The Newsletter for Cruise Travelers

January 31, 2003

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So many cruises, so little time.

Intimate settings & time for one another.

Romance, Romance, Romance...

With Valentines Day just around the corner, for couples anticipating a celebration of that day of love at sea—congratulations

If your plans don't include a cruise, take heart. You can still surprise your partner with a cruise. It's the perfect gift. For some tips on how to enhance your romantic voyage together, CruiseDiva.com offers hints for Romance at Sea and selects the Most Romantic Ships for lovers. We scoured the fleets and came up with our top five most intimate ships for couples. Some are obvious and others may surprise you. 

Just announced is an "EGG-CEPTIONAL" Cruise from Silversea Cruises. What woman wouldn't be enchanted by the gift of a Fabergé Egg? And what man could resist the opportunity to make the woman in his life feel like a Czarina? Experience the splendor of the Russian Imperial Family and surprise your sweetheart with a Silver Whisper "Romanovs Remembered" cruise. It's a Valentine gift beyond compare and the opportunity to join in the 300 year celebration of St. Petersburg's wondrous history.

Did you know? A recent survey conducted for Celebrity Cruises found that nearly 90 percent of parents surveyed would be interested in taking a romantic vacation... without their children. Although 50 percent have never vacationed without kids, 66 percent of parents believe that time away from their kids makes the time with them even better.

Cruise News Briefs:

Oceania Cruises has been busy, officially opening the inaugural season itineraries of Regatta and Insignia for bookings and launching their web site. Plus, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has added Oceania Cruises to its roster of member lines. Oceania Cruises promises to feature unparalleled onboard service, fine cuisine crafted by renowned master chef Jacques Pepin, four open-seating restaurants and a “country club casual” onboard atmosphere.

Celebrity Cruises has canceled two cruises on Infinity to replace ball-bearing units in the ship's propulsion system. The ship must enter dry-dock to replace the bearings, which has resulted in the cancellation of its Feb 2 and Feb 13 sailings. The ship is expected to return to its scheduled sailings on Feb 23.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has introduced its 2003-2004 Homeland Cruising brochure, the largest, most comprehensive cruise brochure in company history. After unveiling a groundbreaking itinerary from New York City to the Bahamas and Florida, the company announced another first in the industry. It will base its newest and biggest ship, Norwegian Dawn, in New York year-round. That means scrapping plans for her dual homeport in Miami, but Northeasterners are thrilled. There's reason for Southerners to be delighted as well. NCL also announced it will add Charleston, South Carolina to its rapidly expanding Homeland Cruising program. Norwegian Majesty will be deployed to the popular Southern city beginning Saturday, Nov 8, 2003 to sail a series of 24 seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean. If that's not enough, Norwegian Sea will undergo a multi-million dollar refurbishment project this month to spruce up for her repositioning to Houston. She will be the only ship sailing year round from the Houston when she begins offering weekly “Texaribbean” cruises to four exotic Western Caribbean ports in November.

Heroes afloat... In response to a request from the US Coast Guard, Holland America Line's ms Statendam altered its course while sailing towards Hawaii earlier this month. The US Coast Guard received a distress signal from a sailboat and requested that the Statendam assist the 45-foot private yacht, Enchantment. Statendam sailed directly to the vessel in distress, which was taking on water and had injured passengers, and rescued three male passengers from the sailboat while in 25-foot seas. The passengers were safely transferred to the Statendam without incident.

For lovers of food and wine, opportunities to experience the finest of both abound. A taste of wine country comes to the Caribbean this winter on Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Navigator of the Seas. Going beyond anything the cruise industry has offered to date, the unique new Vintages wine bar combines wine appreciation, education, and entertainment to create a one-of-a-kind experience for wine aficionados and novices alike. And, in a creative move that is sure to delight both cruise enthusiasts and gourmets, Silversea Cruises is launching an innovative Wine Series to complement its popular Culinary Arts cruises. In 2003, the ultra-luxury cruise line is introducing a selection of eleven Wine Series sailings to explore the heartland of some of the world's finest vintages. The Wine Series is perfectly accompanied by eight Culinary Arts cruises and two special voyages on which guests can savor the pairing of both Culinary Arts and Wine Series enrichment programs.

Royal Caribbean has announced a fleetwide enhancement to its industry-leading Accessible Seas program that may seem a small thing to the average cruiser, but will make a big difference for some guests with disabilities. To better meet the needs of visually impaired travelers, the company is adding Braille deck numbers to staircase handrails on each of its 16 ships in 2003.

SeaDream Yacht Club invites past guests of 20 highly-regarded cruise ships to “Sea Why” its ultra-luxury mega yachts, SeaDream I and II, were rated at the top of the Five-Star club of the Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships 2003. And, at a great savings. Here’s another good and timely deal from the innovative line. It’s a No Penalty Cancellation Policy called No Stress No Strings. In unsettling times such as the world is experiencing at present, travelers can change or postpone their SeaDream travel plans for any reason up to the date of departure and receive 100 percent travel credit of the yacht tariff including government fees, handling and service charges. This money is applied toward a future sailing on one of the ultra-luxury mega yachts SeaDream I or II within two years of the original booking.

Details of these stories and more in CRUISE NEWS

Who's cruising? Check the latest Cruise Reviews on CruiseDiva.com!

Cruise Diva's Book Selection:

Total Traveler Guide to Worldwide Cruising 
by Ethel Blum

Cruise Diva comments: 
Ms. Blum has created the "Encyclopedia of Vacations at Sea"

Great Travel Clothes & Gear...

Lands' End

It's time to plan your cruise wardrobe and you can't find new bathing suits to suit the family... You need shorts and tops and the department stores haven't stocked up yet... Take heart, Lands End has you covered. Check out their great suggestions for everyone on your Valentine gift list.

Elsewhere on the Internet

FrequentFlier.com is the Internet's premier site for frequent flyer program information and advice. Created by Tim Winship, FrequentFlier.com and the award-winning FrequentFlier Crier e-mail newsletter offer the freshest coverage of all things frequent flyer program-related you'll find anywhere on the Internet.

OneTravel.com — The cruise section of their newsletter now includes travel advice for first-time and veteran cruisers as well as tips on packing, shopping, shore excursions, and more—provided by CruiseDiva.com.

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Images courtesy of Silversea Cruises, Amazon.com & Lands End

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