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News from the world of cruising ~
January 1-15, 2003

For schedule changes & departure information on a specific cruise line or port of call, please select Latest Updates by Cruise Line

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Multi-Talented Star will be Guest 'Dress Circle' Celebrity on June 1st sailing

MIAMI, Jan 14, 2003 -- Stage, screen and recording star Gregory Hines is scheduled to appear as Seabourn's Dress Circle celebrity guest on board Seabourn Legend's seven-day cruise sailing from Nice to Rome on June 1st, 2003. In show business terms, Gregory Hines is "the complete package." Starring roles in a string of hit musical and dance shows on Broadway won him numerous honors including three Tony nominations (Sophisticated Ladies, Eubie, Comin' Uptown) and a Tony Best Actor Award for Jelly's Last Jam. As a film actor, his critically-acclaimed roles span genres from comedy (Running Scared, A Rage in Harlem) and drama (The Cotton Club, White Nights, Waiting to Exhale) to action thrillers (Off Limits) and even a cult horror film (The Wolfen). Gregory won Emmy nominations for his small-screen acting and his voice has enlivened several animated features and series. He has also directed films and Emmy-nominated television shows and made hit musical recordings.

Seabourn's Dress Circle enrichment program takes full advantage of the intimate size and sociable atmosphere aboard The Yachts of Seabourn to provide guests a privileged proximity to celebrity guests. In informal interviews and presentations, Dress Circle celebrities reveal insights, memories and anecdotes, and share their journeys to the world's most desirable destinations. More than simply a lecture program, Dress Circle ensures that guests aboard The Yachts of Seabourn are always in good company.

The seven-day cruise departing June 1st also visits Corsica, France and Elba, Portovenere, Livorno and Portofino in Italy before arriving in Civitavecchia, the port for Rome. All guests will enjoy a complimentary Exclusively Seabourn shoreside experience at Portofino's La Cervara Abbey, a spectacular cloister and gardens overlooking the sea. Fares for the cruise start from $2,988 per person, double, based on Cruise Only Savings of 50 percent. Alternatively, fares with Special Savings of 30 percent including free roundtrip airfare from select North American gateways start from $4,183 per person.

For details, consult your travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit The Yachts of Seabourn provide the ultimate in small-ship, ultra-luxury cruise vacations to the most desirable destinations on earth. The Seabourn fleet includes Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend.

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Miami, FL, Jan 9, 2003 – Oceana Cruises opened its executive offices in Miami on Monday as the company has completed its agreement with CruiseInvest, LLC for the long term charter of two 684 passenger cruise ships. The new Miami based cruise line is headed up by Frank Del Rio, CEO and President and Joe Watters, Chairman. Morten Arntzen, CEO of American Marine Advisors and advisor to Cruiseinvest noted "Cruiseinvest spent considerable time and effort to find the team that could best succeed with the R-ships. Joe and Frank have all the right ingredients and we wish them and Oceana well"

Oceana Cruises’ first vessel, Regatta, will undertake its inaugural voyage from Barcelona to London on July 5, 2003 and will be followed by a series of cruises to Scandinavia and the Baltic. The second vessel, Insignia, will sail its maiden voyage from Barcelona to Istanbul on October 4, 2003.

“We are delighted to be able to offer these luxurious and popular ships to the cruising public” noted Watters, former President of Crystal Cruises. “Their unique size allows us to call on some of the worlds most desirable ports. We’ll soon be announcing details regarding the cruise product which will be highlighted by an unsurpassed culinary experience, a casually elegant atmosphere and unparalleled personal service. The essence of Oceana lies in providing our guests with a warm, personal and enriching experience from start to finish.”

“I’ve been delighted to hear from so many of our friends in the travel community over the past several months, they’re ecstatic that we are bringing back their favorite ships”, added Del Rio. “We know they will soon agree that the ships are not just back, but better than ever! We look forward to welcoming everyone aboard this summer.”

Oceana Cruises’ Reservations Center will open January 27, 2003. Executive offices are located at 8120 NW 53rd St, Suite 100, Miami, FL 33166.

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From (A)ntwerp to (Z)adar, Crystal Cruises Announces 
2004 Itineraries

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 9 -- Crystal Cruises has unveiled a series of ultra-luxurious 2004 global itineraries featuring visits to 178 ports in 56 countries on six continents, punctuated by a 106-day World Cruise from Los Angeles to New York aboard the newest member of its fleet, Crystal Serenity.

For the first time, the luxury line is offering a selection of seven-day cruises on all three ships -- including destinations in the Mediterranean and Canada/New England, as well as in the Caribbean. Also new is a winter series of 10-day Hawaiian island cruises, roundtrip from Honolulu. In all, 28 cruises will sail roundtrip from domestic ports and 33 cruises will begin or end in domestic ports, convenient options for even the most seasoned travelers.

Guests who like to spice up their vacations with world-class events can experience the Cannes Film Festival during Crystal Symphony's overnight stay in Cannes, or the acclaimed Military Tattoo during two summer calls in Edinburgh, or the majesty of Cutty Sark's Tall Ship parade in Antwerp. Among the maiden calls scheduled for Crystal's 2004 worldwide program are visits to Christmas Island in the Republic of Kiribati, Nuuk in Greenland, Calvi on France's island of Corsica and Zadar in Croatia. Further enriching the cruise experience are extended land programs and overnight pre- and post-cruise hotel stays, such as a three-day program in Beijing.

"2004 marks our first, full year with a three-ship fleet," says Gregg Michel, president, Crystal Cruises. "As a result, our guests will have more choices than ever before, either in the selection of any of our three luxuriously-appointed ships to any one of our 89 global itineraries."

Two 940-guest ships -- Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony -- will be joined by the sparkling new 1,080-guest Crystal Serenity in pursuit of the richest land and sea travel experiences ever offered by the line. Crystal Serenity debuts in July 2003 and will commence her inaugural World Cruise in January 2004.

