News Archive - March 2004

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013

3-30-04 Celebrity's Arctic & Antarctic Xpeditions Celebrity Cruises will offer 12 and 13-night voyages aboard a polar-class icebreaker beginning this August. The sailings are in conjunction with adventure specialist Quark Expeditions and take place aboard the Kapitan Khlebnikov. The Russian registered vessel is a 12,288-ton, diesel-electric ice-breaker, built in Finland in 1981 which carries 112 passengers. Stateroom and suite accommodations are all-outside and range in size from 135 to 285 square feet. The Celebrity experience on board the Kapitan Khlebnikov includes an open bridge, sauna, exercise room, cold water plunge pool, dining room with open seating, library, lounge and bar. In the theatre, enrichment lectures, video presentations and films are presented by naturalists and historians. Excursions feature transportation on inflatable Zodiacs and helicopters.

A highlight of both itineraries is the abundance of wildlife and seabirds as well as glacier viewing, mountainous scenery, fjords and icebergs. "Celebrity Xpeditions-High Arctic" is a 13-night itinerary departing roundtrip from Ottawa, Canada, on August 11, and September 3, 2004 calling at Resolute, Lancaster Sound, Coburg Island, Smith Sound, Kane Basin and Ellesmere Island; northern Greenland's administrative capital, Qaanaaq (Thule), Bylot Island, and Beechy Island. The cruise also sails through drift ice to Cape York, and Melville Bay. "Celebrity Xpeditions-Antarctic" is a 12-night voyage departing roundtrip from Ushuaia, Argentina, on October 25 and November 5, 2004 calling at Elephant Island, the South Shetland Islands including Half Moon Island, Livingstone Island, and the active volcano of Deception Island; Cape Horn and five full days in the Antarctic Sound and Peninsula.

Fares begin at $8,500 for the Antarctic and $9,000 for the Arctic, per person double occupancy, and include pre-cruise hotel accommodations, all meals onboard the vessel; transfers to the ship; all beverages, including house brands of beer, wine and spirits; all onboard gratuities, including those for naturalists; complimentary parka with Celebrity Xpeditions logo, and shore excursions, including helicopter tours. Air to Ottawa and Ushuaia is additional. Back to Top

3-26-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Oceania Cruises Insignia will be christened in Monte Carlo on Sunday with Virginia Watters, wife of Oceania Chairman, Joe Watters acting as godmother. Insignia, the former R1 of Renaissance Cruises, has been refitted and sails on her maiden voyage April 3, a gala 10-day cruise from Barcelona to Athens.

*** Princess Cruises will broadcast a special celebration for Caribbean Princess live on the Internet. "Love Boat" actress Jill Whelan who played Captain's Stubing's daughter Vicki in the TV series, will christen Caribbean Princess on Friday April 2 and marry fiance Michael Chaykowsky on board the ship that evening. The dual celebration will be broadcast live at www.princess.com from Fort Lauderdale 6-7:30 pm Eastern Time, and will include commentary from Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing) and Bernie Kopell (Doc) from the show's cast. Highlights of the event will be available online following the broadcast. Princess took delivery of the Caribbean Princess from Fincantieri in Monfalcone, Italy last week. The 113,000-ton 3,100-passenger vessel is the first Princess ship to be based year-round in the Caribbean. The happy couple will spend their honeymoon on the inaugural Western Caribbean cruise departing April 3. Princess pioneered "Wed-Cams" with the launch of its first Grand Class vessel in 1998, allowing couples who marry at sea to share the event with friends and family at home. Princess is the only cruise line able to offer legally binding weddings performed by the ship's Captain in international waters.

*** Windstar Cruises will not sail in the Baltic or French Polynesia in 2005. The 148-passenger Wind Star will depart Tahiti after her final cruise on December 28, 2004 and begin sailing seven-night cruises in Costa Rica on January 29, 2005. Ports of call include Puerto Caldera, San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, Playa Flamingo, Quepos, San Josecito, Curu and Tortuga Island. Wind Star will also pass through the Panama Canal four times in 2005. Two 14-day voyages will be offered between Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica and Bridgetown, Barbados in March and November. Two holiday sailings, a 10-day and an 11-day voyage, will take passengers through the canal between Puerto Caldera and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. Wind Surf will sail seven-night cruises round-trip from Cozumel, Mexico along the Mayan Riviera from January until April. Ports of call include Cochino Grande, Honduras; West End Roatan, Honduras; Puerto Cortez, Honduras; Omoa, Honduras; Belize City, Belize and Costa Maya, Mexico. Wind Surf will also sail in the Caribbean alongside Wind Spirit next year. Spirit will sail round-trip from St. Thomas while Surf will sail from St. Thomas and Barbados. Nine to 11-day Caribbean holiday voyages will be offered on both ships. All three Windstar ships will cross the Atlantic in April for a season of sailings in the Mediterranean and Greek Isles departing from Lisbon, Barcelona, Rome, Nice, Marseille, Venice, Monte Carlo and Malta. Baltic sailings have been canceled for 2005.

