News Archive - November 2008

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11-30-08 Oceania Nautica Eludes Somali Pirates Oceania Cruises has just reported that while its 30,000-ton, 700-passenger cruise ship, Nautica, was transiting through the Gulf of Aden it was approached by two small skiffs attempting to intercept the ship with criminal intent.

On November 30, 2008, at approximately 9:28 a.m. local time, as the ship was within the prescribed Maritime Safety Protection Area patrolled by international anti-piracy task forces, two small skiffs were sighted by the Officer on Duty and deemed potentially hostile.

The skiffs, approaching from a range of approximately 1000 meters, attempted to intercept the vessel's course. Captain Jurica Brajcic and his officers immediately began evasive maneuvers, taking all prescribed precautions. NAUTICA was immediately brought to full speed and was able to outrun the two skiffs. One of the skiffs managed to get close enough in the range of approximately 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots in the direction of the vessel before trailing off. No one aboard NAUTICA was harmed and no damage was sustained.

The vessel, sailing in the protected zone, had sailed past several groups of non-hostile fishing vessels. They had no reason to believe they were in any danger although they were maintaining a vigilent watch, which enabled them to outrun the potential attackers.

All guests and crew onboard are safe and there were no injuries. All requisite international authorities have been notified and all anti-piracy precautions were in place prior to the event and all necessary measures were taken during the event.

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11-28-08 Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 Completes Final Cruise to Dubai The QE2, short for Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth 2, has arrived in her final destination where she will be permanently moored and repurposed as a floating hotel. The grand ocean liner, built in 1969 and which crossed the Atlantic over 800 times and sailed around the world 25 times, was purchased by the Emirate for the grand price of $100,000,000. Her permamnently moor will be inside the famous "Dubai World" land reclamation real estate development.

The ship was greeted with great fanfare, including a flyover by one of the world's largest jets, the Airjet A380. There were fireworks, the police band and of course, bagpipes. The ship actually pulled into the citiy's main cruise terminal, Port Rashid, as she had a full compliment of passengers onboard.

When the ship sailed past her new home, The World islands, she was greeted by a flotilla of local yachts, boats and leisure-craft led by a Royal Navy Frigate. The flotilla was also joined by My Dubai, the yacht owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Onshore, some 70,000 bottles of champagne were on hand, quite a hefty number for an Islamic nation whose main populace chooses not to drink alcohol. Those cases were there for the guests and tourists Dubai is courting so relentlessly.

The final refit into her permanent moor will take two to three years. Undoubtedly there will much more to her facility than a docking place and a gangway. One can't help recalling the Queen Mary facility in Long Beach, CA, which, although it is alive and well, was never owned by a company that sought to make her the spectacular destination that Dubai has planned for QE2.

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11-24-08 Costa One-day "Black Friday" Sale 7-night Cruise $199 Costa is selling Caribbean cruises on "Black Friday!" The "Moonlight Amore Sale" features special low rates for select 7-night Caribbean cruises when booking this Friday, November 28, 2008, between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 10 a.m. EST. Guests can book rates as low as $199 - less than $25 a day for accommodations, meals and entertainment! This offer is only available on costacruises.com due to booking limitations (and the majority of the time period!) However, all bookings are transferable to travel agents!

View the actual Black Friday Sale Web Page Here. The discounted prices won't be available here unless you visit during the sale hours: 4:00 to 10:00 am on Friday, Nov. 28.

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11-24-08 Seabourn New Yacht Debut: Seabourn Sojourn June 2010 The Yachts of Seabourn announced November 24 its next ultra-luxury yacht will be named Seabourn Sojourn in a ceremony in London on June 2010, before sailing on its 14-day Maiden Voyage. The new vessel is being built in Italy, and will position from Genoa to London before its inauguration.

"London has always been a great destination for our Seabourn yachts," noted Seabourn president and CEO Pamela Conover. "We have earned a large and loyal following of repeat cruise guests from the UK, and we are proud to debut our beautiful new vessel in London."

Sailing from Greenwich, ports of call on its Maiden Voyage include the Faroe Islands, Iceland and the Norwegian Fjords. Fares and detailed itineraries will be announced in February 2009.

