News Archive - July 2004

7-30-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Royal Caribbean will stretch the Enchantment of the Seas next year. Enchantment will be out of service from early May to early July, 2005 during which time a 73-foot midsection built by Kvaerner Masa-Yards will be inserted into the ship at the Keppel Verolme Shipyard in Rotterdam, increasing the vessel's overall length to 990 feet and its tonnage from 74,140 to 80,700 tons. The new midsection will add 151 staterooms, as well as a number of indoor and outdoor public areas. A new specialty restaurant and Royal Caribbean's hallmark Boleros Latin lounge and Latte'tudes coffee shop will be added. The ship's pool deck, main dining room, shopping area, casino, jogging track, fitness facility, day spa and art gallery are among several areas to be expanded and revitalized. Upon her return, Enchantment of the Seas will sail Canada/New England cruises from Bayonne, N.J., Philadelphia and Boston: from Cape Liberty Cruise Point in Bayonne, N.J. for four nights July 7 and six nights, July 11; from Philadelphia for five nights July 19 and seven nights from July 24 through Aug. 21, 2005; from Boston for five nights August 30 and seven nights from September 4 to 25, 2005. From May 5 to October 6, 2005, Empress of the Seas will replace Enchantment of the Seas on four- and five-night cruises from Ft. Lauderdale.

*** Norwegian Cruise Line's service charge will become non-adjustable fleet wide starting next May. The $10 per passenger per day charge is automatically applied to the shipboard accounts and covers gratuities to both dining room and cabin staff. The service charge is currently non-adjustable on Pride of Aloha. On the rest of the NCL fleet, it can be adjusted or removed from the shipboard account until May, 2005. The service charge for children is $5 per day for three to 12 year olds and no charge for those under three. A 15% gratuity is automatically added to bar bills and spa services.

*** Princess Cruises has released its 120-page Alaska brochure for 2005. Princess will offer 125 departures next year, aboard seven ships. In a repeat of this year's deployment Sun, Dawn Island and Coral Princess will sail seven-day Gulf of Alaska sailings between Vancouver and Whittier; Sapphire and Diamond Princess offer seven-day Inside Passage from Seattle and Regal Princess sails 10-day Inside Passage from San Francisco in 2005. Land extensions are offered on 35 cruisetours. New next season will be the line's "Direct to the Wilderness" rail service between Whittier and Denali. Trains will depart right from the Whittier dock and take passengers directly to either Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge via private direct-rail links, reducing travel time and decreasing the number of transfers needed on the way to the park. Passengers will arrive in the Denali area in the afternoon of the same day they disembark their ship. Every cruisetour will offer at least two nights in the park area.

*** Holland America will return to Asia in 2005 with a 62-night Orient Explorer cruise aboard the Amsterdam. Following her Alaska season, Amsterdam will sail from Seattle to San Diego on October 6, 2005, via Russia, the Orient, Australia and South Pacific. Available in two segments, Seattle to Singapore, 30 nights and Singapore to San Diego, 32 nights, ports of call are Petropavlovsk, Russia; Kuril Islands cruising; Korskov, Sakhalin, Russia; Yokohama, Osaka/Kyoto, and Nagasaki, Japan; Cheju City, South Korea; Dalian, Xingang (for Beijing) and Hong Kong, China; Singapore; Bali, Indonesia; Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, and Brisbane, Australia; New Caledonia; Fiji; Apia, Samoa; Christmas Island, Honolulu. Overnight stays onboard are included in Yokohama, Xingang and Hong Kong. Early savings rates for the entire 62-day Orient Explorer start at US $10,349. Early savings rates for the 31-day segments start at US $5,669.

*** Charlie Palmer and Robbin Haas will be the guest chefs aboard Seabourn Pride for its second annual Great American Food & Wine Festival. The 13-day cruise from New York to Nassau departs October 17, 2004 and calls at Newport, RI; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Alexandria, VA (for Washington DC); Norfolk (for Williamsburg) VA; Charleston SC; Amelia Island and Port Canaveral. Charlie Palmer of Aureole in New York and Las Vegas, kitchen 22 and Robbin Haas, chef/owner of the Latin-flavored restaurant Chispa in Coral Gables, Florida will prepare signature dishes for Seabourn Pride's open-seating Restaurant and casual alternative Veranda Cafe. During the voyage cooking demonstrations will take place along with wine tastings featuring American vintages. In port, a number of culinary excursions have been arranged including the complimentary Exclusively Seabourn Charleston experience featuring a ride by horsedrawn carriage to a traditional Southern tea in an elegant 19th century home. Two of the optional excursions are a comparative tasting of Philly Cheese Steaks on site at the rival landmarks Geno's and Pat's in Philadelphia and "Follow the Wild Ocean Shrimp" in Port Canaveral which includes a boat tour of the Indian River Lagoon, a visit to a shrimp processor's and a feast of locally caught rock shrimp and boat run shrimp at Dixie Crossroads. With special savings of 50 percent off the published rates, fares for the 13-night cruise start from $5,132 per person.