*** Carnival has announced new pre and post cruise hotels for New York and Long Beach. One to three-night packages are available at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers and Westin Long Beach ranging from $80 to $465 per person. The packages are in conjunction with the following sailings: From New York: eight-day Caribbean voyages on Carnival Legend April 29 - Oct. 14; seven-day Port Canaveral/Orlando and Bahamas sailings Carnival Miracle June 12 - Aug. 28; four- and five-day Canada and seven-day "fall foliage" cruises on Carnival Victory June 19 - Oct. 2; and a special one-time Bermuda cruise on Carnival Legend April 23. From Long Beach: year-round three- and four-day Baja cruises on Ecstasy (route to be assumed by 2,052-passenger Paradise Sept. 20); and year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages on Carnival Pride.

*** Holland America's Alaska program has a number of new features for 2004. Celebrating its 56th year in Alaska, Holland America will have seven ships in the region offering a record number of cruises and more calls at Glacier Bay National Park than any other cruise line. The line's Westmark Fairbanks hotel will open May 1, 2004, with 264 new rooms and an array of new conference facilities. The $34 million renovation will enlarge the hotel to 400 rooms. Upgrades include 86 suites, an expansion of the restaurant, a new lounge, meeting rooms, health and fitness center, and additional parking. An additional cruisetour itinerary to Kluane National Park has been added for 2004 following the popularity of the tours introduced last season. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Canada's Yukon Territory. Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean has been added to two new 14-day Arctic Ocean Adventure cruisetour itineraries. The tours feature a "toe dip" in the Arctic Ocean and a tour of the North Slope oil fields that feed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Passengers travel from Fairbanks to Coldfoot and over the Brooks Range to Deadhorse one of the state's best wildlife viewing areas.

*** Celebrity Cruises has signed a six-year agreement with Montreal based Cirque du Soleil. While exact details won't be released until May, this week's announcement revealed that Celebrity will "develop an exclusive and unique entertainment concept on board select ships" and "one-of-a-kind pre- and post-cruise experiences" will be available for passengers. Under the agreement Celebrity will also sponsor Cirque du Soleil touring shows in North America and Europe. Cirque du Soleil is recognized worldwide for its elaborate and creative productions.

*** The Vancouver-Alaska cruise schedule is live at the Port of Vancouver web site www.portvancouver.com/cruise/schedule.html. Enter the month you want then scroll down to the second calendar on the page for the ships in port that month as the first calendar is blank. With the exception of Royal Caribbean, most sailings will depart from Canada Place in downtown Vancouver this season. Royal Caribbean's Serenade, Radiance and Vision of the Seas are scheduled to sail weekly from the more easterly Ballantyne Pier, which is about a 15-minute taxi ride from downtown.

*** Details of four world cruises have been released for 2005:

  • Radisson Seven Seas will offer its first ever world cruise next year aboard the Seven Seas Voyager. The 107-night voyage sails from Los Angeles on January 5, 2005, calling at 44 ports in 27 nations on five continents including French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Micronesia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Monaco, Spain, and Bermuda before reaching Ft. Lauderdale on April 23. Seven segments of 11 to 22 nights are available.
  • Cunard Line's QE2 will once again sail the line's world cruise for 2005. The 108-day voyage sails round-trip from New York, January 1, 2005, on a route via the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Acapulco, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, India, Suez, Italy, Spain, Southampton. 27 segments of seven to 106 days are available.
  • Crystal Cruises' Crystal Serenity sails from Los Angeles to London on a 101-day world cruise departing January 15, 2005. Serenity sails via Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, New Zealand, Tasmania, Australia, Great Barrier Reef, Brunei, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, the Maldives, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Croatia, Portugal and Spain. Six segments of 13 to 22 nights are available.
  • Holland America Line's Prinsendam sails from Ft. Lauderdale to New York on a 116-day world cruise departing January 13, 2005. Prinsendam sails on a route through the Panama Canal to Mexico, Los Angeles, Hawaii, through the South Pacific to New Zealand and Australia. From Sydney Prinsendam sails around Australia calling at Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Albany then heads for Bali, Brunei, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Thailand, India, Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion, South Africa, Namibia, St. Helena, Ascension, the Amazon River in Brazil, Barbados, Bahamas, and Ft. Lauderdale ending in New York. 16 segments ranging from 15 to 112 days are available.

