News Archive - May 2008

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5-29-08 Solstice Surprise - Arriving Three Weeks Early Celebrity Cruises is announcing that Celebrity Solstice, a brand new class of ship entering the market has introduced three additional sailings during its inaugural season this year.

Celebrity Solstice is now scheduled to enter service with a Thanksgiving cruise, November 23, 2008, three weeks prior to its previously announced date of December 14. This will be followed by two additional 7-night Caribbean cruises. Each new seven-night cruise – November 23, November 30 and December 7, 2008 – will present the same itinerary, departing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, with visits to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and Basseterre, St. Kitts.

Acknowledging that some guests who booked on Celebrity Solstice's original maiden voyage of December 14 may wish to switch to the new maiden voyage, Celebrity has established a two-week rebooking window from today through June 12. During that time, guests booked on the December 14 sailing will have the opportunity to transition to the November 23 cruise without penalty, in the same stateroom or suite as originally booked, at the original fare. Guests encountering air-change fees as a result of opting to switch will be reimbursed for those fees up to $100 per person, provided acceptable proof of fees is presented to Celebrity by January 31, 2009.

Bookings for the November 23 sailing will be open exclusively to guests booked on the December 14 cruise until June 12, when the special two-week rebooking period ends. Bookings for the November 30 and December 7 sailings open today.

Guests on every sailing of Celebrity Solstice will experience a series of new features onboard, including a half-acre Lawn Club with real grass, and a glassblowing show and studio developed with The Corning Museum of Glass. Guests also will experience unrivaled dining venues offering trendsetting cuisine and design, and widely varied entertainment, including new theater productions in partnership with Poet Theatricals. The 2,850-guest vessel also will have staterooms 15 percent larger than those on previous Celebrity ships, 90 percent of which will be outside, and 85 percent of all staterooms will have verandas.

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5-27-08 Norwegian Majesty Rescues Three Stranded at Sea Norwegian Majesty departed from Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday, May 24, 2008 at approximately 4 p.m. for its scheduled seven-day cruise to Bermuda, but changed its course approximately two and a half hours into the sailing after receiving a distress call from a fishing boat.

Mark Harold, the captain of the 24-foot fishing boat "Not On Call," sent out several distress calls with no response for hours. The boat departed from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and was caught in a violent storm about 30 miles from shore. After battling the storm for hours, the boat began to run out of fuel and he feared that the ship would capsize once the fuel ran out and the engine shut down. In addition, it was getting dark.

Hope returned to the crew when Norwegian Majesty answered their distress call and changed its course to assist. At approximately 7:30 p.m., Norwegian Majesty arrived alongside the boat and all four men were rescued after they climbed up the pilot ladder on the starboard side. At approximately 8:00 p.m., with all four men safe on the ship, Norwegian Majesty continued on its voyage toward St. Georges, Bermuda.

Once on board, Harold and his three crew members Michael Cease, Greg Stevenson and Allan Narowski were given hot coffee and towels. Their clothes were laundered and they have been enjoying the cruise which reached Bermuda today at approximately 2 p.m. The men are expected to disembark and return to their homes in South Carolina.

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5-27-08 New Ally for Save the Delta Queen - Immediate Action Requested! The dedicated team at "Save-the-Delta-Queen" just sent us a note to identify a new congressional ally whom they hope will re-present the exemption to get the Delta Queen certifeid to sail as a passenger vessel again. Here is the notice they sent:

Hello All,

We have pinpointed a potential ally in the Senate. There is a good chance that we can persuade Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania to introduce exemption legislation for the Delta Queen. It is crucial that he hear from as many people as possible. Please contact him by phone or fax and ask him to do whatever he can to get an exemption (preferably a permanent one) through the Senate -- and please ask everyone you know to do the same. If any of them live in Pennsylvania, of course, so much the better. Here's where you can reach Sen. Specter:

The Hon. Arlen Specter 711 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Phone: (202) 224-4254 Fax: (202) 228-1229

Within the next two weeks we will be delivering two sets of petitions and resolutions to Capitol Hill. One set will go to the House leadership. This will consist of petitions, resolutions, and Steamboats.org guestbook messages that we've collected since our first delivery to them on April 18. The other will go to Sen. Spector. He will be the lucky recipient of the whole kit 'n' kaboodle -- everything the leadership got and everything we've collected since then. If you have petitions or resolutions, please hold onto them for the moment. I will be back in touch as soon as we know who will make the delivery, how many copies we need, and where they should be sent.

Thank you all for your continued help and dedication to the cause! We are going to win this fight!

Onward & upward!

Vicki Webster

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5-25-08 Disney Cruise Line Returns to West Coast for Summer 2008 The Disney Magic cruise ship returned to the Port of Los Angeles Sunday morning, making it easier for guests residing near Southern California to experience Disney's seven-night cruises to the Mexican Riviera. The ship is on the West Coast for a limited engagement, sailing just 12 cruises this summer, but staterooms are available for select voyages throughout the season. The ship is scheduled to sail back to Port Canaveral, Fla. on Aug. 17.

Disney Cruise Line developed the special itinerary in response to overwhelmingly positive feedback about its original West Coast sailings in 2005 and requests from guests who wanted to see the ship once again depart from the Port of Los Angeles.

Disney Magic is scheduled to sail 12 consecutive seven-night cruise vacations from the Port of Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.

