News Archive - January 2002

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1-30-02 HAL's 2003 Berthing Pains In 2003, Holland America will spend lots of time giving "berth" as it launches three new ships, the Prinsendam, Zuiderdam and Oosterdam. The new Zuiderdam, sister ship to the Oosterdam, will be introduced in December 2002 and spend its inaugural season as Holland America Line's year-around Caribbean ship, sailing from Ft. Lauderdale all year on seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. The 1,848-passenger Oosterdam will debut in Europe, departing July 10, 2003 from Venice, Italy, on its maiden cruise, the first of a series of 10- and 12-day summer and fall Baltic and western Mediterranean cruises, culminating with a 12-day transatlantic cruise Nov. 23-Dec. 5, then two seven-day Caribbean cruises and two seven-day holiday cruises from Ft. Lauderdale. The more intimate 794-passenger Prinsendam, continuing its inaugural season of exotic cruises ranging in length from 14 to 22 days from January to September in Australia/New Zealand, Southeast Asia, the Far East, Africa, Western Europe and the Baltic. On Sept. 20, the Prinsendam sails on a new 25-day cruise from Lisbon to San Diego, visiting West Africa, the Caribbean, Panama Canal and Mexico, then embarks Oct. 15 on a new 35-day South America/South Pacific cruise from San Diego to Auckland, ending the year with three 16-day cruises between Auckland and Sydney. Back to Top

1-29-02 New Carnival Homeports Those who prefer to drive to meet their Carnival cruise will have 18 ports to choose from. Carnival Cruise Lines will operate from 18 North American homeports in 2002, including several new ports which rarely receive visits from passenger vessels. For example, the Holiday will sail from Mobile on a series of two-day cruises-to-nowhere and five- and six-day Caribbean voyages in March. From Norfolk, two seven-day Bermuda cruises departing June 5 and 12, a six-day Bahamas cruise Oct. 6 and a pair of two-day cruises-to-nowhere Oct. 12 and 24 are scheduled aboard Carnival Triumph. Charleston will be the homeport of Carnival Triumph on a six-day Bermuda cruise departing May 29 and a five-day Bahamas voyage Oct. 27. From Philadelphia, Carnival Legend will sail on a six-day Bermuda cruise Oct. 23. From Baltimore, Carnival Legend will make a six-day Bermuda cruise aboard Carnival Legend Oct. 30. On the West Coast, San Diego will be the homeport of Carnival Spirit, making six- and eight-day Mexico voyages departing Oct. 19 and Oct. 25, respectively, and a 14-day Panama Canal cruise departing Nov. 2. For reservations and additional information, consult your travel agent or visit Back to Top

1-25-02 Weekend Cruise News ***Star Princess was Christened today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Malfalcone, Italy. Following a positioning cruise to Singapore, Star Princess will sail her inaugural voyage on February 13, a 26-day cruise from Singapore to Los Angeles. The 109,000-ton, 2,600-passenger Star Princess is a sister ship to Grand and Golden Princess. She will be based year-round on the West Coast for Mexican Riviera and Alaska cruises.

***Ultra-luxury lines, Silversea and Seabourn are experiencing record sales. Seabourn Cruise Line has enjoyed a three-month wave in which it booked net revenues exceeding those in the same period last year by 307 percent. This spells success for the line's new image as The Yachts of Seabourn, focusing on the excellent reputation of its 208-passenger Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend.

Silversea has experienced the highest net-booking week in its nine-year history. With the week ending January 18, the line saw bookings jump by 24 percent over the same time last year. Special promotions being offered by the luxury line include a 15 percent discount for passengers who book and pay six months ahead of sailing, a $1,000 savings per couple for new-to-Silversea passengers and no single-supplement for single passengers. Silversea's Reassurance Program has been extended to May 31, 2002. Instead of losing 100 percent of their cruise fare for canceling 1 to 14 days prior to cruise departure, passengers will receive a 100 percent Reassurance Cruise Credit to use on a future cruise.

