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Linda Coffman


The Newsletter for Cruise Travelers

December 15, 2002

Welcome aboard Cruise Diva's SEA VIEWS newsletter, the twice-monthly email publication containing the latest news afloat and the cruise travel information you want.

So many cruises, so little time...

Take a preview peek at Holland America Line's new VISTA-Class ship, the fantastic Zuiderdam. Cruise Diva was on board earlier in the week for a three-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay. She's a beauty... the first of five VISTA-Class vessels.

Eighty-five percent of Zuiderdam's passengers have accommodations with an ocean view and two-thirds of outside staterooms and suites offer occupants a private verandah with attractive wicker-look furnishings. Take a look— has dozens of ship photos!

Joan Lunden, long-time co-host of ABC's "Good Morning America" and current host of A&E's "Behind Closed Doors" and "The Real Story," will serve as godmother to Zuiderdam by breaking the traditional bottle of champagne against its hull on Saturday, Dec. 14th.

Where's Cruise Diva? Out to sea! We're off to New York City to attend the christening of Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn. You can be there "virtually" as Kim Cattrall of HBO's hit series "Sex and the City" serves as Godmother of NCL's newest Freestyle Cruising ship, set to call New York home. She will christen Norwegian Dawn in a ceremony aboard the ship in New York on Monday, December 16. Log onto NCL's website, beginning at 4:30 p.m. EST and see one of New York's sexiest women christen the city's newest leading lady. See CRUISE NEWS for additional details.

Wind Song Update... 

According to Peter Davis of Windstar Cruises, Wind Song suffered significant damage as the result of the Dec. 1st fire. The bad news is that it appears she will be a total loss. The good news is that the crew and systems worked to prevent even worse damage and no one was injured in the evacuation.

The fire began in the engine room and was concentrated in the forward area of the ship, destroying that part of the ship's interior, including the bridge. Passenger accommodations were virtually unharmed and crew members packed up guests' possessions and delivered them ashore to hotels arranged by Windstar. In the interim, Windstar arranged for new clothing and cash for dispossessed passengers.

The ordeal was an emotional one for all aboard. Passengers were particularly concerned about the crew as the fire affected their quarters and many lost their belongings. However, the fire is out, everyone is safe, and crew members will be absorbed into the Windstar and Holland America Line fleets.

Cruise News Briefs:

Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises announced the expansion of its well-received Personalized Voyages program to all its ships. The innovative program was first announced in July for 2003 voyages aboard Silver Cloud. As a result of the program's tremendous success and consumer appeal, Silversea will now offer Personalized Voyages aboard all Silversea vessels beginning in January 2003. "The great success of Personalized Voyages is attributed to the fact that it addresses the needs of today's luxury traveler by giving them total vacation flexibility. We're enabling guests to customize their vacation experiences to fit their needs, not the other way around. With today's affluent traveler, the most precious luxury is time. By offering guests a way to control time and make the most of it, we are helping to define the new ultimate luxury vacation experience," said Albert Peter, Silversea's Chief Executive Officer.

The award-winning Crystal Harmony has emerged from a multi-million dollar overhaul with expansive new spa facilities, Connoisseur Club and remodeled public areas from stem to stern. Designed in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui, the ancient practice of balance and harmony, the Crystal Spa & Salon and Fitness Center has been entirely reconstructed, increasing the facility by 430 square feet. Additionally, the construction of the Connoisseur Club, modeled after the inviting addition to Harmony's sister-ship, Crystal Symphony, creates a new and intimate cigar and cognac lounge with private club atmosphere. "The total redesign of our Crystal Spa and the construction of the Connoisseur Club are in direct response to the needs and expectations of today's sophisticated traveler," says Crystal Cruises president Gregg L. Michel.

