News Archive - November 2004

11-26-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Crystal Cruises has introduced a new eight-night excursion from Beijing to Tibet, featuring a flight over the Himalayas and a visit to the Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama. The tour is offered in conjunction with Crystal Harmony's Asia cruises in March and April, 2005. Crystal Harmony sails four cruises through China, Japan and Taiwan, as well as two Trans-Pacific cruises between North America and Asia. Crystal has also added a new optional Rolls-Royce or helicopter transfer between the Hong Kong International Airport and The Peninsula Hotel for passengers participating in the Crystal "Classic-Plus" Hotel Program. Other pre- and post cruise options, in addition to the line's complimentary three-night Beijing program, include a cruise through the Yangtze River and the legendary Three Gorges and/or a trip to Xi'an and the Terra Cotta Warriors.

*** Radisson's Seven Seas Navigator is featured in the motion picture "After the Sunset" which is currently showing in movie theaters. Pierce Brosnan stars as a jewel thief lured out of retirement by an exhibition aboard a cruise ship showcasing the world's most magnificent diamond. The movie was filmed aboard the Seven Seas Navigator in December 2003, when New Line Cinema chartered the vessel for a week off Paradise Island. The Seven Seas Navigator became the line's first all-suite (90% with private balconies) vessel when she was launched in 1999. All passengers are accommodated in spacious ocean view suites ranging from a minimum of 301 up to 1,173 square feet including marble-appointed bathrooms with separate shower and full bathtub and walk-in closet. Navigator is sailing Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale from January to April 2005. Select five-, seven-, ten- and 11-night cruises feature special two-for-one fares plus complimentary one-category upgrades on many sailings.

*** Radisson Seven Seas also announced new itineraries and programs for 2005. The line will offer several longer voyages including a 108-night full circumnavigation of the globe, a 56-night "Top of the World" adventure round-trip from New York and a 93-night Grand Circle South Pacific voyage. The Paul Gauguin will offer an expanded series of 10- to 14-night sailings in French Polynesia. New port calls in 2005 include Heimaey (Iceland), Gdansk (Poland), Angmassalik (Greenland), Tropoli (Libya), St. Lucia, Roatan Island (Honduras), and Belize City (Belize). A rainforest aerial tram in Dominica, a sloth sanctuary and canoe ride in Puerto Lim�n and dolphin encounter in Roatan are among the many new shore excursions to be introduced next year. In June 2005, the Paul Gauguin's "Ambassadors of the Environment" program officially launches, in partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society. The program aims to give youngsters aged nine to 15 direct interactive experience with and knowledge of marine and island ecosystems, emphasizing the critical importance of coral reefs, sustainable lifestyles and traditional Polynesian culture.

*** A number of new activities have been added to Holland America Line's private island of Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. Enhancements include a horseback riding and swimming excursion, a stingray adventure, a guided personal watercraft tour and an aqua park. The cruise line worked directly with the Bahamian government to ensure that new facilities were designed to minimize their environmental impact and preserve this island paradise in a manner consistent with its natural beauty. As a result, Half Moon Cay is listed with the Bahamian National Trust as a site of environmentally sustainable tourism. The new activities augment Half Moon Cay's existing excursions including scuba diving tours, catch-and-release deep sea fishing trips, eco tours by glass-bottom boat, kayak trips and parasailing. Other features for passengers on Half Moon Cay include an aqua-sports center, a fully-equipped Club HAL children's playground, beach chairs, volleyball, shuffleboard, basketball, a network of nature trails and a designated wild bird reserve. Passengers can also rent an air-conditioned, private beach-front cabana for the day, have a beachside massage and a barbecue fare. Half Moon Cay is located on 55 acres of the 2,400-acre Little San Salvador Island, an international bird sanctuary in the Bahamas. The island paradise is accessible only to passengers of Holland America Line and Windstar Cruises. It is a destination on most Caribbean itineraries and on Panama Canal cruises sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale.

*** Costa Cruises' entire fleet of 10 ships will sail in Europe for the spring/summer 2005 season offering cruises to the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, Baltic, Iceland and the Black Sea. The two newest and largest ships are the 105,000-ton Costa Magica and Costa Fortuna. Both will sail seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises with Magica based in Rome from May 1 through November 20, 2005 and Fortuna based in Savona from April 3 through October 30, 2005. Costa Fortuna will also sail 11-night Canary Islands cruises from Savona, November 6 through 28, 2005. Costa Mediterranea and Costa Atlantica, which sail in the Caribbean in the winter months, will sail transatlantic positioning voyages between Ft. Lauderdale and Savona, in April and November/December. Costa Mediterranea offers seven-night Eastern Mediterranean sailings from Venice for the spring and summer. Costa Atlantica sails from Copenhagen on seven-night cruises to the Baltic & Russia and the Norwegian Fjords from May 22 through September 4, 2005. Atlantica also positions between Copenhagen and Savona on May 12 and September 11, 2005 and sails 10-night cruises from Savona to Egypt, Turkey and Greece from September 21 through November 10, 2005.

