held organizer to advanced digital photo finishing and web site design, a dedicated team of instructors guide guests on a journey of discovery on every Crystal cruise. Crystal boasts more computers per guest than any other line. Passengers can bring their own laptops and have them configured for in-stateroom Internet access or rent laptops for only $5 per day. Private instruction is also available.

*** Cruise West's President, Jeff Krida and his wife, Rebecca, will escort the 14-night "Voyage to the Bering Sea" departing June 23. Four special guest experts will be on board the all-suite Spirit of Oceanus as it sails from Nome to Anchorage visiting wildlife preserves, remote ports and Eskimo and Aleut communities of western Alaska and Far Eastern Russia. The special guests include Jack Dalton, a Yu'pik Eskimo, born in Bethel, Alaska, who writes and teaches about his Eskimo heritage; Tim Hostiuck, a Ph.D historian, expert on the voyages of Vitus Bering and the Russian fur trade; his wife, Patty Hostiuck, who will share her vast knowledge of the Bering Sea's extensive flora, fauna and birds; and Wildlife expert Rupert Pilkington, a specialist in bear habitat and biology. Double-occupancy fares for all Bering Sea departures range from $7,199 to $10,499. For more information and to book, see your travel agent or visit the Cruise West web site at www.cruisewest.com

*** Ship enthusiasts will be interested to hear that the liner Independence was sold at auction in San Francisco on Wednesday. Built in 1951, the historic vessel had been laid up since the demise of American Hawaii Cruises and parent company, American Classic Voyages, in fall, 2001. It is reported that California Manufacturing Corp. of Lorton, Virginia paid $4,005,000 for the ship. No word yet as to its fate but it may become a floating hotel.

*** Costa, Radisson, Seabourn and ResidenSea have modified cancellation and insurance policies this week:

  • Costa Cruises is waiving cancellation penalties on all 2003 Spring Transatlantic and European cruises, effective immediately through April 30, 2003, allowing passengers to cancel their cruise up to the day prior for any reason and receive a full refund on their cruise-only fare. The waiver refunds the cruise price only, and does not cover airline, pre- and/or post-cruise hotel, shore excursions, special land packages or transfers cancellation penalties. Costa also offers its standard Travel Protection Plan, providing financial reimbursement and emergency assistance in the event of a medical emergency, trip delay or lost luggage. The plan is available on all Costa departures at a nominal cost of $169 per person for cruises up to seven nights, and at $199 per person on itineraries of eight nights or more.
  • Radisson Seven Seas has introduced the ‘PartnerShip Assurance Program'. Passengers who cancel any Europe cruise departing on or before August 31 will receive a ‘Goodwill Cruise Certificate' which can be applied to a future Radisson sailing. The certificate must be used prior to September 1, 2004 and cannot be applied to the Paul Gauguin in Tahiti. The Goodwill Cruise Certificate will be equal to the cancellation penalty minus an administration fee of $200 per person.
  • Seabourn Cruise Line has announced a new, supplemental option to the line's SeabournShield travel insurance that will allow passengers to cancel bookings for any reason. Guests who opt for the new SeabournShield Plus coverage can cancel within the published penalty period up to 24 hours prior to departure. Under the terms of the policy, those who cancel will receive a cruise credit equal to 90 percent of the paid fare which can be used on any Seabourn cruise departing within one year of the original departure date. SeabournShield Plus is sold at a non-refundable premium of $295 per person. It must be purchased at the time of deposit as an added option on the comprehensive SeabournShield travel policy that covers cancellation or interruption for medical reasons, emergency medical transportation, baggage damage or delay and other contingencies.
  • ResidenSea has augmented its cancellation policy and insurance program aboard The World. Through Dec. 31, 2003, customers who cancel voyages aboard The World will receive their cancellation penalties in the form of a certificate to be used for future voyages. The certificates are valid for any voyage completed prior to July 1, 2004.
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2-24-03 NCL Gets Hawaii Exclusive Norwegian Cruise Line has scored a major legislative victory that will lead to the expansion of its Hawaii program. In an effort to create thousands of job in Hawaii, state senator Daniel Inouye created a bill -- approved last Friday -- that grants NCL the sole rights to operate intra-Hawaii cruises. The cruise line will revive 'Project America' -- originally created by the now-defunct United States Lines -- as a U.S. flagged and manned operation.

