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


The Newsletter for Cruise Travelers

May 15, 2003       


So many cruises, so little time...

"New" home ports are riding the cruising wave

Cruise Embarkation Ports... coming soon to a city near you?

"Drive-up" cruises are becoming more popular as the hassle factor of air travel continues to rise. In addition to traditional embarkation ports, there are over a dozen less familiar port cities capable of handling passenger ships. Even ports that are more well-known for moving bananas than people are beginning to ride the cruise wave. For example, take Jacksonville, Florida's JAXPORT, where the temporary cruise passenger terminal pictured above is under construction.

Jacksonville will welcome Celebrity Cruises' Zenith in Oct. 2003 and Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest cruise operator, will inaugurate cruises from JAXPORT when the new 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle debuts with a series of 3-, 5- and 6-day cruises in March 2004. Following the Carnival Miracle sailings, Carnival will launch Jacksonville’s first year-round cruise program in Oct. 2004 with 4- and 5-day voyages aboard the Holiday. When Carnival Miracle leaves Jacksonville, she will reposition to Baltimore, another 'close-to-home' cruise port, for a series of unique 7-day round trip sailings to Key West and the Bahamas.

Drive-and-sail cruises will probably never squeeze out air-and-sea programs, but they are a growing trend. Discover the options in's Embarkation Ports, with links to North American ports.  

Where's Cruise Diva?

Sailing soon on board Radisson Seven Seas Cruises'  RADISSON DIAMOND. The Western Caribbean Cruise Diary is about to begin. Take a peek of what's coming up.

Countdown to Queen Mary 2
Did you know QM2 will have the world’s first The world’s first shipboard planetarium & a traditional 360-degree promenade deck? Get the details and new photos in the May Progress Report.

Cruise News Briefs:

Silversea Cruises announced enhancements to its acclaimed Mandara Spa that will take the spa's program of fitness, beauty and spa therapies to a new level. Silversea's Mandara Spa will expand its hours and staff, adding poolside cabana treatments and adding a selection of new Elemis Spa Therapies products. Poolside massage cabanas and the new Elemis products debut this month aboard Silver Wind and will be featured on the line's other ships next month. Another innovation is the new interactive television system being introduced to the fleet that will enable guests to view on-demand movies, send and receive e-mail, and book shore excursions in the privacy of their suites. The new system will debut aboard Silver Whisper at the end of this month and soon be operational aboard the line's other ships.

Having already selected Miami as its corporate home, Oceania Cruises has gone one step further and chosen the Port of Miami as the winter homeport for the intimate 684-guest Regatta. Sailing a variety of 12- to 14-day voyages, Regatta embarks on her first sailing from Miami on Nov. 25, 2003. A preview of things to come... picky French passengers on a recent charter cruise aboard Insignia, which will be the second ship to join Oceania's fleet, rated the general quality of meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the main restaurant, dinner in the grill restaurant, and dinner in the Italian restaurant at or higher than average for the whole voyage. Cabin service, service in all three restaurants, and bar service also received kudos.

Just "fore" golfers. Seabourn Cruise Line is rolling out another series of enhancements to its onboard lifestyle. Starting with European cruises this summer, Seabourn will offer its cruising guests opportunities to play an expanded menu of the world's most beautiful and challenging golf courses in 2003 and 2004.

More sea-going golf news... don’t forget to pack clubs and your favorite golf balls when embarking on a Holland America Caribbean cruise this year. Holland America offers golf excursions on ten islands to scenic championship courses designed by the likes of renowned golf-course architects Robert Trent Jones Sr. and George and Tom Fazio.

Congratulations! In conjunction with his 10th year at the helm of Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's largest cruise operator, Bob Dickinson has added "Chief Executive Officer" to his title of president. The title change more accurately reflects Dickinson's role as the highest- ranking executive at the world's most popular cruise line.

Travel by Design is The World of ResidenSea's new 2004 program, replete with visits to the world's best destinations and the most flexible holiday itineraries at sea.

Princess Cruises' 2004-05 Exotics season will be the longest ever offered as the line debuts its first summer season of cruising to unique destinations such as the fascinating ports of Asia or the islands of the South Pacific. The new program also features a new line-up of longer sailings, dubbed "Connoisseur Adventure Voyages," and for the first time will offer a choice of three ships sailing in Asia.

Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will serve as godmother to the new Carnival Glory, the largest Carnival Cruise Lines cruise ship ever based year-round at Port Canaveral, FL. Dr. Ride will break the ceremonial bottle of champagne across the hull of the massive vessel during a dockside ceremony Monday, July 14, 2003.

For the second time in as many years, luxury travel specialist Crystal Cruises will transform Jade Garden into Wolfgang Puck's most acclaimed restaurant, Santa Monica's Chinois on Main, during a Crystal Symphony 11-day Amsterdam to London voyage departing June 6, 2003.

After debuting the new Pinnacle Grill alternative restaurants on sister ships Statendam and Ryndam last year to excellent reviews and full capacity, Holland America Line has expanded the restaurant concept to nine of the line’s vessels. The Pinnacle Grill features Pacific Northwest specialties and wines in a romantic, upscale atmosphere. Holland America has also announced an alteration to its schedule of new ships to include a change in the delivery date of Vista 4 from October 2005 to January 2006 and a change in the number of 1,848-passenger Vista ships from five to four.

Carnival Cruise Lines kicked off its largest-ever New York cruise season when the Carnival Legend departed Tuesday, May 13, 2003, on the inaugural sailing of a unique eight-day Caribbean schedule.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced its new US Flag brand, NCL America, under which all of its US flagged, US crewed ships will operate. In addition, the company has developed its largest Hawaii deployment ever, with two NCL America ships sailing inter-island cruises and two NCL ships sailing Hawaii/Fanning Island itineraries. The common theme across all four ships is NCL's trademark Freestyle Cruising, still the only completely flexible resort-style cruise experience among the major lines.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and The Coca-Cola Company are offering vacationers a fun new way to spend the day on the cruise lines' private island of CocoCay. Caylana's Castle Cove, a new 20,000-square-foot aqua adventure park, gives both adults and kids a chance to play and test their skills on a series of challenges from floating rock-climbing walls to aquatic trampolines.

Details of these stories and more in CRUISE NEWS

Who's cruising? The latest Cruise Reviews...

Upcoming: Get a preview of this "virtual" cruise & sail along with

Silversea Cruises'  SILVER WHISPER (July 2003) Copenhagen to Stockholm Cruise Diary

Cruise Diva's Book Selections:

Smart Packing

Smart Packing for Today's Traveler by Susan Foster

Cruise Diva comments: The very BEST packing advice & it's all in one book. An absolute MUST for every traveler with updated info available on the Internet!

Elsewhere on the Internet

What's New For Kids At Sea from, a peek at new and innovative programs for sea-going children and teens.

Fabric Africa features what is sure to become the latest trend, the Kikoi! Featured in Town & Country and Vanity Fair magazines, the Kikoi is as beautiful as it is useful. Just the thing for your next cruise.

EVERYONE wants a bargain, but how many of us have the time and expertise to search out the "bidding" sites online? Take heart... Amber Blecker strips away the mystery and confusion and will even handle the process for you! - The informational site featuring Priceline and Hotwire for pre- and post-cruise hotel bargains.
- A Priceline bidding service for those who want to use Priceline, but are confused or simply want a shortcut for the research and bidding process.

Air Travel Advice -- The one stop resource for smarter airline travel.

Southeast Aviation: CLICK HERE for info

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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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