***The Panama Canal Authority reports that Norwegian Star broke the Panama Canal Toll Record on her maiden voyage last December. Norwegian Star paid $208,653.16 beating the previous record of $202,176.76. set earlier last year by Radiance of the Seas. The toll is calculated by the tonnage and volume of the vessel. Norwegian Star was sailing from Miami on the first leg of a voyage to Honolulu, her home port. There were 2,226 passengers on board.

***Holland America Line-Westours has released a new video on Alaska. Entitled The Great Alaska Tours" the video features a 14-day "Dream Tour" beginning in Anchorage and traveling to Denali National Park, Fairbanks, the Yukon River and Dawson City, Whitehorse and Skagway, where tour passengers board their luxurious Holland America ship for a cruise to Glacier Bay, Ketchikan and the Inside Passage to Vancouver, B.C. Along the way, the video features all-new footage of Holland America destinations, shore excursions and ships in Alaska. The video highlights the many options the viewer has in various destinations. To order copies, call 877-724-5425. Cost is US$9.95 plus $2 shipping in the United States and US$9.95 plus $4 shipping (US funds) in Canada.

***Princess has expanded the on board children's program. New for 2002, Princess Kids features complimentary in-port activities and special educational opportunities. Age groups include the Princess Pelicans (ages 3-7), Princess Pirateers (ages 8-12) and Off Limits (ages 13-17). Princess' Youth Centers offer a full schedule of activities from 9am to 10pm while at sea and on port days from 8am to 5pm. New educational activities have been created in conjunction with the California Science Center and the National Wildlife Federation. In Alaska, Princess also offers the Junior Ranger program, which recently received an Excellence Award from the Alaska Region of the National Park Service.

***Acclaimed British opera tenor Russell Watson will perform on board Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth 2, during the 2002 World Cruise. Watson has performed for both President Bush and Queen Elizabeth II. He has sung for The Pope at the Vatican and with Paul McCartney at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Before joining the ship, Watson will headline a gala on Saturday night, January 26, at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. This is a special event for the QE2 World Cruise passengers. The ship then sails from Hawaii via the South Pacific for New Zealand and Australia. Watson will perform on board ship during the cruise segment. All passengers will be invited to attend a full concert in Auckland on February 6 being taped for public broadcasting in the U.S. and England. The open-air concert will be held pier-side with QE2 as a backdrop. Watson will be accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Viva Voce & Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus and the Auckland Children's Choir.

***Orient Lines' Marco Polo has special destinations lined up for the 2002/2003 season. The vessel will return to Antarctica in 2003. Marco Polo has a special ice-strengthened hull and was specially re-designed for cruising Antarctica before joining Orient Lines. Marco Polo also sails to Western, Southern and East Africa later this year, including a special cruise to view the solar eclipse. The "Southern Africa", from Nairobi to Cape Town for 14 days, November 28, 2002, calls at Zanzibar and Madagascar before positioning to view the total eclipse of the Sun. Marco Polo then continues to Richard's Bay, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town (2 overnights on board), South Africa. The solar eclipse cruise tour for 20 days includes pre-cruise Safari in Kenya to Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks.

***Star Clippers has a two-for-one promotion on its new luxury sail cruises from Barbados from May 5 through October 27. The-two-for one offer starts at just $893 per person including port charges. The offer has been extended to May 31, 2002. Instead of returning to the Mediterranean for the summer season in May, Star Clipper will re-position from St. Maarten to Barbados for a new Caribbean itinerary. The route features alternating, weeklong cruises out of Barbados on Sundays calling at Martinique, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Barts, Bequia, St. Kitts, Tobago Cays, Iles des Saintes, St. Maarten, Grenada and the Grenadines. Star Clipper is a four-masted, 360 foot, luxury clipper ship, a re-creation of the Tall Ships from the Golden Age of Sail. It carries 170 passengers in pampered comfort and a casually elegant atmosphere.