*** Carnival Corporation has announced it will participate in the restoration of the Calypso, the famous research and expedition vessel of Oceanographer Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau. Calypso, which has been out of service since 1996, will be restored at a shipyard on Grand Bahama at an estimated cost of $1.3 million, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2005. The vessel's new location, following refurbishment, is to be announced at a later date. The Calypso will maintain its French flag and will remain a historic symbol of the work of Captain Cousteau and the Cousteau Society, which carries on his work in science and education for public awareness, as well as for international university research. Another scientific cruise vessel, the National Geographic Endeavour sets sail April 1, 2005 from Santiago Chile to Colon, Panama. A joint effort by National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions, the vessel is the redesigned Endeavour of Lindblad Expeditions, named after Captain James Cook's 18th century exploration ship.

*** Royal Caribbean International entered a float in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade yesterday. Entitled "The Voyage to Adventure Game Float", it took the form of a giant board game featuring Mayan ruins, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Alaskan glaciers, and Caribbean climates. Nine Royal Caribbean International singers and dancers appeared on the float, performing an original composition for the parade, titled "Voyage to Adventure." Back to Top

11-19-04 Weekend Cruise News *** Costa Atlantica begins sailing Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday through April 3, 2005. The alternating Eastern/Western itineraries call at either San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John, Catalina Island/Casa de Campo (Costa's private resort)/Santo Domingo and Nassau, or, Key West, Cozumel, Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. Sister ship Costa Mediterranean will sail the same routes from Ft. Lauderdale commencing December 26, following a five-night Christmas cruise, December 21. Costa is offering free one category upgrades for a limited time on Caribbean sailings.

*** A total of 28 ships will sail from West Coast ports to Alaska from May to September, 2005 - 18 will homeport in Vancouver, eight in Seattle, two in San Francisco. Once again, Holland America and Princess lead the way in 2005 with seven vessels each on the same deployment as 2004. New for Princess in 2005 at Whittier, the train will pick up passengers at the ship and take them directly to Anchorage, and Denali Park for those on cruisetours. The port of Whittier replaces Seward as the turnaround port for another line next season. Radisson's Seven Seas Mariner will turnaround in Whittier on her one way Gulf of Alaska cruises from Vancouver, June 22 through September 7, 2005. Mariner will turnaround in Seward on the June 1 and 8 sailings only. Norwegian Cruise Line adds a fourth ship next season: Norwegian Dawn will sail the first 10 and 11-night cruises round-trip from Seattle that include a day in Anchorage( port of Whittier on 10-night cruises and Seward on the 11-night). American West Steamboat Company's sternwheeler Empress of the North for her third Alaska season in 2005. The most unique experience in Alaska cruising, Empress will sail a new seven-night route, round-trip from Juneau. For a complete listing of 2005 Alaska sailings see CruiseMates' Alaska Itineraries page.

*** Princess Cruises is posting interactive ebrochures on its web site at The eBrochures offer a clickable table of contents, interactive deck plans, a built-in search function, custom printing of selected pages, the ability to zoom in on maps and deck plans, and direct links to detailed content on The brochures can be downloaded directly from with Adobe Acrobat. Currently the 2005 Alaska brochure is available for download, and the remainder of Princess' 2005-06 brochures will soon be posted for instant e-browsing.

