News Archive - June 2001

06-29-01 Weekend Cruise News 6-29-01 *** Princess Cruises will welcome daytime TV talk show hosts Star Jones and Joy Behar aboard the Golden Princess for the August 20 Grand Mediterranean cruise from Istanbul to Barcelona. The daytime television personalities will hold a "mock TV host" discussion, sign autographs and mingle with the passengers at all the ship's hot spots, including Skywalker's Nightclub and Lotus Spa.

*** Crystal Cruises is offering a varied series of 15- and 16-day Asian cruise programs, including a complimentary three-night land package in Beijing. Crystal has developed four diverse routes, visiting more than 13 cities throughout China, Japan and South Korea from April through early June, considered the prime season for visiting Asia. Each cruise features an overnight stay aboard Crystal Harmony in Shanghai, China and either Kobe, Japan or Hong Kong, depending on the itinerary. Other calls include Yokohama, Nagasaki, Okinawa, Kagoshima and Hiroshima, Japan; the Chinese cities of Dalian, Beijing, and Qingdao; Taipei, Taiwan; and Seoul, South Korea, a maiden call for the ship.

*** Just when Silversea had gone way out of its way to offer something unique in spa services by replacing Steiner Leisure, the leading provider of spa services on almost all cruise ships, with Mandara Spas of Asia, Steiner announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a 60% interest in each of Mandara Spa LLC and Mandara Spa Asia Ltd.

Mandara Spa Mandara Spa provides spa services for Silversea Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Orient Lines, and currently operates spas in more than 50 locations worldwide, principally in Asia and the Pacific, the United States and the Caribbean.

*** Regal Cruises is offering "holiday cruises for kids" specials where children, 16 and younger, sail free on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter cruises when accompanied in the same cabin by two adults. Participants must mention fare code KDF when booking and are responsible for the children's port, service and handling fees, ranging from $84.75 to $139.75. The adults' port charges are included in the fares.

The 900-passenger Regal Empress offers Halloween festivities during the five-night sailing to the Bahamas, departing Ft. Lauderdale, October 29, 2001. Halloween day features a day spent on the island of San Salvador, home of the ruins of Farquharson Plantation, known locally as "Blackbeard's Castle".

The Thanksgiving cruise, departing Ft. Lauderdale on November 17, features turkey with all the traditional fixings, prepared by executive chef Luigi Cataldi, a member of the Confrerie de la Cha�ne de R�tisseurs, the world's oldest gastronomic society, and served while the Regal Empress is en route to Key West, Florida, the southernmost town in the continental U.S.

Regal Empress. decked out in Christmas spirit, departs Port Manatee, December 23, for a seven-day cruise to Mexico. A surprise visit by Santa Claus for the kids has been arranged. Christmas day is spent in Progreso, on the gulf side of the Yucat�n, gateway to Mer�da, Yucat�n's capital city. Cozumel follows. The final call is made at Mexico's newest port, Costa Maya, 150 miles south of Canc�n on the Yucat�n Peninsula and once a maritime trading post of the ancient Mayan Empire. A 70,000 square-foot shopping plaza with beach club, restaurants, pools and beaches has been built for cruise visitors.

The Easter Bunny will join passengers for an Easter Egg hunt during Regal Cruises' three-night Easter cruise to Key West, FL, departing Port Manatee, March 29, 2002. Key West, a haven for pirates and wreck salvagers in the 19th century and writers and artists in the 20th century, has developed into a popular cruise stop in the 21st century.

*** According to AAA, the sluggish U.S. economy, volatile stock market and concerns about hoof and mouth disease have opened a huge window of opportunity for Americans still interested in overseas travel this summer,

"With favorable exchange rates in some countries, international travel is the best bargain it has been in years, especially to popular destinations like London," said AAA Travel Vice President Sandra Hughes. "In addition, airline seats in all classes of service are available through most of the summer."

"Europe continues to be the overseas destination of choice for travelers who should find more than just a few travel bargains due to worldwide economic uncertainties," said AAA Travel Vice President Sandra Hughes. "There is also discounting in overseas cruises and tours for travelers who are flexible with dates and itineraries."

