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Linda Coffman


The Newsletter for Cruise Travelers

December 6, 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.

Tango in Buenos AiresSo many cruises, so little time...

I've long been fascinated by our neighbors to the south. No, not Floridians. I mean South America with its vast open spaces and diverse cultures. Cruising there on Silversea Cruises' luxurious SILVER SHADOW was a feast for the senses. The sights and sounds couldn't be more exciting—Rio de Janeiro's scenery and hot samba beat; Uruguay's splendid beaches and ranch life; Buenos Aries' rich art and sensuous tango. Capping the cruise, I explored the Iguazu Falls National Parks in Argentina and Brazil—a breathtaking and powerful experience. 

Join me on an illustrated Cruise Diary virtual cruise and enjoy not only South America, but the amenities onboard SILVER SHADOW. It was the Ultimate Reservation for Thanksgiving dinner... no cooking, no clean up, and a "leftover" turkey sandwich was simply a telephone call away.

Where's Cruise Diva? Out to sea! This year December is notable for more than the holidays and we are previewing Holland America Lines' Zuiderdam and Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn. Watch your email box for a special SEA VIEWS newsletter editions soon.

Wind Song Blaze... A Total Loss? FIRE. It's the worst nightmare of every cruise line and ship passenger. At approximately 1:30am local time on Sunday, Dec. 1st, a fire was discovered in the msy Wind Song's engine room as she cruised among the islands of Tahiti. All 127 passengers and 92 crew members were safely evacuated with no reported injuries. As a precaution, passengers and crew were transferred to a local ferry that brought them safely to the nearby island of Raiatea. Passengers have begun flying on charter flights to Papeete, Tahiti, where they are staying at a local resort. The cause of the fire is currently unknown; however, Wind Song is equipped with state-of-the-art fire fighting capabilities and has one of the most highly trained crews at sea. As a result, all guests were disembarked from the vessel in a safe and orderly fashion.

Wind Song AblazeOn Monday Dec. 2nd, French officials stated the fire seemed to be under control, but they insisted the danger is not over yet. Special firefighters from the French Navy had to leave the ship during the night because of intense heat. They used infrared equipment since the ship does not have electricity—the fire advanced to the storeroom, not far away from the generator where the fire first broke out. Representatives from Windstar Cruises and Navy officials were scheduled to go aboard the vessel on Wednesday Dec. 3rd to assess the damage and determine if the fire can be extinguished. "One thing is sure. We will not allow a burning ship to come in the Papeete harbor," said Christian Jouve from the French High Commissioner's office in Tahiti. The luxury liner still carries about 100 tons of fuel, but firefighters claim that part of the ship is well protected against the fire. The flames seemed to be located in the central part of the ship. Matters of concern for French officials are the cost and difficulty of towing the Wind Song and whether the ship could be repaired in French Polynesia. According to parent company Carnival Corp, the extent of the damage to the ship is significant and, based on initial observations, it appears to be a total loss. The vessel is fully insured and management believes that there will be no material impact on Carnival Corp's fiscal 2003 earnings. (French Navy Photo)

Wind Song's sister-ship, the 148-passenger Wind Star, will be redeployed to Tahiti for cruises beginning Jan. 24, 2003 to replace Wind Song. As a result, Wind Star’s winter season of Costa Rica, Panama Canal and Belize cruises has been canceled and the line's 7-day Tahiti sailings have been canceled through Jan. 17, 2003. “We decided that we would minimize the impact on our cruise program in Tahiti. It is one of our most popular cruise destinations,” remarked A. Kirk Lanterman, Chairman & CEO of Windstar Cruises. The redeployment means that only seven Tahiti cruises will be canceled. Schedules and itineraries for Wind Star will be identical to those that were to have been operated by the Wind Song. The Jan. 4, 2003, and subsequent Costa Rica, Panama Canal and Belize cruises previously planned for Wind Star will all be canceled. “We will make sure that the needs of our passengers who were booked on canceled sailings are fairly addressed. This is obviously a very difficult situation. We will not let our passengers down,” commented Lanterman. (See CRUISE NEWS for details)

Cruise News Briefs:

Legendary entertainer Dame Julie Andrews has been named Godmother of Crystal Cruises' third ship, Crystal Serenity, which premieres in July 2003. As Godmother, Ms. Andrews joins an elite group of royalty and heads of state, such as Queen Elizabeth, Margaret Thatcher and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who have all served as ship godmothers.