Providing guests with the ultimate in grandeur, the 106-day World Cruise will circumnavigate the globe beginning and ending in North America via Hawaii, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, the exotic islands of the Indian Ocean, East and South Africa, South America and the Caribbean. The cruise departs Los Angeles on Jan. 19, 2004 and concludes on May 5 in New York City. Spectacular overnight stays during the World Cruise include Honolulu, Hiroshima, Kobe, Yokohama, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Singapore, Yangon, Mombasa, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro. The World Cruise will also be offered in segments, ranging from 22 to 29 days.

As part of its other, far-reaching itineraries to some of the world's leading ports in 2004, Crystal is providing guests with exclusive overnight stays in Bordeaux, Venice, Cannes, Monaco, Villefranche, Istanbul, Barcelona, Acapulco, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai, Osaka, St. Petersburg, Edinburgh, Rouen, Quebec City, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

The line is also complementing its 2004 itineraries with late night stays in some of the world's most exciting cities, including New York, Fort Lauderdale, Athens, Berlin, Dubrovnik, Dublin, Antwerp, Barcelona, Singapore, Acapulco, Barbados, Cozumel, Antigua, Victoria and Monaco.

   Among the line's 2004 highlights:

   *  28 cruises sailing roundtrip from domestic ports -- for those who 
      appreciate the convenience of leaving and returning from a U.S. port of call.

   *  33 cruises that begin or end in a domestic port -- out of 89 total
      cruises for the fleet in 2004, representing 37% of Crystal's itineraries for the year.

   *  New seven-day itineraries on all three ships -- in order to make
      Crystal's luxury cruise product more available for those with less
      time to get away.  These seven cruises will call on the Caribbean, the
      Mediterranean and Canada/New England.

   *  New 10-day Hawaii cruises -- sailing roundtrip from Honolulu on
      Crystal Harmony in the winter.

   *  The Inaugural World Cruise of Crystal Serenity -- a 106-day voyage
      from Los Angeles to New York.  With even more space than Crystal
      Symphony and almost twice as many Penthouse accommodations, new
      Crystal Serenity will provide an exceptional World Cruise experience.

   Ship highlights for 2004 include:


   *  Mexican Riviera -- begins the year with a 14-day roundtrip Mexican
      Riviera cruise from Los Angeles with a rare embarkation and
      disembarkation call in San Diego in order to allow guests to sail
      roundtrip San Diego for a 12-day cruise.

   *  World Cruise 2004 -- sailing from Los Angeles, this will be Crystal's
      Inaugural World Cruise on Crystal Serenity.  She will explore Hawaii,
      Japan, China, Southeast Asia, the exotic islands of the Indian Ocean,
      East and South Africa, South America and the Caribbean.  In addition,
      this 106-day global itinerary will conclude in New York City --
      another first for Crystal Cruises.  There will be 14 overnight calls
      in all at some of the world's most exciting cities -- Honolulu,
      Hiroshima, Kobe, Yokohama, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City,
      Bangkok, Singapore, Yangon, Mombasa, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro.
      Four individual World Cruise Voyages will also be offered, from 22 to 29 days.

   *  Trans-Atlantic -- Crystal Serenity will offer two Trans-Atlantic
      voyages in 2004, from New York to London and Lisbon to Ft. Lauderdale.

   *  Mediterranean -- will feature 16 sailings in all, featuring London to
      Athens (12 days), Athens to Rome (11 days), Rome to Athens (12 days),
      Athens to Venice (12 days), Venice to Athens (seven days), Athens to
      Rome (seven days).  Crystal Serenity will then offer nine 12-day
      Mediterranean cruises featuring some of the region's most attractive
      ports in Italy, France, Spain, the Dalmatian coast, the Greek and Turkish Isles.

   *  Caribbean & Panama Canal -- after crossing the Atlantic, Crystal
      Serenity will offer a seven-day Caribbean cruise sailing roundtrip
      from Ft. Lauderdale, followed by a 10-day roundtrip Ft. Lauderdale
      Caribbean sailing and a 15-day Panama Canal cruise from Ft. Lauderdale
      to Los Angeles.

   *  Crystal Serenity's Mexican Riviera Holiday -- will feature a 14-day
      cruise over Christmas and New Year's, with the added convenience of a
      roundtrip sailing from Los Angeles.


   *  Unique 19-day Panama Canal/Mexico/Hawaii Grand Cruise -- begins the
      year from New Orleans, transits the Panama Canal, calls at Acapulco
      and then crosses the Pacific Ocean to Honolulu.

   *  Hawaiian Islands -- featuring three 10-day roundtrip Honolulu cruises
      with visits to Kauai, Hawaii, Christmas Island and Maui.

   *  South Pacific/Orient -- including an 18-day exotic voyage from
      Honolulu to Auckland, featuring calls in Tahiti, the Cook Islands and
      Fiji; a 13-day Auckland to Sydney and a 14-day Sydney to Singapore
      sailing; and a 14-day Southeast Asia itinerary from Singapore to Hong
      Kong, featuring many attractive ports, including overnight calls in
      Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City and Hong Kong.

   *  China, Japan and the Pacific -- featuring a 15-day Hong Kong to
      Beijing cruise with calls in Taiwan and Japan and a three-night
      post-cruise land program in Beijing; a 14-day Beijing to Tokyo cruise
      featuring an overnight call in Shanghai and calls at three Japanese
      ports plus a three-night pre-cruise land program in Beijing.  The
      Orient season concludes with a 15-day Transpacific crossing from Tokyo
      to San Francisco with a stop in Honolulu.

   *  Alaska/Canada -- Crystal is offering 10 roundtrip San Francisco
      Alaska/Canada cruises in the summer and fall.  Calls include Victoria,
      Vancouver, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, spectacular Glacier Bay or Hubbard
      Glacier and Ketchikan.

