News Archive - January 2003

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013
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1-31-03 Weekend Cruise News *** The new line, Oceania Cruises has become the 25th member of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA). Oceania's reservations office opened in Miami last Monday, January 27. Here are the itineraries for Regatta and Insignia, entering service in July and October respectively. All cruises are 14-days in length:

  • Regatta sets sail July 5 on her maiden voyage sailing from Barcelona to Dover. Baltic cruises follow, between Stockholm and Dover including an overnight on board in Stockholm, Copenhagen and St. Petersburg, Russia. Regatta returns to the Mediterranean, sailing from Dover to Barcelona on September 13, Barcelona to Venice, September 27, Venice to Barcelona, October, 11 with overnight on board in Venice, then Barcelona to Lisbon, October 2. Regatta positions to Ft. Lauderdale, sailing from Lisbon to Ft. Lauderdale, November 6.
  • Insignia's maiden voyage, October 4, 2003, sails from Barcelona to Istanbul followed by Istanbul to Rome, October 18 and Rome to Barcelona, October 30. Insignia positions from Barcelona to Barbados November 9, 2003.

For more information and to order a brochure, visit Oceania Cruises web site at www.oceaniacruises.com or call reservations at 800-531-5658.

*** Norwegian Cruise Line is continuing to expand its 'Homeland Cruising' options, outlined in the newly released, 192-page, 2003-2004 brochure. The line's latest announcement names Charleston, South Carolina as the home port of Norwegian Majesty next winter. From November 8, 2003 to April 17, 2004, Norwegian Majesty will sail a series of 24 seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean from Charleston, calling at George Town, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Mexico and Key West, Florida. On Saturday, April 17, 2004 she will reposition to Boston with a 15-day Colonial America cruise. From Boston, she will continue her summer season to Bermuda.

*** Windjammer Barefoot Cruises is sending the sailing ship Mandalay to Panama and the San Blas Islands this summer. The 72-passenger S/V Mandalay, a 236-foot, three-masted barquentine, will sail on six-day voyages out of Colon, Panama to the San Blas islands from June 9 through September 15, 2003. These will be the first regularly scheduled Windjammer cruises out of Panama. Passengers will have the unique opportunity to experience both Panama's 'canal zone,' one of the 20th century's engineering marvels, and the pristine San Blas archipeligo with its white sand beaches and coral reefs. The islands are inhabited by the Kuna Indians whose culture has been virtually unchanged by the modern world. Kuna law prohibits scuba diving but visitors may snorkel on the reef, one of the best preserved in the world. For more information see your travel agent or visit the Windjammer web site at www.windjammer.com.

*** Radisson Seven Seas Cruises has a two for one offer on several sailings in March and April. Eligible sailings include the Radisson Diamond's, four-night cruises March 31, April 4 and 8 from San Juan and Seven Seas Navigator's four-night Western Caribbean, March 30 and 10-night Caribbean Classics cruise, April 4, both from Ft. Lauderdale. Per person prices for the Radisson Diamond cruises are from $998, the Seven Seas Navigator's March 30 cruise is from $1,248 and April 4 is from $2,498, all including two-for-one savings, shipboard gratuities, wine with dinner and an in-stateroom bar set-up. Low-cost air add-ons are available from 84 North American gateways from $299. For more details and to book see your travel agent. For brochures and reservation information toll-free 800-285-1835 or visit the Radisson web site at www.rssc.com.

*** Cunard's QE2 passed her latest health inspection by the CDC with a score of 92. The inspection took place in Honolulu during the ship's world cruise. Earlier this month, QE2 failed an inspection in Ft. Lauderdale with a score of 85. A passing score is 86.

*** Princess Cruises has joined with the Miami Seaquarium to bring a new educational program aboard its ships in the Caribbean. Offered as part of the Princess Kids program, sessions give junior cruisers a chance to learn about sea life by watching videos and joining in activities created by Seaquarium's education department. Princess youth counselors are being trained at the Miami park to supervise the new program.

In other news from Princess, the line has designed a new 'Destination Alaska' section for its web site. The new guide gives travelers more details about the line's 46 cruisetour options and five lodges it owns in Alaska as well as background information about the state. It is the first of a series of destination guides the line is planning to add to its site. Europe and the Panama Canal, Caribbean, Mexico, Canada/New England and Princess' ‘Exotics' will follow later in the year.

*** Holland America will add four new rail cars to its Alaska fleet on May 16. The Full Dome McKinley Explorer rail cars seat 88 passengers each and are said to be the largest in North America. HAL currently has 13 rail cars in Alaska for the journey from Anchorage to Denali Park and Fairbanks.

*** Royal Caribbean International continues to improve the Accessible Seas program for travelers with disabilities. The line is adding Braille deck numbers to staircase handrails on each of its 16 ships in 2003. Braille numbers are also found in elevators on RCI ships and Braille menus are available. Other amenities for travelers with disabilities aboard the RCI fleet include automatic doors, hydraulic pool lifts, shore-side beach wheel chairs and pull-down closet rods.

