News Archive - March 2000

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013
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3-31-00 Weekend Cruise News Royal Caribbean has renamed its Eagle-class ships, "Voyager-Class" in recognition of the first vessel in the series, the innovative Voyager of the Seas. RCI plans to have five of the 142,000-ton ships in service by 2003. The Explorer of the Seas is scheduled to enter service October 28 this year with Adventure of the Seas following in June, 2001. Two more Voyager-class vessels have been ordered for 2002 and 2003…….. The proposed tax to raise funds for the Florida Marlins' new baseball stadium in Miami would apparently effect cruise line employees and suppliers as well as passengers. Opposition to the proposal continues to mount. There has been talk of moving ships from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale in protest…... Carnival is replacing the Tropicale with the 48,000-ton Jubilee for short cruises out of Tampa commencing November 13, 2000. The popularity of the four and five-day cruises from Tampa have necessitated a larger ship being placed on the run. Jubilee carries 1,486 passengers, 45% more passengers than Tropicale's 1.022 passengers. The Tropicale will be repositioned to Ft. Lauderdale. Cruise itineraries have not yet been announced………. Even before the first ship sails for Alaska in 2000, news of the 2001 Alaska season is being released. The new Carnival Spirit will sail to Alaska next year. At 82,000 grt, this will be the largest ship sailing to Alaska and at 967 feet in length, Spirit will be the longest ship in the Carnival fleet, 5 feet longer than the new 110,000-ton ships on order. Carnival Spirit has many innovative features. The space ratio of 40 is the highest in the Carnival fleet. There will be more ocean view cabins, over 80% of which will have balconies. She will have Carnival's first alternative, private restaurant. Sister ships Carnival Pride and Legend will enter service in 2001 and 2002 respectively……… In other new ship news, Celebrity's Infinity will enter service next February with trans-canal cruises followed by Celebrity's first cruises to Hawaii. Infinity is the sister of the Millennium which enters service in Europe this June. These will be the first ships to have exterior glass, elevators allowing unsurpassed panoramic ocean views as you move from deck to deck………CostaClassica will be stretched 147 feet, the largest lengthening of a cruise ship to date. The work will take place at the Cammell Laird yards in England commencing in November 2000 with completion expected by March 2001. A 147 foot section will be inserted and Classica will gain an addition deck running the entire length of the ship. She will gain 355 additional staterooms including 14-mini-suites with balconies. New public areas include a Piano Bar, Winter Garden Bar, two lounges, a teen center, Internet cafe, a third pool and four more Jacuzzis…………. Premier's 42 year old SeaBreeze ran into more boiler problems this week with last Sunday's cruise was cancelled at the last minute. The Rembrandt was held in Port Canaveral for three hours while some Seabreeze passengers were transferred from Port Everglades to catch the ship. Premier expects the SeaBreeze to sail again this Sunday…..News from down under, P&O will send the Fair Princess to home port in Auckland, New Zealand later this year. Fair Princess will be in Sydney by the Pacific Sky, currently the Sky Princess……Caronia will bet fitted out with sponsons to her stern in May at Lloyd Werft yards in an effort to improve stability. This follows an incident last December when, on a voyage from Liverpool to Southampton, Caronia hit a force 9 gale causing many passengers, including Cunard's VIP guests, to suffer from sea sickness... Norwegian Cruise Line has just finished reviewing the entries for the "Name the Ship Contest" and you have chosen The "Norwegian Sun" as the name for the new ship to be launched in 2001. Back to Top

3-29-00 Royal Caribbean Forms Alaska Tour Company "Royal Celebrity Tours" is the name of a new company which will offer premium land tour programs in Alaska for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises' passengers. Beginning in the 2001 season, passengers on Gulf of Alaska sailings will be able to book tours ranging from three to six nights to Talkeetna, Denali, Fairbanks and Anchorage. Dome rail tours will include overnight stays in Denali as well as the new Talkeetna Lodge, which offers spectacular views of Mount McKinley. The dome rail cars used for the tours will be the largest and most accessible in the world. They are being built by Colorado Railcar Manufacturing, LLC. More details will be available in May, when bookings will open for the new tours. Back to Top