   *  Mexican Riviera -- Crystal Harmony will offer just one 10-day
      roundtrip Los Angeles Mexican Riviera cruise, sailing to Puerto
      Vallarta, Zihuatanejo, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

   *  Panama Canal & Caribbean -- includes a 16-day Grand Panama Canal
      cruise from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale with a convenient call in
      San Diego to embark guests.  Also, the line features two new seven-day
      Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean cruises, both sailing roundtrip Ft.
      Lauderdale.  Two 11-day Panama Canal sailings from Ft. Lauderdale to
      Caldera and from Caldera to Ft. Lauderdale are followed by a 10-day
      roundtrip Ft. Lauderdale Caribbean cruise and a 12-day Caribbean
      sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to New Orleans.

   *  Crystal Harmony's Caribbean Holiday -- will feature a festive
      Caribbean Holiday cruise sailing roundtrip from New Orleans.


   *  Winter Panama Canal -- Crystal Symphony begins the year with four
      Panama Canal sailings between Ft. Lauderdale and Caldera.

   *  7-day Caribbean Cruises -- featuring three new seven-day roundtrip Ft.
      Lauderdale cruises calling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas.

   *  Spring Panama Canal & Caribbean -- these include two 11-day Panama
      Canal cruises (Ft. Lauderdale/Caldera and Caldera/New Orleans)
      followed by a 10-day Caribbean cruise sailing from New Orleans to Ft. Lauderdale.

   *  Mediterranean -- Crystal Symphony begins her European season with a
      nine-day Mediterranean cruise from Lisbon to Rome, followed by a
      12-day Mediterranean sailing from Rome to London with an overnight
      call at Cannes, allowing guests the opportunity to visit the acclaimed
      Cannes Film Festival, May 13-14.

   *  Baltic Sea & Russia/North Cape -- Crystal Symphony will offer two
      11-day Baltic Sea & Russia cruises sailing from London to Stockholm
      and Stockholm to London.  Also offered: a 12-day North Cape cruise
      from London to Copenhagen with calls in Stavanger, Flaam, Gudvangen,
      Tromsoe, Honningvaag, Trondheim, Hellesylt and Geiranger; a 12-day
      Baltic Sea & Russia cruise from Copenhagen to London, followed by
      three more 12-day Baltic cruises from Rouen (for Paris) to Stockholm
      (Cutty Sark's Tall Ships arrive in Antwerp on July 21); July 31 from
      Stockholm to Copenhagen, including the Cutty Sark's Tall Ships regatta
      on August 10 in Stavanger, and August 12 from Copenhagen to London
      with a late night call in Edinburgh to visit the Military Tattoo on August 21.

   *  British Isles -- Crystal Symphony will offer two 11-day British Isles
      cruises from London to Rouen (for Paris) and a sailing roundtrip from
      London with an opportunity to attend the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh.

   *  Arctic Circle Crossing -- Crystal Symphony begins her 16-day grand
      crossing following the Arctic Circle beginning in London and calling
      at Leith (Edinburgh), Torshavn, Reykjavik (Iceland), a maiden call to
      Nuuk (Greenland), St. John's, Sydney (Nova Scotia), Newport and
      concluding in New York.

   *  New England/Canada/US East Coast -- Crystal will offer three 11-day
      New England & Canada cruises between New York and Montreal and a
      newly-created seven-day roundtrip New York sailing calling at Newport,
      Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax and Martha's Vineyard.  At the end of
      October, Crystal Symphony sails down the US East Coast from Montreal
      to Ft. Lauderdale to position for the fall South America season.

   *  Fall South America -- includes two 17-day cruises along the East Coast
      of South America; November 10 from Ft. Lauderdale to Buenos Aires and
      November 28 from Buenos Aires to Ft. Lauderdale.

   *  Seven-day Winter Mexico/Caribbean Cruise -- for those guests who have
      less time to travel or for first-time guest wanting to try the Crystal
      experience for less than 12 days, the line is offering a convenient
      seven-day roundtrip Gulf of Mexico and Bahamas sailing.

   *  Crystal Symphony's Caribbean Holiday -- Crystal Symphony will depart
      for her 14-day Christmas and New Year's cruise with a convenient
      roundtrip Ft. Lauderdale itinerary.

The line was formed in 1988 with the mission to give its guests the best large-ship, luxury cruise experience in the world. Its two ships -- Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony -- have earned the industry's highest accolades, from discerning critics and guests alike, for exemplary attention to detail and warm and friendly personal service. This pampering combination -- which Crystal conveys in the name of its third ship, Crystal Serenity -- creates an environment for the ultimate luxury vacation experience.

The winner of the travel industry's most distinguished hospitality awards and guidebook ratings was, for the seventh consecutive year, named best large cruise line in the 2002 readers' surveys conducted by Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler magazines.

Crystal Cruises worldwide sailings are booked exclusively through professional travel agents. Visit the luxury line's website at

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New Carnival Glory & Variety of New Itineraries Highlight Carnival Cruise Lines' 2003 Cruise Season

MIAMI - The launch of the new 110,000-ton Carnival Glory, a record number of departures from New York, including an innovative eight-day Caribbean program and summer-long schedule of seven-day Bermuda cruises, along with a variety of new itineraries, highlight Carnival Cruise Lines' 2003 cruise season. 

Debut of New 110,000-Ton Carnival Glory 
The 110,000-ton Carnival Glory will become Port Canaveral, Fla.'s newest and largest cruise ship when it launches year-round seven-day Caribbean service from that port July 19. The 2,974-passenger SuperLiner replaces the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride, representing a 40 percent capacity increase on this route, which encompasses alternating eastern and western Caribbean sailings departing every Saturday. Eastern Caribbean cruises call at Nassau, St. Thomas/St. John, and St. Maarten, while western Caribbean voyages include Key West, Belize City, Cozumel and Progreso/Merida. 

