SEA VIEWS Newsletter from Cruise Diva Linda Coffman's Cruise Planner
The Newsletter for Cruise Travelers

July 15, 2003       

So many cruises, so little time...

"White Nights" in
St. Petersburg, Russia

SILVER WHISPER "Taste of the Baltic" Cruise

Come aboard with Cruise Diva for a virtual cruise on board Silversea Cruises' SILVER WHISPER. The CRUISE DIARY has all the details, from the pre-cruise in Copenhagen where we embarked, during our ports of call... Helsinki (Finland), Tallinn (Estonia) and THREE incredible days and two glorious "white nights" in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Unforgettable highlights of St. Petersburg included a stirring ballet performance of "Swan Lake" and an entire evening at the Hermitage, during which guests of Silversea toured the collections privately after hours and enjoyed a concert by the State Hermitage Orchestra.

Concluding our cruise in Stockholm, Sweden... the details of our two night post-cruise activities.

Where's Cruise Diva? Having a GLORY-ous time on board Carnival Cruise Line's brand-new "Fun Ship"—CARNIVAL GLORY. The cruise review and ship preview of the July 14-19 maiden 5-day sailing to the Western Caribbean is coming up... don't miss it!

A Royal Dutch Treat & will be there! Watch for the details... 
Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands will be godmother to Holland America Line's new Vista-class ship, the ms Oosterdam, in a ceremony dedicating the ship in the company's founding city of Rotterdam on July 29. HAL welcomed the newest addition to their fleet on July 11th when Carnival Corp. and HAL officials formally accepted delivery of ms Oosterdam in a handover ceremony in Venice. Oosterdam is the second Vista-class ship for Holland America, joining sister ship ms Zuiderdam which debuted in December 2002.

Pack a Cruise Travel First Aid Kit and be prepared for small emergencies. Get's list of what to include.

Something New & Important on
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Who's cruising? The latest Cruise Reviews...

Cruise News Briefs:

Royal Caribbean has closely monitored the path and progress of Tropical Storm Claudette to ensure that guests enjoy a safe and comfortable cruise and their ships steer clear of the storm. Given Tropical Storm Claudette’s current and projected path, the itineraries of Voyager of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, and Enchantment of the Seas were altered. On a related deployment note, Royal Caribbean announced that its 3,114-passenger Mariner of the Seas now will debut in Port Canaveral on Nov. 16, 2003, a week earlier than originally scheduled. The new maiden voyage will be a special, one-time-only Eastern Caribbean itinerary. 

Just two weeks after delivering Carnival Cruise Lines' new Carnival Glory, Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri laid the first in a series of approximately 50 building blocks for a sister ship, Carnival Valor. The Carnival Valor is expected to enter service in December 2004. Carnival Glory arrives in Port Canaveral, FL July 11, and will make its maiden voyage Monday, July 14.

Princess Cruises' is offering the perfect escape for passengers looking for a quick vacation. Sampler voyages, one- to six-night sailings, are designed specifically for passengers who are new to cruising or just don't have the time to take one of Princess' traditional seven-night or longer adventures. Between spring 2004 and spring 2005, Princess is offering 14 coastal voyages on six ships.

Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas received a certificate of appreciation from the Canadian Coast Guard's Marine Search and Rescue Unit in recognition of the ship's recent rescue of three Canadian fishermen.

Holland America Line is offering free upgrades to Deluxe Verandah Outside staterooms or Superior Verandah Suites on winter and spring 2004 Caribbean cruises aboard the line’s two Vista-class ships, ms Zuiderdam and ms Oosterdam. Guests must book their cruise by August 31, 2003 to take advantage of this special-value promotion.

SeaDream Yacht Club has kicked off the promotion of its 2003-2004 Caribbean season with travel agent and consumer e-mails for its November-December St. Thomas and Barbados sailings. Five-day itineraries start from $1,499 per person. Fares increase to $3,540 for prime-seven-day voyages. The upcoming Caribbean season runs from November 2003 through April 2004.

