Cruise News - October 2008

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10-30-09 Disney Dream to Feature Innovative Fun Attractions When the new Disney Dream, still under construction, arrives in Port Canveral it will present family cruise fans with some fun attractions never seen before on a cruise ship.

The first of these is called AquaDuck, which Disney describes as a "high-speed flume ride;" a 765-foot combination roller-coaster and water slide that starts on Deck 16 and takes riders on a wild jaunt around the top decks of the ship, including over the side in a tranparent tube where the view will be 150 feet high with nothing by open sea below.

AquaDuck will be the longest water-slide in the cruise world, two and a half times longer than Carnival Dream's 303-foot waterslide (currently the longest). It will also be the first slide on a ship to use a rubber raft where two people can sit at the same time, although the new Norwegian Epic, coming in May 2010 will have the first innertube water-slide ride at sea.

AquaDuck provides a panoramic view of the ship and ocean AquaDuck extends over the edge of the ship

The Disney ride is still in early construction but it will span a total of four decks and includes a "swing out" loop that extends 13 feet over the side of the ship. The ride itself is a clear, acrylic tube where gravity takes riders downhill but strong water jets will propel them uphill "at a surging speed of about 20 feet per second," says Disney.

Part of the ride is an enclosed tunnel with special lighting to provide a "magical" effect, as the ride extends through the gathering place for "tweens" (kids 11 to 13 years) who can see the riders going by through special windows. After this tunnel, riders traverse a 335-foot stretch of "river rapids" with a panoramic view of the upper decks and the sea the entire time.

AquaDuck will even be open at night with special lighting effects to make it a different experience.

Other features on the brand new Disney ship include "windows" for the inside cabins. Of course they are not really windows, but they are high-definition video screens showing realtime images of what is outside at any given time - provided by cameras mounted on the exterior of the ship. During long stretches of open sea, Disney says passengers may glimpse a magical surprise: animated characters such as Peach the starfish from the Disney/Pixar hit film "Finding Nemo," or Mickey Mouse.

Disney Dream will have a rather astounding full deck of space just for childrens' areas with two main areas for kids three to ten, a separate area for tweens and one for teens (ages 14-17). Teen attractions include a large dance floor with a DJ booth, video karaoeke and a social networking hub for the teens. Teens also have a private outdoor deck with chaise lounges, wading pools, mister jets and decks games like ping pong abd foosball.

The younger kids get "character experiences" for interacting with characters from the movie "Toy Story" in "Andy's Room," (presumably the child character in Toy Story). They also get monsters from "Monster's Inc." They cave under the sea with Nemo or visit Tinker Bell's Fairy Forest.

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10-27-09 MSC Cruises Offers a Number of Special Offers MSC Cruises is offering sweet savings of up to 60 percent on balcony suites on select Europe 2010 sailings of MSC Lirica, MSC Armonia and MSC Sinfonia. Guests will also receive a $100 per person shipboard credit (maximum $200 per cabin). Each Category 11 suite boasts a balcony, spacious seating area with sofa bed, king-sized bed, and bathroom with tub.

"Suite Deal" rates start at $1,299 per person and must be booked by January 31, 2010. The offer is available on select 7-night Western Mediterranean itineraries of MSC Lirica and MSC Sinfonia and on select 7-night Eastern Mediterranean sailings of MSC Armonia.

MSC Cruises is also offering "Best Fare, Best Room" savings on European cruises next summer. Guests receive the best available staterooms at the lowest price within their selected category at the time of booking. Categories include, inside, oceanview, verandah and suite. If you book a verandah cabin in the lowest category you will receive the best available verandah cabin at the time of your booking.

Rates begin at $699 per person on select 7-night cruises and $949 for 10-night and positioning cruises visiting some of Europe's most exotic ports.

