News Archive - September 2005

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013

9-30-05 Weekend Cruise News *** It is now official that the 112,000-ton cruise ship ordered by Carnival Corporation in September 2004 will go to Carnival Cruise Lines. The 3,006-passenger ship, to be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, is expected to enter service in spring 2008. The as-yet-unnamed vessel is a new design for the line which will include the largest spa and children's facilities in the Carnival fleet. The 17,800-square-foot spa that will encompass two forward decks and include an elaborate thermal suite and Carnival's first thalassotherapy pool. Encircling the upper level of the spa will be a winter garden that will include a ceremonial tea house. Above the 5,500-square-foot children's playroom will be a new water play area, another first for the line. The mid-ship pool, one of four on board, will be enclosed by two full decks of glass walls. The area will be covered with a two-deck-high retractable dome that can be closed during inclement weather. A large balcony will encircle the upper deck of the pool area. A new sports deck will be located aft and feature bleacher-style seating for games and other events, while a reservations-only supper club will be located atop the poolside Lido restaurant, providing diners with ocean views. Of the 1,503 staterooms, 60 percent will offer an ocean view with 60 percent of those featuring private verandahs. Carnival Corporation now has 12 new ships scheduled for delivery between January 2006 and April 2009.

*** Cruises from the port of Galveston are back on track. The port re-opened to cruise ships on Tuesday, a day later than at first anticipated. Carnival's Elation and Carnival Conquest arrived Tuesday and Rhapsody of the Seas on Wednesday. This week's cruises had to be shortened due to the late departures. Cruises are expected to depart on schedule this weekend.

*** The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will officially open in mid-April, 2006 with the arrival of Queen Mary 2 however the pier welcomed its first cruise ship last weekend. P&O Cruises' 1,800-passenger Oriana docked at a temporary facility at Pier 12 in Red Hook on Saturday as the Manhattan berths were taken by five other cruise ships. On hand to greet the vessel were city and port officials including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. The Brooklyn location offers a spectacular view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty for passengers. Local foods were available for passengers to sample while coaches and shuttle busses took them on excursions and to various attractions. Marine work is now complete at the pier but due to the size and weight of the Queen Mary 2, New York City Economic Development Corporation is undertaking additional improvements to the Brooklyn facility, including deepening the channel, reinforcing mooring points that secure the ship at the pier, and upgrading the gangway to accommodate the high volume of passengers. Princess also requested additional improvements such as a new glass exterior and canopy, landscaping, a tourist kiosk and new signage for Crown Princess' arrival in June, 2006.

*** The International Council of Cruise Lines observed World Maritime Day on Thursday. The 2005 theme of this annual event was "International Shipping - Carrier of World Trade." J. Michael Crye, ICCL president said "The cruise industry handles some of the most important cargo in the world - people. The cruise industry, along with the rest of shipping, shares its positive contribution to the global economy while adhering to international safety, security and environmental regulations." An annual study released this month by the ICCL reports that cruise lines carried 10.85 million passengers worldwide in 2004, supporting economies through spending at homeports and ports-of-call throughout the world. In the United States alone, the cruise industry had a total impact of over $30 billion of which $14.7 billion is attributed to purchases by cruise lines, passengers and crew on goods and services, port services, shoreside staffing for cruise lines and tour operators, and maintenance and repair. The industry supports 315,000 U.S. jobs.

*** Online check-in is now available fleetwide for Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises. Named "Xpress Pass" for Celebrity Cruises and "SetSail" for Royal Caribbean International, online check-in allows passengers to fill out all pertinent cruise documents before arriving at the pier, reducing pierside check-in time to less than one minute per passenger. On average, up to 70 percent of passengers are taking advantage of the new program. To check in online, visit the line's web site ( www.celebrity.com/onlinecheckin or www.royalcaribbean.com/onlinecheckin), provide the booking number, ship and sail date, then follow four steps to complete the process. Print the SetSail or XpressPass and present it, along with identification, to agents at a specially designated express counter at the pier. Currently available in English and Spanish, the system will be available in Italian, German, French and Portuguese in the near future.

*** Passengers aboard Royal Caribbean ships have a new in-stateroom TV channel - "CBS Eye on Royal Caribbean" on Channel 16. The custom-produced TV programming is hosted by CBS personalities including "Survivor's" Jeff Probst and CBS Sports' Jim Nantz. The hosts lead viewers through a lineup highlighted by features from CBS News and CBS Sports; segments from "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson"; full broadcasts of hit comedies such as "Two and a Half Men" and "The King of Queens"; special pieces, such as "Backstage on Broadway" and "Route 66" profiles of people and locales along the historic road; and entertainment coverage from "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider." The new lineup was unveiled last Monday, September 26, at a star-studded premiere party onboard Monarch of the Seas at the Port of Los Angeles.