A 51-mile marvel that can save a ship more than 7,000 transit miles, the Panama Canal never fails to impress cruise passengers. In 2004-05, Princess Cruises will again offer vacationers the opportunity for a front-row view as the canal's locks lift and lower their home-away-from-home up to a total of 170 feet, with a variety of cruises to choose from during the Canal's 90th anniversary year. Heading north, Princess' famed Gulf of Alaska cruises will have a new northern home port in Whittier beginning in May 2004. The cruise line recently reached an agreement with Whittier Dock Enterprises to use a new dock facility in the Alaska city, which will be constructed especially for passenger ships. The Whittier call will replace Seward.

Seabourn Cruises all-suite, 208-guest Seabourn Pride will host a Great American Food & Wine Festival on a 13-day cruise from New York to Nassau, departing October 25, 2003. During the cruise, guests will enjoy onboard cooking demonstrations by guest chefs including Charlie Palmer of Aureole in New York and Las Vegas, kitchen 22 and other restaurants nationwide. Chef Todd Gray of Equinox in Washington, D.C., also will participate.

Icy Strait Point, Alaska's first purpose-built cruise destination, has been added to the itineraries of Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas and Celebrity Cruise Line's Summit and Mercury for the Alaska cruise season beginning in May 2004. The destination currently has 33 ship calls slated. Designed to accommodate only one cruise ship per day, Icy Strait Point provides a unique Alaska cruise experience focused on history, culture, wildlife tours and native Indian experiences.

Cunard Line's world famous Queen Elizabeth 2 will welcome puppet performers and a producer from the Emmy Award-winning television series The Muppet Show™ during its July 16-22, 2003, transatlantic crossing from Southampton, England, to New York. "The Muppets may not be the most famous guests to have cruised on QE2, but they'll certainly be the most fun," said Deborah Natansohn, Sr. VP, sales and marketing, Cunard Line.

Windjammer Barefoot Cruises announced the marketing of its new timeshare product, Sea-Cabin™ Timeshares. The 53 year old Miami based cruise line will refit the former NOAA vessel M.V. Discoverer for this unique venture.

MSC Italian Cruises adds 42% more capacity this year for its popular South America cruises in 2003-2004 season by placing its award winning ship, the MSC Melody, into service there commencing on Dec. 13, 2003.

July 3rd was a Six-Star style day when legendary entertainer Dame Julie Andrews released the cord that sent a custom-made six liter bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal champagne crashing against the hull of Crystal Cruises' newest luxury ship, Crystal Serenity.

Carnival Cruise Lines has confirmed that, based on current Mississippi River levels, the company will proceed with its previously announced plan to return the Carnival Conquest to New Orleans for year-round seven-day departures beginning July 13, 2003. The 2,974-passenger vessel, which was deployed to Gulfport, Miss., March 9, will make its final voyage from that port July 6.

NCL America held a job fair on Wednesday, July 9 and Thursday, July 10 at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort to search for Hawaii’s best candidates for the line’s new year-round U.S. Flagged ships, Pride of America and Pride of Aloha.

For the first time in company history, Holland America will utilize Virginia’s historic Norfolk, VA seaport at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay as a home port for 16 cruises in 2004, including a full slate of Caribbean cruises on board the ms Maasdam. By offering 10- and 11-day sailings to the Caribbean from Norfolk’s Nauticus International Pier, HAL leads the industry in expanding the scope of cruise travel available to its mid-Atlantic guests.

To appeal to meetings and incentives groups, beginning in 2004 Crystal Cruise's sister-ships, Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, and the luxurious 1,080-guest Crystal Serenity will offer a series of seven-day cruises in the Caribbean, Mexico, Mediterranean and New England.

Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has just released a new video that offers a look at the defining elements of the elite luxury cruise experience. Focusing on the line's spacious and luxurious suites, inspired cuisine, intriguing destinations and personalized service, the 12-minute video, titled "Above and Beyond All Expectations," offers a comprehensive view of Silversea's uncompromising mission to exceed guests' expectations.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn boasts the most expensive art collection at sea featuring original works by the world's greatest Impressionists masters as well as contemporary master, Andy Warhol. Beginning mid-July, guests on Norwegian Dawn will enjoy a new series by Warhol, the "Marilyn" collection, featuring the image of one of America's most well known celebrities, Marilyn Monroe.

Details of these stories and more in CRUISE NEWS

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