*** Delta Queen Steamboat Company offers a wide range of theme cruises throughout the year from steamboat racing to golf, big band to gardens of the river and the Kentucky Derby. This August, three of the Mercury Seven astronauts, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper and Wally Schirra, will join the American Queen's New Orleans & Riverboat Adventure Week cruisetours. The August 20 departure includes 3 nights in New Orleans followed by a 4-night cruise while the August 23 departure includes 4 nights in New Orleans followed by a 3-night cruise. The program starts with a pre-cruise tour of Stennis Space Center where passengers greet the astronauts. Stennis is responsible for NASA's rocket propulsion testing, and plays a key role in NASA's earth science applications program. During the cruise, the astronauts will give talks about their adventures, sign autographs and participate in Q&A sessions. The New Orleans & Riverboat Adventure Week packages include a three or four-night cruise and a three or four-night stay in New Orleans along with breakfast every morning, two restaurant vouchers and tickets to New Orleans' attractions. Fares range from $995 to $2,595 per person. For more see the line's web site at

*** A rare visit to Easter Island is offered by Silversea Cruises on new four- and five-night pre and post-cruise tours from Santiago, Chile, in 2005. Called Rapa Nui, or "navel of the world", by its Polynesian inhabitants, Easter Island, is located approximately 2,000 miles west of Chile in the Pacific Ocean and is renowned for its large statues which have puzzled explorers and archaeologists for hundreds of years. The four-night Mysterious Easter Island land program features two nights on Easter Island at Hotel Iorana, two nights at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Santiago, round-trip air transportation, transfers and a tour of Santiago. Breakfast is included throughout the program, as are some lunches and dinners. (The five-night extension features three nights at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.) Highlighting the program is an in-depth two-day guided tour of Easter Island, including a visit to the quarry at Rano Raraku volcano, where the island's gigantic statues were cut. Rates for the Easter Island extension range from $2,230 to $2,285 and are available in conjunction with the following sailings: Silver Wind's 16-day January 6 cruise from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso (Santiago) and 16-day January 22 cruise from Valparaiso (Santiago) to Buenos Aires; Silver Shadow's 11-day January 31 cruise from Callao (Lima), Peru, to Valparaiso (Santiago) and 16-day February 11 cruise from Valparaiso (Santiago) to Buenos Aires. Cruise fares start at $5,346 per person with advance booking savings. Back to Top

7-28-04 New Pride Of America Itineraries Norwegian Cruise Line adds a third ship, the new Pride of America, to it's year-round fleet of vessels. The ship's inaugural voyage is scheduled June 23, 2005 from Honolulu. Pride of America will sail on seven-day voyages round trip from Honolulu and three- and four-day inter-island voyages between Honolulu and Maui.

In addition, NCL announced that it would offer a Maui embarkation/disembarkation option on Pride of Aloha, resulting in a seven-day round-trip cruise from Maui as well as the current seven-day round-trip cruise from Honolulu on Pride of Aloha. NCL's third Hawai`i-based ship, Norwegian Wind, will continue her popular 10- and 11-day Hawai`i and Fanning Island itineraries from Honolulu. Norwegian Wind sails under the Norwegian Cruise Line brand.

Pride of America's roundtrip seven-day cruises from Honolulu feature a day in Hilo, Hawai'i; two days in Kahului, Maui; a day in Kona, Hawai'i; and two days in Nawiliwili, Kauai. The three-day cruise will embark in Honolulu every Saturday and include: one day in Hilo, Hawai'i; and two days in Kahului, Maui disembarking there every Tuesday. The four-day cruise will embark in Kahului, Maui every Tuesday and include: one day in Kona, Hawai'i; two days in Nawiliwili, Kauai; and disembarking every Saturday in Honolulu, O`ahu.

As an American-flaged vessel, Pride of America will employ over 1,000 crew and feature eight restaurants which are part of the Freestyle Cruising program. For reservations -- which can be made starting August 8, 2004 -- contact your travel agent. For additional information visit Back to Top

