Cruise News by Cruisemates

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03-03-10 Freak Waves in Med Kill Two Passengers on Greek Cruise Ship The Associated Press and other newspapers are reporting the a Greek/Cypriot cruise ship, the Louis Majesty, belonging to Louis Cruise lines was hit by a series of three waves as high at 8 meters (over 24 feet). The victims were only identified as a German and an Italian man. Reports of broken glass and other exterior pieces are also reported. The ship was sailing near the French city of Marseilles. This is the second weather related fatality in or near the Mediterranean Seas in two weeks.

The ship was built in 1992 and generally caters to only European cruisers. The line is not a member of CLIA, the e cruise organization which the cruise lines covered in CruiseMates are affilated.

Six others were injured, according to the Greek coastguard. The ship, carrying around 2,000 people, was on its way from Barcelona, Spain to Genoa in Italy.

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03-02-10 First Sight of Celebrity Eclipse

The third in Celebrity Cruises' stylish, $3.7-billion Solstice Class fleet, Celebrity Eclipse showed off her sleek profile Sunday as she emerged for the first time from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Celebrity Eclipse will enter service April 26 and, following two "short break" cruises, will offer a series of Canary Islands, Scandinavia/Russia and Spanish Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Southampton, England. The new vessel will present Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Miami beginning in November.

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03-02-10 Star Princess on Hold in Chile Until Thursday Noon Princess just released the following statement: Star Princess arrived in Valparaiso, Chile - the terminus of a 12-day South America/Cape Horn cruise - as scheduled this morning, Tuesday, March 2.

Because air flights are continuing to operate in and out of Santiago on a limited basis over the next several days, we recognize that passengers are having difficulties reaching Star Princess as planned. Therefore we will hold the ship in Valparaiso until noon on Thursday, March 4, giving arriving passengers additional time to meet the ship.

At that time, Star Princess will depart on a revised itinerary for the next cruise, calling at the ports of Ushuaia, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, and ending in Rio de Janeiro on March 16. Passengers who are able to embark Star Princess in Valparaiso at the time of sailing on March 4 will sail on the revised itinerary, and will be advised after departure on their cruise details.

Passengers who are currently onboard Star Princess and are unable to fly home because of limited air flights, have two options. They can disembark the ship as planned on March 2, or they can remain onboard for the next cruise, and can disembark from any of the ports on the sailing up to and including Buenos Aires.

We are providing updates to passengers as we receive new information, and we appreciate their patience and understanding as we manage this unforeseen situation. In the meantime, our thoughts are with all those affected by the tragic earthquake in Chile.

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03-01-10 MSC Cruises Signs Letter of Intent for MSC Favolosa in 2012 Three days after the MSC Magnifica flag ceremony at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire (France), MSC Cruises signed a letter of intent for the delivery of a new ship in June 2012, to join the eleven new vessels built over the past seven years.

MSC Cruises' worldwide CEO, Pierfrancesco Vago, said, "We are immensely proud to announce the signature of a letter of intent for the building of a new ship, MSC Favolosa."

The general manager of STX Europe, Jacques Hardelay, said, "We look forward to implementing our expertise to again fulfill the promise of exceptional quality, deliverability, and design for MSC Cruises."

Measuring 1,094 feet in length and 125 feet wide, MSC Favolosa will have 1,751 staterooms and be able to travel at speeds of up nearly 24 knots.

Award-winning naval architects De Jorio Design International is once again designing the newest addition to the Fantasia class, technically called V32. The ship will herald a state-of-the-art concept in space management. Two additional lifts to improve flow of the guests and a total redesign of decks and restaurants to offer guests on board unprecedented comfort and the highest space ratio per guest.

The MSC Yacht Club, this "ship within a ship," will be enlarged and redesigned as well as the Aft Lounge, adults-only area surrounding the Aft Infinity Pool, the casino and the disco

.

To achieve the highest environmental standards, substantial investments will onboard also include more efficient evaporators, chillers, a new generation of propulsor motors, and an additional bow thruster to improve maneuverability.

At a time when many companies are cautious about investing, Vago said, "With this order MSC Cruises again signals the record-breaking extent of its ambition. The new ship will bring our capacity to nearly 1.5 million guests in 2013, confirming both the success of our strategy and our confidence in further growth."

He added, "This order is also a demonstration of our faith in the STX Europe shipyard, which we are delighted to be able to support in these challenging times. We would like to thank all parties involved in making this initiative possible."

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02-28-10 Tsunami Threat Over - Cruise Ships Return to Ports Wuth the threats of a Tsunami over, many cruise ships are now in port. In Pacific ports from Hawaii to Auckland and Sydney, cruise ships were asked to stay out at sea until the Tsunami threat was over.

In Hawaii, NCL-America's Pride of America returned to port when the threat was over by 5:00 pm local time.

In Auckland, Dawn Princess left several all passengers on shore when it was forced to leave. The ship is scheduled to return to pick up the passengers left behind when the threat has passed.

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02-28-10 Holland America Tsunami Update At 3:34 a.m. local time, a magnitude-8.8 earthquake hit Chile, resulting in a tsunami warning issued over a wide area, including Hawaii, South America, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

The four Holland America Line ships that are operating in the Pacific Ocean at this time were not impacted. The ms Veendam was in protected waters in Chile when the earthquake occurred while the ms Zaandam and ms Maasdam are in open ocean and will remain there until the risk of the tsunami wave has passed. ms Rotterdam is safely docked in Puerto Caldera. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and make adjustments to itineraries if needed.

At Holland America Line, the safety and security of our guests and crew is our top priority.

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02-27-10 NCL Gives Update on Tsunami Conditions for Two Ships

Miami - Feb 27, 2010 --- Pride of America Guests Because of a tsunami warning, the Port of Honolulu has been closed. Pride of America which was scheduled to dock in Honolulu this morning will spend the day at sea until the port reopens. The safety of the ship's passengers and crew is of the utmost importance. While at sea, this situation does not in any way compromise the safety and security of our passengers and crew. At this time, we anticipate that the port will re-open at 5 pm local time in Hawaii. Pride of America should be alongside shortly after that and we expect that the next cruise will depart later this evening. Guests traveling to Honolulu or already in Honolulu for the ship's next voyage should call Norwegian Cruise Line at 800-327-7030. Norwegian Sun Guests Norwegian Sun is in Montevideo, Uruguay today as scheduled. The ship will arrive in Buenos Aires, Brazil tomorrow as scheduled and embark guests on the February 28, 2010 cruise. We are closely monitoring the situation in Chile and will keep guests updated as to any changes to the current scheduled itinerary.