*** A photography exhibition and a new vintage of C Wines can be found aboard the Crystal fleet:

  • Crystal Symphony will host a new photo collection from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Service (SITES) starting this November. "Documenting China: Contemporary Photography and Social Change," explores a country in transition as seen through the eyes of seven Chinese photographers. The exhibit will be onboard Crystal Symphony from November 2, 2005 to early May, 2006 when it transfers to Crystal Serenity. Onboard lectures and exhibit brochures by Smithsonian experts will complement the showing on selected sailings.
  • Crystal has just released its second vintage of C Wines, the propriety label it debuted last year. The six new 2004 California wines, three premium and three reserve Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots, feature softer tannins than the first vintage. C Wines were produced under the direction of Crystal's Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations Toni Neumeister and four of the line's head sommeliers, who were flown to Napa Valley from their shipboard or home locations in Australia, Mexico, Italy and South America. Grapes from the Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Arroyo Seco, and Santa Lucia Highlands are used to produce the wines. Crystal's second order of C Wines will deliver nearly 55,000 bottles to Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, a 15% increase over last year's vintage. C Wines are offered by the glass or by the bottle, and are showcased on the line's wine list.

*** Clipper Cruise Line Clipper's 2006 schedule explores Antarctica to above the Arctic Circle, and all points in between aboard the luxury adventure ships, Nantucket Clipper, Clipper Adventurer, Clipper Odyssey, and Yorktown Clipper. The redesigned 2006 brochure is a full-color, 156-page catalog that explains the cruises under 11 headings: "The Real Virgin Islands," "Wildlife Encounters - Central America and Baja," "Best of the Bay," "Wild Alaska, the Russian Far East, and Pacific Northwest," "Our East Coast Roots," "Scenic Canada and the Great Lakes," "Pristine Arctic and British Isles,", "Exploring Europe and the Mediterranean," "Today's Far East - Ancient and Modern," "Pure Magic - Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific Islands," and "Icescapes and Wildlife - Antarctica and the Chilean Fjords". Clipper has been offering destination focused cruises since 1982 aboard small ships that can navigate more secluded waters. The lifestyle aboard Clipper ships is informal with regional experts onboard to provide insight into the history, culture, and environment of the destination. Copies of Clipper's Small-Ship Adventures catalog and individual trip brochures are available from travel agents or by contacting Clipper Cruise Line's web site www.clippercruise.com. Back to Top

9-27-05 Grandeur Repositioned To Tampa

Royal Caribbean International has announced it has repositioned Grandeur of the Seas from the port of New Orleans to Tampa, effective Dec. 3, 2005. The ship's new itineraries are four- and five-night cruises to Costa Maya and Cozumel. She will then sail a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise beginning April 22, followed by a seven-night cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning April 29. Grandeur will leave San Juan May 6 on a six-night repositioning cruise to Baltimore, where she will begin sailing a series of alternating five-night Bermuda and nine-night Western Caribbean itineraries May 12 through Nov. 10.

Passengers already booked on Grandeur of the Seas sailings that were to depart from the Port of New Orleans have several options from which to choose to continue their cruise vacation plans between Dec. 3, 2005, and April 22, 2006.

  • One of the four- or five-night Grandeur sailings from Tampa, Splendour of the Seas sailings from Galveston or Enchantment of the Seas sailings from Fort Lauderdale. Guests who rebook on Grandeur will receive a partial refund and a $150-per-stateroom onboard credit. Guests who rebook on Splendour or Enchantment will receive a partial refund and $100-per-stateroom onboard credit;
  • Any seven-night cruise on a Vision-class vessel (Vision of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas or Legend of the Seas) at the rate paid (price protected) and a $100-per-stateroom onboard credit;
  • Any other Royal Caribbean itinerary at prevailing rates and a $100-per-stateroom onboard credit; or
  • To cancel and receive a full refund, plus a $100-per-stateroom future cruise certificate. Revised bookings will be accepted today through Nov. 1, 2005.

    For reservations consult a travel agent. Additional information may be found at www.rci.com.

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    9-23-05 Weekend Cruise News *** Ships scheduled to turnaround in Galveston this weekend are remaining at sea until Monday at the earliest. The current sailings of Rhapsody of the Seas, Elation and Carnival Conquest are being extended until the ships can get into Galveston. This will delay the departure of this weekend's sailings forcing shortened itineraries. Royal Caribbean and Carnival are closely monitoring the situation. The Tropical Storm pages on the lines' web sites are updated as more details become available. See www.royalcaribbean.com and www.carnival.com.

