News Archive - January 2001

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01-30-01 Carnival's New Dining Program Carnival Cruise Lines has implemented its new "Flexible Dining" program aboard Imagination, Paradise and Carnival Destiny, with the balance of the fleet scheduled for completion later this year. Dinner service in the formal restaurants under the new four-seating system provides passengers with the opportunity to choose from among seating times starting at 5:45 p.m.; 6:30 p.m.; 8 p.m.; and 8:45 p.m. At the same time, a new "Team Service" system increases the number of wait staff serving each table while the Seaview Bistro casual alternative dinner service now features an enhanced menu selection and occasional full table service provided by wait staff. Carnival is also initiating a new tipping policy of pre-paid gratuities. The amount of $9.75 per person, per day will be levied on credit cards when passengers check in. The amount may be adjusted upward or downward by the end of the cruise at the discretion of the cruiser.

Starting with Carnival Spirit, entering service in April, 2001, new ships in the fleet will all have reservations-only restaurants. Spirit will boast a two-level supper club, offering prime steaks and other upscale cuisine. Additional complimentary dining options planned for new ships include dedicated specialty areas featuring rotisserie roasted meats, fish and chips and other seafood, and ice cream parlors, lavish daily dessert bars, and "Nation of the Day" specialty cuisine in the Lido alternative dining areas. Back to Top

01-29-01 Crystal Hosts Famed Restaurant Crystal Cruises is partnering with Valentino, a prominent Los Angeles and Las Vegas restaurant. A special cuisine month-long festival, "Valentino at Prego," is planned in the elegant Italian alternative dining venue aboard both Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony. Cruisers will sample a five-course Valentino meal, with wine personally selected by the restaurant's owner, Valentino. The first menu, debuting on Crystal Symphony's 2001 World Cruise, features: Smoked Swordfish and Lobster Salad with Balsamic Dressing; Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage; Porcini Crusted Sea Bass Fillet with Marsala Sauce, Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Kernel Corn Flan; or, Grilled Filet Mignon of Piedmontese Beef with Red Wine and Sweet Garlic Sauce, Grilled Herb Polenta, and Crispy Spinach; Taleggio, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Gorgonzola Cheese, white Truffle Flavored Honey and Dried Fig Nut Bread; and Bianco Mangiare with Orange Honey Verbena Salad.

Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through travel agents. For a complimentary brochure, call 800-820-6663. Visit the luxury line's website at Back to Top

01-26-01 Weekend Cruise News 1-26-01 *** Crystal Cruises has scheduled its 2001 Wine and Food Festival to include renowned chefs like Hubert Keller, Jacques Pepin, Jean-Louis Palladin satisfying the palates of passengers. Slated for 20 worldwide cruises from Alaska to Africa aboard Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, the gourmet festival will also spotlight ten of the 41 master sommeliers in the US. At least one celebrity chef will be featured on each cruise, with 57 visiting experts in all. Visit Crystal's web site, for specific dates and events.

*** Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Sea is undergoing sea trials now in the North Sea. The ship, with owners, builders and insurers aboard, makes every possible maneuver -- such as full speed ahead and backwards, and moving in circles -- before final interior work is completed. Royal Caribbean will take delivery of its first Radiance-class ship March 9, 2001. The 88,000-ton vessel boasts a $6 million art collection, five dining venues, and a lounge completely encircling the funnel. Some 71% of outside cabins will have private verandas.

*** Norwegian Cruise Line has announced details of its new Hawaii program. Starting Dec. 16, 2001, NCL will launch its maiden Hawaii voyage for the newly renamed Norwegian Leo, formerly Star Cruise Line's SuperStar Leo. The 76,000-ton ship is purpose-built for NCL's Freestyle Cruising concept, featuring multiple dining venues and casual attire. The only ship cruising in Hawaii with private balconies, Norwegian Leo also boasts seven executive suites each measuring 605 sq. feet. The ships's dining spots include two main restaurants and additoinal venues for Chinese, Japanese, French and a grille. The ship will home port in Honolulu and sail year-round on one-week voyages visiting Kona, Fanning Island, Lahaina and Nawiliwili, with two sea days. Back to Top

01-26-01 Oil Spill In Galapagos Following a mile-wide oil spill in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuadorian Officials closed Santa Fe island to visitors. The oil spill happened January 16th when an Ecuadorian tanker ran aground. Many tourist ships, including Condros' Galapagos Explorer II had to cancel cruises for several days, although the islands frequented by visitors aren't affected and cruises are resuming. Back to Top

01-24-01 Millennium - Drydock in April Celebrity Cruises plans a two-week dry dock for Millennium to repair an electric motor housed within one of the ship's two propulsion pods, located below the surface of the water in the stern of the ship. The motor is responsible for turning one of the ship's two propellers. The motor can still function, but not at its optimum performance.

