News Archive - May 2001

back to archive listing

05-31-01 Norway Update Norwegian Cruise Line has flown in a number of master welders to assist in the repairs of the Norway's sprinkler system. One hundred soft patches used to repair the pipeline supplying the sprinkler system are being replaced. The line is hopeful that the ship will pass its annual examination in time to sail again this Sunday. The four to six hour annual inspection studies the vessel's machinery, safety equipment and navigational equipment. Drills take place to determine the crew's safety knowledge. The May 27 cruise was officially canceled Tuesday. Compensation offered to the 2,032 passengers included a full refund for the missed voyage and a 25 percent reduction on their next NCL cruise. Back to Top

05-25-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Seven Seas Mariner was officially christened in Los Angeles last Tuesday and is currently on her maiden Alaska cruise. The 50,000-ton, 700 passenger ship is virtually sold out for the Alaska season which runs to September 5. Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' next vessel, Seven Seas Voyager, is scheduled for delivery in March 2003 and the company has indicated it may build another vessel for delivery in 2004. Godmother for Seven Seas Mariner is Arleen Martin Carlson, widow of Curtis Carson, founder of RSSC's parent company, Carlson Companies Inc.

***Windstar Cruises has opened booking for its 2002 sailings. Changes include expansion of sailings in Australia, New Zealand and the Far East. Wind Song will sail 18 cruises in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand in the summer of 2002. Wind Surf initiates the line's first Bahamas and Florida Keys cruises in March, April and December, 2002. Malta has been added as a port of call in the Mediterranean and Wind Surf will include an overnight stay in Venice on some itineraries. Windstar's popular eco-cruises in Cost Rica; yacht harbors of the Virgin Islands;, the Mayan Riviera; Barbados and the Lesser Antilles; and the Aegean Isles will once again be offered in 2002.

***Crystal Cruises has developed a number of "water excursions" on sailings in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Key West, New Orleans and Mexico. The aquatic adventures give passengers a chance to try snorkeling, submarine expeditions, river kayaking, dolphin swims, catamaran cruises and swamp tours. The new excursions will be offered on board Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony beginning in the fall of 2001. Some of the specific tours are "Submarine Expedition to Chankanaab" which visits the protected marine park of Cozumel, one of the top five dive destinations in the world; Aruba's Spanish Lagoon" kayak adventure; "Jet boating on the Rio Papagayo" and "Swimming with Dolphins" in Acapulco; "Louisiana's Bayou Country" swamp adventure from New Orleans; and the "Mangrove Bird-Watching Cruise" through the tropical forests of Costa Rica's Tarcoles River.

***QE2 has a wide variety of theme crossings scheduled between New York and Southampton this year. The six day crossings give passengers time to fully enjoy the topic of the cruise while participating in special events on board. Themes for 2001 revolve around music, dance, food and entertainment including the 13th Annual Big Bands at Sea (June 12 and Oct. 4); Chef's Palate with Julia Child (June 24); Piano Spectacular (July 12); special Family Crossings (July 18 and 24) and the Make �em Laugh comedy crossing (August 11).

***Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have announced next year's Alaska seasons which will operate from May through September, 2002. Celebrity's new Summit, scheduled to debut this October, will join sister ship Infinity on seven night cruises from Vancouver. RCI's Legend of the Seas returns after a three year absence to join Vision and Radiance of the Seas in Alaska. Scheduled to sail the Inside Passage cruises, round trip from Vancouver are Vision of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Infinity. Legend of the Seas will sail two Inside Passage cruises, May 17 and 24, 2002. Glacier route cruises northbound and southbound between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage) will be offered on board Summit and Legend of the Seas. On these sailings, passengers may extend their Alaska vacation by adding a land tour before or after the cruise. Royal Celebrity Tours offers nine to 13-night cruise tour packages which feature the largest dome rail cars in the world. Hubbard Glacier is a highlight on all sailings. Measuring more than six miles wide, and located among the world's tallest coastal mountains, Hubbard Glacier is Alaska's largest valley glacier, and one of the most active iceberg calving glaciers in the world.