*** Royal Olympia's Olympia Explorer has been sold at auction for an undisclosed amount in Los Angeles and the same buyer is expected to purchase Olympia Voyager today in Ft. Lauderdale. The new owners plan to re-sell or charter the vessels. Back to Top

3-19-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Costa Magica will debut on November 10, 2004 in Savona, Italy. Currently nearing completion at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, the 105,000-ton 2,720-passenger Magica will be Costa's new flagship, sister ship to Costa Fortuna which entered service in November 2003. The eight-night pre-inaugural cruise sails from Savona to Naples and Messina, Italy; Kotor Bay (Montenegro), Venice, Dubrovnik, Croatia and Corfu, Greece and will be followed by her maiden voyage to Naples, Alexandria, Egypt, Limassol, Cyprus; Rhodes, Greece; Marmaris, Turkey; Piraeus (Athens), Greece on November 18. Costa is increasing its Winter Mediterranean cruises by 50% next year. As part of the 2004/2005 winter season, CostaMagica will operate from Savona on 11-night Eastern Mediterranean cruises as well as two eight-night cruises to Greece, Malta and Tunisia.

Costa Magica will feature 1,358 staterooms - 857 or 63% with oceanview; 500 or 58% with private verandas. The interior design by Joe Farcus is inspired by fascinating places in Italy from Positano to Portofino and Capri to Grado as well as Bellagio, Sicily and Vicenza. The central pool deck will be shaped like an amphitheater and the aft pool will have a retractable magrodome roof. Other features of the new vessel include two, split-level restaurants, self-service buffet, a specialty restaurant, pizzeria, a theater extending over three decks, a two story disco, 11 bars, an Internet cafe, casino, health and beauty center, four swimming pools (including a children's splash pool) and six Jacuzzis. The wellness area will be equipped with an ultramodern gym overlooking the sea as well as a sauna and Turkish bath.

*** In addition to NCL's ship changes previously announced (see news story below) ceo Colin Veitch announced the line's newbuilds are on track with the first to be delivered in late summer 2005. The 93,000-ton 2,400-passenger vessels will be the largest Panamax cruise ships afloat. A slightly larger version of Norwegian Dawn, on board changes include an increased number of Garden Villas, the largest suites at sea, two main pools instead of one and stadium seating around the sports court. Veitch also reports that Pride of America will enter service in Hawaii sometime in 2005 and NCL will send four ships to Alaska in 2005. All four will sail Inside Passage cruises from Seattle.

*** Celebrity Cruises is planning to rebuild its mid-sized ships Horizon and Zenith. During extended drydocks, public areas and staterooms will be gutted then rebuilt and redecorated. Work will include the addition of balconies to existing outside staterooms, new staterooms to deck 9, a new alternative restaurant, expanded spa area and enlarged America's Cup Club observation lounge. Horizon is expected to drydock from November 1 to 29 while Zenith will be out of service starting in January 2005.

*** Clipper Cruise Line will again send the 100-passenger Nantucket Clipper to the Great Lakes this summer as part of its Close to Home Cruising program. Four new itineraries will be offered from June through August along Lakes Erie and Huron and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Clipper recently refurbished the ship's Observation Lounge, library and bar area. Nantucket Clipper has all-outside cabins and meals are made-to-order at single seatings. The vessel is American flagged and American crewed. The new "St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands" is a nine-day cruise that visits Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, and Buffalo. "Cruising Lake Erie and Lake Huron" is a 10 day sailing from Buffalo that includes calls at Windsor and Goderich, Ontario and Mackinaw City and Port Huron, Michigan. "Exploring Lake Huron" is an eight-day voyage round-trip from Port Huron visiting villages along the Great Lakes' longest shoreline. "Route of the Traders and Explorers" is an eight-day cruise that navigates the coastline from Buffalo to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Nantucket Clipper is one of a very few ships that offer overnight passenger cruises in the Great Lakes.