In addition, Crystal Cruises has announced that its ultimate 2004 voyage, the World Cruise, will be scheduled aboard Crystal Serenity, the new, long-anticipated 1,080-guest ship soon to join the line's luxury fleet. Departing January 2004 from Los Angeles and featuring 34 ports of call, the 106-day 2004 World Cruise will conclude, for the first time, in New York City. Providing guests with the ultimate in grandeur, the World Cruise will circumnavigate the globe beginning and ending in North America via Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. The cruise departs Los Angeles on Jan. 19, 2004 and concludes four months later, May 5, 2004, in New York City. And, for cost-conscious guests, Crystal Cruises is offering low-cost Trans-Atlantic business class air upgrades to Europe, up to $2,200 per person savings, and is extending "Best of Everything" pricing for 2003 European cruises aboard Crystal Symphony for reservations made by February 15, 2003.

The delivery of Princess Cruises' upcoming ship Coral Princess has been delayed, necessitating the cancellation of the December 24 sailing. The vessel's inaugural Panama Canal cruise will now depart on January 3, 2003. Passengers on the affected December 24 sailing will receive a full refund, as well as credit toward a future cruise. "We deeply regret having to cancel this departure," said Phil Kleweno, president. "The shipbuilder is working hard to deliver the ship as quickly as possible, however the ship requires additional work which will preclude the operation of the December 24 sailing. We sincerely regret this disruption to our valued passengers' holiday plans."

Several highly publicized outbreaks of a stomach virus on cruise ships have had minimal impact on travelers' willingness to cruise, according to a survey of AAA's travel agencies. "Despite the publicity around the bouts of illness, less than one quarter of one percent of our customers have cancelled their cruise reservations during the last month because of the virus," said AAA Travel Vice President Sandra Hughes. "Most vacationers should recognize that their chance of getting the illness on a cruise ship is very small," said Hughes.

More than 2 million North American vacationers cruised during the third quarter of 2002, continuing the cruise industry's record-setting pace for the year, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), a nonprofit organization representing 24 cruise lines. The number reflects a 17 percent increase (294,000 passengers) over the same period last year. CLIA-member lines also reported an average industry occupancy level of 97.9 percent during the third quarter 2002. For the first three quarters of 2002, the number of North American cruise passengers sailing on CLIA member lines is up 9.5 percent over the same period last year, for a total of 5.56 million cruisers, and on a worldwide basis, 6.43 million guests sailed on CLIA-member cruise lines, an increase of 11.33 percent over the previous year. "The third quarter figures illustrate the continuing strong demand for cruise vacations," says Mark Conroy, CLIA chairman and president of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. "The industry is on course to carry 7.4 million cruisers by the end of the year, easily surpassing last year's 6.9 million.

Featuring three ships in Europe for 2003, Holland America Line will expand the number of Europe cruises it offers to 43 with itineraries varying from the Mediterranean and Baltic to Northern Europe and transatlantic crossings. Ships include the new 1,848-passenger ms Oosterdam, the classic 1,214-passenger ms Noordam and 1,316-passenger flagship ms Rotterdam. Three ships cruising Europe will also result in more transatlantic cruises in 2003, a total of seven featuring both north and south Atlantic routes.

Details of these stories and more in CRUISE NEWS

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

Carnival Spirit by Joe Baumgartner

Cruise Diva's Book Selection:

Cruise Vacations for Mature TravelersCruise Vacations for Mature Travelers
by Kerry Smith

Cruise Diva's comments:
Options & information for mature travelers

Great Travel Clothes & Gear For Christmas Giving...

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

Magellan's Catalog — Serious travelers on your shopping list will appreciate their wide selection of gear.

Elsewhere on the Internet

Introducing the ALL NEW Cruise News Section on! The all new cruise section of their newsletter now includes travel advice for first-time and veteran cruisers as well as tips on packing, shopping, shore excursions, and more—provided by, the number one ranked online cruise travel guidebook.

Another Wave Of Cruise Ship Illnesses — Get the facts about Norwalk Virus. Cruise lines educate consumers, from

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