***The Great Lakes Cruise Company headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is reviving pleasure cruising on Lakes Michigan, Superior, Ontario, Huron, and Erie. The company has six cruises scheduled for 2001 aboard the German cruise ship MV Columbus and French yacht Le Levant. Passengers embark or disembark in Chicago and Toronto with port calls at Windsor, Traverse City, Mackinac Island, Niagara Falls, Marquette, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Saugatuck. For more details on these sailings visit their web site at

***Cruise industry veteran, Frank Del Rio has resigned from Renaissance Cruises. Mr. Del Rio held a number of top executive positions with Renaissance since joining the company in 1993. He had served as Executive Officer from June 2000 until recently. Mr. Del Rio commented "Since my executive career began soon after college, I've been working non-stop for the last 24 years and I'm looking forward to a little rest and relaxation. A Mediterranean, Tahiti, or Greek Isles cruise sounds like the perfect plan for me right now. After that, I look forward to renewing and developing new relationships within the travel community." Back to Top

05-22-01 Princess 2002 Alaska Schedule Princess Cruises will introduce one of the largest ships ever built, the 109,000-ton Star Princess, in Alaska next year. Sistership to Grand and Golden Princess, the new 2,600-passenger behemoth will sail on the seven night "Voyage of the laciers" and "Gulf of Alaska" itineraries between Vancouver and Seward. Princess will also open its fifth Alaska resort, Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge, adjacent to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Back to Top

05-21-01 Norwegian Sky Accident More than 70 people were injured yesterday when Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky's autopilot failed near Canada's Vancouver Island. The ship made a sudden turn, causing the rudders to swing and turn hard to list. Glasses and plates crashed and passengers went flying. Passengers had just finished lunch when the ship suddenly started to list. Seventy-eight people were injured, but only two stayed in Victoria, BC, for medical care. The Coast Guard has authorized Norwegian Sky to resume its cruise schedule. Back to Top

05-18-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have added shore excursion booking capability to their web sites and Descriptions and pricing information are now found in the Shore Excursion area of the lines' web sites. By entering their booking number, passengers can arrange their choice of shore excursions and charge them to a credit card. International passengers have the option of paying in their local currency. Immediate confirmation is received by email. Shore excursion bookings and changes can be made online up to ten days prior to sailing. Tickets are delivered to your cabin on the first day of the cruise. Changes can be made once on board. A number of seats on each excursion will be retained for those wishing to book once on board the ship.

***Royal Olympic beat out Royal Caribbean and Star Clippers at the prestigious Cruise and Ferry Awards 2001 held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, May 13. The 28 knot Olympic Voyager won top prize for pioneering the fast cruise concept and was named the most significant new cruise ship in the past two years. Royal Olympic has not made any further announcements about the delivery of Olympic Voyager's sister ship, Olympia Explorer, the renamed Olympic Explorer, which was scheduled to enter service May 12, 2001. In a major personnel change, Mr. John Pantazis Chief Executive Officer of parent company Louis Cruise Lines has been announced as the new CEO of Royal Olympic Cruises.

***The famous liner Normandie will be honored by Celebrity's next millennium class vessel, Summit, which debuts in October. The 134-seat specialty restaurant named "The Normandie" will display two sets of four large, gold-lacquered panels from the smoking room on the original Normandie. The panels were obtained from Christies auction house. The Normandie's noted art deco design will be copied in the Summit's restaurant. For the new restaurant, Master Chef Michel Roux will recreate an entree first served in the dining room onboard the Normandie as well creating selections inspired by the Normandy region of France. One of the leading ocean liners of the 1930's, Normandie was the first French Line vessel to win the Blue Riband for crossing the North Atlantic in record time, and the first 1,000-foot liner to be built. Celebrity's specialty restaurants on board the Millennium and Infinity honor the liners Olympic and SS United States respectively.

***Holland America Line's Westerdam suffered a blocked valve while moored in Juneau Alaska, May 12, which resulted in a small discharge of grey water (shower and sink water). The discharge had dissipated by the time the U.S. Coast Guard arrived on the scene however, a Coast Guard hearing will take place regarding the incident. Holland America Line apologized for the discharge and will block all overboard valves to prevent a reoccurrence.

*** A new cruise facility is being constructed in St. John's, Antigua. The new cruise pier will house a shopping complex, restaurants and a boardwalk linking the main seaport to the existing duty-free shopping and market complex. Most of the project is scheduled for completion in 18 months under the direction of the Netherlands-based civil engineering firm, Boskalis International. Cruise passenger arrivals at the island are expected to grow from 460,000 this season to 600,000 next season and, with the completion of the new facility, to one million within three years.