*** In Europe this year, Windstar will return to the Baltic for its second season as well as sail in the Mediterranean from mid-April through mid-November. The 148-passenger Wind Spirit is scheduled for 30 sailings in the Mediterranean and Greek Isles, while the 308-passenger Wind Surf, sails eight voyages in Northern Europe and the Baltic states, as well as 19 sailings in the Mediterranean. Highlighting the 2004 schedule for Northern Europe are new voyages to and from St. Petersburg in July aboard Wind Surf. Three of the departures, which begin on June 20th and run through September 2nd, include overnight stays in St. Petersburg. On July 29 sailing, a 13-day voyage begins with an overnight stay in St. Petersburg and includes an overnight visit in Stockholm on its way to Copenhagen. Other ports of call include Vyborg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia; Mariehamn, Ă…land; Visby, Gotland; Ventspils, Latvia; Klaipeda, Lithuania and Gdynia, Poland. Other voyages on the schedule visit Amsterdam, Oslo, Germany's Rostock and the Scottish ports of Leith and Invergordon. Extensive shore excursion options are available on all itineraries, including tours of the capital cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lisbon, London, Oslo, St. Petersburg and Tallinn.

*** From the Annual Tall Ships Regatta in Antwerp and Stavangar, to the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, Crystal Cruises is offering a diverse collection of excursions in Northern Europe this year. More than two dozen new "Crystal Adventures" have been added for the 2004, May to August season aboard Crystal Symphony. Highlights include a flight to the Czech Republic city of Prague during the call in Warnemunde, Germany, a flight from Helsinki Finland to Lapland and the Arctic Circle, kayaking through the canals of Copenhagen, biking in Stockholm's Djurgarden, high-speed sailing in Rostock as well as a variety of culinary and walking tours in Baltic and Norwegian ports. Among the many cultural events offered in St. Petersburg is an evening of classical music and tour of Western European art at the Hermitage Museum; a limited-availability tour of the Hermitage's newly restored Gold Room and the Winter Palace, normally closed to the public; an evening performance of Russian ballet or opera at the Mariinsky Theatre, formerly the Kirov and visits to the Great Choral Synagogue and the Ethnography Museum, chronicling the way of life and culture of the people of Russia. Shore excursions can be viewed online at www.crystalcruises.com"shore excursions' at the top of the page.

*** News from three European cruise lines: MSC Italian Cruises has ordered two new ships from Chantiers de l'Atlantique, builders of the Queen Mary 2. The as yet unnamed vessels will carry 3,000 passengers and are scheduled to debut in June 2006 and Spring 2007. Meanwhile, Royal Olympia's Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer go up for auction next week in Ft. Lauderdale and Long Beach respectively. Festival Cruises/First European is accepting bids for its vessel European Vision which has been laid up in Barbados since January. The line has a new investor and its proposed restructuring plan has been accepted by its banks. More details will be announced soon.

*** Cruise passengers may soon be able to use their wireless phones at sea. AT&T Wireless and Maritime Telecommunications Network have formed a joint venture, Wireless Maritime Services, to develop and launch an on board communications system using satellite and wireless services. "We will make it possible for cruise passengers to place and receive calls, use short message service, and access the Internet using their own wireless phones, just as they do at home," said Jordan Roderick, President of AT&T Wireless International. The company is in discussion with several cruise lines and hopes to have the new system in place aboard cruise ships by the end of the year. Back to Top

3-17-04 NCL Ship Changes Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that the Norway will be sold and is not expected to return to cruising. Norwegian Dream will sail out of Houston, replacing Norwegian Sea, which leaves NCL's fleet. NCL's parent company, Star Cruises, is moving the Superstar Leo to NCL's fleet; she will sail from Seattle as Norwegian Spirit. The ship will then move to Miami with nine- and five-day cruises. Back to Top