Like its sister Seabourn Odyssey, debuting in June 2009, Seabourn Sojourn provides exclusive all-suite accommodations, with 225 suites in total, 90 percent of which have private verandas. Top of the range suites include Wintergarden Suites with private solarium and veranda, and Signature Suites with large verandas and views facing forward. All suites feature separate living areas and bedrooms, writing desks with personalized stationery, iPod and MP3 connections and spacious granite bathrooms with separate bath and shower and twin sinks.

The two-deck, state of the art Spa at Seabourn features Spa Villas which can be reserved for indulgence and relaxation. The new vessels will offer four dining venues, including an open-seating restaurant capable of seating all guests. Six bars and lounges will serve a full range of beverages including fine wines and spirits with Seabourn's compliments.

Seabourn Sojourn is the second of three 450-guest vessels being added to The Yachts of Seabourn's fleet of yacht-like cruisers, with all-suite accommodations, superb cuisine and the most desirable destinations worldwide, resulting in exceptional value for money. The first, Seabourn Odyssey, will debut at Venice in June of 2009, and a third, as yet un-named, is due in 2011.

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11-21-08 Playboy Jazz Cruise - Cruise Now Pay Later In the interest of saving you some money (and aren't we all looking to do that) the sponsors of the Playboy Jazz Cruise are offering a "cruise now, pay later option." You can purchase a cabin at their special "no-frills" pricing, pay a small fee, take the cruise and PAY LATER.

Here is how it works: Upon your reservation, you will pay 40% of the total cabin price, plus your port charges, gratuities and other fees. The remaining balance will be debited against your credit card as follows:

  • 20% on February 1, 2009
  • 20% on May 1, 2009; and
  • 20% on July 1, 2009
  • All payments are non-refundable.

It is just that simple. For just a few dollars now, you can be on the Playboy Jazz Cruise this January in the Caribbean !!!

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11-21-08 Royal Caribbean Floats Out Oasis of the Seas Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas will make her long awaited debut in just over one year. The ship, under construction in Turku, Finland, reached an important maritime milestone today when she was "floated out" - moved from dry dock to wet dock - to begin the final stages of interior work.

At official ceremonies held at the shipyard, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. executives, Richard Fain, chairman and CEO and Harri Kulovaara, executive vice president, Maritime were joined by Martin Landtman, president, STX Finland Cruise Oy, and Toivo Ilvonen, project director, Oasis-class, to turn the valve releasing 87 million gallons of water into the wet dock area.

"This is a historic day for our company. After more than three years of intense planning and collaboration and with 65 percent of the ship already complete, it's exciting to see Oasis entering its final stages," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Oasis of the Seas truly represents the innovative spirit that our company is known for and to see that come to fruition is wonderful."

The line chose this important milestone to announce that Oasis of the Seas will enter service under the command of Captain William S. Wright and Captain Tor Olsen. Wright, a 15-year veteran of Royal Caribbean International, was also the start up Captain for Freedom of the Seas, currently the largest ship in the world with sister-ships Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas, and 40 percent smaller than Oasis of the Seas. Wright also is one of the few American captains in international cruising and currently serves as the senior vice president of Marine Operations for the cruise line. Born in Norway, Captain Tor Olsen has been on the high seas since the age of 16. He joined Royal Caribbean International in 1987 working on Song of America and has served as Captain on five Royal Caribbean ships from the Voyager-class to the Vision-class.

When Oasis launches in December 2009, she will feature the unique neighborhood concept that will provide guests with the opportunity to seek out relevant experiences based on their personal style, preference or mood in seven distinct areas of the ship. This unique concept, which also creates a vast array of accommodation choices for guests never before found at sea, is the result of a quantum leap forward in revolutionary cruise ship design.

An architectural marvel at sea, Oasis of the Seas will span 16 decks, encompass 220,000 gross registered tons (GRT), carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms. She will be the first ship to tout the cruise line's new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which include Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. The ship will sail from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Additional information is available at www.oasisoftheseas.com.

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11-19-08 Orient Lines Cancels Cruise Line Re-launch Orient Lines has announced that due to the current world economic climate, it will delay the launch of the cruises it currently scheduled to commence in April 2009.