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02-27-10 Pacific Coasts Facing Tsunami Warning, Watch and Advisories In the aftermath of one of the strongest earthquakes in 100 years hitting Chile this morning, cruisers leaving from the West Coast on cruises to Mexico or elsewhere today may have a surprise in store.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning, watch and advisory for the entire Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii, California and even up through the Alaska coast. The three words represent different levels of severity.

The center has issued a tsunami "warning" (the highest alert) for Hawaii, where emergency response plans are already in place. Tourists in Waikiki and the Hilo International Airport have already been ordered to evacuate. The tsunami is expected to generate waves larger than any since 1964 throughout the islands.

The California coast received an advisory, the lowest level alert, but it still implies there should be strong waves and currents. However, officials said they do not expect "inundation." Cruise Ships can handle strong waves without any problem, but if you feel sea sick be sure to inquire at the passenger services desk for anti-nausea medication.

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02-26-10 Housewives and Students in Pirate Garb to Protest Olympic Cruise Ships A group of self-proclaimed "pirates" in Vancouver, Canadian citizens dressed up in pirate garb including peg legs and eyepatches, will stage a demonstration in front of three carnival ships docks in Vancouver to house Royal Canadain Mounted Police during the Winter Olympics.

The group "Pirates For Justice," says their protest will be a family-friendly "stand against the pillagin' and plunderin' of the poor." So they are dressed as pirates.

Founder, Craig "Blackbeard" Greenfield told a Vancouver newspaper that "the worst-treated and lowest-paid cruise ship employees are not allowed to go up to the passenger decks. On the cruise ship there's a lot of luxury and opulence, but when you do the research and you find out what's happening below the decks it's shocking. It's a real juxtaposition of lifestyles."

The groups web site cites a "secret film" made in 2001 aboard an ancient liner based in Cypress which "revealed the true extent of the horrors for workers. There were only two showers and one working toilet for a hundred men and women crewmembers and staff had to sleep six to each tiny cabin containing only three bunks." The site also claims that workers are paid as little as $45/month and often have to reply loans of up to $2000 to agents who get them the jobs."

The reality is that those are the monthly wages paid to crewmembers who also receive tips and earn as much $1200 - $2000/month which is considered a fortune in their nations of origin.

Carnival Spokesperson Jen de la Cruz noted that crewpeople also do not pay for room or board (food, utilities, water, or upkeep of their homes) and receive free medical and dental care, and are provided a retirement plan in addition to their earnings. She described the protest as "nothing more than a stunt."

"Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that someone out there would try to take advantage of the Vancouver stage right now to draw attention even when the cause is not legitimate," she wrote.

People desperately in need of attention seems to be the real theme of this protest, as comments below the article say things like "I worked on a cruise ship and it was the best time I ever had in my life."

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02-26-10 Costa Europa Hits Pier in Red Sea - Three Crewmen Die Friday, February 26 at around 4:45 a.m. local time, Costa Europa, while docking in Sharm El Sheik port in the Sinai Peninsula, hit the pier and reported damage on the right side. The line sadly confirms that three crewmembers are deceased.

In addition, three passengers and one crewmember required a visit to the city hospital. The ship is now safely docked in port. All guests have been disembarked and most are already accommodated in hotels. We are taking care of the flight arrangements back to their destinations.

Costa Europa was on an 18-day regular cruise from Dubai to Savona, with 1,437 guests on board. The ship is 55,000 tons and entered into the Costa Crociere fleet in 2002.

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02-24-10 Carnival: Record Wave Season and Price Increases coming March 22 Carnival Cruise Lines is reporting record wave season bookings, with strong reservations activity for 2010 departures. As a result of the strong booking volumes, a general price increase will be implemented effective March 22 for all summer sailings in June, July and August.

For the period of Jan. 1 through Feb. 21, 2010, bookings were at unprecedented levels for the line's 22 ships which operate three- to 15-day voyages from a variety of convenient North American home ports.

Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill said, "We're seeing significantly increased volume as consumers are taking advantage of the incredible value that a Carnival cruise provides. And while pricing hasn't fully recovered to 2008 levels, we are increasing prices and will implement an across-the-board increase effective March 22."

He said that the price increases will vary by departure date but will be up to 5 percent. Cahill attributed the record booking activity to a wide range of factors, including strong travel agent partner support, targeted marketing initiatives, itinerary enhancements and the wide variety of close-to-home departure points.

Wave season typically runs from about mid-January through early spring and is traditionally the busiest, most important booking period in the cruise industry.

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02-24-10 MSC Three-Day Sale on Caribbean Cruises Starts Today Beginning today, Wednesday, Feb. 24, MSC is offering special rates on select 7-night Caribbean cruises for savings of more than 60 percent off through Friday, February 26.

The following itineraries on MSC Poesia departing from Ft. Lauderdale are on sale:

"Eastern Caribbean Enchantment" (Baseball greats cruise) calling in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Departs March 6. Rates begin at $699 [plus $84.28 pp. government fees and taxes].

"Island Treasures and Ancient Temples" Western Caribbean cruise calling in Key West, Florida; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Nassau, Bahamas. Departs March 13 and 27 and April 10 (Festa Italiana cruise). Rates begin at $649, $749, and $669, respectively (plus $95.85 pp. government fees and taxes).

"Eastern Caribbean Dream" cruise calling in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Departs March 20 (Oldies theme cruise featuring the Lettermen) and April 3 (Baseball greats cruise). Rates begin at $669 and $619, respectively (plus $84.28 pp. government fees and taxes).

Cruise-only rates are per person, double occupancy for residents of the U.S. and Canada. Offer cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion and may be withdrawn without notice. Offer is capacity controlled, subject to availability and restrictions apply. This offer expires on February 26 at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit www.MSCCruisesUSA.com, call 877-665-4655, or contact a local travel professional.