Princess Cruises announced that Madame Tonita Flosse, First Lady of Tahiti and wife of the President of the Government of French Polynesia Mr.Gaston Flosse, will christen the line's new Tahitian Princess. The ceremony will take place on December 20, 2002 in Papeete and will launch, and officially rename, the recently acquired ship. Princess' first ship to cruise year-round from Papeete, Tahitian Princess inaugurates its cruise program with a holiday sailing on Dec. 24. Interestingly, Mrs. Flosse was Godmother of the Renaissance R3 (the new Pacific Princess), on August 30, 1999, and her portrait graced its reception lobby.

According to UNIGLOBE Travel, the most common mistake made by business and leisure travelers is not allowing enough time to clear airport security before the flight boards. This tops a list of the ten most common travel blunders, compiled from more than 24,000 calls to the UNIGLOBE Travel 7*24 Rescue Line by travelers seeking help while on the road. With increased airport security procedures in place since 9/11, many travelers still don't allow enough time to deal with airport delays. Many miss their flights altogether. 7*24 Rescue Line is one of the complimentary services offered to travelers who book their trip through UNIGLOBE Travel to help sort out travel problems as they occur.

Blending its award-winning culinary heritage with a series of new brand initiatives, Celebrity Cruises has entered a new three-year concession agreement with Apollo Ship Chandlers, replacing the former catering partnership arrangement. Under the new agreement, Apollo will handle food and beverage purchasing, sourcing of crew, warehousing and logistics coordination for Celebrity. Most shipboard colleagues who were formerly Celebrity Catering Services Partnership employees are now employees of Celebrity Cruises. "We are thrilled about this new relationship with our colleagues at Apollo, who, with Master Chef Michel Roux, have done an incredible job of placing Celebrity at the forefront of the culinary arena," said Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Fleet Operations, Dietmar Wertanzl.

US health inspectors boarded the Carnival Fascination in Miami on Monday to investigate another sea borne outbreak of suspected Norwalk-like virus that sickened 194 people during a weekend cruise. The 855-foot Carnival Cruise Line vessel is the third ship in recent weeks to report large outbreaks of vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms of Norwalk-like virus, which is considered non-fatal and generally clears up within a few days. Disney Cruise Line, a unit of the entertainment group Walt Disney Co., last Wednesday canceled a week-long cruise in order to disinfect its Disney Magic ship after more than 450 people reported Norwalk-like sicknesses on two cruises. Holland America, which like Carnival Cruise is also a unit of Carnival Corp, also canceled a voyage of its vessel Amsterdam to disinfect the ship. The Amsterdam, which had more than 500 people report illnesses, resumed regular sailings on Sunday.

Navigator of the SeasHaving left the Kvaerner Masa Yards in Turku, Finland, covered in an inch of snow, Royal Caribbean's newest addition, Navigator of the Seas, arrived in Miami, ready to begin taking guests out to enjoy the Caribbean sun. Navigator first will sail a series of inaugural events before beginning her scheduled year-round itineraries—seven-night, alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. She will be named on Dec. 6 in Miami by tennis legend Stefanie Graf. (Photo--Royal Caribbean's new Navigator of the Seas)

Windstar Cruises launches its first-ever season in the Baltic in 2003, featuring an overnight visit to St. Petersburg, Russia. Guests will be able to enjoy the many celebrations taking place in honor of St. Petersburg’s 300th anniversary. The 308-passenger luxury sailing yacht Wind Surf will journey to the Baltic and Northern Europe on a total of eight cruises from June 29 to September 11, 2003. The line is also celebrating a dozen consecutive years of cruises to the Greek Isles by introducing a new 11-day Greek Isles cruise itinerary for 2003. The addition of four longer sailings between Athens, Greece and Venice, Italy complements popular 7-day Greek Isles cruises between Athens, Greece and Istanbul, Turkey.

Royal Caribbean International's official Web site,, has received top honors from the Web Marketing Association (WMA) for the second year in a row. The site's enhanced Alaska section was named "Best Travel Web Site" by an independent panel of experts in Internet design, navigation and innovation.

Steiner Leisure has renewed its agreement with Holland America Lines for a further two-year term through November 2007. The new agreement enables the company to continue its long relationship to be the exclusive provider of unique spa and massage services, hair dressing and beauty treatments, and fitness programs on the existing Holland America Lines fleet of 10 cruise ships, as well as on all ships it introduces into service during the term of this agreement.

Details of these stories and more in CRUISE NEWS

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

Norwegian Sun by Mark Van Raam

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.

Magellan's Catalog — The serious traveler on your shopping list will appreciate their wide selection of gear.

Elsewhere on the Internet

Captain Marvin's — According to Mark Van Raam, "In Grand Cayman we used Captain Marvin’s and it was wonderful. Two stops at coral and stingray city. Not to be missed. It was a hit with everyone in our group."

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