Cruise News - September 2009

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09-30-10 Carnival Bartender Sentenced to Prison for Teen Rape The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that a Carnival cruise ship bartender was charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl and has just been sentenced to over three years in federal prison. The girl was on vacation with her parents aboard the Carnival freedom which left from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale in April 2009.

Hery Krispiyanto is the bartender's name, 30 years of age. He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a minor. In addition to the prison time the bartender has been ordered to pay $4360 in restitution. The name of the teenager has been withheld.

The bartender told FBI investigators that the girl was alone on the upper deck of the ship when he walked up and grabbed her from behind. He pulled her into a room marked for employees only and close the door. The bartender admits to having sex with the girl and then told her to leave. The girl told her mother about the incident the following August, and it was then reported to the FBI. The bartender was arrested in Orlando and indicted in federal court last May.

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09-30-10 Cunard Takes Delivery of Queen Elizabeth Cunard Line has taken delivery of Queen Elizabeth - the second largest Cunarder ever built and the third new liner for the luxury cruise vacation company in six years.

The Handover Ceremony took place today on board the new 92,400-ton vessel at the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard. The event included a speech by Cunard President Peter Shanks. The Italian flag was ceremonially lowered and the Blue Ensign was raised, marking the entry of another magnificent Cunard liner into the Register of British Shipping.

"This ceremony to mark the completion of the Queen Elizabeth and our acceptance of delivery, is just the first of a number of significant events over the next few weeks - including the ship's official naming by Her Majesty The Queen in Southampton on Monday 11 October," said Shanks. "I'm certain the British will take this truly magnificent ship to their hearts, as they have all the Cunard Queens."

Queen Elizabeth is due to leave the shipyard on 30 September and sail to Southampton, where she will berth at the Ocean Cruise Terminal on Friday 8 October.

Queen Elizabeth will depart on her Maiden Voyage at 5:00pm on Tuesday 12 October.

For more information and to book a Cunard voyage aboard Queen Elizabeth, consult your Travel Agent, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD (1-800-728-6273) or go to www.cunard.com.

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09-29-10 Norwegian Sun Sailing from Orlando Starting next week, Port Canaveral will be home to Norwegian Sun through April, providing longer cruises to the Caribbean by NCL for the first time in 11 years.

The cruise line has a two-year agreement with the port. Norwegian spokeswoman Courtney Recht said one of reasons the cruise line chose Port Canaveral is its proximity to the Orlando area.

The ship will offer 4- to 14-day cruises to the Bahamas and the Eastern and Western Caribbean. In April, the ship will sail a transatlantic one-way cruises to Copenhagen and then the Baltic capitals. The Sun will remain abroad until it returns to Port Canaveral the following October.

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09-23-10 Celebrity Reflection - Fifth Ship in the Solstice class Named In light of the images of sun and shadow conveyed in the names of Celebrity Cruises' stylish Solstice Class ships, the world's top-rated premium brand is marking autumnal equinox by announcing the name of the fifth in its ‘Xceptional' series: Celebrity Reflection.

"Selecting the name of the fifth ship in the class led us to reflect back on the significant impact the Solstice Class has had on the cruise industry," said Celebrity's President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. "Our Solstice Class ships offer the finest in premium cruising, with service provided by the best men and women in the hospitality business, as evidenced by the tremendous response from our guests, travel partners and the press, and a continuously expanding series of prestigious awards. There is no question that Celebrity Reflection will deliver an equally outstanding vacation experience for our guests."

Following delivery in November 2012, Celebrity Reflection will join Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Silhouette, rounding out the $3.7-billion class.