*** Princess Cruises is announcing Regal Princess is replacing the Crown Princess for 2002 in Europe to offer a series of 10-day Scandinavia/Russia and Baltic Heritage cruises, sailing round-trip from Copenhagen. These voyages include two full days in St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn (Estonia), Oslo (substituted with Warnemunde, Germany on the Baltic Heritage itinerary) and Gdansk (Poland). The ship will also offer a 12-day Rome to Copenhagen itinerary, as well as a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing in August, traveling from Copenhagen to New York.

In total, Princess, 2002 Europe season will feature 44 departures on 24 unique itineraries aboard four ships: Golden Princess, Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Pacific Princess. Back to Top

06-26-01 HAL Expands Hawaii Program Holland America Line will expand its roster of round-trip Hawaii cruises from the West Coast in 2002, with nine voyages aboard the Statendam from San Diego. Also new is Statendam's first port call at Molokai, one of the least visited islands in Hawaii, scheduled Dec. 20, 2002.

The Statendam departs on its winter/spring Circle Hawaii cruises Jan. 17, Feb. 1 and 26, March 23 and April 17, 2002; in the fall the ship sails Oct. 6 and 31 and Nov. 25. Each cruise calls at Hilo, Hawaii (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park tour option); Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai, plus scenic cruising along its Na Pali coast; Lahaina, Maui; and Kona, Hawaii, before returning to San Diego. The cruises also sail past the active Kilauea Volcano in the evening when its glowing lava "show" can be seen best. Cruise fares for the 15-day sailings start at $2,779 per person, double occupancy, including port charges and discount of 48 percent. Back to Top

06-25-01 New RCI, Carnival Itineraries Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean International are relieving some of the over-crowding in the port of Miami by announcing new 2002 itineraries that use Tampa and the gulf states as home ports.

New RCI Gulf Port Itineraries Grandeur of the Seas' seven-night round-trip Western Caribbean cruises out of New Orleans depart every Saturday from November 2, 2002 through January 11, 2003, and out of Tampa depart every Saturday from February 15, 2003 through April 19, 2003. Ports of call include Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Belize City, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico. A special seven-night Mardi Gras cruise is scheduled to depart Tampa on March 1, 2003 and a five-night sailing out of Tampa is scheduled for April 26, 2003.

Starting December 8, 2002, Rhapsody of the Seas will sail seven-night roundtrip Western Caribbean cruises out of Galveston, Texas with Sunday departures through March 16, 2003. Ports of call include Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico and Key West, Florida.

Other new 2002/2003 voyages on Grandeur and Rhapsody include Panama Canal itineraries: Grandeur will sail 14-night itineraries out of New Orleans and San Diego, and Rhapsody will sail 14- and 15-night itineraries out of San Diego and 14-night itineraries out of Galveston and San Juan.

New Carnival Itineraries The 2,052-passenger Inspiration will depart the Port of Tampa every Sunday on week-long voyages to Grand Cayman, Playa del Carmen/Cozumel and New Orleans. Prior to the start-up of that program, it will operate a special six-day voyage departing Tampa Nov. 25, 2002. Ports of call will include Playa del Carmen/Cozumel and New Orleans.

The 2,976-passenger Carnival Conquest will become the largest cruise ship ever homeported in New Orleans when it begins year-round seven-day sailings from that port Dec. 1, 2002. Carnival Conquest will depart New Orleans every Sunday on week-long voyages to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Playa del Carmen/Cozumel.

The Sensation will launch a year-round program of four- and five-day western Caribbean voyages from Tampa Aug. 25, 2002, becoming the newest and largest ship to operate short cruises from that port. With the exception of the first scheduled voyage, four-day voyages will depart Thursdays and visit Key West and Playa del Carmen/Cozumel, while five-day voyages will depart Mondays and Saturdays and call at Grand Cayman and Playa del Carmen/Cozumel. Back to Top