Departing May 25, June 1, June 8, June 15, June 22, June 29, July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27, Aug. 3, Aug. 10, the itinerary for the Mexican Riviera sailings is as follows:

  • Sunday. . . . . . . . . . . . Port of Los Angeles
  • Monday . . . . . . . . . . . At Sea
  • Tuesday . . . . . . . . . . . Cabo San Lucas
  • Wednesday . . . . . . . . . Mazatlán
  • Thursday . . . . . . . . . . Puerto Vallarta
  • Friday . . . . . . . . . . . . At Sea
  • Saturday . . . . . . . . . . At Sea
  • Sunday. . . . . . . . . . . . Port of Los Angeles

Cabo San Lucas will treat guests to a tropical paradise of white sand beaches, crystal-clear blue waters and breathtaking mountain vistas. Mazatlán offers guests a glimpse into Mexico's rich history and culture, while Puerto Vallarta, with more than 100 miles of scenic coastline, will allow guests to absorb the natural beauty of Mexico.

Disney offers brand new shore excursions, enhanced entertainment offerings and themed youth activities exclusive to Disney Cruise Line:

Original Shore Excursions

Available exclusively to guests sailing on Disney Cruise Line, the West Coast Signature Adventure Collection offers a luxurious repertoire of fun-filled shore excursions. These adventures offer an intimate way to explore the sights of the Mexican Riviera. Some of the highlights include:

  • Waterfall and Hot Springs Tour in Cabo San Lucas

    Guests embark in a private vehicle to the East Cape Region in Cabo San Lucas. Once there, they take a short hike to a beautiful waterfall where they can take a dip in the cool waters and marvel at the sandy shores gleaming with gold pyrite. Guests continue to hot mineral springs and melt their cares away with a spa treatment created by Mother Nature.

  • The Villa at Caletas in Puerto Vallarta

    Guests board a private speedboat that whisks them to a secluded oasis only accessible by sea where they have exclusive use of a small villa. Hosts are available to assist in creating a relaxing and enjoyable stay as guests enjoy the snorkeling and kayak activities, take a relaxing snooze in a hammock or laze in a private Jacuzzi.

    Entertainment

    Even the world famous Disney Characters are getting in the spirit of the Mexican Riviera with lively entertainment enhancements, including:

  • Minnie's Fiesta Grande

    Minnie is getting ready to say "todos a bailar" with a brand new sail-away celebration as the Disney Magic departs the port of Mazatlán. Guests join Minnie and her pals for Minnie's Fiesta Grande, a fun filled party celebrating the magic, music and culture of Mexico.

    Youth Activities

    Children get a taste of Mexican traditions through fun-filled activities aboard the Disney Magic. Here is a glimpse at some of the activities:

  • Churro For Sure-Oh

    Children learn about one of the most famous Mexican desserts - the churro! They can experiment with different toppings and enjoy their own creations!

  • Piñata Party

    Children discover the history of this traditional Mexican pastime creating brightly-colored paper piñatas and stuffing them with an assortment of goodies. A special surprise awaits as children get to break their piñatas at the end of the program.

    Significant enhancements have been made to the Disney Magic since its original West Coast sailings in 2005. Today, guests can enjoy poolside movies on a 24-by-14-foot jumbo LED screen, an expanded spa and fitness center exclusively for adults and a new youth activities space designed for children ages 10-14.

    Rates for the special West Coast cruises start at $1,449 per person. Guests can book a seven-night cruise to the Mexican Riviera, or a magical three-, four- or seven-night cruise vacation to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Port Canaveral, Fla., by calling 888/DCL-2500, visiting disneycruise.com or contacting their travel agent.

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    5-25-08 Monday, 5-26: Rally to Save the Delta Queen Madison Indiana

    Madison Indiana - On Monday, May 26, 2008, the Save the Delta Queen Campaign will hold a rally in Madison in support of legislation that will keep the historic boat in operation. The rally will take place from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the City Boat Ramp at the foot of West Street where the Delta Queen will be docked. You'll enjoy refreshments and entertainment along with a special appearance by River Valley Financial Bank's Captain Valley. Bring the whole family and help support the Delta Queen.

    The scheduled lineup is as follows:

    Master of Ceremonies: Jeff Lake as Mark Twain

    Speakers: Dave Adams, Madison City Clerk/Treasurer

    Entertainers: Performers include The Ohio River Minstrels, ohioriverminstrels.com/

    The Delta Queen is the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on America's inland waterways and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1966, she was inadvertently caught in the technical provisions of the Safety at Sea Act, which was intended to cover ocean-going ships, not riverboats. Recognizing the difference between boats that operate on rivers, within yards of the shore, and ships that sail the high seas, Congress established an exemption for the Delta Queen in 1968. Since then, the exemption has been renewed nine times, in virtually every case by near-unanimous votes in both the House and the Senate.

    Without congressional action, the current exemption will expire on November 1, 2008. Bipartisan legislation to extend the exemption, H.R. 3852, was introduced by Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) on October 16, 2007. The bill remains in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where it is awaiting action.

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    5-23-08 Genesis-class Ships to be Named: Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas Royal Caribbean has announced the new names for the two new Genesis-class ships currently under construction in Finland. The two names were chosen as the result of a contest where cruisers were asked to submit pairs of names. The winning pair: Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, submitted by George Weiser, of Livonia, Michigan. From here on out, the class of ships will be referred to as the "Oasis-class" of ships, ending the term "Genesis-class."