The legislation permits NCL to use the Project America vessels and one existing cruise ship to serve the Hawaii Islands with inter-island cruise service. NCL recently reached an agreement with Lloyd Werft of Bremerhaven, Germany to complete work on the first ship which will be designed for Freestyle Cruisingand will begin offering regular service in Hawaii by early summer 2004. In addition, in August 2002, NCL purchased the partially completed hull of the first Project America ship plus all the materials and equipment and the work performed to date on both on both Project America vessels under construction at Ingalls Shipyard in Mississippi. The hull and the associated equipment and materials were towed to Europe under Lloyd's Werft's supervision in November last year. Back to Top

2-24-03 Carnival Glory Preview When the 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory debuts July 13, 2003, the decorative theme will be colors of the rainbow. The kaleidoscope of colors begins in The Colors lobby, where one finds the Color Bar and the main atrium, named Old Glory, featuring interpretative paintings of U.S. flags. Enhancing the ship's Kaleidoscope Boulevard promenade, as well as the atrium, are one-square-meter polished aluminum light fixtures faced with white glass.

Themed areas include The Colors Atrium, which will house some 70 of the lighting modules and the Amber Palace, named after Russia's famous Amber Room, a gift by Frederick the First of Prussia to Peter the Great in 1715. The famed Silver Temple and Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan, are the inspiration for the Platinum and Golden Dining Rooms. The Camel Club Casino features an Egyptian motif while the White Heat Dance Club is "Liberace-like," with gigantic white candles 12 to 18 inches in diameter in silver candelabra bases ranging from two to five feet tall. Cinn-A-Bar, Carnival Glory's piano bar, offers a contemporary look in stylish reddish-brown hues while Bar Blue is the ship's jazz bar. Carnival Glory's reservations-only supper club, the Emerald Room, features shiny, cobalt-blue walls and lighting fixtures and On the Green, the sports bar, celebrates golf.

Beginning July 19, 2003, the 110,000-ton Carnival Glory will operate year-round seven-day sailings from Port Canaveral, with alternating eastern and western Caribbean voyages departing every Saturday. Eastern Caribbean cruises will call at Nassau, St. Thomas/St. John, and St. Maarten, while western Caribbean voyages will include Key West, Fla.; Belize City, Belize; and Cozumel and Progreso/Merida, Mexico. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501 or your travel agent. Back to Top

2-21-03 Weekend Cruise News *** The fourth Grand-class ship, Caribbean Princess will enter service April 17, 2004. Originally announced as Crown Princess the name change is fitting as the vessel will sail year-round from Ft. Lauderdale on alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. At 116,000-tons, Caribbean Princess is 7,000 tons larger than the other Grand-class ships Grand, Golden and Star Princess. Caribbean Princess will boast nearly 900 cabins with balconies, the largest number of any ship afloat. A unique feature of the new vessel will be 'Dive-In-Movies' shown under the stars on a giant, Times Square-style screen by the swimming pool. Other features of the ship will be a new Caribbean-themed alternative restaurant, Princess' trademark Italian trattoria, Lotus Spa, four pools, three separate show lounges, an Internet cafe and a wedding chapel where couples can be married at sea by the captain. Bookings for Caribbean Princess open March 3, 2003, with rates starting at $699. Her Western itineraries call at Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios (or Montego Bay), Cozumel and Princess Cays, the line's private island in the Bahamas. Ports for the alternating Eastern Caribbean itinerary are St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays.

Golden Princess will also sail the Caribbean next summer. Beginning May 2, 2004 Golden Princess will offer a seven-day Southern Classic Caribbean itinerary round-trip from San Juan with calls at Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, alternating with a Southern Caribbean Explorer itinerary calling at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Caracas and Aruba.

