News Archive - September 2000

back to archive listing

9-29-00 Weekend Cruise News A 40-foot wave slammed into P&O's flagship, Oriana, slightly injuring three people. The Oriana was sailing from New York to Southampton when a force ten gale hit. After the wave smashed windows and flooded cabins, three passengers were injured by glass and another four people were treated for shock. Repairs were made at sea and Oriana continues her voyage to Southampton.

Princess Cruises has announced that Crown Princess will leave the cruise line in 2002 to join Aida Cruises, a German company. The 1,590-passenger ship entered service in 1990 as sister ship to the popular Regal Princess. This winter, she will offer 10-day Panama Canal sailings round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale, followed by 10-day Classic Scandinavia and Baltic Heritage cruises round-trip from Copenhagen during the summer. After her final Canada/New England season next fall, she will round out her Princess service with several Exotic sailings to Hawaii in November and December 2001. Aida Cruises is part of P&O Cruises, which also owns Princess.

Silversea's third vessel, the 28,258 grt , 382 passenger Silver Shadow has completed its maiden voyage in the Mediterranean. Dramatic inaugural ceremonies in Civitavecchia, the Port of Rome took place September 14. Fireworks lit up the sky while the Rome Philharmonic Orchestra played in celebration of the new vessel. Godmother Janet Burke is a former employee of Silversea who had to step down due to a rare form of bone cancer. Burke is now in remission and has established the Janet Burke/Silversea Endowment to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

The Queen Mary 2, which will be the world's largest cruise ship at 150,000 grt, has been delayed to 2004. Final arrangements between Cunard and Chantiers de l'Atlantique are still underway. A special meeting of steamship enthusiasts will take place on board the original Queen Mary, now a hotel and museum in Long Beach, California, October 6-8 at which time more details of the new Queen Mary will be presented by marine architect Stephen Payne.

Cruise West has announced a unique Alaska itinerary for its new ship, the Spirit of Oceanus. On June 8 and June 28, 2001, Spirit of Oceanus will be the first small ship to link the Inside Passage with Prince William Sound. Departing Whittier, ports of Call will be Cordova, Sitka, Juneau, Tracy Arm & Frederick Sound, Petersburg, Metlakatla and Misty Fjords, Princes Rupert and cruising the British Columbia coast to Victoria with a transfer to Seattle. The 4,200 grt 114 passenger Spirit of Oceanus is the former Renaissance Five built in 1991.

The World of ResidenSea, the first ship to sell private apartments, will have a lavish spa operated by Clinique La Prairie. The renowned Swiss spa, health and beauty clinic, is known for its preventive, healing, anti-aging and beauty regime treatments. Clinique La Prairie will be responsible for the management and operation of the luxurious and exclusive spa, health and fitness center and hair and beauty salon on board . The ship itself will be operated by Silversea Cruises. All apartments on board have been sold or reserved and range in price from $2,000,000 to $6,840,000. There will also be some regular passenger cabins available on all sailings.

Ocean Princess has scored a perfect 100 on its semi-annual sanitation inspection which took place in Ketchikan, Alaska. The Center for Disease Control directs the inspection of vessels sailing from U.S. Ports. Service areas and onboard systems including kitchen galleys, refrigeration units, food storage and preparation areas, pools and spas, as well as the ship's air conditioning system and water processing facilities are included in the comprehensive inspections. Of the other ships recently expected Carnival's Elation received the next highest score of 98.

Holland America Line has installed the prototype of a new tender transfer system on board the Statendam. Called the Shore Tender Accessibility Project, the system enables safe, comfortable transfer between ship, tender and pier for passengers in wheelchairs. The wheelchair is locked into place on a lift that runs on an inclined track from the top of the gangway to the tender. A ramp on the tender allows the chair to be wheeled directly aboard the locked into place atop a specially designed scissors-lift which can be raised to allow a clear view through the tender's window. The successful system will be added to all ships of the fleet during their scheduled drydock.

Royal Caribbean has developed new Bahamas shore excursions for passengers on Sovereign of the Seas commencing this October, and Majesty of the Seas from mid-November. A 3 � hour America's Cup Challenge tour lets passengers experience top class racing on board yachts of the former Team New Zealand. Participants will have an opportunity to sail the yacht, grind a winch, trim a sail or just sit back and enjoy. The other new tours feature the spectacular Atlantis Resort. Tour Nassau harbor and visit the recreation of mythical Atlantis at the unique resort. This tour can be combined with a round of golf at the Ocean Club, tennis at the Atlantis Sports Center or a beach day at the resort's Cove Beach. Back to Top