Longer than three football fields, Carnival Glory will house 22 lounges and bars, a 12,000-square-foot Polynesian-themed health spa, expansive children and teen facilities, and an upscale "steakhouse-style" supper club, one of several dining options aboard the massive "floating resort."

Record Number of New York Departures 
Carnival will operate an unprecedented 50 "Fun Ship" departures from the Big Apple, including a one-of-a-kind eight-day Caribbean schedule aboard Carnival Legend featuring stops at San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John and Tortola/Virgin Gorda. Also included in Carnival's 2003 New York schedule are seven-day Bermuda cruises aboard Carnival Pride, and four- and five-day Canada voyages and seven-day "fall foliage" sailings aboard Carnival Victory. 

New Seven-Day Cruises from Galveston & San Juan 
On Sept. 28, the Elation will introduce new week-long "Fun Ship" sailings from Galveston, the line's first seven-day cruise program from that historic Texas port. Featured stops on this one-of-a-kind schedule include Belize, Cozumel and Progreso/Merida. 

Beginning Sept. 27, the Jubilee will operate a unique six-port, seven-day southern Caribbean itinerary from San Juan featuring some of the region's most scenic destinations, including St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts and Tortola. 

New Itineraries for Inspiration, Smoke-Free Paradise, Carnival Pride
On Feb. 23, the Paradise, the world's only totally smoke-free cruise ship, will launch a new program of seven-day "exotic" eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Miami featuring an exceptional array of spectacular ports, including Isla Roatan, Belize, and Casa de Campo. 

The SuperLiner Inspiration will introduce a new four-port, seven-day "exotic" western Caribbean itinerary from Tampa May 4, featuring such sought-after ports as Costa Maya and Belize, along with longtime favorites Grand Cayman and Cozumel. 

Carnival Pride will reposition to Los Angeles/Long Beach to operate seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises beginning Sept. 21, bringing a fresh new alternative to this highly popular route, which includes visits to the resort destinations of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. 

Record 'Camp Carnival' Participation 
Carnival's "Fun Ships" will host a record 400,000 children who enjoy such fleetwide amenities as indoor and outdoor play areas, computer labs, arts and crafts centers, and special dining options, including children's menus, 24-hour pizza and ice cream and a turn-down service offering freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on the first and last night of their voyage. Teen-specific facilities are also available on selected vessels. 

For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit

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MIAMI, Jan 10, 2003 - Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced it has deferred options to purchase a fifth and sixth Radiance-class ship. The options involve ships scheduled for deliveries in 2005 and 2006. Royal Caribbean and Meyer Werft shipyard, of Papenburg, Germany, builder of the Radiance-class ships, agreed to extend the options to September 19, 2003. Under the terms of the extension, Meyer Werft has the ability to terminate the options upon giving adequate advance notice to Royal Caribbean. Both options were to have expired on January 10, 2003. 

The Radiance-class ships are operated by the Royal Caribbean International brand. Radiance of the Seas entered service in March 2001; Brilliance of the Seas entered service in July 2002. The third and fourth Radiance-class ships are scheduled for delivery in 2003 and 2004, respectively. 

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, with a combined total of 25 ships in service and three under construction or on firm order. The company also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe through its cruise-tour division. Additional information can be found on

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Carnival Launches "Best Available Upgrades" Promotion

MIAMI, 1/10/03 - Just in time for "wave season," Carnival Cruise Lines has launched a new promotion offering "best available upgrades" on a wide range of "Fun Ship" departures between now and May 31, 2003. Scheduled to run for the next two weeks, the new promotion provides complimentary upgrades within the various same stateroom types within the Carnival fleet. For example, individuals booking a category 6A ocean view stateroom will receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available category within that cabin type, up to a category 6D. The promotion applies to interior and suite accommodations, as well. The promotion is available on a wide variety of three- to 16-day "Fun Ship" cruises departing from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Port Canaveral, Galveston, New Orleans and Los Angeles. 

"These upgrades represent a value of up to $280 per stateroom depending on sailing length and cabin category so agents should act quickly to promote this outstanding value-added offer to their clients," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president. 

New individual bookings made between now and Jan. 25, 2003, will qualify. The promotion is combinable with Carnival's advance purchase Super Saver discount program and applies to bookings for cabin categories 4A and higher. Upgrades are available within specific stateroom types (i.e. interior to interior, ocean view to ocean view, balcony to balcony). The promotion is capacity controlled. Certain other restrictions apply. Travel agents must request fare code CPBA/FPBA when making the reservation. Additional information and reservations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-800-327-9501 or visiting the line's travel agent Internet portal at

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Leads 22 major Cruise Ships with Five-Star Rating
Amazing Feat for such a Young Organization, says Pimentel

COCONUT GROVE, FL -- SeaDream Yacht Club, operator of the twin, ultra-luxury mega yachts SeaDream I and II, have topped the prestigious Five-Star Club in the authoritative Douglas Ward guidebook -- Berlitz 2003 Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships. The elegant SeaDream sisters were each rated 1790 points on Ward’s exacting scale of 2000. This rating surpassed 22 of the world’s most well-known cruise ships.

Commenting on the feat, Larry Pimentel, CTC, Chairman and CEO of SeaDream Yacht Club, stated “This is a truly amazing honor for us. Our company was founded in September 2001, which of course turned out to be a highly inauspicious time to start an upscale travel venture, or any kind of business for that matter. It wasn’t until May of 2002 (less than a year ago) that we completed the custom redesign of SeaDream I and II and began what was to become our highly-regarded, ultra luxury sailing experience. We are delighted that in such a short time we have done so spectacularly in Douglas Ward’s Berlitz guide. We thank him and the publishers for this great honor,” Pimentel said.

