News Archive - May 2006

5-26-06 Silversea Launches Wellness Program Silversea Cruises has announced a new fleetwide "Wellness Program" for passengers seeking to improve their overall fitness levels. The program includes an integrated schedule of classes on nutrition and exercise, fitness activities, spa therapies and healthy dining options to create the opportunity for a complete rejuvenation of mind, body and soul while at sea. Participating passengers will receive a daily schedule of activities and seminars which includes popular workout programs such as aerobics (including aqua and step), Pilates, circuit training, and yoga, is perfectly paired with a daily collection of light and low-carb menu selections designed by Silversea's master chefs.

A typical day on the Wellness Program might include a sunrise morning walk and yoga class followed by a late-morning seminar on nutrition, exploring the pros and cons of popular diets. The afternoon might offer a seminar on healthy backs and abs, followed by a workout with circuit weights. Guests could wind down their day with exercises to stretch and relax their bodies, under the careful guidance of their professional fitness instructor. Included in Silversea's Wellness Program is a daily sampling of lunch and dinner selections to complement the roster of fitness activities and seminars with specially selected low-calorie, low-carb and vegetarian menu options. All organized group fitness classes and seminars are complimentary. Personalized, one-on-one training programs and spa therapies are offered at an additional charge. Back to Top

5-26-06 Weekend News 5-26-06 *** On May 20, 2006, Carnival Cruise Lines' 110,000-ton Carnival Glory began a new four-port, seven-day itinerary, part of the ship's alternating week-long eastern and western Caribbean cruise schedule from Port Canaveral, Fla. The ship's new western Caribbean cruises feature extended day-long visits to Cozumel, Belize, Costa Maya and Nassau while eastern Caribbean stops on alternating weeks include St. Thomas/St. John, St. Maarten and Nassau.

*** Cunard Line held the traditional keel laying ceremony May 19 of the cruise line's next new ship, Queen Victoria, in Fincantieri ship yard near Venice. The keel laying involved the placement in the dry dock of one section of the ship's hull. This section is made up of six pre-manufactured blocks, weighs 325 tons and is fitted with 50 tons of pipes, cables, insulation and other equipment. The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will enter service December 11, 2007.

*** Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced special family programs aboard Alaska and Tahiti voyages. In Tahiti, a special program for children includes special shore excursions for families with children with scientists to study marine life and ecology. During Alaska cruises, youth counselors will be aboard to with special activities for children in a range of ages.

*** Princess Cruises will expand its Canada and New England itineraries in 2007 when Crown Princess makes her Canada/New England debut in the region and will be joined by Grand Princess, marking the first time that two of the line's largest vessels will sail the northeast coast. Back to Top

5-25-06 NCL Sells Norwegian Crown Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has sold Norwegian Crown to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, effective August 2006. However, NCL's parent company, Star Cruises will charter the vessel from Fred Olsen and the ship will continue her deployment through November, 2007 before leaving the fleet.This summer and fall, Norwegian Crown is sailing seven-day Bermuda cruises from Philadelphia and New York and will sail 14-night South American cruises throughout the winter season of 2006/2007. In summer 2007, she will again offer a full season of Bermuda cruises from New York and Philadelphia and will end her deployment as an NCL ship at the close of the Bermuda season at the end of October 2007. Back to Top

5-23-06 Celebrity Captain Fired For Drinking A Celebrity Cruises captain suspected of drinking shortly before the ship sailed from Seattle for Alaska was charged Monday with operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol. Periklis Petridis, 46, was in command of the 866-foot Mercury on Friday when Coast Guard officials, during a routine safety inspection, suspected he had been drinking. Court papers said he failed breath tests.Bail was set at $100,000 for Petridis in U.S. District Court in Seattle. If convicted, he would face up to a year in prison. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which owns Celebrity Cruises, said Friday that Petridis would be fired. The ship sailed for Alaska with a replacement captain. Back to Top

5-19-06 WEEKEND NEW 5-19-06 *** Cunard Line has announced that Queen Victoria, currently under construction, will make a 105-day world cruise, departing January 13, 2008 from New York. She will circumnavigate the globe in a westbound direction and, after her New York call, will transit the Panama Canal before making maiden calls in some of the world's major cities, including Los Angeles, Auckland, Sydney, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Dubai, Athens and Barcelona.