    The name "Oasis of the Seas" was selected from more than 91,000 entries in Royal Caribbean's "Name that Ship" contest, which the cruise line launched on January 18 in partnership with USA TODAY. Entrants were invited to submit two names ending in "of the Seas." The criteria was that the name should "best encapsulate the universe of experiences a Royal Caribbean cruise provides guests." Royal Caribbean says the contest marks the first time members of the general public, outside of the cruise industry, have been given the opportunity to name a cruise ship.

    Weiser's names scored the highest among all contest entries considered by a panel of judges. Weiser is joined by Jennifer Conley, of Robertsville, Missouri, who suggested Mystique of the Seas and also Allure of the Seas. Conley is also a winner in the naming contest for earning the second-highest score.

    The "Name that Ship" contest was judged by a panel of cruise industry experts including Lauren Teton, founding partner of Name One!, which specializes in finding unique names for products and business entities; John Maxtone-Graham, maritime historian, lecturer and author of numerous books, including the latest, "Normandie: France's Legendary Art Deco Ocean Liner"; and Albert Mehrabian, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA and author of more than 14 books, including "Baby Name Report Card: Beneficial and Harmful Baby Names."

    "I was very pleased with the final selection and for being invited to take part in the contest," said John Maxtone-Graham, maritime historian.

    When launched in late 2009, Oasis of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world. She will span 16 decks, encompass 220,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,400 guests, and feature 2,700 staterooms. The ship will homeport in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 2010, she will be joined by a sister ship, Allure of the Seas. Additional information is available at www.oasisoftheseas.com.

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    5-22-08 Crystal Features Hollywood Legends in "Theater at Sea" Itinerary Some of the finest names in the film and theater worlds are joining Crystal Cruises' brand new Theatre at Sea itinerary. Individual artists will perform throughout the 12-day "Italian Treasures" itinerary from Venice to Monte Carlo, departing September 12, 2008, aboard award-winning Crystal Serenity.

    The roster includes:

    Lynn Redgrave - The Golden Globe-winning actress performs Nightingale, a captivating ancestral story from her five-generation theatrical family

    Gena Rowlands - The Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning actress presents her latest film, Broken Promises, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival

    Patricia Neal - The Academy Award-winning actress performs her acclaimed play, As I am, chronicling her remarkable life

    Lucy Arnaz and Laurence Luckinbill - Performing together, the theatrical duo presents songs from Ms. Arnaz's cabaret show and scenes from Mr. Luckinbill's plays

    Florence Henderson - The Brady Bunch star presents An Evening with Florence Henderson, a musical recounting of her stage, screen and television career

    Susannah York - The Academy Award-nominated actress presents her one-woman show, The Loves of Shakespeare's Women

    Lee Roy Reams - Critically acclaimed for his Broadway role in The Producers, Mr. Reams presents a musical journey through the works of Jerry Herman, one of Broadway's finest composers.

    Presented in partnership with the Theatre Guild, the Crystal Serenity itinerary calls in Dubrovnik, Croatia; Taormina, Sorrento, Rome, Florence and Elba, Italy, and ends with an overnight stay in Monte Carlo. Cruise fares start at $4,835 per person, double occupancy.

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    5-22-08 Delta Queen Rally - Friday 1:30 On Friday, May 23, 2008, the Save the Delta Queen Campaign will hold a rally in Henderson in support of legislation that will keep the historic boat in operation. The rally will take place from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. at Audubon Mill Park, where the Delta Queen will be docked.

    The scheduled lineup is as follows:

    Speakers: State Senator Dorsey Ridley Michael Pape, District Director for Congressman Ed Whitfield Henderson Mayor Tom Davis

    Entertainers: Bluegrass Acts Casino Bill and Highway 41

    The Delta Queen is the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on America's inland waterways and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1966, she was inadvertently caught in the technical provisions of the Safety at Sea Act, which was intended to cover ocean-going ships, not riverboats. Recognizing the difference between boats that operate on rivers, within yards of the shore, and ships that sail the high seas, Congress established an exemption for the Delta Queen in 1968. Since then, the exemption has been renewed nine times, in virtually every case by near-unanimous votes in both the House and the Senate.

    Without congressional action, the current exemption will expire on November 1, 2008. Bipartisan legislation to extend the exemption, H.R. 3852, was introduced by Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) on October 16, 2007. The bill remains in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where it is awaiting action.

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    5-19-08 Cunard Queen Victoria Survives Harbor Mishap The Cunard cruise liner Queen Victoria hit a dock in Valletta, Malta's Grand Harbour Wednesday morning and was forced to stay overnight overnight for repairs.

    The Malta Maritime Authority is conducting an investigation in coordination with the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch of the British maritime authority. The MMA said the incident happened when the ship developed mechanical failure. The vessel suffered damage to its stern and caused limited damage to the fender system and the quay coping.

    The incident happened at around 11.30 a.m. when, according to initial reports, the ship's throttle suffered a temporary failure.

    "The ship was being turned to face the breakwater and hit the Valletta Waterfront quay with its stern. It was a loud, scraping noise," an eyewitness said.

    The stern could be seen dented above the waterline.

    The 90,000-ton vessel, which was due to leave that evening, remained overnight and left early the next day. A port call at La Goulette, Tunisia was cancelled and the vessel, on its maiden Mediterranean cruise, proceeded to Gibraltar, its next scheduled stop.