9-27-00 Tropicale Moves to 2- & 3-day Cruises Carnival Cruise Line has announced that effective February, 2001, the 1,022-passenger Tropicale will home port in Port Canaveral, where it will sail on year-round two- and three-day cruises. The two day sailing will call in Freeport while three-day voyages visit both Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas. Tropicale joins Carnival's Fantasy, which presently sails on three- and four-day Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral. Prices for the Tropicale's two-day cruises begin at $179 per person; three-day voyages start at $239 per person. The Tropicale currently operates four- and five-day cruises from Tampa and will continue that program through the departure of Nov. 9, 2000. (The Jubilee will then take over this itinerary.) Reservations and additional information may be obtained from local travel agents. Back to Top

9-26-00 A Life Ring For Premier Passengers Princess is keeping the vacations of Premier Cruises' passengers afloat by offering them a reduced fare on select fall 2000 Caribbean and Exotic sailings. Cruisers who were booked and deposited to sail with Premier will receive a special discount equaling their Premier deposit on more than 20 different Princess voyages, including select holiday sailings. As much as $200 per person will be credited on any one of 15 Southern Caribbean sailings aboard Dawn Princess and Ocean Princess. The 7-day cruises round-trip from San Juan depart on October 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29; November 11, 12, 25 and 26; December 9, 10, 16, 17, 30 and 31. A seven-day Western Caribbean cruise round-trip from Fort Lauderdale aboard Sea Princess on October 28 is also available to Premier passengers.

In addition, Premier passengers who paid deposits up to $400 per person can have that amount applied to numerous 12-, 14- and 15-day Princess Exotic sailings to the Orient, Australia/New Zealand, and South America aboard Regal Princess and Royal Princess. Departure dates for these seven voyages are October 7, November 22 and 25, and December 6, 9, 20 and 23. Including the special offer, cruise-only fares begin at $299 per person on select sailings, based on double occupancy. All bookings must be made by October 15, 2000. Back to Top

9-25-00 Renaissance to Sail Down Under Renaissance Cruises has announced today that it will launch 15-day cruises to Australia and New Zealand aboard the new R5. Beginning November, 2001, the 684-passenger ship will visit Sydney and Melbourne, Australia; Tasmania; Dunedin, Christchurch, Willington, Napier, Taurangga and Auckland, New Zealand. The cruise-only rates begin at $1,999 per person, double occupancy; low-cost air add-ons are available. Reservations may be obtained from travel agents. Back to Top

9-23-00 SeaBreeze Crew Update For our continuing coverage of developments with Premier Cruises (see list of news stories above), CruiseMates Consumer Affairs Advocate, Tim Rubacky has been in contact with Maria Torriero, Manager of Human Resources at International Shipping Partners (ISP), the firm that managed the fleet operations for Premier Cruises. Tim reports: "She was kind enough to answer my queries in regards to the crew and provide us with an update. According to Ms Torriero, ISP is hard at work repatriating all crew members and I have recieved assurances that they will be paid up until the date they sign off the vessel. Additonally, Ms Torriero further clarified that ISP is acting on behalf of ALL crew members, not just those employed by ISP." Back to Top

9-22-00 Weekend Cruise News There have been two important announcements from Renaissance Cruises. The line has altered their "No Kids" policy changing the minimum age for passengers from 18 to 13 as of October 15. The line also announced that it will expand its cruising regions to include Australia and New Zealand in November 2001. R5 will position from Singapore to Sydney on an 18 day cruise followed by a season of 15-day cruises between Sydney and Auckland. Ports of call will be Melbourne, Australia; Hobart, Tasmania; Port Chalmers (Dunedin), Lyttelton, (Christchurch), Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, (Rotorua) and Auckland, New Zealand. Prices for the new cruise vacations start from $1,999 per person.

Carnival Cruise Line's new "Fun Ship Dollars" gift certificates are now available through any travel agent or Carnival's special promotions desk. The certificates, which come in denominations of $25, $50, $100 and $500, can be applied toward the purchase of a Carnival cruise or used as a shipboard credit. Designed as a new gift giving idea, the certificates are valid for two years from date of purchase and there is no limit to the number of certificates that can be applied toward the purchase of a cruise.

Holland America Tours is the new name of Grey Line of Alaska. This is the Alaska land tour division of Holland America/Westours Inc.. The Alaska land-only product brochure will feature exciting, new options, which can be customized to include a multitude of itineraries into the "Great Land." These products are designed for the independent traveler seeking adventurous vacations across all of Alaska, to include Denali National Park, the Yukon, and other destinations.

Cape Canaveral Cruise Line, which operated the Dolphin IV out of Port Canaveral sine 1996 has ceased all operations. Officials from Cape Canaveral state they are seeking to re-organize and are attempting to re-book affected passengers on other lines.

Royal Caribbean and First Choice Vacations of the U.K. have moved the start date for their new cruise line in Europe to November 2001. First ship for the new venture will be the Viking Serenade to be renamed Viking of the Seas.