Princess has also released printed brochures for Australia/South Pacific and Asia cruises for the 2005-06 season. Travelers can use the 64-page Asia guide to choose from 11 Asia sailings on eight unique itineraries aboard Diamond Princess and Pacific Princess, plus three China cruisetour options. Diamond Princess' first Asia season will feature a variety of itineraries departing between September 24 and December 20, 2005, including a 17-day Alaska/Far East cruise offering a new port of call at Petropavlovsk, Russia, a 19-day Australia/Asia cruise between Singapore and Sydney, three 16-day Southeast Asia/China cruises between Beijing and Bangkok or Singapore, an 11-day China/Far East sailing between Osaka and Beijing; and a 17-day Alaska/Far East voyage from Seattle to Osaka. Pacific Princess offers three, 16-night summertime sailings between Beijing and Bangkok departing between June 24 and July 26, 2005 and visiting ports in South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. The 82-page South Pacific brochure features sailings aboard Diamond Princess, Island Princess and Tahitian Princess and Australia cruisetours. Diamond Princess will take over from Sapphire Princess as the largest vessel to ever sail "Down Under," offering a longer, three-month Australia/New Zealand season between January 8 and April 2, 2006. The 12-night sailings between Sydney and Auckland call at Melbourne, Hobart (Tasmania), Dunedin, Christchurch, Tauranga and scenic cruising through Fjordland National Park. Island Princess returns for a second season of 15-night round-trip cruises from Los Angeles to Hawaii from September 23, 2005 to April 21, 2006. Tahitian Princess continues to sail year-round in French Polynesia on two 10-night itineraries - Polynesia & the Cook Islands and Polynesia & the Marquesas Islands. Tahitian Princess and Pacific Princess each offer 11- or 12-day sailings between Papeete and Honolulu on May 3 and May 7, 2006 respectively, calling at Moorea, Bora Bora, Christmas Island, Hilo, Maui and Kauai.

*** Seabourn Cruises' 28-day Asian Grand Voyage has been included in this year's Brooks Brothers' Holiday Gift Book. The voyage aboard Seabourn Spirit sails from Singapore on February 27, 2005, explores Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Vietnam before ending at Hong Kong on March 27th. The Grand Voyage fare is $30,460 per person, based on double occupancy. Brooks Brothers customers booking the cruise will enjoy a pair of exclusive benefits: a set of travel accessories from Brooks Brothers' Golden Fleece Leather and Oxford collection, and a tour in Singapore exploring the Chinese art of Feng Shui and the age-old tea ceremony with masters of both disciplines. "We are delighted to be one of Brooks Brothers' Holiday offerings," said Deborah L. Natansohn, Seabourn's president. "Brooks Brothers is a great American brand, world-renowned as an exemplar of understated elegance, quality and style, and we believe their customers would love cruising with Seabourn."

*** Carnival has announced that the name of its next Conquest-class ship will be Carnival Freedom. The 110,000-ton, 2,974-passenger ship is scheduled to enter service in spring, 2007. Carnival Freedom will be a sister ship of Carnival Conquest, Carnival Glory, Carnival Valor and Carnival Liberty. She will feature 22 lounges and bars, a 13,300 sq.ft. health club, a nine deck atrium and 60% of staterooms will be oceanview or balcony.

*** Norwegian Cruise Line has purchased Polynesian Adventure Tours of Hawaii. The company operates 100 coaches and buses on the four main islands, Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii. The purchase compliments NCL's expansion in Hawaii as they will use Polynesian to offer shore excursions from their ships sailing in the Hawaiian islands. Polynesian will service other customers as well as NCL. The purchase price for Polynesian Adventure Tours was $5 million.

*** Carnival has arranged pre and post-cruise packages in Rome in conjunction with next summer's sailings aboard the new Carnival Liberty. Three hotels are available; the Visconti Palace Hotel and Cicerone Hotel in the city centre, both walking distance to major attractions, and the Hilton Rome Airport Hotel. Onte to three-night packages range from $180 to $510 and include buffet breakfast and porterage, however, transfers between airport and hotel as well as hotel and pier are additional. Carnival Liberty sails from Rome on Mediterranean cruises between July 20 and October 12, 2005 then repositions from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale on a 16-night cruise departing November 9, 2005. Back to Top

11-12-04 Weekend Cruise News Freedom of the Seas Freedom of the Seas. Click image for full size. *** Royal Caribbean has announced that its Ultra Voyager ship will be called Freedom of the Seas. Construction began on the 158,000-ton vessel this week at Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Finland when the first 443-ton block was lowered into the drydock. Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO remarked: "Its name was chosen deliberately to convey the enormity of features and amenities offered on this extraordinary ship... Freedom of the Seas is really all about freedom of choice. Freedom to explore. Freedom to relax. Freedom to make one's own vacation plans reflective of one's own tastes and interests." Freedom of the Seas will have some of the largest guest staterooms and the most spacious balconies in the industry and every stateroom will have a full-size, flat screen TV. The company will reveal more new features as the ship takes shape in drydock. Freedom of the Seas will be the world's largest cruise ship when she enters service in April 2006. The 3,600-passenger ship (double occupancy) will sail year-round, seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami. Bookings are scheduled to open in spring 2005.

*** Holland America Line's Noordam leaves the fleet today. At 33,930-tons and built in 1984, Noordam was the smallest and eldest ship in the HAL fleet. She joins Thomson Holidays of the U.K. and will undergo a $10 million refit, emerging next spring as the Thomson Celebration sailing in the Mediterranean. At Thomson she joins her original sister ship, Nieuw Amsterdam, which currently sails for Thomson as the Thomson Spirit.