06-22-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Silversea's newest vessel, Silver Whisper, was christened in Genoa last Monday by Godmother Marzia Lefebvre D'Ovidio, wife of Silversea Cruises chairman Manfredi Lefebvre D'Ovidio. The 28,258gt, 382-passenger vessel is the sister to Silver Shadow, which joined the company last year. A highlight of the inaugural celebrations was the charity soccer match "A Heart for Africa" between teams, Formula 1 drivers including Michael Schumacher, Jarno Truli, Giancarlo Fisichella and Jean Alesi, and popular singers of Italy such as Eros Ramazzotti, Zucchero, Antonacci and Lunapop. An audience of 40,000-plus watched the match, which ended in a tie. All proceeds from the match will support a variety of charities in Africa. A post-match celebratory dinner was held aboard Silver Whisper for the drivers, singers and other VIPs. Silversea's president, Bill Smith, also presented a $10,000 donation to Africa advocate, Bob Geldof, for the �Kick Polio out of Africa' charity.

***Infinity is back in service today following a drydock in Victoria B.C. to replace Mermaid pod bearing units. The starboard side unit was showing signs of fatigue. The decision was made to replace the port side unit, as a precautionary measure, while the ship was in drydock. Infinity is sailing Alaska's Inside Passage, round trip from Vancouver every Friday through September 21.

Delta Queen Logo
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***Delta Queen Steamboat Company has a new logo and is making some major changes for 2002. The new logo is an upright oval surrounding two towering fluted smokestacks rising above a gingerbread pilot house on a 19th century riverboat. Three curved waves are incorporated into the lower portion of the oval. The logo's vibrant reds, oranges and yellows reflect the red of riverboat paddlewheels and the warmth of the river destinations served by the company. New for 2002, the riverboats will focus on seven-night cruises, departing on weekends. Five main itineraries will be offered; Roundtrip from New Orleans; Between New Orleans and Memphis; Between St. Louis and Minneapolis/St. Paul; Between Louisville and Pittsburgh; Roundtrip from Portland, Oregon. Most sailings from New Orleans will include an overnight stay in the Big Easy and other enhancements to Delta Queen's vacation packages are planned.

***There was a third dumping incident in Alaska when Rhapsody of the Seas accidentally discharged around 200 gallons of graywater (laundry waste water) while anchored in Juneau, on Monday. Inspectors were on board the ship conducting an environmental and safety inspection at the time of the incident. A hearing will be held to determine the fine for Royal Caribbean. The maximum penalty is $25,000. Royal Caribbean has apologized for the accident.

***Norwegian Cruise Line intends to christen both the Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Star in Miami on November 17. Norwegian Sun, the modified sister ship of the Norwegian Sky, will commence sailing to the Western Caribbean from Miami the day of the christening. Norwegian Star was originally being built for parent company, Star Cruises, but will now sail for NCL in Hawaii commencing in December.

***Celebrity Cruises has expanded its Hawaii itineraries for 2002 and 2003. Summit will sail from Ensenada to Honolulu and Honolulu to Vancouver in the spring of 2002 with reverse itineraries in the fall. Infinity will also position via Hawaii for the Alaska season and will sail additional Hawaii cruises in the winter of 2002-2003. All sailings include 2 days in Lahaina, Maui with an additional overnight in Honolulu on some dates. Other ports of call are Hilo and Kona, Hawaii and Nawiliwili, Kauai.

***The former Holland America liner, Rotterdam, may be returning to Holland as a hotel ship stationed in Amsterdam. The popular liner is currently laid up in the Bahamas, following the demise of new owners, Premier Cruises, who had renamed her, Rembrandt. The new plan would see the Rotterdam turned into a hotel and museum, similar to the Queen Mary attraction in Long Beach.