3-12-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Diamond Princess arrived in Long Beach on Wednesday and commences seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises from the port tomorrow. Meanwhile the finishing touches are being made to Caribbean Princess which will be delivered to Princess by Fincantieri in Monfalcone, Italy next week. True to her name, Caribbean Princess will sail year-round in the Caribbean on alternating eastern and western itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale. She will offer Caribbean-themed dining and entertainment to give passengers a realistic island experience. Several unique features are being introduced aboard the new vessel: "Movies Under the Stars" will be shown on a giant, 300-square-foot screen by the swimming pool. "The Ultimate Balcony Dinner" will provide cocktails, fresh flowers, champagne and a deluxe four-course meal served by a member of the Princess dining staff on your private balcony. The Cafe Carib is an alternative restaurant with Caribbean cuisine, island decor and live music nightly. The new stage show Caribbean Caliente features music from Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Miami, Mexico and other Lain American countries. As reported last week, the Lotus Spa on board will be the first in the fleet to be operated by Princess Cruises instead of Steiner. At 113,000-tons, Caribbean Princess is 4,000 tons larger than the other Grand-class ships Grand, Golden and Star Princess and carries 500 more passengers (3,100). Other features of the ship include Sabatinis Italian restaurant, the Sterling Steakhouse, four pools, three separate show lounges, Skywalkers Nightclub, an Internet center, expansive children and teen centers and a wedding chapel where couples can be married at sea by the captain. Caribbean Princess enters service on April 3, 2004.

*** Silversea Cruises' Silver Wind and Royal Caribbean International's Monarch of the Seas shared the honors of being the 500th cruise ship to call at San Diego since the year 2000 when they arrived in port last Tuesday. The vessels were welcomed by port officials and local dignitaries and plaques were presented to the captains of both ships. Cruise calls in 2004 are scheduled to increase by 60 percent over last year with 400,000 passengers visiting. An international design competition is underway to develop an urban design master plan for San Diego's Downtown Historic Harborfront site.

*** Royal Caribbean is continuing to avoid Labadee as long as the situation in Haiti remains uncertain. Labadee is RCI's private resort on Haiti's north coast. Voyager, Explorer, Navigator, Mariner and Brilliance of the Seas are calling at Grand Bahama Island while Navigator of the Seas will call at Coco Cay, the line's private island in the Bahamas on next' week's cruise.

*** Crystal Symphony will undergo major renovations during a 21-day drydock beginning April 12 in Lisbon's Lisnave shipyard. Crystal Cruises is investing $12 million in their most extensive interior drydock to date. More than 750 shipyard workers, contractors and designers from all over the world, supported by more than 400 of Crystal's international shipboard crew, will be working on the 150+ individual projects. Crystal Symphony will emerge with a completely new Feng Shui-designed spa and fitness center, an expanded Computer University@Sea, and a brand new Vintage Room. Complete refurbishment will take place in the Crystal Dining Room, The Library, Photo Shop, public restrooms, all penthouse and penthouse suite accommodations and staterooms. Crystal's second ship, the 50,000-ton, 940-passenger Crystal Symphony was built in 1995.

*** Seabourn's Dress Circle enrichment program welcomes a number of celebrity guests on board the 208-passenger Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. Richard D. Meadows, Seabourn's senior vice president of sales and marketing remarked "When these fascinating, and often quite famous people sail on a Seabourn yacht, they aren't just there to entertain from afar. They participate in the social life on board, really sharing the journey with all of our guests." For 2004, Seabourn has invited Arnold Palmer, Michelle Phillips, Alex Trebek, Star Jones and a mix of other guests from the arenas of the arts, science, politics, popular culture and sports to sail with the line:

  • Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry (Legend April 18) known for their roles on the TV series LA Law will perform A.R. Gurney's two-person, two-act play Love Letters.
  • Michelle Phillips (Legend June 27 and July 4) sang with the popular vocal quartet the Mamas & the Papas and is co-author of the mega-hit song "California Dreamin."
  • Arnold Palmer (Pride November 14) professional golfer, golf course designer, successful businessman and aviator.
  • Alex Trebek (Pride July 18) game show host.
  • Star Jones (Legend August 22) lawyer and former prosecutor, Ms. Jones was a legal eagle for Court TV during the O.J. Simpson trial and currently co-hosts the television show "The View."
  • Giancarlo Impiglia (Pride May 7) artist, blending cubist and figurative elements with social commentary and wit in several artistic media.
  • Dan Benedict (Legend May 9) astro-journalist who will assist passengers in viewing Comet Q4 (NEAT), predicted to be one of the brightest comets of a generation.
  • Frank Deford (Date TBA) author, Sports Illustrated Senior Contributing Writer and sports commentator on radio and television.
  • Bernard Kalb (Spirit December 19) correspondent for CBS News, NBC News and the New York Times, Kalb also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.
  • Mary Wilson (Date TBA) member of The Supremes, actress in several off-Broadway plays and author of two books.
  • Tom Smothers (Date TBA), of the Smothers Brothers, television comic and owner of Remick Ridge, an award-winning vineyard and winery.