*** Crystal Cruises has added more than 50 tours ashore for its Asia cruises in 2005. A complimentary three-night land program in Beijing is offered in conjunction with Crystal Harmony's 13 and 14-night cruises next March and April which call at ports in China, Japan and Taiwan. The pre- or post-cruise tour "Adventures in Beijing" showcases the Forbidden City, Tian An Men Square, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, Sacred Alley, and concludes with a private dinner at the Great Hall of the People. All accommodations, sightseeing and transportation, porterage, gratuities, and English-speaking tour escort are included. Crystal also offers a selection of pre and post cruise land packages in China, in addition to the Beijing tour. New shore excursion during the cruises in 2005 include cooking classes at Hong Kong's Chinese Cuisine Training Institute, a visit to Shanghai's Oriental TV and Radio Tower, the third largest in the world and a ride on the high-speed Maglev Train (short for "magnetic levitation") and a ride on the bullet train in Osaka and visit the UNESCO World Heritage site at Himeji Castle, the shooting location for the film, The Last Samurai.

*** Peter Deilmann Cruises is presenting a classical music gala at sea aboard the Deutschland April 1 to 13, 2005. Distinguished artists will perform concerts and recitals with the W�rttemberg Chamber Orchestra during the two-week Mediterranean cruise from Lisbon to Venice which calls at Seville, Barcelona, Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples and Palermo. An opera performance at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples will be among the special events on the cruise program. Among the soloists performing on the 513-passenger Deutschland are the British soprano Lynne Dawson, tenor Siegfried Jerusalem, Welsh bass-baritone Nicholas Folwell, Danish cellist Troels Svane and clarinetist Sabine Meyer. In addition to the concerts, during the three days the ship is at sea, the music program will include discussions about the composers and the works being performed. The cruise will offer theme nights such as dinner "a la Rossini" and "Mediterranean Melodies" and will have a "Grand Finale" with a fireworks extravaganza. The musical gala performances on the ship and the performance at the San Carlo opera house in Naples are included at no additional cost to the cruise fare. For details on the April 2005 Deutschland music cruise on the Mediterranean, contact Peter Deilmann Cruises at 1-800-348-8287 or visit

*** Holland America Line is offering 28 Alaska CruiseTours in 2005. The tours are available in conjunction with Alaska cruises and include in-depth exploration of Denali National Park, Kluane National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, and newly added, Tombstone Territorial Park. This remote, sub-arctic landscape north of Dawson City in the Canadian Yukon is the setting for an exclusive new program of tours and guided hikes. Expanded Dawson City Klondike Gold Rush activities and numerous additional wilderness adventures such as hiking, flightseeing, scenic tours by jeep and boat, bird watching and golfing are also part of the line's 2005 season. New next year, Holland America's Alaska Tour Directors will travel on the entire land portion of 22 of the 28 Alaska CruiseTours offered, specifically Great Land Klondike CruiseTours 1-6, Great Land Wilderness CruiseTours 7-10 and Glacier Discovery CruiseTours 13-22, 27 and 28. In prior years, tour directors only traveled part of the Great Land itineraries and none of the Glacier Discovery itineraries. Back to Top

11-05-04 Weekend Cruise News *** With Costa Magica about to enter service and poised for christening ceremonies in Barcelona tomorrow, Costa Cruises' has announced the name of its next ship: Costa Concordia will be delivered by the summer of 2006. At 112,000-tons, 948 ft. in length and carrying a maximum of 3,800 passengers, Costa Concordia will eclipse Costa Magica and sister ship Costa Fortuna as the largest cruise ship in Italian history. Concordia will sail year-round in the Mediterranean and the line is planning to have covered swimming pools on board, suitable for use in any weather conditions.

*** Enchantment of the Seas was struck by a barge while docked in Key West today. The collision left a six-foot puncture and a 50-foot mark on the forward port side of the hull, about six feet above the water line. Repairs are underway and the incident is not expected to interrupt Enchantment's four-night itinerary. A tug pushed the barge into Enchantment which was tied up at a pier near the Hilton Key West Resort & Marina.