***Royal Caribbean has extended its options on the fifth and sixth Radiance class vessels. The options with Meyer Werft shipyard of Papenburg, Germany, have been extended to July 26, 2002 from June 27, 2001. Prior to the option extension, the two vessels, sister ships to Radiance of the Seas, had been tentatively scheduled to enter service in 2005 and 2006. Back to Top

06-21-01 Royal Olympic Update In New York yesterday, executives of Royal Olympic Cruises said that the new Olympic Explorer will "hopefully" enter service Sept. 15, 2001. CEO Yiannos Pantazis said the ship has an engine vibration problem and hopes the cruise line and ship yard can reach an amicable agreement. Those who book September cruises are being told that there's still a possibility the ship will be late. Pantazis also reported that the cruise line is changing its name to Royal Olympia Cruises due to a request from the Olympic committee. The Olympic games are scheduled to take place in Greece in 2004. Back to Top

06-20-01 New Cruise/Drive Program Europcar, the largest international car rental company of European origin, today announced the arrival of Cruise and Drive, the travel industry's first product that offers cruise passengers a car rental option for destination excursions at ports-of-call. Travelers or their agents can book Europcar if there is an existing cruise itinerary or reserve a vehicle right after the initial cruise booking. Europcar's Cruise and Drive program links international cruises to 18 European countries, plus Mexico. The Europcar representatives meet passengers at the dock upon arrival, signing the necessary rental agreement and handing the keys to the customer. Upon return, the vehicle will be picked up by a Europcar representative at the dock. Daily rates include a free mileage allowance, insurance and local taxes, as well as delivery and collection of the vehicle. Reservations for Cruise and Drive can only be made by calling Europcar's Reservation and Information Center toll-free at 1-877-940-6900. Additional information about Europcar may be found at Back to Top

06-18-01 Fire Aboard RCI's Nordic Empress A Royal Caribbean International cruise ship carrying more than 2,000 passengers was left floating without engine power north of Bermuda for several hours after an engine room fire forced the crew to shut down the vessel's engines on Saturday, June 16. The crew managed to restart the ship's engines and Nordic Empress pulled into Bermuda; no injuries were suffered. Once in Bermuda, guests will be flown home via New York, where the cruise originated on June 10. The company is providing all guests with return airfare to New York. All guests also will receive a free seven-night cruise certificate. Royal Caribbean executives say the June 17 New York-Bermuda voyage will be cancelled. Back to Top

06-15-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Disney's latest animated feature, Atlantis: The Lost Empire will premiere with red carpet, and celebrity guest presenters at The Walt Disney Theatre on the Disney Wonder June 15 and on the Disney Magic June 20. Special guests on board will be Don Hahn, producer of Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Alan Menken, composer of scores for animated features, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. The movie opens nationwide on June 15.

***Celebrity Cruises' Infinity is being repaired at Vancouver Shipyards in Victoria, B.C. A navy vessel and fishing boat had to be removed from the drydock to make way for Infinity, the largest ship on the Alaska run this year. A bearing in the Mermaid pod propulsion system is showing signs of fatigue and needs to be replaced. The work is being performed under warranty with French builders, Chantiers de l'Atlantique as the vessel only entered service in March of this year. Infinity is expected to return to service June 22.

***Inaugural ceremonies for Silversea's newest vessel, Silver Whisper, get underway this weekend in Genoa, Italy. A highlight of the celebrations will be the charity soccer match "A Heart for Africa" between teams, Formula One, led by Ferrari F1 driver Michael Schumacher, and Italian National Singers, led by Italian singing sensation Eros Ramazzotti. Sister ship to Silver Shadow, the 25,000-ton vessel carries 388 passengers around the world in ultra-luxury. Silver Whisper sails July 2 on its 14-day "Gala Inaugural" voyage from Rome to London, calling in Barcelona, Gibraltar, Casablanca, Lisbon, Oporto, La Coruna, St. Malo and Honfleur.

***A new vessel, the Casanova, is now sailing from Venice on cruises to the River Po and Venetian Lagoon. Sailing every Saturday from Venice to Cremona, through November 17, the cruise includes a final night on board in Venice on the Grand Canal. Excursions take passengers to the medieval cities of Bologna, Ferrara, Verona, Mantua and Padua and across the Venetian Lagoon to the islands of Burano and Murano. Operated by Peter Deilmann Cruises, the 94-passenger Casanova has a panoramic restaurant which accommodates all passengers in a single seating. Multi-course luncheon and dinner menus offer Italian and continental cuisine and wines of many countries. The ship's staff are English-speaking.

