News Archive - September 2003

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9-29-03 Queen Mary 2 Passes Sea Trials Cunard's Queen Mary 2, the first ship purposely built for trans-oceanic travel between continents in 30 years, was floated out to sea and given four days of "rigorous testing of her power, manoeuvrability and vibration levels" off the coast of Britanny last week. Cunard Line reports that she passed all of her tests with flying colors. Cunard reports that the ship is right on schedule for her maiden voyage from Southampton to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on January 12, 2004.   click image for full pic Back to Top

9-26-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Mariner of the Seas will be christened in Port Canaveral on November 14 with athlete Jean Driscoll serving as Godmother. An Olympian, Paralympian and international advocate for persons with disabilities, Driscoll's achievements range from winning the women's wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon eight times - the only person in Boston Marathon history to achieve that feat - to victories in both the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games. She was recognized by Sports Illustrated for Women as one of the top 25 female athletes of the 20th century and is also a world record holder in the 10,000-meter track event as well as the 10K and marathon road racing distances. Driscoll, who was born with spina bifida, is actively involved with organizations for athletes with disabilities both in the United States and abroad. The fifth Voyager-class ship for RCI, Mariner of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship to sail from Port Canaveral when she begins alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from the port on November 16.

*** The new Carnival Miracle will sail from New York from June 7 to August 28, 2004. The first departure on June 7, is a five-day Canada cruise to Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia. From June 12, 2004 Miracle sails seven-day cruises from New York calling at Port Canaveral/Orlando for 14 hours, as well as Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas. The 88,500-ton, 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle is the fourth Spirit-class ship and enters service in March 2004 sailing from Jacksonville, Florida. The vessel's interiors are inspired by famous fictional icons and include 16 lounges and bars. Other on board features include four swimming pools, a jogging track, Internet cafe, wedding chapel, video arcade, numerous fine and casual dining options, including a reservations-only supper club located at the top of the 11-deck atrium. Also found on board will be a 14,500-square-foot health club and a comprehensive golf program with professional instruction both aboard ship and during excursions.

*** Sapphire Princess was floated out last week from the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan. Reconstruction work, following a shipyard fire last October, was completed in August. The vessel is on schedule for delivery in May, 2004, when it will begin sailing Alaska cruises from Seattle, along with sister-ship, Diamond Princess. The 113,000-ton, 2,670-passenger sisters will be the largest cruise ships to ever sail to Alaska. They have already experienced a name change: Their names were switched following the shipyard fire so that Diamond Princess would still enter service on schedule in March, 2004, sailing from Los Angeles (Long Beach) to the Mexican Riviera.

*** Clipper Cruise Line has chartered the Fantasia del Mar of Argo Line for daylight transits of the Panama Canal in 2003 and 2004. The nine-night "Exploring the Natural Treasures of Costa Rica and the Darien Jungle, Plus the Panama Canal" voyages are offered aboard the 138-passenger Yorktown Clipper. As small-ship enthusiasts are aware, the Panama Canal transit is often completed under cover of darkness due to heavy traffic and the higher fees generated from larger ships which are given priority entrance into the canal. Now passengers will board the Fantasia del Mar for the full-day Panama Canal transit which traverses all three sets of locks, plus the Miraflores and Gat´┐Żn lakes and the Gaillard Cut. An onboard guide describes the workings of the canal as tugboats and locomotives direct the ship through the locks. Built in 1978, at Boothbay Harbor, Maine, the Fantasia del Mar is 117-feet long, has three passenger decks and is certified to carry up to 600 passengers, however, it will solely transport the 138 guests aboard the Yorktown Clipper for Clipper's chartered transits. The Fantasia del Mar features a spacious observation deck for outside viewing and a comfortable, air-conditioned lounge with seating for 150.