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    5-19-08 FBI Sees No Foul Play in Mindy Jordan Fall

    The FBI says it doesn't think a crime was committed earlier this week when nurse Mindy Jordan fell to her death from a balcony aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Dawn.

    The director of the bureau's New York office says the agency has concluded its initial investigation on board the Norwegian Dawn in Bermuda and has found no signs of foul play.

    "Our objective is first to rule out whether or not there was a crime here, and thus far the evidence - the information we have acquired - does not suggest a crime," FBI spokesman, Mark Mershon, said. "But that is not definitive; we have a number of investigative steps we have yet to deploy."

    Mindy Jordan of Pine Hill, N.J., fell off the Dawn at about 7:50 PM on Sunday, just hours after it had set sail from New York on a one-week cruise to Bermuda. Norwegian says the ship immediately began a search and rescue operation and called the U.S. Coast Guard, which dispatched several helicopters, but Jordan wasn't found. The Coast Guard called off the search late Monday.

    Norwegian announced Wednesday that surveillance cameras had captured Jordan's fall on tape and prove that she was alone at the time -- countering speculation that she had been the victim of foul play. The line says she had been trying to climb from balcony to balcony on the ship -- an extremely dangerous maneuver.

    In a statement late Thursday, Norwegian said the FBI has spent two days on board the ship in Bermuda conducting witness interviews, examining Jordon's sealed cabin and viewing the surveillance footage. "NCL continues to cooperate fully with these authorities who have taken possession of the surveillance footage," the line said.

    Jordan's mother, Louise Horton, "has declined NCL's offer to fly family members to Bermuda to view the footage," the line added in the statement. "We continue to work with the family to make alternative arrangements and provide additional assistance."

    Norwegian says that after extensive interviews with the FBI, Jordan's boyfriend and traveling companion, Jorge Caputo, left the ship at approximately 1 p.m. on Thursday.

    The Norwegian Dawn left Bermuda Friday at 4 p.m. EST.

    Norwegian Cruise Line issued a statement late Wednesday saying surveillance cameras on the inside and the outside of the ship caught the entire sequence of events leading up to and following the deadly fall of Mindy Jordan, 46, of Pine Hill, N.J.

    The line also offered a minute-by-minute synopsis of the events, which appear to put an end to speculation that foul play was involved. Speculation by Jordan's family fueled the flames as they publicly criticized Jordan's boyfriend and traveling companion, Jorge Caputo, who was with Mindy on the ship.

    "The advanced safety and surveillance system operating on Norwegian Dawn, including cameras in the interior hallways and on the exterior sides of the ship, has confirmed that Mindy Jordan was in her stateroom alone at the time of the incident," the NCL says in a statement.

    Here is the sequence of events, as released by Norwegian Cruise Line:

    • 7:28 PM. Mindy Jordan and Jorge Caputo return to their cabin after dining at the ship's Garden Cafe with another couple with whom they were traveling.
    • 7:36 PM. Caputo left the cabin and went to join the other couple in their cabin next door. From that moment on, Mindy is alone in her stateroom.
    • 7:53 PM. Surveillance cameras from the exterior of the ship capture Mindy falling overboard from her balcony, straight into the water. Shortly thereafter, an emergency call was made from the friends' cabin and Jorge is seen exiting to seek help.
    • 7:57 PM. A man overboard announcement is made and the ship's crew begins lifesaving operations, including the launch of two rescue boats.

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    5-13-08 Crystal Cruises Introduces Two "Mind, Body & Spirit" Cruises Crystal Cruises is introducing two "Mind, Body & Spirit" cruises this December. The planned holistic, comprehensive programming incorporates lectures, classes and workshops given by leading experts and instructors from The Cleveland Clinic, Tai Chi Cultural Institute and the line's exclusive Walk on Water program. The Mind, Body & Spirit focus is set for Crystal Symphony's December 7 South America voyage from Los Angeles to Valparaiso, Chile and Crystal Serenity's December 12 Panama Canal cruise from Caldera, Costa Rica to Miami.

    The guest experts will cover topics from medical treatment and prevention, to spiritual healing and growth through tai chi and yoga, to the physical and mental fulfillment of strenuous exercise. Scheduled experts:

    Crystal Symphony - "South American Sojourn":

    • Donald Malone, M.D. - The Cleveland Clinic instructor and staff psychiatrist will speak about wellness in relation to mind, body and spirit;
    • John McMichan, M.D. - Mayo Clinic staff physician specializing in Critical Care Medicine, Anesthesiology and Medical Education;
    • Dr. Martin Lee and Emily Lee - Dr. Lee, a Stanford University physicist and his wife founded the Tai Chi Cultural Center in 1974, utilizing a pioneering approach to understand Tai Chi, health and the self;
    • Debbie Rocker - Founder of Crystal's exclusive Walk on Water program featuring the WALKVEST(r) Training System, revolutionizing walking by adding weight resistance;
    • Richard Deutsch, - Author of One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome, Deutsch has inhabited every continent, hiking his way through some of the most challenging areas of the world;
    • Cathy L. Greenberg, PhD - Dr. Greenberg delivers time-tested "happiness tips" and is the author What Happy Women Know, What Happy Companies Know; What Happy Parents Know and What Happy Leaders Know.

