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Linda Coffman


The Newsletter for Cruise Travelers

November 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...

Silversea Cruises, the on board experienceFrom beginning to end, no two cruise experiences are identical. After near-perfect sailings, I've spoken to fellow passengers at the airport whose perceptions of the same cruise varied widely from mine. They found fault with some of the very aspects of the cruise that made my experience flawless. What exactly are realistic expectations?

Cruise Diva's FOCUS this month is on... What to Expect on a Cruise

Whether it's your first or fiftieth sailing, embarking on a cruise ship can be more than exhilarating—it can be downright intimidating. Passengers who know a bit about the inner workings of a cruise vacation are better prepared to handle any "uncharted water" they might encounter. Satisfaction may be just around the corner, if only you are informed. (Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises)

Where's Cruise Diva? Flying on down to Rio for a Thanksgiving cruise on board Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow. It's the ultimate holiday dinner reservation—no one has to do the dishes or eat leftovers. Check out my itinerary in the Cruise Diary

Coming Events — Cruise Diva will be out to sea in December, previewing Holland America Lines' Zuiderdam and Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn. Watch your email box for special SEA VIEWS newsletter editions before the holidays.

Cruise Experiences — Now you can Shop 'Til You Drop! shares details about the new, increased duty-free allowance for travelers.

Norwegian Cruise Line & "Project America"NCL Takes a "Project America" Hull to Sea — The first ship of the two vessel "Project America" shipbuilding program tasted the open ocean last week, partially completed and towed by a powerful tug. The hull, plus the materials and equipment needed to complete her, plus all the work in progress and materials for the second ship, are on their way to Europe from the Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Ingalls yard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The new owner, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), is in discussions with Lloyd Werft of Germany to complete the ship. Lloyd Werft supervised the removal and towing of the hull and materials on Tuesday, November 5, 2002. The original design of the "Project America" ship has been modified and will sail under the NCL brand as the latest addition to the company's revolutionary Freestyle Cruising fleet. The yet-to-be-named vessel will be delivered in Spring 2004 and will be the fourth new ship for NCL in as many years. (Photo courtesy of NCL)

Oops... some not-so-smooth sailing for Princess Cruises — After Princess Cruises announced that Her Excellency Mireya Moscoso, president of the Republic of Panama, would christen the line's newest ship, Coral Princess, in a historic ceremony in the Panama Canal, the delivery of the vessel was postponed by the shipyard, necessitating the cancellation of one sailing. Coral Princess' inaugural Panama Canal cruise will now depart on December 24, 2002. Passengers on the affected December 14 sailing will receive a full refund as well as a $500 per cabin credit on a future cruise. "The shipbuilder, Chantiers de l'Atlantique, found itself faced with unexpected delays," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "We certainly regret canceling this voyage, as we know it is disappointing news to our passengers. But we will be working diligently to accommodate passengers on alternate Princess sailing dates." The first cruise ship christening ever in the Canal is still scheduled to take place as Coral Princess transits the Canal's Gatun Locks on January 17, 2003. The ship will be in the Canal as part of it regular cruise itinerary, on a sailing that departs from Ft. Lauderdale on January 13.

Last month a fire broke out aboard Diamond Princess in the shipyard and the damage assessment is now complete. Princess and the Japanese shipbuilder have confirmed that the ship's construction will continue, and the vessel will be delivered in May 2004, but with the name "Sapphire Princess." The ship will be based in Seattle for a roundtrip Alaska cruise program. The delivery of the second ship, originally destined to be named Sapphire Princess, has been brought forward by three months to February 2004, and this identical ship will now be named "Diamond Princess," with its inaugural season in Mexico prior to moving to Alaska for the summer. An accelerated building schedule and odd name-swapping for both hulls will enable Princess Cruises to launch Diamond Princess into Mexico in March, and Sapphire Princess in Alaska for a full summer season. A confusing but practical solution.

Cruise News Briefs:

Best of the best... Ultra-luxury cruise market leader, Silversea Cruises won the highly prestigious Condé Nast Traveler award for World’s "Best Small-Ship Cruise Line" for 2002 and Crystal Cruises, a leader in luxury cruising was awarded honors for the "Best Large-Ship Cruise Line." Congratulations to both cruise lines for holding their titles for SEVEN consecutive years!