***The World of ResidenSea, the residential condominium ship, has won the prestigious "Ship of the Year 2001" award from Nor-shipping. The award was presented at the 18th international shipping and maritime exhibition and conference held in Oslo, Norway on May 29. In presenting the award, the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs. Grete Knudsen noted that "The World, being the first ship of its kind ever to be constructed, represents the continuation of the old tradition of Norwegian maritime entrepreneurship."

***Cruise West will add a new eight-night itinerary to the Sea of Cortes schedule for next winter. This will be the small-ship line's fourth season in Mexico. The Spirit of Endeavour and Spirit of 98 will sail five itineraries with 35 departures. The new itinerary sails round trip from Le Paz and calls at two Baja ports, Loreto and Mulege, with shore excursions to a variety of small offshore islands for beachtime, hiking and wildlife viewing. The islands are Espiritu Santos, Carmen, San Jose and Partida. One day is reserved for exploring the islets in Bah�a Concepci�n, a protected maritime reserve near Mulege. Four departures are scheduled in December 2001 and January, 2002.

***Holland America Line and Windstar vessels are equipped with portable AEDs, automatic external defibrillators, which can be rushed to the scene of a heart attack. The machines apply an electrical shock to the patient which restores the heart rate to normal. HAL vessels carry three of the life saving devices on board while the smaller Windstar ships carry one.

***Viking River's new Viking Spirit will commence European river sailings on July 22. The new vessel is designed by Yran and Storbraaten, designers for Silversea, NCL, RCCL, Seabourn, Hapag Lloyd's Europa and The World of ResidenSea. A new feature on this riverboat is the Promenade Deck, an outside covered walkway on the Upper Deck forward, which wraps around the lounge. The 370 foot Viking Spirit has 75 outside passenger cabins. She will serve as a floating hotel on the Danube, Rhine, and Main rivers.

***New cruise ship environmental standards have been passed this week. The Alaska state legislature passed the environmental bill June 9 which allows the state to regulate water and air pollution from the ships in Alaskan waters. A special session of the legislature was called by Alaskan Governor, Tony Knowles, June 6 in Juneau after the bill stalled in a Senate Committee. Cruise Lines will be charged $1.00 per passenger to pay for the new program. The International Council of Cruise Lines announced new environmental standards on Monday. The 16 member cruise lines of the association approved the changes unanimously. The ICCL bill aims to regulate cruise ship air and waste emissions and garbage disposal worldwide. Back to Top

06-12-01 Two ACV Ships Delayed American Classic Voyages has announced that, due to "scheduling challenges" at Jacksonville, Fla.'s Atlantic Marine shipyard, the Cape Cod Light, the second ship in the Delta Queen Coastal Voyages fleet, will be delivered in third- or fourth-quarter 2001, resulting in the cancellation of 12 departures. The vessel had been scheduled to debut in August. In addition construction on ACV's "Project America" ships, at Mississippi's Ingalls Shipbuilding, is "four to nine months" behind schedule. The first of the two 1,900-passenger ships, originally slated to launch in January 2003, instead will premiere sometime "later in 2003," an American Classic executive said. As part of a cost reduction program, the company announced plans to eliminate 70 full-time positions from its shore-based staff of approximately 470 full-time personnel.Back to Top

06-11-01 Olympic Explorer Delayed Royal Olympic Cruises has announced that its newest ship, the Olympic Explorer, will be delayed and has cancelled cruises of the ship through September 15, 2001. In a statement from Royal Olympic headquarters in Athens, Greece, blamed the delay on "technical problems" at the Glohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. In May, however CruiseMates received a statement from the shipyard stating that the ship had no problems, had passed sea trials and that Glohm+Voss was waiting to learn what those problems were. Royal Olympic says it is able to accommodate passengers who were booked on Olympic Explorer aboard its other vessels. Back to Top

06-08-01 Weekend Cruise News *** Festival Cruises' new European Vision is preparing for her inaugural season. The 58,600-ton vessel carries 1,500 passengers. European Vision sets sail June 30 on a seven-night itinerary which runs through November 17. Ports of call are Genoa, Italy; Katakolon (for Olympia), Greece; Kusadasi (for Ephesus) Turkey; the Greek island of Mykonos, and Naples, Italy. Festival Cruises has changed the name of its next vessel, European Dream to European Stars. Scheduled to debut in April, 2002, European Stars is a sister ship to European Vision.