3-28-00 SeaAmerica to Build U.S. Cruise Ships SeaAmerica is planning to build two cruise ships for sailing primarily between U.S. ports. Designed to meet the needs of business meetings and conventions as well as the leisure traveler, the ships will be U.S. flagged and crewed. SeaAmerica is negotiating with Litton Ship systems' Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Pascagoula, Mississippi for the construction of the two vessels, with an option for two more. The 42,000-ton, 1000-psasenger ships will have 87 percent outside cabins, most with private balconies. Other features include a luxury spa, full theater, hospitality and luxury suites, casino , alternative dining options and the most elaborate and multifunctional conference center facilities ever offered on a cruise ship. Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding recently signed a contract with American Classic Voyages for the construction of two vessels for their new United States Lines division. Back to Top

3-27-00 Princess Fleet Being Reflagged The entire Princess fleet will soon be flying the British Red Ensign. Pacific, Royal and Ocean Princesses are already registered in England, home of Princess's parent company, P&O. The rest of the fleet's registration will be changed from Liberia to either England or Bermuda (Grand and Crown Princess) by mid May. British registration represents some of the highest operating standards in the world. The Princess fleet meets these high standards. This is the first change for Princess since P&O announced it will form a separate company, a British based, international cruise group, encompassing all their cruise divisions.Back to Top

3-25-00 Weekend Cruise News Due to the popularity of Enchanted Isle's Panama Canal cruise, September 16, Commodore has scheduled an additional sailing on October 7. Sailing from New Orleans, Enchanted Isle will call at Cozumel, Roatan, San Andres, Panama Canal, Cartegena, Aruba and Ocho Rios Two other cruises, longer than the classic liner's usual 7-day itinerary, are scheduled; a 10-night Eastern Caribbean cruise from New Orleans to San Juan, December 2 and an 11-night Southern Caribbean cruise from San Juan back to New Orleans, December 12…..Disney Magic and Wonder now have a soda program for kids. For $12 on 3-day sailings and $16 on 4--day sailings, kids under 12 can enjoy unlimited soda refills. First-run films from Disney Studios are now being shown on board Magic and Wonder including ''The Tigger Movie'' and ''Toy Story 2''. This month the popular characters from The Hundred Acre Wood will greet passengers at onboard Hollywood-style film premiers that coincide with the film's opening in theaters nationwide……Here's a chance to meet some of football's Hall of Fame legends. NCL's Pro Football Cruise on the Norway sets sail from Miami June 10, 2000 with Bobby Bell, Ben Davidson and Yale Lary on board. Current players taking part include Torry Holt, Charles Haley, Marcus Robertson, Mark Royals, Richie Cunningham, Scott Frost and Jarmayne Lewis. They'll join passengers for question and answer autograph sessions, sports trivia games, football passing contests, workout sessions and a taping of "Coast-to-Coast with James Brown". If you have time to go ashore, ports-of-call on the 7-day cruise are St. Maarten, St. Thomas, St. John and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island in The Bahamas…… Great news for single women cruising on Orient Lines. Gentlemen hosts will be on board all sailings to ensure you enjoy conversation, dancing, dining and other shipboard activities in pleasant company. The hosts are a carefully selected group of gentlemen, mostly retired professionals…..The newest addition to the Princess fleet, Ocean Princess, debuted a new telemedicine program that links the ship's medical center and its staff to experts at the renowned Cleveland Clinic in Florida. Using the latest in satellite technology to transmit video images and vital medical information between the ship and the Cleveland Clinic allows Ocean Princess to obtain medical consultations from a dedicated team of specialists around the clock. These physicians are available on an as-needed basis to provide second opinions, review diagnostic test results and advise on treatment plans. Princess pioneered cruise ship telemedicine in 1998 with the launch of Grand Princess and is the only line to have a full-time medical director on staff…… RCI's Royal Journey's brochure is now available for exotic cruises on Legend of the Seas next November through May. Legend will sail from Europe through Suez visiting Asian ports en route to Australia and New Zealand and then retrace the route back to Europe.……Silversea has named its second new ship Silver Whisper. Set for delivery in July 2001, this sister ship to Silver Shadow, which debuts in September, was previously named Silver Mirage. The all-suite ultra-luxury ships are 25,000 grt, 8,000 tons larger than Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, and will accommodate only 388 passengers. Back to Top

