The Newsletter for Cruise Travelers

February 15, 2003

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So many cruises, so little time.

Sail 'n Sign... ready, set, SPEND!

Cruising Cost Control...

What IS & Is NOT Included In Your Cruise Fare
Low, low fares... The kind currently offered by cruise lines and travel agencies have brought cruise vacations within the reach of many people who only fantasized about them in the past. However, those same rock-bottom fares can cause consternation when passengers discover the creative ways devised to entice them to spend additional money once on board the ships of their dreams.

Ready, set, spend? Charge, charge, charge and you can see the cost of your cruise vacation rising faster than a helicopter over Alaska's glaciers. Holding down the add-on expenses isn't easy—after all, it's your vacation, you deserve it, and you want it to be special. However, there are ways to keep those costs minimal. You're not alone. CruiseDiva.com loves a bargain and loves to save money even more! Here are our Money Saving Tips to control on board expenditures.

Queen Mary 2—Follow her Progress

February Update — Here's a look at the official illustration of Queen Mary 2 rendered by Scottish-born Gordon Bauwens, one of the world’s leading marine artists. Get the scoop on what's powering the latest Queen and take a peek at her historic whistle. Did you know that the original Queen Mary's whistle could be heard 10 miles away but was attuned so as not to disturb the passengers on deck?

Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Bye...

It comes as no surprise that impending US military involvement in the Middle East has dampened demand for cruises in the Mediterranean. Americans are looking for vacations closer to home this year and Princess Cruises is the first cruise line to announce a deployment change involving a ship slated to sail European itineraries. Grand Princess is dropping the Med in favor of remaining in the Caribbean and passengers bookings will be transferred to Golden Princess, which is sailing an identical itinerary to the one planned for Grand Princess. Details in CRUISE NEWS. Will other cruise lines follow suit? It's pretty likely. Watch for announcements in CruiseDiva.com.

Did You Know?

In addition to being useful around the house, Duck Tape is indispensable when on the road or at sea. Have Duck Tape, Will Travel explains its many uses and why you shouldn't leave home without it.

Cruise News Briefs:

Celebrity Cruises is unveiling a variety of new concepts to add "a taste of luxury" to their award-winning attributes. Among the new elements are expanded options and hours in Celebrity's AquaSpa(SM); a broader range of enrichment lectures; increased choices in cuisine, including a Sushi Cafe; sunset happy hours with live music and refreshments; increased options in dining hours, with something available to whet guests' appetites 24 hours a day; sunset yoga and Pilates classes; frosty towels and sorbet service poolside, and increased opportunities for guests to interact with the ship's officers.

Luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises is launching "Cruise Protection Program-PLUS," an optional new insurance upgrade allowing travelers to cancel their cruise for absolutely any reason up until three days before departure, and receive a 90% cruise credit of the cancellation fee valid for any sailing within 12 months.

Charlie Palmer is both a consummate chef and a genuinely likeable guy so it's not surprising that the renowned chef/restaurateur maintains friendships with some of America's other celebrated chefs. This informal circle of chefs share an enthusiasm for fine food and great cooking, and Charlie has invited them to share his enthusiasm for The Yachts of Seabourn. He has invited a number of them to join Seabourn cruises in 2003 as guest chefs, to form the core of a new culinary branch of Seabourn's Dress Circle onboard enrichment called the 'Chefs' Circle.'

Princess Cruises announced that the delivery of Island Princess has been postponed, necessitating the cancellation of the vessel's first scheduled voyages. The inaugural cruise is now set for 7/12/03, a Gulf of Alaska sailing between Vancouver and Seward. On the other side of the world, one of Princess' newest vessels, Tahitian Princess, has added to the line's roster of worldwide destinations with inaugural visits to three little-visited destinations, the Marquesas islands of Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva, as well as Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Islands group. Looking to the future, Princess revealed that in April 2004 the line will debut a new "Love Boat" Caribbean Princess, which will sail exclusively in the Caribbean year-round. Joined by Golden Princess, Princess' presence there will be significantly expanded with the company's first two-ship summer of Caribbean cruising.

Based on overwhelming demand for its first-ever "Fun Ship Reunion Cruises" announced last month, Carnival Cruise Lines has added two more, which feature special pricing and value-added extras such as free Carnival logo items and shipboard discounts. The two new "Reunion Cruises" include a 7-day eastern Caribbean voyage from Miami aboard the smoke-free Paradise 9/28/03, and a 7-day western Caribbean cruise from New Orleans aboard the new Carnival Conquest 10/19/03.

Crystal Cruises' 940-guest Crystal Symphony was named "The Best Medium-Sized Cruise Ship in the World'' by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Crystal Symphony rated first overall among 47 of the world's leading medium-sized and large cruise ships. Foodies will be delighted that Master Chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa has partnered with Crystal Cruises to bring his legendary cuisine to a second dining venue aboard the luxurious Crystal Serenity, set to debut in July. "Crystal Cruises has a reputation for good food, good service, and hospitality that is exquisite,'' says Nobu. "I feel confident that my cuisine will only enhance an existing tradition of excellence."

Royal Caribbean International continues its winning streak with top rankings in annual surveys by Recommend, Modern Bride and Porthole Cruise Magazine. The brand was recognized for excellence in the areas of entertainment, dining, honeymoon travel, itineraries and technology.

Celebrity Cruises announced that a thorough examination of Infinity's propulsion equipment revealed that bearing units in the ship's propulsion system will require more extensive repairs than originally expected. The repairs will take longer than estimated earlier, resulting in one additional sailing, on 2/23/03, being cancelled. Infinity is expected to resume service 3/9/03.

Oceania Cruises achieved booking levels far exceeding management’s expectations for its first week of operations. Oceania Cruises officially opened its inaugural season for bookings on January 27th and bookings were more than triple the anticipated volume during that week. Oceania also announced it has joined ASTA, the American Society of Travel Agents.

Windstar Cruises is offering cruisers free roundtrip airfare to Tahiti from 78 cities across North America on 13 upcoming cruises onboard the 148-passenger masted sailing yacht Wind Star from February through mid-May. For lovers of sea days, Windstar is offering a total of four transatlantic crossings in 2003, each 14-days in length. Two spring cruises journey from the Caribbean to Europe in April and two fall sailings return from Europe to the Caribbean in November, some with all-inclusive programs, including airfare from select cities.

Royal Olympic Cruises has kicked off the New Year with a new trade name--Royal Olympia Cruises. This was decided following the successful name changes of the company's two new vessels, from Olympic Voyager and Olympic Explorer to Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer.

Cunard Line's 2004 World Cruise on board Queen Elizabeth 2 will celebrate the travels of the great explorers of our time. The world's most famous ship will depart New York 1/5/04, on a 110-day voyage around the globe.

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"! No matter where you want to sail, you'll find the information on the entire cruise experience from planning and ship ratings to destinations in this expansive and beautifully written book. It's the only guidebook you'll need for cruising the world.

Elsewhere on the Internet

Oceania Cruises CEO Frank Del Rio answers AnitaVacation.com's questions about plans for Oceania Cruises.

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.

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 selection of swim wear, sportswear, and accessories.

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