Itineraries featuring special "Best Fare, Best Room" rates on 7-night sailings include:

  • MSC Fantasia: Western Mediterranean "Mediterranean Fantasy" roundtrip from Barcelona, Genoa, Naples, or Marseille, from $849;
  • MSC Splendida: Western Mediterranean "The Splendid Mediterranean" roundtrip from Genoa, Barcelona, Naples, Civitavecchia, or Marseille, from $799;
  • MSC Lirica: Western Mediterranean "Mediterranean Marvels" roundtrip from Genoa, Civitavecchia, or Salerno, from $699;
  • MSC Sinfonia: Western Mediterranean "Sparkling Mediterranean Rivieras" roundtrip from Venice, Livorno, or Naples, from $729;
  • MSC Magnifica: Italy, Greece and Turkey "The Magnificent Mediterranean" roundtrip from Venice or Bari, from $749;
  • MSC Musica: Eastern Mediterranean "Greek Islands in the Sun" roundtrip from Venice or Bari, from $949;
  • MSC Armonia: Eastern Mediterranean "Jewels of the Adriatic" roundtrip from Venice, from $729;
  • MSC Poesia: Baltic or Norwegian Fjords roundtrip from Copenhagen or Kiel, from $1,199;
  • MSC Orchestra: Baltic or Norwegian Fjords roundtrip from Copenhagen or Kiel, from $1,099;

Select 10-, 11-, or 13-night cruises and positioning cruise itineraries include:

  • MSC Magnifica: 13-night from Hamburg to Venice, from $1,149.
  • MSC Poesia: 11-night roundtrip from Copenhagen or Kiel, from $1,399.
  • MSC Orchestra: 10-night from Copenhagen to Genoa, from $1,199; or 11-night from Copenhagen to Barcelona, from $1,099.
  • MSC Opera: 10-night Dover to Venice, from $949; 11-night from Amsterdam, Dover or roundtrip from Venice, from $1,049.
  • MSC Melody: 11-night roundtrip from Genoa or Civitavecchia, from $999.

Children ages 17 and younger sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults.

Cruise-only rates are per person, based on double occupancy (government fees and taxes for all guests are additional) and cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.

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10-27-09 Celebrity Offers "Perfect Caribbean" Cruise Discounts Celebrity launched a new promotion yesterday offering low per-person-per-day rates, free and discounted stateroom upgrades and especially attractive family packages. The promotion is valid on select Caribbean voyages departing from November 16, 2009 through April 25, 2010. You must booked now through November 1, 2009.

Eligible cruises sail roundtrip from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Baltimore, Charleston or San Juan.

During the booking promotion, dubbed "The Caribbean Perfected," guests get these upgrades:

Free upgrade from an inside or oceanview stateroom to a veranda stateroom on select seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises on Celebrity Solstice, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

For just $49 per person, guests can upgrade from an oceanview to a veranda stateroom on select sailings on the brand-new Celebrity Equinox's 10- and 11-night Ultimate Caribbean voyages from Fort Lauderdale.

For just $49 per person, upgrade from an inside to an oceanview stateroom on select four- and five-night Western Caribbean voyages on Celebrity Century, roundtrip from Miami.

For only $99 per person, guests on select cruises on Celebrity Mercury, sailing from Baltimore and Charleston, can upgrade from an inside to an oceanview stateroom; the same rate applies to upgrades from an inside to an oceanview stateroom on select sailings on Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Constellation, both offering itineraries roundtrip from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Inside stateroom steals: Based on double occupancy in an inside stateroom, the per-person-per-day rate (cruise only) is as low as $59 on Celebrity Century's four- and five-night Western Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Miami. On Celebrity Summit's seven-night Caribbean voyages roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, rates per person per day in an inside stateroom (cruise only, based on double occupancy) start from $79.

At rates starting from $99 per person per day in a inside stateroom (cruise only, based on double occupancy), guests can experience Celebrity Mercury's nine-night Bahamas and 12-night Eastern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Baltimore – new to Celebrity this winter and repeating in the winter of 2010-11. At the same starting rate of $99, guests can enjoy Caribbean getaways on Celebrity Millennium's nine-, 10-, 11- and 15-night Southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan; or Celebrity Constellation's 14-night Exotic Southern Caribbean cruises from Miami.