In other news from RCI, the line's Ocean Fund has awarded $480,750 in seven new grants to marine conservation organizations, including a two-year, $200,000 grant to the World Wildlife Fund.

*** Carnival has planned a "Million Dollar Golf Cruise" aboard the new 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest. The seven-day western Caribbean cruise, which features visits to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, will sail round-trip from New Orleans Nov. 2-9, 2003. The $1 million hole-in-one contest will serve as the finale to a day-long golf tournament at Montego Bay's par-72, 6,820-yard White Witch Golf Club, located at the five-star Ritz-Carlton Hotel, considered one of the finest golf courses in the Caribbean. Four golfers will be selected for the "Million Dollar Shootout" based on a closest-to-the-pin contest held during the tournament. These golfers will then have one shot to make a hole-in-one at a designated par-3 hole at the end of the tournament. The $1 million prize will be paid out as a 40-year annuity. Golfers can also play the Nicklaus-designed Cozumel Country Club and the Sunrise Golf Center in Grand Cayman during the cruise.

*** A number of U.S. ports, including San Diego, are now lobbying to have the same options as Hawaii if the Omnibus Appropriations Bill is passed. This would allow ships to cruise within the U.S. without having to call at a foreign port. As reported last week, if the bill is passed, the NCL Project America ships would be able to sail around the Hawaiian Islands without calling at a foreign port. (Currently they are calling at Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati during an Hawaiian cruise, round-trip from Honolulu.) The ships would sail under the U.S. Flag, with American crews and would be subject to all U.S. laws, including taxation and environmental regulations. Princess Cruises and Holland America Line have made a proposal that as many as six reflagged vessels from several cruise lines be allowed to operate in Hawaii. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who added the Project America provision to the bill, points out that NCL is the only line committed to the reflagging its vessels and hiring of a U.S. crew. Back to Top

1-29-03 Celebrity Cancels Two Cruises Celebrity Cruises has announced that it is cancelling the Feb. 2 and 13, 2003 sailings of Infinity due to mechanical problems. The departures affected are 10- and 11-day voyages between Ensenada and Hawaii. The ship is expected to return to its scheduled sailings on February 23, a 14-night trans-Canal sailing.

Passengers booked on the cancelled sailings will receive a full refund and a voucher for a 50-percent discount on a future Celebrity cruise of 12 nights or less, departing on or before April 1, 2004, excluding Christmas and New Year's sailings. Celebrity has established a special Help Desk to assist passengers and travel agents with rebooking, air transportation and other issues. That toll-free number is 888-701-7192. Back to Top

1-28-03 Silversea St. Petersburg Package Silversea Cruises is making it even more enticing to take a Baltic cruise that stops in St. Petersburg during the 300th anniversary of the city with a special "Romanovs Remembered" package scheduled aboard the July 7, 2003 voyage of Silver Whisper. Special guest Theo Faberge, the only living grandson of Carl Faberge and heir to the artistic legacy of the House of Faberge, Imperial Jewelers to the Romanov Czars, will be aboard the one-week voyage as a speaker. Those who opt for the optional "Romanovs Remembered" package will have guided tours of Yusupov Palace, Grand Duke Vladimir's Palace, the Grand Palace and Catherine the Great's Palace at Tsarkoe Selo, the summer residence of the Czars. A special commemorative Faberege egg will be given to participants.

The "Romanovs Remembered" optional package is offered in conjunction with Silver Whisper's seven-day "St. Petersburg Treasures" cruise which sails from Stockholm to Copenhagen on July 7, 2003, with calls in Tallinn, St. Petersburg and Helsinki. Cruise-only fares for this voyage start at $5,795 per guest, double occupancy. The "Romanovs Remembered" package is priced at an additional $5,900 per person, double occupancy price.

For more information on Silversea Cruises, contact a travel agent. For a brochure, call (800) 774-9996 or visit www.silversea.com. Back to Top

1-27-03 NCL Dawn to Sail Year-Round from NYC Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it's newest ship, the Norwegian Dawn, will be based year-round in New York starting May 18, 2003. Departing every Sunday, the 2,240-passenger ship will sail on one-week Florida/Bahamas voyages visiting Nassau (overnight), Miami and Orlando with two days at sea. Norwegian Dawn features "Freestyle Cruising" with single, open-seating dining available in ten restaurants. Back to Top

1-24-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Norwegian Dawn will sail year-round from New York commencing May 18, 2003. NCL's newest and biggest ship was scheduled to homeport in the Big Apple every summer and sail from Miami in the winter. The change of deployment is in response to overwhelming demand for Dawn's Bahamas/Florida cruises from New York. The revised itinerary has Norwegian Dawn calling at Port Canaveral first, for a 15-hour stay which allows passengers to visit Orlando's theme parks and attractions. Other ports of call are Miami, Nassau and the line's private island, Great Stirrup Cay. Norwegian Dawn is capable of a 25-knot cruising speed. This allows the ship to be in fine weather within a day of sailing from New York in the winter.

