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News Archive - February 2006

Weekend News Feb. 24, 2005
*** Celebrity Chef Jacques Pepin will host a culinary cruise aboard Oceania Cruises' Regatta during the July 18, 2006 voyage from London to Stockholm. During the 14-day sailing Pepin will have culinary demonstrations, host special shore excursions, answer questions and sign books. Per person, double occupancy rates begin at $3,799 including free airfare and two-for-one fares. For reservations, see your travel agent. Additional information may be obtained by visiting

*** Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship, the 93,500-ton Pride of Hawai'i was floated out from dry dock in the German ship yard of Meyer Werft and is now ready to begin work on the ship's interiors. Sister ship to Norwegian Jewel, she will enter service in April, 2006 sailing on year-round one-week Hawaii cruises from Honolulu. Purpose built for NCL's signature Freestyle Cruising, Pride of Hawai`i features a vast array of accommodations including two luxurious Garden Villas with their own private gardens and sun decks, 10 Courtyard Villas sharing a private courtyard, pool and sundeck on deck 14, and a spectacular top-of-the-ship Owner's Suite. The ship features multiple lively public rooms, 10 restaurants and impressive onboard amenities.

*** Delta Queen Steamboat Company has announced themed 2006 six- and seven-night riverboat cruises which focus on the Civil War. Both Delta Queen and Mississippi queen will host renowed Civil War scholars and authors for on-board lectures while. The music of the Civil War will be performed at night and there will be performances of Lincoln impersonator James Getty. Civil War Vacations will travel itineraries along the Cumberland, Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi rivers, with 6- and 7-night cruises on the Delta Queen: May 11-18, Nashville to Chattanooga; May 18-24, Chattanooga to Memphis; May 24-30, Memphis to Nashville; July 17-24, Nashville to Chattanooga and August 7-13, Nashville to Cincinnati. Two cruises aboard the Mississippi Queen: May 20-27, Memphis to Nashville, and May 27-June 3, Nashville to Memphis. Fares for a 6-night cruise begin at $1,880 and at $2,140 for a 7-night cruise; all fares are per person, double occupancy. For reservations, contact your travel agent. Additional information may be found at

*** To meet the growing demand of increased China tourism, Viking River Cruises will add a third vessel to its Yangtze River fleet. The new Century Sun will feature English-speaking guides and Swiss hotel management. Like her sister ship, Viking Century Sun features an observation lounge, restaurant, sauna, sun deck, bar, massage room and beauty salon, plus Internet access and two elevators enabling easy access to the ship's five decks. The ship measures 415 ft. in length and 56 ft. in width with a capacity of 300 passengers. All cabins are equipped with a private balcony, telephone, hairdryer, air conditioning, and private bathroom with shower. For 2006, Viking River Cruises offers 4 all-inclusive itineraries in China ranging from nine to 15 nights; each highlights China's top "must-see" landmarks such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Terra Cotta Warriors, and Shanghai's Bund plus the legendary Three Gorges and Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze. All itineraries include 5-star hotel stays, with 3 nights in Beijing, 1 night in Xian, and 2 nights in Shanghai; plus a Yangtze cruise on either the new Viking Century Sun or Viking Century Sky (built 2005) for 3, 4, 7, or 9 nights, depending on selected itinerary. Each program includes: all shore excursions and tours, meals, hotel stays in 5-star properties, intra-Asia flights, and a Viking River Cruises English-speaking escort from airport arrival to departure. An optional 4-night Hong Kong and Guilin extension can be added to any itinerary. Reservations may be obtained from travel agents. For additional information visit

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Weekend Cruise News 2-17-06

** Possible Alaska Surcharge
The State of Alaska has been moving steadily towards obtaining greater revenue from cruise ships that routinely visit the state from May to September each year. Now, it's up to Alaska voters who will decide whether to impose a $50 per-person head tax on cruise ship passengers this August during the primary election ballot.