3-24-00 Renaissance Launches New Itineraries; Passengers Bumped There are more than a few cruisers irate at Renaissance Cruises, which decided to change its Eastern and Western Mediterranean itineraries, bumping passengers in the process. Instead of it's standard program of five to ten day cruises, with pre- and post-cruise packages plus round trip airfare, Renaissance announced that Mediterranean sailings will all become 15-day cruises, with round-trip charter flights. Reimbursements are made for the full cruise (including transatlantic airfare, included in the fare) and any shore excursions made in advance. Bumped passengers who plan to sail again with Renaissance are given a $500 towards a future cruise; however, the cruise line says that hopefully that amount will cover any domestic airline connections or insurance costs that arise because of the cancellation. For passengers who say they will not sail with Renaissance again, reimbursements for connecting flights and insurance are made on a case-by-case basis.

The company's new roster of 15-day cruises include "England, France & Coastal Spain", sailing Nov. 5, 2000 from Dover, England to Barcelona; ports include Le Harve (Paris); St. Peter Port (Guernsey); Bordeaux, France; Oporto and Lisbon, Portugal; Cadiz, Spain; Casablanca, Morocco, Gibraltar, UK. Ceuta (Tangeir) Spain. Rates begin at $2,229 (inside); $2,699 (outside) and $3,099 (balcony. "Renaissance Treasures", Sept. 15, 25, 30, Oct. 15 and 30, 2000 between Barcelona and Venice visits Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Marseilles and Nice, France; Ajaccio,Corsica; Livorno (Florence), Civitavecchia (Rome) and Naples (Italy); Messina,Sicily; Valletta, Malta and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Rates are $2,299 (inside), $2,699 (outside) and $3,099 (balcony). "Mediterranean Kingdoms", sailing Nov. 5, 2000 from Athens to Istanbul, visits Alexandria (Cairo), Egypt; Ashdod and Haifa, Israel; Limassol, Cyprus; Rhodes, Greece; Heraklion, Crete; and Kusadasi (Ephesus) Turkey. Rates are $2,299 (inside) $2,699 (outside) and $3,099 (balcony).

Additional Renaissance cruises include the 15-day Dover to Stockholm voyage, "Capitals of Northern Europe" departing July12, 27, Aug. 11, 26, 2000. Ports of call are Le Harve (Paris), France; Zeebrugge and Antwerp, Belgium;Amsterdam; Oslo, Copenhagen, Tallin, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia and Helsinki (Stockholm). Rates are $2,299 (inside); $2,699 (outside) $3,900 balcony. Additional 15 day cruises are the "Norwegian Fjords," scheduled July 2, 17, 2000 and and "Scandinavian Odyssey," from Stockholm to Copenhagen, departing June 17, 2000. All rates include round trip charter airfare between Newark/JFK plus transfers. Reservations and additional information may be obtained by contacting your travel agent or Renaissance Cruises; the company's web site is www.renaissancecruises.com. Back to Top

3-22-00 Carnival Reinvents Destiny-class Ships The tendency towards bigger ships is firmly in place. Carnival Corp. announced today that they have ordered a brand-new 110,000-ton ship based upon the Destiny design, however the ship will be 60 feet longer and will include a number of new facilities, including an expanded food service area on the Lido deck, an alternative restaurant, a family entertainment center, a conference room/business center, an Internet cafe and an expanded sports and recreation area.

Carnival also announced today two other "Destiny-class" ships already under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the Carnival Conquest and the Carnival Glory, are being "stretched" by approximately 60 feet to make them the same size as the new 110,000-ton vessel. The ships are set to debut in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

In addition to the new alternative restaurant, dining options will include a pair of two-deck-high main dining rooms and a two-level poolside eatery offering casual alternatives for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with a patisserie, a 24-hour pizzeria and a variety of specialty dining areas.