*** Holland America Line's Statendam altered course in response to a distress signal on January 17. Statendam rescued three male passengers from the 45-foot private yacht Enchantment which was taking on water in 25 foot seas. The injured passengers were treated by Statendam's medical staff and stayed on board to Honolulu. The Enchantment, registered in Newport, California, was on its maiden voyage from California to Hawaii. The U.S. Coast Guard sent an airplane to the scene to monitor the vessel until the Statendam arrived.

*** A bill allowing Norwegian Cruise Line to offer inter-island service in Hawaii aboard the Project America ships has been passed by the U.S. Senate. The provision is part of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill. It now moves on to the House of Representatives for further discussion. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii put forward the Project America provision which would allow NCL to offer Hawaii sailings without calling at Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati. NCL has taken over construction of the Project America ships, originally destined for Hawaii service by now defunct, American Classic Voyages. The first vessel is scheduled to sail in the spring of 2004 and is not fast enough to make the call at Fanning Island during a one week cruise. If the bill is passed, the ships will have to sail under the U.S. Flag, with American crews and would be subject to all U.S. laws, including taxation and environmental regulations. The bill contains a provision for one foreign flagged ship to also sail the inter-island route. Senator John McCain of Arizona filed an amendment, objecting to the fact the provision favors one cruise line only. The amendment was voted down last week.

*** Radisson's Seven Seas Mariner is the first ship this year to receive a perfect score on a CDC sanitation inspection. On January 7, 2003 Mariner scored 100. Radisson's Seven Seas Navigator received a perfect score on her last inspection on July 17, 2002.

*** New from Costa Cruises is a revised culinary program including 24-hour Food Service, signature appetizers by Chef Marchesi, one of Italy's most renowned chefs and new selections on the line's Specialty Dining menus. The enhancements are available on CostaAtlantica and CostaVictoria during their winter Caribbean sailings from Ft. Lauderdale. The program features extended breakfast, lunch, and tea time hours and a lite Late Night Buffet from 1:30 to 6:30 am. Gourmet appetizers are available from 5:00pm to 9:00pm every day. Costa also reports it is using a new Batman luggage tracking service, which allows for quick detection of missing and unidentified luggage before it is loaded on the ship.

*** Norwegian Sea is currently undergoing a multimillion-dolar refit in Grand Bahama. A fifth restaurant is being added, the 40-seat The Pasta Cafe. Enhancements include new carpet, granite floors and new upholstery in public rooms and restaurants. Gatsby's Wine Bar will undergo a dramatic color change from its current black and white to vibrant reds and greens plus new wood paneling and Scandinavian designed chairs and tables. The refurbished Stardust Lounge will feature a rich burgundy and gold theme with new carpet, drapes and new upholstery for banquettes, chairs and bar stools. Le Bistro, NCL' signature restaurant, will be redecorated in golds and greens with new carpet, draperies and upholstery.

Norwegian Sea will resume service on January 30th in Miami where she will sail to the Caribbean before she begins her summer season sailing to Bermuda out of New York. Built in 1988, the 1,518-guest Norwegian Sea will be the only cruise ship sailing year round from the Port of Houston when she begins weekly "Texaribbean" cruises to four exotic Western Caribbean ports in November. Ports of call are Cozumel and Cancun, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Belize City, Belize. NCL is the only major cruise line sailing from Houston rather than Galveston and the only one offering four Caribbean ports from Texas.

*** SeaDream Yacht Club is the latest line to offer a no-penalty cancellation policy. The 'No Stress No Strings' policy allows travelers to change or postpone their SeaDream travel plans for any reason up to the date of departure and receive 100 percent travel credit of the yacht tariff including government fees, handling and service charges. This money is applied toward a future sailing on one of the ultra-luxury mega yachts SeaDream I or II within two years of the original booking. SeaDream I and II are the former Seabourn Goddess I and II and Sea Goddess I and II. They sail in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

*** Star Clippers has an air promotion on winter sailings of its three sailing ships, Star Clipper from Cancun, Royal Clipper from Barbados and Star Flyer, from Phuket, Thailand. Receive complimentary airfare from major gateway cities or a low air add-on from other centers. In addition, save $300 per person on Royal Clipper and $400 per person on Star Clipper fares. For details see your travel agent or visit the Star Clippers web site at www.starclippers.com.

*** Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have invested $20 million to improve facilities on the lines' private island. Coco Cay is a 140-acre property in the Bahamas' Berry Islands chain. Improvements to the Snorkel Shack, Diver's Den and Wave Hut will make it easier for participants in water sports programs to sign in and pick up equipment. A new, three-mile-long Nature Trail cuts through lush areas along the north and south shorelines of the island. Shoppers can visit the Straw Market, a re-creation of a Bahamian village complete with cottages and artisan huts. Black Beard's Grille is the island's central food facility where a beach barbecue is held and Junkanoo Jacks, Stir-it-up and On the Rocks are the three new bars. New dining shelters, specialty seating areas and trellises to offer shade, new and renovated restrooms and a new building for the First Aid station have also been built.