7-23-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Costa Magica began sea trials this week in the Mediterranean. The vessel is nearly complete and will be delivered to Costa at the beginning of November in Genoa. Following a preview presentation Magica will host a charity concert by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Costa Magica is one of two sister ships ordered by Costa from Fincantieri at a cost of more than 1 billion euros. Sister ship Costa Fortuna is the line's flagship and the largest passenger ship built for an Italian company to date. At 105,000tons and a capacity of 2,720 guests, Costa Magica will contain a total of 1,358 cabins - 857 oceanview, 522 with verandas, and 58 spacious suites with Jacuzzi bathtubs. Facilities include 11 bars, 4 restaurants, a three-deck theater, four swimming pools, casino, disco, ballroom and a gym. The onboard design by Joe Farcus pays homage to Italian destinations - Positano to Portofino and Capri to Grado as well as Bellagio, Sicily and Vicenza. The pre-inaugural voyage is scheduled for November 10, 2004, an eight-night sailing from Savona calling at Naples, Messina, Venice, Dubrovnik and Corfu. The maiden voyage on November 18, 2004, is an 11-night itinerary calling at Naples, Alexandria, Limassol, Rhodes, Marmaris, Piraeus (Athens) and Katakolon. For the rest of the 2004/2005 winter season, Costa Magica will sail from Savona on 11-night Eastern Mediterranean cruises as well as two eight-night cruises to Greece, Malta and Tunisia.

*** Carnival Cruises' Jubilee is sailing her final cruises for the line. The 47,262-ton 1,4846-passenger vessel entered service in 1986 for Carnival. Jubilee is currently sailing four and five-night Bahamas/Key West cruises from Jacksonville, Florida to August 30. The vessel will then be transferred to P&O Cruises, Australia for a major refit. Renamed Pacific Sun, she will become the biggest cruise ship to home port in Sydney, Australia, sailing year-round to the South Pacific, tropical north Queensland and the Melbourne Cup. A child-free sunbathing deck, five restaurants and cafes including one open 24 hours and an oyster and sushi bar, queen-size beds, New Orleans-style piano bar, art auctions and two big new party nights are some of the innovations Pacific Sun will bring to P&O Cruises Australia when she debuts October 20. Olympic and Commonwealth Games swimmer Lisa Curry Kenny will be godmother of Pacific Sun, which she will name in an official ceremony in late October.

*** Windstar cruises will sail the Mayan Riviera in 2005 on a new route. The 308-passenger Wind Surf will sail seven-night cruises, round-trip from the island of Cozumel from January 16 to April 3, 2005, calling at the Honduran Bay Islands of Isla de Utila and West End (Roatan Island); stops on the Honduran mainland at Puerto Cortez and Omoa; a visit to Belize City, Belize; and a stop at Costa Maya, Mexico. Windstar's complimentary water sports program, which includes paddling one of the ship's kayaks, takes place from Wind Surf's aquatic platform. The region is one of the best in the world for diving and snorkeling so many excursions highlight the water including a close-up encounter with friendly Caribbean reef sharks and dolphins in Roatan, diving amongst whale sharks and turtles off Utila and a visit to Blue Hole out of Belize City-a dive site made famous by Jacques Cousteau. For passengers interested in learning how to dive, a Discover Scuba Diving program is available. Naturalists will be on hand throughout every voyage to answer passenger's questions and deliver special presentations. Rates for the 7-day Mayan Riviera itinerary start at $1,811 per person, based on double occupancy, for bookings made by October 31, 2004.

*** Cruise West's early booking savings program is in effect for "America's Experience" sailings in 2005. The small-ship adventure line will return to Costa Rica, Baja California, the Columbia River and British Columbia next year on sailings of six to nine nights. The 85-page 2005 brochure is now available from travel agents. For bookings with deposits made six months prior to departure, travelers save $500 per couple on programs to Mexico's Sea of Cortes, and Costa Rica and Panama; $400 on sailings along the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest; and $300 on British Columbia cruises. Paying in full by the same deadline adds another $100 in savings. Reservations made three months out save couples $250, $200 and $150, respectively, with an additional $50 reduction awarded for full payment received at the time of booking.

*** Lindblad Expeditions' President, Sven Lindblad, will be onboard Sea Voyager for the August 28 and September 4 sailings between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Sven Lindblad is the son of Lars-Eric Lindblad, the pioneer of expedition travel, which has evolved into today's eco-tourism. Sven Lindblad has been invited by the President of Nicaragua, Enrique Jose Bola�os Geyer, and the country's new Minister of Tourism, Lucia Salazar de Robelo, to help develop a plan for the revitalization of Nicaraguan tourism that would focus on the country's wildlife and cultural heritage. President Geyer will be onboard the August 28 sailing only and Lucia Salazar de Robelo will be aboard both sailings. The 62-passenger Sea Voyager sails eight-night cruises along the Pacific Coast between Herradura, Costa Rica and Corinto, Nicaragua with calls along the way for adventure excursions in both Costa Rica and Nicaragua included. Fares of $2,393 per person include free round-trip group airfare from Miami to Central America and transfers to and from the ship.

*** Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is expanding on its inaugural visit to Beirut, Lebanon, last month by offering two cruises in 2005 to the cosmopolitan city, once considered the Paris of the Middle East, and recently selected by Newsweek magazine as one of the world's top 12 "Capitals of Style". On June 19, 2004, Silver Whisper made the company's first-ever visit to Beirut, a call many passengers described as the highlight of the cruise. The two calls in 2005 take place in May and October. The 296-passenger Silver Wind's 15-day "Monuments & Empires" cruise from Rome to Istanbul on May 11 calls at Lipari, Italy; Valletta, Malta; Tripoli, Libya; Benghazi, Libya; Alexandria, Egypt; Beirut, Lebanon; Tartous, Syria; Rhodes, Greece; and Kusadasi, Turkey. (Advance Payment Bonus fares start at $8,076 per person, based on double occupancy and represent a 20% savings.) On October 30, 2005, the 382-passenger Silver Shadow sails from Athens to Port Said, Egypt, on an eight-day "Echoes of Ancient Civilizations" cruise, calling at Kusadasi, Turkey; Rhodes, Greece; Antalya, Turkey; Tartous, Syria; and Beirut, Lebanon. (Advance Payment Bonus fares start at $3,571 per person, based on double occupancy and represent a 25% savings.) Back to Top

7-16-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Peter Deilmann Cruises will operate seven-night Seine River sailings in 2005. The 100-passenger Cezanne will sail round-trip from Paris and between Rouen and Paris with overnight stays aboard ship in both Paris and Rouen. Passengers will visit Versailles from the port of Le Pecq, Honfleur from Le Havre, the small town of Caudebec-en-Caux and Giverney from the port of Vernon. The cruises will operate from March 26 through November 12, 2005 with fares starting at $1,450 per person. Four cruisetours in conjunction with the Seine River sailings are available. One adds three nights in London with breakfast and sightseeing and a Channel crossing via the tunnel on the high speed Eurostar train. Another will feature two nights in London and two in the English countryside plus the Orient Express Day train from London to Paris. A third begins in Italy with three nights in the Villa D'Este on Lake Como and two in Venice with transportation to Paris on the Venice Simplon Orient Express train. The fourth will combine Deilmann's Seine and Rh�ne cruises for two weeks in France. Rh�ne River cruises between Lyon and Arles will continue next year on the 140-passenger Princesse de Provence.

*** The Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurants aboard the Holland America fleet are featuring new Northwest-style menu items. The new signature dish is cedar planked lobster with roasted garlic scampi-butter and herb crumbs. Other signature entrees include chicken marsala with Washington cherries and cedar planked halibut with Alaskan king crab. Also featured are "Sterling Silver" premium hand-selected cuts of beef, including two sizes of filet mignon. A food and wine tasting menu is also available. The Pinnacle Grills features Riedel stemware and Frette linens by the company that supplies the Orient Express and Vatican. Dinner is served on Bulgari china with a blue and gold rim and subtle replicas of fruit embossed in a circular pattern in the middle of the plate. Each plate, valued at nearly $300, is washed by hand and housed on its own shelf in order to avoid damage from stacking. The Bulgari china is now available for purchase onboard.

*** Carnival Corporation is moving the North American headquarters of Cunard Line from Miami to Santa Clarita, California, home of Princess Cruises. Cunard will share administrative, finance and IT functions with Princess. Carnival expects to save $20 million in overhead costs by combining the operations of Cunard and Princess. In Britain, Carnival recently announced it would combine Cunard's operations with those of Canival's European lines. Cunard's sister company, Seabourn Cruise Line will continue to be based in Miami and will now operate independently from Cunard.

*** American West Steamboat Company has organized several theme cruises aboard the paddle wheelers Empress of the North and Queen of the West. Each of the 19 featured cruises includes over 1,000 miles of cruising along the Columbia, Willamette and Snake Rivers, with five different themes to choose from: Lewis & Clark, Big Band, Veteran's Day, Northwest Food & Wine and Holiday cruises. Cruise rates start at $1,799 per person.

  • The Lewis & Clark cruises feature the famous Corps of Discovery as it explored the Columbia and Snake Rivers nearly 200 years ago. Special guest historians will be onboard each sailing October 2, 3, 10, 16, 23 and 30, November 6, 13, 14, 28 and December 5, 2004.
  • Departing October 24 and 31, 2004 aboard the sternwheeler Empress of the North, American West's first-ever Big Band cruises will showcase the music of the '40s and '50s. The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra will perform in the ship's Golden Nugget Showroom, with musical tributes to the great musicians of the era.
  • To honor the men and women of the Armed Services, American West Steamboat Company is offering a special Veteran's Day cruise departing November 7, 2004, featuring guest speakers John Wukovits, author of "Pacific Alamo: The Battle for Wake Island," and Dr. Dirk Ballendorf, who has written a number of books detailing events that changed the course of world history. Veterans are invited to share their own stories and reunite with friends and comrades aboard a U.S. flagged vessel featuring an all American crew.
  • Two Northwest Food & Wine cruises depart November 21 and December 12, 2004. Area chefs create a menu featuring locally raised meats, regional fruits and vegetables, and wild Pacific salmon and seafood. Vintners from nearby wineries, Tefft Cellars, Adelsheim Vinyard and Three Rivers Winery, will also join the cruise. On shore, passengers tour three wineries featuring Washington and Oregon wines.
  • Special Holiday cruises depart November 20 (Thanksgiving), December 19 (Christmas) and December 26 (New Years), 2004 for a festive celebration along the Columbia, Willamette and Snake Rivers.
For reservations, more information or to request a brochure, call 1-800-434-1232 or visit