    Carnival Cruise Lines has announced an extensive revision of cruises for 2006. As well, the Holiday, Sensation and Ecstasy, currently on charter for hurricane relief efforts, will be completely refurbished during lengthy drydocks prior to re-entering service. Passengers booked on voyages that are being canceled as a result of the deployment changes will receive full refunds. Those who rebook any future Carnival voyage by the end of 2005 will also receive a shipboard credit:

    • New four- and five-day cruises from Port Canaveral get underway March 23, 2006 aboard Sensation. Elation will take over the program from October 23, 2006. 4 day cruises will call at Nassau and either Freeport or Half Moon Cay. Five-day cruises will call at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. (From Jan. to April and Oct. to Dec. 2007 calls five-day calls at Key West and Cozumel.)
    • New seven-day cruises from Miami from April 30 to Oct. 15, 2006 aboard Elation sail Sundays on a brand new itinerary to Half Moon Cay; St. Thomas/St. John; San Juan; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands.
    • Ecstasy will resume four- and five-day Caribbean cruising from Galveston on April 8, 2006, following its charter for hurricane relief efforts. The Elation, which replaced the Ecstasy on the four and five-day program from Galveston, will continue to operate those voyages through April 3, 2006.
    • Carnival Conquest will continue to operate seven-day Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston departing every Sunday.
    • Holiday will resume four and five-day Caribbean cruises from Mobile on March 27, 2006 following its charter for hurricane relief efforts.
    • Sensation will resume four and five-day cruising from New Orleans beginning Oct. 26, 2006, a program it operated prior to Hurricane Katrina.

    **** Norwegian Majesty will add sailings from Charleston to its Bermuda itineraries next year. Majesty will sail seven-night cruises from Charleston from October 21 to November 11, 2006, spending four days in St. George's, Bermuda. These cruises follow the ship's usual season of Bermuda sailings round-trip from Boston on Sundays. Norwegian Majesty is currently sailing from Boston to St. George's through Oct. 23, 2005 and will repeat the route from May 7 to October 1, 2006. NCL will once again deploy Norwegian Crown on Bermuda sailings in 2006 with departures from Philadelphia and New York.

    *** MSC Cruises has a number of theme sailings planned for next winter in the Caribbean. MSC Lirica and MSC Opera will sail from Ft. Lauderdale on Eastern and Western Caribbean routes:

    • Baseball: Hall of Fame players will be on board for Baseball theme cruises which feature baseball trivia games, a pitching and hitting clinic, passenger pitching accuracy test, baseball player Q & A, autograph session, and talks with the players on hitting and defensive strategies. Baseball cruises sail aboard MSC Lirica on December 10, 2005 (seven nights) and April 22, 2006 (11 nights) and aboard MSC Opera on January 28, February 18 and March 11, 2006 (seven nights).
    • Big Band: Jan. 13, March 20 and April 22, 2006 (MSC Lirica) The 15-piece Les DeMerle Big Band features vocalist Bonnie Eisele.
    • The Ink Spots: Jan. 24, 2006 (MSC Lirica) With more than 80 hit records and numerous million sellers, The Ink Spots will delight audiences with the wonderful harmonies and arrangements that have made the group a musical legend around the world.
    • Jazz: Feb. 15, 2006 (MSC Lirica) Jazz pianist Joe Augustine and award-winning singer Dana Paul will be featured on this musical cruise, lending their stylings to the music and lyrics of the "greats" of yesterday and today.

    *** One of Carnival Corporation's newbuilds has been assigned to P&O Cruises. The 116,000-ton 3,100-passenger ship will be named Ventura and will be the largest in the P&O fleet when she enters service in Spring 2008. It is the fourth Caribbean Princess-style ship to be built by Fincantieri for Carnival. It was never finalized that the ship would go to Princess Cruises, however, and this week the announcement came that the ship will sail for P&O. Itineraries for the new ship are in development.

    *** "Seabourn to a Tea" is the name of Seabourn Cruise Line's new afternoon tea service. The line has introduced a menu of more than a dozen rare estate teas gathered from around the world, blends of full-leaf teas with botanicals and fruits and unique herbal tisanes, aboard its fleet of yachts. A wooden tea chest of un-brewed teas in corked glass vials is presented to passengers so they can savor the aromas before selecting one to be brewed. A descriptive printed menu details the characteristics and ingredients of each tea, as well as its content of caffeine, antioxidants, vitamins and other elements. Among the many special selections are Bleu Peacock (a moderately caffeinated, premium blend of Chinese and fancy Formosa Oolong tea, known for its intense fruity notes, chocolaty aroma and depth of color); the scented black tea Mandarin Rose Petal (which combines aromatic rose petals and rich, tightly-twisted, black China tea leaves with delicate lychee fruit essence); as well as a variety of green teas, black teas and tisanes - herbal and fruit blends that do not contain tea leaves, but provide appealing flavors and a wide variety of beneficial effects. For more, see the Seabourn tea menu.

    *** Details of two World Cruises for 2007 have been released. Luxury lines Silversea Cruises and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises will operate World Cruises aboard Silver Shadow and Seven Seas Voyager respectively. World Cruise passengers enjoy a number of perks, which vary depending on the number of days booked, including complimentary shore excursions, an enhanced onboard enrichment program and shipboard credits ranging from $250 to $1000 per passenger on Silversea and up to $2,000 per suite on Radisson.