***Crystal Cruises has announced Crystal Symphony's 2003 World Cruise. Next winter's 104-day odyssey is entitled "From Antarctica to the Tropics". Sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Crystal Symphony will call at 37 ports in 15 countries on a route through the Caribbean to South America, around Cape Horn and Antarctica, across the South Pacific to Australia, the Hawaiian Islands and returning to Los Angeles. The voyage features four maiden calls, including the island of Huahine in the Society Islands of French Polynesia, the Australian ports of Launceston and Exmouth in the provinces of Tasmania and Western Australia, and Porto Belo, Brazil. The World Cruise is available in segments of 18 to 27 days.

***Alaska Governor Tony Knowles has proposed a $30 head tax on cruise passengers. The tax would raise $20 million for the State which has a $1.2 billion budget gap. Knowles cited the fact that cruise lines pay no corporate tax to Alaska as a reason for the tax. Cruise lines view the move as discriminatory as state ferry and air passengers are not being taxed. Studies since the year 2000 have shown that the cruise industry spends more than $282 million annually in Alaska and all port cities apart from Wrangell benefit enormously from cruise business. Back to Top

1-18-02 Weekend Cruise News ***Construction of Cunard's Queen Mary 2 has commenced with the cutting of the first steel last Wednesday at Alstom Chantiers de L'Atlantique at Saint Nazaire, France. Upon completion, Queen Mary 2 will break records being the largest, longest, widest, tallest and most expensive passenger ship ever built. The 150,000-ton ship will carry only 2,620 passengers (lower berths). Queen Mary 2 will be 1,132 feet in length, 237 feet high from keel to funnel top and 135 feet in width. Power will be diesel and gas turbine with a MermaidTM Pod Propulsion System by Rolls Royce. Top cruising speeds are expected to approach 30 knots with low noise and vibration. Unique will be the first sea-going planetarium. The on board design will recreate the grand elegance of the great transatlantic liners of the 20th century. Estimated cost of the project is $780 million. Queen Mary 2 is scheduled to enter service in January 2004.

***Carnival Cruise Lines set a new reservations record on Monday, January 14, booking 28,061 individual passengers. This breaks the line's previous record of 27,389 passengers set on January 22, 2001. Based on current wave period phone volume, the company will keep its reservations department open 24 hours a day seven days a week indefinitely, effective Thursday, January 17. The New Year "wave period" is the most active time of the year for cruise line bookings.

*** Holland America's Amsterdam sets sail on her first World Cruise this Sunday. The 100-day voyage sails from Los Angeles to New York. Heading West, the route goes from Los Angles across the Pacific calling at Hawaii, the south seas islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, and proceeds on to New Zealand and Australia, Far East, Asia, South Africa, South America and the Caribbean, ending in New York. The itinerary was amended last Fall in order to avoid the Middle East. The World Cruise is a special experience and is available in segments of 13 to 31 days.

***Royal Celebrity Tours, the Alaska tour division of RCI and Celebrity Cruises, has taken possession of two new Wilderness Express train cars. The carriages boast the most dome glass of any double-deck train cars in the world, outdoor 360-degree viewing platforms, extra wide seats that recline and rotate, and onboard dining. The cars are also equipped with dome-level ADA-compliant seating, allowing physically challenged travelers to access both levels. Passengers on Celebrity Cruises' and RCI's Gulf of Alaska sailings can select escorted, pre- or post-cruise land packages ranging from two to six nights featuring Talkeetna, Fairbanks, Alyeska, Denali Park and Anchorage.

***Carnival Pride has begun her year round Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral. Carnival's latest ship has new and expanded "family-friendly" amenities as part of the "Camp Carnival" kids program. These include geography classes, candy-making machines, special family activities on the private Bahamian islands of Half Moon Cay or Salt Cay, teens-only shore excursions, and "just-for-kids" port lectures. Carnival expects to welcome more than 350,000 junior cruisers on board its fleet this year.