*** Costa Cruises is once again offering the Free Balcony Giveaway on Caribbean cruises. Passengers booking a Category 4 or 5 oceanview stateroom will be upgraded to a balcony stateroom (Cat. 6 or 7 respectively) at no charge on most Costa Mediterranea or Costa Atlantica sailings from Ft. Lauderdale between November 2004 and April 2005. The alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings aboard both 2,114-passenger ships call at either San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John, Catalina Island, Nassau and visits the resort of Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic (Eastern) or, Key West, Cozumel, Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman (Western). Costa Mediterranea's five-night Christmas cruise, December 21, 2004, calls at Progreso/Merida, Mexico and Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.

*** Silversea is adding a new web site feature which acknowledges the line's growing number of international passengers and the worldwide use of its web site. Starting Monday July 19, the company will begin featuring cruise fares in either US$, British Pounds Sterling or Euros based on the country/region selected. Visitors to will be greeted by a new home page where they select a country/region of residence. They are then connected to the site where the appropriate currency - either US$, British Pounds Sterling or Euros - will be displayed when researching specific voyages. In most instances, when a visitor returns to, the site will remember what selection was made the first time and the visitor won't be prompted again for a selection. It will take them directly into the site, with whatever currency they were looking at last time.

*** Cruise West's seven-night "Gems of Costa Rica" cruises aboard the 100-passenger Pacific Explorer feature exotic wildlife, white-sand beaches fringed with coconut palms, tropical rainforests, remote islands, mangrove lagoons and coral reefs teeming with colorful fish along 270 miles of Costa Rica's Pacific coastline. The 185-foot Pacific Explorer is highly-maneuverable and equipped with a fleet of inflatable excursion craft for beach landings and exploration. The ship has two lounges lined with panoramic windows, a book and video library, a sun deck with a bar, and plenty of outdoor deck space for viewing and photographing wildlife and scenery. All cabins are outside and are air-conditioned with private facilities, TV/VCR and picture windows that open. Casual dress and open seating in the dining room add to the relaxed atmosphere onboard. International cuisine, served in the dining room, on deck or on the beach, includes Central American specialties. Saturday departures, round trip from the port of Los Sue�os, near the capital city of San Jose, are November 6, 13 and 20 (Thanksgiving week); December 4, 2004; and April 9 and 16, 2005. Prices, from $2,099 to $3,499 per person, double, include shore activities, port charges and airport transfers.

*** P&O Cruises' Aurora and Oriana will sail world cruises of 103 and 80-days respectively next year. Segments of 13 to 83 days are available with early booking fares starting at $2,350 per person for a 13-day segment and bookings can be made by travel agents in North America. Both vessels will sail round-trip from Southampton, England. The 1,870-passenger Aurora's "Grand Voyage" departs January 9, 2005 on a route to Cape Verde, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, Chile, across the South Pacific to Tahiti, Tonga and New Zealand then calling at Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin, Australia. Aurora continues to circle the Pacific Ocean calling at Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, Midway, Hawaii, San Francisco, Mexico, then transits the Panama Canal to Aruba, Barbados and the Azores en route back to Southampton. The 1,800-passenger Oriana's "Around the World in 80 Days" sailing departs Southampton on January 7, 2005 and calls at the Azores, Barbados, Curacao, Panama Canal, Acapulco, San Francisco, Honolulu, Tonga, New Zealand, Sydney, Brisbane, Whitsunday Islands, Kota Kinabalu, Hong Kong, Da Nang, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Sri Lanka, Cochin, Mumbai, Sharm El Sheikh, Suez Canal, Port Said, Athens and Barcelona. The full world cruise per person fares begin at $12,200 for Oriana and $15,400 for Aurora. Back to Top