    • Silversea's first World Cruise aboard Silver Shadow: A complete circumnavigation of the globe from Ft. Lauderdale to New York, 126 nights, January 15 to May 22, 2007. Available in nine segments of 12 to 18 nights. Calls at 61 ports on a route via the Panama Canal, Peru, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, the Middle East, Mediterranean, transatlantic. Special fares for the full World Cruise start at $52,794 per person, based on double occupancy.
    • Radisson Seven Seas' most extensive World Cruise to date, does not completely circumnavigate the globe. Seven Seas Voyager, round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale, 111 nights, January 9, 2007 to April 30, 2007. Available in six segments of 14 to 21 nights. Calls at 45 ports on a route via Antigua, Barbados, Brazil, St. Helena (United Kingdom), Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Seychelles, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Oman, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Monaco, and Spain. Includes 14 overnights in port. Special fares for the full World Cruise start at $54,995 per person, based on double occupancy.
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    9-16-05 Weekend Cruise News Norwegian Jewel Norwegian Jewel. Click for full size *** Norwegian Cruise Line's newest vessel, Norwegian Jewel arrived in New York on Wednesday. The vessel will sail 11-night Canada/New England cruises through October then reposition to Miami for Eastern/Western Caribbean cruises. The 93,502-ton 2,376-passenger Norwegian Jewel has 76 more cabins than her sister ships, Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star. Ten penthouse suites share a private courtyard with swimming pool, Jacuzzi, small gym and private sundeck. All staterooms have a refrigerator and tea and coffee maker and many are interconnected to create larger quarters for families.

    *** Additional ships are joining the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. is working with authorities to make its three paddlewheelers available for the winter months. Winter programs for riverboats Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen were canceled this week. Delta Queen will be out of service from November 28 to March 3 while Mississippi Queen leaves service December 5 returning March 4. The American Queen's winter program was canceled last week as the vessel homeports in New Orleans. Passengers on canceled sailings are receiving full refunds. Fall itineraries which were to include New Orleans are being changed. Memphis is replacing New Orleans on many of these sailings.

    *** Relief workers, law enforcement officials, fire fighters and city personnel are living aboard several ships in New Orleans. The ferry Scotia Prince is now in St. Bernard Parish while Carnival's Ecstasy and Sensation have moved from Galveston to New Orleans.

    *** Holland America is offering ten additional calls at Glacier Bay in 2006 aboard the Westerdam. The 1,848-passenger Vista-class ship makes its Alaska debut next year sailing Sundays from Seattle. Glacier Bay will be included on the May 7, 14, 21 and 28, July 16, 23 and 30, August 20, September 10 and 17 sailings. The Westerdam cruises Hubbard Glacier on all other dates. (This is an update to the published brochure.) Joining Westerdam in Seattle are Zaandam, departing Fridays on Glacier Bay sailings, and Oosterdam, departing Saturdays for Hubbard Glacier. All three ships call at the ports of Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria. Zuiderdam will homeport in Vancouver for the first time, on Inside Passage sailings departing Saturdays which include Tracy Arm and the twin Sawyer Glaciers as well as Glacier Bay. Volendam joins Zuiderdam on this itinerary, departing Wednesdays. Sailing the one-way itinerary between Vancouver and Seward (for Anchorage) next year are Veendam and Ryndam on Sundays and Statendam on Fridays.

    *** Crown Princess will introduce new dining features when she enters service in June, 2006. "This ship will truly offer anytime, anywhere dining, raising the culinary options for our passengers to new levels," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. The piazza-style atrium will be the hub of the ship with a street cafe atmosphere. The Italian-designed area will feature a casual dining option at the International Cafe. The Vines wine and seafood bar will cater light fare, such as ceviche, escabèche, shrimp and oysters with an accompanying glass of wine. Princess' hallmark Sabatini's has been expanded, and relocated to the aft end of the ship, providing diners with a multi-course Italian dining extravaganza and a view. The line's Sterling Steakhouse has evolved into the Crown Grill, a steak and seafood house with a theater-style performance kitchen.

    *** Five hundred pounds of Colorado alabaster is en route to Crystal Serenity to be used in the first-ever stone sculpting art classes offered aboard a cruise ship. Passengers traveling aboard the 11th annual World Cruise will sculpt the eight-pound stones when the new Masterpiece Art Program debuts during the 106-day voyage which departs in January. The Masterpiece Art Program offers a course of progressive study in painting, sculpture or crafts and will be available on voyages of two weeks and longer next year. As of August 2005, Crystal is offering courses covering the art history of the destination on every cruise.

    *** Radisson Seven Seas Cruises is introducing the 'Circle of Interest' enrichment program which features ship and shore themed packages. The program gets underway on Seven Seas Voyager's October 30 sailing from Athens to Monte Carlo with lectures, workshops and excursions revolving around nature, antiques and archaeology. The new concept is designed to bring passengers with similar interests together on the same cruise. Circle of Interest shore packages available on the October 30 cruise include "Explore the Natural Beauty of the Mediterranean" with environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau; "Archaeology & Ancient History" with author and world traveler Sandra Bowern; and "Antiques, Art & Artifacts" with experts from the BBC television series "Antiques Roadshow". The new program is part of Radisson Seven Seas new Travel Concierge program.