Online photo magazine invites beginner and intermediate photographers to join the first ever Digital-Photography Workshop-At-Sea. The 8-day cruise on board Carnival Victory sails December 3 from Miami for San Juan, St. Croix and St. Thomas. Participants will enjoy lectures, demonstrations and hand-on photo equipment sessions as well as taking photos which will be critiqued and uploaded to their online photo albums.

In celebration of its "World's Best Large Cruise Line" award from the readers of Travel& Leisure, Crystal Cruises has announced an online sweepstakes with a chance to win summer Alaska cruise for two aboard the Crystal Harmony. The winner will be announced January 2, 2001. The sweepstakes entry form can be found on the Crystal Cruises' website at

The governments of Alaska and California are watching the cruise Industry carefully. Alaska Governor Tony Knowles struck out at the cruise ship industry Thursday saying that ships were violating state and federal pollution standards with material dumped into Alaskan waters. Cruise Line members of the North West Cruise Ship Association were disappointed that the Governor did not wait until final test results were in before making a public statement. There are a few weeks left in the Alaska cruise season at the end of which testing of waste water and emissions will be complete and ready for study. In California, an inter-agency Cruise Ship Environmental Task force is being created to evaluate the environmental practices and impact of cruise ships in California.

Holland America Line's Maasdam has won the "Environmental Life-Buoy" Award from the Port of Stockholm in recognition of the ship's recycling program. The sanitation department on board worked with the Port of Stockholm to develop a recycling program that would see the waste separated on board the ship disposed of appropriately once ashore. Holland America implemented a comprehensive recycling program in 1993.

The Port of Vancouver celebrated a record one million cruise passengers last Sunday. It is the first year that cruise passenger numbers have exceeded the one million mark. The record was set with Regal Princess, Vision of the Seas and Ryndam in port that day. Passengers received a commemorative card in recognition of the record setting event. Construction continues on the new pier at Canada Place which will improve passenger handling facilities as well as allow a third megaship to dock at the downtown pier.

CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) reports that while Internet use has risen dramatically amongst consumers and that more and more consumers are using the internet to research their vacations, only two percent of past cruisers report booking their cruises over the internet. Conversely, 27 percent of cruisers reported booking airline tickets, 21 percent hotels, and 16 percent car rentals.

Immense interest is being shown in the Cuba Cruise Corporation. The company has had to charter larger, better appointed ships for the new service which will now commence Saturday November 18, 2000 with a 4-night cruise from Nassau to Havana. The 9,500 grt M.S. Funchal will start the season November 18 through December 10. The 6,000 grt M.V. Arion will enter service on December 24th and operate the weekly 4 and 5 day cruises indefinitely.

Celebrity has announced that Zenith will operate from Tampa in the 2001- 2002 winter season. It is the first time Celebrity has sailed regularly from the Gulf of Mexico. Zenith will sail 7-night Western Caribbean cruises to Key West, the Mexican ports of Costa Maya and Cozumel as well as Grand Cayman commencing November 11, 2001. Back to Top

9-22-00 Update on Premier Cruises The number of claims against the SeaBreeze has risen to 31 of which only one has been settled. The remaining 30 include 26 caveat releases which must be settled before the ship will be allowed to leave port. Conditions on board the ship are deteriorating with air conditioning not working and garbage piling up. Crew members have told the press that they are reaching their limits and just want to go home. CruiseMates will continue to follow up in this story and has requested information and answers from DLJ and the ship's management firm, International Shipping Partners Back to Top

9-21-00 Update on Premier Cruises A claims process is being developed for those affected by the collapse of Premier Cruises. Greenwich Insurance Company and NAC Reinsurance Corporation, holders of the $15 million surety bond which covers claimants, will have details finalized by September 21. This information will be posted on the Premier Cruises page of the The Federal Maritime Commission's web site at The Commission will assist claimants but does not process claims. Those passengers who paid by credit card should contact the card company with these details.

Meanwhile SeaBreeze remains in Halifax, Nova Scotia a week after being arrested. The vessel will not be allowed to leave until 17 claims for non-payment of goods and services are satisfied. Crew members have issued an arrest warrant against the ship's financial backers to ensure they will be paid ahead of other creditors. About 80 of the 450 crew members still on board the vessel were paid back wages and given plane tickets home on Wedensday. Back to Top

9-20-00 New Ships for Radisson Following the floating out of Seven Seas Mariner at Chantiers de L'Atlantique earlier this month, Radisson has announced that its next ship, Seven Seas Voyager will be built at T. Mariotti yard in Italy. Voyager will combine features of Radisson's Navigator and Mariner and will be under 50,000 grt carrying around 700 passengers. Seven Seas Mariner is the first all-suite, all-balcony vessel and is scheduled to debut in March 2001 while Seven Seas Voyager is expected to sail in March 2003. Back to Top

