News Archive - June 2002

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6-28-02 Weekend Cruise News *** Carnival's Celebration should be back in service Monday July 1. The June 27 cruise from Galveston, Texas was canceled due to propulsion problems which caused the ship to arrive more than six hours late in Cozumel earlier this week. Repairs are expected to be complete in time for Monday's five-day cruise. Passengers on the disrupted sailing received a $100 shipboard credit as compensation. Those booked on the June 27 cruise will receive a full refund and a 50 percent discount on a future three to five day cruise departing prior to December 20, 2003 (excluding holiday sailings). The 1,486-passenger Celebration entered service in 1987.

*** Holland America Line-Westours is beginning a $34 million renovation of the Westmark Hotel and Convention Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. The oldest section of the hotel, built in the 1950s as the Traveler's Inn, will be demolished. In its place, Holland America will erect an eight-story tower. A 136-room, four-story hotel tower, as well as the hotel's convention center, and food and beverage facilities will be open and operational during construction. Preliminary site work is beginning this month, with completion scheduled for the spring of 2004. The project will provide 265 new rooms, enlarging the hotel's capacity to 400 rooms.

*** Two renamed vessels are sailing in Europe this week. The A'rosa Blu, formerly Crown Princess, set sail for the new A'rosa line, a German division of P&O Princess. The vessel sports a red rose painted on the bow. A'rosa Blu will sail in the Baltic, Western Europe and Mediterranean then head to the Caribbean for the winter. Meanwhile the Silja Opera, formerly NCL's Leeward and Star Cruises SuperStar Taurus, begins year-round mini-cruises from Helsinki on Saturday.

*** Crystal Serenity will feature cuisine by world-class master chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa. The Sushi Bar," one of the ship's new specialty restaurants, will exclusively feature Nobu's menu selections prepared by a Nobu-trained chef. Nobu will also oversee The Sushi Bar's intimate design, and craft a six course menu and other dishes for Serenity's Asian restaurant, "Silk Road." The 68,000-ton, 1,080-passenger Crystal Serentiy will be the line's largest vessel when it enters service July 7, 2003 in Dover. Following summer cruises in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, the vessel will cross the Atlantic for Caribbean and Panama Canal sailings. Crystal Serenity finishes 2003 with a 14-day Mexican Riviera voyage round-trip from Los Angeles.

*** Princess is expanding its escorted cruisetour program in Alaska for 2003. A choice of 12 different land itineraries ranging from three to six days will have a full-time tour escort. The tours are available in combination with seven-day Gulf of Alaska cruises between Vancouver and Seward aboard Coral, Island, Dawn and Sun Princess. The escorted group tours give passengers a chance to get to know their guide and traveling companions. "For those who enjoy the camaraderie of a group, these new escorted tours present a particularly great value" says Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. The escorted tours for 2003 include select departures of the "Heart of Alaska" and "Maximum McKinley" tours, featuring Denali National Park and Fairbanks as well as Kenai Peninsula and Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge cruisetours.

*** Holland America Line has added the island of Molokai to several of Statendam's Hawaii sailings, round-trip from San Diego in 2003. Molokai was announced as a port on the Holiday cruise, December 20, 2002. The port will now be included on 2003's new 16-day cruises, which add a day to explore this intriguing isle. They depart Jan. 14, Apr. 7 and Nov. 19 for Hilo, Hawaii (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park tour option); Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai; Kaunakakai, Molokai; Lahaina, Maui; and Kona, Hawaii. HAL also offers 15-day sailings which do not include Molokai on Feb. 9, Mar. 6, Oct. 11 and Dec. 22. Remote Molokai is noted for representing the best of Hawaii as it used to be, before becoming a popular tourist destination. The island promotes itself as "The Most Hawaiian Island." Back to Top

06-25-02 Princess To Tahiti While it's still unofficial, P&O Princess will commence a series of Tahiti and South Pacific sailings with the former R3 & R4, previously owned by Renaissance Cruises. Princess Cruises is expected to announce year-round Tahiti cruises, marketed primarily in the United States, to begin in the spring of 2003. Back to Top