Orient Lines' President and CEO Wayne Heller stated that, "All guests that have booked a cruise with Orient Lines shall be given a full and prompt refund and, if requested, we will endeavor to offer them assistance with making alternate cruise vacation arrangements."

If you booked a cruise through a travel agent you should contact the agent about getting a refund.

Heller added, "Even though the launch of Orient Lines is delayed, we are exploring possible options to re-launch our cruise program at a more favorable time in the near future."

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11-19-08 Independence of the Seas Debuts in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Today Royal Caribbean International's newest Freedom-class ship, Independence of the Seas, made her US debut today at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Sharing the title of world's largest cruise ship with her sister-ships, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, Independence will be the line's first Freedom-class ship to sail from Port Everglades.

At 160,000 GRT and a capacity of 3,634 guests, Independence of the Seas features all of the industry-first amenities which are trademarks of the Freedom-class ships: a FlowRider surf simulator; the H20 Zone water park with its interactive sculpture garden for families and toddler pool; cantilevered whirlpools suspended 112 ft. above the ocean in the adults-only Solarium; a full-size boxing ring and a 14-person family suite.

Independence also features some of the other distinctive offerings the global cruise line is known for including, an ice-skating rink; a rock-climbing wall; an award-winning youth program; fine to casual dining venues; Broadway-style entertainment and the Royal Promenade - an entertainment boulevard stretching the length of the ship with shops, restaurants, bars and lounges, which provides guests with an endless variety of choices and experiences to suit their taste and preference.

Independencev will sail from Ft. Lauderdale and alternate between eight-night Eastern Caribbean and six-night Western Caribbean itineraries. Independence's Eastern Caribbean itinerary will call at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten and Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private beach destination in Haiti. The Western Caribbean itinerary will call at Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico and Cozumel, Mexico.

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11-19-08 NCL offers Musical Acts Barenaked Ladies and Indigo Girls Norwegian Cruise Line joins with Sixthman, the leaders in affinity travel, to offer unique concert cruises with the opportunity to hear top musical acts in an exclusive, interactive and intimate environment onboard Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Dawn.

Norwegian Jewel hosts Ships and Dip V from February 1-7, 2009 featuring the Barenaked Ladies, Great Big Sea, The New Odds, Boothby Graffoe, and The Weakerthans on a five-day Western Caribbean itinerary sailing round-trip from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island. For more information, log on to www.shipsanddip.com.

Norwegian Dawn hosts Cayamo: A Journey Through Song from February 28-March 7, 2009 featuring Indigo Girls, Lyle Lovett, Patty Griffin, John Hiatt, Shawn Colvin, Brandi Carlile, and a full lineup of other amazing performers on a seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary sailing round-trip from Miami to Samana, Dominica Republic; St. Thomas and Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay. For more information, log on to www.cayamo.com.

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11-19-08 Queen Mary 2 Dry Dock Adds Stateroom Wireless and Cellular Service at Sea Following Queen Mary 2's recently completed refurbishment, there is now increased wireless Interact connectivity throughout the ship. Guests have the convenience of using their laptop computers in the privacy and comfort of their staterooms with the addition of in-room wireless connectivity. In addition, mobile phone and handheld service while the ship is at sea is now available.

The upgrades enhance the ship's already existing high technology services, which include WiFi accessibility found in public rooms throughout the ship. Sister ship Queen Victoria already offers these services.

To use mobile phones at sea, guests must have a device capable of roaming internationally and their service provider must have a roaming agreement with Maritime Communications Partner AS, as does AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint. Cunard encourages guests to contact their mobile phone/handheld service provider in advance of the voyage's departure date to verify their plan for pricing and international roaming capabilities. All mobile phone/handheld data charges will be conveniently billed by the service provider. Charges generated by guests using their laptop computers who register onboard for wireless access packages will be billed to their stateroom folios - standard shipboard Internet charges apply.

This is available in most areas around the ship except the Royal Court Theatre, Illuminations, the Queens Room or in the ship's dining rooms.