The special rates offered as part of "The Caribbean Perfected" can allow families of four to sail for as low as $1,199 on a sailing less than six nights in length; as low as $1,499 on a sailing seven nights in length; or as low as $2,209 on a sailing of nine nights or longer. These prices are cruise only, based on four persons in an interior quad stateroom.

Interested travelers should visit www.celebritycruises.com for additional details.

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10-26-09 Silversea to Visit More UK Ports in 2010 Than Ever Before Silversea will visit more UK ports in 2010 than ever before in the company's fifteen year history. Four out of six ships from the luxury fleet will call at British shores, providing more choice and convenience for Silversea guests.

The number of people taking a cruise holiday from British ports increased by nearly a quarter in 2008, with 40 per cent of cruises booked last year departing from UK shores. In response to this marked increase, the new Silversea UK programme features fifteen voyages, departing or arriving at a British port, on Prince Albert II, Silver Cloud, Silver Whisper and also Silver Spirit, the newest and largest Silversea ship due to be launched in December.

"Silversea offer exceptional voyages, with the highest standards of personal service, and a number of all-inclusive luxurious extras, adding great value to the overall experience." said Trudy Redfern, Managing Director, UK & Ireland. She added, "The benefit of travelling to or from an accessible UK port where you can start your holiday immediately adds even greater appeal to today's traveller."

Selected Silversea UK voyages are being offered at lower fares for early bookers as prices will rise as the sailing date approaches. Silversea embark or debark from the following four UK ports - Southampton, Portsmouth and London (Tower Bridge and Tilbury).

Listed below are UK voyage highlights for 2010

Silver Spirit departs Southampton 8 May 2010 on a 12-day voyage (#5013) from Southampton to Barcelona, with calls in St Malo, Bordeaux (overnight), Bilbao, Lisbon, Cadiz, Gibraltar, Malaga and Barcelona. All-inclusive, cruise-only fares start at £4,813 per person. Plus free Economy Class air, including free transfers from the ship to airport on day of disembark, is available from select UK gateways.

NEW VOYAGE - Prince Albert II departs 28 April 2010 on a 12-day expedition cruise (#7007) from Lisbon to Portsmouth, with calls in Oporto (Leixoes), La Coruna, Bilbao, Bordeaux (overnight), Nantes, St Malo, Guernsey and Honfleur. All-inclusive, cruise-only fares start at £2,422 per person.

Silver Whisper departs 31 May 2010 on a 12-day voyage (#4014) from Nice to Southampton, with calls in Barcelona, Malaga, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Oporto (Leixoes), Bilbao, St Malo and Honfleur. All-inclusive, cruise-only fares start at £3,453 per person. Plus free Economy Class air, including free transfers from the airport to the ship on day of embarkation, is available from select UK gateways.

Silver Cloud departs 7 June 2010 on a 10-day voyage (#1017) from London (Tilbury) to Stockholm, with calls Cruising Kiel Canal, Warnemunde (Rostock), Visby, Tallinn, St. Petersburg (2 overnights) and Helsinki. All-inclusive, cruise-only fares start at £3,027 per person. Plus free Economy Class air, including free transfers from the ship to airport on day of disembark, is available from select UK gateways.

Silversea Cruises is recognised as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper -- and launching in December, Silver Spirit -- all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents.

In the U.K., Silversea has been voted "Number One" small-ship line in the Readers' Choice survey conducted by Britain's Condé Nast Traveller magazine (eight times) and Best Luxury Cruise Line according to UK's Travel Weekly Globe Awards (2008). International awards include "World's Best" by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (nine times) and by the readers of Travel & Leisure in the US (seven times); "World's Leading Luxury Cruise Line" from World Travel Awards (2007); "Five Star Diamond Award" from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (2009); "Best Luxury Cruise Line" by Spain's Cruceros & Destinos magazine (2008); "Best Cruise Line" by Australia's Luxury Travel Magazine (2009); and Best Luxury Cruise Operator according to Asia's Travel Weekly (2008).