    *** Other news from Radisson Seven Seas is the Paul Gauguin's $6 million renovation during its January 2006 drydock in Brisbane, Australia. She will be outfitted with a new lounge/piano bar and 14 additional staterooms, half of them with private balconies. The Internet cafe will be redesigned and carpets and soft goods will be updated. The vessel will continue to sail in Tahiti in 2006 and will offer an expanded lineup of nine-, 10-, 11-, and 14-night sailings reaching the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Australs, and Cook Islands. Radisson's contract to manage the Paul Gauguin has now been extended through 2008 by the ship's owners, Paul Gauguin Shipping Limited.

    *** Oceania Cruises Winter 2006-2007 deployment features Asia, South America and the Caribbean. Comprised of 29 sailings that range from 10 to 35 days in length, all voyages are available with free air and 2-for-1 cruise fares when booked by January 31, 2006. Sister ships Regatta, Insignia and Nautica will sail to 90 ports on five continents during winter 06-07. New Ports of Call are Laguna San Rafael, Chile; Puerto Chacabuco, Chile; Nanjing, Qingdao and Xiamen, China; Samaná, Dominican Republic; Grand Cayman and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Highlights are Amazon sailings including Manaus to Bridgetown, 14 Days, March 20, 2007 and a 26-day sailing round-trip from Miami on November 25, 2006; Cape Horn sailings, between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso, 16 Days, December 19, 2006, January 4, 20 and February 5, 2007; between Singapore and Hong Kong, 15 Days, December 22, 2006 and January 6 and 21, 2007; and Hong Kong to Athens, 35 days, April 21, 2007.

    *** Silversea Cruises is offering 15 Culinary Arts Cruises and 12 Wine Series Voyages in 2006. For the first time, food and wine authors will be onboard along with wine experts, winemakers and chefs from leading restaurants. Food and wine writers Jill Van Cleave and William Rice are scheduled to jointly host Silver Wind's April 8 sailing from Lisbon to Barcelona. A complete list of the theme sailings will soon be available. Back to Top

    9-15-05 Princess Online Spa Bookings *** Princess Cruises has launched a new online service allowing passengers to book spa treatments before they sail. Previously available to Caribbean Princess and Sapphire Princess passengers, the cruise line has extended the pre-cruise booking program to Diamond Princess (September 3); Island Princess (September 20); Golden Princess (October 8); Grand Princess (October 29); Coral Princess (November 24); and Star Princess (December 11). Princess' spa operations are operated by Steiners of London. For additional information, visit www.princess.com. Back to Top

    9-12-05 New Crown Princess Float-Out

    CLICK FOR PIC
    ***Princess Cruises' newest vessel, Crown Princess, hit a construction milestone this past weekend when the ship "floated out" of her building dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. The two-day float out process involves slowly letting water into the building dock to set the vessel afloat for the first time. The ship has now been moved to the outfitting dock where final construction and interior outfitting will take place. Crown Princess debut in June 2006 and will introduce Princess' first program of Caribbean cruises from New York. Back to Top

    9-9-05 Weekend Cruise News *** Delta Queen Steamboat Co.'s American Queen will play a part in Katrina relief efforts in New Orleans. Cruises from September 17 to March 6 have been cancelled. (Passengers will receive a full refund.) American Queen normally homeports in New Orleans and was en route to Memphis when the hurricane hit. Instead of returning to New Orleans, the following cruise became a round-trip Memphis sailing. The company initially considered operating the vessel on the Upper Mississippi for the fall, however it has offered the American Queen to the relief effort. River boats Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen will operate on northern rivers for the fall. A fund has been set up by Delta Queen Steamboat Co. to aid its New Orleans based employees. All donations will be matched by the company.

    *** Sensation and Ecstasy currently docked in Galveston may be redeployed to New Orleans and Gulfport to house relief workers. As reported earlier, the proposed transfer of Katrina evacuees living at Houston's astrodome to the ships in Galveston has not taken place. The evacuees want to be relocated to permanent accommodation rather than another temporary situation and stay in Houston to look for work. Many do not want to live on the water, having survived the flood waters.

    *** Members of the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have donated more than $2.6 million in relief support thus far and that number will continue to rise as cruise lines contribute additional funds, goods and resources. Cruise Lines are matching employee and passenger donations dollar to dollar. Passengers can make a contribution on many lines through their shipboard account. Links to the Red Cross have also been added to many cruise line web sites. Oceania Cruises is donating the furniture and fixtures from their third vessel, Nautica, to Katrina relief. Nautica is currently being refitted in France.

    *** Tropical Storm Ophelia and Hurricane Nate caused cruise ship disruptions in Florida and Bermuda this week. Ophelia caused ships to be diverted away from Port Canaveral. Carnival's Fantasy and Disney Wonder turned around in Ft. Lauderdale instead of Port Canaveral Thursday and Sovereign of the Seas is turning around in Ft. Lauderdale today. Mariner of the Seas is expected to turn-around in Port Canaveral on Sunday as Ophelia is now moving north. Grandeur of the Seas was routed away from the storm, and was forced to miss its call at Port Canaveral on Friday. Hurricane Nate caused ships to leave Bermuda earlier than planned. Horizon, Zenith, Norwegian Crown and Norwegian Majesty all sailed Wednesday evening as Bermuda residents braced for the arrival of the hurricane. Nate later changed course and missed Bermuda. The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday morning.