** Carnival Fitness Cruise
Carnival Cruise Lines has announced a "Mind/Body Cruise" to take place aboard Carnival Glory Dec. 2-9, 2006. Offered in conjunction with Shape and Men's Fitness magazines, a special program of classes focus on tai chi/qigong, meditation, yoga, and pilates, as well as nutritional seminars on the effect of different foods on mood and energy levels, and the impact of vitamins, minerals and supplements on the body. Per person, double occupancy fares start at $679 and include all fitness activities. Contact your travel agent for reservations.

** Europe Opera River Cruises
Opera lovers can cruise from Potsdam, just outside of Berlin, to Prague and attend opera performances in three cities � Berlin, Dresden and Prague � on a 10-night cruise tour on the Frederic Chopin of the Peter Deilmann river fleet with departure from San Francisco May 17. The 11-day program features a seven-night cruise from Potsdam to Prague, three extra nights in Berlin and Prague and a choice of six optional opera performances. Participants from other U.S. cities join the cruise tour in Berlin, May 18. Rates for the fully escorted 10-night opera lovers� cruise tour are $2,841 and $3,210 (lower and upper decks) per person, double occupancy. For complete details and reservations, contact Tom Taffel at 415-566-7673 or e-mail TomTaffel

** Costa's New Caribbean Itineraries
Costa Cruises has announced its new 2006-07 Caribbean itineraries. New ports include Belize City, Grand Turk and Roatan, Honduras. In addition Costa will add direct sailings from Ft. Lauderdale to Bermuda. The Costa Magica and Costa Mediterranea will sail Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

** Cunard Pampers Your Pet
If you're sailing between New York and Southampton, your pet can join the voyage aboard Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2. The cruise line has announced enhancements to its "Pets on Deck" program, including adding a range of pet-friendly services and amenities such as fresh-baked biscuits at turn-down; a choice of beds and blankets; and even a QM2-logoed coat. As part of the enhanced program, traveling dogs and cats also receive a complimentary gift pack featuring a QM2-logoed coat, Frisbee, name tag, food dish and scoop; a complimentary portrait with pet owners; a crossing certificate and personalized cruise card. Other pet perks include extra comfortable pet beds in two sizes; healthy gourmet cookies for dogs and cats baked fresh daily and offered at bedtime;fleece blankets -assortment of dog and cat toys; cat posts and scratchers; selection of premium pet foods from top brands.
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Celebrity Orders New Ship
Celebrity Cruises has ordered a second ship in the new 118,000-ton "Solstice class" series of vessels. The first, Celebrity Solstice, will enter service in Fall, 2008 to be followed by Celebrity Equinox the following summer. The sister ships will be 2,850-guest vessels measuring 1,033 feet in length and 121 feet in width. Their added size will allow Celebrity to offer larger standard staterooms, a higher percentage of balconies and a broader range of services and amenities.
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QM 2 Cancelled Sailings
Cunard Line will cancel and modify several Queen Mary 2 (QM 2) voyages in the spring and fall to repair the ship's damaged propulsion pod. Following the completion of her April 29 Transatlantic crossing, QM 2 will be taken out of service for six days; the May 5 Mediterranean sailing, originally 12 days, will become a six-day Northern Europe cruise departing May. 11. The second phase of the repair will take place in November when the ship goes into dry dock. The ship will be out of service for seven days which will result in the Nov. 11 crossing to be delayed until Nov. 18 plus the canceling of the Nov. 18 Caribbean cruise. QM 2 resumes her normal schedules with the Nov. 25 Western Caribbean voyage.
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Weekend Cruise News 2-10-06
***Royal Caribbean has announced fitness amenities that will be found onboard Freedom of the Seas when she debuts in May, 2006. In addition to surfing in the FlowRider simulator, the ship will be outfitted with a full-size Everlast boxing ring. With Freedom's "Fight Klub," guests can test their chops with a variety of boxing-related activities, including one-on-one training sessions with an experienced instructor inside a full-size 20' by 20' Everlast boxing ring. Multiple Everlast speed bags, jump ropes, heavy bags and padded punching mitts are available. Additionally, groups of three people can partake in sparring sessions with freestanding body master bags, all supervised by an on-site boxing coach. Die-hard Rocky wannabes can train in three one-hour sessions with a boxing coach - the workout includes a warm up, bag work, mirror boxing, footwork and pad work. In the Life Fitness Center, passengers will find the first-ever dedicated Pilates reformer group exercise program found on a cruise ship. One-on-one training with a Pilates professional also is available and includes a complimentary postural analysis. Also offered throughout the seven-day sailing are introductory "pathway to Yoga" classes, including Friday's class on the beach of Labadee, Hispaniola, Royal Caribbean's private island. Teens will find a Generation Y Spa just for them while adults can have their teeth whitened or get acupuncture in addition to a range of other services.

*** Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it's newest ship Norwegian Pearl will have the first onboard bowling alley. Scheduled to enter service in 2007, the ship will feature a 24-hour per day sports bar and nightclub complex called Bliss, where the full-size, four lane, ten-pin bowling alley will be located. At night the action will heat up with disco.

*** Carnival Cruise Lines has announced its second "Rusty Wallace Cruise" scheduled aboard the Carnival Pride Dec. 3-10, 2006. The special theme cruise will feature a number of invitation-only events, including private cocktail receptions the first and last night of the voyage with the racing star, as well as exclusive question-and-answer and photo sessions. A variety of prizes and memorabilia, including complimentary race passes and authentic racing shirts autographed by Wallace, will also be available. Several racing-themed contests and giveaways will be held throughout the voyage, as well. Participants must reference fare code CPRW when making a reservation through travel agents to be eligible for the invitation-only events taking place on this voyage.

*** The Mexico Tourism Board has announced the opening of a new cruise ship port in Chiapas, located in the southern part of the country. The port is 225 nautical miles south of Huatulco and 110 miles north of Guatemala's Puerto Quetzal in the southern state of Chiapas. Offering easy access to the nearby Panama Canal, Puerto Chiapas has been opened as a port for trans-canal cruises. Cruise passengers will be able to visit Palenque, one of the Mayan world's most important archaeological sites. The first ship to call in Chiapas will be ResidentSea on Feb. 9, 2006.

*** Holland America has added new South America and Africa itineraries including three 15 to 66-day sailings of the Prinsendam, Rotterdam and Veendam scheduled January to April and September through December in 2006 and 2007. Four Rotterdam Southern transatlantic crossings between Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon in spring and fall of both years will include port stops in the Canary, Cave Verde islands, Salvador and Recife, Brazil. On Sept. 24, 2006, Veendam sails on a month-long voyage from Vancouver to Tampa; after transiting the Panama Canal, the ship will spend a week cruising the Amazon River. On Oct. 17, 2006, Prinsendam sails from Lisbon to Ft. Lauderdale with stops in Senegal, Dakar, Morocco, the Ivory Coast, Namibia, Ascention Island and ports in Brazil. Experts from the Royal Geographic Society will join the cruises to give insights on ancient cultures, migrating penguins, forests, glaciers and other regional phenomena.

*** MSC Cruises has announced the introduction of Mediterranean Shipping Cruises' Musica to the Caribbean. The 2,550-passenger vessel is the newest addition to the fleet and boasts a three-deck waterfall in the central foyer; two restaurants, a sushi bar, a la cart restaurant and pizza/grill. Musica arrives in Fort Lauderdale Nov. 24, 2006. The following day the ship begins sailing weekly 7-night roundtrip cruises to San Juan, St. Maarten, La Romana and Cayo Levantado, through March 10.
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Royal Caribbean Orders Largest Cruise Ship Ever Built
Royal Caribbean, who broke the record for largest cruise ship ever with the Voyager class-ships in 1999, has "done it again" by giving the Akers Shipyard in Finland the order to build a new vessel which will increase the size of the the "world's largest cruise-ship" by a whopping 43%.