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10-26-09 Royal Caribbean Honors Repeaters with December Specials Royal Caribbean International is dedicating the month of December 2009 to honor the cruise line's Crown & Anchor Society members on all ships. During the December Diamond Event, Diamond and Diamond Plus member guests on all sailings in the month will enjoy enhanced recognition benefits, as well as commemorative gifts, special events and exclusive offers on future sailings. In addition, Diamond and Diamond Plus Crown & Anchor Society member guests on the December 5, 2009, voyage of Oasis of the Seas will receive an additional cruise credit and additional benefits and gifts to commemorate the inaugural sailing of the world's largest and most revolutionary cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society is the cruise line's guest loyalty program, recognizing guests with benefits and savings when they choose a Royal Caribbean International cruise or cruise tour land package. For additional information about the Crown & Anchor Society, please visit http://www.RoyalCaribbean.com/CrownandAnchor.

"Royal Caribbean is delighted to honor our valued Crown & Anchor Society members on all December 2009 sailings for their loyalty and passion for our cruise line," said Betsy O'Rourke, senior vice president of Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. "Our loyal Diamond and Diamond-Plus Crown & Anchor Society members can still join us on a most memorable inaugural voyage on December 5 aboard our newest and most amazing cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas. We will have additional recognition gifts and events planned for our member guests to help make a spectacular voyage even more special."

Crown & Anchor Society members can still join more than 800 fellow Diamond and Diamond Plus members on the spectacular Oasis of the Seas inaugural cruise on December 5, 2009. In addition to the standard recognition benefits, Diamond and Diamond-plus level members will enjoy additional benefits and gifts, including one additional cruise credit, exclusive special events, other surprise gifts that recognize the cruise line's most loyal members, and tempting exclusive offers for future sailings.

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10-3-09 Contest On For Rihanna Concert Aboard Oasis of the Seas November 19th

Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas will set the stagefor an Exclusive Performance by Rihanna from the First AquaTheater at Sea.

After hearing her highly anticipated new single "Russian Roulette," music fans from coast-to-coast are eager for a sneak-peek of Rihanna's fourth album Rated R, being released Monday, November 23, 2009.

Now music promotion company Pop2Life has brought Island Def Jam Music Group, Clear Channel Radio and Royal Caribbean International together to give lucky winners (and their invited guests) access to an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime performance by Rihanna and a private three-night sailing onboard the brand new Oasis of the Seas, the world's largest and most revolutionary cruise ship, debuting this November.

Dedicated fans can win this money-can't-buy experience by tuning-in to Clear Channel radio stations across the country weekdays beginning Monday, October 26, 2009 through Friday, November 6, 2009. Keywords will be announced throughout the day for listeners to text in for a chance to win.

Live from the Atlantic Ocean within eyesight of the Florida coast, Rihanna will be the first performer ever to take the stage onboard Oasis of the Seas' AquaTheater, an amphitheater-style space that serves as a pool by day and dazzling ocean front theater by night. Winners and their guests will have VIP access to the concert on Thursday, November 19, 2009. Following the adrenalin filled night, guests will be among the first to enjoy a weekend onboard the highly anticipated Oasis of the Seas.

Rated R is Rihanna's long-awaited follow-up to Good Girl Gone Bad (May 2007), which contained the non-stop string of hit singles that began with the MTV VMA and Grammy Award-winning global #1 hit "Umbrella" (featuring Jay-Z), then "Shut Up and Drive," "Hate That I Love You" (featur­ing Ne-Yo), and "Don't Stop the Music." Good Girl Gone Bad spent 98 total weeks on the Soundscan chart, earned cumulative sales of more than 36-times platinum in at least 20 territories around the world, and spun off the CD+DVD package Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded (January 2009) – which continued the string of hits with the #1 "Take A Bow," and the #1 "Disturbia."

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10-22-09 Crystal Announces Record Bookings Resulting from Special Offers, 100% increase over same time 2009 For the week ending Tuesday, October 20, Crystal Cruises announced a surge of new bookings for 2010 with a 70% increase in new bookings since four weeks ago. The luxury line attributes this to announced reduced and value-added pricing. Additionally, Crystal reports more than a 100% increase in booking revenue for 2010 versus the same time last year for 2009.