    *** The National D Day Museum in New Orleans has cancelled its charter of Seabourn Legend for a commemorative voyage to Italy departing October 16, 2005. Seabourn has created a new itinerary for the ship, a seven-night Mediterranean cruise between Monte Carlo and Rome calling at Cannes, Nice and Ajaccio (Corsica), France; plus Portofino, Livorno (Florence) and Portoferraio (Elba), Italy. The cruise is being offered at 50% off seasonal brochure fares, starting from $2,998 per person, double occupancy. Special Guarantee Fare is $2,495 per person, double, with the specific suite assigned at time of sailing. For information, visit www.seabourn.com and select "special offers" from the menu on the right side of the home page. To make a booking, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391.

    *** Silversea is enhancing its Internet and television options onboard its fleet. Remote wireless Internet access (also known as Wi Fi) will be added in designated locations aboard its ships. With the implementation of the new system, passengers who bring their personal Wi-Fi-enabled laptops will be able to access the Internet and their e-mail in the Panorama Lounge (aboard Silver Cloud and Silver Wind) or Observation Lounge (aboard Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper), as well as the library, card room and conference room aboard all ships. Passengers will also have access to over 270 daily newspapers from around the world, offered at a nominal fee. Internet centers are being upgraded with new computers featuring 17-inch flat screen monitors. As well, the Fox News channel will be joining CNN and BBC on the roster of complimentary in-suite-TV news channels. The enhanced cyber technology debuted aboard Silver Shadow last month and will be expanded to the rest of the fleet by the end of the year.

    *** Two ships ran into trouble in Europe over the past week. Seabourn Pride was detained in Waterford Ireland September 1 due to safety concerns in regard to the condition of the engine room. The problems had not been put right after leaving England, where they were first detected. Pride continued on its 18-night transatlantic voyage Saturday morning September 3 after passing inspection. Grand Princess has been sailing at reduced speed since Monday due to engine trouble. Istanbul was replaced with a call at Samos and the call at Kusadasi, Turkey was cancelled. Repairs are expected to be completed in Venice during the turn-around days this weekend. Back to Top

    9-8-05 Carnival Relief Charter *** The government is paying $192 million to charter three Carnival Cruise Lines ships (Ecstasy, Sensation and Holiday) but it won't be evacuees staying aboard the vessels. New Orleans residents evacuated to Houston after Hurricane Katrina say they don't want to stay aboard the Carnival ships for the next six months. Carnival predicts its vessels will be full, but with relief and reconstruction workers instead. Back to Top

    9-7-05 Disney Diverts From Orlando *** The treat of Tropical Storm Ophelia along the Central Florida coast has caused Disney Cruise Line to alter its cruise scheduling. Disney Wonder will sail out of Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 8 rather than its home port of Port Canaveral. The Disney Wonder will be returning from a four-night Bahamian cruise and will depart again from Port Everglades on a three-night Bahamian cruise. The ship is expected to return to Port Canaveral on Sunday, Sept. 11. For additional information, visit www.disneycruise.com. Back to Top

    9-7-05 Carnival Evacuee Plan On Hold *** The U.S. government's plan to charter three Carnival Cruise Lines' vessels -- Ecstasy, Sensation and Holiday -- to house Hurricane Katrina refugee is on hold for the moment. According to CNN, evacuees in Houston who were scheduled to move aboard the ships for a six month period have voiced opposition to the plan. They say they prefer to find regular housing, jobs and schools in order to move on with their lives. Back to Top

    9-7-05 NCL Sun To Sail From Houston *** Norwegian Cruise Line will reposition the Norwegian Sun from New Orleans to Houston for its schedule of seven-day cruises from Oct. 16 through Jan. 8, 2006. The ship a slightly amended itinerary that calls in Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel, Mexico; Belize; and Roatan, Honduras. It then repositions to Miami to sail one four-day cruise Jan. 17 before beginning seven-day service through April 16. NCL said passengers booked on the Norwegian Sun beginning in January can choose an itinerary out of Miami or transfer to the Norwegian Dream, which is to replace the Norwegian Sea in Houston. Passengers who elect to sail on one of the Sun's revised sailings will receive a $50 per-person onboard credit. Passengers who decide not to sail need to inform NCL by Sept. 30 in order to receive a refund. Back to Top

    9-3-05 Carnival Ships To Katrina Relief *** Ecstasy, Sensation and Holiday will be pulled from service Monday and deployed for six months for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, according to Seatrade Insider News, a cruise industry trade publication. Carnival president Bob Dickinson said that while he regretted the inconvenience to passengers booked on these three ships, "Hurricane Katrina is the worst natural disaster in U.S. history ... we trust our guests will understand." Ecstasy and Sensation will be docked in Galveston, TX, during the relief effort while Holiday will remain docked in Mobile, Alabama. Back to Top