6-21-02 Weekend Cruise News *** American West Steamboat Company has plans for two new riverboats. The company will acquire the Columbia Queen in mid-July and refit the vessel in time for Spring 2003 sailings. Columbia Queen sailed formerly for now defunct American Classic Voyages as part of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co. fleet. The vessel joins American West's 163-passenger Queen of the West on Columbia, Willamette and Snake Rivers along the Lewis & Clark discovery route, Oregon Trail and Columbia River Gorge. American West is also in the process of building a second luxury sternwheeler, the 236- passenger Empress of the North, scheduled to begin service in Alaska on June 8, 2003. The Empress of the North will operate in Alaska between June and September then join the Columbia Queen and the Queen of the West on the Columbia River the remainder of each year.

*** Showtime Pictures will bring digital photography aboard the ships of NCL. Passengers will be able to see their photos right away instead of waiting overnight for them to be developed. Prints can also be reproduced on key chains, buttons and mugs as well as traditional photo albums and can be sent to friends and family by email from the ship.

*** The United States Coast Guard has recognized Celebrity Cruises for its superior environmental operations by awarding the cruise line its 2002 William M. Benkert Award For Environmental Excellence. Celebrity was the only cruise line recognized by the Coast Guard in the biennial presentation of its premier national award that recognizes marine environmental excellence. Celebrity was honored for a variety of accomplishments, including:

* Being the first cruise line in the world to use gas-turbine powered cruise ships. The company's four ships with smokeless, gas-turbine propulsion systems (Millennium, Infinity, Summit, Constellation) have dramatically reduced exhaust emissions, by more than 90 percent.

* Obtaining the International Standards Organization's ISO 14001 certification for fleet-wide environmental management systems.

* Having the first vessels to receive Lloyd's Register Environmental Protection Certification, recognizing the company's commitment to strict environmental compliance.

* The installation of more than $3 million worth of state-of-the-art gray water and black water treatment systems onboard Mercury and Galaxy.

*** Cunard Line has made a commitment use Southampton as the homeport for its entire fleet through 2009. The Queen Elizabeth 2 passenger terminal at the port will be refurbished and expanded with work commencing next year. The facility needs to handle a 50% increase in passenger capacity once the Queen Mary 2 enters service for Cunard in January 2004.

*** Olympia Countess heads for Africa next November for the Solar Eclipse. Sailing from Venice to Durban, South Africa, passengers will observe the December 4 Solar Eclipse off Mozambique, in the Indian Ocean. The eclipse can be observed on the 32-day cruise or on three segments from Athens to Durban (29 days), Mahe, Seychelles to Durban (16 days) or round-trip from Durban (seven days). Ports of call on the complete voyage are Venice, Dubrovnik; Piraeus; Port Said/Cairo; Suez Canal; Safaga/Luxor; Jeddah; Djibouti; Seychelles, Praslin; Seychelles, Mahe; Mauritius; Reunion; Ft. Dauphin/Madagascar; Durban; Bazaruto/Mozambique; Solar Eclipse (Dec. 4th); Portuguese Islands; Richards Bay, Durban.

*** U.K. regulators have approved the P&O Princess/Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines merger. Meanwhile, Carnival Corporation representative are in Brussels responding to the concerns of the European Commission regarding its bid for P&O Princess. Back to Top

06-20-02 New Princess Hawaii Cruises Princess Cruises has announced that it will position the Regal Princess on 15-day Hawaii Cruises in 2003-04. Sailing round-trip from Los Angeles, the seven cruises are scheduled between Nov. 22, 2003 and March 21, 2004. Ports of call include Hilo, Kona, Honolulu, Nawiliwili (Kauai) and Lahaina (Maui). Early booking fares for Regal Princess Hawaii sailings begin at $2,245 per person, double occupancy. For reservations and additional information, contact your travel agent. Back to Top

06-18-02 Princess Slates its First-Ever Antarctica Cruise Princess Cruises said its 2003 schedule of exotic itineraries will include the line's first voyage to Antarctica. The Royal Princess will make the 24-day trip, departing from Cape Town on December 19, 2003, and winding up at Santiago, Chile. The itinerary will take passengers to Tristan da Cunha; islands and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula including Elephant Island, Esperanza Station, Deception Island, Intercurrence Island and Sigma Island; the Falkland Islands; Ushuaia; Punta Arenas; and Puerto Montt. Early booking fares for the Antarctica sailing start at $3,695. Back to Top