*** Norwegian Cruise Line is a step closer to exclusively operating inter-island Hawaii cruises. The Omnibus Appropriations Bill has passed Congress and awaits White House approval. The Project America provision of the bill will allow NCL to operate two American and one foreign-flagged vessel around the Hawaiian Islands without calling at a foreign port. (Currently Norwegian Star and Norwegian Wind call at Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati during an Hawaiian cruise, round-trip from Honolulu.) NCL recently took over construction of the two Project America ships, started by now defunct American Classic Voyages, and is having them built in Germany. The two ships, as yet unnamed, will sail under the U.S. Flag, with American crews and will be subject to all U.S. laws, including taxation and environmental regulations. Congress added a restriction that the vessels must operate within Hawaii only. The first Project America vessel is scheduled to debut in the spring of 2004.

*** Holland America has canceled Statendam's calls at the Hawaiian island of Molokai until a community meeting can be held to discuss issues raised by cruise ship visits. Statendam is scheduled to call at Molokai on her 16-night cruises round-trip from San Diego in 2003. Statendam would have been the first cruise ship to call at the island last December however poor weather conditions made tendering impossible during that cruise. The January call was also canceled when Statendam diverted course to answer a distress call from the yacht Enchantment. In that incident, Statendam rescued the three-man crew and took them to Honolulu.

*** The 'luxurious touches' added to Celebrity's Millennium last fall will be available fleetwide by July 2003. These include, expanded options and hours in Celebrity's AquaSpa by Elemis, a broader range of enrichment lectures, increased choices in cuisine including a Sushi Cafe, sunset happy hours with live music and refreshments, increased options in dining hours with 24-hour food service, sunset yoga and Pilates classes, frosty towels and sorbet service poolside, and increased opportunities for guests to interact with the ship's officers. Celebrity began a transformation in 2002 with a new logo, the tagline "a true departure" and the addition of several adults-only sailings.

*** Carnival's new terminal beside the legendary Queen Mary in Long Beach is nearing completion. The first sailing from the new facility is scheduled for April 14. From that date Ecstasy and Elation will sail from Long Beach instead of San Pedro. Carnival Pride will begin sailing from Long Beach year-round every Sunday from September 21, 2003, to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. The new facility includes a single cruise berth capable of handling vessels with a draft of up to 28 feet and a length of up to 1000 feet, parking garage able to accommodate approximately 1,250 vehicles, and an embarkation/debarkation facility to be constructed within a section of the existing Geodesic Dome, which formerly housed the Spruce Goose museum and attraction.

Carnival has received the go-ahead to construct a new cruise port near Playa del Carmen in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Named Puerto Cancun, the $35 million facility will become a home port for cruise ships sailing to the western Caribbean and along the eastern shore of Central America to Panama and beyond. Final approval has been granted for the project, following the completion of environmental and economic impact studies. The project is a joint venture between Carnival Corporation and Xcaret, a privately owned ecological theme park.

*** Chef Andre Garrett, 29, winner of the 2002 Roux Scholarship, will work alongside executive chefs aboard Celebrity's Mercury February 21-28, 2003. Garrett's work experience with Celebrity Cruises is part of his award which included three months of work with Guy Savoy, the new 3-star Michelin restaurant in Paris; a visit to Italy's Caffe Musetti to view coffee roasting processes, and a trip to Ay to visit the home of Champagne Gosset. The Roux Scholarship was founded in 1983 by Master Chef Michel Roux and his brother Albert. Michel is the owner of the multiple award-winning Waterside Inn in Bray-on-Thames near London, and has been culinary consultant for Celebrity Cruises since its founding in 1989.

*** Oceania Cruises is launching 'Sea of Assurance', an optional new insurance upgrade allowing guests to postpone their cruise for absolutely any reason up until 24 hours prior to departure, and receive a 100 percent cruise credit valid for any sailing within 36 months. 'Sea of Assurance' is available on all cruises aboard Regatta and Insignia, departing between July 5 and October 31, 2003. The new program is available as an upgrade to the line's standard Travel Protection Program which covers trip cancellation and interruption for medical reasons and a range of other emergency assistance services. The cost to upgrade to the Sea of Assurance program from Oceania Cruises' standard Travel Protection Program is an additional $149 per guest. The future cruise credit may be applied towards a new sailing on a space available basis, 90 days prior to departure.