*** Three new stage shows are set to debut aboard Radisson's Seven Seas Mariner starting with the March 26 Panama Canal voyage from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale. "Beyond Imagination" mixes classical selections from Verdi's opera Aida, Beethoven's 9th Symphony and songs by Mendelssohn, Puccini and Copeland with traditional melodies and a recreation of Michael Flattery's Lord of the Dance. "Here, There & Everywhere" is a fresh look at the music of The Beatles to coincide with the 40th anniversary of The Beatles' arrival in the United States. "Thoroughly Modern Broadway" highlights music from Fiddler on the Roof, Hairspray, Mamma Mia, Chicago, Never Gonna Dance and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Ten dancers perform the stage shows which are produced in the same style as "On A Classical Note" performed aboard Seven Seas Voyager since last year.

*** Cruise West is again offering the 13-night 'Voyage to the Bering Sea' aboard the line's all-suite flagship, the 114-passenger Spirit of Oceanus. The cruises between Anchorage and Nome, Alaska explore nearly 2,000 miles of remote Alaska and Far Eastern Russia coastline. On board exploration leaders provide commentary, lectures and insights into the history, ecology and wildlife of the sub-Arctic area. Expedition highlights include viewing fur seals and sea birds from vantage points on the Pribilof Island of St. George; visiting America's closest frontier to Russia, Little Diomede; searching for musk oxen on Nunivak Island; exploring the tidal pools and tundra on the Shumagin Islands for foxes, Steller sea lions and eagles; sailing past the dramatic scenery of the world's longest archipelago, the Aleutian Islands; being welcomed in Russia by the 319-resident Yu'pik village of Novoye Chaplino, claimed to be of ethnic kinship to Alaskan Eskimos and meeting Chukchi subsistence hunters on Yanrakynnot. Four departures are schedule on June 11, 23, July 5 and 17, from Anchorage or Nome. Spirit of Oceanus will also sail between Vancouver and Anchorage on the unique 12-night Coastal Odyssey itinerary this summer. Ports of call are Prince Rupert, Petersburg, Juneau and Sitka as well as visits to Glacier Bay National Park, Tracy Arm, Prince William Sound and Misty Fjords National Monument. Spirit of Oceanus is the only vessel to sail up Cook Inlet to Anchorage instead of turning around in Seward or Whittier on one-way Gulf of Alaska cruises.

*** Carnival announced details of two upcoming theme cruises this week:

  • The Mind/Body cruise is being sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines and 'Shape' and 'Men's Fitness' magazines aboard Carnival Triumph October 9, 2004. The week-long health and wellness cruise offers a range of activities to enrich the mind, body and spirit from tai chi, yoga and strength training to "spiritual fitness" and proper diet and nutrition techniques. Workshops and seminars led by leading health, nutrition, fitness and relationship experts will be held aboard ship and a number of on-island events are also planned. The seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise from Miami calls at San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John and St. Maarten.
  • A racing themed cruise with NASCAR Winston Cup racing champion Rusty Wallace will be held aboard Carnival Conquest on the December 5, 2004 sailing. The cruise will include a private cocktail reception, question and answer and autograph session with Wallace, special on-board contests and raffles, trivia contests and a scavenger hunt. Prizes include complimentary pit and garage passes, autographed racing memorabilia, and an opportunity to be an honorary member of Wallace's pit crew. Participants can also win a chance to dine with Wallace one night during the cruise. The first 100 bookings receive a goody bag during the cruise, filled with an assortment of racing-themed logo items and merchandise. Rusty Wallace commented "With the race season being so long, it is hard to meet my fans at every race event. The Carnival cruise experience allows me to interact with my fans in a fun, relaxing environment." Carnival Conquest's seven-night Western Caribbean from New Orleans calls at Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