Queen Mary 2's dry dock has the ship looking pristine for her fifth anniversary year with new refurbishment of the nautically themed Chart Room, featuring a new colour scheme and layout, carpet, drapes and furniture; the installation of a canopy providing a wonderful al fresco dining option for our Todd English Restaurant guests; and the replacement of some stateroom corridor carpets as well as French polishing and upholstery work in the Britannia restaurant, Royal Court Theatre and Canyon Ranch SpaClub.

Queen Mary 2 is now sailing westbound, en route to New York, arriving on November 21. She will then commence her Caribbean season, followed in January by her second World Cruise. Cunard's flagship will celebrate her fifth anniversary that month, having been christened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in January 2004.

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11-1-08 Deilmann Cruises Announces Immediate Cancellation of Fuel Surcharges Peter Deilmann Cruises has announced the immediate cancellation of fuel surcharges on its flagship, the MS Deutschland. The company will also be refunding any fuel surcharges paid for Deutschland sailings yet to depart. Deilmann also announced that fuel surcharges will not be charged on its fleet of eight luxury river ships for cruises beginning in 2010. The river surcharge is currently $10 per night per passenger.

The five-star MS Deutschland, with accommodations for 520 passengers, is offering deluxe voyages for 2009-10 consisting of 7 to 23-night cruises to Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Europe, Russia, North and South America, the Caribbean and Antarctica.

Deilmann's eight four- and five-star river ships provide relaxing travel through the heart of Europe on a deluxe European floating hotel with exceptional passenger-to-crew ratios of 2.5 to 1. 255 deluxe European river sailings are scheduled between March 22 and November 8, 2009 -- sailing the classic rivers of Europe on 7- to 14-night cruises with the vast majority running seven nights.

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11-17-08 MSC Cruises eliminates fuel surcharges for cruises after April, 2009 MSC Cruises has eliminated the fuel surcharge for all its cruises departing on or after April 1, 2009. The surcharge will not be levied on any new bookings for cruises sailing from that date on, and the accounts of guests already booked on these cruises will be adjusted to remove the surcharge from their balances.

The line also has announced that it plans to drop the fuel surcharge for new bookings on sailings departing from January 1 through March 31, 2009, if fuel prices remain stable going into the new year. Guests booked on these cruises will receive a refund of the fuel surcharge in the form of an onboard credit if the price of West Texas Intermediate fuel is at or below $65 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on December 18, 2008.

Although MSC Cruises can not rule out the possibility that a future substantial increase in fuel costs might require re-implementing the fuel surcharge at a later date, the company reiterated its commitment that all reservations booked with a deposit prior to such a decision would be protected from any additional charge.

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11-17-08 Disney Cruise Line Premieres First 3-D Film at Sea Disney Cruise Line is revolutionizing movie entertainment at sea with the debut of Disney Digital 3-D, a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience premiering exclusively onboard the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder.

Guests will see first-run Disney films take on a whole new dimension with Disney Digital 3-D technology being added to both the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder movie theaters. Disney Digital 3-D will premiere onboard the Disney Wonder during the Nov. 20 sailing and on the Disney Magic during the Dec. 6 sailing.

Disney Cruise Line premier original 3-D movies onboard the ships in early 2009 with the debut of a full length Disney Digital 3-D film with in-theater effects. Tridimensional images will combine with lasers, fog, streamers, and special lighting effects to create an immersive movie-going experience. During these once-a-cruise special engagements, guests will feel a part of the hottest show in town as in-theater effects enhance 3-D films featuring popular Disney popstars in concert.

Disney Cruise Line will celebrate the debut of Disney Digital 3-D by hosting a special screening event for Walt Disney Animation Studios' newest animated feature, "Bolt," onboard the Nov. 20 three-night Disney Wonder cruise. As the calendar turns from Nov. 20 to Nov. 21, guests will be invited to a special midnight screening of "Bolt" at the Walt Disney Theatre - complete with meet-and-greet opportunities with lovable walk-around characters from the film.