*** Carnival Corporation celebrated the official opening of its new $42 million cruise center on the island of Grand Turk last week. The Grand Turk Cruise Center features a state-of-the-art pier that can accommodate two large Super Post Panamax vessels and a 13-acre complex. The facility features an expansive recreation area that includes an 800-foot white-sand beach, a swimming pool, cabanas, an array of retail shops and the Caribbean's largest "Margaritaville"-themed bar and restaurant, owned by Jimmy Buffet. The terminal will host more than 130 cruise ship calls this year including Carnival's Elation, Princess Cruises' new Crown Princess, Costa Cruises Costa Magica and Holland America's Noordam.

*** Princess Cruises has announed new ships and itineraries in its 2007 Alaska season, including Saturday departures from Seattle on Golden Princess and Sunday departures from Seattle to Alaska on the Sun Princess. Dawn Princess will sail from San Francisco to Alaska on ten-day voyages.

*** Oceania Cruises' Insignia has recently emerged from a multi-million dollar refurbishment. Following her ten-day stay in a French shipyard, Insignia has new furnishings, carpeting, upholstery and paint. The Owner's and Vista Suites have been completely rebuilt and have been lavishly furnished with custom Empire-style furnishings, 42" plasma screen televisions and BoseTM surround sound audio systems. In addition, eight cabanas and teak decking were installed on Deck 11. Back to Top

5-16-06 RCI & Celebrity Return to Colombia While most cruise lines eliminated port calls in Cartagena, Colombia due to safety concerns, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have announced they will resume stops in this port next year. Celebrity Cruises will make 24 visits to Cartagena: 11 on Zenith, seven on Constellation, six on Infinity and four on Summit. Royal Caribbean will make eight calls at Cartagena over the 2007-2008 season: five on Brilliance of the Seas, two on Radiance of the Seas and one on Serenade of the Seas. Back to Top

5-16-06 NCL Cancels Aloha Sailing Norwegian Cruise Line has cancelled the May 17 Pride of Aloha transpacific crossing. The ship was scheduled to sail from San Francisco to Hawaii following a dry dock but arrived late due to damage to its starboard side propeller. The ship will resume it's published cruise schedule from Maui on May 26 and from Honolulu on May 28. NCL will give passengers booked on the May 17 cancelled voyage a full refund, air change fees and a cruise aboard Pride of Hawaii or Pride of Aloha departing prior to Aug. 17. Passenger may also opt for a full refund and a 50% credit for a future Hawaii cruise on any NCL ship. Back to Top

5-15-06 Freedom of the Seas - World's Largest Cruise Ship, Christened in NY City Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas made her debut in New York last weekend in a series of short cruises for members of the travel industry before proceeding to Boston, then to her home port of Miami. At 160,000 tons, Freedom of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world; the vessel will sail on seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Royal Caribbean?s private destination, Labadee, Haiti. The world's argest cruise ship was christened Friday, May 12, by Katherine Louise Calder, a foster mother to more than 400 children.

At 160,000 gross tons the ship is 237 feet high with 15 passenger decks, and is 1,127 feet long. A ship this size deserve a big send-off, and Calder unleased a mechanism designed to smash a single champagne bottle containing the equivalent of 34 standard champagne bottles against the behemoth's hull. Freedom ekes out Queen Mary 2 (formerly the world's largest cruise ship at 151,000 gross tons), which held the "world's largest" title for four years.

Still, it should be noted that while the ship is currently the world's newest and largest, she is, in fact, very closely related to five other Royal Caribbean ships known as the Voyager-class first introduced in 2000. All six ships of the class including Freedom are very similar in design. Voyager weighed in at 149,000 gross tons. The newer Freedom of the Seas was made larger by adding more passenger capacity among other improvements. She can carry over 4000 passengers.

A ship this size certainly has at least one major concern in today's world - fuel efficiency. But while she is 15% larger than her like-named sisters, she is just as fuel efficient, says Royal Caribbean, due to an improved hull design that moves through the water with greater ease.

And passenger capacity isn't isn't the only thing the additonal size has been used for. Features of the ship include those Royal Caribbean is already mostly famous for; an on-board surf park that generates real waves; the world's largest ship-board fitness center with a full-size boxing ring; the tallest at-sea climbing wall at 45 feet; cantilevered whirlpool baths extending 12 feet out from the ship's sides; as well as a theatre, ice rink and a 455-foot-long "Royal Promenade" resembling a long shopping mall with coffee houses, a pizza place, a wine bar, nightclubs and all kinds of shopping lining its ample walkway.