The dry dock will necessitate the cancellation of two one-week Caribbean cruises, scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale on April 1 and 8. Guests booked on these two cruises will receive a full refund and a 50 percent discount on a future seven-night Celebrity cruise in the Caribbean. A special help desk has been set up to assist guests and travel agents affected by the cancellations. Guests and travel agents needing assistance with individual bookings may call 1-877-200-2897. Those needing assistance with group bookings may call 1-877-200-3235. Back to Top

01-24-01 Norwegian Cruise Line Sued Norwegian Cruise Line has been sued by the Department of Justice for discriminating against blind passengers. In two incidents, NCL violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to Justice, which also asked the courts to order the cruise line to compensate the passengers and pay a fine.

01-24-01 Reality Show Participants Wanted! Staff and crew members live in very close quarters aboard ships while maintaining a semblance of civility. For this reason, the producers of the British reality program, "Big Brother," are seeking 10 people who have worked aboard cruise ships to live in a house together for ten weeks -- while the cameras roll. The last person to remain in the house scores a great deal money, the show's producers say. According to "Big Brother's" Deborah Sargeant, "Staff and crew who live, or have served, aboard cruise ships are ideal candidates. They will be well-traveled, used to 'entertaining' and have interesting stories to tell about their life." If you've worked aboard a ship and are interested in participating in "Big Brother," go to for details.

01-19-01 Weekend Cruise News 1-19-01 *** Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that its "Total Choice" dining program, now underway aboard three of the line's ships, will be expanded on ships now under construction. Beginning with Carnival Spirit, scheduled to enter service this April, all new ships will feature two-level reservations-only Supper Clubs featuring prime steaks and other upscale cuisine. Carnival hasn't said whether there will be an additional charge levied toward the new restaurants. Pre-paid gratuities of $9.75 per person are now being charged when the passenger first boards a Carnival ship.

*** Here's a new 2001 itinerary for lovers of all things Italian. Viking River Cruises offers a nine-day air/land/sea vacation, with a voyage on Italy's Po River. Passengers will fly into Milan, travel by bus to Cremora where they board the ms Venezia. Enroute to Venice, sightseeing tours of local villages and towns are scheduled. Scheduled from April through October, 2001, fares start at $2,398 per person, double occupancy including round-trip airfare, transfers, cruise and sightseeing.

*** RiverBarge Excursion Lines will bring Mardi Gras to the Mississippi River during the ten-night "Cajuns and Creoles" Rare Mambo river cruise, scheduled Feb. 19-28, 2001. The R/B River Explorer sails round-trip from New Orleans with the first three nights spent docked in the city. During the cruise, passengers will witness Cajun traditions while exploring the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Atchafalaya River Basin, participate in a swamp tour, visit Baton Rouge and journey the Mississippi River - all while learning about Mardi Gras past and present from RiverBarge's friends in surrounding towns along the way. In New Orleans, grandstand seating is reserved for guests to watch the parades in comfort and style, including "Bacchus" on Sunday, February 25 and "Rex" on Fat Tuesday, February 27. For additional information visit

*** Crystal Cruises was the first cruise company to introduce alternative restaurants and the company now adds another dining venue -- dining on deck. Several nights during voyages of Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, the Trident Grill around the Neptune Pool will extend its hours and offer informal menus of casual fare. Back to Top

01-18-01 Commodore Ship Seized By Feds When a cruise line declares bankruptcy, lawyers and government officials quickly take over. Florida bankruptcy courts ordered federal marshals to seize Commodore Cruise Line's Enchanted Capri, docked near New Orleans. The courts also ordered the Enchanted Isle to remain in port due to concern that the vessel may leave U.S. waters for foreign ports. Most of Capri's crew remains onboard and has yet to be paid.