*** Celebrity is running the "Carats & Cruise Sweepstakes" now through April 15, 2003. The winner will receive a diamond studded Celebrity T-shirt worth more than $50,000, suite accommodations on a cruise for two on any Celebrity ship and itinerary, round-trip first-class air and a $2,500 on board credit. A seven-night cruise for two to the Caribbean from Miami in an ocean-view stateroom is being given away each week during the sweepstakes. In addition, receive a Celebrity T-shirt by booking a cruise between now and May 1, 2003, and sailing by December 31, 2003. To enter the sweepstakes, fill out the form at the Celebrity Cruises' web site at www.celebritycruises.com.

*** Here's a roundup of this week's specials announced by various cruise lines. For more details, see your travel agent:

  • Princess Cruises is offering a 25 percent discount in addition to Love Boat Saver early booking fares for Alaska cruisetours this July, August and September. Prices for 11-day cruisetours begin at just $1,499 for a full land and sea vacation to the heart of "The Great Land."
  • Seabourn Cruise Line is offering free round-trip business class airfare from five Eastern North America gateways to 26 different two-week European cruises aboard the Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. Value-priced round-trip business class airfares from another thirteen gateways in the Central and Western regions start from just $299 per person.
  • Crystal Cruises has announced that children 12 and under will sail free to Alaska aboard Crystal Harmony this summer, when sharing the same stateroom with two adults. The ship offers the comprehensive and educational Junior Activities Program and a newly refurbished kids center. Crystal's Alaska season commences May 23 with a 10-day Vancouver-San Francisco sailing. The remaining eight voyages, all 12-day round-trip sailings from San Francisco, depart June 2 & 14, July 8 & 20, August 1, 13 & 25 and September 6.
  • Radisson has a free, economy air special on seven-night Paul Gauguin cruises from Tahiti this April and May. An additional $1,000 per person bonus savings is available on the April 5, 12, and 19 voyages. Per person prices for the three April cruises start at $2,595 per person, with May 17, 24, and 31 voyages from $3,595, including free round-trip economy airfare from 84 North American gateway cities.
  • Windstar Cruises is offering an all-inclusive package on the 14-day Atlantic crossings of Wind Surf in 2003. The package includes round-trip airfare from select cities, one night hotel stay in Lisbon, all necessary transfers, unlimited soft drinks and bottled water, unlimited wine with lunch and dinner, $200 WindSpa credit, unlimited Internet access and all enrichment lectures. The all-inclusive transatlantic packages start at $2,600 for the April 20, 2003 sailing from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to Lisbon, Portugal and $2,400 for the November 16, 2003 cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Peter Deilmann is holding pricing at 2001 levels for Rhone River cruises aboard the Cezanne and Princesse de Provence. The vessels sail seven-night cruises round-trip from Lyon or between Lyon and Avignon visiting Burgundy and Beaujolais wine regions and the Provencal towns of Avignon and Arles with departures every Saturday from March 22 to November 1, 2003. Rates for Princesse de Provence cruises range from $1,375 to $2,200 and for the Cezanne from $1,450 to $2,400 per person, double occupancy, for an outside twin cabin.
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2-14-03 Weekend Cruise News *** The World of ResidenSea will sail an additional 14-night Alaska cruise in 2003. The new departure sails round-trip from Vancouver, July 31, 2003 calling at Misty Fjords, Ketchikan, Metlakatla, Petersburg, Wrangell, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Prince Rupert, and Victoria. You don't have to own one of the suites on board to experience the ship, which is the world's first resort community at sea. Studio residences are available for the Alaska cruise starting at $500 per night, double occupancy, including food, beverages, port charges and gratuities. For more details visit www.residensea.com

*** Holland America Line has formed a new Department of Environmental Compliance. Captain Rich Softye, a 23-year veteran of the United States Coast Guard, will head up the department as Vice President, Compliance Programs, reporting directly to Chairman and CEO A. Kirk Lanterman. Formation of the Department is the next step in the line's expansion of its environmental program. HAL implemented MARPOL standards for garbage processing and disposal three years before they became law. Since 2001, all HAL ships operating in Alaska have had an additional second engineer on board to provide oversight on environmental matters, including bilge waste management, emissions, garbage handling, and wastewater processing.