***Crystal Cruises has announced the lineup of performers for its music theme cruises in 2002. The Glenn Miller Orchestra with singer Beryl Davis are featured on the Crystal Symphony's transatlantic cruise, May 13. Tom Hook and the Terrier Brothers along with vocalist/ pianist Yve Evans headline the October 16 Jazz & Blues, Panama Canal cruise. Soloists and Chamber groups from the Julliard School of Music will be on board Crystal Symphony's April 27 Panama Canal cruise, from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale. "Philharmonia Virtuosi", the resident Classical Music Orchestra of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art will perform under the direction Richard Kapp during Crystal Harmony's September 2 Alaska cruise. Special guest artists for the 1970s music theme cruise have yet to be decided. For a complete list of Crystal Cruises' 2002 theme cruises by ship and date, see CruiseMates' theme cruise page.

***The Christening of The World of ResidenSea has been moved to the United States, from Oslo, Norway. The World of ResidenSea is the first resort community at sea continuously circumnavigating the globe. Originally, naming ceremonies were to take place in Oslo right after the ship's Jan. 31, 2002, delivery. Now the vessel will set sail on its maiden voyage from Oslo on Feb. 24, 2002, sailing via Hamburg, London and Lisbon to America where it will be Christened. Details of the new Christening location are to be announced shortly. The first passengers in the guest suites will board The World in London on March 1, 2002, for a 13-day transatlantic voyage to Ft. Lauderdale. During the call at Lisbon, the first real-grass green to be used on board a sea faring golf course will be loaded onto the ship.

*** Holland America Line is revising its smoking policy in dining areas. Smoking will no longer be permitted in any dining area beginning with the first cruise of each ship after February 1. Amsterdam will be the last vessel to comply with the new rule, following her World Cruise, April 30, 2002. Under the new policy, smoking will no longer will be permitted in main dining rooms and the enclosed portion of Lido restaurants. Alternative restaurants have been smoke-free since they were introduced. All ships will continue to have designated smoking areas.

***Windstar Cruises has applied to the government of French Polynesia for Wind Song to sail once again from Tahiti. The luxury sail vessel operated from Papeete, Tahiti for ten years until 1997. If approved, the new schedule would include seasonal seven-night cruises. Wind Song then moved on to Costa Rica. She is currently sailing in New Zealand and will inaugurate Far East cruises for Windstar this year.

***Royal Caribbean International has revamped its past passenger program. There are now only three levels, Gold for one to four cruises; Platinum for five to nine and Diamond for 10 cruises plus. Existing Silver members have automatically become Gold members. A new "Ultimate Value Booklet," delivered to the stateroom, provides members with onboard offers and discounts for spa services, casino, bingo, wine tasting and much more. New benefits for Platinum and Diamond members include special rates on balcony staterooms and suites; priority check-in, a private departure lounge; and the waiving of the administrative fee for custom-air requests. Diamond members also receive priority wait listing for sold-out shore excursions, spa services and dining room seating; as well as concierge services on Voyager-class and Radiance-class vessels. A Loyalty Ambassador is aboard each cruise to ensure members receive their benefits. Details on the enhanced program can be found on the Crown & Anchor section on the Royal Caribbean web site

***Carnival Corporation and Wal-Mart have joined forces. Bargains on Carnival's cruise lines - Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, The Yachts of Seabourn, and Windstar Cruises - can now be found at Specials ranging from a three-day Bahamas getaway for $247 to a seven-day Mediterranean romance package for $3,749 are listed on the site. Cruises can be booked by calling 1-800-288-6030. In addition to advertised specials on, customers can book any ship, itinerary and departure date offered by the six cruise lines by calling the toll-free number.

