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News from the world of cruise travel
January 1-31, 2005

Return to's Cruise News Weekly Index & Archive features thoughts & insights on things seen & heard around the internet & the cruise industry.

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Princess Adds 13 New Alaska Adventures Ashore® Options
Swinging Through a Rain Forest or Riding a Harley Highlight 
Active New Choices for 2005 

SANTA CLARITA, CA (Jan 31, 2005) - Whether flying between trees on a zip line, exploring the waterfront on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, or capturing the perfect photo as a whale surfaces, Princess' Adventures Ashore® program offers passengers a variety of new ways to experience Alaska. The company has added 13 new tour options for the 2005 season, bringing the total number of selections to 137 excursions - many available only through Princess.

"We are extraordinarily proud of the scope of the tour selection we can offer passengers," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "Our local knowledge and years of experience in Alaska gives us an edge in finding the best quality tours for our guests. After all, experiencing the Alaskan wilderness and culture is an important part of visiting this magnificent state."

All Alaska shore excursions are currently available for pre-reservation. Passengers booked on an Alaska cruise can take advantage of this early reservation process by logging on the Cruise Personalizer on, to ensure they get their first choice of excursions. Many Princess tours fill up quickly, so passengers are encouraged to make their selections as early as possible. Princess pioneered online shore excursion booking, and this season marks the fifth year in which Alaska passengers have been able to use this convenient reservation system.

This season's new tours include:

Rain Forest Ropes & Zip Line Challenge - An exciting new option enables passengers to expand their horizons with a skills course set in the heart of the southeast Alaska rain forest. Balance beams, a suspension bridge, a Tarzan rope, swinging log and other obstacles get participants ready to traverse a 175-foot zip line between the trees and a repel back to the ground. Those who are up to the challenge can head back to the starting point and enjoy the adventure again.

Harley Davidson Motorcycle Tour - Motorcycle enthusiasts now have a tour just for them - the opportunity to combine the beauty of Ketchikan with the exhilaration of riding a Harley along a scenic waterfront highway. The 55-mile tour includes local scenery, a coffee stop and a visit to the dramatic totem poles of Totem Bight State Park.

Raptor Exhibition & Native Storytelling (Princess exclusive) - A unique opportunity to meet the majestic birds of Alaska face to face and hear the ancient legends that bind them to the "Great Land." This visit to the Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center features Alaska Native interpreters to teach visitors about the state's rich wildlife and Native legends about these intriguing creatures. Passengers can also photograph Alaska's only bonded pair of American bald eagles in captivity and see a presentation of many of the area's avian residents.

Totems & Lumberjack Combo - Two of Ketchikan's most popular attractions are combined for a full timber town extravaganza. Passengers will explore the colorful totem poles of Totem Bight State Park and learn the fascinating stories behind them. Then a rollicking lumberjack competition shows off the rugged athleticism of these frontier woodsmen.

Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer - An opportunity for Diamond Princess passengers to enjoy a luxury cruise aboard one of the fastest sightseeing vessels in Alaska as they explore the pristine beauty of Misty Fjords National Monument.

Photo Safari by Land & Sea (Princess exclusive) - Photography buffs will enjoy this unique opportunity to see the best of Juneau in the company of a professional photography coach who will direct the group to local photo "hot spots." The flexible itinerary allows the tour to catch seasonal highlights and account for changing light and weather conditions. Guides will provide photo tips for all skill levels as the group travels to prime destinations by land and sea to capture the area's scenic wonder for posterity.

A Taste of Juneau (Princess exclusive) - A unique combination of Juneau "tastes" includes a visit to Mendenhall Glacier as well as the savory delights of the Alaskan Brewing Company and the Taku Smokeries' Smokehouse. Visitors will sample the brewery's hand-crafted ales and seasonal beers, as well as the smokehouse's tasty salmon products, plus can take home a souvenir glass and recipe cards.

Evening Whale Quest - This evening cruise with guaranteed humpback whale sightings is the perfect way to enjoy a later-in-the-day call in Juneau. Not only will participants get up close and personal with Alaska's graceful giants, but can treat themselves with provided appetizers and dessert.