The film features super-dog Bolt (voice of John Travolta), whose every day is filled with adventure, danger and intrigue - at least until the cameras stop rolling. When the star of a hit TV show is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City, he begins his biggest adventure yet - a cross-country journey through the real world to get back to his owner and co-star, Penny (voice of Miley Cyrus). Armed only with the delusions that all his amazing feats and powers are real, and the help of two unlikely traveling companions - a jaded, abandoned housecat named Mittens (voice of Susie Essman) and a TV-obsessed hamster named Rhino (voice of Mark Walton) - Bolt discovers he doesn't need superpowers to be a hero.

Disney Digital 3-D is the latest enhancement to join the robust menu of premium guest experiences and amenities included with a Disney Cruise Line vacation. Dazzling Broadway-style musical spectaculars, over-the-top deck parties with the only fireworks display at sea, a unique rotational dining concept, first-run movie releases and fantastic kids programming are just some of the advantages of cruising with Disney.

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11-11-08 Norwegian Spirit to Receive $Multi-Million Makeover Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that Norwegian Spirit is undergoing a multi-million dollar refurbishment focused on enhancing the total guest experience. The 2,376 passenger Freestyle Cruising ship is receiving a total renovation to its public areas, staterooms and suites. These refurbishments are in addition to the enhancements already made as part of Freestyle 2.0, the company's fleet-wide initiative to further improve the guest experience across all guest touch points from food and beverage to staterooms.

"Norwegian Spirit's multi-million dollar renovation will enrich the overall guest experience by making significant enhancements to the ship overall," said Andy Stuart, NCL's executive vice president and chief product officer. "With the combination of our recent Freestyle 2.0 enhancements and all of the refurbishments being made, Norwegian Spirit will emerge refreshed and revitalized for her winter season sailing seven-day Exotic Western Caribbean cruises from New Orleans."

Norwegian Spirit's total refurbishment includes:

  • 11 new staterooms are being added, eight of which are balconies
  • one diesel engine is being replaced
  • the Stardust Theater, with a capacity of approximately 700, is receiving all new seating and chairs
  • seating throughout the ship is being reupholstered
  • more than 21,000 sq meters of carpet is being replaced in public areas, stairwells, suites and staterooms
  • new wallpaper is being installed in suites, corridors and public areas
  • new curtains are being added to all suites
  • tile in 300 bathrooms throughout the ship is being replaced
  • all open decks including the main pool, kid's pool and four hot tubs are undergoing refurbishment
  • the Roman Spa & Fitness Center is being upgraded with new doors, panels and seats
  • more than 60 windows are being replaced
  • the onboard phone system is being upgraded to a state of the art wireless system.

    Following the completion of the refurbishment, Norwegian Spirit will re-enter service on November 23, 2008 and begin a series of 21 seven-day Exotic Western Caribbean cruises from New Orleans, her homeport for the winter season, with calls in Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala; and Belize City, Belize.

    Norwegian Spirit offers Freestyle Cruising with the flexibility of 11 restaurants, seven bars and lounges, multiple entertainment venues, two pools, extensive children's facilities, a sports deck, casino, spa, and a variety of spacious public rooms. The ship joined the NCL fleet in 2004 and underwent a previous dry dock in 2005.

    For more information or to book a sailing on Norwegian Spirit, call your travel professional, go to www.ncl.com or contact NCL at 866-234-0292

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    11-7-08 Princess Cruises Inaugurates Ruby Princess with Tristan and Ryan of "Bachelorette" In a "ruby red" themed ceremony celebrating romance, Princess Cruises today named its newest ship, Ruby Princess. America's reigning reality couple, Trista and Ryan Sutter of The Bachelorette did the honors, breaking the traditional bottle of champagne to mark the ship's launch, and their own fifth anniversary. The new godparents were surrounded by hundreds of guests decked out in ruby red-tie formal attire, and a ruby-haired singer serenaded the crowd. As befitting the most romantic cruise line, and an event celebrating "romantic moments and milestones," the official naming was followed by the ultimate romantic milestone - a wedding in the midst of the festivities. The California couple joined in matrimony not only had Trista and Ryan as wedding attendants, but the Love Boat captain himself, Gavin MacLeod, gave away the bride.