***The Bermuda cruise season is well underway with five vessels making regular weekly sailing throughout the summer: Celebrity's Horizon and Zenith; Princess Cruises' Pacific Princess; RCI's Nordic Empress are sailing from New York while NCL's Norwegian Majesty sails from Boston. Other lines calling at Bermuda in 2001 include Cunard, Radisson Seven Seas, Crystal, Seabourn and Regal Cruises. A tranquil and picturesque former British colony, Bermuda sits on a 200 square mile coral reef and is a popular destination for golf.

***The recently announced expansion of Costa Cruises is underway with the announcement that the line will launch a new cruise product aimed exclusively at the German market beginning in spring 2002. The 760-passenger Costa Marina, will be marketed exclusively for German speaking clientele by Costa's German subsidiary, Frankfurt-based Costa Kreuzfahrten. CostaMarina will cruise year round in Europe and the Caribbean.Back to Top

05-16-01 HAL's New Prinsendam When Holland America Line acquires the Seabourn Sun in 2002, she will be renamed Prinsendam, the second ship to bear this name in the Line's history. The first Prinsendam sailed in the Far East and Alaska from 1973 through 1980. The 38,000-ton Seabourn Sun joins HAL next April 23 and will then go into drydock for refurbishment and modifications. Introductory festivities to welcome the new vessel will take place in June 2002 on the U.S. East Coast before Prinsendam sails to Europe for the summer. Six itineraries are planned in the Baltic, Norwegian Fjords, British Isles and the coast of France and Spain. Exotic itineraries will follow in Asia and Australia for the winter of 2002-2003. Seabourn Sun is the former Royal Viking Sun.Back to Top

05-14-01 New Paradise Itinerary Carnival Cruise Lines' Paradise, will operate a series of six 10- and 11-day Caribbean cruises round-trip from Miami in 2002. The 70,000-ton vessel will sail on three "exotic" 10-day southern Caribbean cruises departing Feb. 21, May 2, and Oct. 3, 2002, and three "exotic" 11-day western Caribbean voyages departing Feb. 10, April 21, and Sept. 22, 2002. Ten-day sailings will feature St. Thomas/St. John; St. Lucia; Barbados; Martinique; and St. Maarten, while 11-day voyages will visit Curacao; Aruba; Colon, Panama (optional Panama Canal and Gatun Lake shore excursions available); Limon, Costa Rica; and Key West. Prior to and following its new 10- and 11-day voyages in winter, spring and fall 2002, the Paradise will operate its current schedule of weekly eastern and western Caribbean cruises. Eastern cruises visit Nassau, San Juan and St. Thomas/St. John, while the western route features Playa del Carmen/Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios.Back to Top

05-11-01 Weekend Cruise News ***Princess Cruises' newest vessel, Golden Princess, is sailing on a series of preview cruises May 8-16 from Southampton. The 109,000-ton sister ship to Grand Princess carries 2,600 passengers. The wedding chapel on board features an exclusive Wedding Cam, enabling friends and family back home to view passenger nuptials. Princess is the only line to offer at-sea weddings conducted by the ship's captain. Passengers can choose to have portraits taken at their convenience, and enjoy a host of photographic services, at the F/X Digital Photo Center, the first complete professional digital photography studio in the industry. Golden Princess sails a Grand Mediterranean summer program between Barcelona, Spain, and Istanbul, Turkey, May 28 through September 13.

***Viking River Cruises has welcomed three new sister ships bringing the number of ships in their fleet to 27. Viking Pride, Viking Europe and Viking Spirit will sail on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. The floating hotels measure 370 feet in length with 75 outside passenger cabins, a lounge, single-seating restaurant, library and sundeck. A new feature is a covered promenade deck which wraps around the lounge on the Upper Deck forward. New in 2002 for Viking River Cruises is a 21-night adventure across Europe, plying the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers from the North Sea to the Black Sea. Another new addition is 7-night spring and fall cruises on the Rh�ne River in the South of France. For a free 48-page brochure call 1-877-66-VIKING.