The new ship - as yet unnamed but the first in a new class called "Genesis Project" will be a staggering 220,000 gross tons, will accomodate 5400 passengers, and will be 1180 feet long, 154 feet wide and 213 feet above the water line. The scheduled year of delivery is 2009 and the contracted cost of 900 Euros will, for the first time, cross the one billion dollar mark; $1,080,000,000 at todays rate. However, ships are paid for at time of delivery and in 2009 the Dollar/Euro conversion rates could be substantially different.

Back in 1996, Carnival had just christened the first cruiser to break the 100,000 ton limit, Destiny, when Royal Caribbean surprised the world by announcing the Voyager class - a ship that raised the limit by approximately 42%. Soon after, Cunard Line (A Carnival Corp. company) announced the Queen Mary 2 would usurp that size and be the world's largest by a tiny margin, a title it held for a few years. Currently, the largest vessel made is the Royal Caribbean "Freedom of the Seas" at 158,000 registered tons (3,430 passenger) scheduled to begin service in April.

See pictures comparing the RCI classes here

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* * * Lindblad Expeditions has returned to the South Pacific in 2006 offering cruises in conjunction with National Geographic. Lindblad has renamed its flagship the National Geographic Endeavour, which will visit emote beaches and atolls of the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Fiji, Easter Island and Papua New Guinea. Geneticist, anthropologist, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Spencer Wells will join Lindblad Expeditions' journeys to the South Pacific this summer and share his work as director of National Geographic's Geographic Project, a five-year initiative to map the journey of humans as they populated the planet. Travelers aboard the National Geographic Endeavour with Wells will participate first-hand by submitting their own cheek swab sample prior to traveling. They will then have the unique opportunity to talk about their individual migratory histories with Spencer while onboard. Departures are scheduled in April, May, August, September and October.

* * * Crystal Cruises has expanded its Mediterranean shore excursion program in 2006 with the addition of 33 "Crystal Adventures" that range from driving a Ferraris on the Riviera to canoeing in Croatia, off-road 4x4 excursions in the Balkan Mountains, the Greek Island and Southern France. They will be offered from May through November on sailings of Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The cruise company also has culinary land tours, offering passengers the chance to make paella in Spain and Tuscan food in Italy with local renowned chefs.

* * * Golfers can play at some of Europe's best courses with themed cruises offered by Peter Deilman Cruises. Four Dielman river ships are offering golf theme cruises with two on the Princesse de Provence and the Cezanne and one on the Mozart and Heidelberg. Golf and Rh�ne River cruises in Provence, May 9-20 and Sept. 5-16, begin with three days of play at the 240-acre Pont Royal Golf course and three or four nights at the Chateau Hotel Le Moulin de Vernegues, 10 minutes away. The package includes six rounds of golf and a seven-night sailing on the Princesse de Provence from Arles to Avignon, Tournon, Vienne, Macon and Lyon. Rates start at $2,580 per person for an outside twin cabin and include transfers, green fees, pull cart, travel to and from the courses and guides.The Normandy Golf tournament players cruise on the Cezanne on the Seine from Paris to Rouen, May 13-24 and Sept. 2-13. The six golf courses on this itinerary include the 27-hole Omaha Beach Golf Club at Bayeux, the Etretat golf course situated high atop spectacular white cliffs and the Deauville Golf Club. The 12-day cruise and golf package ends with four nights at the Hostellerie de Tourgeville or Hotel du Golf Barrier and is priced from $3,045 per person outside twin. On a Rhine cruise aboard the five-star Heidelberg, Deilmann offers an 11-day golf cruise tour, July 8-18, with six days of play at three courses in Strasbourg, France, one in Switzerland and two in Germany. Following the seven-night Rhine cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, participants stay three nights at Le Kempferhof Hotel in the Alsace region of France. The all-inclusive package price starts at $3,000 per person for an outside twin cabin.

*** Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced that effective Oct. 15, Norwegian Sun will return to her schedule of year-round cruises from New Orleans to the Western Caribbean.

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