*** Crystal Cruises welcomes experts from Sotheby's on board its vessels for an informative lecture series as part of the Crystal Visions Enrichment Program. The speakers and their field of expertise include Daniela Mascetti, history of jewelry; Jane Gardiner, early European ceramics and glass; Raymond Notely, design history as well as the history of glass and ceramics; Adriana Turpin, late 17th century furniture; and Tom Savage, vice president and director of Sotheby's Institute of Art for North and South America. The Sotheby's series is available on seven cruises this year. See CruiseMates Theme Cruise page for a list of applicable sailings and lectures offered.

*** The new Minerva II enters service for Swan Hellenic April 16 in Malta. The ship is the former R8 of Renaissance Cruises. Swan Hellenic has a number of its destination-focused cruises on special through February 28, 2003. Fares have been reduced as much as $2,500.00 per person. Eligible sailings include the Greek Isles, Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Baltic. They are outlined in the brochure 'Special Fares on a Selection of Discovery Cruises'. For more details and to obtain a brochure, see your travel agent or call 1-877-219-4239.

*** Continental Waterways, Europe's pioneer of luxury barge travel, will launch Bordeaux-region wine cruises in spring 2003. Passengers will enjoy Winery visits, tastings, walking and shopping tours of the region's important wine-producing cities during their cruise aboard 24-passenger vessel, Mirabelle. Places of special interest include the underground limestone cellars of Château Franc Maynlace in Saint Emilion and Medoc winery Château Mouton-Rothschild. Barging on the river Garonne, Mirabelle will take passengers to Bordeaux; Saint Emilion; an excursion to the 13th century castle Château Roquetaillade; the city of Cadillac; the Garonne valley; and Sauternes' wine region. Six-night Bordeaux cruises aboard Mirabelle are available from April 26, to November 23, 2003. Rates begin at $1,990 per person and include cruise, all meals on board including wine, excursions and entry fees. Mirabelle accommodations include 12 twin cabins, central air conditioning and heating, bicycles on board, and a motor coach to support excursions, which require travel. All seven crew members speak English and French. For more information and package reservations call: Abercrombie & Kent: (800) 323-7308; E Waterways: (800) 546-4777; Brendan Tours: (800) 421-8446, or visit the web site at www.continentalwaterways.com. Back to Top

1-17-03 Weekend Cruise NewsCoral Princess *** Coral Princess is making history today as she is christened in the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal. This is the first time a ship has been named while transiting the canal. The President of Panama, Mireya Moscoso is serving as Godmother, officially naming the 88,000-ton 1,970-passenger ship. The first of a new class of ship, Coral is specially designed to feature the same vast array of public rooms found aboard the larger "Grand-class" ships while still narrow enough to pass through the Panama Canal. This was achieved in part by her revolutionary propulsion system which combines diesel and gas turbine power. By placing the gas turbines in the funnel, more passenger space is created on board. Coral Princess has more staterooms with private balconies than any other ship in the Princess fleet. She features the first New Orleans style restaurant at sea offering Creole and Cajun cuisine. The Churchill Lounge, for cigar aficionados, Crooners, a 1960s-era martini bar, and a London-themed casino, are all firsts for Princess. Coral Princess is currently on a 10-night Caribbean/Canal cruise round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale, an itinerary she will continue to sail until heading to Vancouver for summer Alaska sailings in May.

*** The American Queen returns to service tomorrow sailing a seven-night Mississippi River cruise round-trip from New Orleans. The largest riverboat ever built, the American Queen is 418 feet in length with six decks, carrying 436 passengers. She joins the smaller riverboats, Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen which returned to service last year following the re-formation of Delta Queen Steamboat Co. The company this week reported the highest call volume and booking levels since resuming operations last May.

As part of the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration, on January 25 American Queen will race the reigning champion, Natchez, in the New Orleans "Louisiana Legends Steamboat Race." With an average speed of 7 to 10 miles per hour, American Queen will face-off with the Natchez at 11:30 a.m. The race will last approximately 30 minutes. A traditional calliope (steam organ) duel between the two steamboats will be part of the festivities and author Doug Brinkley will be aboard to share stories from his latest book, "The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation: from the Louisiana Purchase to Today."