*** Celebrity Cruises has started its season of cruising from Galveston and Jacksonville. Galaxy has inaugurated the line's first sailings from Galveston with departures through April 2005. The 11- and 12-night Panama Canal cruises call at Cozumel, Belize City, the Panama Canal, Cristobal Pier, for Colon and Panama City; Puerto Limon (Costa Rica), Grand Cayman, and Montego Bay. Celebrity concludes its first season of sailing from Galveston with a new, 16-night transatlantic cruise departing May 7, 2005 calling at Key West, Nassau, the Azores, Madeira, Gibraltar, Villefranche (for Nice and Monte Carlo), France, ending in Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy, where Galaxy begins her 2005 season in Europe. Zenith has returned to Jacksonville, Florida, for a season of 14-night cruises from JAXPORT to the Southern and Western Caribbean. The last departure, on April 10, is a voyage of 11 nights. The Southern Caribbean cruises include calls at San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Barbados, St. Maarten, Nassau and CocoCay. Western routes visit Labadee , Ochos Rios, Grand Cayman, Puerto Lim�n, Roat�n, Costa Maya and Key West. Zenith became the first ship to provide regular cruise service from Jacksonville in October 2003.

*** Carnival Cruise Lines is offering new one-night pre- and post-cruise hotel packages at the Adam's Mark Jacksonville Hotel in conjunction with year-round cruises from Jacksonville, Florida. Beginning January 2005, the one-night hotel packages can be combined with four- and five-night cruises aboard the 1,486-passenger Celebration. Four-day cruises visit Freeport and Nassau, while five-day voyages feature Key West and Nassau. The Adam's Mark Jacksonville Hotel features 996 rooms, four restaurants and bars, and a full-service rooftop health club and pool overlooking the St. Johns River. Located along the newly developed north riverbank boardwalk, the hotel is situated in the heart of the downtown business district and only minutes from various local attractions, including the Jacksonville Landing, Center for Performing Arts, Florida Theatre, Alltell Stadium, golf courses, shopping and beaches. Prices for the one-night hotel stays begin at $53 per person, based on double occupancy.

*** Crystal Cruises is introducing reduced business class air upgrade fares with its spring 2005 Asia cruises aboard Crystal Harmony and 2005 European cruises aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The special business class air upgrades, available from most major gateways in the U.S. and Canada, are in addition to Crystal Cruises' published coach class add-on fares. They represent approximately 50% off unrestricted business class air fares to Asia and 35% lower than unrestricted business class air fares to Europe. Sample prices are $1,099 each way on flights from the west coast in conjunction with spring cruises to China and Japan. For all Baltic and Mediterranean cruises, the business class upgrade is $1,099 from the Northeast, $1,199 from the Central and Southeast, and $1,299 from the West, each way.

*** Crystal also released details of special guests aboard Crystal Serenity's "Empires of the Sun" 2005 World Cruise which departs January 15. Dame Julie Andrews will return to the ship she christened in July 2003, for the first segment of the World Cruise - Los Angeles to Tahiti via the Hawaiian and Society Islands. Ms Andrews will interact with passengers through a series of Q&A sessions and book signings. Many of her films will be shown during the cruise including The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and Victor/Victoria, The Princess Diaries 2 and Shrek II. Notable speakers onboard for other World Cruise segments are broadcast journalist Linda Ellerbee, US Diplomat Tex Harris, biographer and Time Magazine correspondent Chris Ogden and Dr. "Bob" Froehlich, Chairman of Investor Strategy for Deutsche Bank. On the 2005 World Cruise Crystal Serenity will sail from Los Angeles to London, calling at 42 ports in 19 countries on four continents and spending two days in many of the cities along the way. Six individual segments from 13 to 22 days are available sailing from Los Angeles, Papeete, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Athens.

*** The new Brooklyn cruise terminal is expected to open late next summer. Situated at Pier 12, the new facility will run parallel to the shoreline and will feature a very passenger friendly design. The Brooklyn terminal will alleviate crowding at the piers on Manhattan's West Side which will also undergo refurbishment and modernization.

*** Aspiring singers can enter "Celebrity Spotlight" to compete for a chance to record Celebrity Cruises' new theme song. The official version of "Fueled by Moonlight Dust" was inspired and written by Celebrity President & COO Jack Williams, with songwriters Tom Gross and Aaron Barker. The Celebrity Spotlight competition will run from November 1, 2004 through January 7, 2005, and is open to four categories of entrants: All guests sailing with Celebrity during that period, Captains Club members, travel agents, and employees of Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. Entrants will sing a song of their choice, as well as their own rendition of Williams' "Fueled by Moonlight Dust." A panel of music industry experts will select three finalists from each of the four groups and fly them to Fort Lauderdale for the final event onboard Summit, February 18, 2005, followed by a gala celebration at a local venue. A panel of celebrity judges will listen to the 12 finalists and vote for their favorite. The grand prize winner will receive $10,000, a Celebrity cruise for two, and the opportunity to record the official version of the theme song. Three runners-up (one from each category) also will receive a Celebrity cruise for two. Back to Top

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