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02-23-10 Shore Excursion Accident in Tortola Princess Cruises just announced this statement:

We are deeply saddened to report that at approximately 9:35 am local time today in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, a tour bus carrying a group of Caribbean Princess passengers left the road and rolled over, killing one passenger, and injuring several others. A total of 20 passengers were on the bus.

The passenger who passed away was a 24-year-old man from Rochester, New York. He was traveling with his parents, who were with him on the tour bus. Our thoughts and prayers are with this family, and we are providing support to them during this difficult time.

The injured passengers were taken to a local hospital, where they were evaluated and released. The other passengers on the bus returned to Caribbean Princess. All of these passengers are being looked after by the ship's staff and Princess care team members who are en route to the ship.

We are still in the process of determining the details of the accident but it appears as though the bus left the road and turned over as it was taking passengers on a "Tropical Forest Hike and Beach" excursion.

Caribbean Princess is on a seven-day Southern Caribbean cruise from San Juan calling at St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados.

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02-23-10 Top Chefs Join Crystal for Special Culinary Cruises Michelin Star chefs Michael Mina and Tom Aikens are among an impressive roster set to share their specialties aboard two Wine & Food Experiences of Discovery Crystal cruises this fall. Aboard the back-to-back Mediterranean voyages, foodies can sate their palates with cuisine and demos from the chefs, savor the nuances of wine pairings with guest sommeliers and wine experts and learn the art of the perfect cocktail from guest mixologists. The 12-day, star-studded sailings depart September 5 and 17 on award-winning Crystal Serenity.

Wine and food highlights on the September 5, Istanbul to Barcelona cruise include:

  • Michael Mina - Founder of the Mina Group, with 11 concept restaurants including two-Michelin-Starred Michael Mina in San Francisco
  • Chris L'Hommedieu - Chef de Cuisine at Michael Mina in San Francisco
  • Aglaia Kremezi - Writer and publisher of Greek and Mediterranean cookbooks
  • Victoria Ordonez - Her family is Spain's largest wine wholesaler and exporter to the U.S.
  • Tony Abou-Ganim - Master mixologist and mastermind behind Crystal's cocktail program.

September 17, Barcelona to Venice

  • Tom Aikens - Youngest British chef ever awarded two Michelin Stars; owner of Tom Aikens Restaurant in the U.K., named eighth best restaurant in the world
  • Gerhard Retter - Renowned wine & cheese sommelier at 2-3-star Michelin restaurants worldwide
  • Francesco La Franconi - Co-founder of the U.S. Bartenders Guild (Nevada); National Director of Mixology & Spirits for Southern Wine & Spirits.

Calling in cities throughout Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Monaco and France, the voyages feature tasteful experiences ashore, from exclusive private tours and tastings at a farm and wine cellar in Sorrento to a classic Spanish tapas feast in Barcelona.

Double occupancy two-for-one cruise fares start at $5,940 per person, and include $1,000 per person 'All Inclusive - As You Wish' shipboard credits and complimentary air transportation from more than 20 North American gateways - Business Class air for Penthouse guests.

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02-24-10 NCL Announces New Home Ports and Itineraries Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that its 2011/12 winter/spring deployment includes two new seasonal homeports: Tampa, Florida and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy, marking the first time Norwegian has initiated voyages from these cities. In addition, for the first time since 1999 the cruise line will visit Israel.

Guests cruising from Tampa on Norwegian Star will sail a seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary beginning October 16, 2011 through April 8, 2012. In Europe, Norwegian Jade will sail from Rome (Civitavecchia) on 11-day Mediterranean and Holy Land cruises, along with 10-day Eastern Mediterranean sailings, from October 15, 2011 to April 11, 2012.

In the Caribbean, Norwegian Pearl's seven-day Western Caribbean cruise from Miami now includes Ocho Rios, Jamaica as a port of call. The company also announced new sailing dates for Pride of America in Hawaii.

These new sailings go on sale today to Latitudes members (guests who have cruised with Norwegian before) along with the line's top travel partners. The cruises open for sale to the public on Thursday, February 25, 2010. As part of Norwegian's "Year of the Freestyle Vacation" promotion, all new reservations from today through March 14, 2010 will receive up to a six-category upgrade. In addition, book any category suite including Penthouse, Deluxe Owners Suite, Courtyard Villa and Garden Villa from now through April 1, 2010 on a cruise departing at least nine months prior to sailing and receive up to $300 in on-board credits.

Norwegian in Europe

Norwegian Jade's 11-day Mediterranean and Holy Land itinerary offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Alanya, Turkey; Limassol, Cyprus; Haifa and Ashdod, Israel; Port Said and Alexandria, Egypt, along with four relaxing days at sea. Featured shore excursions include overnight tours in Israel to Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, the Dead Sea and Masada, as well as in Egypt to Cairo's pyramids and tombs. Guests can also discover the Taurus Mountains in Turkey on a 4x4 safari and set off on a wine tour through the picturesque villages in Cyprus. Norwegian Jade's 10-day Eastern Mediterranean cruise from Rome (Civitavecchia) includes the following ports: Olympia (Katakolon) and Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey; and an overnight in Alexandria, Egypt, offering two full days to experience all of the ancient treasures.

Norwegian in the Caribbean

Norwegian Star's seven-day Western Caribbean cruises from Tampa will depart on Sundays and include stops in Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; along with two days at sea. Norwegian Sun will return to Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida from October 8, 2011 through April 7, 2012 offering alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Norwegian Sun's Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes the following ports of call: Nassau, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island in the Bahamas. The ship's Western Caribbean itinerary includes: Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Great Stirrup Cay.

From Miami, Norwegian Cruise Line will feature its largest and most innovative ship to date, Norwegian Epic, sailing seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises with stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas with three full days at sea to enjoy all of the ship's amenities and world-class entertainment.

Norwegian Pearl will return to Miami from October 16, 2011 to April 8, 2012, sailing seven-day Western Caribbean cruises with stops in Great Stirrup Cay; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico, along with two days at sea.

Rounding out Norwegian's winter/spring deployment from Miami is Norwegian Dawn offering 10 and 11-day Southern Caribbean escapes from November 13, 2011 through April 8, 2012. The ship's 10-day itinerary visits the following ports: Samana, Dominican Republic; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. John's, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre, St. Kitts; along with three full days at sea. Norwegian Dawn's 11-day Southern Caribbean cruise includes Samana, Dominican Republic; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. John's, Antigua; Roseau, Dominica; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre, St. Kitts; and three days at sea.