    Crystal Serenity - "Caribbean Jewels":

    • Jim Karras, - Author of the bestseller The Business Plan for the Body Karras is also a fitness contributor on ABC's Good Morning America;
    • Leslie Cho, M.D. - Director of The Cleveland Clinic's Women's cardiovascular center, Cho specializes in heart disease in women;
    • Sandra Shaner - Certified by the Yoga Institute and a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance, Shaner has been teaching yoga for more than 10 years;
    • Mollie Epstein - Epstein oversees Crystal's exclusive Walk on Water program featuring The WALKVEST(r) Training System; and
    • Jeff Corbett - Corbett, a member of the Tai Chi Cultural Center will conduct workshops utilizing Dr. Lee and Emily Lee's unique approach to the art.

    Shoreside, Crystal is offering several opportunities for guests to expand their healthful horizons with Crystal Adventures shore excursions catering to its wellness-minded guests. A kayaking Eco-Adventure in Cabo San Lucas, a hike through Caldera's tropical rainforest, "power" snorkeling in Grand Turk and day's retreat to a tranquil resort and spa in St. Barts.

    The Crystal Spa is the first floating spa to implement the principles of Feng Shui (in accordance with another of SpaFinder's top trends, "Feng Shui'd" gyms). The luxury line also recently launched "Tour de Spin," a complimentary indoor cycling program that mirrors stages of the Tour de France. Crystal ships boast 360-degree promenade decks, ideal for walking and jogging, as well as paddle tennis courts. Guests can choose from a bounty of fresh fruit and fish, creative and healthful salads, low-calorie and low-carb meals and trans fat-free dining experiences. Even the cocktail menus include only the freshest fruit purees and juices.

    Cruise fares for Crystal Symphony's 15-day South America itinerary begin at $3,450; Crystal Serenity's 12-day Panama Canal voyage begins at $3,550, per person, double occupancy.

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    5-13-08 Silversea Taps Guest Lecturers for Prince Albert II Silversea's newest ship, the Prince Albert II, is an special expeditionary small ship with a reinforced hull for icy waters. The ship will venture to the world's most remote and fascinating realms with once-in-a-lifetime learning experiences. To aid in the experience, Silversea has tapped two special guest lecturers, Jon Vidar Sigurdsson and Jon Bowermaster, to each host two of four extraordinary expeditions during the inaugural season of its newest ship.

    NORTHERN ODYSSEYS

    Jon Vidar Sigurdsson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, and holds a degree in geology. Since first visiting Greenland, the world's largest island, in 1982, he has led 20 summer and winter expeditions and field tours to this fascinating Arctic nation. He has also organized an open-university course about the island for the University of Iceland. An enthusiastic photographer, in 2000, Sigurdsson's Greenland photo collection was featured in a solo exhibition at the Nordic House Gallery in Reykjavik. His zeal for the outdoors also fuels his mountain climbing hobby. He has reached the highest peaks on two continents including Russia's Mt. Elbrus and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

    Sigurdsson will headline the enrichment program aboard the "Svalbard and Iceland" expedition, departing July 12 for 18 days from Tromso to Reykjavik (#7809). Silver Sailing fares start at $8,336. He will also host the "Greenland Exploration," departing Reykjavik July 30 on a 16-day journey to St. John's, Newfoundland (#7810). Silver Sailing fares start at $7,020.

    SOUTH AMERICAN ADVENTURES

    Adventurer extraordinaire, author and filmmaker, Jon Bowermaster seems to find the most remote and exotic areas to descend upon, many in South America. An ardent kayaker, Bowermaster has spent more than 20 years exploring, researching and documenting regions all over the world. His Oceans 8 project, designed to explore the world by kayak, has taken him to the Aleutian Islands, Vietnam, French Polynesia, South America's Altiplano, the Antarctic Peninsula and the wild coasts of Gabon, Croatia and Tasmania. He has written of his adventures for a variety of publications, ranging from National Geographic to The New York Times.

    Bowermaster is slated to host Prince Albert II's "Journey to South America," departing October 12 on a 22-day expedition from Acapulco to Santiago (#7819). Silver Sailing fares start at $7,436. He will also host the already-sold-out "Chilean Fjords Highlights" voyage, sailing November 3 from Santiago to Ushuaia (#7820).

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    5-13-08 Princess Schedules 2009-10 Caribbean and Mexican Cruises Princess Cruises' new season of Caribbean and Mexican Riviera cruises offer seven- to 14-day voyages on the youngest fleet in the Caribbean and some of the largest and most amenity-filled vessels sailing the Mexican Riviera.

    In the Caribbean, Princess will sail six ships on 13 itineraries with 129 departures visiting more than 25 ports. Ruby Princess will take over the line's 10-day Eastern and Southern Caribbean itineraries to some of the less-visited ports in the region. Emerald Princess sails the Eastern Caribbean itinerary and Crown Princess will feature the Western Caribbean with an enhanced itinerary now featuring Roatan, Honduras. Caribbean Princess continues to sail on alternating seven-day Southern Caribbean sailings from San Juan. Grand Princess returns with an extensive 14-day Caribbean Collection route and Sea Princess will again sail on 14-day voyages from Barbados.

    On the Pacific side, Princess again returns to its "south of the border" cruising roots with two ships - Sapphire Princess sailing on the classic seven-day Mexican Riviera route from Los Angeles and Star Princess cruising on 10-day voyages from San Francisco.

    Princess' Caribbean and Mexican Riviera itineraries for 2009-10 include:

    Caribbean

    Emerald Princess - Emerald Princess sails to the Eastern Caribbean, with roundtrip cruises from Ft. Lauderdale on Sundays. The itinerary features calls in line's own Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. Emerald Princess offers 28 sailings between October 11, 2009 and May 2, 2010.