On September 21, Crystal announced new 2010 pricing with Two-for-One fares, All Inclusive - As You Wish spending credits and a price guarantee for all cruises plus Free Air for most cruises and even Free Business Class air for Penthouse accommodations on European cruises. The new pricing resulted in an average of 8.3% lowered cruise-only pricing - and nearly a 20% reduction on some Mediterranean cruises.

Crystal Cruises enjoyed more good news this week when it was voted the "Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine for a record 16th year. In addition to an overall winning score of 92.7, Crystal outscored all other large-ship lines for its service/crew, itineraries/schedules, food/dining and design/layout.

Crystal Cruises just published its 2010 Cruise Guide and expects to have 2010 Cruise Atlases in the marketplace within a week.

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10-19-09 NCL Offers Suite Savings and Onboard Credit Norwegian Cruise Line offers incentives for guests to experience the suite life on bookings made in the following suite categories across the fleet: Penthouse, Romance Suite, Owner's Suite, Deluxe Owner's Suite, Courtyard Villa and Garden Villa now through February 28, 2010. In addition, the Courtyard Penthouse and Spa Suite unique to the company's largest and most innovative ship to date, Norwegian Epic, are included in this offer. The promotion is valid on new reservations booked at least nine months prior to sailing, with up to $300 in on-board spending credits per stateroom, based on cruise length. Guests may set sail to any of Norwegian's amazing cruise destinations, including those to the Eastern and Western Caribbean on Norwegian Epic, launching next summer.

Guests who book sailings of up to four days in a Suite or Garden Villa will receive $150 per stateroom in spending credit, which can be used for anything from shore excursions to spa treatments. For sailings of five days and longer, guests sailing in a Suite or Garden Villa will receive $300 per stateroom in on-board spending credit.

Norwegian's award-winning suites and villas offer the luxury of Freestyle Cruising with world-class accommodations. The 5,000-square-foot Garden Villas on Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Jewel feature three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, private garden with hot tub, outdoor dining area and terrace, and access to an exclusive private courtyard area with a pool, hot tub, sauna, gym and sun deck. Norwegian Epic will feature the largest suite complex at sea, The Villas, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship. Guests staying here will have exclusive access to The Villas complex featuring a pool, two whirlpools, gym, a sauna, sundeck, indoor/outdoor dining, bar/nightclub and concierge lounge.

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10-15-09 Good Morning America to Broadcast from Oasis of the Seas Oasis of the Seas will be the location for ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday, November 20, 2009, from 7:00 am – 9:00 am (ET).

Oasis of the Seas will have just entered her new home port of Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and GMA viewers will have an exclusive first glimpse of the ship during a special live broadcast.

Some of the unique features to be shown include Central Park, the first park at sea with nearly 12,000 plants and trees; Boardwalk, a family oriented environment with a hand carved carousel; the zip-line running diagonally over Boardwalk 90 feet above the deck; 28 multilevel loft suites with floor-to-ceiling windows; and the AquaTheater – an amphitheater style space that serves as a pool by day and a dazzling oceanfront theater by night.

"We couldn't think of a better way to launch Oasis of the Seas than by partnering with Good Morning America" said Adam Goldstein, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

In addition to the live broadcast, and in the spirit of giving and sharing, Royal Caribbean and "Good Morning America" are working with ABC affiliate stations in six markets – Hartford, Miami, New York, Orlando, San Francisco and Seattle – to execute a contest/search for people who have done something extraordinary for their community, making friends and neighbors thankful for the effort. Three deserving individuals (plus guest) in each market will win a trip to join GMA for the live broadcast onboard Oasis of the Seas, and will enjoy an exclusive pre-inaugural cruise following the show.

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10-15-09 Princess Brings Tsunami Relief to South Pacific When Star Princess and Sun Princess called in Apia, Samoa and Pago Pago, American Samoa this past weekend, the ships brought along some much needed relief supplies and more than $10,000 in donations for the region that was recently hit with a powerful tsunami.