For those in the Northeast looking to escape the cold winter temperatures, Norwegian Gem will sail 10-day Eastern Caribbean itineraries from New York City departing January 8, 2012 through February 8, 2012. This offers guests an easy and convenient departure point without the expense and hassle of air travel. Ports of call include: San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; St. John's, Antigua; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Norwegian in Hawaii

Pride of America will continue as the only US-flagged vessel sailing among all four of Hawaii's main islands. Pride of America's seven-day Hawaii inter-island cruises departing from Honolulu are now available through April 7, 2012. Ports of call include: an overnight in Kahului, Maui; Hilo, Hawaii; an evening sail by the Kilauea Volcano; Kona, Hawaii; an overnight in Nawiliwili, Kauai; and an afternoon cruise of the breathtaking Napali Coast.

Norwegian in Canada & New England

Norwegian Jewel will sail four seven-day sailings from New York City to Canada & New England from September 17 through October 8, 2011. Ports of call include Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick; and Portland, Maine.

Norwegian Repositioning Cruises

Norwegian's repositioning cruises are a great way to hit several cruise regions on one trip and include more sea days offering a relaxing vacation without back-to-back port calls. Norwegian Jade offers a 15-day Best of the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Venice and a seven-day Adriatic & Italy from Venice to Rome. Closer to home, Norwegian Pearl offers two 14-day Panama Canal cruises from Miami to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Miami; a seven-day British Columbia & US West Coast from Los Angeles to Vancouver and a five-day Pacific Coastal from Vancouver to Los Angeles; Norwegian Star offers a 14-day Panama Canal cruise from Los Angeles to Tampa; and a seven-day British Columbia & US West Coast from Vancouver to Los Angeles. For an extended Caribbean vacation, Norwegian Gem will offer a 13-day Caribbean Escape from Miami to New York and Norwegian Jewel will offer an 11-day Caribbean Escape from Miami to New York.

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02-19-10 12 Guiding Actors to Sail on Carnival Theme Cruise Sail away with 12 of GUIDING LIGHT'S most adored actors for 5 memorable days aboard the Carnival Glory, departing from New York City on July 31, 2010. GUIDING LIGHT fans young and old will have day in and day out, up close-and-personal time with the actors. Not JUST getting the autographs, hugs and photos of each of the actors—but fans will be singing, dancing and getting to know them as well! This "dream-come-true" vacation will visit charming Saint John, New Brunswick and majestic Halifax, Nova Scotia, in addition to 2 relaxing days at sea. The perfect vacation for the whole family!

The scene-stealing celebrities that will be aboard So Long Springfield at Sea:

  • KIM ZIMMER "Reva"
  • JORDAN CLARKE "Billy"
  • GRANT ALEKSANDER "Phillip"
  • JERRY VERDORN "Ross"
  • RON RAINES "Alan"
  • MICHAEL O'LEARY "Rick"
  • LIZ KIEFER "Blake"
  • JUSTIN DEAS "Buzz"
  • ROBERT NEWMAN "Josh"
  • TINA SLOAN "Lillian"
  • MARCY RYLAN "Lizzie"
  • BETH CHAMBERLAIN "Beth"

Carnival says HURRY! The first 200 registrants are invited to a VIP Breakfast with the actors while aboard!

Some of the unforgettable, fan-focused activities and events include:

  • GUIDING LIGHT THEATER (a highlight of the Cruise…)
  • Disco Dancing with the Stars
  • Get autographs and pictures with all the actors
  • Soap Star/Soap Fan Karaoke (the stars perform and cruisers will too!)
  • Q & A and Trivia Sessions
  • Act Out Actual Soap Scenes Onstage Opposite the Stars
  • Workshops with a Soap Director (Behind-the-scenes secrets revealed!)
  • Farewell Cocktail Party
And much, much more!

In addition to all these fun activities, guests sailing on the "So Long Springfield at Sea" cruise can enjoy the Carnival Glory's wide range of on-board amenities and facilities - four restaurants, including two formal dining rooms, a casual poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, and an elegant steakhouse - along with a 14,500-square-foot health club, full casino gambling, and a variety of entertainment options, including lavish production shows. Carnival Glory also offers organized programs for children age 2-17, four swimming pools, and a 270-square-foot outdoor LED screen displaying movies, concerts and other programming.

Prices begin at $949.00 (based on double occupancy). For family members not participating in the Guiding Light events, prices begin at $549.00. Government taxes ($69.77) and gratuities not included. Proper documentation is necessary to travel.

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02-18-10 CLIA Releases Listings of Ocean-crossing Cruises in 2010 Trans-oceanic crossings, the most popular being trans-Atlantic crossings as ships go between Europe and the Caribbean, are always a bargain. You generally have plenty of languid days at sea which you can enjoy at a per diem price far below the avaerage cost of a Caribbean or European cruise.

In addition, many include additional ports of call at either end of the cruise, making them not only a bargain for several days at sea but adding in the features of a regular regional cruise as well.

Here is the just released CLIA list of transoceanic cruises in 2010:

AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES

  • Azamara Journey - From Miami to Barcelona, departing April 11, prices for veranda staterooms from $1,999; from Rome to Miami, departing November 15, prices for veranda staterooms starting from $1,799. Special offers include: Up to 50 percent off brochure prices on certain sailings; Club Veranda stateroom for price of a Club Oceanview stateroom, based on availability (booking must be made by March 31, 2010)

CELEBRITY CRUISES

  • Celebrity Century - 14 nights from Miami to Barcelona departing May 20, starting at $899 for an inside stateroom; 14 nights from Barcelona to Miami departing October 25, starting at $799
  • Celebrity Equinox - 14 nights from Fort Lauderdale to Rome departing April 19, prices from $899; 15 nights from Rome to Fort Lauderdale sailing October 31, starting from $1,299
  • Celebrity Constellation - 14 nights from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale departing November 6, prices from $999
  • Celebrity Eclipse - 13 nights from Southampton to Miami departing October 31, from $1,199

COSTA CRUISES

  • Costa Atlantica - 17 nights from New York City to Copenhagen departing May 5, prices from $899.