*** Crown Odyssey will emerge from drydock later this month sporting a white hull in preparation for her move to Norwegian Cruise Line in September. She will retain her Orient Lines' funnel design and continue to operate under Orient Lines' standards until the switch over. During the refit in Singapore, on board changes designed for NCL's 'freestyle cruising' concept will include the addition of three restaurants - Le Bistro, an Italian pasta cafe and a covered al fresco dining cafe. Also planned are the addition of a children's activity area, state-of-the-art fitness center and a number of cabins as well as an expansion of the spa and casino. For NCL, Crown Odyssey will sail Canada/New England cruises from Baltimore next fall before heading to South America.

*** Crystal Cruises has launched "Cruise Protection Program-PLUS," an optional new insurance upgrade allowing travelers to cancel their cruise for any reason up to three days before departure, and receive a 90% cruise credit of the cancellation fee valid for any sailing within 12 months. Cruise Protection Program-PLUS is available on all cruises aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony, and the new Crystal Serenity, departing between May 15 and December 31, 2003. The new program is available as an upgrade to the line's standard Cruise Protection Program which covers trip cancellation and interruption for medical reasons and a range of other emergency assistance services. The cost to upgrade to the Cruise Protection Program-PLUS from Crystal's standard insurance plan for cruise fares under $8,000 per person is an additional $200 per person, or 3% of the cruise fare for voyages over $8,000 per person. Crystal Cruises launched a similar program in late 2001 that expired at the end of 2002.

*** Book a summer European cruise with Royal Olympia, and you can cancel without penalty up to 24 hours prior to sailing. The line's new "no-penalty" cancellation policy applies to all of Royal Olympia's itineraries in the Aegean, Baltic, Norwegian Fjords, Mediterranean and Greek Isles. Passengers who book and pay for a 2003 cruise, departing March through November, may cancel their reservation up to 24 hours prior to sailing, and receive a full credit applied to a future Royal Olympia cruise taken within one year's time. There is no additional charge for the option.

*** Uniworld has two new ships entering service for its 2003 Europe cruises. The 138-passenger River Countess and River Duchess debut in March and June respectively. Aboard River Countess, join Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia and Yugoslavia, June 22 to 29, 2003 as they sail from Budapest to Constanta, through Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. A portion of the cruise price will be donated in the passengers name to Lifeline Humanitarian Organization (www.lifelineaid.org/indexeng.htm) to aid the victims of the past conflict in the former Yugoslavia. The seven-night cruise includes complimentary wine and beverages, six guided shore excursions, lectures on the history, political and economic situation in the region and a one night post cruise extension in Bucharest at either the Intercontinental or Hilton with buffet breakfast, city tour and dinner with a folkloric show. Passengers will also attend a reception and dinner at the Royal Palace in Belgrade hosted by Their Royal Highnesses. Per person cruise fares start at $6,000. For more details see your travel agent or visit www.uniworld.com

*** Small ship operator, Cruise West has introduced a price guarantee on 2003 Alaska sailings. All Cruise West passengers are guaranteed the lowest price of the season. If Cruise West offers lower prices for a 2003 Alaska cruise at any point before, during or after a passenger sails, passengers who paid more for the same cruise are entitled to a refund of the difference, even if they have already taken the cruise and returned home. The refund covers the price differential for the same itinerary, cabin category and departure date the passenger booked. This guarantee applies to both cruise and cruise/tour package fares.