The ships off-loaded pallets of bottled water, sugar, flour, linens and clothing donated by passengers and crew, plus treats of candy and chocolate for the children. In addition, in Pago Pago, both ships welcomed Red Cross relief workers onboard for some relief of their own, with hot showers, use of the ships' laundries, phone calls home and lunch.

The ship captains conveyed the heartfelt sympathy and support of Princess crew and passengers for the people of Samoa during this difficult time, and informed local officials that the Princess Cruises Community Foundation is donating $10,000 to the Red Cross for relief efforts in Samoa and American Samoa.

The ships also conducted their own fundraising for the relief efforts, including donations from their Crew Club funds, contributions received from passengers and crew, and money raised from auctions of the ships' navigational charts used during the cruises.

In Apia, the Honorable Misa Telfoni, the minister of tourism and deputy prime minister, was touched by the generosity of Princess Cruises. He made particular mention of the Princess crew and their donation which he described as "random acts of kindness and love" which would greatly assist in the recovery and renewed growth of the area.

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10-12-09 World's Largest Cruise Night - Wednesday This Wednesday, Oct. 14, is the official "World's Largest Cruise Night" as designated by CLIA (the Cruise Line Industry Association), a marketing consortium of all the biggest North American cruise lines. The entire day has been set aside for special offers at sale prices from every cruise line most consumers have probably ever heard of - and more.

October is actually "National Cruise Vacation Month" in America, and to celebrate some travel agencies from coast to coast will invite people to special parties, meetings or open houses at the agency locations to learn all about cruise vacations. If you check your local papers or call your regular travel agent you just might find an event is planned for you. If you want to use the CLIA web site to find a cruise agency near you offering a WLCN event - go to this web page: cruising.org/wlcn.cfm. You will see a list of local travel agencies - some with web sites and if you are lucky they will also have some special information about World's Largest Cruise Night.

At the very least - the cruise lines actually do cooperate by setting aside a number of special offers for these travel agents to use on World's Largest Cruise Night. Many of the leading Internet web sites will be making these offers available, including one of our sponsors, Direct Cruise Lines.

You can access this information online at the the CLIA web site: http://wlcn.cruising.org/vwlcnsearch.cfm. It asks you to select a city, but in fact it doesn't matter what city you select because the events are all "virtual" - online only.

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10-8-09 Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain Talks to Wall Street Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean International (parent company for Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara Cruises, as well as some European brands) paid a visit to Wall Street yesterday where he told reporters that "prices have bottomed out in the cruise industry, although we still have not seen the surge in prices or bookings that we are hoping and waiting for," however, Fain told Reuters. "There have been an awful lot of indicators that things are improving."

The fact that Oasis, the newest, biggest cruise ship in the world, is close to its debut, November 20th in Miami, has created a "halo effect" around all of Royal Caribbean products, says Fain. This implies Oasis has put a focus on Royal Caribbean in general, and also that people who may inquire about booking Oasis and find it is more expensive that they think then book a less expensive Royal Caribbean ship with similar features.

Marie Bartriromo of CNBC asks, "Do you still see a travel slowdown in the coming year?" and Fain replied, "We haven't seen the resurgence we have been hopong for, but we are seeing the pre-cursors. People are confident about the future and most of us expect the upturn will come, I only wish I knew when."

Fain said he expects the number of international travelers to overtake the number of domestic passengers within the next two years. This means far more people from Europe are cruising, as well as new markets in South America and even China is a developing story. "We go where we are wanted, and we are growing entirely overseas and no growth in th United States, right now." The biggest growth has been in the U.K.

One surprising aspect of Fain's discussion with CNBC brought this disclosure; Marie Bartriromo asked Fain about swine flu, "Earlier in the year you said swine flu would affect your inclome by $.26/share. Have you found that to be true?"

Fain, "Well, that's really the past, because when swine flu first came out it had that big impact on those immediate cruises, but today swine flu is almost everywhere so you're as likely to get it at school, or here on the stock exchange, and so I think it is less of an issue. And of course now they are coming out with the vaccine which is also helpful."