6-14-02 Weekend Cruise News *** Norwegian Dawn enters service next December 21 in the Caribbean, sailing Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami through April 26, 2003. Dawn joins six other Norwegian Cruise Line ships in the region next winter, a record number for the line. Following a 14-night repositioning cruise from Miami to New York, Dawn will sail weekly cruises round-trip from New York to Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay, Miami and Port Canaveral from May 18 to October 19, 2003. The weekly sailings can be taken round-trip from Port Canaveral. The 2,240-passenger Norwegian Dawn is sister ship to Norwegian Star which joined NCL last November. These ships feature ten dining rooms with open seating dining as part of NCL's Freestyle Cruising concept.

*** Queen Mary 2 voyages go on sale August 1. The 150,000-ton liner will be the largest, widest, tallest and most expensive liner ever built. The 14-night maiden voyage from Southampton to Ft. Lauderdale on January 12, 2004 will call at Madeira; Tenerife and Las Palmas in the Canary Islands; Barbados and St. Thomas. QM2 sails transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton from April through October interspersed with several Europe and New England/Canada cruises. Two sailings between Ft. Lauderdale and Rio de Janeiro for Carnival sail February 11 and 23, 2004. Caribbean cruises from both Ft. Lauderdale and New York operate in March, November and December, 2004. Capable of a 30-knot cruising speed, QM2 will be able to sail to the Southern Caribbean from New York on itineraries of eight to 14 nights. On board QM2 will be a Mediterranean restaurant featuring creations by U.S. celebrity chef, Todd English. Other highlights include two-deck suites, a five million dollar art collection, British nannies for infant care, and the first planetarium at sea. Rates for the six-night transatlantic crossings start at $1,499 Inside and $2,499 Outside including one-way air.

*** Star Princess will sail in Asia and the South Pacific for the 2003-2004 season. The 109,000-ton 2,600-passenger vessel takes over the routes currently operated by the smaller Regal Princess. A new port of call in the region will be Adelaide, Australia for visits to the Barossa Wine Valley, Cleland Wildlife Park or Kangaroo Island. Adelaide will be a port of call on 14-night sailings between Sydney and Auckland. which also call at Melbourne; Hobart, Tasmania; Fjordland National Park, Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand. The Australia cruises operate from November 26, 2003 to January 31, 2004. Star Princess will position from Seattle to Sydney, via Asia starting with a 19-night Alaska/Far East cruise, September 20, 2003 from Seattle to Osaka. China and Southeast Asia sailings follow from Osaka to Beijing October 10 and Beijing to Bangkok October 22. The 19-night Bangkok to Sydney cruise departs November 7, 2003.

*** Peter Deilmann's newest river ship, the 79-passenger Frederic Chopin is the 10th river ship in the Deilmann fleet. The vessel features three decks, including a sun deck, and 41 outside cabins. The fully air-conditioned vessel has double-and twin-bedded cabins and junior suites with full-length French doors or picture windows. Dining is single seating and multi-course luncheon and dinner menus offer a wide selection of cuisine and wines. The staff are English-speaking with one crew member for every 2.5 passengers. Frederic Chopin sails seven-night cruises from the little-known German city of Frankfurt on the Oder. Named after Poland's great composer, it is appropriate that the vessel sails along the Oder River between eastern Germany and Poland. Frederic Chopin visits historic old towns that have been both German and Polish in their history such as Wroclaw, one of the most beautiful cities in Poland dating from the 10th century. Oder River cruises operate on Saturdays, July 6 through October 26.