*** Delta Queen Steamboat Company has special Civil War cruises planned for the Mississippi Queen. Each of the five cruises will be accompanied by a Civil War historian. The cruise packages include a seven or eight-night cruise, free round-trip airfare, one night hotel in Chattanooga with breakfast and dinner plus tickets to Lookout Mountain Park and museum. Mark Twain impersonators, and performances by Civil War balladeer Bobby Horton will take place on board. There will be a guided tour of Chickamauga with cocktail party, dinner with a celebrity author, and shore excursions to Shiloh and Fort Donelson. Mississippi Queen's eight-night Civil War cruise departs April 26, 2003 sailing from Chattanooga to Cincinnati. The seven-night cruises sail May 4, Cincinnati to Chattanooga; June 12, Chattanooga to Memphis; August 15, Louisville to Chattanooga; October 26, Nashville to Chattanooga. Per person fares start at $1,725. For Reservations call your travel agent. For more information call 1-800-308-1491 and mention code EMCW03.

*** Following the success of cruises from Hong Kong to Shanghai in 2002, Star Cruises' is adding four new cruises for SuperStar Leo in 2003. The four departures to Shanghai are scheduled on April 26, May 4, September 26 and October 4, 2003. They include a two-night stay in Shanghai and a call at either Fuzhou, Ningbo or Xiamen. SuperStar Leo will be makeing her maiden calls at Fuzhou and Ningbo on these sailings. Back to Top

2-13-03 Princess Cancels Europe Cruises Princess Cruises has announced that 2003 Mediterranean itineraries of Grand Princess has been canceled due to slack bookings. The ship will instead remain on its current seven-day Caribbean cruise schedule. Grand Princess had been scheduled for 11 12-day Mediterranean cruises, plus two trans-Atlantic crossings, for the period of May 4 to October 5. She will now offer 22 seven-day Caribbean cruises during this time. Her sister ship, Golden Princess, will continue with her summer Mediterranean program, sailing an identical itinerary to the one planned for Grand Princess.

The affected Grand Princess cruises include the May 4 and September 23 trans-Atlantic crossings, and 11 Mediterranean cruises departing May 14 through September 11.

Passengers currently booked on Grand Princess' Mediterranean cruises will be automatically rebooked onto the equivalent sailing on sister ship Golden Princess. Princess' European summer program will include Royal Princess with a variety of 12-day Western Europe sailings roundtrip from London, and Regal Princess with 10-day sailings throughout the Northern European region, roundtrip from Copenhagen. Back to Top

2-10-03 Carnival/Princess Merger Final The European Commission has given its final approval for the merger between P&O Princess and Carnival Cruise Lines after examining the deal for a second time. The $5.7 billion merger will create the world's largest cruise line company of 65 ships including all the sister companies in the World's Leading Cruise Lines fleet. Princess is expected to be included by late March or early April. Back to Top

2-7-03 Weekend Cruise News Oceania Cruises' Regatta *** The new line, Oceania Cruises, reports that booking levels exceeded expectations during its first week of operations. Bookings for the inaugural season opened on January 27 and were more than triple the anticipated volume the first week. The wave of bookings continued into the second week at 40 percent ahead of projections. Several sailings are already more than 50 percent sold with a large number filled to more than 1/3 capacity. Regatta enters service July 5, 2003 sailing in Western Europe, the Baltic and Mediterranean. Sister ship Insignia follows on October 4, 2003 sailing in the Mediterranean.

*** Norwegian Star has been sailing at a slower speed this week due to an electrical problem with one of two transformers in the Azipod propulsion system. The ship did not call at Fanning Island, Kiribati, this week. Instead, NCL added a call at Kona, Hawaii and extended the stay in Hilo, Hawaii. As well, two days were spent in Lahaina, Maui in place of a one-day call at Kahului, Maui. Technical experts from the transformer's manufacturer, ABB, are investigating the problem.