*** Following the U.S. State Department's decision to drop its travel restrictions on Libya, Clipper Cruise Line has announced it will send the Clipper Adventurer to the North African nation in 2005. The 15-day cruise, "Antiquities of North Africa and the Italian Mediterranean", will sail between Lisbon, Portugal and Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. Departing in May 2005, the cruise will include Tangier, Morocco; Tunis, Tunisia; Tarabulus (Tripoli), Libya; Valetta, Malta; Porto Empedocle, Sicily; Syracuse, Sicily; and Sorrento, Italy. This cruise will replace a previously planned itinerary to the northern portions of the Mediterranean (including Spain, France, and Monte Carlo) that Clipper has offered since launching the ship in 1998. Back to Top

3-12-04 Celebrity Cancels Sailing Celebrity Cruises has announced that the March 28, 2004 sailing by Millennium to the eastern Caribbean has been cancelled, enabling the cruise line to put Infinity in dry dock to make repairs in the ship's propulsion system.

Celebrity will swap the itineraries of Infinity and Millennium, and use Millennium for two Panama Canal cruises on March 28 and April 11, previously scheduled on Infinity. When Infinity emerges from dry dock, the ship will adopt the Millennium itineraries for three sailings to the Caribbean on April 4, 11, and 18. The two ships will return to their normal itineraries April 25.

The cancelled sailing is a seven-night cruise, departing Port Everglades and visiting Casa de Campo, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Nassau. Passengers booked on the cancelled sailing will receive a full refund and a voucher for a free Celebrity cruise to the Caribbean, of seven nights or less, that concludes before November 30, 2005, excluding Christmas and New Year's sailings. Celebrity has established a special Help Desk to assist guests and travel agents, 888-837-5676. Back to Top

3-11-04 Bankrupt Royal Olympic will lose two more ships Financially troubled Royal Olympic Cruises said this week that two of its ships -- the Olympia Explorer and the Olympia Voyager -- will be sold at auction under court supervision on March 24 and March 26, respectively. The Explorer will be auctioned off in Long Beach, Calif., and the Voyager in Miami. The Royal Olympic subsidiary companies that own the two vessels had both filed for Chapter 11 reorganization several weeks ago. The company said proceeds of the sales will be used to pay off creditors. Back to Top

3-5-04 Weekend Cruise News *** The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reports a 10.2% increase in the number of cruise passengers in 2003 with 9.52 million sailing worldwide. The number of North Americans sailing increased 6.9% to 8 million. CLIA chairman Mark Conroy, the president and ceo of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, remarked 'cruising flourished despite significant obstacles that challenged the entire travel community in 2003, including SARS, terrorism fears and an uncertain economy.' Cruises of six to eight days in length were most popular in 2003 (56.3%) followed by one to five days (32.9%) and nine to 17 days (10.4%).

*** Holland America Line's new Westerdam will be christened in Venice on April 25 prior to her maiden voyage, a 12-night 'Aegean Odyssey' cruise. The godmother has yet to be announced. The 1,848-passenger Westerdam is the third Vista-class ship, sister ship to Zuiderdam and Oosterdam. Westerdam will sail in Northern Europe as well as the Mediterranean and will serve as a hotel during the Athens Olympic Games next August. Following a big band transatlantic crossing on November 12, she will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale.

*** Caribbean Princess and Sapphire Princess will be the first two vessels to have spas operated by Princess Cruises instead of a concessionaire. Steiner of London operates the spas aboard the rest of the Princess fleet. The Lotus spas aboard Caribbean and Sapphire Princess will be Asian-inspired and will feature new marine-based treatments using products by Phytomer from France for facial masks, body wraps and massages. Most treatments include an aromatherapy component and do not use electronic equipment. Carita of Paris will run the hair salon with nail care by CreativeSpa. A full range of services is offered with reduced prices on sea days. A 25-minute Swedish massage is $45 in port and $65 at sea. A shampoo and style ranges from $25 to $35 in port and $35 to $45 at sea. Among the new concepts being introduced: a teen program, men's treatments, and a number of unique treatments developed especially for Caribbean Princess' calls at Princess Cays, including beach massage, pre- and post-island sun care treatments, Thalasso therapy and relaxation classes. Caribbean Princess debuts April 3 in Ft. Lauderdale and Sapphire Princess enters service June 13 sailing to Alaska from Seattle. For more on Princess' Lotus Spa see www.princess.com/onboard/spa/.