Celebrity Reflection will present vacationers with some new features, yet to be announced, along with many of the hallmarks found on some or all of her sister ships, including:

  • The hip "Celebrity iLounge" that made Celebrity Cruises the industry's first Authorized Apple Reseller
  • Uniquely unordinary "Qsine," the first seagoing restaurant to feature a menu and wine list on an iPad®, and an engaging food-as-theater dining experience
  • Celebrity's iconic half-acre Lawn Club, with real, growing grass
  • Ten unrivaled dining venues, including Qsine
  • Modern, stylish interiors designed by some of the world's best architects and designers
  • Hip, cool nightclubs and lounges, including CellarMasters, complete with the industry's first installation of the innovative Enomatic by-the-glass wine serving system
  • One of the broadest and best wine offerings in the industry, served by one of the world's largest staffs of certified sommeliers
  • One of the world's largest permanent collections of original contemporary art, and the industry's first self-guided art tours to be presented on an iPad®
  • Widely varied entertainment, including custom aerial production shows and live music
  • The extensive array of entertaining and enriching onboard programming offered through "Celebrity Life," including instruction on the latest iPods®, MacBooks® and iLife® classes; language learning through Rosetta Stone®; comparative wine tastings with Riedel Crystal, and enrichment presentations with Smithsonian Journeys

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09-16-10 Orion Expedition Cruises Offers Options for Cruise West Passengers In an effort to minimize disrupted travel plans and assist voyagers currently booked on suspended or terminated Cruise West sailings, Orion Expedition Cruises announced that the company will assist by offering reduced-price expedition voyages as an alternative.

In a spirit of cooperation and goodwill, Orion is working with their industry partners to provide an alternate expedition travel solution by offering savings from 20-50 percent on a wide range of 2010 and 2011 Orion Expedition voyages.

"As the founder and managing director of a small-ship expedition cruise line, I completely understand how difficult these times are for Cruise West passengers, the travel industry and all associated with Cruise West during their current challenges," said Sarina Bratton, founder and managing director of Orion Expedition Cruises. "There will be a significant amount of stress for passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted, which can have an effect across the whole small-ship expedition sector. Therefore, if Orion can provide a viable alternative in lieu of their original voyage, at the very least, passengers will see that the industry hasn't deserted them."

Passengers who provide Cruise West documentation can take advantage of the following reduced rates:

  • 50% reduction on any Orion sailing between now and March 7, 2011 (not including Antarctica)
  • 25% reduction on Papua New Guinea 2010 and 2011 sailings
  • 25% reduction on Antarctica sailings December 2010/January 2011
  • 20% reduction on Kimberley sailings 2011
  • 20% reduction on any Orion II destination in 2011

All transfer bookings must be made by October 31, 2010. Reduced fares are not combinable with any other offer. Travelers who wish to discuss their plans can contact their travel advisor or contact Orion Expeditions at 1.877.674.6687 for further information.

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09-14-10 Cruise West sells Spirit of Oceanus Struggling cruise line Cruise West made the odd move of selling its flag ship today. The vessel was the Spirit of Oceanus, the ship previously sailing the abruptly canceled 335-day World cruise. The cruise was terminated in St John's, Newfoundland. It was sold to a Danish company, which renamed it the Sea Spirit and is making the ship available for a long-term charter.

The buyer, interestingly enough, has hired Maimi-based International Shipping Partners which manages several smaller cruise ships including the Clipper Adventurer which is currently stuck in the Northwest Passage after the ship ran aground up there over two weeks ago.

Cruise West acquired the Spirit of Oceanus in 2001 from Star Cruises, which operated the vessel as the MegaStar Sagittarius. Before that, it was Renaissance Cruises' Renaissance V. The ship was built in 1991.

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09-14-10 Norwegian Cruise Line Kicks Off Exciting NFL Season Norwegian Cruise Line will be the host of America's favorite pastime as the National Football League (NFL) season kicks off this fall. Norwegian will broadcast 44 NFL regular season games including three exciting match ups on Thanksgiving Day. In addition to the Sunday and Thursday night games, eight playoff games, the NFC and the AFC conference championships, and the ultimate battle for the championship ring, the Super Bowl, will be broadcast on the line's fleet of Freestyle Cruising ships (except Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Gem while in Europe).