9-19-00 Update on Premier Cruises It is expected that Premier Cruises' Big Red Boat I, Big Red Boat III, Rembrandt and SeaBreeze will be sold by principal creditor, Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette. Big Red Boat II has been reclaimed by owners Oceanic Marine Ltd. who had chartered the vessel to Premier. Premier's Seawind Crown continues to sail in the Mediterranean under charter to Spanish tour operator Pallmantur. Back to Top

9-18-00 Hurricane Gordon Disrupts Sensation Carnival has announced changes in the Sensation's itineraries due to Hurricane Gordon which closed the Port of Tampa on Sunday. Sensation was due in Tampa this morning, a day late after following the storm at a safe distance back to port. Passengers are being assisted with their onward travel arrangements.

Meanwhile, passenger's on Sunday's sailing were put up in hotels overnight in Tampa and given a $100 per guest shipboard credit for this week's cruise. Sensation is scheduled to sail at 4:00pm Monday and will spend Tuesday in Key West from 10am to 3:30pm instead of calling at Grand Cayman. On Wednesday Sensation arrives in Playa del Carmen 3 1/2 hours late at 12 noon to drop off passengers for shore excursions, then arrive in Cozumel at 1:30pm and sail at midnight, giving passengers a longer time in port than originally scheduled. Thursday's sea day will be followed by a port call in New Orleans, Friday from 9am-6pm and Sensation arrives back in Tampa on Sunday at 8am following a sea day on Saturday. Back to Top

9-14-00 Premier Ships Seized

Premier Cruise CEO says Big Red Boats seized for debt.

Premier Cruise Lines has released an official statement regarding the disposition of the company.

Premier CEO Bruce Nierenberg explained that the US Investment Bank of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jennrette (DLJ) had seized four of the company's vessels for non payment of mortgages. DLJ holds 80% of the equity in Premier decided to halt operations today. This comes on the heels of DLJ telling Premier that it was committed and that the companies of Big Red Boats had a future.

All employees were sent home and told that the company would honor current paychecks. According to trade publication CruzWeek, several of Premier's executives were in the company of armed guards due to numerous threats made against them.

Currently, Premier's fleet of ships is laid up in several foreign ports and the company states that passengers will be repatriated at company expense.

BRB I was seized in Nassau and 600 passengers are awaiting transport home. BRB II is enroute back to NYC and is expected to arrive Saturday. BRB III was seized in Cozumel, Mexico. it is reported that approximately 300 passengers are awaiting transport. SeaBreeze was seized in Halifax, Nova Scotia with approximately 350 passengers stranded. Rembrandt was also seized in Halifax and her 850 passengers are reportedly being repatriated back to NYC on the BRB II

Passengers on the Rembrandt and SeaBreeze were given only a few moments notice to pack and prepare to disembark the ships. Passengers were then taken to a location to wait for further news on arrangements being made for them.

At this time it is unknown whether Premier will file for Chapter 7 (Liquidation) or Chapter 11 (Reorganization) Bankruptcy but a filing is expected by tomorrow at the latest.

It is my opinion that there is little, if anything that can be salvaged of this company as their name and reputation have been tarnished beyond repair. Passengers holding reservations should contact their Travel Agents and Credit Card Companies immediately. Passengers who paid by cash or check should contact the US Federal Maritime Commission. Those countless passengers who are holding "Free" Future Cruise Certificates have little hope of recouping any losses.

Several Cruise Lines have already informed their Travel Agent partners that they will do whatever they can to reaccomodate affected Premier passengers.

Tim Rubacky Consumer Affairs Editor, CruiseMates.Com Back to Top

9-14-00 Premier Shut Down It has been confirmed that Premier Cruise Lines has shut down. Their offices are now closed and phones are not being answered. Back to Top

9-13-00 Premier about to abandon ship. Reports are coming in the Premier is about to "abandon ship." According to these reports, DLJ, the chief bondholder is pulling the plug, passengers on Big Red Boat I are being offloaded and sent to the airport, BRB II/Edinburgh Castle is about to return to New York, and crew are being told that Premier's mortgage company has foreclosed on four of the company's ships. Back to Top

9-13-00 Princess Cruises Introduces "Personal Choice Dining" In yet another bold and innovative move away from regimentation, Princess Cruises has unveiled "Personal Choice Dining" which will debut aboard the Grand Princess in January and Golden Princess in May.

Personal Choice Dining features new restaurant-style seating which enables passengers to dine when and with whom they wish, just as they would be able to do at a shoreside restaurant at home. However the traditional cruise dining option where passengers have the same dining time, waiter and tablemates each evening will be available, as well.