*** The new line, Oceania Cruises, has opened executive offices in Miami. The company will operate two 684-passenger ships, the former R1 and R2 of Renaissance Cruises. The first vessel, Regatta, will undertake its inaugural voyage from Barcelona to London on July 5, 2003 and will be followed by a series of cruises to Scandinavia and the Baltic. The second vessel, Insignia, will sail its maiden voyage from Barcelona to Istanbul on October 4, 2003. Chairman Joe Watters, former President of Crystal Cruises, says Oceania "will be highlighted by an unsurpassed culinary experience, a casually elegant atmosphere and unparalleled personal service." Both ships will undergo extensive refits and upgrades before embarking on their maiden voyages. The reservations center opening January 27, 2003. Brochures can be ordered from the line's web site www.oceaniacruises.com

*** Royal Caribbean is canceling the 2003 Pacific Northwest mini cruises of Radiance of the Seas from Seattle. Radiance will sail longer in Alaska with Pacific Coast positioning cruises replacing Hawaii sailings, before and after the Alaska season. Radiance now sails May 17, 2003 on a seven night cruise from San Diego to Vancouver calling at Catalina Island, San Francisco, Seattle, and Victoria. An additional Alaska cruise sails round-trip from Vancouver, September 20, 2003. Other itineraries are still being finalized. The move is bad news for Campbell River, on Vancouver Island, BC. The town has been gearing up for its first cruise ship calls by Radiance of the Seas next fall.

*** Carnival is offering fares from $599 per person on two 'Fun Ship Reunion Cruises' for past passengers in 2003. In addition to the special fare, participants receive a booklet with coupons for $300 worth of free and reduced rate items. These include free beach towels, tote bags, complimentary wine with dinner, Ocean Players Club casino tokens, free photos, spa and shore excursion discounts. Two 'Reunion Cruises' will be offered in 2003 - a seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise from Miami to San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Maarten aboard Carnival Triumph departing May 10, and an eight-day "exotic" southern Caribbean voyage from Fort Lauderdale to St. Maarten, Barbados and Martinique on Carnival Legend departing Dec. 7. The cruises can be booked through any travel agent. Bookings must be made by Feb. 28, 2003.

*** A unique small ship adventure, combining daytime cruising with overnight stays ashore, is available aboard CruiseWest's Sheltered Seas. The four- and five-night "Daylight Yacht Tours," aboard the 70-passenger motoryacht, Sheltered Seas, combine close-up views of the spectacular scenery along the 400-mile mountainous coastline between Ketchikan and Juneau with nightly stays in hotels and inns in a variety of pioneering communities. The Sheltered Seas, CruiseWest's fastest ship, was built for cruising in iceberg waters and is able to maneuver along areas inaccessible to the large cruise liners. CruiseWest guarantees whale sightings on this itinerary, the only cruise line in Alaska to make that promise. Prices range from $1,399 to $1,649 for the four-night sailing and $1,849 to $2,149 for five nights, each with 15 departures between May and September. The packages include all accommodations, sightseeing and excursions, meals while on board, a buffet dinner and performance by the Norwegian Leikarring Dancers in Petersburg, transfers, port charges, taxes and fees. For additional information and to book, see your travel agent of call CruiseWest at (800) 888-9378. Visit the CruiseWest web site at www.cruisewest.com

*** Uniworld is offering complimentary insurance on new bookings for most March, April and May, European river cruises. Travelers will receive Uniworld's Worry-Free Travel Protection Gold Plan, free. This insurance allows cancellation for any reason up until the day of departure. Cancellation coverage guarantees a refund of 100 percent of the cruise costs in cash and travel certificates. If the customer cannot travel, he/she simply informs Uniworld in writing, and is reimbursed. No other tour or river cruise operator currently offers consumers such extensive protection. The Gold Plan also provides upgraded insurance coverage once the passenger departs. Enhanced protection against such unexpected circumstances as trip interruption, trip delay, medical expenses, and baggage delay is also included. Uniworld has nearly 60 departures this spring on European waterways. Itineraries include the popular Holland at Tulip Time; regional voyages in France, Italy and Portugal; as well as Uniworld's signature Grand Cruises between Amsterdam and Vienna, Budapest or the Black Sea. More information is available by calling 1-800-733-7820, or visiting the Uniworld web site at www.uniworld.com.

*** Royal Olympic Cruises' first west coast and Hawaii cruises have been so successful, the line is planning to send both the Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer to the region next winter. The line is finalizing details and will offer cruises from San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the winter of 2004. The two sister ships, Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer, have been commended for their monohull design which makes them the fastest cruise ships in the world. They have a cruising speed of up to 30-knots which enables them to sail unique, long distance itineraries. The 26,000-ton vessels carry 836 passengers. They entered service in 2000 (Voyager) and 2002 (Explorer).

*** Crystal has announced itineraries for 2004 aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. For the first time, the luxury line is offering a selection of seven-day cruises on all three ships, in the Mediterranean, Canada/New England, and the Caribbean. Also new is a winter series of 10-day Hawaiian island cruises, round-trip from Honolulu. In all, 28 cruises will sail round-trip from domestic ports and 33 cruises will begin or end in domestic ports. Experience the Cannes Film Festival during Crystal Symphony's overnight stay in Cannes, the acclaimed Military Tattoo during two summer calls in Edinburgh, or the majesty of Cutty Sark's Tall Ship parade in Antwerp. Crystal Serenity will sail the 2004 world cruise, a 106-day adventure departing from Los Angeles in January. Brochures will be available in the spring.