Guests can pack their jerseys and support their favorite NFL teams while relaxing in one of the many Freestyle venues on board Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Spirit and Pride of America.

*Games will be shown on all ships except Norwegian Jade which is sailing in Europe and Norwegian Gem while sailing in Europe until October 2010.

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09-14-10 VH1 and Sixthman Team Up Again for VH1 Best Cruise Ever VH1 and Sixthman are teaming up again for a second year in a row for VH1 Best Cruise Ever. The second annual music festival at sea will feature Train, Lifehouse, Colbie Caillat, The Script, and many more, setting sail from Tampa, Fl to Cozumel, Mexico on April 28-May 2, 2011 on the Carnival Inspiration. Tickets go on sale September 23rd to the general public at www.vh1bestcruiseever.com.

Grammy Award winning group Train is ready to set sail! With their recent VH1 UNPLUGGED performance that can now be seen on VH1.com and their upcoming October 19th re-release of Save Me, San Francisco Golden Gate Edition (complete with 6 additional tracks) this group has had a sensational year with their hit, "Hey, Soul Sister" which is the #1 most downloaded digital track in Columbia Records' history.

Returning to the VH1 Best Cruise Ever for a second year in a row is Lifehouse . A VH1 staple, Lifehouse performed their current single "All In" at the "VH1 Do Something Awards" earlier this summer and just announced their headlining fall tour in support of their most recent album Smoke & Mirrors.

Colbie Caillat, a VH1 "You Oughta Know" alumni and a fixture on the road since her debut on the charts in 2006, is currently working on her third studio album. Caillat also just performed the national anthem for this year's NFL Kickoff game.

Irish trio The Script , known for their "Celtic Soul" sound, are also hitting the deck! No stranger to VH1, The Script are also former "You Oughta Know" artists who taped a VH1 UNPLUGGED earlier this year and are currently promoting their single "Man That Can't Be Moved," while gearing up for their fall tour.

Special guests on VH1 Best Cruise Ever also include VH1 "You Oughta Know" artists and returning cruisers SAFETYSUIT, as well other VH1 "You Oughta Know Artist" including Alpha Rev, Mat Kearney, and Thriving Ivory. Also joining the cruise are Civil Twilight, One eskimO, and returning cover band Trailer Park Ninjas. In addition to seeing these artists perform in a unique and up-close-and-personal setting, guests will enjoy VH1-themed onboard activities, contests and more.

Last Year's First VH1 Cruise

After the huge success of the first VH1 Best Cruise Ever, music fans and musicians alike felt the experience provided a rare opportunity to connect with fans and fellow artists on a rocking cruise through the Caribbean. The first VH1 Best Cruise Ever was sponsored by Schick and hosted by 3 Doors Down and featured Lifehouse, Shinedown, VH1 "You Oughta Know" artists Carolina Liar, SAFETYSUIT, and Angel Taylor, as well as Black Stone Cherry, Finger Eleven, and more.

While watching non-stop music shows and experiencing once-in-a-lifetime artist interactions, guests also enjoy all of the amenities and facilities aboard the "Fun Ship" Carnival Inspiration, which offers an expansive water park, exclusive adults-only retreat, resort-style pool, and numerous other features.

Cabins for VH1 Best Cruise Ever go on sale September 23rd and start at $799 per person based on double occupancy plus taxes and fees. For more information, go to www.vh1bestcruiseever.com.

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09-13-10 Holland America Offers "Cancel for Any Reason" Cruise Protection Plan Holland America Line guests who purchase the line's Cancellation Protection Plan (CPP) can cancel their cruise or CruiseTour for any reason and receive a refund of up to 90 percent of the cruise fare paid.

Holland America Line now also permits CPP coverage to be added any time after booking, as long as it is purchased before the date cancellation fees begin — or 75 days prior to the departure date for most sailings.

"Many of our guests book several months before their cruise and we understand that things happen," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "With Holland America Line's Cancellation Protection Plans, guests can rest assured they don't have to have specific reasons to be protected. It provides added peace of mind for our guests to know that whatever might be affecting them, they can receive nearly a full refund, if needed."