Ward’s objective evaluations of cruise ships operates from a predetermined set of criteria and includes scores for the quality of the ship, its accommodations, cuisine, service, entertainment and overall cruise experience. Only one vessel rated higher (Five-Stars Plus), than the SeaDream twins. Europa, operated primarily for the German market, scored 1857 points including entertainment. SeaDream I and II were not rated in the entertainment category since yacht class vessels do not stress elaborate entertainment, but choose to emphasize a more active, free-form seagoing holiday. In spite of the absence for an entertainment rating, the small SeaDream yachts achieved amazing scores. In fact, in cuisine, service and overall cruising experience it topped the much larger Europa.

“All SeaDream colleagues are to be congratulated in this achievement; especially the incredible staff aboard SeaDream I and II,” Pimentel concluded.

SeaDream Yacht Club operates SeaDream I and SeaDream II, twin, ultra luxury, mega yachts that operate on seven-day sailings in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. The yachts are not only ideal for discerning travelers seeking an unstructured and casual holiday experience but also for small meetings and incentive groups or individual private family gatherings. They are available for full charter. In the Americas the SeaDream Yacht Club reservations number is 1 800 707-4911. In Europe it is +47 23 28 96 60. The website is

BERLITZ Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships 2003The following ratings criteria are taken directly from the new BERLITZ Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships 2003, By Douglas Ward

Having reviewed 254 cruise ships, Berlitz names the best performers for 2003 and explains why they deserve their maritime Oscars.

For this 2003 edition, only one ship has achieved the score required for it to be awarded membership in this most exclusive club.

For this 2003 edition, only 22 ships have achieved the score required for them to be awarded membership in the prestigious Five-Star Club. Almost all the ships feature one seating or open-seating dining, extremely comfortable accommodations, the very best in terms of seagoing cuisine, and highly personal service. There may be ships that have larger penthouse suites, balconies, show lounges, health spas and other appointments, but aboard the ships in the Berlitz Five-Stars Club, what counts is the cuisine, service and the attention to detail. At a time when many cruise lines are making economies, these criteria are more important than ever.

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Carnival Corporation Recommended DLC Transaction With P&O Princess and Partial Share Offer

MIAMI, Jan. 8 -- Micky Arison, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Carnival, announced, "We are extremely pleased that the board of P&O Princess has recommended the Carnival DLC transaction to P&O Princess shareholders. Our DLC structure provides the current P&O Princess shareholders with the opportunity to participate in the largest cruise vacation group in the most exciting and dynamic segment of the leisure travel industry. I look forward to working with Peter Ratcliffe, who will be an executive director of both companies. We urge P&O Princess and Carnival shareholders to approve the DLC transaction at the forthcoming shareholder meetings, and we look forward to completion early in the second quarter of 2003."

The board of Carnival announces that Carnival and P&O Princess have today entered into an agreement to combine the two companies through a dual listed company structure. The board of P&O Princess has recommended the DLC transaction to P&O Princess shareholders. As a result, all the pre-conditions to Carnival's DLC proposal of 24 October 2002 have been satisfied.

The combination of Carnival and P&O Princess will create the largest cruise vacation group in the world, based on revenue, passengers carried and available capacity. The Combined Group will have a wide range of complementary brands, a significant presence in the key cruise vacation regions worldwide, an enhanced ability to attract customers from other vacation options to the cruise sector, a strong balance sheet from which to drive future capacity and growth and significant opportunities to benefit from disseminating best operating practices throughout the Combined Group.

Although the companies will continue to be separate legal entities, with their own board of directors and senior management, Carnival and P&O Princess will be managed and operated as if they were a single economic enterprise. The companies' economic interests will be aligned and they will pursue common objectives. The boards of Carnival and P&O Princess will be identical and the Combined Group will be managed by a single senior executive management team. Accordingly, as part of the DLC transaction, P&O Princess intends to change its name to Carnival (UK) plc at the P&O Princess EGM. The existing well established brands operated by P&O Princess will not be affected by the change to the parent company name.

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P&O Princess Recommends the DLC Combination With Carnival to Create the World's Largest Cruise Vacation Group

LONDON, Jan. 8 -- The Board of P&O Princess today announces that it has recommended the Carnival DLC transaction. The Board considers the DLC transaction with Carnival to be a highly attractive opportunity for P&O Princess shareholders. DLC structure allows all P&O Princess shareholders to retain their exposure to the global cruise industry, creates the world's largest cruise vacation group, combines complementary well-known brands operating globally, and has potential to generate significant synergies; and strong balance sheet and cash generation.

Features of the Combined Group:

  • leading brands in North America, South America, the UK, continental Europe and Australasia;
  • high quality young fleet;
  • 65 cruise ships offering approximately 100,000 lower berths;
  • 18 additional cruise ships on order with approximately 42,000 lower berths scheduled to be delivered over the next three and a half years; 
  • pro forma financials
  • revenues of approximately $7.0 billion (1)
  • operating income of approximately $1.2 billion (1)
  • total assets of over $20.0 billion (2); and
  • P&O Princess and Carnival together carried approximately 4.7 million passengers in the year ended 30 November 2002
  • Composition of the board of the Combined Group announced today
  • Previously announced process to completion is confirmed
  • shareholder meetings expected to be held in late March/early April 2003 with completion expected shortly thereafter

Lord Sterling of Plaistow, Chairman of P&O Princess, said, "We have today signed an agreement with Carnival to implement the DLC transaction. We are recommending that shareholders approve the DLC transaction with Carnival at an EGM expected to be convened towards the end of March.

"We have created significant value for our shareholders with the demerger two years ago from P&O and our operating performance as an independent company. All credit to the management and the staff both at sea and on shore. We believe that the combination with Carnival is a highly attractive opportunity to enhance shareholder value further.