According to a new survey from Royal Caribbean, 63% of Americans enjoyed at least one trip in 2002, with more than a third taking two or more family vacations. The 1,200 survey respondents revealed that getting everyone together for a getaway can be challenging. Other than cost, respondents said the top challenges in choosing a family vacation are finding the time (37%), finding something everyone will enjoy (16%), deciding when to go (16%), and selecting a destination (15%). Royal Caribbean wants to help families get away for some quality time together. Through December 15, 2002, visit to enter the Royal Caribbean Family Cruise Sweepstakes for a chance to win a great cruise vacation for the whole family.

SeaDream Yacht Club, operator of the twin, ultra luxury mega yachts SeaDream I and II, is about to launch its first season sailing out of the renowned South Florida resort, Palm Beach. “SeaDream and Palm Beach are made for each other,” proclaimed an enthusiastic Larry Pimentel, CTC, Chairman and CEO of the highly-regarded yacht company.

Norwegian DawnMost cruise ships relegate their artwork to the inside. Norwegian Cruise Line takes art one step further by featuring dynamic images on the hull of its newest vessel, Norwegian Dawn. The art, depicting Norwegian Dawn's innovative itinerary, runs on both sides of the hull with the starboard side featuring playful dolphins, reflecting the ship's Caribbean itinerary from the port of Miami. The port side features New York City's leading lady, the Statue of Liberty, signifying the ship's groundbreaking Bahamas & Florida itinerary from the port of New York. (Photo courtesy of NCL) 

On Nov. 8, Carnival Legend, Carnival Cruise Lines' newest 88,500-ton "Fun Ship," arrived in Fort Lauderdale. She will operate a series of 8-day "exotic Caribbean" cruises from Port Everglades through the winter cruise season. Legend is the first new Carnival "Fun Ship" to be home-ported at Fort Lauderdale and the line's first long-term program from that port in more than a decade. Following closely in her fleet-mate's wake, the new 110,000-ton Carnival Conquest, the largest "Fun Ship" ever constructed, arrived in her New Orleans home-port, becoming the newest and largest ship based there year-round.

Royal Caribbean International's Splendour of the Seas began sailing from the Port of Galveston last week, making her the second Royal Caribbean ship currently home-porting there. The company's Rhapsody of the Seas has been sailing regularly from Galveston since April 2002. Back on the Florida coast Royal Caribbean and Port Canaveral have reached an agreement for Mariner of the Seas, which will be delivered to the company in October 2003, to sail regularly from Port Canaveral, Florida. Mariner of the Seas will be the second Royal Caribbean ship to sail regularly from the central Florida port; the company's Sovereign of the Seas has sailed from Port Canaveral since June 2000.

Act now—luxury cruise pioneer Seabourn Cruise Line has extended its offer of cruise-only savings up to 50% to include all 2003 Mediterranean cruises of Seabourn Spirit and Legend, and selected cruises in Scandinavia and Northern Europe aboard Seabourn Pride. On 7- to 11-day Med cruises aboard The Yachts of Seabourn, cruise-only savings up to 50% result in fares from $3,286 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square-foot Seabourn Suite.

Windstar Cruises continues its tradition of offering guests access to some of the most intriguing places in the world. Their new 2003 Mediterranean cruise itineraries include stops in 10 different countries on three luxury sailing yachts, the 308-passenger Wind Surf and the 148-passenger Wind Star and Wind Spirit.

Details of these stories and more in CRUISE NEWS

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

Cruise Diva's Book Selection:

The Path Between the SeasThe Path Between the Seas:
the Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914
by David McCullough
Cruise Diva's comments:
Fascinating story behind the creation of the Panama Canal. A must-read before a Panama Canal cruise.

Great Travel Clothes & Gear From our newest sponsor...

Lands EndLands' End — THE source for smart and stylish travel clothing, polos, shorts, swimwear, luggage, accessories and more for the entire family.

Elsewhere on the Internet

Cruising to Rio  Where in the world is AnitaVacation?
  Only the Shadow knows.

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Images courtesy of, Land's End, Silversea Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line,