Under the new plan, travel agent commissions are protected with CPP. If a guest cancels, the travel agent retains the 10 percent commission earned on the original purchase of CPP, as well as 10 percent commission on the cancellation fee for the cruise booking. For example, if the guest cancels three days before departure, the travel agent still receives 10 percent commission on the cruise fare even though the guest canceled.

Two Levels of CPP CPP Standard reimburses 80 percent of eligible amounts paid for cancellations for any reason up to 24 hours prior to the cruise or CruiseTour departure. Plus, the plan provides an additional $500 (for a total of $600) for lost, damaged or delayed baggage.

CPP Platinum features a 90 percent refund upon cancellation for any reason prior to departure. Other benefits under the expanded plan include increased baggage protection for lost or damaged luggage up to $1,600 total, delayed baggage coverage up to $1,100, trip-interruption protection if a guest must return home unexpectedly and trip-delay coverage.

Medical coverage under the CPP Platinum plan covers emergency medical expenses for illness or injury occurring during the voyage, emergency medical evacuation and 24-hour emergency hotline assistance for legal, passport, cash transfer, medical and documentation assistance.

CPP Standard and CPP Platinum are available to U.S. and Canadian residents, and must be purchased prior to the date cancellation fees begin. The cost varies by cruise fare and is nonrefundable. For example, CPP coverage for a guest paying up to $1,000 for a seven-day Caribbean cruise is $79 for CPP Standard and $99 for CPP Platinum per person.

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09-13-10 NCL 3-Day Sale Ends 9-17

Book by September 17 for reduced deposits and up to $250 in on-board credits

Norwegian Cruise Line launches its three-day Freestyle Dash limited time offer on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 with a special preview day for its Latitudes members (past guests) on Tuesday, September 14. Guests who race to book a cruise on any of the line's 11 Freestyle Cruising ships by September 17 can save on Norwegian's cruise getaways to Alaska; Bahamas & Florida; Bermuda; the Caribbean; Hawai'i and Europe. The three-day promotion provides half-off standard cruise deposits on select sailings and up to $250 in on-board credit per stateroom, based on cruise length and category.

Guests who book sailings of up to six days and longer will receive $250 in on-board credit when sailing in a Garden Villa; $150 for suites; $100 for mini-suites and deluxe balcony staterooms; $75 for balcony staterooms; $50 for oceanview; $25 for inside and $12.50 for Norwegian Epic's exclusive Studio staterooms. For sailings of up to five days, guests will receive $100 per stateroom in a Garden Villa; $75 for suites; $50 for mini-suites; $40 for balcony staterooms; $20 for oceanview; $15 for inside and $7.50 for Studio staterooms. The on-board credit can be used toward amenities such as spa treatments to shore excursions; gifts in the duty free shop; and dinners in any of Norwegian's specialty Freestyle Dining restaurants.

Speed counts during the Freestyle Dash promotion, to book a cruise call Norwegian at 866-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), visit www.ncl.com, or contact a travel professional.

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09-11-10 Cruise West Not Sold - Cancels Sailings Industry insider publication Travel Weekly is reporting that Cruise West has not been sold, but that it is "under new management" and reorganizing. The publication has been monitoring the phone lines and reports that while the first the message said Cruise West indicated the company was under new ownership, the next days messeage changed that to merely say new management is restructuring the company. The CEO, Dietmar Wertanzl resigned on August 30.

The company says two planned departures for two ships will still take place on Saturday, the Spirit of Endeavor from Seattle and Spirit of '98 from Portland, "will operate as planned." But meanwhile there are also reports of passengers on the Cruise West world Cruise (where tickets cost several tens of thousands of dollars) being stranded in Newfoundland, Canada. They were sailing on the Spirit of Oceanus.