On a personal note, I have known Micky Arison for many years and we share similar values and pride in our respective companies. I have every confidence that the future bodes well for all involved."

Peter Ratcliffe, Chief Executive Officer of P&O Princess, stated, "We believe that the combination with Carnival, which will create one of the world's leading cruise vacation groups, is an exciting opportunity for our shareholders and employees. It will also provide passengers and travel agents throughout the world with a wide range of brands and products to experience and sell and should further increase the cruise industry's share of the wider vacation market.

"The Combined Group, with its industry leading brands, global reach, potential for synergies and strong balance sheet, has the potential to accelerate the creation of value for our shareholders. In addition, the DLC structure allows all our shareholders to retain their shares and thus participate in this exciting future.

"We look forward to joining with Carnival and working with them to create the world's leading cruise vacation group and help make the combination the outstanding success we all believe it will be."

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Royal Caribbean International Announces Special Cruises Celebrating Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial
New Orleans-Based Grandeur of the Seas Offers Guests Tastes,
 Sounds, Sights of Louisiana

MIAMI, Jan. 6 -- Royal Caribbean International, the Official Cruise Line of the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration, is offering guests on all Grandeur of the Seas' New Orleans departures in 2003 a chance to enjoy the unique tastes, sounds and sights of Louisiana during their Caribbean cruise vacation.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference with Royal Caribbean, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, and Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco aboard Grandeur of the Seas before the ship left port on the official Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial kick-off cruise. The Jan. 4 cruise started a year of statewide celebrations for the Bicentennial, featuring special guests, including Louisiana musicians Irma Thomas of New Orleans and Rockin' Dopsie of Lafayette, and Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona, Herbsaint and Cobalt restaurants in New Orleans.

"The food, the music and the landscape of Louisiana is unique, exciting and the perfect complement to a Royal Caribbean cruise experience," said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, North American Sales, for Royal Caribbean. "In addition, we've put together an array of very special onboard activities and amenities to celebrate the history of Louisiana and pay tribute to the distinctive flavor of the state."

Guests aboard all of Grandeur's Caribbean 2003 cruise departures will enjoy the tastes of Louisiana with featured menu items throughout their cruise. In addition to their own recipes, Royal Caribbean's world-class chefs will also prepare a selection of signature dishes created by New Orleans' own Chef Susan Spicer. For guests looking for something refreshing to sip by the pool, Grandeur's bartenders will be mixing up Hurricanes, Mint Juleps, Louisiana Lemonades, and other specialty drinks.

Regional entertainers will treat guests to the sounds of Louisiana, while the versatile Royal Caribbean musicians will keep the beat going throughout the ship. Guests can join in by dancing under the stars at the poolside Mardi Gras bash.

For quieter evenings, Grandeur offers the sights of the state with a Louisiana Film Festival. A rotating schedule of movies will be shown in the ship's theater as well as on a dedicated channel on stateroom televisions. Festival selections include "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," "Interview With the Vampire," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Steel Magnolias," and "Great Balls of Fire," as well as Bob Hope's "Louisiana Purchase" and Elvis Presley's "King Creole."

At 74,140 tons, Grandeur of the Seas is 916 feet long and holds 1,950 guests double occupancy. In addition to a variety of dining and entertainment options, Grandeur offers a full-service spa and fitness center, an Adventure Ocean Youth Center, a video game room, six whirlpools and two pools, including an indoor/outdoor pool with sliding glass roof.

In 2003, Grandeur offers two different seven-night Caribbean cruise vacation itineraries out of New Orleans with stops in George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Progreso, Mexico; or Progreso, Cozumel and Key West, Florida. Grandeur sails from New Orleans through April 26, 2003, and then heads to Europe where she sails 12-night British Isles/Norwegian Fjords and 12-night Scandinavia/Russia vacations for the summer season. Grandeur will return to New Orleans in early November for the 2003-2004 winter season. The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebrations activities will continue on the November and December 2003 sailings. Prices for a seven-night Caribbean cruise on Grandeur of the Seas start at $499.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand currently with 16 ships in service and three more under construction or on firm order. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700.

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America's Largest Steamboat to Race For Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration
Author Doug Brinkley to Commemorate Event

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 6 -- America's largest steamboat, the American Queen, returns to the country's waterways on Jan. 25, 2003, to kick off the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration. To mark the American Queen's homecoming, she will race the reigning champion, the Natchez, in the New Orleans "Louisiana Legends Steamboat Race." With an average speed of 7 to 10 miles per hour, the 418-foot-long steamboat will face-off with the Natchez at 11:30 a.m. The race will last approximately 30 minutes.

"No tradition is more steeped in Americana or heavy with history than steamboat racing," said Rick Abramson, president of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. "As the Louisiana Purchase signifies America's most significant real estate transaction, the American Queen's homecoming epitomizes the authentic, all-American travel experience."

To celebrate the bicentennial and the American Queen's legacy, author Doug Brinkley will come aboard to share stories from his latest book, "The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation: from the Louisiana Purchase to Today." The book contains firsthand research and photos taken during a cruise aboard the Delta Queen, American Queen's sister paddle wheeler, by Brinkley and his co-author, the late Stephen Ambrose. During the cruise, Brinkley will also talk about the history of the Louisiana Purchase, the Mississippi River and steamboats.

Before the race, guests will get in the Steamboatin' spirit with a dueling calliope concert. While aboard the 436-passenger American Queen, passengers will enjoy tales of America's Great Steamboat Era from "Riverlorian" Karen Maloy, and authentic Steamboatin' cuisine. After the race, passengers will cruise to Baton Rouge before returning to Robin Street Wharf in New Orleans.