Best of Juneau - A combination of three of the area's premiere attractions - the Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest, the famous Mendenhall Glacier and the Original Alaska Salmon Bake - for a full Juneau experience. Passengers are not only guaranteed a whale sighting, they will also be able to view a world-famous glacier and enjoy an outdoor salmon feast.

Afternoon Red Light Delight - Passengers can enjoy a true Klondike experience, from the scramble for riches in the gold fields to the elegance of a historic brothel. Period entertainment and gold panning highlight a visit to the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp, and later the "madams" of the world-famous Red Onion Saloon and Brothel Museum host the group for a private party upstairs in the former brothel.

Deluxe Klondike Experience & Rail Adventure (Princess exclusive) - A unique combination of local attractions makes for a complete Skagway experience. Passengers will not only ride in an old-fashioned parlor car on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad but will also get to re-live the gold rush days with a virtual journey back in time at the Klondike Experience. Lunch is served at the Historic Skagway Inn, former home to many "ladies of the night."

Gold Fever Adventure & Exclusive Scenic Railway - An opportunity for passengers to ride the rails in style and experience the life of a prospector. A cast of colorful characters brings the days of the gold rush to life at the rollicking Klondike Gold Dredge where visitors can try their own hand at striking it rich. Then one of the costumed hosts will accompany the group on a private car journey up the town's famed White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. A champagne toast at the summit adds a unique touch to this special way to experience one of the area's most popular attractions.

Dominion Observatory & Stargazing - Passengers can take advantage of an evening visit to Victoria with a tour to the city's historic Dominion Observatory, home of what was once the world's largest telescope. The working observatory still scans the sky for asteroids and other celestial objects, and visitors could get a chance to operate the massive 45-ton Plaskett telescope - which was the first telescope to map the Milky Way. Passengers can visit the facility's science center and planetarium as well as enjoy one of Victoria's best views from Little Saanich Mountain and take advantage of photo opportunities in the city's downtown.

Adventures Ashore excursions are offered as part of Princess' comprehensive 2005 Alaska cruise and cruisetour lineup, which will offer 125 departures aboard seven ships, and featuring three popular Alaska routes - seven-day Gulf of Alaska sailings between Vancouver and Whittier; seven-day Inside Passage from Seattle and 10-day Inside Passage from San Francisco. On land, 35 cruisetours options round out the offerings and feature the exclusive new Direct to the Wilderness rail service - an industry first in which trains will be ready and waiting right at the Whittier dock to whisk passengers directly to Princess' two Denali park-area lodges. As a result passengers will get to the wilderness faster and enjoy more time in the park area.

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Silversea Cruises Rekindles the Spirit of Exploration With Unique New Enrichment Program

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 31, 2005 -- Silversea Cruises is expanding its popular Guest Lecturer program with a unique new enrichment series called "The Spirit of Exploration". On select voyages, an internationally acclaimed adventurer will serve as the ship's Resident Explorer, hosting guests to a series of entertaining presentations that reveal the explorer's knowledge, personal insights and quest for discovery. The Resident Explorer will also accompany guests on selected shore excursions.

"Our guests are typically active and sophisticated world travelers with a passion for new learning experiences", said Barbara Muckermann, Silversea's senior vice president, worldwide marketing and communications. "With our innovative 'Spirit of Exploration' enrichment series, guests will have a chance to travel and interact with leading explorers and learn first hand about their exciting feats in earth, sea and space exploration. It's a program designed to give our travel-savvy guests a renewed sense of discovery and adventure that will enhance their enjoyment of the cruise and ports of call."

The initial lineup of explorers and their sailing dates: 

Dr. Don Walsh (U.S. Navy Captain, retired) is a renowned oceanographer and world explorer. He has completed over 55 expeditions to the polar regions, and worked at both the North and South Poles. An Antarctic mountain ridge, the Walsh Spur, is named for him. As an undersea explorer, he holds the world's depth record, having made a near seven-mile dive into the deepest known point in the oceans, the Pacific Ocean's Challenger Deep (near Guam), in a pressured bathyscape, a specially designed deep-sea research vessel. In recent years he has made dives to the Titanic, the German WWII battleship Bismarck and undersea volcanoes near the Azores. 