*** Seabourn Legend's April 18th Mediterranean cruise will feature Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry performing A. R. Gurney's two-act play 'Love Letters'. The husband and wife actors are well known for their role as married attorneys on the 'L.A. Law' TV series. The seven-night cruise sails from Lisbon to Barcelona with calls at Gibraltar and the Spanish ports of Malaga (for Granada), Cartagena, Alicante and Barcelona. Seabourn's complimentary shoreside experience on this sailing is a visit to the historic Monastery of Pedralbes for a cocktail reception and a private guided tour of the museum's collection of classical art masterpieces.

*** Oceania Cruises' Insignia sails May 31 on a 14 day cruise to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The cruise will be hosted by decorated military historian Brigadier General Stanley Ulanoff and other D-Day experts. Ports of call include Honfleur, Saint-Malo on the Brittany Coast, St. Peter Port in the Channel Islands and Plymouth, England. D-Day related events, lectures and shore excursions will be featured during the cruise.

*** Thousands of visitors are expected to attend celebrations in Cherbourg, France on April 14 when the Queen Mary 2' makes her first call at the port. The date also marks the 67th anniversary of the original Queen Mary's first call at Cherbourg. The port of Cherbourg is renovating its Art Deco maritime terminal at a cost of Euro7.6m. The facility was described as the most beautiful maritime terminal in the world by the French and international press when it opened in 1933. A temporary exhibition celebrating Cherbourg as the gateway to America is expected to be completed in time for Queen Mary 2's call on April 14. Construction work on the terminal is due for completion by mid-2005. Cherbourg will welcome 21 cruise ships in 2004, the highest number in 10 years.

*** Also on April 14, Discovery World Cruises' Discovery embarks on the "Maritime Memories" theme cruise, a 17-night transatlantic crossing from Fort Lauderdale to Harwich, England. The crossing celebrates the grand days of transatlantic travel. Each day at sea will be dedicated to one of the great shipping companies, with Discovery decorated in the appropriate line's colors. Ships' models and memorabilia will be on display and special dinner menus will be created, based on those once used by famous shipping lines including Union-Castle, Orient Line, Blue Funnel, Blue Star, British India, Federal Steam, Cunard Line and Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company. There will be lectures on maritime heritage and screenings of rare archive film, including showings of all 21 episodes of British TV series The Great Liners. Noted British marine artist, Robert G. Lloyd, will be among the special on-board lecturers and will paint a picture of Discovery for auction in aid of seaman's charity. The host for the cruise is Des Cox, writer, producer and director of The Great Liners, which charts the history of shipping from the 19th century to the present. The 650-passenger Discovery is the former Island Princess. She will call at Nassau, Bermuda and the Azores during the crossing and a two-night hotel stay in London upon disembarkation is included. Rates start from $4,495 for the first person with no single supplement, second person sails free, and the fare includes free Economy Class air from London to Miami or New York. For more see www.discoveryworldcruises.com.

*** Cunard is adding a service charge for dining at the Todd English restaurant aboard Queen Mary 2. Starting tomorrow, March 6, those booking the restaurant will have pay $20 for lunch and $30 for dinner. The restaurant has proven extremely popular with passengers since the ship sailed in January and there has been no charge for dining at the specialty restaurant during the inaugural period.

*** The upgrades and expansion of Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and the Mount McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge are well underway. Princess has invested $26 million on the two Alaska properties. Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge is located near the park entrance. It will feature a new, 16,000-square foot main lodge building, 80 new guest rooms, an expanded main dining area, five new shops and trees and flower boxes along new walking paths. Mount McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge will receive 96 new guest rooms bringing the total to 334. Expedition Pizza is being added as a new dining option. This is the second time Princess has expanded the lodge since it opened in 1997. Both properties are featured on 42 Princess cruisetour itineraries offered in conjunction with Gulf of Alaska cruises between Whittier and Vancouver from May through September.

*** Royal Olympia's Olympia Explorer will be auctioned in Los Angeles on March 24 and Olympia Voyager will be sold on the Broward County Courthouse steps in Fort Lauderdale on March 26 with net proceeds going to the line's creditors. Both ships have been out of service since December when the Royal Olympic subsidiaries that owned the vessels filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Meanwhile, organizers of the Athens Olympics have shuffled the accommodation schedule during the games moving officials who were to stay aboard Royal Olympia ships to other vessels serving as hotels. Back to Top

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