CUNARD LINE

  • Queen Mary 2 - Twenty-one transatlantic crossings, April-November, including classic six-day voyages between New York and Southampton, plus a seven-day option as well as eight- and nine-day crossings to Cherbourg and Hamburg, starting at $895 with savings of up to $600 per person on select Early Booking fares

CRYSTAL CRUISES

  • Crystal Symphony - From Los Angeles to Sydney, departing February 28, fares from $3,790. From Dubai to Athens, departing May 12, fares from $7,200. From London to New York, departing September 5, fares from $5,710. From New York to Los Angeles, departing November 2, fares from $4,930. The line is offering shipboard credits of up to $1,000 per person
  • Crystal Serenity - From Dubai to Athens (part of the 2010 World Cruise), departing March 15, fares from $12,425. From Rome to Barcelona, departing October 19, fares from $5,080. The line is offering shipboard credits of up to $1,000 per person

DISNEY CRUISE LINE

  • Disney Magic - 14 nights from Port Canaveral to Barcelona departing April 10, from $699; 14 nights from Barcelona to Port Canaveral, sailing September 18, $1,649 for a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE

  • Ms Eurodam - 16 days from Fort Lauderdale to Rome departing April 3, from $899
  • Ms Noordam - 13 days from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona departing May 14, from $899

HURTIGRUTEN

  • MS Fram - 19 days from Lisbon to Oslo, featuring the Norwegian fjords, sold in three voyages: nine days between Lisbon and Dover departing April 1, starting at $1,161; a special 10-day Norwegian fjord voyage departing April 9, from $1,568; and an 11-day Baltic Adventure departing April 18 from $4,169. The line is offering a special Suite Deal for the Baltic Adventure, with 25 percent off suites, plus free airfare

MSC CRUISES

  • MSC Poesia - 18 nights from Fort Lauderdale to Hamburg departing April 27, early booking rates start at $999; 18 nights from Kiel to New York departing September 4, early booking rates from $1,199

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

  • Norwegian Epic - Seven day transatlantic crossing, a maiden voyage, from Southampton to New York departing June 24, rates beginning at $859

OCEANIA CRUISES

  • Insignia - 15 nights from Rio de Janeiro to Barcelona departing April 3, rates begin at $2,599; 15 nights from Barcelona to Rio de Janeiro departing December 6, from $2,699
  • Nautica - 24 nights from Bangkok to Beijing departing March 1, prices starting at $7,299; 35 nights from Cape Town to Singapore departing December 11; from $9,299
  • Regatta - 14 nights from Miami to Barcelona departing March 21, rates begin at $2,099; 14 nights from Barcelona to Miami departing November 13, from $2,699

PRINCESS CRUISES

  • Crown Princess - 14 days from Fort Lauderdale to Rome departing May 1; 14 days from London to New York departing September 3 Grand Princess - 15 days from Fort Lauderdale to London departing April 9; 16 days from London to Ft. Lauderdale departing September 25
  • Ruby Princess - 16 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona departing April 19; 16 days from Venice to Fort Lauderdale departing October 8
  • Star Princess - 18 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Copenhagen departing April 24

REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES

  • Seven Seas Mariner - 16 nights from Fort Lauderdale to Monte Carlo departing March 22, from $5,770
  • Seven Seas Navigator - 20 nights from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco departing May 6, prices starting at $7,865; 18 nights from Seward to Tianjin departing September 15, from $8,775
  • Seven Seas Voyager - 14 nights from Fort Lauderdale to Reykjavik departing May 12, rates begin at $7,105; 15 nights from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale departing November 8, from $6,945

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL

  • Navigator of the Seas - 14 nights from Miami to Rome departing April 10; 14 nights from Rome to Fort Lauderdale departing October 23
  • Independence of the Seas - 14 nights from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton departing April 11
  • Voyager of the Seas - 14 nights from Galveston to Barcelona departing April 18; 14 nights from Barcelona to Galveston departing November 7
  • Adventure of the Seas - 13 nights from San Juan to Barcelona departing May 2; 14 nights from Barcelona to San Juan departing November 28
  • Jewel of the Seas - 13 nights from Miami to Harwich departing May 6; 14 nights from Harwich to Boston departing September 4

SEABOURN CRUISE LINE

  • Seabourn Spirit - 13 days from Fort Lauderdale to Lisbon departing March 19 from $2,799
  • Seabourn Legend - 13 days from Fort Lauderdale to Lisbon departing April 8 from $3,200
  • Seabourn Legend - 13 days from Malaga to Fort Lauderdale departing November 20, from $2,999
  • Seabourn Odyssey - 13 days from Nice to Fort Lauderdale departing December 6 from $3,599

SEADREAM YACHT CLUB

  • SeaDream I - 13 days from San Juan to Malaga departing April 30, priced from $2299; 12 days from Malaga to San Juan departing October 14, from $2299
  • SeaDream II - 12 days from Barbados to Malaga departing April 25, from $2299; 12 days from Barbados to Malaga departing November 8, from $2299

SILVERSEA CRUISES

  • Silver Spirit - 14 days from New York to Southampton departing April 23, fares from $6,238
  • Silver Cloud - 15 Days from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Barcelona, Spain, departing April 14, fares from $4,398
  • Silver Whisper - 12 Days from Southampton, U.K. to New York City, New York, departing Sept 2, fares from $4,598
  • Silver Shadow - 16 Days from Vancouver, British Columbia to Tokyo, Japan, departing Sept 12, fares from $7,197
A free Economy Promotional Air Package is also available from select East, Central, and West Coast gateways

WINDSTAR CRUISES

  • Wind Surf - 14 days from Barbados to Lisbon departing March 21, starting from $1749; 14 days from Lisbon to Barbados departing November 14, starting from $1749
  • Wind Star - 14 days from St. Martin to Lisbon departing April 10, starting from $1849
  • Wind Spirit - 14 days from Lisbon to St. Martin departing November 20, starting from $1849

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02-17-10 Princess to Build Its Largest Ships Yet To date Carnival has built only one ship that qualifies a mega-mega-ship, The Queen Mary 2 which is a tad larger than the Voyager of the Seas by Royal Caribbean.