7-13-04 RCI To Sail Bermuda in 2005 If you dream of viewing Bermuda's pink sand from a rock-climbing wall, here is your chance: in 2005 Royal Caribbean International's Voyager of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas, are scheduled to sail on five night Bermuda cruises from Bayonne, NJ and Baltimore, MD. The 3,114-passenger Voyager's new five-night Bermuda sailings will begin on May 15, 2005, and will depart every other Sunday from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. The new cruises alternate with a nine-night Caribbean itinerary first introduced in May 2004, which takes guests to Labadee, Hispaniola; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. The 1,950-passenger Grandeur of the Seas' five-night Bermuda cruises will start on May 22, 2005, departing on opposite Sundays from Baltimore. Grandeur's Bermuda sailings will alternate with a new, nine-night Caribbean itinerary, with calls in Key West and Port Canaveral, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; Freeport, Grand Bahama Island; and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island paradise in the Bahamas Berry Island chain. For reservations, consult your travel agent or visit Back to Top

7-9-04 Weekend Cruise News America Pride of America *** NCL America has announced dates for the arrival of its next two Hawaiian based vessels. The 72,000-ton Pride of America will be delivered on June 6, 2005 by Lloyd Werft shipyard in Germany. The 92,000-ton Pride of Hawaii will be delivered in the summer of 2006. The two ships were originally being built in the U.S. as part of 'Project America' for now defunct United States Lines. Although both ships are being completed in Germany, they will be U.S. Flagged and U.S. crewed for year-round Hawaii cruises. Itineraries will be announced shortly.Pride of America will have eight restaurants, over 660 balcony staterooms, three pools and extensive children's facilities. Firsts for NCL include a Conservatory, a new category of family suites, a tennis court and an art gallery. The S.S. America Library will feature memorabilia and artifacts from the historic ship. Pride of America will feature hull art depicting the Stars and Stripes combined with the United States' national bird - the Bald Eagle. Pride of Hawaii has been enlarged to accommodate almost 2,400 passengers and re-designed to match other new builds in the NCL fleet. She will be a sister ship of Norwegian Jewel which enters service in August, 2005. Both Norwegian Jewel and Pride of Hawaii will feature 10 restaurants including Cagney's Steak House, Blue Lagoon, Le Bistro and an Asian complex with sushi bar, teppaynaki table and a Pacific Fusion restaurant. New onboard is "Bar Central" which will connect three venues - a martini bar, a champagne and wine Bar and a beer and whiskey pub.

*** The 110,000-ton Carnival Valor enters service December 19, 2004 on year-round Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami. Joe Farcus, Carnival's ship architect says "The Valor's design explores a wide variety of what can be defined as heroic. There is a certain American feel to the decor overall, and the icons featured within many of the public rooms represent the best of what America is all about." The dome over the lobby features bas-relief panels depicting 10 famous U.S. destinations - including Miami Beach, Chicago, San Francisco, the Grand Canyon, the Sonoran Desert, and New Orleans - illuminated from underneath by red, white and blue lights. On the main wall of the atrium is a mural of these locations painted by Alaskan artist Devita Writer. Elevator entrances evoke Colonial America with brass doors with wood inlay, stained-glass lamps and half-pillars on the wall in polished stainless steel. The formal dining rooms honor two American presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, while the One Small Step Dance Club celebrates Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon.

*** Cunard Line has launched its 2005 Cruise Atlas. Next year's voyages of the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 feature 64 departures, ranging in length from 3 to 102 days, including 26 transatlantic crossings. A series of nine Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, will start the winter schedule for Queen Mary 2 (QM2), followed by four March departures from New York. A handful of cruises to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the eastern seaboard of North America are interspersed with the QM2's transatlantic series from April to November. QM2 will end 2005 with three sailings to the Caribbean from New York, including Cunard's annual holiday cruise. Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) will begin 2005 with her annual World Cruise, which Cunard was first to introduce back in 1922. The ship visits 38 ports in 24 nations over 102 days, departing New York on January 3, 2005 with segments of 12 to 26 days available. From April through early November, QE2 offers a host of new cruises from Southampton to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. She finishes the year with a circumnavigation of South America and a holiday voyage to the Canary Islands. To receive a copy of the new Cunard 2005 brochure, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit the website at

*** Seabourn has introduced a variety of shore excursions to Seabourn Pride's seven-day cruises between New York and Quebec City. Excursions explore the art, architecture, culture, history and natural scenic beauty of the region. A complimentary shoreside experience is included in one port of call during each cruse - either a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a Victorian era regimental soldier in Halifax's hilltop Citadel or an exclusive festival of traditional Scottish Highland Games at Cape Breton Island's Gaelic College. Optional excursions give passengers the chance to sail an authentic tall ship in Halifax harbor, create a reproduction of an 18th century weapon under the guidance of a master artisan at Louisbourg Fortress near Sydney, Nova Scotia, take a hot-air balloon ride over Quebec City and the St. Lawrence River or enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride on Mt. Desert Island, Maine. The Canada/New England sailings are being offered with savings of up to 50 percent. Fares start from $2,998 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean-view suite. One-week voyages northbound from New York depart September 19 and October 3. Southbound voyages depart Quebec City on September 26 and October 10. The voyages may be combined for a 14-day voyage.