***Carnival's Holiday is now sailing from San Juan on seven-night southern Caribbean cruises. Holiday replaces Fascination on the route. The change completes a three ship swap which has Fascination now sailing from Miami on three and four-day Bahamas cruises (replacing Ecstasy) and Ecstasy sailing from Los Angeles on three and four-day Baja Mexico cruises (replacing Holiday).

***QE2 offers a Christmas/ New Year cruise from either New York or Ft. Lauderdale. Sail for 14 days round trip from Ft. Lauderdale or extend the cruise to begin and/or end in New York for a 16 or 18-day voyage. Ports of call on the complete 18-day itinerary from New York are Ft. Lauderdale, St. Croix, St. Kitts & Nevis, Martinique, Barbados (overnight on board), St. Lucia, Curacao and back to Ft. Lauderdale.

***Alaska Governor, Tony Knowles has called a special session of the legislature to discuss House Bill 260 which would regulate cruise ship air and waste emissions. A $50. per passenger tax is included as part of the proposals. The session is expected to last several days while all arguments are heard.

***Silversea Cruises is marketing the 88 guest suites on board the luxury, condominium ship, The World of ResidenSea. "Tailored Time Fares" are blocks of 30, 60, 100, 200 and 300 days on board which can be used over a 24 month period. The World of ResidenSea sets sail January 24, 2002 to continuously navigate the globe with 29 itineraries ranging from five to 17 days. The World will be arriving in ports for such special events as the Monte Carlo Grand Prix and Carnival in Rio. The 40,000-ton vessel is being built at a cost of $262 million. In addition to the 88 guest suites, there are 110 privately owned residences on board. Silversea Cruises has been contracted to operate the maritime and hotel operations of the vessel as well as the marketing of guest suites.

***The expedition vessel, Caledonia Star, of Linblad Expeditions has been renamed Endeavour, in honor of Captain James Cook. The Endeavour was Cook's first expedition ship and is reputed to be the first vessel to sail on an organized voyage of exploration. The renaming ceremony took place in Whitby, England, where Captain Cook's ships, the Endeavour, Resolution and Adventure were built. The new Endeavour is one of a handful of vessels sailing in Antarctica next December through February. Back to Top

06-07-01 Marine Expeditions Closes Marine Expeditions, which operated cruises by small ships to Antarctica and the Arctic, has ceased operations. The Toronto-based company says that customer deposits of approximately $1.2 million are protected through a combination of travel agency trust accounts and the compensation fund of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario. Established in July 2000, the company experienced a 50% drop in bookings over the past four weeks. Back to Top

06-06-01 RCI/Celebrity 2002 Alaska Schedules Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have announced next year's Alaska seasons which will operate from May through September, 2002. Celebrity's new Summit, scheduled to debut this October, will join sister ship Infinity on seven night cruises from Vancouver. RCI's Legend of the Seas joins Vision and Radiance of the Seas in Alaska. Scheduled to sail the Inside Passage cruises, round trip from Vancouver are Vision of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Infinity. Legend of the Seas will sail two Inside Passage cruises, May 17 and 24, 2002. Glacier route cruises northbound and southbound between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage) will be offered on board Summit and Legend of the Seas. Back to Top

06-05-01 Celebrity Cancels Alaska Cruises Celebrity Cruises is suffering a run of bad luck. A second vessel in the fleet, the Infinity, has suffered mechanical problems, requiring the replacement of a ball-bearing unit in the ship's propulsion unit.. Presently sailing on Alaska itineraries, the cruise line has cancelled the June 8 and June 15, 2001 voyages. In Europe, Celebrity's Galaxy is also undergoing repairs.Back to Top