The fitness center alone is 9,700 sq feet and includes a boxing ring. The spa offers not only massages, but new personal improvement options like teeth whitening. Fares for the ship are currently higher than the cost of sailing one of her sisters, an opening price of about $850 per person being the lowest we've seen. However, like all things new they soon become more commonplace and that price already reflects one drop since the ship started taking reservations.

See Our "Freedom of the Seas Preview Article" written January 5

The ship was built in by the Akers Yard of Norway, and made her maiden voyage from Hamburg Germany to Oslo, Norway. Then to Southampton, England and finally to New York City. She is currently sailing on short cruises with press, cruise line executives and an abundance of travel agents. Her "revenue" cruises begin in the Western Caribbean in June. Back to Top

5-12-06 Weekend News May 12 *** Royal Caribbean International's new 6,000-passenger Freedom of the Seas made her debut in New York this weekend and will travel to Boston before sailing south to her Miami home port. The ship will sail on seven-night voyages with port calls in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica and RCI's private island, Labadee, Haiti.

*** Celebrity Cruises has ordered a second "Solstice-class" ship, a 118,000-ton vessel to be named Celebrity Solstice to be delivered in the summer of 2009. Celebrity Equinox, an identical sister ship will be the first vessel in this series to debut in the fall of 2008. Both ships will carry 2,850 passengers.

*** Crystal Cruises will offer New England/Canada shore excursions that focus that focus on local artisans, soap-makers, growers, winemakers and yacht-builders this fall. From September through October, 2006, Crystal Symphony is offering five seven- and 11-day itineraries, three round trip from New York and two between New York and Montreal.

*** As part of the new Circles of Interest program, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will offer intensive Jazz programs on the 2006 Baltic sailings. Passengers will attend jazz performances by on board, who will not only play in concert and be able to attend "master classes" for non-performers. Then, passengers will attend jazz performances ashore in Tallin and at a private jazz club in St. Petersburg, where a well-respected local band will share their own jazz style. Back to Top

5-12-06 Celebrity Goes Down Under Celebrity Cruises has announced that the Mercury will schedule 14-night open-jaw sailings between Auckland, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia from December 2007 through March 2008. Port calls will include Tauranga, Napier, Wellngton, Christchurch, Dunedin, Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound in New Zealand plus Hobart, Tasmania. Celebrity offers cruise tour packages, including a two-night stay in Sydney, three nights in Sydney and Cairns and a five night excursion featuring Sydney, Ayers Rock, Cairns and the Barrier Reef. Reservations open May 15, 2006 and additional information may be obtained by visiting Back to Top

5-10-06 Celebrity Cancels Alaska Sailing Celebrity Cruises is canceling the May 20, 2006 sailing Summit Alaska cruise to replace the starboard thrust bearing in the ship's propulsion system. The ship must enter drydock to replace the bearing, The ship is expected to return to its scheduled sailings on May 27. Passengers booked on the cancelled sailing will receive a full refund and a free Celebrity cruise from North America of up to seven nights, departing on or before September 30, 2007, excluding holiday and Celebrity Xpedition sailings. Back to Top

5-8-06 Carnival/Amtrak in New Orleans Amtrak and Carnival Cruise Lines will resume their �Rail and Cruise� program out of New Orleans, with the resumption of four- and five-day cruise service from the Port of New Orleans on the cruise ship Fantasy beginning in October. Amtrak is offering discounts up to 25 percent for passengers traveling by rail to and from all Carnival cruises now through December 13, 2007. Passengers may combine their voyage on the Fantasy with travel to and from the ship aboard Amtrak's City of New Orleans, Crescent and Sunset Limited services. The City of New Orleans departs daily from Chicago, stopping in Memphis and 17 other cities. The Crescent departs daily from New York, with stops in Washington, Atlanta and 30 additional cities. The Sunset Limited departs Los Angeles on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, stopping in Tucson, San Antonio and 19 other cities. Fantasy's four-day voyages from New Orleans will depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day sailings will depart Mondays and Saturdays and visit Cozumel and either Calica or Costa Maya beginning Oct. 26, 2006. For additional information on the �Rail & Cruise� program out of New Orleans and locations in Florida, contact your travel agent or Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL or visit Back to Top