The Carnival Victory, sister ship to the Destiny, is nearing completion at the shipyard and is slated to enter service Aug. 31, 2000. Its design will remain unchanged. Back to Top

3-20-00 New Fall Sailings From Charleston This fall, Regal Cruises will introduce two new itineraries from the historic port of Charleston, South Carolina aboard the 1,068-passenger Regal Empress. The Oct. 4, 2000 seven night cruise between Charleston and Bermuda includes three days at sea and two nights aboard the ship in Hamilton, Bermuda. Rates begin at $799 per person. The 12-night cruise, sailing round-trip from Charleston Oct. 11, 2000, visits Key West; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; a partial transit of the Panama Canal; Grand Cayman and Freeport, Bahamas. Rates for this cruise begin at $1,099 per person, double occupancy. The 22,000-ton Regal Empress recently underwent a $6 million renovation, which added a new restaurant, a sports bar, cabins with private verandas on Deck 8 and television and safe in every cabin. Reservations may be obtained by local travel agents. For a brochure, contact Regal Cruises at (800) 270-7245; their web site is: www.regalcruises.comBack to Top

3-17-00 Weekend Cruise News Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Majesty are switching places next winter. Norwegian Dream, which has more and bigger staterooms will head for South America sailing the 14 and 15-day itineraries while Norwegian Majesty will take over the 7-day Southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan. This is the opposite of what has been advertised by NCL for the 2000/2001 season…… It's a sign of the times - the growth of internet cafes on board ships. Royal Caribbean now has the largest digital cruise fleet offering Internet access to more than 23,000 passengers each week. Responding to the popularity of the first online center on board Sovereign of the Seas, the entire fleet will soon have a 24-hour center providing access to e-mail and the Internet. The cost is 50 cents per minute and $4.95 to send a digital postcard. The Explorer of the Seas, sister of Voyager, will debut in October with in-cabin internet access…... Enchanted Isle passengers have a new dining option in the casual atmosphere of "The Bistro." Cruisers enjoy delicious char-grilled steaks with all the trimmings in the friendly indoor seating area or poolside while watching the sunset. Commodore Cruise Line's new steak and barbecue entrees have proven to be a tremendously popular buffet option to traditional sit-down formal dining. The grill buffet is open from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening as the ship sets sail for Montego Bay, Jamaica from Grand Cayman, allowing cruisers to enjoy dinner in a casual setting….. Carnival Cruise Lines is offering nearly 80 Alaska shore excursions this summer for passengers of all ages sailing aboard the "Fun Ship" Jubilee. Among the 11 new excursions is an Icefield Flightseeing and Dog "Mushing" Tour, which takes guests on a helicopter flight over several stunning glacier sites in Skagway before landing at a dog camp where experienced guides teach guests the art of dog sledding. Other new activities include a kayak adventure along the Inside Passage through Juneau's Channel Islands, and The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show where passengers learn about the history of Alaska's timber industry and hear the cry of "Timber!" as lumberjacks chop wood…… For those sailing to Alaska this season from Vancouver, find out which pier you will be sailing from by visiting the Port of Vancouver's ship schedule now up on their web site. Canada Place is right downtown in Vancouver while Ballantyne Pier is a 15 minute taxi ride from downtown. From both piers, the sail away is spectacular with the north shore mountains as a backdrop……. Renaissance made a surprise announcement that they will gradually switch their vessels over to 15-day cruises. This is in response to passengers complaints about the packing, unpacking and general disruption involved with pre and post cruise hotel stays which Renaissance currently include in their 11-night European packages. The Iberian itinerary will now sail between Barcelona and Lisbon and include calls at Malaga, Sardinia, Tunisia, Morocco, Gibraltar and Cadiz (Seville)…… If you missed the America's Cup cruises, you can take in sail racing of a different sort on Crystal Symphony's "Tall Ships & Treasures" voyage from Stockholm to London, July 28. The cruise begins with an overnight stay in Stockholm and prime viewing of the 2000 Cutty Sark Tall Ship's Race. This is the 44-year anniversary of the sail race which takes place in a different port annually. Organized by the International Sail Training Association, it attracts the finest variety of training ships from around the world. Crystal will also be on hand for next year's Tall Ships' Race to be held in Bergen, Norway in July, 2001. Back to Top

