News Archive - June 2003

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6-27-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Royal Caribbean's next Radiance-class vessel, Serenade of the Seas, will be christened in New York on August 22, 2003. Actress Whoopi Goldberg will serve as Godmother during the naming ceremonies. Whoopi previously named the Viking Serenade, which left the RCI fleet in 2002. On September 1, 2003, the 2,110 passenger Serenade of the Seas embarks on a series of four and five-night cruises round-trip from New York to Halifax, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick.

*** Norwegian Cruise Line reports the death of Rolando Tejero, a 44 year old crew member of the S/S Norway. Mr. Tejero, a 20 year veteran of NCL, had been in intensive care since the boiler explosion aboard the Norway on last May 25. Five other crew members have been released from hospital. The on-site investigaion is now complete and NCL is finalzing arrangements for the Norway to be moved from Miami to a shipyard for repairs. The full investigation into the cause of the explosion is expected to take as long as one year to complete.

*** Holland America has some unique Hawaii voyages from the West Coast lined up for 2004. Statendam will position for the Alaska season, sailing from San Diego to Vancouver via Hawaii on a 16-night cruise, April 19, 2004. Ports of call are Hilo, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai; Lahaina, Maui; Kona, Hawaii and Victoria, BC. Amsterdam sails round-trip from Seattle for 18 nights on April 21, 2004 calling at Vancouver, Hilo, Nawiliwili, Lahaina, Kona and spending two days in Honolulu. This cruise Can be taken from Vancouver to Seattle for 17 nights on April 22, 2004. The island of Molokai may be added to some Holland America Hawaii sailings in 2004, pending the outcome of discussions on the impact of cruise ship visits to the island.

*** Disney Cruise Line has announced new itineraires for 2004 with the addition of St. Lucia, Antigua and San Juan to several sailings next year. On the August 7, 21 and September 4, 2004, departures of Disney Magic's seven-night cruises from Port Canaveral, will call at St. Thomas, San Juan and Castaway Cay, the line's private island in the Bahamas. The September 18 and October 2 cruises will call at Antigua, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay. A special 10-night Christmas Cruise departs, December 18, 2004, calling at Key West, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

Disney Magic's regular schedule from Port Canaveral alternates Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises with port calls at either St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Castaway Cay or Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Castaway Cay.

Disney also announced that shore excursions can now be booked within 60 days of sailing by calling (877) 566-0968 or emailing a request with the passenger's name and reservation number to See your travel agent for more details.

*** Carnival Cruise Lines will transfer the 1,486-passenger Jubilee to P&O Cruises Australia in Fall 2004. Jubilee will join the Pacific Sky (ex Sky Princess) on year-round cruises from Sydney, Australia. The 14-night cruises include several itineraries featuring ports of call in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Tonga, New Zealand and Australia. Jubilee will undergo a multi million dollar refit prior to being transferred.

*** Royal Olympia has some exciting itineraires lined up for their 2003-2004 winter program. Sister ships Olympia Explorer and Olympia Voyager will return to the Americas sailing Panama Canal, Hawaii, South America and South Pacific Cruises. The Texaribbean cruises from Houston, popular for several years, are not being offered next winter. For the first time, Olympia Voyager will sail a 46-night, South Pacific Adventure cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles on January 19, 2004. It is available in two segments: Los Angeles to Valparaiso, 19 nights, or Valparaiso to Los Angeles, 27 nights visiting Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti and her islands, Christmas island and the Hawaiian islands. Olympia Voyager will also sail 17-night South American River cruises including visits to both the Orinoco and Amazon, November 30, 2003 and January 2, 2004. A 16-night version of the same cruise departs for the Holidays, December 17.

A highlight for Olympia Explorer, is her Circle South America cruise, from San Francisco or Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale for 62 or 63 nights, February 2 or 3, 2004. Available in segments of 11 to 20 days, the cruise visits the Panama Canal, Patagonia, Cape Horn, South Shetlands, Antarctica, Falkland Islands, Amazon River, Orinoco River and includes two days in Callao Peru; Ushuaia, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro and three days in Buenos Aires.

