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Linda Coffman


The Newsletter for Cruise Travelers

March 15, 2002

Welcome aboard Cruise Diva's SEA VIEWS newsletter and thank you for subscribing. SEA VIEWS is a twice-monthly email publication containing the latest news afloat and the cruise travel information you want.

So many cruises, so little time...

This edition of "Sea Views" newsletter is a bit late because I just returned from the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in Miami Beach. Seatrade Cruise Shipping ConventionHo hum? Not at all! Stay with me—there's much, much more to Seatrade than towel folding machines and marine plumbing exhibits.

I wondered if the morning cloudburst drenching Miami Beach on Tuesday was a signal that a stormy "State of the Industry" Debate was about to begin inside the Convention Center. The stage was set, with Peter Ratcliff, CEO of P&O Princess, flanked on the dais by Jack Williams, President & CEO of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, and Howard S. Frank, Vice Chairman of Carnival Corporation.

The air at the traditional opening session of Seatrade was charged with anticipation as a blaring fanfare signified that this was no ordinary year. In tribute to the citizens of New York City, poignant photographs of great cruise liners passing New York's skyline flashed onto twin screens. Ship photographer Jonathan Atkin's splendid images silently illustrated that things are decidedly different in 2002.

How different is the cruise industry since 9/11? Find out what leading industry personalities had to say during the "State of the Industry" Debate. Watch for more Seatrade reports in the coming weeks.

SPECIAL New Ship Preview!

Star Princess suiteWelcome aboard Princess Cruises' Star Princess. Many thanks to Linda Androlia of Sunstone Tours & Cruises for this wonderful illustrated preview.

Sister ship to the Grand Princess and the Golden Princess, the spectacular new Star Princess is the largest cruise ship to ever visit the Los Angeles harbor.

Embark with Linda and take a mini-tour now! (Photo—a sumptuous balcony suite)

Cruise News Briefs

Another former Renaissance Cruises' R-Class ship has found a home at Swan Hellenic. They are leasing R8 from Cruiseinvest for seven years to embark on "discovery and exploration cruises" starting in April 2003. Renamed Minerva II, she will replace Swan Hellenic's current vessel, Minerva. Details on the 2003 itinerary will be announced in June. The R8 will undergo a transformation to the "Swan Hellenic country house style."

Windstar Cruises just released its "2002 Voyage Planner Revised" including all sailings through the end of the 2002. The new brochure highlights recently announced Tahiti and Western Mediterranean sailings for the upscale cruise line. "A number of exciting cruise opportunities have been announced in the past few months, and the revised voyage planner will help bring everyone up to speed on the latest Windstar happenings," said Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales.

What's for dinner? Luxury cruise lines are serving up some divine dishes by celebrity chefs on their vessels. Daniel Boulud, whose New York restaurant Daniel has been rated one of the 10 best in the world by The International Herald Tribune, will create signature menus exclusively for the ships of Cunard Line. The four-star chef has been engaged to build on the line's legendary reputation for culinary excellence. Crystal Cruises is adding yet another gourmet experience to its culinary repertoire: Chinois at Jade. Wolfgang Puck's acclaimed Santa Monica-based restaurant, Chinois on Main, will soon be featured at Jade Garden, the intimate Asian specialty restaurant aboard award-winning Crystal Symphony. Best known for its creative and unique fusion of flavors with a Chinese and French heritage, Chinois on Main has garnered virtually every culinary award since its inception in 1983.

The inaugural season of Holland America Line's "Elegant Explorer," the new ms Prinsendam, will feature a full year of globe trotting from Northern Europe to Africa, Asia and Australia/New Zealand, and back again. After delivery of the former Seabourn Sun on April 23, the ship will undergo a 35-day refitting, followed by five festive days of introductory activities on the East Coast, culminating with its being bestowed with one of the most cherished names in company history. During its first year under the HAL flag, the 38,000-ton, 794-passenger Prinsendam will sail on 23 cruises ranging in length from 10 to 22 days. Guests may choose to combine itineraries to create longer voyages of 23 to 44 days or more. "The Prinsendam will offer one of the most exciting cruise programs ever created by Holland America," said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales.

Carnival Cruise Lines, will mark its 30th anniversary with a year-long celebration featuring a variety of special commemorative items, on-board contests and promotions, and even a special 30th anniversary song recorded by Broadway star Andrea McArdle. And, after a three-year hiatus, "the most popular cruise line in the world," will return to Bermuda in grand style with five "Fun Ship" cruises to the island nation in 2002. The six- and seven-day voyages, which will dock at historic King's Wharf, will depart from four eastern U.S. seaports aboard the 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph and new 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend, currently under construction and set to debut this summer.

For details of these stories and more, check the Cruise News

Who's cruising? Check the latest New Cruise Reviews!

  • Millennium & Grand Princess is an uncommon back-to-back cruise review by Sherry Lauson comparing  Celebrity's Millennium to Princess Cruises' Grand Princess
  • Norwegian Sun with Ray Quinn on a Western Caribbean itinerary
  • Seven Seas Mariner with Gary Karschnick from Manaus, Brazil to San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Splendour of the Seas with Jana Jones, NBC17's Great Getaways Travel Expert

Cruise Diva's Book Selection for March

Chicken Soup for the Traveler's SoulChicken Soup for the Traveler's Soul:
Stories of Adventure, Inspiration & Insight to Celebrate the Spirit of Travel

by Jack Canfield (Editor), Mark Victor Hansen, Steve Zikman

Cruise Diva's comments: These are uplifting stories to satisfy the wanderlust of the armchair traveler. Look for the essay by Jim West, author of my February book and audio selections, The Essential Little Cruise Book and Cruise Control: Secrets for a Perfect Cruise.

Elsewhere on the Internet: - Take a peek at photos by Jonathan Atkin, photographer to the cruise and maritime industries.

Coldwater CreekFrom our sponsor... distinctive women's apparel & accessories from Coldwater Creek®.

Great for travel and especially cruises!

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Illustrations courtesy of Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention, Linda Androlia,, Coldwater Creek, & Royal Caribbean Intl.