Originally launched in 1995, the American Queen cruises the inland rivers of America from New Orleans to St. Paul on the Mississippi River and as far as Pittsburgh on the Ohio River. The American Queen returns to the river following Delaware North Companies' acquisition of her parent company, Delta Queen Steamboat Company, in May 2002. She now joins her sister ships, the Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen, as they cruise through America's heartland.

Often dubbed the "floating palace," the American Queen affords historic cruisers modern amenities masked in opulent Victorian decor. Travelers flock to the steamboat to discover life along the river as Mark Twain did - many of them returning again and again.

About Delta Queen Steamboat Company
The Delta Queen Steamboat Company is America's oldest continuously operating cruise line, offering 3- to 11-night river cruises throughout the Heartland and Old South. The company, which traces its roots to 1890, boasts authentic steam-powered paddle wheelers Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and American Queen. These vessels cruise on the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, and on the Intracoastal Waterway in Louisiana and Texas. The Delta Queen Steamboat Company is headquartered in New Orleans, its homeport for more than 15 years. The company hosts nearly 30,000 visitors annually in New Orleans and other ports regularly visited by the steamboats.

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Kosher Cuisine Offered on the High Seas
Crystal Cruises to Present Fleet-Wide Program in 2003

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 2 -- Crystal Cruises is offering gourmet kosher cuisine, food that is permissible to eat under Jewish dietary laws, for guests on board its fleet throughout 2003. Award-winning, luxurious 940-guest ships -- Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony -- and the 1,080-guest Crystal Serenity, to debut in July 2003, will feature kosher cuisine for guests on all 70, seven- to 104-day global itineraries next year.

"We pride ourselves on providing not only unparalleled service but varied cuisine options for all of our guests," says Toni Neumeister, Crystal's vice president of food and beverage operations. "Our kosher program is extremely important for our observant Jewish guests and Crystal is pleased to offer this option."

As part of Crystal's 2003 food and beverage program, dozens of kosher soups, poultry, meat and fish, including roasted turkey and chicken, rack of lamb, Beef Wellington, rib eye steak, grilled halibut and salmon to name a few of the choices, will be offered. Each is stored frozen. During meal preparation, Crystal uses kosher pots, pans and utensils that have been sterilized in salt water and, in keeping with kosher standards, all plates, silverware and glassware used during the cruise are hand-washed and stored separately. All meals are served in the Crystal Dining Room. New china, silverware and glassware are also made available for guests' use throughout the cruise.

Guests may dine at on board buffets and specialty restaurants at their own discretion. Each ship offers red and white kosher wines and a wide selection of desserts. Guests may contact the Maitre D' or Headwaiter for any special requests or kosher standards.

During several Jewish holidays rabbis are on board supervising the kitchen and blessing the food during preparation. If a Mesghuia is traveling with a guest, at the guests' expense, a $25 per person, per-day charge will be assessed.

The 2003 fleet-wide kosher menu features the following choices:

Baked Filet of Salmon
Beef Burger
Beef Bourguignon 
Beef Wellington
Dover Sole
Grilled Halibut
Grilled Lamb Chop
Grilled Salmon
Herb Roast Chicken Breast
Lamb Rack 
Lamb Rib Chop
Lamb Shoulder Chop 
Lamb Stew
Marinated Grilled Chicken
Ox Tongue
Red Snapper 
Rib Eye Steak
Roast Chicken
Salisbury Steak
 Sliced Lamb
Sliced Turkey 
Soups,assorted flavors
Stuffed Cabbage 
Veal Goulash
Veal Liver
Veal Rack
Veal Rib Chop 
Veal Roulade
Veal Schinitzel
Vegetarian Burger 
Whole Chicken for Roasting
WholeDuckling for Roasting 
Whole Turkey for Roasting

Crystal's two, 50,000-ton sister ships, Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, are among the most spacious and luxurious vessels cruising the world today. Their unique size in the luxury market allows for smooth sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, generous amenities and elegant accommodations. The Six-Star rated liners feature grand lounges, a lavish spa outfitted in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui, extensive exercise facilities, complimentary golf, yoga and Pilates instruction, the only Caesars Palace at Sea Casino afloat, and the innovative Computer University@Sea, offering 24-hour e-mail and internet access, as well as hands-on instruction, expansive decks, two pools, award-winning cuisine and entertainment, and exquisitely appointed staterooms, more than half of which offer private verandahs.

Crystal Serenity, at 68,000 tons, will feature an even greater space-per-guest ratio than her sister ships. Plans include expanded areas for spa services and other athletic, cultural and intellectual pursuits. Within a range of luxury accommodations, the line will increase its number of penthouses and enlarge its deluxe staterooms with verandahs. Approximately 85% of its all outside staterooms and suites will offer private verandahs, and, through a unique sheltered lifeboat design, all boast unobstructed views.

The luxury liners have won the travel industry's most distinguished hospitality awards and guidebook ratings. For the seventh consecutive year, Crystal Cruises was named best large-ship line in the 2002 readers' surveys conducted by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines.

Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary copy of the 2003 Cruise Atlas, call 800.820.6663. Visit their website:

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More Sailings in the Mediterranean; Barbados Sailings Added to the Caribbean; Transatlantic Sailings Set for Blue Water Sailors

COCONUT GROVE, FL -- SeaDream Yacht Club, operator of the twin ultra luxury mega yachts, SeaDream I and II, is altering its previously published 2003 schedules for its Mediterranean and Caribbean sailings. The changes involve both SeaDream yachts.

SeaDream announced it is increasing its 2003 Mediterranean sailings by adding a series of seven-day roundtrips out of Monte Carlo. There will be seven Monte Carlo roundtrip voyages, a Monte Carlo to Malaga sailing and a Malaga roundtrip. The niche yachting specialist is also altering its 2003 Caribbean sailings to include several Barbados, seven-day, roundtrips including a 2003, year-end holiday sailing. It will also make available for booking its eastbound transatlantic sailings of both SeaDream I and II in April, which it originally had planned to deadhead (reposition without passengers) to Europe.