01-17-01 Enchantment and Explorer add New Ports Royal Caribbean International announces changes in three seven-night Caribbean itineraries in 2001 and 2002. Effective April, 2001, Enchantment of the Seas, sailing round-trip from Miami, will add a visit to Costa Maya on its Western Caribbean itinerary. In January, 2002, Enchantment of the Seas' alternating Eastern Caribbean route will include an additional stop in San Juan.

On March 31, 2001, Explorer of the Seas, also sailing from Miami, will reverse her itinerary and visit Nassau/Paradise Island, Bahamas; St. Thomas, San Juan and Labadee, RCI's private Bahamian island. Sister ship Voyager of the Seas will add a stop in Grand Cayman this April on weekly Eastern Caribbean voyages from Miami. For additional information, visit the cruise line's web site: Back to Top

01-16-01 Porthole Golf Classic for Charity Porthole Cruise Magazine is sponsoring its annual Golf Classic Tournament to benefit the Jackson Memorial Breast Health Center and United Way. The tournament, which will be held on Monday, March 5, 2001, will be played on the Greg Norman-designed Great White Course at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida. The course, which incorporates a desert feel in tropical South Florida, provides an excellent challenge for most players and a memorable experience for all who enjoy playing the game.

Proceeds donated to United Way will be designated for lung cancer research in memory of Sherry Sbarsky, a warm and well-respected columnist for Porthole Cruise Magazine and other publications, who succumbed to lung cancer in June 2000. Last year's Golf Classic raised nearly $95,000, and the proceeds again benefited The Jackson Memorial Breast Health Center and United Way. Donations that were made to the Jackson center assisted the facility in purchasing a specialized piece of equipment that assists in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

For sponsorship information on Porthole Cruise Magazine's Fourth Annual Golf Tournament or to make a private donation, please contact Mitch Pizik, vice president of sales and marketing, or Paula Antonelli, event coordinator, at (954) 377-7777 ext. 203. Additional information may also be obtained by visiting the company's Web site, Back to Top

01-09-01 Canyon Ranch Nixes Ship Orders Canyon Ranch, the luxury spa company, has cancelled its order of two ships. The reason: Societa Esercizio Cantieri, a European ship yard where the order was place, has declared bankruptcy. Executives at Canyon Ranch say they have every intention of entering the cruise business, and will seek out a new ship yard for construction. Back to Top

01-12-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Personal Choice Cruising debuted on board Princess vessels this week. The slogan "Princess�where I belong" is being used to promote the new cruising style which offers three new programs. Personal Choice dining combines traditional fixed seating arrangements along with the option to dine when, where and with whom passengers want. Cruise Personalize, allows passengers to book their shore excursions, special occasion and dietary requirements in advance of the cruise. For Alaska bound passengers, the Alaska Outfitters program provides local Alaskan guides for customized wilderness experiences.

***Seven Seas Mariner, the first all balcony-suite ship, is undergoing sea trials in preparation for its delivery to Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, February 23. Christening is set for March 21 in Ft. Lauderdale with the inaugural nine-night cruise to Costa Rica sailing the following day.

***Norwegian Sea is the third Norwegian Cruise Line ship converted to "Freestyle Cruising", which features open seating and extended hours in four dining areas, a "resort casual" dress code and gratuities automatically added to passenger accounts. The ship repositions from Houston to Miami January 19 to operate three- and four-day Bahamas and Key West cruises.

***Carnival Corporation had a record setting weekend January 5-8th with ships from their various cruise lines embarking 27,578 passengers on 16 voyages from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. The ships sailing over the 4-day period were Carnival's Ecstasy, Paradise, Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory; Holland America Line's ,Volendam, Zaandam, Westerdam, Ryndam and Noordam; Costa's CostaVictoria, and CostaAtlantica, Seabourn's Seabourn Legend and Cunard's QE2 and Caronia.

***Noordam has repositioned to Tampa for the winter. The smallest ship in Holland America's fleet will sail 14-night Southern Caribbean cruises from Tampa through April 1. Ports of call are San Juan, St. John/ St. Thomas, Guadeloupe, Barbados, St. Lucia, Isla de Margarita, Bonaire, Aruba and Grand Cayman.