    Crown Princess - Crown Princess takes over the line's roundtrip seven-day sailings to the Western Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale with an enhanced itinerary that now offers calls in Roatan. The ship will sail on 27 Saturday departures with stops at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and Princess Cays. Crown Princess' season will run from November 7, 2009 through May 8, 2010.

    Caribbean Princess - Caribbean Princess sails from San Juan on two alternating seven-day itineraries. The Classic Southern Caribbean route features 14 sailings to the ports of St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua, Barbados and St. Lucia, while 14 Southern Caribbean Explorer sailings travel to St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. Cruises depart between November 1, 2009 and May 9, 2010. Caribbean Princess will also offer one eight-day Bermuda & Eastern Caribbean sailing from New York to San Juan calling at Bermuda, St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Thomas, departing October 24, 2009.

    Ruby Princess - Ruby Princess offers a set of alternating 10-day sailings roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale - one to the Southern Caribbean and the other to the Eastern Caribbean. The Southern Caribbean Medley itinerary, offered on 10 sailings, includes calls at Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. The Eastern Caribbean Voyager itinerary, featured on nine sailings, offers calls at Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. Emerald Princess' Caribbean season runs between October 25, 2009 and April 29, 2010.

    Grand Princess - Grand Princess offers more time to explore the islands with a 14-day Caribbean Collection itinerary roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. The ship sails to Grand Turk, La Romana, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Barbados, Trinidad, Curaçao and Aruba. Grand Princess offers nine departures between December 21, 2009 and April 23, 2010. The ship also offers a new 11-day Grand Southern Caribbean sailing on January 4, 2010, calling at Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba.

    Sea Princess - Sea Princess will offer a series of alternating 14-day Caribbean voyages from Barbados. Seven sailings of the Grand Caribbean Islander route feature calls at St. Lucia, Trinidad, Grenada, Bonaire, Curaçao, Montego Bay, Samaná, Tortola, St. Maarten, Antigua and Dominica. The ship will also offer seven sailings on a Grand Caribbean Adventurer itinerary that features stops at St. Vincent, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Samaná, Tortola, St. Kitts, Antigua and Dominica. To begin her season, Sea Princess offers a seven-day Southern Caribbean sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Barbados featuring calls at Princess Cays, Tortola, St. Maarten, Antigua and St. Lucia. In spring the ship sails back to Ft. Lauderdale from Barbados with a six-day sailing to Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. Sea Princess sails between October 10, 2009 and May 1, 2010.

    Mexican Riviera

    Sapphire Princess - Sapphire Princess will again set sail from the Port of Los Angeles on 32 departures to the sunny Mexican Riviera. This favorite seven-day roundtrip route takes in the prime ports of call of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas. Sapphire Princess will depart on Saturdays between September 26, 2009 and May 1, 2010.

    Star Princess - Star Princess will a offer a longer, 10-day roundrip Mexican Riviera voyage from San Francisco featuring calls at Acapulco, Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. The ship will sail on two cruises on April 16 and 26, 2010.

    Caribbean and Mexican Riviera cruises are available for booking on June 5, 2008. Escape Fares for seven-day sailings start at $599 per person, based on double occupancy. Past Princess passengers are eligible for up to $50 in Captain's Circle Launch Savings on bookings made by December 31, 2008.

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    5-12-08 Carnival Predicts 1,000,000 2008 Tour Sales Online Carnival Cruise Lines is experiencing a 16 percent year-over-year increase in on-line shore excursion sales and expects that a record one million shore excursion tickets will be purchased via carnival.com in 2008.

    With the debut of the Carnival Splendor from Europe in July, Carnival will offer an unprecedented 1,982 shore excursion choices in 114 ports visited by its 22-vessel fleet.

    According to Carnival's Vice President of Tour Operations, Mico Cascais, Carnival is the industry Caribbean shore tours leader, with 18 of its 22 ships deployed within the region on a year-round or seasonal basis. Europe is popular as well, particularly with tours that visit historic attractions and museums. Other growth areas include the Mexican Rivera, Alaska, and Hawaii.

    Cascais cites a trend toward more "immersive" tour experiences offering an in-depth look at the destinations they are visiting. He added that with Carnival's variety of organized shoreside options, guests not only can explore exciting destinations but also maximize their time in port and be assured that their excursion has been personally researched and evaluated by the line's highly trained professionals.

    Carnival's shore excursions can be purchased on-line from 120 days up to three days prior to departure date. Guests can also purchase shore excursions via the shore excursion office located adjacent to the purser's information desk on board, as well as via interactive television systems on some ships.

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    5-12-08 Celebrity Offers Mediterranean Cruise Savings For cruise enthusiasts who long to enjoy the vibrant colors of the Mediterranean from onboard one of the world's top-rated cruise lines, their dream vacation is now within reach. Celebrity Cruises is offering travelers the opportunity to "Fall for Celebrity's Mediterranean" by taking advantage of a sales promotion offering discounts on select sailings in the region.

    Guests who book certain Mediterranean cruises are eligible to receive a $300 per person air or cruise credit for the first two guests in a stateroom and a $100 air or cruise credit for each additional guest in that stateroom. If guests book their airfare and cruise fare with Celebrity, the credits will apply to their airfare. If guests book only their cruise fare with Celebrity, the credits will apply to their cruise fare.