To Reuters, Fain said "Consumer confidence is a key precursor for an economic rebound, but "the operative syllable there is 'pre.' We're still in the pre-stage. We may look back on this a year from now and say that was a pretty good time, because that was the beginning of the end of the financial meltdown."

Fain said real cash flow start when they take delivery of new ships. Oasis will begin operations in December of 2009, and its sister ship Allure begins in November, 2010. Celebrity Cruises has introduced two new ships in the last year and will introduce a third in 2010. Two of these Celebrity ships are scheduled to sail mostly in Europe.

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10-7-09 Norwegian Sky Offers Savings on Short Cruises to Miami NCL is now offering a Savings Certificates for 3-day and 4-day short vacation cruises on Norwegian Sky to the Bahamas from Miami. For sailings from now through December 31, 2009, guests booking a cruise on Norwegian Sky will receive access to these special Savings Certificates to use onboard. These savings include casino credits, spa incentives and family portrait and shopping discounts.

Upon booking a cruise only on Norwegian Sky, guests can log on to Norwegian's Certificate Center at www.nclsavings.com and enter their reservation number to download the Savings Certificates.

Norwegian Sky recently underwent $15 million in renovations and now features more than 200 balcony staterooms; seven Freestyle Dining options and nine bars and lounges along with the White Hot Party poolside deck party

Girlfriend and Guy Getaways Norwegian Sky is the solution to the perfect bachelorette or bachelor party; a girl's spa weekend or a short vacation with the guys. Savings Certificates range from casino credits for slot play to discounts on body treatments at the spa. The party starts from the moment everyone steps on board and is greeted with a complimentary glass of bubbly. Ladies can indulge in unique and exotic spa treatments while the men try their luck at the casino or vice versa. The party continues into the wee hours of the morning at the White Hot party.

Family Fun Norwegian Sky offers Freestyle family fun for children of all ages, and parents can enjoy the ship with extended Kids Crew hours. The Kid's Korner features areas for arts and crafts, movies and computers. The Zone serves as a hip place for teens ages 13 to 17 to hang out, complete with video games, a jukebox, foosball table and air hockey. By night, The Zone turns into a teen disco and bar serving non-alcoholic drinks. Splashes Kid's Pool is just right for pint-size splashing and playing and features a waterfall and a children's hot tub. In addition, the popular Wii is available for play. Savings Certificates include discounted family portraits; complimentary kid's bingo; and internet minutes for the Facebooking teen in the family.

Spa and Casino Lovers Guests looking for a relaxing vacation will find the Body Waves Spa the perfect place to unwind with unique spa treatments reflecting the beauty, spirit and traditions of rejuvenation from around the world. Guests will find everything from the traditional to the exotic in spa and salon treatments. In addition, aerobics, spinning and exercise classes are also available in the ship's fitness center.

The Sky Club Casino which features Blackjack, Roulette, 3-Card Poker, Texas Hold 'Em and Craps. For slot players, there are more than 160 new video and traditional slot machines. The ship also features less traditional games including Pai-Gow Poker, Pai-Gow Tiles and Mini Baccarat, on request. Casino and gaming Savings Certificates include various casino credits and complimentary bingo.

Norwegian Sky's three- and four-day Bahamas sailings departing from Miami start at just $159 per person, per day. Norwegian Sky departs Miami on Mondays sailing four-day short vacation Bahamas cruises with full-day stops in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island in the Bahamas. On Fridays, the ship sails three-day long weekend getaway Bahamas cruises, 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.

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10-7-09 Bill Clinton Visits Royal Caribbean's Private Beach at Labadee Royal Caribbean's CEO, Richard Fain, has a story and pictures of himself hosting former President Bill Clinton at the private Royal Caribbean beach Labadee on Haiti.

Last Friday (Oct. 2, 2009), Royal Caribbean executives were visiting the private beach for Royal Caribbean passengers when they heard Bill Clinton was leading a delegation in Haiti as part of his UN Mandate as special envoy to Haiti. They extended the invitation and Bill accepted to come and see the private beach facility which will be a big part of each cruise on Oasis of the Seas. He originally agreed to spend one hour and ended up staying for two and a half.