In response to people who had already paid for cruises on Cruise West, Travel Weekly is reporting that the company advised those people to "file a claim with the insurer if the trip was insured, make a claim with the credit card issuer if the trip was charged, and send an email to info@cruisewest.com if customers paid for the cruise by cash or check."

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09-09-10 Island Windjammers Celebrates First Year with Discounts Island Windjammers has planned a very special week to celebrate one year of amazing Caribbean tall ship sailing cruises! December 5 marks the anniversary of the inaugural voyage of the company's twelve passenger schooner, the S/V Diamant, based in St George's, Grenada.

Island Windjammers began offering 6 night sailing cruises on the Diamant in December, 2009. Ports of call include stunning, secluded islands such as Bequia, Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Union Island, and Carriacou. The company's emphasis is on laid-back, casual vacations. Guests enjoy leaving their dress clothes at home; shorts, swimsuits, and bare feet make up the dress code on the Diamant!

"We want to celebrate Island Windjammers' first 'birthday' in a very memorable way" states Liz Harvey, the company president. "Noted rum expert Dave Russell[www.rndrumreviews.com] will be hosting the Island Windjammers Anniversary Rum Cruise from December 5-11, 2010".

Dave will offer complimentary tastings of an exciting variety of exotic rums, rum cocktail lessons, and presentations on the history of rum, all while sailing a magnificent tall ship through the dazzling waters of the Grenadines.

Island Windjammers has enjoyed a very successful first year, and hopes to expand its fleet and itineraries in the not-too-distant future.

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09-08-10 Cruise West Sold - New Bookings Suspended The Anchorage Daily News is reporting that Seattle-based special small ship expedition line Cruise West has been sold. The new owners have not yet been disclosed. Cruise West operates six small-ship cruise tours in Alaska, five of those in the in Southeast and one in Prince William Sound. Its Alaska-bound ships carry 78 to 138 guests per trip. Cruise West also offers land tours between Anchorage, Denali National Park and Fairbanks.

In a recorded phone message Tuesday morning, the company announced that it was restructuring with new owners who remained unnamed. The message continued that the company has suspended all new bookings except its sailings on the Spirit of Endeavor and the Spirit of '98 will sail as scheduled on Saturday.

Cruise West was founded in the 1970s by Chuck West, a tourism pioneer and bush pilot who began building up Alaska's land, air and cruise-tourism industry in the 1940s.

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09-01-10 Queen of England to Christen New Cunard Ship Cunard Line is very pleased to announce that Her Majesty The Queen of England will name the company's new Queen Elizabeth, the third Cunard ship to bear the name, at a ceremony to take place in Southampton, England on Monday, 11 October 2010.

The naming will be a milestone in British maritime history and will be a major event of worldwide interest.

"The naming of a Cunard Queen is a very special occasion and this will be an historic event in the true sense of the word," said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. "The Queen launched Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967 and named our current flagship, Queen Mary 2, in 2004. We are both honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name our new liner, Queen Elizabeth," added Shanks.

Her Majesty was also present at the age of 12 at the launch of the first Queen Elizabeth on 27 September 1938 when she accompanied her mother, Queen Elizabeth, to Clydebank for the launch.

The Naming Ceremony will take place in Southampton on Monday, 11 October and Queen Elizabeth will set sail on her Maiden Voyage the following day.

Other historic namings of Cunard ships by British royalty over the Line's 170-year history include the following:

  • Her Majesty The Queen, as Princess Elizabeth, launched Caronia, the 'Green Goddess,' in 1947.
  • Her Majesty Queen Mary, wife of King George V, launched Queen Mary in 1934 - and in so doing became the first British Monarch ever to launch a merchant ship. His Majesty King George V accompanied his wife.
  • The late Queen Mother, as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, launched Queen Elizabeth in 1938. Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret accompanied their mother.
  • HRH The Princess Margaret launched Carinthia in 1955.
  • HRH The Duchess of Cornwall named Queen Victoria in Southampton in December 2007. HRH The Prince of Wales was also in attendance.