*** Princess Cruises will swap ships for 2004-2005 Hawaii cruises. The Regal Princess will be replaced by the newer and larger Island Princess on the 15-night sailings, round-trip from Los Angeles from September 21, 2004 to April 19, 2005. Regal Princess has been re-deployed on a series of Panama Canal cruises. Back to Top

6-25-03 Crystal Inaugural Glitches If you're booked on the July 7 inaugural voyage of Crystal Cruises new Crystal Serenity, you just got some great news: the cruise line is giving you a free cruise. The not so great news is that the ship will still be under construction as she sails the Mediterranean, the staff less than polished. Passengers are also given the option of canceling the ship's first cruise. Back to Top

6-20-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Empress of the North was floated out of its drydock this week as the Nichols Brothers Shipyard in Washington. The 253-passenger sternwheeler is the newest addition to the American West Steamboat Co. fleet. Empress of the North begins Alaska sailings from Seattle on August 10. It marks the first time in over 100 years that a paddlewheeler has made regularly scheduled sailings in the Inside Passage. An inaugural season special offers three days of cruising for free. See the line's web site for details:

*** Berlitz language classes will be offered as part of Crystal's Creative Learning Institute aboard Crystal Serenity entering service July. Spanish classes will be featured on most cruises with a second language available depending on the ship's destination. The 45 minute lessons will be offered on sea days. A special feature will be luncheons with menus printed in the language studied and served by the native-speaking dining room staff.

*** Seabourn will add new 'touches of luxury' to its yachts Seabourn Spirit, Pride and Legend in 2004. Passengers will receive document portfolios and baggage tags made by Tumi. Italian bed linens and duvet covers by Frette will be added to staterooms. Seabourn's golf program will be expanded to include over a hundred of the world's most challenging and beautiful courses in over 90 ports. The 2004-2005 brochure listing cruises through the first quarter of 2005 is now available. Early booking savings of up to 50 percent are being offered. For a copy of the brochure contact your travel agent or call 1-800-929-9595.

*** The new Pinnacle Gril restaurants aboard the Holland America fleet are being well received by passengers. The specialty dining rooms serve Pacific Northwest cuisine in elegant surroundings. They feature a '1600' degree grill to guarantee unsurpassed tenderness and taste. The restaurants carry a surcharge of $20 and reservations are required. Some passengers aboard Prinsendam's 14-night Alaska sailings have booked to return to the Pinnacle Grill for a second time during their cruise, the food and service are so exceptional. The Pinnacle Grills are replacing the Italian specialty restaurants aboard the HAL fleet and will be found on board all HAL ships except for Noordam 2004.

*** Orient Lines' Marco Polo will sail 57 European cruisetours between March and November, 2004. The cruisetours range from 11 to 37 days in length. Two new itineraries feature the British Isles and Keil Canal. The 20-day cruisetour, June 4, 2004, starts by spending two days in London, followed by a cruise from Southampton to Ireland, Scotland, Norway and Denmark with two days in Copenhagen. The Baltic Capitals cruise, August 29, from Stockholm to Dover, includes a daytime transit of the Kiel Canal.

*** Skagway, Alaska welcomed five cruise ships on June 11. A record 4,888 passengers took the White Pass and Yukon Route railway that day. They filled 14 trains to capacity. The historic train follows the scenic gold rush trail of '98 as it makes its way through the mountains to the Yukon. The railway's previous record was 4,736 passenger in a single day. Back to Top

6-20-03 Princess Christening in Vancouver Princess Cruises will christen its newest ship, the 92,000-ton Island Princess July 11, 2003 in Vancouver, Canada. The 1,970-passenger Island Princess, sister ship to the Coral Princess which debuted earlier this year, will begin its Gulf of Alaska season on July 12. The ship will be based at home ports in Vancouver and Seward for seven-day northbound or southbound Gulf of Alaska cruises, redeploying to the Panama Canal in the autumn. Additional information is available through travel agents, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at Back to Top

6-16-03 RCI Annouces New 160,000-ton Ship Royal Caribbean International is drawing up plans for a 160,000-ton "Ultra-Voyager" class vessel scheduled for delivery in 2006. While a firm order has not been placed with the ship yard, RCI says it is working on the design for the 3,600-passenger ship which will be 15% larger than the Voyager-class vessels (Voyager/Explorer/Adventure/Navigator of the Seas) the company presently operates. Back to Top