*** Celebrity Cruises is the first cruise line to offer acupuncture aboard ship. Debuting aboard Infinity this month, Acupuncture at Sea will include lectures about acupuncture, feng shui, nutrition, and healing with herbs, in addition to the acupuncture treatments themselves. The professionals offering the service include Dr. Philippe Manicom, of OM Alliance, Coconut Grove, Florida who is an acupuncturist for celebrities and Olympic and NBA athletes. Celebrity's Acupuncture at Sea is scheduled aboard Infinity's September 26, October 8, and October 19 sailings. Dates on other Celebrity ships are yet to be announced.

*** As the Official Cruise Line of the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration, RCI has another special sailing planned, aboard Grandeur of the Seas, to wrap up the anniversary year. The December 13 commemorative cruise sails round-trip from New Orleans with calls at Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Costa Maya. It will feature performances by local legends Irma Thomas and Harry Connick, Sr., as well as Zydeco master Terrence Simien, the Mardi Gras Under the Stars cultural festival and a Louisiana Film Festival. In addition, menu items throughout the week will reflect the region's world-renowned cuisine. Grandeur of the Seas will return to New Orleans on Saturday December 20 in time for cruisers to attend the re-enactment of the Louisiana Purchase signing at the Cabildo, where the actual ceremonies took place in 1803.

*** Princess Cruises has announced the top Alaska shore excursions and tour guides for its C.R.U.I.S.E. (Courtesy, Respect, Unfailing In Service Excellence) awards program. Begun in 1999 in the Caribbean as part of Princess' customer service program, the awards were expanded to Alaska in 2000. Winners are chosen based on customer feedback. The awards ceremonies were recently held aboard the line's Alaska-based ships. Tour Guide of the Season award winners received $100, a tour of the ship, a letter of commendation, a plaque, and lunch onboard for their family. Operators of the Shore Excursion of the Season received a plaque and a letter of commendation, a tour of the ship, and lunch onboard for company officials. Here are this year's winners in Alaska:

  • Juneau: Co-Shore Excursions: Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest, (Allen Marine Tours); Helicopter Glacier Trek, (NorthStar Trekking); Tour Guide: Jami Likins, Guide's Choice Adventure Hike (Gastineau Guiding)
  • Ketchikan: Shore Excursion: Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure (Snorkel Alaska); Co-Tour Guides: Rob Holston, (Guard Island Lighthouse Excursions); Aaron Fargo, Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure (Snorkel Alaska)
  • Sitka: Shore Excursion: Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest (Allen Marine Tours); Tour Guide: Mary Hames (Sitka Tours)
  • Skagway: Co-Shore Excursions: Glacier Point Wilderness Safari (Chilkat Guides Ltd.); Pilot's Choice Helicopter Odyssey (Temsco Helicopters); Co-Tour Guides: Dave Marvin, Glacier Point Wilderness Safari (Chilkat Guides Ltd); Cory Thole, Heli-Hike & Rail Adventure (Packer Expeditions Ltd.)
  • Seward: Shore Excursion: Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise (Kenai Fjord Tours); Tour Guide: Micki Van Deusen, Homestead Cabin & Exit Glacier (Trails North Inc.)
  • Vancouver: Shore Excursion: Capilano Canyon Nature Tour (Rockwood Adventures); Tour Guide: Jeff Veniot (Gray Line of Vancouver)
  • Victoria: Shore Excursion: Grand City Drive & Empress Tea (Gray Line of Victoria); Tour Guide: Dave Roberts, Victoria Highlight & Mt. Tolmie (Gray Line of Victoria)
  • Seattle: Shore Excursion: Ride the Ducks of Seattle; Tour Guide: Nicole Hansen, Ride the Ducks of Seattle

*** Seven Seas Navigator will call at Tampa for the first time this fall. The four Tampa itineraries include Palm Beach to Tampa, two roundtrip Tampa voyages, and a Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale cruise with departure dates on November 8, 18, 25 and December 2. The seven-night Thanksgiving cruise sails round-trip from Tampa on November 25. It will feature the "Club Mariner" children's program. Ports of call are Grand Cayman; Costa Maya and Cozumel (Mexico); and Key West.