*** Royal Olympic Cruises is changing its name to Royal Olympia Cruises. Two reasons were given for the name change: the fact that "Olympia" reflects the great seafaring tradition of giving ships female names and it shows the company's pride in its national heritage, the region of Olympia being one of the most important landmarks of ancient Greece. The change is also part of an agreement with the International Olympic Committee which owns the rights to the name Olympic. The name change will avoid any confusion that the cruise line is connected with the Olympic games. The new name has been phased in over a two-year period. The ship names changed first to Olympia Voyager, Olympia Explorer and Olympia Countess. The company's logo design and logotype remain unaltered, as does the tagline, "The intelligent way to see the world." The web site has already been revised, and is now www.royalolympiacruises.com. Advertising and shipboard materials will be changed over as soon as possible.

*** The January 24 Hawaii cruise of Sun Princess was cut short by five days, due to gastrointestinal illness on board. Passengers disembarked in Honolulu last Tuesday and were flown back to Los Angeles. Princess is giving a refund for the canceled days plus a credit toward a future cruise. During the cruise, the medical center treated 265 passengers for the norwalk-like illness. The number is 13 percent of the total 2,029 passengers on board. In Honolulu, 30 passengers remained ill. Sun Princess is being sanitized during the crossing from Honolulu back to Los Angeles. Her next cruise departs February 9.

*** Celebrity's Horizon will sail to the Eastern Caribbean round-trip from Tampa next fall and winter, a port normally associated with Western Caribbean cruises. The 11-night Eastern itinerary alternates with 10-night Panama Canal sailings from November 7, 2003 through April 2, 2004. Ports of call are Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Tortola and Key West. The Panama Canal route visits Grand Cayman; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Colon, Panama; and Roatan, Honduras.

*** The new Crystal Serenity will feature the cuisine of Master Chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa in both the Sushi Bar and the Silk Road Restaurant. Each specialty restaurant will feature Nobu's cuisine, a blend of classically styled Japanese foods with Peruvian and European influences. The Sushi Bar will feature an assortment of Nobu's sushi and sashimi while Silk Road Restaurant will boast more than two dozen of Nobu's signature appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts. Nobu will also unveil his own line of china in both restaurants during Crystal Serenity's inaugural season. The collection will not be available in his land-based restaurants until later this year. Crystal Serentity debuts this July 7 in Europe.

*** Windstar Cruises is offering free round-trip air from 78 cities to Tahiti for sailings aboard Wind Star in Tahiti. The special applies to departures from February through mid-May. Ports of call on the seven-day cruise include the Society Islands of Raiatea, Huahine, Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete with overnight stays in all ports except Huahine. Highlights are the gala deck barbecue aboard Wind Star in Moorea and afternoon beach barbecue on Motu Tapu off Bora Bora.

Windstar has also arranged an optional "Romance Under Sail" shore excursion which includes one overnight stay at either the Bora Bora Beach Resort, Bora Bora Lagoon Resort or Bora Bora Beachcomber Intercontinental in a premium over-water bungalow with a private gourmet dinner for two under the stars. A champagne breakfast delivered by outrigger canoe tops off this romantic experience, which also includes all transfers.

*** Star Clippers will send its sailing ships to the Mediterranean this summer. Star Clipper will homeport in Cannes and Royal Clipper sails two new itineraries from Rome. Star Flyer sails in the Greek Islands. Round-trip air starts at $495 with free air when you book back-to-back seven night cruises. A $400 per person cruise discount is also available. See your travel agent for more details or visit the web site at www.starclippers.com.

*** Visit the flower fields in Holland and Belgium this spring during a cruise aboard Peter Deilmann's Katharina. Five cruises this spring feature the Dutch and Belgian Canals with optional excursions to the flower fields in Haarlem and Leiden and the flower exhibition at Keukenhof in Lisse. The seven-night sailings are round-trip from Amsterdam with an overnight in the Dutch capital on board the ship at the end of the cruise. Sailing dates are April 5, 12, 19 and 26 and May 3. Ports of call include Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Middleberg and Maastricht plus Ghent and Antwerp in Belgium. Other optional excursions include Delft, the windmills in Kinderdijk and Delta Works and city tours to Bruges and Brussels in Belgium. Rates for cruises on the Dutch and Belgian canals start at $1,495 per person double for an outside cabin. For details, contact a travel agent or visit www.deilmann-cruises.com.