*** Crystal Cruises has lined up 64 theme cruises for 2005 aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity around the globe. The theme cruises cover 17 different topics including Garden Design in the British Isles, Fashion & Style in Italy, Nature & Wildlife in Baja California, transatlantic Big Band sailings and photography cruises in Alaska, Antarctica, Hong Kong and the Mediterranean. Crystal has once again organized its signature Health & Fitness cruises, Smithsonian Associates, Sotheby's Institute and Wine & Food Festival sailings. Other themes covered are Golf, Art & Architecture, Jazz, a Comedy Club at Sea and a Film Festival. For a complete listing of Crystal's theme cruises for 2004 and 2005, see CruiseMates' Theme Cruise page.

*** Radisson Seven Seas Cruises has special offers on many of Radisson Diamond and Seven Seas Voyager sailings from August to November in Europe. Eleven Mediterranean sailings on the 350-passenger Radisson Diamond offer a choice of complimentary round-trip economy air from 86 North American gateways OR $1,000 off the cruise fare plus a two-category stateroom upgrade. The 700-passenger Seven Seas Voyager's Aug. 27, Sept. 7, 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 12 or 21 cruises include either complimentary roundtrip economy air from 86 North American gateways, or, business class air at the economy air rate, or $1,000 off the cruise fare. In addition, the Seven Seas Voyager's Nov. 1, 11-night Monte Carlo to Athens sailing features two-for-one fares. Seven of these Europe sailings are "Spotlight" theme cruises including Radisson Diamond's August 2 caviar and champagne cruise and the September 20 sailing featuring Italian winemakers and Mediterranean-cooking demonstrations. The Seven Seas Voyager's Aug. 27 and Nov. 1 cruises are "Antiques Boatshow" voyages, hosted by BBC Antiques Roadshow TV hosts, the September 7 Spotlight on Wine sailing and the November 12 cruise features on-air hosts of public television shows. The discounted per person fares start from $2,326. All cruise fares include shipboard gratuities, wine with dinner, and an in-stateroom/suite bar set-up. Back to Top

7-2-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Watch the christening of NCL's Pride of Aloha in Honolulu this Sunday July 4 at the NCL web site, The event starts at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Mrs. Daniel K. Inouye, community leader and wife of Hawaii senator Daniel K. Inouye will christen the 77,104-ton ship. Web users will need to have access to the latest version of Windows Media Player on their computer in order to view to the ceremony. The Windows Media Player may be downloaded free in advance from Microsoft at Pride of Aloha commences year-round, seven night Hawaii sailings Sunday evening with calls at Hilo and Kona, Hawaii and overnight stays in Kahului, Maui and Nawiliwili, Kauai.

*** NCL has organized a customer service center at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa for Pride of Aloha and Norwegian Wind passengers. The center offers concierge service including pre-cruise check-in, land and shore excursion coordination, advance spa and dining reservations and cabin upgrade requests. NCL passengers who purchase a land package at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa will be able to check-in at the service center for their cruise up to six days in advance of sailing. The service center will coordinate expedited transit into the terminal upon arrival at the pier and, once passengers pick up their stateroom card keys at a dedicated key pick-up podium, they are able to immediately embark the ship. Pre- and post-cruise land packages at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa start at $99 per person for a one-night package based on double occupancy. Package rates include room, tax, porterage and one transfer between the hotel and pier.

*** Seabourn has upgraded the satellite connection aboard Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend and created a wi-fi "hot zone" throughout each ship. Passengers will be able to connect to the internet on their wi-fi equipped laptops and PDAs without plugging in. Seabourn's new satellite service provider is considerably more economical than the company's previous connection. Telephone calls are now $4.95 per minute instead of $12.50 per minute while Internet connection, which previously cost 95 cents a minute, will now be 50 cents per minute. Discounts for purchasing bulk packages of online time can further reduce the internet cost to as little as 25 cents per minute. Wi-fi is shorthand for wireless fidelity, a system that utilizes radio signals from a transmitter/receiver located in a laptop computer or Personal Digital Assistant to connect to networks and the internet. For wi-fi users, the challenge in using the system is locating an active access point within range of a network, called a "Hot Spot".