But Carnival Corp., which owns Princess Cruise Lines, has just signed a letter of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build two new ships almost exactly the same size as Voyager; 139,000-tons. The two ships are scheduled for delivery in 2013 and 2014. They will have a passenger capacity 3600 berths apiece, but likely will be able to accomodate well over 4000 passengers at full capacity. The two ships are yet unnamed. The cost is approximately $155,000 per lower berth, or $558,000,000 apiece.

All together, the Carnival brands (Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, The Yachts of Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ibero Cruises, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.) currently operate 95 ships with over 184,000 lower berths. There are 11 new ships currently on order scheduled to be delivered between March 2010 and May 2012.

More details about these ships will be released soon.

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02-15-10 Norwegian Epic Sea Trials Called "A Triumphant Success." Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Cruise Line's largest and most innovative ship to date, returned from her first successful sea trials on Sunday, February 14, 2010, after four days of sailing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. During the sea trials, 300 technicians and engineers from STX FRANCE SA, along with 30 Norwegian Cruise Line representatives, checked more than 60 different aspects of the ship's performance by running trials of the vessel's speed, maneuverability, hydrodynamics and propulsion, amongst others.

"During her first time ever at sea, Norwegian Epic performed above expectations with excellent marine behavior," said Roberto Martinoli, Norwegian's president and COO, who was on-board during the sea trials. "All tests were conducted with positive results. She is a beautiful ship with outstanding performance. Now that sea trials are completed, we can concentrate on finishing the ship and showing her to the world in June."

A second round of sea trials is scheduled for mid-April in order to finalize all tests, including final speed measurement. The 153,000-gross ton, 4,200-passenger ship - the largest ship ever built in Saint-Nazaire - is scheduled for delivery on June 15, 2010.

Photos from the sea trials along with new construction photos can be seen on Norwegian's Facebook page at www.ncl.com/facebook.

Following her seven-day transatlantic crossing from Southhampton to New York on June 24, 2010 and inaugural activities in New York and Miami, Norwegian Epic will sail alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami from July 10, 2010 through April 30, 2011. Ports of call on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary include Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. The Western Caribbean cruises visit Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico. The 2011 cruise season from May-October will have Norwegian Epic sailing a series of seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona. When she returns to Miami on November 5, 2011, she will sail a series of seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises through April 7, 2012.

To book one of these itineraries or for more information on Norwegian Epic, call Norwegian at 866-234-7350, visit epic.ncl.com, or contact a travel professional.

About Norwegian Epic

World-class entertainment is Norwegian Epic's hallmark. For the first time at sea, Blue Man Group will perform their exhilarating fusion of comedy, theatrics and paint, exclusively on Norwegian Epic. In the only "big top" at sea, Cirque Dreams and Dinner, created and directed by Neil Goldberg, will present a one-of-a-kind interactive theatrical dining experience with music, mayhem and acrobatic imagination. Legends in Concert, the original and world's greatest live tribute show, will be featured for the first time at sea in more than a decade on Norwegian Epic, along with The Second City improvisational comedy and Howl at the Moon, the world's greatest rock 'n roll dueling piano show that encourages audience participation.

In addition to world-class entertainment, the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic incorporates many innovations including several new types of accommodations - the curved New Wave staterooms; the largest Villas suite complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship; and spa and family-friendly accommodations. Kids will have a blast with Nickelodeon at Sea offering Nickelodeon-themed family entertainment and programming including: character meet and greets; interactive game shows; and more.

The ship also boasts unique nightlife options with the first Ice Bar at sea and Spice H20 with non-stop entertainment day and night; an expansive Aqua Park with the only tube slide and largest bowl slide at sea -- The Epic Plunge; seven decks of Freestyle Family Fun with highlights including a 33-foot high, 64-foot wide extreme rock climbing wall and the first ever rappelling wall at sea; the most bowling lanes at sea with six in two venues; a mixed-use sports deck with the ability for guests to engage in eight different athletic activities; as well as three separate kids' and teen activity areas. In addition, Norwegian Epic will offer the next generation of Freestyle Dining with 20 dining choices and 20 bars and lounges.

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02-15-10 Carnival Glory Gets $Multi-Million Refurbishment The 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory has resumed Caribbean service from Miami following a multi-million-dollar renovation that added a host of new facilities and features, including a Serenity adults-only retreat, a 270-square-foot Seaside Theatre poolside LED screen, and a Circle "C" facility for 12- to 14- year olds.

Eighteen new balconies were also incorporated onto existing ocean view staterooms and a new Mongolian wok venue was added to the casual poolside restaurant. Bow-to-stern Wi-Fi access was added, as well.

From February to May, Carnival Glory operates seasonal seven-day cruises from Miami, alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean. Seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises visit Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk, while the western route features Grand Cayman, Isla Roatan, Belize and Cozumel.

The ship will then be deployed to New York where it will offer a series of four- and five-day Atlantic Canada voyages from June 6 - September 6, 2010, followed by a series of seven-day Canada/New England cruises, from September 11 - October 9.

"We are constantly looking for ways to improve and expand our product to deliver fun and memorable vacations to our guests while at the same time offering exceptional value," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO. "The new Seaside Theatre, adults-only area and Circle 'C' facility, which are all available to our guests on a complimentary basis, serve to enhance an already terrific, value-packed vacation choice," he added.

New Seaside Theatre Located poolside on Lido Deck is the Carnival Glory's new "Seaside Theatre," a massive 270-square-foot LED screen displaying movies, concerts, sporting events, and other programming, including the popular "Morning Show" hosted by the ship's cruise director. Utilizing the same technology featured in large stadiums and New York's Times Square, the state-of-the-art entertainment system includes a 70,000-watt sound system, providing concert quality sound, even outdoors.

New Balcony Accommodations During dry dock, 18 new balconies were added to existing Spa Deck accommodations, creating spacious 220-square-foot verandah staterooms. They are conveniently located next to the ship's 14,500-square-foot "Spa Carnival" facility offering sophisticated exercise equipment, expansive workout facilities and a variety of soothing European-style treatments.

With the addition of these newly reconfigured staterooms, nearly 40 percent of the Carnival Glory's 1,487 cabins now feature private balconies.