*** In the Panama Canal, the widening of the Culebra Cut has been completed a year ahead of schedule. The widening will allow a 20 percent increase in operating capacity. It is another notable engineering achievement in the construction and maintenance of the Canal. Back to Top

1-17-02 Princess To Christen A Star Princess Cruises will officially name its newest ship Star Princess at a naming ceremony scheduled January 25, 2002 in Monfalcone, Italy. Following the ceremony, Star Princess will leave on a 15-day positioning voyage to Singapore, where she will depart on February 13 for her inaugural sailing on a 26-day odyssey across the Pacific to Los Angeles. Once in California, the ship will participate in a series of short preview cruises, before beginning a regular season of round-trip seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages on March 16. For the summer season, the ship will be based in Alaska, sailing between Vancouver and Seward. The 2,600-passenger, 109,000-ton Star Princess will be the largest vessel ever to sail on the West Coast. Back to Top

1-11-02 Weekend Cruise News ***QE2 arrived in New York last Monday, the first scheduled cruise ship to call at the port since September 11. The ship made a ceremonial stop in front of the World Trade Center site. A wreath was dropped into the water and the ship's flag was lowered to half-staff. QE2 sailed Monday afternoon on the first leg of her 108-day world cruise.

***Rhapsody of the Seas has commenced sailing from the port of Tampa. The ship will sail from Tampa through February, 16, on one six-night and five seven-night cruises to the Western Caribbean. Ports of call are Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Key West, Florida. On February 9, 2002, Rhapsody of the Seas will make a special seven-night cruise to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

***Carnival has curtailed its service call at Playa del Carmen for the operation of shore excursions to the Mayan ruins at Tulum. Ships will now have a longer call at Cozumel and Tulum excursions will depart from there.

***The Princess, RCCL, Carnival discussions continue. Carnival has offered to sweeten their deal with P&O Princess. Meanwhile Royal Caribbean is confident that P&O Princess shareholders will vote in favor of RCCL/P&O Princess merger plans, at their meeting in February. Meanwhile, Germany's Federal Cartel Office has cleared the merger of P&O Princess with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. In Britain, the Office of Fair Trading has delayed it decision to January 29.

*** The town of Yakutat, is the latest port in Alaska to tax cruise passengers. Seven cruise lines have received bills totaling $382,833 for sailing in nearby Disenchantment Bay to view Hubbard Glacier in 2001. Yakutat's Assembly approved a $1.50 per-passenger tax last year on ships visiting the area. Cruise Lines object to the tax since they only call at Yakutat if there is an emergency, including medical evacuations. In such cases, expenses are absorbed by the cruise line. A compromise is being worked out through the North West CruiseShip Association which represents cruise lines visiting Alaska.

***Seabourn Pride sails round trip from London to the Baltic and Norwegian Fjords this summer on cruises that feature extended stays in port. The 14-day Baltic cruise includes an overnight in Hamburg, Germany and two full days in Stockholm, Sweden, as well as three full days in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Norwegian Fjords sailings, include a day and a half in Copenhagen and two full days in Amsterdam, as well as calls at Leith (for Edinburgh) Scotland; Bergen and Oslo, Norway and Gudvangen and Flaam in breathtaking Sognefjord. New for 2002 is an overnight in the heart of London on the last evening of every cruise, allowing passengers to enjoy London's nightlife, theater and shopping. The four sailings depart June 1 and 29, July 27 and August 24.

***Royal Olympic Cruises has introduced two new seven-day itineraries in the Mediterranean for 2002. Olympia Explorer, the new sister-ship of Olympia Voyager, will sail weekly on the new Grand Mediterranean itinerary commencing May 3. Explorer will sail round trip from both Venice (Sundays) and Athens (Fridays) to Dubrovnik, Croatia; Istanbul, Turkey; Corfu, Katakolon (Olympia), Mykonos, and Santorini, Greece, through October 18, 2002. A second new itinerary is "Treasures of the Mediterranean" on board the Odysseus, sailing weekly round trip from both Barcelona (Fridays), Genoa (Saturdays) and Marseille (Sundays) to Palma de Mallorca and Motril (Granada), Spain; Tangier, Morocco; and Gibraltar, from May 18 to Oct.12, 2002.