*** Star Clippers is offering discounts and reduced airfare on Caribbean cruises aboard the luxury sailing ships Royal Clipper and Star Clipper. From October to December, free air is offered from New York, Washington, DC or Miami while from January to March, 2004 air add-ons start at $95 per person. Discounts on the seven-night sailings are $300 per person for Royal Clipper cruises from Barbados, and $400 per person for Star Clipper cruises from St. Maarten. A number of theme cruises are planned over the fall and winter, including Jazz & Blues, Caribbean culture and Health & Well-Being.

*** Royal Olympia Cruises is selling three of its older vessels, including the Stella Solaris, built in 1953, which was a very popular ship in its heyday. The Apollon and Stella Oceanis are the other two which will be going to the breakers in India. Reports indicate that Triton will also be sold. Back to Top

9-19-03 Weekend Cruise News *** The largest ships ever built for Norwegian Cruise Line have been ordered from Meyer Werft shipyards in Germany for delivery in 2005 and 2006. The two vessels will be based largely on the Norwegian Dawn/Norwegian Star design, with modifications in both technical and passenger areas. Gross tonnage will be slightly higher than Norwegian Dawn at an estimated 93,000-tons with a passenger capacity of 2,400 (double occupancy). The new ships will also feature the very latest in environmental and safety management systems. On board features include 10 different restaurants including a steak house, an Asian restaurant/sushi bar/teppanyaki room (now with two tables versus the current one), Italian, French, and Spanish restaurants, two main dining rooms, and a coffee shop/casual eatery located in the center of the atrium; enormous health, fitness, and spa facilities; generous children and teen areas with a dedicated children's outdoor pool area; a 1000+ seat opera-style theatre; a high-energy top-of-the-ship nightclub; karaoke facilities and private karaoke rooms; a state of the art casino with player tracking and the highest table limits at sea; a department store-style shopping area, and extensive meeting and conference facilities.

*** Carnival Pride begins year-round sailings to Mexico on Sunday. Departing from Carnival's new cruise terminal in Long Beach, Carnival Pride will sail seven-night cruises every Sunday to Cabo San Lucas (9 hour stay), Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. The 88,500-ton, 2,124-passenger vessel takes over the route from the smaller Elation which on September 28 begins Sunday sailings from Galveston, year-round, to Progreso, Cozumel and Belize, City.

*** Architects and interior designers from Architectural Digest will be aboard the Queen Mary 2 as part of the 'Designing the Seas' enrichment series to be featured on select transatlantic crossings from May to October 2004. As well as giving lectures, they will be available for private consultations. The enrichment program aboard QM2 will also feature lecturers from Oxford University and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Classes will be held in the 10,225-sq.ft. Cunard ConneXions facility which will house seven classrooms and an auditorium so several classes can take place simultaneously. Learn more about the Queen Mary 2 at Cunard's new QM2 site:

*** The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reports growth in the state's cruise industry. The number of cruise ship passengers increased during the first half of 2003 with the number of out-of-state passengers rising by 16.7% over the same period in 2002. Out-of-state cruise visitors make up about 4.3% of all travelers to the Islands, compared with 3.6% last year and 2.4% in 2001.

*** NCL America has launched a competition for Hawaiian artists to create the hull design for Pride of Aloha, which enters service in Honolulu, October 1, 2004. The company is also looking for artists and students to compete to design an "Aloha" shirt for crew uniforms to be worn aboard both Pride of Aloha and Pride of America vessels. The line is looking for an authentic representation of Hawaii, reflecting the islands' rich culture. The winning artist will see his or her work displayed on the hull of the ship, receive a $10,000 cash award and win a cruise for two aboard Pride of Aloha's inaugural voyage.

*** An automated baggage conveyor system has been installed at Port Canaveral's Terminal 9/10 at a cost of $1.4 million. The automated system speeds up disembarkation as four conveyor belts carry luggage ashore where passengers retrieve it using the traditional color code system. Each conveyor can handle around 500 pieces of luggage at one time. The more efficient luggage handling system is needed as more and bigger ships begin sailing from Port Canaveral. Miami is the only other U.S. port to have the conveyor system.