3-17-00 Carnival Backs Out from NCL Takeover! Carnival Corp. announced late Thursday night it has decided not to participate in the joint venture with Star Cruises of Malaysia to buy Norwegian Cruise Lines. Star will remain the sole shareholder in NCL with a 95.4 percent stake. According to a statement by Carnival, the two companies could not agree on the details of the venture, but the termination of the deal was friendly.

This is just the latest surprise in the bizarre tale of twists and turns leading to the first takeover of a Western cruise company by an Asian operator. Especially since it all began with an unsolicited offer by Carnival to buy NCL back in January. The NCL Board of Directors was startled by the offer and turned to Star Cruises as its White Knight, asking Star to buy just enough shares to prevent Carnival from gaining a majority stake. Star was more than happy to oblige, but it just didn't seem to know when to quit. Star continued to buy shares until they had 47% of the company.

At that point Star still wasn't in control and still faced a possible rival bid from Carnival. Unbeknownst to NCL, at that point the two rivals began secret negotiations behind closed doors and shocked the industry by announcing they had created a new company to run NCL as a joint venture, Arrasas Ltd., in which Star cruises had a 60% stake and Carnival had a 40% stake.

At a press conference last week, Colin Veitch, the new Star-picked CEO for NCL described Star Cruise Lines as "assertive and aggressive." It isn't clear now which direction Star will take NCL, but it is expected it will consider the formula with which it has found success in Asia. However, as Carnival walks away from the table the synergy and logistical advantages it brought to the deal have been lost and Star might have a tougher time managing operations from afar.

What isn't yet clear is whether this means more autonomy for NCL, or more difficulty.

Carnival Chief Executive Micky Arison said in an interview, "We believe that the ultimate outcome remains beneficial to Norwegian Cruise Line and the cruise industry as a whole, and we wish Star great success going forward.'' He added that the termination is not expected to impact Carnival Corporation's earnings.

The companies said they expect to conclude a formal agreement terminating their relationship soon.Back to Top

3-16-00 P&O Beats the Street British-based P&O, the parent company of Princess Cruise Lines, posted full-year profits ahead of expectations this morning in London and comments about its cruise operations should ease the minds of investors about the ability of the cruise lines to fill all of the ships they are bringing on line.

The company reassured analysts that prices for its main P&O Princess cruise operations throughout the summer period were in line with the high levels of last year and that it expected to sail 100 percent full at rates that are "close to" last year -- a statement which some analysts said could mean lower rates, and therefore revenues.

But P&O Chairman Lord Sterling said he thought the market has over-reacted to recent cautionary statements by U.S.-based companies about business at the start of 2000. He said he was confident with Princess's outlook.

"As an industry, the cruise business is trading extremely well and Princess is expanding capacity 23 percent. When you take account of that expansion, bookings are really going very well," Sterling said in an interview.

"We're just putting out those caveats, we thought it was desirable to state it because everybody is asking. But frankly I'm amazed at the reaction that has taken place," he said.

P&O stock is trading higher in London Thursday morning.Back to Top

3-16-00 Cunard's Caronia Gets Facelift Many cruise buffs mourn the loss of ships from the golden era of transatlantic crossings, but there's still a few around. Following a $5 million refurbishment, Cunard Line's Caronia (ex Vistafjord) emerges as a classic liner, thoroughly British from her black matte hull and red funnel to a new British crew. The 667 passenger ship's new features include an alternative restaurant, Tivoli, with outdoor seating; a new book store; additional boutiques and a computer learning center with e-mail and computer classes. The White Star Bar features nautical memorabilia of the company's history and enhanced on-board lectures will be featured. The ship's 12 to 21-day itineraries include Caribbean, South America, European and Mediterranean cruises, plus transatlantic liner service and "Cape Town Line Voyages" between Southampton and Cape Town, South Africa. For additional information, visit Cunard Line's web site: www.cunard.com.Back to Top