For more information and to book a voyage aboard Queen Elizabeth, consult your Travel Agent, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD (1-800-728-6273) or go to queenelizabeth.cunard.com/.

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09-1-10 Lines Alter Cruise Itineraries Due to Earl Every cruise line should posted weather updates at their respective web sites. If you are booked on a cruise this week or next you should go to the web site for your cruise line and check for weather updates.

This is posted at the Royal Caribbean Web site. The line posts storm up dates there on a regular basis:

Monarch of the Seas was unable to call on CocoCay, Bahamas today. The ship will now sail directly to Nassau, Bahamas were it will stay until midnight Wednesday, September 1. The ship will spend Thursday at sea as it returns to Port Canaveral on Friday, as scheduled. Monarch of the Seas is currently sailing a four-night itinerary, which departed Port Canaveral on August 30. Majesty of the Seas will now extend its port call in Key West, Florida today until early tomorrow morning. It will spend the remainder of Wednesday at sea, and call into Nassau on Thursday, September 2. The ship will return to the Port of Miami on Friday, as scheduled. Majesty of the Seas is currently sailing a four-night itinerary, which departed the Port of Miami on August 30. Enchantment of the Seas called on San Juan, Puerto Rico Sunday, as scheduled, but will cancel its call at St. Thomas on Monday in order to avoid inclement weather from the storm. Instead, the ship will call at Samana, Dominican Republic on Monday, August 30 and Labadee, Haiti, on Tuesday, August 31. The ship will spend Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at sea as it returns to Baltimore on Saturday, as scheduled. Enchantment of the Seas is currently sailing a nine-night Caribbean itinerary, which departed Baltimore on August 26. Oasis of the Seas will be unable to make its scheduled port calls to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas on Tuesday, August 31 and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten on Wednesday, September 1. The most recent forecast simply places the storm too close to these ports of call during the time Oasis of the Seas would be sailing there. The ship will now call at Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Oasis of the Seas is sailing a seven-night Caribbean itinerary, which departed Ft. Lauderdale on August 28. Freedom of the Seas will be unable to make its scheduled port calls to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas on Wednesday, September 1 and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten on Thursday, September 2. The most recent forecast simply places the storm too close to these ports of call during the time Freedom of the Seas would be sailing there. The ship called on CocoCay, Bahamas on Monday, as scheduled, will spend Tuesday at sea, and call into George Town, Grand Cayman on Wednesday. On Thursday, the ship will visit Cozumel, Mexico. The ship will spend Friday and Saturday at sea as it returns to Port Canaveral, Florida on Sunday, as scheduled. Freedom of the Seas is currently sailing a seven-night Caribbean itinerary, which departed Port Canaveral on August 29. No other Royal Caribbean International ship's itinerary is currently being affected by Hurricane Earl. Royal Caribbean will continue to closely monitor weather conditions and will update this information if there are any additional itinerary alterations due to the storm's projected path.

NCL has posted this:

Updated August 29 at 9 am ET At Norwegian Cruise Line, the safety and security of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance. Therefore, the company is closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Earl and Tropical Storm Fiona. Because of Hurricane Earl's path which took it west of Bermuda, Norwegian Dawn is sailing its original itinerary. The ship is currently en route to Bermuda and will arrive on Wednesday morning as scheduled. Because of the adverse weather, Norwegian Jewel did not stop at Great Stirrup Cay today and instead docked in Nassau a day early. The ship will stay in Nassau overnight. Depending on the path of Hurricane Earl, there is a possibility that the ship will need to leave Nassau early tomorrow morning. We will continue to closely monitor the weather conditions and will update this information and notify our guests if there are any additional itinerary changes because of the storms' projected paths. We appreciate our guests understanding.

Carnival Cruise Lines has these scheduled changes. Carnival Cruise Lines has changed the itinerary for Carnival Dream which will sail a Western Caribbean route and visit Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya instead of sailing an Eastern Caribbean cruise with stops in Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

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