The schedule changes are the result of a European SeaDream survey--interviews with UK and continental European travelers, travel agents and yacht charter specialists. The SeaDream European interviews which resulted in these schedule changes were conducted by company personnel over a period of six weeks and included more than 500 past SeaDream guests and would-be guests, 200 travel agents and more than 50 yacht charter experts in Europe.

Commenting on the schedule changes, Larry Pimentel, CTC, Chairman and CEO of SeaDream, said “Clearly, our target market both in North America and Europe is enthusiastic about the Mediterranean. Not only did our European upscale target market and the travel agent community register a desire for us to increase our Mediterranean presence, but those whose business is full yacht charters for corporate meetings, incentive programs and individual families, found favor with additional SeaDream Mediterranean sailings. When we queried European interviewees on the Caribbean,” he added, “we found a strong preference for a sailing experience deeper in the West Indies; hence our addition of the independent island nation, Barbados.”

Regarding the transatlantic crossings, Pimentel added “We discovered in our interviews that a considerable number of past guests and would-be guests inquired about a more lengthy sailing experience. We believe there is a definite market for these blue water sailors.”

The revised 2003 schedule calls for a series of new SeaDream ports of call to be added in both the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean. Among these in the Caribbean are: Charlotteville, Tobago; St, George’s, Bequia, Cariaccou and Mayreau in the Grenadines and Rodney Bay and Soufriere in St. Lucia. Among new Mediterranean ports are Malaga, Cartegena, Mahon and Barcelona in Spain.

The new schedules and itineraries can be found on SeaDream’s website, SeaDream is also was printing an updated 2003 schedule insert for its 2003 sales brochure. It will be available to both the public and the travel industry by the second week in January.

SeaDream Yacht Club is the yachting venture by Norwegian entrepreneur Atle Brynestad who founded Seabourn Cruise Line, and Larry Pimentel who was president of Seabourn under Brynestad and later president and CEO of the merged Cunard and Seabourn. Pimentel is Chairman and CEO of the Coconut Grove, Florida-headquartered SeaDream Yacht Club and a co-owner. The company operates SeaDream I and SeaDream II, twin, ultra luxury, mega yachts that operate on seven-day sailings in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. The yachts are not only ideal for discerning travelers seeking an unstructured and casual holiday experience but also for small meetings and incentive groups or individual private family gatherings. They are available for full charter. In the Americas the SeaDream Yacht Club reservations number is 1 800 707-4911. In Europe it is +47 22 28 96 60. The website is

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New Ship Design Debuts, Brings Sea-Going Firsts to Panama Canal Cruising

Jan 3, 2003 -- One of cruising's most advanced passenger vessels, Coral Princess departed today on its inaugural Panama Canal voyage from Ft. Lauderdale. The 88,000-ton, 1,970-passenger ship offers the same vast array of public room space as Princess' renowned larger "Grand-class" ships but, in a twist, spread over two decks and with fewer passengers aboard. Previously, in order for ships to feature the necessary space for the new option-filled cruise experience, the vessel had to be built wider than could transit the Panama Canal. Coral Princess combines all the options of Princess's other ships, plus more staterooms with private balconies than any other ship in its fleet, while still possessing the ability to pass through the Panama Canal, ensuring flexibility in deployment.

"Coral Princess represents an entirely new class of ship," noted Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "Its innovative design and unique propulsion system placement have allowed for an unprecedented range of facilities and public spaces throughout the ship -- something never thought possible on a vessel built to navigate the Canal."

Continuing the growth of Princess' trademark choice and variety, Coral Princess breaks new ground with several cruising firsts, including the Bayou Café, the only New Orleans-style restaurant at sea, featuring traditional Cajun and Creole specialties and live jazz; as well as the Universe Lounge, a dramatic two-deck performance venue equipped with the latest lighting and digital sound and video systems. This elegant space will feature everything from Las Vegas-style extravaganzas to yet another Princess innovation, the new ScholarShip@Sea program, offering passengers the opportunity to participate in a variety of enrichment programs during the course of their voyage. Topics include the culinary arts, photography, web design and ceramics, among others.

Additional features unique to Coral Princess include the Churchill Lounge, a haven for cigar aficionados; Crooners, a 1960s-era martini bar, and a London-themed casino, all firsts for Princess.

"This vessel embodies the Princess ideal of providing big-ship choice with small-ship feel," noted Brown. "Multiple dining options, an expanded Lotus Spa and fitness center, a larger children's center, tremendous public room spaces, and an unprecedented percentage of balcony cabins are just some of the features that Coral Princess passengers can look forward to."

In addition to a long list of all-new features, many old-favorite passenger gathering places are in evidence, with some new twists. The Wheelhouse Bar houses an impressive collection of P&O memorabilia, while Explorers Lounge, a lively spot aboard Grand Princess-class ships, will continue the adventure with décor that celebrates the essence of Egypt, Morocco and Bali. As on the line's largest ships, the new vessel also offers a wedding chapel, a nine-hole putting course, a 24-hour Internet Café, and an extensive children's center.

Coral Princess' inaugural season features of a series of Panama Canal sailings roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. Passengers will enjoy calls at the ports of Limón in Costa Rica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Princess' private island Princess Cays, as well as the Panama Canal transit and cruising of the Canal's Gatun Lake. Beginning in May, the ship moves to Alaska for a season of cruises on Princess' famed "Voyage of the Glaciers" Gulf of Alaska route.

Princess Cruises, part of P&O Princess, is a global cruise and tour company. Its current fleet of 10 ships sail on approximately 150 itineraries around the world, and a further five ships will be added by 2004. Further information is available by calling 1-800-PRINCESS.

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Unless otherwise noted, all news items are sourced by individual cruise lines, cruise-related industries, and their agents.

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