***Infinity arrives in Vancouver today for the first time to begin her season of seven-night Alaska cruises. The Alaska season is well under way with Norwegian Wind, Zaandam, Statendam, Westerdam, Volendam and Universe Explorer already sailing north. Ryndam, Mercury, Dawn Princess, Rhapsody of the Seas, Veendam and Regal Princess sail from Vancouver this weekend with Sun Princess departing Monday. The transit strike is still on in Vancouver. The strike has shut down city bus service and seabus service from the harbor to the north shore. The Airporter bus and tour buses are running as usual.

***Crystal Cruises has announced a special Big Band Christmas and New Year's cruise on board the 50,000-ton, 940 passenger Crystal Symphony. Sailing round trip from Los Angeles for 14 days, December 21, 2001, Crystal Symphony will call at San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta and La Paz. Entertainment on board will feature the Glenn Miller Orchestra performing at the New Year's Party as well as teatime, cocktail hour and moonlight serenades. Crystal's Ambassador Hosts will be aboard to dance with single ladies in need of dance partners. Actress June Allyson will be on board to give an insider look at nearly fifty years of entertainment on Broadway, film and television.

***Royal Olympic has re-christened Olympic Explorer as Olympia Explorer since a ship with the former name already exists. Mystery surrounds the delay of Olympia Explorer's inaugural voyage originally set for May 12 (See May 10 news for details.)

*** There was an accidental discharge of treated black water from the Norwegian Sky while the vessel was en route from Juneau to Ketchikan on May 3. The black water was processed through an IMO approved treatment plant, however the discharge is in contravention of the Company's policies which prohibit any discharge of black water within three miles of Alaskan water. Norwegian Cruise Line is cooperating fully with the US Coast Guard and is conducting its own investigation to determine the reasons for the incident. Norwegian Sky had scored a perfect 100 in a US Public Health inspection on April 29 in Seattle before leaving on her first Alaskan cruise for 2001.

***Queen Mary 2 will be the first ship to have four Mermaid podded propulsion systems, built by Rolls Royce. The 1,130-foot vessel is expected to be 150,000-tons and will have two fixed and two adjusting pods. The system allows for greater maneuverability and takes up far less space than the conventional propulsion system. Rolls Royce will also supply Mermaid podded propulsion systems to Mediterranean Shipping's two 60,000-ton newbuilds and Crystal's C3 project. All ships are being built at Chantiers de l'Atlantique in France.

***Holland America Line has announced a new program of three- and four-day cruises from Seattle, beginning in the spring of 2002. The cruises, on board the 60,906-ton, 1,440-passenger Zaandam, will take place May 3, 6 and 10, 2002. Fall dates are being scheduled. The three-day cruise departs May 3 and will visit Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia before returning to Seattle. The four-day May 6 cruise will include a visit to Victoria, scenic cruising of the Strait of Georgia, Seymour Narrows and Johnstone Strait to Alert Bay, and a visit to Vancouver. The May 10 sailing will be a one-day overnight cruise to Vancouver. Back to Top

05-10-01 Problems at Royal Olympic? While Royal Olympic said the delay of its newest ship, Olympic Explorer, was due to last-minute changes they requested the shipyard, Blohm & Voss, to make, we question this. CruiseMates received a press release from the ship yard saying the vessel had already received high marks from 800 invited guests, including maritime experts and bankers. And, the shipyard reports that it has not yet received a request for any changes and has approached ROC for clarification. In the meantime, Royal Olympic officials can't be reached for comment. CruiseMates advises those who are booked on a Royal Olympic cruise, or have plans to do so, to purchase third party insurance, such as Travel Guard, which protects against default. Back to Top

05-04-01 Carnival's New Wedding Packages Carnival Cruise Line has announced new packages for couples who want to tie the knot aboard it's newest ship, the Carnival Spirit. The "Weddings at Sea" program allows couples to marry while the vessel is sailing in Canadian waters during the summer Alaska season. Couples will have the opportunity to "tie the knot" as the ship enters and leaves Vancouver, B.C., through an arrangement with Canadian authorities. Carnival will offer the "Weddings at Sea - Just for the Bride & Groom" package, priced at $795, including an official civil ceremony, a champagne toast with keepsake flutes, flowers, a wedding cake, pre-recorded wedding music and a decorated bridal aisle. The Welcome Aboard" package costs $1,395 and offers additional services, including a reception with one-hour open bar and hot-and-cold hors d'oeuvres, a wedding cake and coffee service. Couples may also select the "Deluxe Romance" package for $1,495, which includes a one-and-a-half hour reception and an ice carving, as well as all the features of the other programs. For additional information on Carnival's wedding program and "Weddings at Sea" packages, call the line's Bon Voyage Department at 1-800-933-4968.Back to Top