6-16-03 NCL Adds Westcoast Ship Westcoast residents will be able to try "Freestyle Cruising" next year when Norwegian Cruise Line repositions the 2,240-passenger Norwegian Star in Los Angeles. From Sept.26, 2004 through April 30, 2005, the ship will home port in Los Angeles and sail on eight-day voyages to the Mexican Riviera, with an overnight stay in Acapulco. Additional ports include Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas Norwegian Star has ten restaurants plus extensive venues for entertainment. "Freestyle Cruising" offers passengers single open seating and the option of dressing up or a casual resort clothing. Reservations may be obtained from travel agents. For additional information, visit Back to Top

6-13-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Holland America Line's Oosterdam will be christened in the city of Rotterdam by Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. Inaugural events to welcome the vessel will be a part of maritime celebrations in the Dutch city July 28 to 30. Holland America was founded in Rotterdam, 130 years ago. The line's flagship, Rotterdam VI will also be in port for the event. A sister ship to Zuiderdam, Oosterdam will be the second of the Vista-class ships to enter service.

*** Carnival's 2003 New York season includes an eight-day Caribbean program on the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend, the line's inaugural seven-day Bermuda voyages from New York on the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride and four- and five-day Canada and seven-day "fall foliage" cruises aboard the 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory. More than 120 different shore excursions have been developed for these sailings including Bicycle Touring of Covered Bridges (Carnival Victory - Saint John); Snorkel and Beach Adventure (Carnival Legend - St. Thomas); L.L. Bean Sea Kayak Adventure (Carnival Victory - Portland, Maine) and the Helmut Diving Adventure (Carnival Pride - Bermuda. For more details see your travel agent or call 1-800-327-9501.

*** Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will perform with the New Zealand Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert for Seven Seas Voyager passengers next February 6. The concert takes place in the soprano's home town of Auckland, New Zealand, during the 94-night Grand Asia Pacific Voyage. The concert is a highlight of the 20-night second segment from Sydney to Perth on Feb. 2. Following the concert, passengers on the full 94-night cruise are invited to an exclusive black tie cocktail and dinner reception given in honor of Dame Kiri. The highly acclaimed soprano will stay on board for the voyage to Christchurch.

*** Windstar is offering 126 shore excursions in Europe this summer. Wind Spirit and Wind Surf will call at 50 ports in 11 different countries around the Mediterranean between May and November. Some of the many excursions are a private motorboat ride from Italy's Isle of Capri to the famous Grotto Azzurra, or Blue Grotto, and from there to the unspoiled hilltop village of Anacapri; a day in Olympia, Greece; stroll through Dubrovnik, Croatia; a motorboat tour of Venice; and an extensive tour of Barcelona. Prices for the excursions range from $29 (for an unguided visit to the Corsican village of Bonafacio) to $575 (for a Turkish Romance tour). The majority of excursions are priced under $70. Some excursions must be pre-booked, while all others are booked on board the ship. For more information visit the "Shore Excursions" section at

*** The new Carnival Glory, debuting in July, has a variety of all-inclusive romantic wedding packages available. The "Just for the Bride & Groom" package, costs $750 and includes an official civil ceremony, a champagne toast with keepsake flutes, flowers for both bride and groom, a wedding cake with cake topper, pre-recorded wedding music, a decorated bridal aisle and photographic services. The more elaborate "Welcome Aboard" package costs $1,350 and offers all the amenities of "Just for the Bride & Groom" plus a reception with one-hour open bar and hot-and-cold hors d'oeuvres, a traditional two-tiered wedding cake and coffee service. The "Deluxe Romance" package for $1,450, includes a one-and-a-half hour reception and an ice carving, as well as all the features of the other programs. Shoreside ceremonies combining a variety of all-inclusive amenities with a romantic tropical setting are also available in St. Thomas and St. Maarten on eastern Caribbean cruises and Cozumel and Key West on the western route. A wide variety of options such as videography services, live music and tuxedo rental are also available at additional cost. Beginning July 19, 2003, Carnival Glory will operate year-round seven-day sailings from Port Canaveral encompassing alternating eastern and western Caribbean voyages departing every Saturday. For additional information on Carnival's wedding packages, call the line's Bon Voyage Department at 1-800-933-4968.