06-05-01 Celebrity Cancels Europe Cruise Celebrity Cruises has cancelled a 14-night Galaxy Europe cruise due to damage sustained to the portside propeller. The 1,870-passenger ship will enter dry-dock in Hamburg, Germany. The cruise line says it expects Galaxy to resume its European cruise schedule on June 16. Celebrity has established a help desk in Miami to handle inquiries: (888) 826-8495. Passengers will receive a full refund and a free cruise on a future 14-night sailing.Back to Top

06-01-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Disney Magic will sail a new western Caribbean itinerary from Port Canaveral in 2002. From Saturday May 11, the new seven-day route will call at Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Castaway Cay (Disney's private Bahamian island). On alternate Saturdays, Disney Magic will sail the current eastern itinerary which calls at St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

***Cruise West has christened its eighth ship, the 114-passenger Spirit of Oceanus. Formerly known as MegaStar Sagittarius and Renaissance V, the vessel was purchased from Star Cruises of Singapore. Spirit of Oceanus is currently sailing to Whittier, Alaska where she is scheduled to arrive on June 6 before embarking on summer Alaska cruises. Spirit of Oceanus will spend the winter in the South Pacific sailing from Papeete, Tahiti and Suva, Fiji.

***Cruise lines have reported as much as a 25 percent increase in romantic packages in 2000 compared with 1999. An informal poll taken by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) noted the dramatic increase in popularity of the cruise lines' wedding, honeymoon and renewal of vows programs. It noted that many passengers are bringing family and friends along for the festivities. Romantic programs include a wide variety of options. Weddings may take place onboard before the ship sails in a formal atmosphere or perhaps casually on a beach in a Caribbean port. Captains on board Princess ships perform wedding ceremonies at sea. The new Golden Princess has a cam which allows friends at home to watch the ceremony live.

***Crystal Cruises sails four itineraries in South America in 2002 including a visit to Rio de Janeiro for the famous Carnival. Crystal Harmony sails from Ft. Lauderdale to Buenos Aires for 17 nights, January 29, 2002 on the "South American Sojourn" calling at St. Thomas, Fortaleza, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where it spends three days for Carnival. Cape Horn is a highlight on the "Patagonian Passage" cruise from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, Chile for 14 nights, February 25. Ports of call include Montevideo, Uruguay; Port Stanley, Falkland Islands; Ushuaia, Argentina, the world's southernmost town and scenic sailing of the Beagle Channel and Strait of Magellan. Continuing on from Valparaiso to Acapulco for 13 nights, March 11, the "Shadow of the Andes" cruise calls at Callao, Peru (for Lima) with overnight on board, , Guaquil, Ecuador and Puntarenas, Cost Rica. Crystal Symphony will also call at South America in 2002. A leisurely world cruise segment from Los Angeles to Valparaiso for 18 nights, Jan. 17, 2002 calls at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Guayaquil, Ecuador and Lima, Peru.

***Crown Dynasty will be renamed Braemar30, 2000 following the bankruptcy of parent company, Commodore Holdings Ltd. Once formalities are completed the ship will sail from Aruba across the Atlantic to Tenerife then on to the shipyard for a refit. Commencing August 11, Braemar will feature Scandinavian itineraries from Dover followed by Mediterranean itineraries from Southampton, before heading for Barbados and the winter Caribbean fly/cruise season.

***Orient Lines is adding a new itinerary to their European cruises in 2002. The Crown Odyssey's "Egypt & the Aegean" cruise sails from Istanbul to Athens calling at Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Bodrum and Antalya, Turkey; the island of Rhodes; Port Said (for Cairo and Luxor) and Alexandria, Egypt and Heraklion, Crete. The cruise is offered as a 15-day vacation including air from the U.S. plus two nights hotel and sightseeing in both Istanbul and Athens. Departure dates are April 24 and September 8, 2002. The Crown Odyssey repeats its other Mediterranean itineraries in 2002 which cover the area from Istanbul to Lisbon. Marco Polo will once again sail in the Baltic, Norway and Mediterranean. Positioning cruises between the northern and Med regions call at ports in Portugal, France and England.

***The Viking Serenade will be renamed Island Escape for Western Mediterranean cruises commencing in the summer of 2002. The ship will join the new company, Island, which is a joint venture between Royal Caribbean and UK tour operator First Choice. Back to Top

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