*** Silversea Cruises is adding 11 Wine Series cruises to its roster of theme cruises for 2003. For the Wine Series, vineyard owners and winemakers will come aboard for lectures and tastings. THey will also escort passengers on winery excursions. The cruises complement the line's Culinary Arts cruises which feature cooking demonstrations by chefs of Relais & Châteaux-Relais Gourmands, as well as Silversea chefs. Regional dishes, local market tours and a five-course gala dinner are part of the Culinary Arts cruises. For a complete list of theme cruises by cruise line for 2003, see CruiseMates' Theme Cruises page.

*** Gregory Hines will be Seabourn's Dress Circle celebrity guest on board Seabourn Legend's seven-day cruise from Nice to Rome on June 1, 2003. During informal interviews and presentations, Dress Circle celebrities reveal insights, memories and anecdotes. The versatile star of stage and screen, Gregory Hines has won three Tony nominations (Sophisticated Ladies, Eubie, Comin' Uptown) and a Tony Best Actor Award for Jelly's Last Jam. As a film actor, his critically-acclaimed roles span genres from comedy (Running Scared, A Rage in Harlem) and drama (The Cotton Club, White Nights, Waiting to Exhale) to action thrillers (Off Limits) and a cult horror film (The Wolfen). Gregory won Emmy nominations for his small-screen acting and his voice has enlivened several animated features and series. He has also directed films and Emmy-nominated television shows and made hit musical recordings. Back to Top

1-15-03 CDC Flunks QE2 In a routine health inspection, inspectors for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found cockroaches aboard Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE 2) in the ship's kitchen and failed the vessel's health inspection with a score of 85. CDC also reported mold was discovered in the ship's ice machine, there was faulty storage of butter, uncooked meat and unsanitary handling of flatware. Back to Top

1-10-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Carnival Cruises will operate a record 50 cruises, round-trip from New York City this year. Itineraries include Carnival Legend's eight-day Caribbean cruises which call at San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John and Tortola/Virgin Gorda. Other New York departures are Carnival Pride's seven-day Bermuda cruises and Carnival Victory's four,five and seven-day Canada and New England sailings.

*** Port Canaveral is the world's second-busiest cruise port behind Miami. Now a new cruise line is being formed to operate year-round, two and three-night, Bahamas and Key West cruises from the port. Ocean Club Cruises expects to begin operations in March 2003 with the 850-passenger, 15,000-ton Mirage, currently being refitted in Greece. The ship boasts oversized staterooms, a full Vegas style casino and flex dining with gourmet cuisine, an activity center for kids and teens, five bars and lounges,amphitheater, showroom and dance floor.

Two other new ships will begin sailing from Port Canaveral in 2003: Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Glory and Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas will sail seven-day Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral on July 19 and November 23, 2003 respectively.

*** Radisson Seven Seas Cruises will welcome Seven Seas Voyager to the fleet on April 1 in Monte Carlo. The 700-passenger Voyager will be christened on March 31, and will be the first to sail from the new port facilities in Monaco. The maiden voyage is a 12-night cruise from Monte Carlo to Venice. Also new for Radisson in 2003, Seven Seas Navigator sails her first Bermuda season with 11 seven-night voyages sailing roundtrip from New York. Navigator calls at Norfolk, Virginia, for visits to Colonial Williamsburg on the return. A series of Wednesday departures will allow the all-suite (90% with private balconies) vessel to arrive in Hamilton after other visiting cruise ships have left the port. Navigator spends two days in Hamilton and one in St. George and gives Bermuda its first season of regularly scheduled luxury cruises. This year's world cruise for Radisson departs January 21 from Los Angeles - Seven Seas Mariner will sail a 108-night voyage, one of the few complete circumnavigations of the world in 2003, calling at 44 destinations in 28 countries on five continents.

*** Rough seas ended Statendam's first attempt at visiting the Hawaiian island of Molokai, December 28. Tendering was impossible given the conditions. Molokai's first cruise ship call will now take place January 22, 2003 when Statendam calls during a 16-night cruise, round-trip from San Diego.

*** Costa Cruises Anniversary Celebration is a new promotion for couples celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary in 2003. Couples celebrating an anniversary of a five year-increment (ie. five, ten fifteen, twenty, twenty five, etc.) at any time during 2003 can sail aboard CostaAtlantica and CostaVictoria at a special rate this winter. The seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises are available through April 13, 2003 with rates from $549 for the first passenger and as little as $299 for the second, depending on sailing date and itinerary. Rates are cruise only with economical air add-ons available. Couples must provide a copy of their marriage certificate within 24 hours of booking to qualify for the special. See your travel agent for more details. Brochures are available from Costa at 1-800-33-COSTA.