    The promotion is valid for all Mediterranean cruises on Celebrity Century, Celebrity Galaxy, and Celebrity Summit with a departure date in October or November of this year, when booked between May 19 and June 1, 2008. Itineraries include 10- and 11-night eastern and western Mediterranean cruises and 14-night "Classical Mediterranean" and "Mediterranean Legacies" itineraries.

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    5-12-08 MSC Introduces "My Teen Card" MSC Cruises has introduced My Teen Card onboard all its ships. Targeted to the 12- to 17-year-old set, the prepaid card can be used by the holder for onboard purchases (such as sodas, gift shop items) and as a stateroom key.

    Two levels of My Teen Card are available:

    In the Caribbean: $30 with $5 bonus = $35 card $50 with $10 bonus = $60 card

    In the Mediterranean and Northern Europe: €30 with a €5 bonus = €35 card €50 with a €10 bonus = €60 card

    The Teen Card gives parents a means to control the spending of the children and enables children to makwe their own discretionary purchases within a pre-determined budget. Not only is it a valuabler tool for the parents, it is a lesson in financial responsibility for the children.

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    5-6-08 Pride of Aloha to Revert to Norwegian Sky The ship that started it all in Hawaii, the first NCL-America ship Pride of Aloha, is returning to its original name, Norwegian Sky. The ship was Norwegian Sky when it was originally built, but it was re-dubbed Pride of Aloha when the hull for what was supposed to be the first NCL-America ship sank in its dock at the shipyard in Europe.

    The interesting thing about Norwegian Sky is that it was given a special dispensation to become a U.S.-flagged ship even though it was not built in the U.S. When it was redubbed as Pride of Aloha and became the first ship of NCL-America it had quite a rocky start, especially its first cruise from Los Angeles to Honolulu when the first U.S. crewmembers took over a ship that had previously been crewed by an international crew.

    Pride of Aloha, unfortunately, fell to the misfortunes that shook the Hawaii cruise market. NCL put three ships into service within a few short years, all three sailing Hawaiian island only itineraries, and all crewed by an all U.S.-certified crew. This raised the costs of operating these cruises, and unfortunately in many cases, it was found that the young Americans were not of the same mindset that the usual international cruise ship employee posesses.

    And so, the decision has been made to reduce the fleet in Hawaii back to just one ship, and that is Pride of America. The third ship in the Hwaii fleet, the former Pride of Hawaii, was re-flagged as an NCL ship last May, it is not Norwegian Jade and is sailing in Europe.

    Pride of Aloha was scheduled to be re-patriated to one of NCL's parent company owners, Star Cruises of Malaysia. But just today it has been announced that NCL will retain the ship, reflagging her as Norwegian Sky once again and positioning her in Maimi to sail three and four-day cruises to the Bahamas.

    No doubt, these will will be bargain cruises as that is already a very competitive market with Royal Caribbean and Carnival both sailing some of their older ships to Nassau on a regular basis. Norwegian Sky will begin in June 2008, and it will be the newest ship servicing the short cruise market out of Miami - having been built in 1999.

    She is a "Free-style" ship with a variety of accommodations, including balconies and suites, a multitude of on-board amenities and a choice of six restaurants. Norwegian Sky will also receive the Freestyle 2.0 enhancements currently being introduced across the fleet.

    To kick off the season, NCL is offering a "Kids Sail Free Summer Vacation" promotion for reservations on Norwegian Sky made from May 6, 2008 to May 31, 2008 for sailings taking place July 14, 2008 to September 26, 2008. Children ages six months to 17 are eligible to sail free (government taxes and fees and fuel supplement apply).

    Norwegian Sky will depart Miami on Mondays sailing four-day Bahamas cruises with full-day stops in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island in the Bahamas. On Fridays, the ship will sail a weekend getaway three-day Bahamas itinerary, departing Miami at 5 p.m. with all-day stops in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, returning to Miami at 7 a.m. on Monday mornings. These sailings are scheduled through April 17, 2009.

    Norwegian Sky will enter a wet dock in Miami during which a casino will be added. Upgrades will be made to the dining experience including all new menus and "Lobster Galore."

    Norwegian Sky has more than 240 balcony staterooms, a choice of six different restaurants, 10 bars and lounges, multiple entertainment venues, two pools, extensive children's facilities, a sports deck and a variety of spacious public rooms.

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    5-5-08 Crystal Cruises Expands Jewish Heritage Program For summer 2008, Crystal Cruises has expanded its Jewish Heritage programs in Northern Europe. The luxury line has set five excursions, including a new tour in Berlin that transports guests on a heartrending excursion to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Orianenburg, which served as a prototype for all the camps that followed. These thought-provoking and eye-opening excursions - which will prove fascinating to Jews and non-Jews alike - are also available in Dublin, St. Petersburg and Stockholm aboard virtually all of Crystal Symphony's Northern Europe itineraries from June through August.

    The tours, which feature in-depth visits to Jewish Old Towns, museums, synagogues and Jewish families, include:

    Berlin (from the port of Warnemunde):

    NEW Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp & Berlin Highlights - Visit Sachsenhausen, the camp that housed political prisoners and dissidents beginning in the 1930s, where thousands of prisoners perished from starvation.

    Echoes of the Past: Berlin's Jewish History - Explore Berlin's Jewish heritage, visiting the Jewish Old Quarter and the New Synagogue, whose stone was laid in 1988, exactly 50 years after the "Night of Broken Glass."