The new restaurant-style option will be offered in two of the ships' three main dining rooms, enabling passengers to dine at any table with anyone of their choosing at any time, during expanded dining hours of 5:30 pm to midnight. A special dining desk will be open throughout the day where passengers can make their dinner reservations, and passengers will also be able to dine without reservations at their leisure. A wide variety of table configurations will allow passengers to join new-found friends or dine at an intimate table for two, whatever they prefer. Each of these dining rooms will be organized to accommodate passengers sharing the same dining time, eliminating the chaos of some open seating designs, where passengers just sitting down to a meal may find themselves seated at a table next to other guests who are just finishing theirs.

The third dining room will maintain the traditional first and second seating dining experience, with an assigned seating time, waiter and tablemates throughout the cruise. Personal Choice Dining will be introduced across the entire Princess Cruises fleet by the end of 2001. Back to Top

9-12-00 New 2001 Greek Island Itineraries Royal Olympic Cruises has announced its 2001 Mediterranean and Aegean cruise schedule, including itineraries of its newest ship, Olympic Explorer, which will debut next May. A sister ship to the Olympic Voyager (launched in June, 2000), the vessel will have a unique Monolull design which allows for a 27-knot speed capability. Both 836-passenger vessels can offer exotic ports at greater distances from each other.

From May and October, 2001 Royal Olympic's cruise schedule is:

  • Olympic Explorer, 7 day Grand Aegean & Adriatic Cruises, roundtrip from either Venice or Athens, visiting Italy, the Greek Isles, Turkey and Dubrovnik
  • Olympic Voyager, 7-day/three continent Grand Cruises, between May & November, roundtrip from Athens, visiting the Greek Isles, Egypt, Israel and Turkey.
  • Stella Solaris, 7 day Golden Fleece Cruises (April to October), roundtrip from Athens, visiting the Greek Isles and Turkey
  • Stella Oceanis, 7 day Cretan Discovery Cruises (May to October), roundtrip from Heraklion, Crete, visiting 11 ports in the Greek Isles and Turkey
  • Triton, 7 day Mediterranean Dream Cruises (May to October) roundtrip from Rome, visiting Italy, the Greek Islands and Turkey;
  • Olympic Countess & World Renaissance (March to November) from Athens to Greek Isles and Turkey

Early booking discounts with savings of 25-40% are available for bookings made 120 days prior to departure. Royal Olympic also offers discounted air add-ons from 75 U.S. gateway cities and pre- and post-cruise hotel stays in Athens, Venice, Rome and Heraklion. Reservations are available from travel agents. Back to Top

9-8-00 Cruise News Princess Cruises newest ship, Golden Princess, reached an important milestone in her construction last week as she met the sea for the first time during her float out. Some 40 million gallons of water flowed into the building dock where the 109,000-ton vessel has been since her keel was laid last January. Scheduled to debut in May 16, 2001, Golden Princess is sister ship to Grand Princess and will be based in Europe next summer, taking over Grand's 12-day Itinerary between Istanbul and Barcelona. The ship will then move to the Caribbean, where she will begin Eastern Caribbean sailings in fall, 2001.

Turkish police barred hundreds of American gay passengers from visiting the archaeological ruin of Ephesus near the port of Kusadasi. Other gay passengers were not allowed off the, Royal Olympic's Olympic Voyager. The gay passengers were on a full-ship charter organized by Atlantis Events. A spokesperson for the State Department said the events were sketchy but did confirm the police actions. While Turkish officials did confirm that Turks are tolerant of gays, Atlantis' president said, "They were not allowed off the ship because they were gay.This was not a secret. There was no issue other than that. There was no inappropriate behavior or confrontation. They were tourists."

For the second Quarter, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cruise passengers. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced that the number of passengers sailing with member cruise lines increased by almost 19 percent to 1.7 million in the Second Quarter of 2000. The cruise industry has raised its expectation for year end passengers numbers to reach a record 7 million . The increase in the number of short cruises and low pricing, the best since 1980, have contributed to the increase in passenger numbers.

Cunard has announced theme cruises for 2001 on board the QE2 and Caronia. All transatlantic sailings have a special theme with an outstanding selection of personalities and entertainers related to the particular theme. Highlights of the 2001 program include many music themes. The 19th Annual Floating Jazz Festival gets underway May 19 on QE2's New York to Southampton crossing . The 13th Annual Big Bands at Sea sails June 12 and October 4, both on Eastbound QE2 crossings. The Piano Spectacular sails July 12 on QE2 from Southampton to New York. Classical Music Festival, Last Night at the Proms, sails August 29 on QE2 also on a westbound sailing. Summer Family Crossings with star family entertainers on board sail July 18 eastbound and July 24 westbound. QE2's 1st Annual Fine Arts Festival featuring representatives from various disciplines of the fine arts sails June 6, on an eastbound sailing. Visit CruiseMates new theme cruise page for a complete outline of special sailings.