3-15-00 New Safety Policies Recommended The 17 member cruise lines of the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) submitted three new safety policies to the International Maritime Organization. The new safety policies recommended by members of ICCL include:

  • identification of a helicopter pick-up area onboard each of the vessels for use during a medical emergency (recommended but not required by U.S. or international law);
  • provision and storage of additional lifejackets equivalent to the number of passengers in the cabins of the largest designated safety area onboard each ship (exceeds current U.S. and international law for the total number of lifejackets provided for passengers and crew);
  • provision of Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) specifically developed for infants (currently not addressed in either U.S. or international law).
ICCL is a Washington, D.C.-based, industry trade association that represents the interests of 17 passenger cruise lines in the North American cruise market. Member lines operate 95 vessels that call upon major ports in the United States and abroad, carrying approximately 90% of the North American passenger cruise line industry.Back to Top

3-14-00 Cunard Announces Queen Mary 2 Shipyard Cunard Line has announced that the new superliner Queen Mary 2 will be built at Alstom Chantiers de L'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France at a cost of $700 million. With a scheduled launch at the end of 2003, the 150,000 ton-passenger ship will homeport in Southampton, England and fly the British flag. Carrying 2,800 passengers, QM 2 will measure over 1,130 feet in length and tower some 21 stories above the sea, Building is tall. The first designated transatlantic liner built since 1969, Queen Mary II will be propelled by the world's first four-pod ship propulsion system, utilizing two fixed and two rotating propulsion pods that will enable her to cruise at nearly 30 knots.Back to Top

3-13-00 New United States Lines' Hawaii Cruises The new United States Lines will officially begin service Dec. 9, 2000 with the debut of the ms Patriot on one-week Hawaii cruises. The 1,212 Patriot, formerly Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam, will sail as an American flag vessel with American officers and crew on year-round Hawaii cruises to four islands. The ship is undergoing a major refurbishment, with the addition of a destination learning center, children's and teens' centers, an internet cafe and conference centers. One-week cruises begin at $1,599 per person double occupancy, with air add-ons of $399 (west coast) to $699 (east coast). The Patriot will home port in Honolulu and sail every Saturday to Nawiliwili, Kauai; Kahului, Maui; Hilo and Kona on Hawaii.

United States Lines is a division of American Classic Voyages, parent company of Delta Queen Steamboat Company. U.S. Lines will also build two 1,900 cruise ships for service in Hawaii, scheduled to enter service in 2003 and 2004. American Hawaii Cruises, also owned by American Classic Voyages, will continue to operate one-week Hawaii cruises, with the ship moving to the new home port of Oahu. A fourth American Classic Voyages company, the new Delta Queen Coastal Voyages, is building a new fleet of 226-passenger ships to operate along the Eastern Seaboard, Great Lakes, Caribbean and Central America beginning in 2001.Back to Top