New Adults-Only Retreat Another popular feature added during the dry dock is Serenity, a two-level adults-only retreat located forward on Sun Deck and Sky Deck. Designed as an oceangoing oasis for relaxation, with decorative latticework and teak-style decking, this area features different styles of seating, including shaded sun loungers and hammocks, a full bar, and two oversized whirlpools.

Circle "C" Facility for 12- to 14-Year-Olds A new Circle "C" facility catering to 12- to 14-year-olds has been added as part of the line's unique offerings for kids. The center features a high-tech sound and lighting system, plasma-screen TVs displaying movies and music videos, a touch-screen jukebox, and gaming pods with the latest video games and consoles.

Dining Enhancements A new Mongolian wok option was added to the Carnival Glory's Red Sail casual restaurant located poolside on Lido Deck. At the new venue, guests can select their favorite meat, sauce, vegetables and other ingredients and watch as a chef creates their custom-designed stir fry dish right before their eyes.

Additionally, the Golden dining room, located forward, was reconfigured for Your Time Dining providing guests the option of open seating between 5:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. nightly.

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02-09-10 Princess Offers 20 New Alaska Shore Excursions this Summer This year Princess Cruises offers passengers some fresh ways to experience Alaska up close and personal with a variety of new shore excursions for the summer. Among the 20 new options is a unique opportunity to join a scientific expedition while in Juneau to help study climate change and wildlife behavior patterns.

Passengers can also get closer to the dramatic glaciers of Tracy Arm, pilot their own zodiac on a tour of Ketchikan or enjoy the opportunity for animal encounters at a film trainer's wildlife park. These new options join Princess' extensive shore excursion program, which currently offers 215 different Alaska tour options for passengers starting in May.

"Alaska offers so many thrilling experiences for visitors - there's beautiful scenery nearly everywhere you turn, great opportunities to encounter wildlife, an intriguing Native culture, and of course the towering glaciers," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "These new excursions showcase some of the many wonders available throughout this amazing state, and offer visitors a number of ways to get a very personal Alaska vacation."

New tours available to Alaska passengers this summer include:

Whales & Glaciers Citizen Science Adventure (Juneau) - This unique tour will give participants a taste of what it's like to be a research scientist in the wilds of the Last Frontier. Passengers join a science-based excursion giving them the opportunity to participate in a GPS time-lapse photo project at the Mendenhall Glacier that documents the effects of climate change on the Juneau Icefield. Citizen scientists can also collect water samples, net plankton and record humpback whale and other marine wildlife behavior. This observational data will improve scientists' understanding of the many variables that affect Alaska's marine ecosystem. In addition, passengers will enjoy a whale-watching cruise, with guaranteed whale sightings.

Back Country Zodiac Expedition (Ketchikan) - Passengers can be their own captain for the day as they skipper their custom-built motorized inflatable along the coastline of Revillagigado Island for a unique Alaska adventure. Participants will follow their guide on a journey that explores Native culture with a view of Saxman Native Village, and a search for wildlife such as bears, eagles, whales, seals and more. The group guide will explain the area's history, geology, culture and ecology.

Alaska Wildlife Park (Princess Exclusive - Skagway) - Visitors can meet many types of animals at the Kroschel Films Wildlife Park Center. The park is run by trainer Steve Kroschel who has a lifetime of experience working with wild animals for movies such as "Never Cry Wolf" and the PBS "Wild America" series. His center provides a home for numerous orphaned wild animals including wolves, Arctic fox, lynx, porcupine, pine marten, mink, reindeer and wolverines. Guests will enjoy hands-on, face-to-face encounters and intimate close-up photography of many of these animals as they learn about the behavior of these intriguing creatures and gain an understanding of the time and trust required to train them.

Whales, Bears & Glaciers Adventure (Princess Exclusive - Juneau) - This excursion offers an opportunity to experience the perfect Alaska trifecta: whale watching, bear viewing and a scenic flight over the glaciers of the Juneau Icefield. Visitors will see two of Alaska's most impressive creatures with a whale watching cruise that guarantees sightings, plus a bear search at a salmon-bearing stream. The tour caps off with a flight over the Juneau Icefield and the Mendenhall Glacier on the way back to town.

Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer (Juneau) - Sapphire Princess passengers have a new way to get a close-up look at the glaciers of Tracy Arm as they cruise aboard a luxurious, high-speed catamaran for an in-depth exploration of the twin Sawyer Glaciers. The adventure begins just before Sapphire Princess reaches the entry to Tracy Arm, as participants board their catamaran directly from the ship. After viewing glaciers from a much closer vantage point than is possible from a cruise ship, they will travel to Juneau to rejoin Sapphire Princess.

Adventure Park & Zip Lines (Skagway) - Thrill-seeking passengers can walk along raised balance beams, cross suspension bridges and fly through the air on a series of zip lines with this adventurous excursion. The exciting course will keep passengers challenged and exhilarated as they soar through the air on a series of six zip lines through the lush Alaska canopy.

Juneau Jeep Adventure (Princess Exclusive) - Visitors can experience Juneau's most scenic and historic locales in the rugged comfort of a Jeep Wrangler for a small group adventure. A diver/guide will take each group on a tour through Juneau, to a scenic view of Mendenhall Glacier and other local sites, ending with a stop at the award-winning Alaskan Brewing Company for a final taste of Juneau.

Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter & Salmon Bake Combo (Princess Exclusive - Juneau) - This unique tour combination gives passengers a stunning aerial view of the famed Mendenhall Glacier plus the chance to feast on wild Alaska salmon. Participants will enjoy a glacier landing where they can explore the glacier's surface and learn how glaciers form, flow and shape the landscape. Once they've worked up an appetite, visitors join the salmon bake festivities for an all-you-can-eat meal.

Historical Ketchikan Walking Tour (Princess Exclusive) - Visitors can gain a unique understanding of Ketchikan and its Tlingit culture on this guided walking tour of Alaska's "First City." Led by a former city mayor of Tlingit descent, the tour offers personal knowledge of the many changes Ketchikan has experienced over the years. Visitors will also learn the significance of totem poles within Native culture, see the former red light district, and visit a salmon ladder to see the incredible journey salmon endure as they return to their spawning ground.