*** Costa Cruises will construct and manage a new cruise terminal in the Port of Barcelona. The project will be funded entirely by Costa Crociere (parent company of Costa Cruises) at a cost of seven 7 million euros and will provide Costa Crociere and Carnival Corporation with priority use of the new facility. The President of the Port of Barcelona, Joaquim Tosas, and the Vice President of Cruise Operations for Costa Crociere, Giovanni Onorato, recently signed the agreement. Costa started sailing to Barcelona in the 1950's and is currently the main cruise operator in the port with 20 percent of the total number of passengers. The new terminal is scheduled to open for business in the early spring of 2005.

California legislators have passed a bill, applicable to all types of ships, which will increase the ban on ballast water discharge in coastal waters to 200 nautical miles from shore. Two bills applicable to cruise ships were also passed. They pertain to sewage sludge and bilge and hazardous waste. The International Council of Cruise Lines worked with legislature on the issues covered by the bills. ICCL president Michael Crye points out, however, that several practices that are already industry standards are included in the bills. The ICCL's mandatory environmental policies, adopted unanimously in June 2001, surpass regulatory procedures that exist in the U.S. or elsewhere. Back to Top

9-19-03 RCI Orders Ultra Voyager Royal Caribbean International has today ordered a larger model of its popular Voyager-class ships for delivery in May 2006. Called Ultra Voyager, the vessel will become the world's largest cruise vessel, surpassing Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 in size. Roughly 15 percent larger than the Voyager-class ships, Ultra Voyager will be 160,000-tons, measure 126 feet by 1,112 feet and stand 18 stories high. At 100 percent occupancy, it will carry 3,600 passengers and 1,400 crew. Cruising speed will be approximately 22 knots. The new ship will be built at Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Finland, continuing a shipbuilding tradition that produced five Voyager-class ships, two Vision-class vessels and four earlier ships. The yard and cruise line signed a preliminary agreement last June, outlining the design and specifications of the new ship. Today's contract formalizes that agreement. The yard also granted the company an option for a second Ultra Voyager, with a 2007 delivery date. RCI also announced it would not be exercising its options for a fifth and sixth Radiance-class vessel. Back to Top

9-12-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Crown Odyssey is currently sailing her final voyage for Orient Lines, a transatlantic crossing from Rome to Baltimore. On Monday the vessel joins Norwegian Cruise Line as the Norwegian Crown sailing in Canada/New England followed by winter cruises in South America. The vessel has switched names in the past. Originally built for Royal Cruise Line in 1988 as the Crown Odyssey, she sailed for NCL as the Norwegian Crown from March, 1996 to May, 2000. She then joined the Orient Lines fleet, once again named Crown Odyssey and remains with Orient until next Monday's transfer. Since last February's drydock in Singapore, the vessel has sported a white hull and many on board changes in preparation for the return to NCL and the 'freestyle cruising' concept. Changes made during refit included the addition of three restaurants - Le Bistro, an Italian pasta cafe and a covered al fresco dining cafe - a children's activity area, state-of-the-art fitness center, a number of new cabins as well as an expansion of the spa and casino. With the transfer, Orient Lines returns to a one-ship operation. Marco Polo will continue sailing Orient Lines' destination-focused voyages including Antarctica.

*** Bermuda's recovery efforts are proceeding well, following last weekend's battering by Hurricane Fabian. Cruise ships are being allowed to return next week. Some itineraries are being adjusted, however, as the causeway that connects St. George's to Hamilton has been badly damaged making transportation by road difficult. Norwegian Majesty will call at St. George's, King's Wharf and Hamilton next week instead of staying in St. George's only. Hurricane Fabian forced Bermuda bound ships to head for Canada and New England this past week. The ports of St. John, New Brunswick, Halifax, Nova Scotia and Bar Harbor, Maine benefited most from the redeployments as passengers arrived looking for tours and in need of warmer clothes for the change of destination. Celebrity's Zenith and Horizon, NCL's Norwegian Majesty and Norwegian Sea and RCI's Nordic Empress were all re-routed away from Bermuda. In addition, Princess Cruises' Regal Princess began her Canada/New England season this week adding to the number of cruise calls in the region.