World Explorer Cruises' Universe Explorer, the only ship offering 14 day, educational cruises of Alaska, will add Kodiak to its itinerary in 2001. Kodiak is the principal town on Kodiak Island, a fishing port and gateway to the Aleutian Islands. The "Land of the Ancestors" itinerary sails round trip from Vancouver calling at Metlakatla, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Seward, Kodiak, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, BC. The Universe Explorer operates the Semester at Sea the rest of the year and has the largest library afloat on board. Cruises have several scientists and teachers onboard every sailing who conduct shore excursions and give lecturers throughout the cruise.

The Silver Links Golf program on board the Silversea Cruises fleet, takes golfers to some of the most spectacular professional courses in the world. The optional program is offered on board selected sailings. All your golfing needs and transportation are taken care of in each port. New for 2001 will be lessons from an on board golf pro during the cruise. Some of the outstanding and unusual courses offered by the program include St. Andrews and Carnoustie in Scotland; The K Club, Portmarnock and Royal Dublin in Dublin, Ireland; New South Wales, The Royal Melbourne, Kingston Beach, Christchurch and Mr. Maunganui in Australia and New Zealand; Royal Dar es Salaam, Casablanca; Fregate Golf Club, Marseille, France, Club de Golf San Antem, Palma de Mallorca Spain; The English Turn Golf Club, New Orleans; Club de Golf Pierre Marquez, Acapulco and Torrey Pines - South, San Diego. Back to Top

9-8-00 Norwegian Majesty Converted To "Freestyle" Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) converted the Norwegian Majesty to Freestyle Cruising on August 20, 2000, making it the second ship in NCL's fleet to adopt its new cruise concept. Freestyle Cruising mainly affects dining facilities, hours of service and the number of options -- open seating dining in the main restaurant and Le Bistro (open at 5:30 p.m. to closing); Cafe Royal (6:00 to 1:00 a.m.) and the Royal Observatory (6:00 to 9:30 p.m.). The ship's new dress code is 'resort casual' eliminating the ship-wide "formal nights." Passengers who wish to dress in formal attire during the one optional formal night are welcomed to do so at specific restaurants. NCL has increased the number of crew members by 60 aboard the Norwegian Majesty to offer passengers a higher crew-to-guest ratio. The recommended gratuities are automatically added to each passenger's on board account, with the option to add to or deduct from the gratuity, depending on their personal experience. And, instead of disembarking from the ship the moment it docks the last morning, passengers may depart the ship at their leisure.

NCL says it intends to extend Freestyle Cruising to all of its ships by summer, 2001. Back to Top

9-7-00 New Carnival Golf Program Carnival Cruise Line has announced a new golf program for passengers that features the chance to play top courses and personalized instruction aboard ship and during golf excursions. The program is available on all 15 "Fun Ships" and includes courses in the Caribbean, Mexico, the Bahamas and the Canadian Maritimes. All-inclusive golf excursions include golf pro escort, priority tee times, round-trip transportation between ship and course, and cart and green fees. Equipment rental, including top-of-the-line Taylor Made clubs and Adidas golf shoes, is also available. A variety of golfing accessories such as golf balls, gloves and apparel are available for purchase, as well.Shipboard lessons, which are available in 30- or 60-minute increments, are held at a covered and lighted "practice range," which protects golfers from the elements and allows lessons to be conducted both during the day and at night. Certified instruction is complemented by state-of-the-art "V1" teaching computers, which feature side-by-side comparisons with top tour players and sophisticated video analysis.packages, including professional instruction, begin at $80 per person for nine holes and $160 per person for 18 holes. Professional on-board lessons range in price from $25 for a "swing check" to $80 for a complete one-hour video analysis with an instructor.Course information is available by visiting or calling 1-800-324-1106    Back to Top

9-5-00 New Coastal Cruise Line Delta Queen Coastal Voyages debuts May 5, 2001, with a destination-focused cruise concept that provides passengers the opportunity to explore in depth the heritage and attractions of North America's coastal cities and towns. The company's new 226-passenger ships, the cv Cape May Light and cv Cape Cod Light, are named for historic lighthouses and designed to resemble the classic coastal packet ships of the late 1800s. Delta Queen has reservations now open for nine inaugural itineraries featuring the Great Lakes, Canadian Maritime Provinces and the eastern coastline of the United States.