** Silver Cloud's 8-day cruise from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires, November 27 - December 5, 2005 (Voyage 1534). Advance Payment Bonus fares start at $3,906 per person.

** Silver Cloud's 16-day cruise from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, December 5 - 21, 2005 (Voyage 1535). Advance Payment Bonus fares start at $7,516 per person.

Brian Jones, together with his Swiss colleague Bertrand Piccard, pulled off one of the most daring feats in aviation history - the first circumnavigation of the earth in a hot air balloon. On March 1, 1999, just outside the Swiss village of Château-d'Oex, the daring aviators stepped into the capsule of the Breitling Orbiter 3, a specially constructed 55-meter-tall balloon to begin their epic journey. 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes later they landed in Egypt near the Great Pyramids of Giza in what has now been acclaimed as one of the greatest triumphs of ballooning. 

** Silver Wind's 11-day cruise from Mahe to Port Louis, November 29 - December 10, 2005 (Voyage 2531). Advance Payment Bonus fares start at $4,636 per person.

Dr. Joe MacInnis, a medical doctor, undersea explorer and marine conservationist, led the first team of scientists to dive under the North Pole and was among the first to dive to the Titanic. He has written six books on the ocean, including Saving the Oceans, Titanic: In a New Light and Fitzgerald's Storm. MacInnis has written numerous articles for National Geographic and Scientific American. For his work in science and education, he was awarded the Order of Canada in 1976. 

** Silver Cloud's 7-day cruise from Barcelona to Rome, May 19 - 26, 2005 (Voyage 1513). Silver Sailings fares start at $2,937 per person. 

Belinda Sawyer, a qualified ship's master, engineer and dive master, is also the senior expedition leader and operations manager for Deep Ocean Expeditions. DOE operates submersible expeditions to multiple ocean sites, in depths approaching 20,000 feet, including the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Mediterranean, the East Pacific Rise, and wreck sites such as the Titanic and the battleship Bismarck. 

** Silver Shadow's 14-day cruise from Sydney to Auckland, December 22 - January 5, 2006 (Voyage 3538). Advance Payment Bonus fares start at $7,986 per person.

Silversea will be announcing additional "Spirit of Exploration" cruises in the coming weeks. Visit for the latest information.

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Carnival Cruise Line Launches Industry's First Wine Club
Initiative Seeks to Make Fine Wines More Familiar to Cruise Vacationers

MIAMI (January 31, 2005) — Calling it a “club with a mission,” Carnival Cruise Lines has launched the Presidential Wine Club, the cruise industry’s first affinity group for people interested in wine. Members will receive two bottles of select boutique wines each month, and have access to an on-line wine information and communication resource. All wines featured in club mailings are tasted and approved by Bob Dickinson, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, a noted wine collector and unabashed oenophile, or wine connoisseur. Many of the wines come from small, boutique wineries located in the world’s great wine regions of California, France, Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina and Australia. 

“With the Presidential Wine Club, we are doing for wine what Carnival did for the cruise experience — demystifying it,” said Dickinson. “The enjoyment of wine often is perceived as elitist, just as cruising used to be. We are making wine accessible to those who might otherwise be intimidated by the idea of fine vintages.”

Dickinson says the club’s mission is to educate people about the enjoyment and health benefits of wine. The club’s Web site functions as a wine information resource and has interactive message boards for members to trade opinions about wine and a monthly “Ask Bob” column by the cruise line’s president. 

“Our goal is to make wine the beer of tomorrow,” said Dickinson. “Beer is like a birthright to Americans, while people who drink fine wines account for less than 10 percent of the population. Carnival is set to carry 3.3 million guests in 2005, and I think we can reach a lot of those folks with our message.”

Among the Dickinson Selection wines that members can expect to receive are Merryvale Starmon Sauvignon Blanc 2003, Napa, Calif.; St. Supery Cabernet 2000, Napa, Calif.; Pirramimma Shiraz, McClaren Vale 2001, Australia; Tasman Bay Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2004, New Zealand, and Oriel Courant Cote du Rhone 2003, France.

While membership will be primarily marketed to Carnival Cruise Lines past guests, anyone with an interest in wine may join. The cost is $39.99 per month for two bottles, plus $9.99 shipping and handling. There is no contract and membership can be discontinued at any time without penalty.