5-8-06 Crystal Announces Fuel Surcharge Crystal Cruises has announced that all cruises not paid in full before July 15 will be charged a $4 per person, per day fuel surcharge. Crystal says it had "resisted the implementation of a fuel surcharge for many months ... however, we find that we cannot ignore the continued rising price of oil and its negative impact on our operating costs." Back to Top

5-6-06 Weekend News 5-6-06 Celebrity Cruises' Century has undergone a $55 million refurbishment that includes a trendy Martini bar, Cova Cafe coffeehouse, a full service outdoor bar on the top deck and the "X-Treme" teen jounge and video arcade. All other clubs and lounges onboard the "new" Century will be entirely refurbished, including the Crystal Lounge, Michael's Club jazz/piano bar, Rendezvous Lounge, and Hemispheres observation lounge and disco. Century will set sail on her May 30 Europe cruise with a new specialty restaurant, 314 new verandas, 14 new suites, 10 new staterooms ranging from inside to veranda category, an expanded number of ConciergeClass category staterooms, and a series of features and amenities that typify the line's acclaimed Millennium-class fleet.

Carnival Cruise Lines will introduce the Carnival Freedom in Europe in next year with interior design theme that takes guests on a journey through the centuries by decade. From ancient Babylonia to the heyday of disco, from the 19th-century Victorian era to the contemporary style of the 1990s, the public rooms of Carnival Freedom celebrate many periods in time. Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom is scheduled to enter service with a series of 12-day Mediterranean cruises -including the line's first-ever visit to the Greek Isles and Turkey - beginning March 14, 2007. The 12-day Mediterranean & Greek Isles cruises depart March 14 and 26, April 7 and 19, June 18, Aug. 5, and Sept. 22, and feature Naples, Italy; Rhodes, Greece; Izmir (Ephesus) and Istanbul, Turkey; Athens (Piraeus) and Katakolon, Greece; and Livorno, Italy, as well as an overnight call in Rome (Civitavecchia). The 12-day "Grand Mediterranean" cruises depart May 1, 13 and 25, June 6 and 30, July 12 and 24, Aug. 17 and 28, Sept. 10, Oct. 4 and 16 and visit Naples, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice, Italy (two-day call); Messina, Sicily; Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; and Livorno, Italy.

Discovery World Cruises announced 26 cruise vacations that showcase the kaleidoscope of vibrant history, cultures, architecture and shopping found throughout Europe and the Mediterranean for Summer 2007. Guest can choose from 10- to 33-night itineraries, calling at ports as diverse as Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, and Tartous, Syria, with rates beginning at $1,995 per person, double occupany. The cruise line is offering round-trip economy airfare from East Coast cities for $99 and from the Midwest, $199. Passengers will have a two-night, pre-cruise hotel stay in London prior to many of the summer and fall voyages, which includes an orientation sightseeing tour of the city's landmarks. Overnight calls are also scheduled in grand metropolises such as St. Petersburg, Nice, Venice, Istanbul, and Alexandria, among other ports. Guest lecturers will be on each sailing to provide insights into the history, culture and politics of the ports visited and, wherever possible, local performers are invited on board to entertain guests. Back to Top

5-5-06 New Carnival Southern Caribbean Itinerary Carnival Cruise Lines' 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny will launch a new seven-day southern Caribbean schedule from San Juan featuring port calls to five islands beginning in Jan. 7, 2007. Ports of call include St. Lucia, Antigua, Dominica, Barbados, and St. Thomas/St. John, along with a day at sea. For reservations, contact your travel agent. Additional information may be obtained by visiting Back to Top

5-3-06 Silversea Adds Cellular Phone Service Silversea Cruises has installed technology that enables passengers to use their own cellular phones and wireless PDAs while at sea. The new service is now available onboard Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper, and will be expanded to the line's other two ships, Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, in the coming months. The new technology works for both GSM and CDMA mobile phones as well as PDA devices such as BlackBerries. GSM is the digital standard in Europe and other parts of the globe, while CDMA is the wireless standard for North America and the Far East. Rates for the at-sea cellular service will vary, depending on the guest's wireless provider and will range $1.99 to $3.99 per minute, based on different roaming zones across the world. Charges appear as roaming calls on the passenger's regular wireless bill from their home carrier, which may include additional taxes and fees charged by various carriers. When the ship is in port, guests' cell phones will be switched to the carrier for that geographic area and roaming rates for the country they are visiting will apply. As with all cell carriers, guests' cell phones that work while the ship is at sea may not work in some ports. Back to Top

Recommended Articles