Delta Queen Coastal Voyages' itineraries: The Charms of the Chesapeake Bay �7-night voyage between Norfolk, Va., and Philadelphia, Pa., featuring a cruise through the world's largest Naval Installation in Norfolk; colonial days in Jamestown and Williamsburg, Va.; historic Cambridge and St. Michaels, Md., Alexandria, Va.; American's capital, Washington, D.C.; George Washington's Mount Vernon, Va.; Annapolis, Md., home of the U.S. Naval Academy; Baltimore's Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry.Departures: May 5 and 19, June 2, Oct. 27 and Nov. 10, 2001. Philadelphia to Norfolk departures with itineraries in reverse order: May 12 and 26, Oct. 20 and Nov. 3, 2001. Prices from $2,585 per person, double occupancy.

Exploring the Coastal Islands of New England � 7-night voyage between Philadelphia, Pa., and Providence, R.I., highlighted by two days in New York City; the maritime history of New London and Mystic, Conn.; a day each in Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and Fall River, Mass.; and sightseeing in Newport, R.I. Departures: June 9 and Aug. 4. Providence to Philadelphia departures with itineraries in reverse order: Oct. 6 and 13. Prices from $2,585 per person, double occupancy.

New England Coastal Adventure � 7-night voyage between Providence, R.I., and Portland, Me., to the whaling town of Fall River, Mass.; Newport, R.I.'s Gilded Age; famous Martha's Vineyard, Provincetown and Plymouth Rock, Mass.; two days of Revolutionary War experiences including the Freedom Trail in Boston, Mass.; America's first seaport, Gloucester, Mass.; witching history in Salem, Mass.; colonial Portsmouth, N.H.; and Kennebunkport, Me., trolleys. Departures: June 16, Aug. 11 and Sept. 22. Portland to Providence departures with itineraries in reverse order: Sept. 1, 15 and 29. Prices from $2,585 per person, double occupancy.

Journey North through Maine and Canada � 7-night voyage between Portland, Me., and Halifax, Nova Scotia, highlighted by the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Me.; Penobscot Bay from atop Mount Battie in Camden, Me.; the seaport of Rockland, Me.; Reversing Falls, where the river's flow is pushed backward by the ocean tides; Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, Me.; British Loyalist history in Saint John, New Brunswick; Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and the tale of the Evangeline Trail; and Peggy's Cove in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Departures: June 23 and Aug. 18. Halifax to Portland departures with itineraries in reverse order: Aug. 25 and Sept. 8. Prices from $2,885 per person, double occupancy.

Grand Voyage of Discovery North � 14-night voyage between Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Buffalo, N.Y., featuring the old Clock Tower and St. Paul's Church in Halifax; Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; Celtic culture in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia; Cape Breton Island and the seaside Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia; Green Gables House in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; the fishing peninsula of Gaspe, Quebec; 400-year-old Tadoussac, Quebec; the song of the humpback whales in the Saguenay fjord; old-world architecture in Quebec City, Quebec; the French and British heritage of Montreal, Quebec; cruising the St. Lawrence Seaway to Prescott and Ottawa, Ontario; the pink granite Thousand Islands, Ontario; Royal Botanical Gardens in Toronto, Ontario; Welland Canal; and Niagara Falls, the second-largest falls on Earth. Departure: June 30. Buffalo to Halifax departure with itinerary in reverse order: Aug. 25. Prices from $5,585 per person, double occupancy.

A Passage Through Canada � 7-night voyage between Quebec City, Quebec, and Buffalo, N.Y., highlighted by the Ch�teau Frontenac in French Quebec; the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montreal and Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec; the St. Lawrence Seaway; vestiges of the War of 1812 in Prescott, Ontario; the neo-Gothic Parliament Buildings and Art Deco Supreme Court building in Ottawa, Ontario; the Thousand Islands; the Harborfront, Queen's Park and Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario; Welland Canal; and Niagara Falls. Departures: July 21, Aug. 4 and 18. Buffalo to Quebec City departures with itineraries in reverse order: July 14 and 28, and Aug. 11. Prices from $2,985 per person, double occupancy.

New England's Coastal Colors � 7-night voyage beginning and ending in Providence, R.I., highlighted by the New London Ledge Light in New London, Conn., and the nearby U.S.S. Nautilus submarine; a whaling ship in Mystic, Conn.; New York, N.Y., the Big Apple; New York's Hudson River at the height of autumn; the legend of Rip Van Winkle; military history in West Point, N.Y.; the Franklin D. Roosevelt home near Kingston, N.Y.; the old whaling center of Greenport, N.Y.; saltbox houses and sea captains' mansions in Sag Harbor, N.Y.; the Marine Museum in Fall River, Mass.; and mansions of the Gilded Age in Newport, R.I. Departures: Sept. 8, 15, 22 and 29; and Oct. 6. Prices from $2,585 per person, double occupancy.