*** Carnival Cruise Line's Celebration continues to experience propulsion problems which are slowing the vessel's cruising speed. Celebration has been forced to miss ports of call on four and five-night Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston. A replacement part has arrived and is expected to be installed prior to Celebration's Saturday departure. Passengers on affected voyages have been offered a $400 per cabin shipboard credit plus a 50 percent discount on a future four or five-day sailing. Those choosing to cancel, will receive a full refund plus 50 percent savings on a future cruise.

*** Radisson Seven Seas Cruises is expanding the advance reservation of shore excursions to include Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Navigator and Radisson Diamond this month. The line anticipates adding the Paul Gauguin to the program in 2004. The pre-request tour program was introduced in Alaska this past summer aboard Seven Seas Mariner and was well received by passengers. Under the program, pre-request forms are sent to passengers with cruise documents 30 days prior to sailing. Beginning with the Seven Seas Voyager's Sept. 10 cruise, the Seven Seas Navigator's Sept. 24 cruise and the Radisson Diamond's Sept. 26 cruise, booked passengers may choose excursions by faxing their completed preference form to the line anytime up to 48 hours prior to their voyage. Requests are processed in the order received. Fax numbers for these forms only are: Seven Seas Mariner (305) 714-0463; Seven Seas Voyager (305) 714-0464; Seven Seas Navigator (305) 714-0465; Radisson Diamond (305) 714-0466. Passengers will find the shore excursion tickets in their stateroom/suite upon embarkation and charges will appear on shipboard accounts. Passengers will be added to the waitlist for requested tours that are already fully booked.

*** Carnival's 2,056-passenger Fantasy is currently undergoing an extensive multi-million-dollar refurbishment as part of its scheduled five-week drydock. The refurbishment is taking place at the Freeport Shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas. The 70,000-ton Fantasy entered service in 1990 and operates year-round three and four-day Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral. When Fantasy returns to service on October 9, 2003, the first level of the ship's seven-deck-high atrium will feature a new lobby bar offering the ideal spot for before- and after-dinner cocktails and people watching. Popularized on Carnival's Destiny- and Spirit-class vessels, the new venue will also include a stage where a trio will play classical music during embarkation and throughout the voyage. Each of the Fantasy's 1,028 staterooms will receive a complete makeover with new wall coverings, furniture, bedding and linens. In-cabin bathrooms will be fully remodeled, as well, with updated vanities, new tile work and shampoo and soap dispensers. Via Marina, an enclosed double-width promenade, will also receive a facelift, with elegant new furniture and a decorative marble floor with carpet inlays, while The Forum, the Fantasy's conference facility, has been reconfigured so that it can be utilized as both a meeting space and entertainment venue. Windows on the Sea, the ship's poolside restaurant, will be enhanced with new tile work, carpeting and additional salad and dessert bar stations. Numerous other areas throughout the ship, including Cleopatra's Bar, Electricity Dance Club, Cats Lounge, and Celebration and Jubilee dining rooms, will receive cosmetic enhancements, with new carpeting and wall coverings throughout.

*** Seabourn is now offering a seven-day segment of the Great American Food & Wine Festival in October. The all-suite, 208-passenger Seabourn Pride will host the seven-day event on a cruise from the Washington, D.C. area (Alexandria, Virginia) to Nassau departing October 31, 2003. During the cruise, guests will enjoy onboard cooking demonstrations by guest chef Todd Gray of Equinox in Washington, DC. Signature dishes created by Chef Gray will be featured on menus in the ship's open-seating Restaurant and the casual alternative Veranda Cafe. Tours and visits to local growers and purveyors, green markets, historical sites and other culinary attractions will take place in the ports of call including Yorktown (for Williamsburg) VA; Charleston SC; Savannah GA and Port Canaveral, FL. The entire 13-day Great American Food & Wine Festival starts October 25th in New York. Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer of Aureole in New York and Las Vegas, kitchen 22 and other top-rated restaurants coast-to-coast will be presiding on board from New York to Alexandria. Ports of call include Newport, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Alexandria.