05-04-01 Weekend Cruise News 05-4-01 ***Delta Queen Coastal Voyages begins service Saturday May 5 when Cape May Light sets sail on her maiden voyage. The 226-passenger ship is inspired by the historic Fall River Line vessels which traveled between New York and New England from 1847 to 1937. The inaugural "Charms of the Chesapeake Bay" itinerary, from Norfolk to Philadelphia for seven nights, calls at Jamestown , Williamsburg, Cambridge, Alexandria, Washington, D.C., Mt. Vernon, Annapolis and Baltimore. May departures have two for one fares in effect. Sister ship Cape Cod Light debuts August 4, 2001. Both vessels sail Colonial America, New England and Canada coastal voyages as well as into the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. For the winter Cape Cod Light calls at Mexico, Belize and Honduras while Cape May Light is in Costa Rica and Panama.

***Infinity was officially christened in Los Angeles last Sunday April 29 and has embarked on her Alaska season. Celebrity's newest vessel is currently en route to Vancouver from San Francisco calling at ports in Alaska during the ten-day cruise.

***Vancouver's downtown cruise terminal at Canada Place has been completely remodeled as part of the facility's expansion. The cruise ship level has been redesigned to handle the increasing number of cruise passengers more efficiently. Easier access to ground transportation, improved airline check-in facilities, better customs areas and increased security are a part of the new design. The cruise ship level is now dedicated to passengers embarking and disembarking. It is no longer possible to access the upper levels of Canada Place from the embarkation area. Construction of the pier extension, which will allow a third megaship to berth downtown, is well underway. Access to the outdoor aft area of the facility, which was an excellent area for photographing ships leaving port, is prohibited during the construction period. Completion of the pier extension is expected in time for the 2003 Alaska cruise season.

*** Royal Caribbean International has partnered with coffee retailer, Seattle's Best Coffee, to make specialty products available throughout the RCI fleet. Rolled out last month on Radiance of the Seas, the program will expand to Voyager of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas by August and the remainder of the fleet by year end. Seattle's Best Coffee's drip coffee and espresso products will be available in all dining rooms and bars, and new "cafe" areas will be created on each ship.

*** Renaissance Cruises has introduced an unlimited Internet access plan. The new "Stay Connected" plan offers passengers the option of purchasing unlimited Internet Access at a set price for their entire cruise vacation. The cost of the usage program is per stateroom based on the passenger's cruise length. The current programs being offered are: 10-Day Cruise - $99.99; 12-Day Cruise - $129.99; 15-Day Cruise - $159.99.

*** Princess Cruises' new "Personal Choice Embarkation" allows passengers to enjoy express check-in at the cruise terminal. By completing all the necessary forms and paperwork and returning them to Princess 40 days ahead of sailing, passengers will have a special sticker placed on their cruise tickets designating they only have to sign their cash-free signature card for their onboard charges before boarding the ship. Check-in begins around noon and passengers may now board the ship immediately upon completing check-in procedures, whether or not they opt for the express check-in service.

***Join fellow "Antiques Roadshow" fans on board Orient Lines' Crown Odyssey this Fall in India and Southeast Asia. Workshops and lectures will be offered by Sotheby's auctioneer and executive Hilary Kay and Terrence Lockett, author of numerous books on antique collecting. Passengers will be well prepared for antique shopping in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Bombay.
Back to Top

New Ship: Celebrity Constellation Celebrity Cruises has announced today that the next ship in its Millennium-class fleet will be named Constellation. This will be the fourth and final ship in the series of four 1,950-guest Millennium-class ships, and will bring the Celebrity fleet to a total of nine ships.

Constellation will make its maiden voyage in May 2002, beginning with a season of European itineraries which will be announced later this month when bookings for Constellation's inaugural season open.

Summit, Celebrity's eighth ship, third in the series of Millennium-class vessel,s launches this Fall, and Constellation will make its maiden voyage in May 2002.
Back to Top

Recommended Articles