*** Delta Queen Steamboat Co.'s American Queen will be sailing again in 2003. The company has reformed since the bankruptcy of parent company, American Classic Voyages last fall. Mississippi Queen began sailing again in May. The historic Delta Queen resumes riverboatin' journeys on August 26 and the largest steam-driven riverboat ever built, American Queen will be back in service in January. The riverboats sail Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland River cruises of three to eight days from many river ports including New Orleans, Memphis, Chattanooga, St. Louis, Minneapolis St. Paul, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Topics for theme cruises include Civil War, Big Band, Jazz, Mardi Gras, Spring Pilgrimage (Gardens), Lewis & Clark (Upper Mississippi), Barbershop Harmony, Fall Foliage and Old Fashioned Holiday Vacations. Several Steamboat Race Vacations are also planned for 2003.

*** Celebrity Guest lecturers will be aboard Seven Seas Mariner for three segments of the 2003 World Cruise. The 108-night voyage sets sail from Los Angeles January 21. Conservative commentator William F. Buckley, Jr. will be aboard during the first segment from Los Angeles to Sydney. Robert C. McFarlane will also be aboard the first segment, joining the ship in Auckland on February 9. Mr. McFarlane was the national security advisor to President Reagan. The 34-night Sydney to Singapore cruise, which starts February 21 will feature John Sculley, internationally recognized business leader and former CEO of Apple Computer and PepsiCo. Mr. Sculley joins the cruise in Hong Kong on March 16. Eva Marie Saint will be aboard for the 22-night, Cape Town to Ft. Lauderdale segment. The distinguished screen, stage and television actress, won an Academy Award for her performance in On the Waterfront and appeared in Rain, Raintree County, Exodus, North by Northwest and many other productions.

*** Orient Lines will return to Turkey in 2003 with Crown Odyssey calling at Kusadasi and Istanbul. Orient offers 78 Mediterranean cruisetours of 11 to 24 days from mid-April through October 2003. Crown Odyssey's principal routes sail from Athens to Venice, Venice to Rome, Rome to Barcelona and Barcelona to Athens. The 826-passenger Marco Polo returns to Northern Europe for 38 cruisetours of 11 to 30 days, from late April to mid-November. The main routes sail round trip from Copenhagen and between Stockholm and Copenhagen to Scandinavia and Russia. Back to Top

6-7-02 Weekend Cruise News *** Floating out ceremonies have taken place for Diamond Princess at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Japan. The ship's horn was sounded and a shower of streamers released as the champagne bottle broke against the bow. The 113,000-ton Diamond Princess was then towed out of its drydock facility, flanked by fireboats spraying green, red, blue and yellow-colored water into the air. The 113,000-ton 2,670-passenger Diamond Princess is the first Princess ship to be built in Japan, and will be the largest vessel in the Princess fleet when she debuts in spring, 2003. Princess has announced the vessel will be based on the West Coast. Weekly cruises to Alaska from Seattle commence June 15, 2003.

*** Olympia Explorer was christened today in its, home port, Piraeus, Greece. The theme music from the film 1492: Conquest of Paradise played during the ceremonies which were attended by over 500 invited guests. The musician Vangelis christened the vessel which debuted for Royal Olympic Cruises on May 3. Olympia Explorer sails round-trip from Piraeus on Fridays to Corfu, Venice, Dubrovnik, Bari, Katakolon (Olympia), Istanbul, Mykonos and Santorini through October 18. Fall/winter cruises visit the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Hawaii and South America.

*** Celebrity's Constellation arrived in Hamburg, Germany last Wednesday, the largest cruise ship to ever visit the port. Thousands of spectators lined the banks of the Elbe River to welcome the 91,000-ton vessel which entered service on May 12. Constellation is currently on a cruise from Barcelona to Oslo.

*** CostaVictoria and CostaAtlantica will return to Ft. Lauderdale to sail seven-night, Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from November 24, 2002 through April 13, 2003. Two longer cruises are planned: On December 1, CostaVictoria embarks on a 10-night Southern Caribbean cruise followed by an 11-night Panama Canal sailing on December 11. CostaAtlantica will host the first yoga conference at sea for the magazine Yoga Journal. Departing February 2, 2003 from Ft. Lauderdale, the yoga cruise will feature more than a dozen of the world's finest yoga teachers including Baron Baptiste, Cheryl Bender Birch, Lilias Folan, Shiva Rea, and Rodney Yee. Workshops, seminars, and panel discussions will take place as well as special evening entertainment by Scott Huckabay, Shitaki Fusion, and Tripsichore. The seven-night Western Caribbean cruise calls at Key West, Cozumel, Ocho Rios, and Grand Cayman. For more information visit