*** Oceania Cruises' 2004 European brochure is now available. The 74-page, full-color guide showcases the line's wide range of European itineraries, diverse culinary options, luxury amenities, and country club-casual atmosphere. Oceania Cruises' second ship, Insignia, debuts April 3, 2004 in the Med. Sister ship Regatta will also feature Northern European cruises next year. To request a brochure, call 800-531-5658 or visit

*** Costa Cruises will send the CostaTropicale and CostaAllegra to South America this winter. Three to 22-night sailings are available from late December, 2003 to March, 2004. Both vessels will homeport in Santos, Brazil. CostaTropicale sails three to 11-night cruises to ports in Brazil while CostaAllegra sails four and six-night Brazil cruises and eight to 10-night cruises to Argentina and Uruguay. A 22-night cruise, January 29, 2004 calls at ports in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, the Falkland Islands and Chile. Rates start at $899 per person, cruise only. See your travel agent for more details.

*** The first-ever triathlon cruise has been declared a phenomenal success. The event was held aboard Royal Caribbean's 2,350-passenger Majesty of the Seas on Labor Day weekend. A group of 400 triathletes, family members, and friends sailed to Nassau to compete in "The Big One With the Big 3," part of the Publix Family Fitness Weekend / Coca-Cola Classic Triathlon Series. The sprint triathlon, which consisted of a half-mile ocean swim, 18-mile bicycle ride, and five-kilometer run, was the seventh event in a nine-race series managed by Exclusive Sports Marketing. Altogether, 164 cruisers - 108 male and 56 female, between the ages of 12 to 67 - competed in age and weight groups and in an Elite division. Most finished the Nassau test in one to 1 1/2 hours. The cruisers also held a one-mile ocean swim the next day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas. During the cruise, an exception was made to a Royal Caribbean policy that prohibits bicycles being brought aboard ship. Among other special arrangements for the group was a pasta dinner on the eve of the race (to load up on carbohydrates), an awards ceremony, and clinics and Q&A sessions with "Big 3" triathlon superstars Dave Scott, Scott Molina, and Scott Tinley. Dave Scott is a six-time winner of Ironman Hawaii, a grueling nine-hour test that includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a full 26.2-mile marathon.

*** Intuitive Vision Network is holding two psychic & spiritual healing cruises in 2004. Aimed at those interested in spiritual transformation, the seven-day retreats include workshops and psychic demonstrations. Next year's cruises will be held aboard Carnival Spirit, April 15-18, 2004 sailing from San Diego to Mexico and aboard Carnival Victory, July 8-July 12, 2004 sailing from New York to Nova Scotia. For more visit the group's web site at Back to Top

9-5-03 Weekend Cruise News *** Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have introduced luxury, glass-dome train service between Seward and Anchorage for 2004. The Wilderness Express, with 360-degree glass-dome viewing, provides some of the most impressive views in Alaska. On the Anchorage to Seward train ride it is possible to see whales, Dall sheep, cascading waterfalls, glaciers and other sights visible only on this stretch of rail tracks. Two new cruisetours are available in conjunction with the new rail service. The four and five-night tours include travel on the Wilderness Express train cars between Anchorage and Seward plus stops in Fairbanks, Denali National Park and Talkeetna. RCI and Celebrity are offering 19 Alaska cruisetours beginning May 28, 2004 in conjunction with cruises aboard Celebrity's Summit and Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas. All tours are escorted throughout by highly knowledgeable tour directors.

*** Regal Princess sailed from New York on Thursday after completing an extensive, three-day sanitation process. During the August 18 sailing from Copenhagen to New York, a total of 302 passengers (20%) and 45 crew members (7%) reported ill with gastrointestinal flu which turned out to be caused by the norovirus. Princess began extensive measures to interrupt the spread of the virus when it was noticed on the third day of the cruise. CDC's Vessel Sanitation Chief Dave Forney has expressed satisfaction with Princess' response procedures and disinfection measures, and feels that the ship is safe for embarking passengers. He called Princess' protocols "top notch," and said Princess "notified the CDC well before they were required to do so."

