SEA VIEWS Newsletter from Cruise Diva Linda Coffman's Cruise Planner


The Newsletter for Cruise Travelers

March 31, 2003     

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Past passengers received an Important Travel Safety Information letter from Jack Williams, President and Chief Operating Officer, Royal Caribbean International.

In a recent survey conducted for Condè Nast Traveler magazine, the independent firm of Mark Clements Research, Inc. asked 4,000 readers to rate 224 cruise ship, destination, resort, and urban hotel spas in North America and the Caribbean. Silversea Cruises' Asian-themed Mandara Spa garnered top honors among cruise ships with its winning service and facilities.

The 700-guest Seven Seas Voyager, the world's second all-balcony suite cruise ship, was christened here today by Barbara Carlson Gage, co-owner and director of Minneapolis-based Carlson Companies Inc., owners of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC). In addition, RSSC announced the extension of Radisson Diamond's® Caribbean season with 13 new seven- to 14-night voyages April through July.

Luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises has released its 2004 Cruise Guide, the line's first publication of next year's entire fleet-wide schedule, featuring new itineraries, new ports of call and the inaugural World Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity. Never one to rest on its laurels, Crystal Cruises has upped the ante in Alaska with 12 new shore excursions for the current season that are sure to exceed the expectations of seasoned and novice cruisers alike. The new excursions run the gamut from glacier landings, bear watching, and wilderness dining, to a ghostly graveyard exploration.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has changed the name of Crown Odyssey to Norwegian Crown during a multi-million dollar refurbishment to convert the ship into a Freestyle Cruising vessel and added three new restaurants. Norwegian Crown will enter into service under the NCL fleet this fall and begin sailing from Baltimore as part of the company's expansive Homeland Cruising program. The series will mark NCL's first regular sailings from Baltimore.

Celebrity Cruises will offer cruise ship service from Jacksonville, FL to the Southern and Western Caribbean beginning this fall from the Jacksonville Port Authority’s Dames Point Marine Terminal. The series of 13 cruises scheduled aboard Celebrity’s Zenith will range from 11 to 14 nights in length, and will depart Jacksonville on various dates from October 26, 2003 through April 22, 2004.

With three ships sailing Alaskan itineraries this summer and more than 100 different shore excursions, ranging from relaxed to outrageously wild, Royal Caribbean is offering more ways to "get out there" in the great frontier. This year, the cruise line has added 26 new excursions, including a few not intended for the faint of heart. For on board excitement, Royal Caribbean, the cruise line that redefined traditional expectations of cruising by putting rock-climbing walls onboard its newest cruise ships, has plans to offer the popular feature fleetwide by November 2003.

In response to the unprecedented demand for Regatta’s Western Mediterranean itineraries, Oceania Cruises has modified Insignia’s first two voyages to incorporate additional calls at such popular ports as Barcelona, Malta, Monte Carlo and Sorrento.

Cunard Line's new Queen Mary 2, the largest liner ever, entered the water for the first time as she was floated from her building dock to a finishing basin at the Alstom Chantiers shipyard. This milestone signifies the final stages of construction for the $800-million liner prior to her maiden voyage on January 12, 2004. (Click here for Photos) In a fast forward look to the future, Cunard Line announed that its new 85,000-ton cruise ship, which is scheduled to enter service in 2005, will be named Queen Victoria.

Carnival Corp's new Long Beach Cruise Terminal at the Queen Mary will welcome its first cruise ship when Carnival's 70,000-ton Ecstasy sails from the $40 million facility April 14, 2003. The new terminal will initially serve as the homeport to two 2,052-passenger ships, the Ecstasy and the Elation. On the east coast, Carnival has added a special five-day inaugural cruise to Mexico aboard the new Carnival Glory, operating round-trip from Port Canaveral, FL, July 14-19, 2003, prior to the start-up of the ship's year-round seven-day Caribbean program from that port.

Details of these stories and more in CRUISE NEWS

Who's cruising? It's been a "Fun Ship" Month! Check the latest Cruise Reviews...

Cruise Diva's Book Selections:

Berlitz Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2003
by Douglas Ward

Cruise Diva comments: Watch for in-depth reviews of these important cruising resources. They are MUCH more than ordinary travel guidebooks.

Total Traveler Guide to Worldwide Cruising

Total Traveler Guide to Worldwide Cruising 
by Ethel Blum

Berlitz Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2003

Elsewhere on the Internet

Cruise lines are offering travel options for uncertain times Anita Dunham-Potter updates the Most Flexible Vacations During War Time.

Explore North - The world's largest gateway to the circumpolar North, from arts and culture to science and tourism. Alaska history and articles by Murray Lundberg, historian, writer and photographer.

Great Travel Clothing & Gear...


Magellan's Catalog -- Serious cruisers appreciate their wide selection of travel accessories.

Southeast Aviation

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"The world's best islands are the ones that float and move.  They're called cruise ships." ~ Cruise Diva

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So many cruises, so little time...
Calving glacier—the highlight of an Alaska cruise

Calving glacier—the highlight of an Alaska cruise

Cruise NORTH to Alaska

Alaska, America's "coolest" state, is still a favorite cruise destination, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Cruise lines are adding voyages, expanding shore excursion and land package offerings, and extending enrichment programs available to passengers visiting Alaska, the third most popular cruise destination. With dozens of vessels positioning to the northwest and Alaska, there's never been a better time to sail from Seattle, Vancouver, or Seward to discover the Great State by ship. focuses on planning and preparing for a "Cool" Cruise.

Cruise wear and cruise gear for a cool cruise is different than what veteran Caribbean cruisers pack. One thing to remember is that you are not going to the North Pole, but you want to be prepared for just about any contingency—rain is a definite possibility. Warm sunny days ashore can easily segue into chilly nights at sea. Continue your preparations by following the suggestions for Cool Weather Cruise Packing.

Then, join on an Alaska Cruise Adventure. What will you see and do ashore? Check out the Alaska section in our Ports of Call. Soar with the eagles on a variety of flightseeing options from Southeast Aviation.

Where's cruising?

Yes, Cruise Diva has cruise plans... we're seriously eyeing the Caribbean on Radisson Diamond (have you seen the bargain fares?!?). In June, we're off to the Baltic for a fabulous Silversea cruise on Silver Whisper with three whole days in St. Petersburg during the 300th anniversary of the city's founding. This fall we'll take our first cruise on a mega, mega-ship, Grand Princess. Watch for these voyages to be featured in the Cruise Diary

Cruise News Briefs:

The cruise industry's highest priority has always been the safety and security of guests and crew. Under normal circumstances security programs are stringent, but since the events of 9/11, and with the Operation Liberty Shield campaign commencing, the cruise industry has heightened the level of security even further. International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) member lines are working closely with the agencies within the Dept of Homeland Security, including the US Coast Guard and the Border and Transportation directorate, as well as state and local authorities to ensure passengers' safety and security. Member lines have security officers on every ship and security professionals in every company headquarters whose sole responsibility is to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.