Additional member benefits include opportunities to participate in annual Presidential Wine Club cruises featuring wine tastings, food pairings and sessions with wine makers and other wine experts. Members also qualify for discounts on special wine purchases and wine-related products and accessories sold through the Web site. 

Current plans for the club include making select Presidential Wine Club vintages available at designated bars on all Carnival ships. According to Dickinson, this will provide guests an opportunity to taste some of the club wines before becoming a member. To join the Presidential Wine Club, visit the Web site at or call, toll-free, 1-888-292-2582. 

Carnival currently has two 110,000-ton SuperLiners – Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom – with a collective estimated value of $1 billion scheduled to enter service between now and February 2007.

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Alaska's Awesome Scenery & Wildlife are Best Showcased by Ship

NEW YORK – Alaska offers crystalline glaciers, abundant wildlife and diverse cultural and historic attractions – all of which can be viewed from the deck or suite balcony of a cruise ship. The 49th state will figure prominently in cruise itineraries beginning this spring, when eight of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)’s 19 member lines position 27 ships in the region from April through October.

“It would be nearly impossible for travelers to sample as many Alaskan destinations on a land tour as they can on a cruise,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA, which comprises 19 North American cruise lines with more than 150 ships and 16,500 member travel agencies, the largest of any North American trade association. “Vacationers can choose Alaska cruise itineraries that range from seven to 14 days, providing something for everyone interested in exploring Alaska’s spectacular scenery and culture.  

Alaska cruises provide travelers with several ways to see the 49th state, all in one convenient, hassle-free package. Most lines offer a variety of cruise-tour package options that take passengers deep into Alaska’s interior via train and include land stays at scenic lodges. Highlights range from hiking and sightseeing in Denali National Park to “flightseeing” across the breathtaking Juneau Ice Field via helicopter.

“This year the cruise lines report that Alaska bookings are coming in at a very brisk pace – faster even than early 2000 levels,” said Dale. “To get the cabin of your choice on the vessel of your choice, travelers should book as soon as possible.”

Following is a list of Alaska programs offered this year by CLIA-member cruise lines:

Carnival Spirit’s 2005 Alaska season consists of 16 seven-day Glacier Route and three Glacier Bay voyages. Glacier Route cruises depart May 18 to Aug. 31, either southbound from Whittier or northbound from Vancouver. Cruises in both directions feature Prince William Sound, College Fjord, Lynn Canal, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Sitka and the Inside Passage. The ship’s Glacier Bay cruises depart roundtrip from Vancouver May 11, Sept. 7 and 14 and feature full days cruising Glacier Bay National Park and the Inside Passage, as well as visits to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.

The line’s Infinity will sail roundtrip from San Francisco on 10- and 12-night “Ultimate Alaska” itineraries and seven-night Inside Passage cruises roundtrip from Vancouver. Mercury will sail on seven-night Inside Passage itineraries roundtrip from Seattle. Summit will offer seven-night voyages between Vancouver and Seward and seven-night itineraries roundtrip from Vancouver. A two-week cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles will include the Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Sitka, Victoria, Seattle, San Francisco and Catalina Island. Celebrity Cruises features cuisine prepared under the guidance of award-winning Master Chef Michel Roux.

Crystal Cruises will kick off its most extensive Alaska season its only 12-day itinerary roundtrip from Vancouver on May 9. The luxury line, whose Crystal Harmony will offer 13 cruises in all, will also feature a new seven-day itinerary roundtrip from Vancouver on May 21 that can also be taken as a nine-day voyage that will begin in Vancouver and conclude in San Francisco. Ten 12-day Alaska cruises will operate roundtrip from San Francisco departing May 30; June 11, 23; July 5, 17, 29; August 10, 22; and September 3, 15.

A specialist in Alaska since 1947, Holland America Line will offer travelers a choice of three cruise itineraries and 28 CruiseTour vacation packages aboard seven ships for a total of 134 departures. Zaandam, Volendam, Statendam and Ryndam sail roundtrip from Vancouver on Inside Passage voyages, highlighting Glacier Bay and Sawyer Glaciers. Statendam, Veendam and Ryndam will operate a series of “Glacier Discovery” cruises between Vancouver and Anchorage that explore the Inside Passage and Gulf of Alaska. Amsterdam and Oosterdam will offer “Alaskan Explorer” itineraries sailing the Inside Passage roundtrip from Seattle.