Richard Fain describes the President as a "fascinating raconteur" and said he was charming and forthcoming. He expressed a real interest in the tourism industry, not only for Haiti but also for the United States. He also present Fain with a soapstone he found in anartisan's shop when he heard Richard's wife collects frog figures.

Royal Caribbean is one of the top U.S. investors in tuorism for Haiti which is generally such a poor nation that most tourists avoid it. It is one half of the island Hispaniola which is the second largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba. Dominican Republic, the other half of the island, is in similar economic circumstances but cruise ships have started visiting there more regularly lately. I have been there (Paul Motter, ed.) and I found it to be a very satisfying destination.

President Clinton did not try the roller coaster or the zip line at Labadee, but he did admire the new pier which will accomodate Oasis for no tendering, the dining facilities and the newly renovated beach area. Oasis will stop at Labadee for a day on every cruise it makes, east and West Caribbean.

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10-7-09 Seabourn Reports Record Booking Volume for Last Three Months The Yachts of Seabourn reported that booking volumes for 2010 cruises continued to set records through the three-month period ending September 30. The line's four intimate, ultra luxury vessels are booked at full capacity through 2009 and advance bookings for 2010 during the three-month period are more than double the previous year's pace.

Pamela C. Conover, Seabourn's president and CEO, credited two major factors for the surging activity. "The press, the public and the travel agency community have all eagerly responded to the launch of Seabourn Odyssey," she said. "The combination of the rave reviews for our newest ultra luxury yacht and our Yachting Collection Savings promotion has generated excitement both among our loyal repeat guests and from new travelers who are trying us for the first time."

Seabourn Odyssey debuted in June and was immediately hailed as "a game-changer" for the luxury cruising segment. It was the first new vessel to enter the segment in over six years, and, at 450 guests, is also the most intimate new vessel planned by any major cruise company. Two more new Seabourn yachts are on the way. Seabourn Sojourn will launch next June in England, and a third will debut in 2011.

Seabourn responded to last year's economic downturn by introducing Yachting Collection Savings of up to 65 percent off brochure fares, resulting in historically low prices for the all-inclusive, ultra luxury segment of the industry. The simple, easily understood offers have appealed to travel agents and consumers, and expanded the line's market penetration at a time when its capacity is also expanding dramatically. Yachting Collection Savings have now been extended through Seabourn's 2010 European season, offering unprecedented values for its top-rated cruise vacations, with fares for seven-day European voyages starting from $2,799 per person, based on double occupancy.

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10-5-09 It's Over for Antigua Six, Five Plead Guilty Five of the six Carnival passengers arrested in Antigua pleaded guilty Saturday to fighting with plainclothes police officers after disputing a $100 cab fare during a cruise ship stopover. Prosecutors dropped charges against a sixth tourist. All six were sailing on the Carnival Victory and were from New York City.

The six were free on bail during the trial, which lasted nearly a month. Prosecutors and defense attorneys reached a deal Saturday after nearly two hours of negotiations.

The tourists from Brooklyn are to be sentenced Monday for their guilty pleas to different charges, among them beating a female police officer and using indecent language. Defense attorney Steadroy Benjamin said he was satisfied the deal was reached once the trial was under way because it gave everyone an opportunity to hear evidence from both sides. Those offenses are considered minor and usually carry a fine.

Police officers, who were not wearing uniforms at the time of the incident, testified the tourists hit them, bit them and pulled their hair. The cab driver had driven the group to the police station when the six refused to pay a $100 fare.

One of the tourists, Shoshannah Henry, testified she felt the amount was twice what they believed was owed. She also accused the officers of starting the fight Sept. 4 and said she thought police were going to kill them. Two sisters who pleaded guilty were crying during the proceedings.

Prosecutors presented dozens of pictures that showed the officers' injuries, including one of a bite wound that required stitches.

Court officials delayed at least a dozen other cases to expedite the trial of the Americans, who stayed with local residents who volunteered to house them. Carnival Cruise Lines has informed Antigua they will stop calling at the island, which is considered one of the more elite and pricier islands in the Caribbean.

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