Olympia Voyager will not be sailing in the Mediterranean next summer as she usually does. Instead Voyager will continue weekly sailings from Houston. Sailing on Saturdays from March 30 to October 19, 2002, voyager visits Playa del Carmen, Puerto Cortes (Honduras), Belize City, and Progresso (Merida, Mexico).

*** Two special Regal Princess sailings visit Pacific Islands that became some of the most important battle sites of World War II. The 32-day Tokyo to San Francisco voyage on April 27 and a 22-day Honolulu to Osaka cruise on October 6, include calls at Midway, the Marshall Islands, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Saipan, Gwam and Okinawa as well as Hiroshima, Japan.

***Celebrity Cruises has redesigned their web site at . Drop down boxes from the list of each major area on the site make it easier to navigate. Passengers can book shore excursions online through the "reservations" section of the site. In the destinations area, however, you still need to click on "price this cruise" to find the exact sailing date(s) for specific itineraries. Celebrity Cruises Senior Vice President of Marketing and Brand Planning, Ares Michaelides, remarked "Our redesigned web site is not only more functional and easier to use, but also portrays a warmer, more inviting look and feel, which is consistent with the ambiance onboard every Celebrity ship."

***The Port of Brisbane, Australia is planning to construct a new cruise terminal to promote cruise ship visits to Queensland. The new facility is in the design phase. It is expected to be completed within three years.

***American Classic Voyages Project America ships may be acquired by the U.S. Navy to be used as floating barracks, hospitals and command-and-control centers. The two 72,000-ton ships were being built for AMCV by Northrup Gruman/Ingalls Shipbuilding at Pascagoula, Mississippi. They were originally designed to be the first major ocean-going passenger ships built in the United States in more than 40 years.

***Ship buffs will be interested to know that two famous sister ships have found new owners. Pacific Princess has been purchased by the same Italian investors who have bought P&O's Victoria. Pacific Princess leaves the Princess fleet next October, following her Bermuda season. There is no word on her new deployment. Sister-ship Island Princess, has been sold to the original owner of Orient Lines. The ship has been renamed Platinum and is currently being refitted in Malta. Island Princess was acquired by Hyundai in 1999 and renamed Hyundai Pungak for cruises between South and North Korea, a program which has been cancelled. Back to Top

1-8-02 Carnival Sting Operation Carnival Cruise Line enacted a sting operation last Sunday when six passengers attempted to board Carnival Victory in Miami with unwanted pets: 160 live bees in glass bottles. According to Carnival spokesperson Jennifer de la Cruz, the passengers "maintained that they were intending to use the bees for medical reasons." ``We took the six passengers off to err on the side of caution while we further investigated what they were up to,'' de la Cruz said. The departure was delayed three hours.

Some people consider bee stings an alternative therapy for diseases. A spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture said that bees cannot be taken from the United States into other countries without paperwork.

1-4-02 Weekend Cruise News ***Crystal Symphony is starting the New Year fresh from a multimillion dollar refit. In early December, the 50,000-ton, 940-passenger ship emerged from her renovation with a new look. In addition to several contemporary design updates, many of her public areas, as well as the two 982-square-foot Crystal Penthouses, were completely remodeled during the scheduled fall drydock.

Pubic rooms which were remodeled include the Jade Garden, Asian specialty restaurant. New menu covers and sleek outfits for the service staff will complete the new look in early 2002. The Crystal Cove and Plaza, the central lobby area and gathering place aboard Crystal Symphony, was completely outfitted with new furnishings. Facilities were also upgraded in the Lido Cafe and Crystal Spa and Salon.