3-10-00 Weekend Cruise News Crystal Cruises has announced that it will build a new luxury ship. While the cruise line released virtually no other details, the new vessel will be in the 50,000-ton range and similar to the company's two existing ships, Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony. Our guess for the name of the new vessel: Crystal Melody.…… The Cruise Line International Association reports that 5.85 million North Americans cruised in 1999, an 8.5% increase over 1998. They predict a 9% increase in the year 2000….. Cunard Line announced Thursday that the company has signed a letter of intent to build its super-liner Queen Mary 2 at the Alstom Chantiers de L'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The liner is expected to be launched in the last quarter of 2003. Once launched, Queen Mary 2 is intended to fly the British flag, with her homeport being Southampton, England. The 150,000grt liner will be 1,130 feet long and carry 2,800 guests……. Acclaimed entertainer John Davidson will perform during Carnival Cruise Lines' 13-day Panama Canal cruise departing Miami April 4, 2000. Davidson, who has recorded 12 albums and recently appeared in "The State Fair" on Broadway, will lead a line-up of special activities and entertainment during the cruise aboard Jubilee…… Updating last week's Miami ballpark story, the Florida Marlins organization proposes to ask Miami-Dade voters to impose a $4.00 per person per day tax on cruise passengers in order to raise the $210 million needed for construction of the new ballpark. There is strong opposition to the proposal as money is required for more critical municipal needs…….Following the loss of the Sun Vista (ex Meridian; Galileo; Galileo Galilei) last May, Star Cruises has bought the two remaining ships of Sun Cruises and the rights to use the Sun Cruises name. The Sun Viva I and Sun Viva II will be renamed MegaStar Sagittarius and MegaStar Capricorn. (These 4,200 grt vessels are the former Renaissance V and VI respectively, from the days before Renaissance started building the 30,200 grt ships it uses today.) Star plans to deploy one of the vessels in a new cruising region……. In answer to environmental concerns, Alaska has passed two new bills. Cruise ships will now have to meet oil tanker pollution standards and disclose the content and volume of waste dumped overboard anywhere in Alaska…….The movie studio built to shoot the Titanic movie is being expanded for new productions and tourist visits. The tourism center will be called Foxploration and hopes to draw 3,000 visitors a day. The Baja California city of Rosarito was lifted out of an economic slump by the construction of the studio in 1996 and the region has seen a boost in tourism since the movie was released.Back to Top

3-7-00 HAL Expands Lido Dining Program The lido dining option is now being offered by Holland America Line every evening of each cruise, except the final evening. Guests will be able to dine in the lido restaurant instead of the dining room, between 6:30pm and 8:00pm. While serenaded by a pianist, the maitre'd will greet guests and seat them at tables set with fresh flowers, crisp linens, stemware and flatware. Waiters will serve beverages, entrees and desserts while appetizers, soup and salads will be self-service from the buffet. The five entree choices are grilled-to-order New York steak, roasted rotisserie chicken, poached or grilled-to-order seafood, pasta of the day and pizza of the day. Dessert choices include the complimentary ice cream parlor while complimentary beverages include iced tea, milk, coffee or hot tea.Back to Top

3-6-00 Orient Remodels Crown Odyssey Orient Lines has doubled its fleet with the long-term lease of Crown Odyssey and plans major renovations before the inaugural May 6, 2000 Greek Island/Mediterranean cruise. Among the enhancements, a new outdoor buffet, Cafe Italia, will serve pizza, pasta and burgers; the Sports Bar on Lido Deck will have more outdoor seating; the port side lounge will be redecorated and become the Palm Court with afternoon tea and the new "net.center" will offer internet access. On Odyssey Deck, the Yacht Club will be totally refurbished and changed from a lounge to a new restaurant, with daily buffet-style breakfast and lunch. The Top of the Crown Lounge will be renamed Le Bar and, on Penthouse Deck one of the hot tubs will be made into a gazebo. The card room will be greatly enhanced with fewer tables and leather lounging chairs.

The 34,250-ton Crown Odyssey carries 1,050 passengers. The new vessel to be deployed on the line's popular Greek Isles and Mediterranean itineraries from May through October, and will feature new destinations – such as Tahiti and Hawaii – during the winter months. The 800-passenger Marco Polo will summer in Scandinavia, on 11-day cruise/tour packages, including a seven night cruise from Copenhagen. For additional information, go to Orient Lines' web site: www.orientlines.com. Back to Top