    See a VIDEO of the naming ceremony here: Ruby Ceremony Champagne Breaking

    Tonight the ship hosts a "Ruby Red Tie" gala and sets sail on a two-night cruise for hundreds of VIP guests who will enjoy a special preview of Princess' newest vessel. During the mini sailing, the ship will host an array of romantic activities, including a massive renewal of vows for all couples tomorrow while the ship is at sea. Ruby Princess then returns to Port Everglades on November 8 for its inaugural seven-day sailing to the Western Caribbean.

    "It's only fitting that as the most romantic cruise line in the industry, we celebrate the naming of our newest ship with a tribute to 'romantic milestones,'" said Alan Buckelew, Princess Cruises president and chief executive officer. "It was exciting to have Trista and Ryan Sutter serve as godparents of Ruby Princess and of course the wedding during the ceremony added an appropriate touch to the festivities."

    Princess Cruises has long been associated with romance on the high seas, dating back to its days as the setting for the now-iconic TV show The Love Boat. Cementing that connection, Princess was just named the "Best Cruise Line for Romance" and "Best Cruise Line for Weddings" in the 2008 Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards. The Ruby Princess naming ceremony continued the line's tradition of romance with godparents Trista and Ryan, who were introduced to America in 2003 on the television hit The Bachelorette.

    Trista and Ryan Sutter became America's reigning romantic couple as millions of viewers followed their courtship and witnessed their nationally televised wedding. To this day they are the only couple from the Bachelor or The Bachelorette shows to actually get married.

    The ceremony fulfilled the dream of yet another couple as Kip Hickman and Danielle Vurpillat tied the knot as part of the ship's naming ceremony. The couple, from Dunsmuir, Calif., met on a blind date and expressed their desire to be married onboard Ruby Princess during a recent contest held with national newspaper, USA Today. The minister who officiated the nuptials, Phil Roberts, is also a member of Princess Cruises' Department of Romance.

    The 3,080-passenger Ruby Princess includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing line-up of street performers. Passengers will also enjoy Princess' other array of dining venues including the signature Sabatini's Italian restaurant and the Crown Grill steak house, plus a relaxing oasis just for adults called The Sanctuary. The new ship will also offer the many other innovations that define the Princess experience, including the popular Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, Personal Choice Dining featuring traditional or Anytime seating, multiple entertainment venues, a relaxing Asian-style Lotus Spa with fitness center, an extensive children and teen's center, and a wedding chapel.

    During Ruby Princess' inaugural season she will make seven-day weekly sailings from Fort Lauderdale to the Western Caribbean. Calls include Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico and Princess Cays in the Bahamas. Next spring the ship will move to Europe for 12-day sailings in the Mediterranean and Greek Islands.

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    11-7-08 Royal Caribbean Offers First-time Cruisers Sale ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL CELEBRATES SECOND ANNUAL FIRST-TIME CRUISERS MONTH Royal Caribbean International has marked November as sale month for first-time cruisers, although veteran cruisers are welcome as well. First-Time Cruisers Month offers reduced thresholds for complimentary group leader staterooms (TC cabins) and bonus points for groups and dollars off and onboard credit for customers booking a cruise or cruisetour.

    "Now is the best time to book a cruise vacation to anywhere in the world aboard a Royal Caribbean ship," said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of Sales, Trade Support and Services, Royal Caribbean International. "Whether for short-cruise getaways or extended cruisetours, our research shows that first-time cruisers with Royal Caribbean have the highest satisfaction rate compared to any other segment. Travel agent partners can take advantage of the offers during the second annual First-Time Cruisers Month to grow their customer base, add value to their customers' vacations, and help ensure repeat business."

    Royal Caribbean is giving a wide array of incentives for customers every week during First-Time Cruisers Month. Each new offer will feature a different region or destination coupled with savings of up to $200 per stateroom for new bookings.

    The First-Time Cruisers Month weekly offers are:

    • Week 1 - $75 off or onboard credit per stateroom on all cruises through 2009 for bookings made on November 7 and 8, 2008 only
    • Week 2 - Up to $200 off per stateroom on select sailings in 2009 for Crown & Anchor Society members - Royal Caribbean's loyalty rewards program for past guests - which can be extended to a second stateroom for their friends or family for bookings made between November 10 and November 30
    • Week 3 - Up to $200 off per stateroom on select Europe or Alaska sailings in 2009 for bookings made between November 17 and November 23
    • Week 4 - Up to $100 off per stateroom on select Caribbean or Mexico sailings in 2009 made between November 24 and November 30
    • Throughout November, active and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces can enjoy savings of up to $200 per stateroom, up to three staterooms, for any sailing (except for Oasis of the Seas) through 2009. The military savings offer may not be combined with other offers or promotions.