    9-2-05 Weekend Cruise News *** Three crew members were killed this morning by hydrogen sulfide gas while undertaking routine maintenance aboard Monarch of the Seas in the Port of Los Angeles. No passengers were involved in the incident. Crew members were replacing a section of pipe connected to the ship's sewage system when about five gallons of raw sewage and an unknown amount of gas was expelled into the starboard propeller shaft tunnel. The gas was at first reported as methane however it was later determined that hydrogen sulfide has killed the crew members. City firefighters, 11 ambulances and two hazardous materials units were dispatched to the ship after the medical emergency was reported at 9:03 a.m. by the ship's First Officer. Nineteen other crew members tested negative for exposure to the toxic gas. A public address announcement later assured disembarking passengers the situation was under control. The ship was on a 'turn around' day following a four-night to Catalina Island, San Diego and Ensenada.

    *** Celebrity Cruises will "swap ships" for winter sailings commencing December 24, 2005 through March, 2006. Celebrity's Millennium will replace sister ship Infinity in South America, while Infinity will sail in the Caribbean. "Drydock availability for Infinity changed following completion of our 2006 deployment plans, so to avoid disrupting any of our guests' vacation plans, we chose to swap ships," said Celebrity's President Dan Hanrahan." Millennium is scheduled to enter drydock this November, just before returning from Europe to the Caribbean. Meanwhile, sister ship Infinity is scheduled for drydock in the Caribbean from March 20 through April 6, 2006. Celebrity's decision was also based on the virtually identical onboard experience offered by the two sister ships. All itineraries in both regions remain exactly as scheduled. All passenger data, such as booking and stateroom numbers, will be automatically transferred to the appropriate ship. Celebrity has established two toll-free lines for travel agents and passengers with questions. For group bookings, call 1-888-305-4549, and for individual bookings, call 1-888 837-5676.

    *** NCL America crewmember Al Schiller, who works as a butler on the Pride of Aloha, is taking a year off to fulfill a lifelong dream of competing on the U.S. Olympic speed skating team. The Alpena, Michigan native is now training in Milwaukee where speed skating time trials begin next month. Schiller is one of Pride of Aloha's original crewmembers, having joined the NCL America team in November 2003 as a waiter and working his way up to butler. While he has enjoyed life at sea in Hawaii, Schiller says the 2006 Olympics is a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. NCL America made a donation to Schiller's skating club, which will cover part of his living expenses, training and uniforms. The line has given Schiller a year off. He can return to Pride of Aloha whenever he is ready.

    *** Cunard's QE2 will become the line's longest serving vessel this Sunday, September 4. When QE2 entered service in 1969 city analysts prophesied that she would be mothballed within six months as the age of the liner was dead. On Sunday QE2 will pass the 36 years 4 months and 2 days' record of service of Scythia, which sailed from 1921 to 1957. QE2 was also the Cunard flagship for longer than any other - from 1969 until she handed over the role to Queen Mary 2 last year. In November last year she became the longest serving Cunard express transatlantic liner when she passed the 35 years 6 months and 1 day record previously set by Aquitania, which served Cunard Line, in peace and in two wars, from May 1914 to December 1949. The new record will be marked on board QE2 with a special dinner, the unveiling of a plaque and all passengers will receive a certificate acknowledging their presence on board. Fittingly the vessel will be berthed in Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was Nova Scotian Samuel Cunard who founded Cunard Line in 1839.

    *** Chosen Voyage at INTRAV is a new division of Clipper Cruise Line designed for the kosher-observant Jewish market seeking a luxury travel experience. The first voyage will be Clipper's "Exploring the Yachtsman's Caribbean" (an eight-day voyage through the U.S. and British Virgin Islands) aboard the 138-passenger Yorktown Clipper that is scheduled to depart on January 19, 2006. The full line of cruises, as well as further details including the day-by-day itineraries, amenities, dates, and prices for each of these trips, will be available later this year at the Chosen Voyage at INTRAV website, www.chosenvoyage.com. Clipper Cruise Line brochures can be ordered from travel agents, by calling Intrav at (800) 456-8100 or by e-mailing info@intrav.com or clipper@clippercruise.com.

    *** Holland America Line's Amsterdam will return to world cruising in 2007 when the ship embarks on a 105-night voyage from Ft. Lauderdale on January 15. Sailing westward on a route via Panama, Peru, Easter Island, Australia, Great Barrier Reef, Hong Kong, India, Dubai and the Suez Canal, Amsterdam will visit 38 ports in 26 countries. Many overnights onboard are featured including two in both Hong Kong and Mumbai. Meanwhile, the Prinsendam, which has been sailing the annual world cruise for HAL, will embark on a 66-night Circle South America and Antarctica voyage, January 5, 2007, which includes cruising on the Amazon River. Four days will be spent cruising Antarctica. The route includes calls at 33 ports in 14 countries with overnights onboard in Buenos Aires; Callao (Lima,) Peru; and Manaus, Brazil on the Amazon. Prinsendam will then embark on a 56-night voyage entitled "Grand Mediterranean and North Africa Voyage", round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale on March 12, 2007 which calls at ports in the Caribbean, Cape Verde Islands, Dakar, Senegal, Gambia, Morocco, Libya, Greek Isles, Malta, Mallorca, France and Italy. Both Prinsendam Grand Voyages can be combined for a 122-night cruise. Segments will be available for the World Cruise and Prinsendam's Grand Voyages.