The World of ResidenSea will visit Antarctica on a voyage from Dec. 30, 2003 through Jan. 10, 2004. The 12-day voyage sails round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina. Antarctic sailings are flexible, due to changing ice conditions. Whalers Bay, Cuverville Island, Halfmoon Island, Almirante Brown, Neko Harbor and the Yalour Islands all are possible stops along the way, with a call at Port Lockeroy, where visitors stop for souvenirs and Antarctica stamps to mail back home. The World's experienced expedition staff will include an ice master, expedition leader, and other Antarctic experts, who will lecture and provide detailed insights into the terrain, history and indigenous wildlife of the forbidding continent. Zodiac landings will transport passengers to see penguins, seabirds, whales and seals. Fares begin at $950 per night, double occupancy, for a Studio Residence with veranda, and include food, beverages, gratuities, port charges and all shore landings. For more information call ResidenSea at 1-800-970-6601 in the U.S. or Canada or +1-305-779-3399 outside the U.S. or visit ResidenSea's website at

*** Crystal Cruises has announced its 2004 Value Collection sailings with savings up to 51 percent off regular cruise fares aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, the line's newest ship which debuts next month. Crystal's Value Collection features 18 itineraries from seven to 19 days in the Panama Canal/Caribbean, South Pacific, Alaska, Western Europe, Baltic Sea and Russia and Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific crossings. Fares starting as low as $1,995 for a seven-day Caribbean voyage. For more details see your travel agent or visit the line's web site at For a brochure call 1.800.820.6663.

*** Carnival has an upgrade promotion available on fall cruises booked by June 30. The promotion is available on cruises departing from most of Carnival's fall homeports including Miami, Port Canaveral, Tampa, New Orleans, Galveston, Fort Lauderdale, San Juan and Long Beach/Los Angeles. Cruising areas include the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico. Under the program, book an inside stateroom and receive a free upgrade to ocean view, (fares start at $279 per person for three and four-day cruises, $329 per person for five-day voyages, and $549 per person for seven-day cruises) or book an ocean view and receive a free upgrade to ocean view with balcony (fares start at $749 per person for seven-day cruises and $849 per person for eight-day voyages.). For more details see your travel agent or call 1-800-327-9501. Back to Top

6-10-03 Norway out of service all summer NCL has canceled three more months of the Norway's schedule, scuttling all departures up to and including the September 28 sailing. The company now plans to resume the ship's operations on October 5. NCL said it continues to cooperate with the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board in their investigations of last month's disastrous boiler explosion, which killed several crew members. "Access to the boiler room has been difficult and limited, and NCL has only in the past few days been able to develop a fuller picture of the repairs that are likely to be needed," the company said -- and those repairs are "likely to take months rather than weeks." Passengers booked on the canceled cruises will get a full refund. If they rebook on another NCL cruise, they'll get a $50 per person discount, to a maximum of $100 per cabin. For information on the canceled cruises, call 800-327-7030. Back to Top

6-6-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Norwegian Cruise Line announced that three more crewmembers who were being treated for injuries in relation to the accident on board the S/S Norway on May 25th were discharged from hospital Wednesday. The cruise line has put them up in hotels near the hospital so they can receive further medical attention as required. Six crewmembers remain hospitalized, five in stable condition and one in critical condition. The National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the deadly blast is ongoing and is expected to take several months.

*** Voyager of the Seas will homeport in New York next year. From May 16 to October 22, 2004, Voyager will sail alternating itineraries to the Caribbean and Canada/New England. The nine-night Caribbean cruises will call at Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Freeport. Prices start at $899 per person, double occupancy. The five-night Canada itineraries include stops in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. Prices start at $579 per person, double occupancy. Voyager of the Seas was RCI's first Voyager-class vessel, currently the largest cruise ships in service. The 3,114-passenger ships feature a wide array of entertainment and fitness facilities including the first climbing wall and ice skating rink at sea.

*** CostaMediterranea will be christened tomorrow in Naples Italy. Spanish actress and model, Ines Sastre is the Godmother. A spectacular stage show called "Allegories of Air and Water" will follow the naming. It will be offered free of charge to the people of Naples on the quay at Molo Angioino. The magical performance will feature six tableaux that were inspired by the relationship between the earth, the sky and the water and will showcase the artwork on board the CostaMediterranea from Commedia dell'Arte to Dance to Baroque. The event, produced and directed by Valerio Festi, will be the closing event of the IX edition of the Neapolitan "Monumental May" festival.

*** Crystal Serenity is set to debut July 3 when she will be christened by actress Julie Andrews in Southampton. Crystal Cruises has 169 shore excursions available for Serenity's inaugural Mediterranean season including 24 new tours on the 12-day itineraries. The new offerings include a dolphin watching cruise in the Strait of Gibraltar, private cooking lessons on the French and Italian Rivieras, historical and architectural tours of Malta, wine tasting in France and a journey from Casablanca to Marrakesh.