***Carnival Pride will be christened Monday in Port Canaveral. Godmother of the new ship is Dr. Tamara Jennigan, a pioneer in U.S. space travel who has logged more flight hours on the space shuttle than any other female astronaut in history. Following the ceremony, the 88,500-ton Carnival Pride will sail a two-day preview cruise for more than 2,000 members of the travel trade before commencing year-round Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, January 12, 2002.

***Holland America Line's Volendam and Zaandam are sailing amended "Seafarer" and "Wayfarer" itineraries. For 2002. Dominica replaces St. Kitts, HAL's private Half Moon Cay, Bahamas replaces Nassau and there is no longer a call at St. John. The 10-night Southern Caribbean cruises sail round trip from Ft. Lauderdale. "Seafarer" calls at Bonaire, Isla de Margarita, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay. "Wayfarer" calls at Curacao, La Guaira (for Caracas, Venezuela), Trinidad, Martinique, St.Thomas and Half Moon Cay.

***Sample Princess Cruises' Personal Choice Cruising concept, on short cruises being offered in 2002. The new 109,000-ton Star Princess will offer a two-day "Cruise to Nowhere" from Los Angeles on March 10, followed by a three-day Mexico Sampler on March 13, which includes a call at Ensenada. Sister-ship Golden Princess sails a five-day New England/Canada cruise, round-trip from New York departing October 19, 2002, which calls at Halifax (Nova Scotia), Bar Harbor and Newport (Rhode Island). Fares for the sampler cruises start at at $249 for the two-day, $399 for the three-day and $935 for the five-day sailing.

Princess' Personal Choice Cruising, is an innovative, unstructured approach to the cruise experience. The ships offer Personal Choice Dining, the cruise industry's only program enabling passengers to choose between Traditional Fixed Seating and restaurant-style Anytime Dining, which are both available in the main dining rooms. In addition, the vessels offer three main show lounges, which feature a wide variety of original Personal Choice Entertainment productions.

***The Delta Queen Steamboat Company is now taking reservations for 2002 Mississippi River sailings. Bookings are open for the Mississippi Queen riverboatin' excursions from May 7, 2002, commencing with a seven-night cruise from New Orleans to Memphis. Delta Queen's three-night sailing round trip from New Orleans, August 26 is followed by three to seven-night sailings from New Orleans, Memphis, Chattanooga, Nashville, St. Louis, St. Paul and Galveston. In an effort to get people back on the river, and preserve this great American tradition of riverboatin', special "Save the Queens" fares are in effect with starting fares ranging from $375 for a three-night cruise to $1,000 for an eight-night cruise. Visit the company's new web site at

***The vessels of the new luxury yacht company, SeaDream Yacht Club, are being completely redesigned and refitted at Lloyd Werft's shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany. SeaDream II is presently undergoing alterations. She will sail January 16 to Florida to be unveiled in Miami early in February and begin her Caribbean season. SeaDream I, currently operating in the Caribbean, will go into dry dock in April. Beginning in May both yachts will operate in the Mediterranean from their home port of Nice. Following ten weeks of sailings from Miami in November and December, St. Thomas will be the yachts' home port for winter Caribbean cruises.

The ships are the former SeaGoddess I and II and Seabourn Goddess I and II. They left the Seabourn fleet in September to join the new company. For more on SeaDream Yacht Club see CruiseMates' article Dreaming of 'Ultra-Yachts'.

***Star Cruises' SuperStar Capricorn is now sailing from Laem Chabang, Thailand, the port for Bangkok. The 701-passenger vessel replaces SuperStar Aires on Gulf of Thailand cruises to April 2002. Laem Chabang, is a very busy container port, near the resort town of Pattaya, about a three hour drive from Bangkok. Other major cruise lines use the port for their seasonal sailings in the region.

The new $15 million cruise terminal at Laem Chabang will officially open soon providing passengers with a state of the art facility. The new terminal was developed by Star Cruises as part of its commitment to develop Bangkok into one of three major year-round fly/cruise hubs in the Asia-Pacific region, along with Hong Kong and Singapore. Back to Top

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