    First-time and veteran cruisers also can take advantage of some of the industry's best pricing for a cruise this holiday season. Majesty of the Seas special Christmas short cruise to the Bahamas, departing Miami on December 22, starts at $319 per person; Adventure of the Seas' December 21 sailing to the Southern Caribbean over Hanukkah and Christmas starts at $699 per person; or guests can herald in the New Year on the Mexican Riviera aboard Vision of the Seas' December 28 departure, which starts at $949 per person. Guests aboard Royal Caribbean's holiday sailings feature a breadth of special festive programming that reflects the traditions of each holiday, including traditional religious services for Hanukkah and Christmas, onboard holiday shows, festive decorations and extended New Years parties in every onboard lounge. All prices are based on double occupancy.

    Royal Caribbean has created a special First-Time Cruisers Month microsite to help travel agents plan ahead for the month of savings and rewards. Travel agent partners can access the calendar of savings for the Second Annual First-Time Cruisers Month through CruisingPower.com, Royal Caribbean's dedicated online site catering to the needs of travel agents, or at: www.creative.rccl.com/e-lite/RCI/2008/sales/ftc_month/calendar.html.

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    11-4-08 Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cut Fuel Supplements The parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Prestige Cruise Holdings, has announced that effective November 10, 2008, fuel supplement charges will be eliminated from all voyages departing in 2010. The company has also established specific guidelines under which the fuel supplement may be reimbursed to guests sailing on voyages departing in 2009.

    For voyages departing in 2010, no fuel supplement will be charged on new reservations. For existing reservations on voyages departing in 2010, the fuel supplement charge will automatically be removed from the guests' final payment balance. For voyages departing in 2009, the company will continue to apply a $15 per guest per day fuel supplement.

    Fuel supplement charge adjustments, if any, will be determined on a quarterly basis. Refunds, in the form of shipboard credits, will be applied to all reservations to which a fuel supplement had previously been charged if the quarterly closing price on the New York Mercantile Exchange of West Texas Intermediate fuel is below $65 per barrel two weeks prior to the beginning of the upcoming calendar quarter.

    Frank Del Rio, Chairman of Prestige Cruise Holdings, stated that the company was implementing these changes due to the recent decline in fuel prices. "If oil stabilizes below $65 per barrel, we are confident that we can effectively eliminate the need to charge our guests a separate fuel supplement. However, we must see stability in fuel pricing on a mid- to long-term basis as there could still be significant volatility in the marketplace," stated Del Rio.

    Fuel Price Determination Date Quarter of Possible Fuel Supplement Refunds
    December 18, 2008 First Quarter 2009
    March 18, 2009 Second Quarter 2009
    June 17, 2009 Third Quarter 2009
    September 17, 2009 Fourth Quarter 2009

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    11-3-08 Celebrity Solstice Arrives in Ft Lauderdale The first of as new class of contemporay premium cruise ships to enter the market for years, Celebrity Solstice, will arrive in Fort Lauderdale, FL on November 3.

    Soon after its arrival in Fort Lauderdale on November 3, Celebrity Solstice will serve as the venue for Celebrity Cruises' first Global Sales Meeting, followed by a series of exclusive, two-night preview cruises for invited travel agents, press and other dignitaries.

    "With its innovative, half-acre Lawn Club with real, growing grass; the Hot Glass Show with The Corning Museum of Glass; 10 widely varied restaurants and spacious staterooms; Celebrity Solstice is the perfect manifestation of what the Celebrity brand is all about," said Celebrity's President & CEO Dan Hanrahan.

    Celebrity Solstice will be named in formal ceremonies on November 14, and will embark on its inaugural season November 23, on a series of seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. In spring 2009, the ship will offer a series of 10- and 11-night Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Rome.

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