*** Regal Cruises has theme cruises planned around special events and occasions in 2003. The line is noted for its festive sailings aboard the classic liner, Regal Empress. Cruises departing around Valentines Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year will celebrate the occasions. In addition, Regal Empress will attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Fantasy Fest in Key West and Carnival in Provincetown, MA this year. Regal also has a number of special deals on short cruise getaways. For special deals on these and other Regal Cruises' sailings see your travel agent or visit their web site at www.regalcruises.com.

*** The January 4 sailing of Grandeur of the Seas from New Orleans, kicked off the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration. Royal Caribbean International is the Official Cruise Line of the event which runs all year, statewide. Passengers aboard all of Grandeur's Caribbean 2003 cruise departures will enjoy the tastes of Louisiana with featured menu items throughout their cruise. In addition to their own recipes, Royal Caribbean's world-class chefs will also prepare a selection of signature dishes created by New Orleans' own Chef Susan Spicer. Grandeur's bartenders will be mixing up Hurricanes, Mint Juleps, Louisiana Lemonades, and other specialty drinks. Regional entertainers will treat guests to the sounds of Louisiana. For quieter evenings, Grandeur offers the sights of the state with a Louisiana Film Festival. A rotating schedule of movies will be shown in the ship's theater as well as on a dedicated channel on stateroom televisions. Festival selections include "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," "Interview With the Vampire," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Steel Magnolias," "Great Balls of Fire," Bob Hope's "Louisiana Purchase" and Elvis Presley's "King Creole."

The 74,140-tons, 1,950-passenger Grandeur of the Seas offers two different seven-night Caribbean cruise vacation itineraries out of New Orleans with stops in George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Progreso, Mexico; or Progreso, Cozumel and Key West, Florida. Grandeur sails from New Orleans through April 26, 2003, and then heads to Europe, returning to New Orleans in early November for the 2003-2004 winter season. The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebrations activities will continue on the November and December 2003 sailings. Prices for a seven-night Caribbean cruise on Grandeur of the Seas start at $499.

*** Clipper Cruise Line has a new 12-day cruise between Lisbon and Rome aboard the 122-passenger Clipper Adventurer this spring. The "Treasures of the Western Mediterranean' will focus on the artists of the region with shore excursions to museums featuring the works of Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet and Michaelangelo. Departure dates are April 27 and May 7, 2003. Port calls include Portimão (for Sagres), Portugal; Málaga (for the Alhambra), Spain; Barcelona, Spain; Roses (for Figueres), Spain; Marseille, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco/Nice, France; Portofino, Italy; Viareggio (for Lucca and Torre del Lago or Florence and Pisa), Italy. See your travel agent for more details and to book. Visit the Clipper web site at www.clippercruise.com.

*** Royal Caribbean has deferred options on the fifth and sixth Radiance-class ships which were originally scheduled for delivery in 2005 and 2006. RCI now has until September 19, 2003 to go ahead with the order. Meyer Werft shipyard is currently building the fourth and fifth Radiance class ships, Serenade and Jewel of the Seas due in September, 2003 and 2004 respectively, sister ships to Radiance and Brilliance of the Seas, already in service.

*** The Carnival/P&O Princess merger is moving ahead as planned with the P&O Princess board recommending acceptance of the deal to shareholders. Completion is expected in the spring of 2003 with P&O Princess changing their name to Carnival (UK) plc. The cruise divisions, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises, P&O Cruises (Australia), Swan Hellenic Cruises, Ocean Village, Aida and A'Rosa, will retain their own names and continue to operate independently. Back to Top

1-3-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Crystal Cruises has 44 itineraries departing from North American ports in 2003 with an additional 17 sailings scheduled to begin or end in the U.S. The luxury line's three ships, Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and the new Crystal Serenity, debuting in July, will sail from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, Ft. Lauderdale, Montreal and New York. The autumn Canada/New England cruises between New York and Montreal mark the line's first return to New York in six years. Alaska cruises sail round-trip from San Francisco June 2 through September 18. Five Panama Canal/ Caribbean cruises will sail from New Orleans. For a 2003 Crystal Cruises brochure call 800.820.6663.

*** A new under water excursion developed in Jamaica will give participants the closest possible sensation to walking on the moon. 'Sea Trek' is a guided, 20-minute under sea walking tour at Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay. Non swimmers can participate in the walk as participants wear a helmet with a continuous flow of oxygen. Jamaica's National Environmental Protection Agency is expected to approve the new excursion shortly with the first Sea Trek scheduled to take place January 15. Once approval is complete, Carnival and Royal Caribbean will be the first line to offer the new excursion.

*** Celebrity Cruises has scheduled four Adults only cruises for 2003. "Celebrity Escape" cruises are for guests age 21 and older only with special amenities offered throughout the cruise. 2003 departures are:

  • Millennium, seven-night Eastern Caribbean departing Feb. 23, 2003.
  • Century seven-night Western Caribbean departing June 7, 2003.
  • Summit seven-night Alaska departing July 4, 2003.
  • Mercury 11-night Mexican Riviera departing Dec. 29, 2003.