Grand Voyage of Discovery South � 14-night voyage between Philadelphia, Pa., and Charleston, S.C., featuring the National Aquarium and Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md.; the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; 18th-century mansions in Cambridge, Md.; Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and Hooper Straight Lighthouse in St. Michaels, Md.; historic Alexandria, Va.; Washington, D.C., site of the Smithsonian Museum; George Washington's Mt. Vernon, Va.; the maritime heritage of Norfolk, Va.; living colonial history in Jamestown and Williamsburg, Va.; the fishing mecca of Morehead City, N.C.; the artifacts of Blackbeard in Beaufort, N.C.; antebellum life and the U.S.S. North Carolina battleship in Wilmington, N.C.; Savannah, Brunswick, St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island, Ga. Departures: Oct. 13 and Nov. 17. Prices from $3,985 per person, double occupancy.

Grand Antebellum Adventure � 7-night voyage beginning and ending in Charleston, S.CO., featuring historic homes and Civil War history in Wilmington, N.C.; the southern charm of Beaufort, S.C.; shrimp boats in the harbor at Brunswick, Ga.; the lifestyle of the rich and famous on Jekyll Island, Ga.; the 1736 Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island, Ga.; the Riverwalk and Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, Fla.; a star-shaped fortress and the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Fla.; and antebellum mansions in Savannah, Ga. Departures: Oct. 27; Nov. 3, 10, 17 and 24; Dec. 1 and 8. Prices from $2,185, per person, double occupancy.

An "Early Booking Bonus" offering a savings of $800 per couple on 7-night vacations and $1,600 per couple on 14-night vacations, applies to cruises booked 6 months or more in advance, subject to certain restrictions. Fares include regularly scheduled shore excursions at each port, with optional excursions also available. For Delta Queen Coastal Voyages reservations, contact your travel agent. To request a brochure and information, call Delta Queen Coastal Voyages toll-free at 800-846-8000 or visit the Web site at Back to Top

9-1-00 Weekend Cruise News

* Premier Cruise Lines has failed to maintain requirements for membership in the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL). The Line's membership was suspended earlier this month. Details were not given but an ICCL spokesman said Premier intends to clear up the situation and re-join the association. Premier has been struggling with financial difficulties and operational problems on board its fleet which have resulted in numerous cruise cancellations over the last few months.

* Carnival Corp., the world's biggest cruise operator, said on Monday it will buy the remaining half of Italian cruise operator Costa Crociere which it does not already own from British travel company Airtours Plc. Carnival said it expected to pay about $525 million in cash for Airtours' stake in Costa, which is headquartered in Genoa.

* News veteran Ted Koppel from ABC news, will be the special guest on board Silver Shadow's inaugural Mediterranean cruise September 15. The anchor of the Emmy Award winning late-night news show Nightline will socialize with guests and present lectures on his career interviewing international newsmakers and covering major world events. Silver Shadow debuts in Rome with Gala Celebrations featuring fireworks and the Rome Philharmonic Orchestra.

* Costa returns to the Caribbean for the 2000-2001 season with CostaVictoria and the new Costa Atlantica sailing alternating Eastern and Western itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale on Sundays. The popular CostaRomantica will be sailing from Guadeloupe on cruises not marketed in North America.

* Cruise West offers "Wildlife Safari" cruises from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, next winter., on board the Spirit of '98 and Spirit of Endeavour. The casual, small ships cruise the Sea of Cortes visiting unspoiled beaches and wilderness islands of the Baja Peninsula. A naturalist guide is on hand to introduce passengers to the flora and fauna of the region.

* Princess cruises has arranged a railroad transfer between the port of Seward and Anchorage for 2001. The five-hour tour on Alaska Railroad's own domes rail cars, features more dramatic scenery than the motor coach journey. The fare is $89, per person, one way and can be reserved at the time of cruise booking.

* Holland America Line was the highest rated premium cruise line in a recent survey of Travel & Leisure magazine subscribers. The "World's Best" awards also recognized Crystal Cruises as the best large cruise line and Silversea Cruises as the best small cruise line.

* The world's first cruise ship to offer private residences on board will also house a casino. The 40,000 GRT World of ResidenSea is scheduled for completion in early 2002 and is already 60% sold.. The casino will be operated by Century Casinos Inc. .who run the casinos on board the Silversea ships.

* Passengers visiting Punta Arenas, Chile on Celebrity's Mercury next January will have the opportunity to fly over Antarctica . The four-hour excursion on board a 737-200 will show passengers breathtaking views of sprawling glacier, valleys, mountains, frozen lakes, birds, seals and penguins from an altitude as low as 1,000 feet. Champagne, hors d'oeuvres and a gourmet lunch will be served to the 56 participants while a naturalist describes the frozen continent. The cost for the excursion is $1,295 per person. Back to Top

Recommended Articles