*** Seabourn has developed a new culinary branch of the Dress Circle enrichment program called the 'Chefs' Circle'. Guest chefs will give cooking demonstrations on board and escort "Shopping with the Chef" excursions to local markets in port. Signature dishes from their repertoires will be featured on a Restaurant dinner menu one night during their cruises. Another signature dish will be featured one night in the casual Veranda Cafe indoor/outdoor alternative dining venue on board. The chefs will also meet passengers as part of the sociable, club-like atmosphere aboard the Seabourn Yachts. Chefs scheduled to sail with Seabourn this year are:

  • Michel Richard, owner and executive chef of Citronelle, Washington, DC. (May 18, 2003, Seabourn Legend, Nice to Barcelona).
  • Andrew Carmellini, chef de cuisine Cafe Boulud, New York, NY. (July 13, 2003, Seabourn Legend, Nice to Barcelona).
  • Rick Moonen, rm, New York (August 10, 2003, Seabourn Legend, Nice to Barcelona).
  • David Burke, Park Avenue Cafe, New York. (August 24, 2003, Seabourn Spirit, Venice to Rome).
  • Jean Alberti, Kokkari Estiatorio, San Francisco (September 7, 2003, Seabourn Spirit, Athens to Istanbul).
  • David Pasternack, Esca, New York. (September 21, 2003, Seabourn Spirit, Venice to Rome).
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2-6-03 Island Princess Delay Princess Cruises announces that the delivery of Island Princess has been postponed necessitating the cancellation of the vessel's first scheduled voyages. The inaugural cruise is now set for July 12, 2003, a Gulf of Alaska sailing between Vancouver and Seward. The canceled departures include the May 13 Fort Lauderdale- to Los Angeles transit and six seven-day Alaska voyages.

Passengers booked to sail on the affected cruises will be offered a full refund, as well as credit toward alternate cruises in 2003 or 2004. The 88,000-ton Island Princess is the sister to Princess' newest vessel, Coral Princess, the largest of the line's ships to be able to transit the Panama Canal. The 1,970 - passenger Island Princess will debut with a series of seven-day Gulf of Alaska voyages between Vancouver and Seward, moving to the Panama Canal in the fall. Back to Top

2-5-03 Carnival Reunion Cruises Carnival Cruise Lines is expanding its "Fun Ship Reunion Cruises" program by adding additional departures on its smoke-free ship, the Paradise, and its newest vessel, Carnival Conquest. The two new "Reunion Cruises" include a seven-day eastern Caribbean voyage from Miami aboard the 2,052-passenger smoke-free Paradise Sept. 28, 2003, and a seven-day western Caribbean cruise from New Orleans aboard the new 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest Oct. 19, 2003. With fares starting at $479 per person, double occupancy, extra perks include free logo items, a booklet with $300 in coupons for discounts, including free beach towels, tote bags and photos, complimentary wine with dinner, casino tokens, and reduced-rate spa treatments and shore excursions.

Carnival is still accepting reservations on the previously announced seven-day Caribbean "Reunion Cruise" aboard Carnival Triumph departing Miami May 10, 2003, with prices beginning at $599 per person. An eight-day southern Caribbean "Reunion Cruise" from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., aboard Carnival Legend will depart Dec. 7, 2003. To book a "Fun Ship Reunion Cruise," contact your travel agent. Back to Top

2-4-03 Celebrity Cancels Additional Cruise Celebrity Cruises announced this morning that an additional (third) cruise of Celebrity Infinity will be canceled (the cruise of February 23, 2003). Passengers booked on the canceled sailings will receive a full refund and a voucher for a 50-percent discount on a future Celebrity cruise of 12 nights or less, departing on or before April 1, 2004, excluding Christmas and New Year's sailings. Celebrity has established a special Help Desk to assist passengers and travel agents with rebooking, air transportation and other issues. That toll-free number is 888-701-7192. Back to Top

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