    *** Viking River Cruises has released its 2006 sailing schedule for Europe, Russia and China. In China Viking Century Sun will join sister ship, Viking Century Sky, on the Yangtze River in 2006, sailing the China's Cultural Delights itinerary. Land tours can be added to the 3-, 4-, 7- or 9-night Yangtze River cruise, some of which visit Guilin and Hong Kong. A two-tiered Early Booking Discount (EBD) opportunity is in place: passengers who book their 2006 cruise by September 1, 2005, save $350 per person ($700 savings per cabin maximum); passengers who book prior to December 1, 2005, save $250 per person ($500 per cabin). Brochures covering Viking River's sailings in China, Europe and Russia can be ordered on the line's web site www.vikingrivercruises.com.

    *** Discovery World Cruises has unveiled its first full-year program, spanning November 2005 - 2006, featuring 40 cruisetours to more than 130 ports. The Discovery will call at Antarctica, Iceland, New Zealand, South America, Europe and Scandinavia next year. For the first time in 2006, Discovery will call at the Galapagos Islands, Amazon River ports, Ireland, the Shetland Islands, Corsica, and Sicily. Discovery's unusual itineraries are destination focused with a comprehensive onboard lecture program and variety of shore excursions. The 650-passenger Discovery is the former Island Princess of Princess Cruises built in 1972 which now features three restaurants, five lounges, a well-stocked library, casino, duty-free boutique, Internet center, modern health club and spa, two Jacuzzis, and two outdoor swimming pools - one beneath a retractable roof. For brochures, contact your travel agent or call toll-free (866) 623-2689. Visit the line's web site at www.discoveryworldcruises.com . Back to Top

    9-1-05 Updated Hurricane Katrina Disruptions *** Carnival Cruise Line's Holiday will resume sailing from Mobile on Saturday September 3. Holiday ended its last cruise in Tampa on Aug. 30 (instead of Mobile Aug. 29), forcing the cancellation of the August 29 sailing. The ship will position from Tampa to Mobile on Friday September 2.

    The Sept. 1 and Sept. 5 voyages of the Sensation will depart from Galveston, Texas, instead of New Orleans. Itineraries for both voyages remain unchanged. For those who purchased air transportation from Carnival, the company's air/sea department will assist passengers in changing their flights to arrive and depart from Houston. Passengers who sail on the Sept. 1 and Sept. 5 departures will receive a $50 per person credit to their shipboard accounts, as well as a 50 percent discount on a future three- to five-day Carnival cruise. Those who opt to cancel will receive a full refund.

    Carnival Conquest ended its cruise in Galveston a day early, arriving Sunday, Aug. 28. Roughly half the passengers disembarked immediately, the rest decided to spend their last night in port. The vessel is currently heading for a scheduled drydock in Freeport, Bahamas which will last for two weeks.

    Many passengers who departed from New Orleans and Mobile will face an even bigger problem when they return to port as they must return to the two affected cities to claim their cars. In New Orleans, the port hotline (1-866-476-7866) will provide information about access to the parking lot after citizens are permitted to re-enter the city.

    Carnival Miracle sailed from Ft. Lauderdale instead of Tampa last Sunday, however the vessel will return to Tampa this Sunday, September 4 and resume sailngs from the port.

    The three vessels of Delta Queen Steamship Co. were sailing on the Ohio River and Upper Mississippi when Katrina hit. The ships will continue to sail upriver for the Fall. American Queen's next sailing from Memphis to New Orleans has been changed to a round-trip Memphis cruise. Travel agents and passengers will be notifed of any itinerary changes. Delta Queen has relocated its reservations department to the parent company's global headquarters in Buffalo, New York. 13 employees have moved to Buffalo. The reservations department can be reached at 800-543-1949.

    Enchantment of the Seas is spending today in Portland, Maine, due to rough seas caused by the remnants of Katrina. The high seas, which made tendering operations difficult as well as uncomfortable for passengers at Martha's Vineyard on Wednesday, would have caused the same trouble today at Bar Harbor. The decision was made to dock in Portland instead. Back to Top

    9-1-05 Extended Passport Deadlines - Updated *** The State Department is giving Caribbean visitors a breather: The Dec. 31, 2005 deadline has been extended to December 31, 2006. The government has modified their original timeline to the following requirements for U.S. citizens:

    • December 31, 2006 – Passport or other accepted document required for all air or sea travel within the Western Hemisphere.
    • December 31, 2007 – Passport or other accepted document required for all U.S. land border crossings.
    The phase-in program implements the law created after 9/11. Back to Top

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