Bear Country & Wildlife Expedition (Ketchikan) - Passengers can view black bears in their natural habitat on a wildlife experience just a short drive from downtown Ketchikan. Participants will enjoy a nature walk on their way to a stream where more than 100,000 Pacific salmon return each year to spawn. Large concentrations of bears and other wildlife gather to feed on the huge runs of salmon. In addition to the bears, bald eagles wait for scraps, while mink, marten and wolf frequent the area, and seals can usually be seen feeding on the bountiful fish harvest.

Behind the Scenes at Butchart Gardens (Victoria) - One of Victoria's premiere attractions, Butchart Gardens is a beautiful place to explore independently. However, with this tour, guests have the unusual opportunity to go beyond the usual self-guided visit, and enjoy an exclusive in-depth guided tour behind the scenes. Visitors will learn the history of the gardens and explore the Mediterranean Garden and botanist's greenhouse, plus see a demonstration by the gardens' ceramics master as he displays his skills in flower-pot making.

All Alaska shore excursions are currently available for pre-reservation. Passengers who are already booked on an Alaska cruise can reserve their tours by logging on to the Cruise Personalizer on princess.com, to ensure they get the excursions of their choice. As many tours fill up quickly, passengers are encouraged to make selections as early as possible.

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02-09-10 Holland America Tour Operator Rescues Whale in Mexico Vallarta Adventures, an operator of shore tours for Holland America Line, recently participated along with the Mexican navy in the rescue of an entangled humpback whale. The whale was ensnarled in fishing nets and staff of the tour company came alongside to free the creature

.

click on pictures below for larger images:

 
Vallarata Adventures Rescue Whale   Entangled in fishing net

"Our tour operators regularly become involved in these sorts of wildlife rescues," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, Holland America Line. "We applaud Vallarta Adventures dedication to wildlife and are proud to work with them. We share their commitment to the environment and nature."

Based in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Vallarta Adventures provides safe learning experiences for those who like to explore nature and culture. For Holland America Line, they operate several tours in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, including interactive ecological dolphin encounters, eco safaris, horseback rides to secluded beaches, canopy adventures and America's Cup sailing regattas. Vallarta Adventures also works locally with ecological programs and regularly provides sea mammal rescue assistance.

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02-08-10 Allure of the Seas (Sister to Oasis) Coming a Week Earlier Royal Caribbean International today announced that the first regular passenger voyage for inaugural of Allure of the Seas will take place one week earlier than originally planned. The ship's first revenue voyage will be a seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary, sailing on December 5, 2010. Allure of the Seas' new cruise for the inaugural season is now open for booking.

Guests booked on the original inaugural season sail date of December 12, 2010, will be contacted by their travel agent or a Royal Caribbean representative, and given the opportunity to move their cruise vacation to the new sailing of December 5. Booked guests who wish to take the December 5 sailing will be re-accommodated in the same stateroom and category, and the cruise fare will be the lower of either the fare paid or current prices. Guests booked on the December 12, 2010 sailing will have until the end of February 2010 to opt to change their cruise to the December 5 sailing and ensure they keep the same stateroom.

Allure of the Seas is the coming sister ship to Oasis of the Seas, currently the world's largest cruise ship.

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02-05-10 Dollar Gaining Ground - Making Europe Cheaper this Summer The financial world is abuzz with the fact that the dollar is gaining strength. Right now, the Euro is worth $1.36, down about 10% from last summer when it reached a high of $1.48, but some Wall Street strategists are predicting the dollar could gain as much again against the Euro by summer.

The estimates made by Robin Griffiths on CNBC is predicting the Euro will soon be worth only $1.25 and ewill become even stronger against the British Sterling, to $1.45 to one British Pound. Not more than five years ago one British Pound was worth nearly $1.80.

This makes cruising in Europe a far better deal this summer, better than it has been for at least three years. The prices for the traveler when buying hotels, meals and other European expenses will seem much more affordable than the have in the past.

Unfortunately, the strong dollar means potentially declining profits for the cruise lines which have been reporting that more of their income is derived from the sale of cruises in Euros. The cure would be to raise the price of cruises sold in Europe, which may be hard to do if the economy is getting worse over there. This does not necessarily imply cruises will become more expensive for Americans, however.

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02-08-10 Man Arrested In Antigua Cruise Ship Murder

Antiuguan Police have arrested a man suspected of killing an American woman who was a passenger on the a Star Clipper cruise making a port call to the Caribbean island of Antigua.

The man allegedely stabbed the 29-year-old victim in the neck and left her body near a well-known beach.

According to police the 24-year-old suspect is Dominican Tishara Daniel, whom it is said confessed to stabbing Nina Nilssen who was on the cruise to celebrate her sister's wedding whenthe sail ship made a stop in Antigua. The victim was allegedly at a beach barbecue when she wandered away on her own and was attacked.

This is just the last in a series of crimes that have led a few cruise lines to end calls to Antigua for now. Last year, Carnival announced it would stop sailing to Antigua after a controversy erupted over the arrest of eight Americans who had a dispute first with a taxi driver which turned into a melee with the local police.

Star Clippers, the line on which Nilssen was cruising, announced today that it will replace calls in Antigua with stops at Nevis, another Caribbean island. Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises are slotted to make calls in Antigua in the near future.

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02-03-10 Carnival Fascination Completes Fantasy-class Upgrades The upgrades to all eight Fantasy class vessels by Carnival, which have been going seemingly forever, since 2006, were sceduled to be completed by 2008. Well, here it is 2010 and we are just getting reports that yet another one of the Fnatasy-class vessells, this time the Fascination, has received the scheduled upgrades all eight of these were supposed to have a long time ago.

Fascination just unveiled the multimillion-dollar renovation last week. The 2,052-passenger ship now features 98 balcony staterooms and a water park.

Nearly 185,500 passengers sailed on the Fascination out of Jacksonville, Florida, in the year between fiscal year spet. 30 2008 and Sept. 30, 2009. The number of passengers has grown by 25 percent since Carnival began sailing out of Jacksonville in 2005.

The Fascination's sailing schedule consists of a four-day cruise to Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas; and a five-day trip to the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau.

The revamped Fascination includes an adult-only retreat area and a resort-style main pool area. New waterslides were added as well as new places to eat including a Mongolian Barbecue and a suchi bar.

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