    *** SeaDream Yacht Club is making changes to its 2003 schedule after surveying customers, agents and yacht charter companies. Additional sailings from Monte Carlo have been added and the Eastbound transatlantic crossings are now available for purchase. In the Caribbean, new ports have been added including Charlotteville, Tobago; St. George's, Bequia; Cariaccou and Mayreau in the Grenadines; Rodney Bay and Soufriere in St. Lucia. The line operates the SeaDream I and II, formerly the Sea Goddess and Seadream Goddess I and II. For complete itineraries visit the web site at www.seadreamyachtclub.com

    *** Crystal Cruises is offering gourmet kosher cuisine - food that is permissible to eat under Jewish dietary laws - on board all cruises throughout 2003. As part of Crystal's 2003 food and beverage program, dozens of kosher soups, poultry, meat and fish, will be available including roasted turkey and chicken, rack of lamb, Beef Wellington, rib eye steak, grilled halibut and salmon. Kosher items are stored frozen. Crystal uses kosher pots, pans and utensils that have been sterilized in salt water to prepare dishes. During several Jewish holidays rabbis are on board supervising the kitchen and blessing the food during preparation.

    *** Adventure Canada is offering a rare Arctic cruise aboard the R/V Akademik Ioff, a Finnish built Russian, Polar Research vessel. The 6,450-ton 108-passenger vessel is equipped with a fleet of zodiacs for landing ashore. The adventure cruise explores the new territory of Nunavut from July 24 to August 3, 2003. The company is partnering with the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, Canadian Geographic and the Montreal Musee des Beaux Arts to offer a cruise focusing on art and culture, natural history and the wildlife of the region. Special guests on board for the sailing will be Artists Doris McCarthy and Kenojuak Ashevak, historian and author John Geiger, geographer Denis St-Onge, filmmaker John Houston, archaeologist Ken Lister, naturalist and photographer Danny Catt and Inuit culturalist, Aaju Peter. The voyage begins in Rankin Inlet on the western shores of Hudson Bay, sails to Nunavut along the Kivalliq (Keewatin Coast) and southern Baffin Island to Greenland. Fares begin at $3,995 CDN $2,595 USD. For more information visit www.adventurecanada.com.

    *** Save an additional ten percent on top of early booking discounts by booking a Radisson Seven Seas Europe cruise by February 28. Radisson offers 79 European cruises from April to November this year aboard Seven Seas Voyager, Radisson Diamond, Song of Flower and Seven Seas Navigator in the Baltic, Western Europe and Mediterranean. Almost all seven to 12-night cruises are included in the special. See your travel agent for more details. Visit the Radisson Seven Seas web site at www.rssc.com Back to Top

    01-03-03 New Ships for 2003 *** Coral Princess sets sail today on her maiden voyage from Ft. Lauderdale, a 10-night Caribbean/Panama Canal cruise. The 88,000-ton 1,974-passenger ship is the first of a dozen newbuilds arriving in 2003. Radisson's Seven Seas Voyager will be the next new ship to enter service on April 1 in Monte Carlo. She will be followed by CostaMediterranea, Island Princess, Oosterdam, Crystal Serenity, Carnival Glory, Serenade of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, CostaFortuna and finally Queen Mary 2, due for delivery December 16, 2003. American West Steamboat Company's sternwheeler, Empress of the North arrives in June sailing between Seattle and Juneau - the first time in nearly 100 years a paddlewheeler has sailed the route.

    *** Four former Renaissance ships return this year: Minerva II (R8) enters service for Swan Hellenic April 16 in the Med; Pacific Princess (R3) sails for Princess Cruises April 27, positioning from Sydney to San Francisco for summer Alaska sailings; the new line, Oceana Cruises, debuts in Europe next July with the Regatta (R1) followed by Insignia (R2) in October.

    *** Two popular ships will be changing names: Sea Princess will be transferred to P&O Cruises to sail as the Adonia from May 10. The Nieuw Amsterdam/Patriot becomes the Thompson Spirit for Thompson Holidays of the U.K. in May, sailing weekly from Palma de Mallorca.

    *** In Europe, Mediterranean Shipping's new Lirica and Norwegian Coastal's Midnatsol debut in April. P&O's Arcadia, (ex. Star Princess, 1989) becomes the Ocean Village for P&O's new Ocean Village division, designed for active 35 to 55 year olds looking for a casual cruise style. Swan Hellenic's Minerva (replaced in April by Minerva II) will sail a split charter sailing as Saga Pearl for Saga Holidays of the U.K. from May to October, then join Abercrombie & Kent for Antarctic and expedition cruises as Explorer II, replacing the Explorer which is retiring.

    *** Crown Odyssey will be transferred from Orient Lines to Norwegian Cruise Line September 15 sailing from Baltimore to Canada/New England before positioning to South America for the winter. Back to Top

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