*** CruiseWest is launching an annual cruise to celebrate the life of Mardy Murie, the woman who has been called the "Mother of the American Conservation Movement". Mardy Murie grew up in frontier Alaska and was the first woman to graduate from the University of Alaska. She has received major conservation awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, for her "steadfast and inspiring efforts to safeguard America's wilderness for future generations." The cruises are organized in association with The Mardy Murie Film Project, a group of film makers and other artists who feel a strong connection to Mardy Murie's life and what it stands for. This year's cruise aboard the Spirit of Oceanus departs Whittier on August 21, 2002 with calls at Skagway, Haines, Juneau, Metlakatla (a Tsimshian native village) and Prince Rupert, ending in Vancouver, B.C. CruiseWest will donate $500 per passenger to the Mardy Murie Fund at the Craighead Environmental Research Institute, to further Mardy's work. All travelers on the cruise will receive a 25 percent discount on published cruise rates, which begin at $5,589 for the 11-night voyage. For more information call 800-426-7702.

*** Celebrity has enhanced the Captain's Club, repeat passenger program, which carries a one-time fee of $35. The club now holds four reunion cruises a year. All members receive a one-category upgrade, a custom air complimentary administrative request valued at $50 for domestic flights and $75 for international flights, pre-sailing dining reservations at one of Celebrity's elegant specialty restaurants (on Millennium-class vessels), a complimentary wine tasting, an exclusive golf clinic, an invitation to the Captain's Club cocktail party, a welcome amenity, gifts with purchase in the AquaSpa, and casino certificates. Additional benefits are offered to members in the "Select" (six to 10 cruises) and "Elite" (11 cruises and above) categories. To enroll or for further information, call Celebrity's Captain's Club Desk at 1-800-760-0654. Outside the U.S. or Canada, call 1-316-554-5961.

*** Star Cruises has submitted tenders to four shipyards for the construction of two new vessels to be delivered in 2005. The line has indicated that one vessel will be for the North American market, probably for NCL, and one for the Chinese market. A new ship for the China region is in response to the granting of a license by the Ministry of Transport and Communication of China permitting Star Cruises' ships to sail from Chinese Ports to international destinations. The line has announced a commitment to the Chinese cruise market which includes new itineraries and ships for the region. SuperStar Leo will test a new itinerary August 18, sailing a six-day cruise round-trip from Hong Kong spending two days in Shanghai. If successful, the itinerary will become part of Star Cruises' new China program. Back to Top

06-05-02 Amtrak Offers Discounts To Carnival, HAL Passengers You don't want to fly to your cruise port, and it's too far to drive? Carnival and Holland America Line have unveiled a new "Rail & Cruise" discount program with Amtrak, available through 2003. Persons booked on a Carnival or HAL sailing can get a 25 percent rail fare discount when they take an Amtrak train to any of 18 North American home ports served by the two lines. The bargain rate can be combined with other Amtrak deals, including its 50-percent-off children's fare and its AAA discount. The 25 percent discount is not available on Amtrak's Auto Train, or on its northeast corridor Acela Express and Metroliner routes. Details are available at, 1-800-USA-RAIL, or from Carnival or Holland America. Back to Top

06-05-02 Crystal Sets Week-long Med Sailings Crystal Cruises has scheduled its shortest-ever Mediterranean sailings this September -- an eight-day cruise from Rome to Venice via Cannes and Sicily; and a six-day Venice to Athens trip via Dubrovnik and Corfu. The eight-day cruise departs September 18, and the six-day on September 25. Prices start at $2,045 per person, double occupancy. Back to Top

06-04-02 Princess To Seattle Seattle is growing in popularity as a port of embarkation for Alaska cruises. In 2003, Princess Cruises will position the Star Princess and new Diamond Princess in the city. In addition Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Sun and Holland America's Amsterdam will sail from Seattle. Back to Top

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