***Princess Cruises announced the new Star Princess will be based in Los Angeles when it debuts in 2002. The 109,000 grt vessel carries 2,600 passengers and is a sister to Grand Princess . Beginning March 16, 2002, Star Princess will take passengers round-trip from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. The Los Angeles-based cruise line has also made a donation of $50,000 to the Hollywood Historic Trust for repairs and general upkeep to the stars along the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. Back to Top

01-09-01 Millennium Reduces Time in Port Celebrity Cruises has reduced the amount of time Millennium spends in port due to problems with the ship's pod propulsion system. The 1,900-passenger ship is operating at around 50% of its normal power. On the ship's Eastern Caribbean itinerary, revised port stays are: San Juan, from 5-10 p.m. (originally 1-8 pm) Catalina Island, from 11 am-6pm (originally 7 am to 6 pm); St. Thomas, from 9 am-5 pm (originally 10 am-6 pm) and Nassau from 1:30-7 pm (originally 11 am-7 pm). New hours for Western Caribbean ports of call, visited by Millennium on alternating weeks, will be announced. Back to Top

01-08-01 Renaissance Adds Caribbean Cruises Renaissance Cruises, which just launched its eighth R-class vessel, will expand its cruising regions to the Caribbean, effective December, 2001. The 684-passenger R6 will cruise on two alternating itineraries: Aruba to Barbados, visiting Curacao, Tortola, Martinique and Trinidad plus a Barbados to Grenada route, calling in St. Maarten, Antigua and St. Lucia. Per person, double occupancy rates begin at $799 including port charges; low-cost air add-ons are also available.

Renaissance is best known for its exotic cruising regions aboard small ships with single, open dining, casual dress and no-smoking policies. The company's fleet sails in the Greek Isles, Tahiti and the South Pacific, Asia, Northern Europe and Scandinavia, South America, New Zealand and Australia, Caribbean, and the Mediterranean on seven R-Class ships and two 114-passenger Renaissance ships. Reservations may be obtained from local travel agents; for a brochure, call (800) 525-5350.Back to Top

01-05-01 Weekend Cruise News

*** Holland America has introduced 23 new shore excursions in the Caribbean. Many of the new excursions are adventuresome to meet the needs of the increasing number of younger passengers sailing with HAL. Parasail in St. Kitts, kayak in Jamaica, or take an eco-hike on Barbados and St. John. Deep sea sport fishing is offered in St. Croix, Nassau, St. Maarten, Trinidad, Grand Cayman and Isla de Margarita. Ranging from one to nine hours in length the new excursions include beach/snorkel outings, botanical gardens, horseback riding and history tours.

***Renaissance Cruises has released its "2001 Cruise Vacation Guide". The brochure outlines all Renaissance cruises throughout the world. The line is rapidly expanding with three ships entering service in 2000, R5, R6 and R7 and R8 scheduled to debut March 4, 2001 in Southampton, England. Renaissance ships will sail in Europe, Asia, Australia, South Pacific, South America, Africa and the Caribbean in 2001.

***Norwegian Cruise Line has opened a new head office for sales and marketing in continental Europe. Located in Bern, Switzerland, the new office will act as the hub for European expansion plans. The Frankfurt and Oslo offices will continue to serve the German and Scandinavian markets . NCL's largest source of European passengers is the United Kingdom which will continue to be served from the U.K. office.

***Carnival expects to host a record 300,000 children on board their ships in 2001. The "Camp Carnival" program is geared to serve junior cruisers with supervised activities and special facilities including arts-and-crafts, computer labs and playground equipment. Recent enhancements to the program include upgraded children's menus and a turn-down service providing kids with chocolate chip cookies at bedtime.

*** Crystal Cruises will offer an overnight stay in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval in 2002. Other highlights of the recently announced 2002 sailings include a return to China and Japan after a three year absence, an all-British Isles cruise, a Gulf of Alaska voyage and a 100-day World Cruise. Crystal Harmony will return to San Francisco for a series of summer Alaska sailings.

*** The World of ResidenSea plans to launch a second ship in 2003. The 50,000 grt vessel will be larger than the first, scheduled to enter service in December 2001. Both vessels feature ultra luxury residences as well as guest suites for friends, family and the high-end luxury market. The ships will sail internationally throughout the year. Back to Top

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