    St. Petersburg:

    The Jewish Highlights of St. Petersburg - Travel to the Great Choral Synagogue, the second largest in Europe, listening to a concert performed by the synagogue's cantor, and visit a local family active in the Jewish community.

    Stockholm:

    Jewish Stockholm - Pass through the walls of the 19th-century, 1,000-seat Great Synagogue, with a memorial wall to 8,500 victims of Jewish relatives residing in Sweden, continuing on to one of the few the Jewish museums in Scandinavia.

    Dublin:

    Historic Jewish Dublin - Browse through the Irish Jewish Museum, formerly an old synagogue, officially opened by President Chaim Herzog of Israel, who was raised in Dublin, and travel on to President Herzog's former home and site of the first Jewish Day School.

    The Jewish Heritage Crystal Adventures are priced from $75 per person to $421 per person and are available aboard Crystal Symphony's seven Northern Europe itineraries, with fares starting at $3,395.

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    5-5-08 Royal Caribbean Bringing NEW Ships to West Coast After years of West Coast fans of Rpyal caribbean having to put up with some of the oldest chips in the fleet, the West coast is about to get two brand new ships from Royal Caribbean that should go a long way towards bringing some excitement to West Coast cruising.

    Most exciting is that Los Angeles is getting the first permanent Voyager-class mega-ship when Mariner of the Seas (140,000 tons and too big for the Panama Canal) arrives in February of 2009. The ship will need to sail around South America in three segments; 15 nights Port Canaveral to Rio; 15-nights "around the horn" from Rio to Valparaiso, Chile; and finally 16-nights from Chile up to Los Angeles.

    Mariner will be the biggest cruise ship ever to home port in Los Angeles, and this will be the first time a Voyager-class vessel has ever been in the Pacific ocean. Mariner has the "iconic" Voyager-class amenities such as an onboard ice-skating rink, full-size basketball court, inline skating track, rock-climbing wall and the Royal Promenade, a boulevard of shops, restaurants, bars and lounges that runs nearly the length of the ship.

    Mariner's seven-night Mexican Riviera itinerary sails round-trip from Los Angeles with ports of call at Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.

    Radiance of the Seas, another newer (built in 2001) class ship of 90,000-tons and 2100 passengers will be the newest and largest ship to offer short cruises on the West Coast. It will homeport in San Diego and offer a four-night itinerary with a call at Cabo San Lucas, and a five-night itinerary which also calls at Ensenada. Radiance is one of Royal Caribbean's Radiance family of ships, which features the highest percentage of oceanview staterooms in the line's fleet, and a 10-story atrium with glass elevators offering spectacular vistas of the sea.

    Vacationers also can choose four distinct Panama Canal crossing itineraries, ranging from 13 to 15 nights, with departures from Miami, San Diego and San Juan, Puerto Rico aboard Serenade of the Seas, another Radiance-class ship.

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    5-4-08 Legal Issues Brought and Solved It appears the theory that it is best to get all of the bad news out at once applies to this week in the cruise industry. In just the last three days we have three legal issues that have cropped up or have been resolved all at once.

    Suing for Restaurant Reservations: Probably the most bizarre case is a lawsuit filed against NCL by a woman passenger who claims the company did not properly disclose before her cruise that it is "nearly impossible to get dinner reservations at the themed restaurants on board the company's Norwegian Star, since the reservations usually go to passengers who have paid for more expensive cabins."

    Eva Gularte is suing NCL on behalf of herself, her sister and her mother who apparently did not book a top-notch cabin on the ship. The lawsuit was filed in Fort Lauderdale, where NCL is headquartered, on Monday, according to the Miami Herald.

    Gularte wants full refunds for her and her family, plus "incidental costs." Her lawyer is reportedly trying to get class action status for the lawsuit, so other passengers who couldn't get reservations can also have their day in court.

    As to whether or not the Gularte family went hungry while on board, that is not mentioned in the lawsuit.

    Norway Boiler Blast: Remember the horrible 2003 boil blast on the NCL Norway that killed eight crewmembers and essentially ended the career of the ship? It was the worst shipboard accident to happen in decades, and the only one in the U.S.-market fleet that resulted in deaths of either a crewmember or passenger. The National Transportation Safety Board issued a report last year which determined that deficient boiler operation, maintenance and inspection by NCL were the probable causes of the explosion. Charges in the case were brought just last week and NCL has chosen to plead guilty rather than fight the case.

    Norwegian is liable for at least $500,000 in criminal penalties. The families of the crewmember victims settled cases through arbitration as required in the worker's contracts.

    Wife of George Smith Jennifer Hagel-Smith, the newlywed bride whose husband disappeared from Brillance of the Seas on the first night of Mediterranean cruise on their wedding night reached a settlement with Royal Caribbean that paid her 1.1 million dollars and will release to her all of the information has concerning the case and its subsequent investigation by the FBI.

    Hagel-Smith's in-laws, the parent of her late husband, had contested the settlement on grounds that it was unfair to his estate and that it prevented them from pursuing their investigation and a wrongful death lawsuit against Royal Caribbean.

    In a ruling last week, a Connectocut judge upheld the right of Hagel to settle with Royal Caribbean and the settlement, which was being held up as this case was pending, will now go forward. The FBI started investigating the crime when it occured in July, 2005, but have yet to bring forth any charges.

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