*** Regal Empress will begin sailing two-night Bahamas cruises from Ftr. Lauderdale for Imperial Majesty Cruises later this month, taking over the route operated by OceanBreeze. Regal Empress sold at auction in May following the demise of Regal Cruises. The fate of the steam-powered OceanBreeze is not yet know. The vessel was originally built as the Southern Cross in 1955 for the Britain-Australia route, and was the first passenger ship with an aft funnel.

*** Royal Caribbean's online sweepstakes competition is underway through August 16. Four, seven-night cruise packages are being given away. To enter, site visitors answer five light-hearted, multiple-choice questions to determine if their 'inner adventurer' is most suited for the expeditions of Cortes, Columbus, Cook or John Smith. The Grand Prize packages include a seven-night cruise for two in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe or Mexican Riviera. For full sweepstakes details and rules, visit .

*** Holland America's latest production show has been created by nine-time Tony award- winning director, choreographer, dancer, and singer, Tommy Tune. The musical extravaganza called "Tommy Tune's �Paparazzi'"will debut aboard the newly introduced Oosterdam in August 2003 and the Westerdam in April 2004. The show includes a variety of music styles from every decade - ragtime to rock and roll, movie music, big band and 80s pop.

*** Two new production shows will be featured aboard Carnival Glory which launches year-round seven-day sailings from Port Canaveral, July 19, 2003. "Rock Down Broadway" will feature songs from the rock-oriented Broadway productions Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Saturday Night Fever, Footloose, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, and others backed by special effects. "Livin' in a America," uses different genres of music, including jazz, blues, rock, and swing, to salute famous music, movie and sports personalities.

*** Two ships started sailing new routes this week:

  • Monarch of the Seas, fresh from a major refit, is sailing from her new homeport of Los Angeles on three and four-night cruises, Mondays and Fridays. The extensive on board changes include the addition of a rock-climbing wall, a first for the West Coast market, trendy nightspots like the Latin-themed Boleros bar and The Circuit nightclub and three, teen-only hangouts - The Living Room coffee bar, Fuel disco, and a private outdoor area called The Back Deck. In addition to its two main dining rooms and the casual Windjammer Cafe buffet restaurant, there are new dining venues - Jade, an Asian-fusion restaurant offering the tastes of Southeast Asia, the line's first sushi bar, a gourmet pizza station and a sit-down, coffee and ice cream parlor featuring Seattle's Best Coffee specialty drinks and Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
  • Silversea's Silver Wind is back in service in Europe, after being out since fall 2001. During that time, the vessel underwent a major refit. An intimate new Wine Bar, similar to those aboard the newer Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper was added. Spa facilities were expanded to include a Tranquility Room and the Fitness Center relocated to the Observation Deck, providing a magnificent, panoramic view of the ocean. A new Computer Center, Silversea's first Internet Cafe, was also added.

*** Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have amended their rates for the CruiseCare insurance program. CruiseCare coverage allows travelers to cancel for a reason covered by the insurance portion of the program and receive a cash refund of their cancellation penalty. They can cancel for any other reason and reschedule their vacation through the use of a future cruise certificate valued at 75 percent of their cancellation penalty. CruiseCare's other benefits include emergency assistance, medical coverage, emergency evacuation, lost or delayed baggage coverage, and trip delay benefits.

The modified CruiseCare pricing structure is based on the per-person cost of the cruise vacation package, including airfare and rail tours. Sample rates range from $29 to insure cruise vacations costing up to $500 per person to $369 to insure cruise vacations of $5,000 per person.

*** Past passengers on Celebrity will no longer need to pay a fee to join the Captain's Club. As of June 1, 2003, the $35 Captain's Club enrollment fee has been eliminated. Members who have already paid the fee will receive a $50 on board credit, valid for any sailing up to December 31, 2004. Celebrity's "Captain's Club" is a three-tiered program with a variety of benefits based on the number of cruises taken. The club sponsors four, annual Captain's Club reunion cruises. Other benefits include complimentary one-category upgrades (selected categories/cruises); cruise video; priority embarkation and debarkation; newsletter; complimentary wine tasting, cocktail party and other perks. Current Captain's Club members interested in more information about the fee waiver are invited to call the Captain's Club line at 1-800-760-0654, or e-mail, or visit Back to Top

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