*** Silversea Cruises' first-ever visit to Beirut last week was a huge success with the port exceeding passengers' expectations. The Silver Whisper voyage sailed from Athens to Istanbul with a full day call in Beirut. The port is exotic enough to appeal to travelers looking for a new unique, unvisited port option, but safe and secure enough to attract mainstream travelers. Silversea's passengers took excursions to rarely visited archaeological sites and made use of the line's complimentary shuttle bus to the city's newly-built pedestrian mall. Day trips offered by Silversea ranged from tours of the capital's newly restored Ottoman-era architecture to the Roman temples at Baalbeck in the Bekaa Valley. Passenger ratings for Beirut were 'extremely high' with many guests describing the port as the highlight of the cruise and 'the Med's best kept secret'. The visit provided an exotic glimpse of Lebanon's diverse geography, history, culture and welcoming people. Silver Whisper's passenger compliment included North and Latin Americans, Britons, French and Germans. Almost half were US citizens. Silversea returns to Beirut with two calls in 2005; Civitavecchia (Rome) to Istanbul for eight nights, May 11, 2005 aboard Silver Wind and a Piraeus to Port Said cruise, 15 nights, October 30, 2005 aboard Silver Shadow.

*** Holland America has added a five day cruise to Ryndam's schedule. The new sailing departs round-trip from Vancouver for five nights on September 24, 2004, calling at Sitka and Ketchikan.

*** Radisson Seven Seas Cruises is offering special "Paradise Found" getaways in August and September aboard the 320-passenger Paul Gauguin. The August 21, 28, September 11, and 18 sailings include free roundtrip economy airfare from 86 North American gateways plus 50% savings on second-guest fares. Business class air upgrades from Los Angeles are available for $1,895. Sailing from Papeete, Tahiti, every Saturday, the Paul Gauguin calls at Raiatea, Tahaa, the "vanilla island", Motu Mahana, the ship's private islet and spends two full days in both Bora Bora and Moorea. Another highlight this summer is the July 31 culinary cruise featuring two-star Michelin chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, whose Apicius restaurant ranks among the best in Paris. Vigato will conduct a cooking demonstration and prepare signature dishes in L'Etoile, the ship's main dining room as well as present full menus of his original creation in La Veranda, the vessel's alternative restaurant, which features an Apicius menu year-round. Per person prices for the July 31 cruise from $3,146 include free economy air from 86 North American gateways. Cruise fares include shipboard gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner and an in-stateroom bar set-up.

*** SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream II will sail three new itineraries to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and Belize between December 2004 and April 2005. SeaDream I will continue to operate in the Caribbean during that period. The new seven-night itineraries, The Yachtsman's Mayan Riviera, The Yucatan Explorer and The Mexico-Belize Eco-Adventure, sail round-trip from Puerto Morelos (Cancun). They feature continuing, back-to-back sailings for those looking for longer voyages. The Yachtsman's Mayan Riviera calls at Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Laguna Campechen, Puerto Aventuras and Punta Venado. The Yucatan Explorer calls at San Felipe, Progresso, Celestun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras and Punta Venado. The Mexico-Belize Eco-Adventure calls at Puerto Aventuras, Punta Herradura, Belize City, Ambergris Cay and Punta Venado. Passengers booked on SeaDream II's previously-scheduled sailings in the Caribbean are being offered a 25 percent reduction on any published SeaDream sailing for 2004-2005, including the new sailings, or a complete refund. Special introductory fares for these new seven-day voyages start from $1,999 per person. SeaDream cruises include wine with lunch and dinner, gratuities and use of water sports equipment. There is an open bar policy on both the yachts.

*** Princess Cruises has announced 2005-2006 Mexican Riviera sailings from Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego aboard Sapphire Princess, Regal Princess and Dawn Princess. The 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess sails the line's classic seven-night itinerary round-trip from Los Angeles calling at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, every Saturday between October 1, 2005 and April 22, 2006. The 1,950-passenger Dawn Princess will be based in San Francisco for a 10-night round-trip itinerary to Catalina, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas and San Diego, between September 21, 2005 and May 9, 2006. The 1,580-passenger Regal Princess sails new 10-night cruises round-trip from San Diego which call at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan between September 26 and November 5, 2005.

*** Part of NCL's Freestyle Cruising program has been an improvement in casino services. Now the company has become the first cruise line to institute the Strictly Slots' certification program. Strictly Slots Magazine has certified that the slot and video poker machines onboard select NCL ships yield an average payback of 95 percent - higher than the industry standard of 90 percent. National slot expert John Mott reviewed the machines aboard seven NCL ships - Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Dream, Norwegian Majesty, Norwegian Sea, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Sun. Mott found 200 machines onboard these ships that met the requirements of a percent payback of 95 or more. NCL joins Trump Marina in Atlantic City, Pala in San Diego and Isleta in Albuquerque in participating in the Strictly Slots program.

*** The International Council of Cruise Lines has announced that all 118 vessels of its member lines are 100% compliant with the latest International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. The new measures to improve ship and port security globally include screening, access control, response action plans, waterside security and communications between ships and ports. July 1 was the deadline for all ships and port facilities worldwide to comply with the new code. ICCL member lines include Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Line, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, NCL America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Orient Lines, Princess Cruises, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises and Windstar Cruises. These vessels account for approximately 90% of the North American passenger cruise line industry. Back to Top

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