3-3-00 Weekend Cruise News Cunard's Caronia arrives in Ft. Lauderdale today for the first time since undergoing an extensive refit and receiving her new name. The former Vistafjord now matches the QE2, sporting a traditional matte black hull, white superstructure and the famous Cunard red funnel. On board, the character is distinctively British which is fitting for a ship that was built in the United Kingdom, is registered there and flies the British "Red Ensign". This is Cunard's third liner to be named Caronia, the last being the famous "Green Goddess", launched in 1949…….. In other Cunard news, the line has announced that a cadre of the finest cartoonists in the business will be on board the QE2 during two transatlantic crossings, September 3 and 23, 2000, to tickle the funny- bones of fortunate guests traveling between New York or Boston and Southampton, England ….. More comedic news from the "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?" fiasco, which continued on board the sail-cruise ship, Wind Surf where the less than happy couple were spending their honeymoon. The groom says they did not consummate their marriage and it is not likely to last. Guests on board were entertained by the multimillionaire groom, a professional comedian, as he did a stand-up routine in the lounge as the ship sailed from Barbados……Confident that the ms Zaandam will be delivered on time, Holland America Line is guaranteeing the first two sailings of its newest cruise ship on May 6 and 13. If either cruise is cancelled due to delayed deliver, booked and fully-paid guests will receive a free future seven-day cruise, in addition to a full refund…..Carnival Cruise Lines has been found not negligent in the September 1999 fire on board the Tropicale in hearings conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard. A report is being forwarded to the maritime officials of the Republic of Liberia, under whose flag the Tropical sails, for a second inquiry. No one was injured in the fire that left the ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm drew nearer…… As baseball's Spring training gets underway, reports indicate that Florida State legislators are preparing to file a bill proposing a $320 million tax on cruise passengers, to fund a new baseball stadium in downtown Miami. ….The success of the Voyager of the Seas has prompted Royal Caribbean International to sign a preliminary order for two more of the 142,000 grt ships. Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Finland will build the fourth and fifth Eagle-class vessels which are due for delivery in 2002 and 2003, subject to certain conditions including financing by the shipyard. Two sisters are presently under construction in Turku, Finland; the Explorer of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas due for delivery in 2000 and 2001 respectively……. Eighteen maiden calls will be a part of Crystal Cruises 2001 itineraries. Ports as diverse as Martha's Vineyard and Nosy Be, Madagascar; Hon Gai, Vietnam and Mariehamn, Finland are included in the voyages of Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony next year. Crystal will return to Canada/New England fall foliage cruises after a four year absence.Back to Top

3-2-00 Alaska Ships Cited For Air Pollution Another crackdown on cruise ship pollution in Alaska has this time been cited by the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA says six cruise lines have exceed state and federal air pollution limits in Alaska. EPA issued citations yesterday to Holland America Line-Westours Inc., Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Lines and World Explorer Cruises. The organization stated that it found 13 vessels had violated air pollution regulations; cruise lines can be fined up to $27,500 per violation. EPA notices to the six cruise lines must be responded to within 30 days. In 1999, Royal Caribbean was fined $6.5 million for illegally dumping oil and other pollutants by a federal judge in Anchorage.Back to Top

3-1-00 Bookings Open for Celebrity's Infinity Celebrity Cruises will offer cruises to Hawaii for the first time in 2001 on board their newest 91,000 grt ship, the Infinity. Bookings are now open for Infinity, the second Millennium Class vessel, which sets sail February 3, 2001 on its inaugural 14-night Trans-Canal cruise from Ft. Lauderdale.

Infinity and sister ship Millennium, due out this June, are built to Panamax standards allowing transit of the Panama and Suez Canal. These ships will expand the destinations offered by Celebrity over the coming years.

At launch, Millennium and Infinity will be the first cruise ships to have environmentally-sensitive gas turbine propulsion. They will also have the first glass elevators on the exterior, allowing guests panoramic ocean views as they move from deck to deck.

A special feature on board Infinity is the industry's first conservatory at sea, a unique botanical environment of flowers, plants, trees, mini-gardens and fountains designed by award-winning floral designer, Emilio Robba of Paris.

Following three Canal cruises in February and March, Infinity will sail 11-night Hawaii cruises from Ensenada on February 17 and April 7, 2001 and a 10-night Honolulu-Ensenada cruise on April 18, 2001. A Pacific Coastal/Alaska cruise will position Infinity for a full season of Inside Passage cruises from Vancouver.

Trans-Canal cruises begin at $1,499 and the Hawaii itineraries begin at $1,099 per person.For information and to book a cruise, call your travel agent or Celebrity Cruises at 1-800-437-3111.Back to Top

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