*** The Veranda Cafe aboard the yachts of Seabourn is now open for dinner on formal nights. Passengers who prefer elegant-casual dress over formal attire can now dine at the alternative, indoor-outdoor Cafe instead of the main dining room on formal nights, aboard Seabourn Spirit, Pride and Legend. At the Cafe, jackets, but no ties are required for gentlemen and dresses, skirts or pants with a sweater or blouse for women. In bars and lounges throughout the ship, either formal or elegant-casual dress is suggested after six pm. Richard D. Meadows, Seabourn's senior vice president of sales and marketing explains: "Many Seabourn guests consider a formal dinner integral to their enjoyment of their cruise ... but there are others for whom the formality holds little appeal, especially as we have created more seven-day cruises in the Caribbean and Mediterranean that attract and satisfy travelers with different ideas of what they like on vacation." The Veranda Cafes were redecorated at the beginning of 2003, with brighter, lighter colors and new furniture. Seabourn designed a new concept for the Veranda Cafe dinners, featuring different themes each night, such as Ginger and Spice (Asian), Modern Mediterranean and Seabourn Steakhouse. A re-design of the Veranda Cafe galley creates an "open kitchen" ambience in the room. In December, the Veranda Cafes will add new Rosenthal china as well, in a chic, contemporary design. The Veranda Cafes are also popular venues for breakfasts and luncheons. They offer indoor and outdoor seating, with lavish buffets and a casual atmosphere at both meals. In good weather, many Seabourn passengers opt for the family-style seating outdoors, overlooking the harbor when the ship is in port, or the ship's wake when at sea.

*** The latest addition to Crystal Cruises "Creative Learning Institute," is Parsons School of Design which will provide introductory classes in fine art, floral design, and interior design on selected cruises. Interior Design classes will introduce antiques and furniture, while fine arts classes students will explore drawing, sculpture and painting. Parsons joins a number of leading companies, including Sotheby's, Berlitz, Tai Chi Cultural Center, BOOK magazine, Yamaha and the Society of Wine Educators, in offering courses as part of the Creative Learning Institute which debuted on Crystal Serenity this summer. The program will begin aboard Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony in 2004.

*** Oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau will be the special guest aboard Paul Gauguin's November 15 Marquesas cruise. This is the fourth time Cousteau has sailed on the Gauguin's Marquesas itinerary during which the famed oceanographer gives lectures and leads scuba divers on underwater adventures into some of the Pacific's richest marine ecosystems. Jean-Michel Cousteau is the son of the Jacques Cousteau and a prominent environmentalist in his own right. The 14-night Marquesas voyage sails roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti, to Rangiroa; Omoa (Fatu Hiva); Atuona (Hiva Ona); Vaipaee (Ua Huka); Hatihue and Tiahae (Nuka Hiva); Bora Bora which was the model for James Michener's fictional Bali Hai; Tahaa, for a visit to Motu Mahana, the ship's private islet; and Moorea, widely regarded as the most topographically interesting island in French Polynesia.

*** Carnival's Jubilee will be renamed Pacific Sun when she joins P&O Cruises Australia in October 2004. She will join Pacific Sky, formerly Princess Cruises Sky Princess, for year-round South Pacific cruising from Sydney and Brisbane.

*** Ship enthusiasts will be interested in the latest move of the former Crown Princess: Carnival Corporation is consolidating its German cruise operations into the AIDA brand. The cruise ship A'ROSA Blu will be transferred to AIDA to sail as the AIDA Blu while the A'ROSA brand name and riverboats will be sold. A'ROSA Blu is the former Crown Princess of Princess Cruises. As the AIDA Blu, she will sail with AIDA's three other vessels on informal, "Club resort" cruises aimed at younger, more active, German-speaking passengers. Carnival also owns Costa Cruises which has its own German division, Costa Kreuzfahrten, offering a more traditional cruise experience for German-speaking clientele aboard the CostaMarina. Back to Top

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