Norwegian Cruise Line brings its “Freestyle” concept to Alaska. Norwegian Dream will sail on new 10- and 11-day “Alaska Adventure” itineraries, the bulk of which sail roundtrip from Seattle. A May 19, 11-day departure operates roundtrip from Vancouver to Seattle while a 10-day voyage is from Seattle to Vancouver. Norwegian Sun and Spirit will sail primarily roundtrip from Seattle on seven-day Sawyer Glacier itineraries. Norwegian Star will operate on seven-day Glacier Bay sailings roundtrip from Seattle. Diverse and exciting restaurants and a more relaxed dress code are hallmarks of a Freestyle vacation. 

The luxury line Radisson Seven Seas Cruises will operate its Seven Seas Mariner on a 12-night voyage from Los Angeles to Vancouver May 20. The all-suite, all-balcony, 700-passenger ship then embarks on a series of seven-night Whittier to Vancouver and Vancouver to Whittier cruises from May through September with calls at Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. The ship will also operate two itineraries between Seward and Vancouver, calling at Prince Rupert, Juneau, Skagway and Sitka. In addition, two roundtrip Vancouver cruises will call at Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. 

Three Royal Caribbean ships will sail Alaskan waters. Radiance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas will offer seven-night Hubbard Glacier itineraries from Vancouver, the highlights of which are Hubbard Glacier, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. Both itineraries cruise the Inside Passage; Serenade of the Seas adds Misty Fjords. Vision of the Seas will operate on seven-night Northbound and Southbound itineraries between Vancouver and Seward. Cruising the Inside Passage, highlights include Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Icy Strait Point. The northbound voyage adds Hubbard Glacier while the southbound sailing adds Misty Fjords.

For 2005 Princess Cruises will offer its most comprehensive Alaska program ever with 125 departures aboard seven ships on three popular routes: seven-day Gulf of Alaska; seven-day Inside Passage; and 10-day Inside Passage itineraries. New sister ships Coral Princess and Island Princess will sail between Vancouver and Whittier on Saturdays; they’ll be joined by Sun Princess and Dawn Princess, departing Mondays on either south- or north-bound voyages. Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess return to Seattle on Inside Passage sailings while Regal Princess sails the Inside Passage roundtrip from San Francisco.

For more information on Alaska cruises, contact a CLIA-member travel agency. To locate an agency near you, use the Travel Agent Locator on CLIA’s website at

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Conde Nast Traveler 'Gold List' Awards Crystal Cruises Best Cuisine at Sea in Annual Poll

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 28 -- The very best cuisine at sea is found aboard the luxury ships of Crystal Cruises. So say the well-traveled readers of Conde Nast Traveler in the January 2005 issue of the magazine's World's Best "Gold List." With a rating of 97.1, the food served in the formal dining rooms, casual bistros and specialty restaurants on Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity outshines all cruise lines large and small. The impressive score also surpasses some of the most acclaimed five-star hotels in New York and France, such as The Peninsula, St. Regis, and Hotel de Crillon.

Showcasing the best of the best, the eleventh annual "Gold List" reveals the 700 best places to stay throughout the world including hotels, resorts and cruise lines. More than 20,000 Conde Nast Traveler subscribers completed the 2004 Readers' Choice Poll, which earned Crystal its ninth consecutive "Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" award (November 2004 issue) and its highest ever overall score of 94.6, as well as its accolades for food, activities, cabins, itineraries and service.

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Carnival Corp and Its Cruise Brands Donate $3.2 Million Toward Tsunami Relief Efforts 

MIAMI, Jan. 28 -- Carnival Corporation & plc and its various operating units are donating more than $3.2 million to tsunami relief. The funds -- $2.4 million of which is being donated by Carnival Corporation & plc with another $800,000 already raised by the company's 12 cruise brands -- will be forwarded to several different international organizations coordinating relief efforts in Asia and Africa.

"The entire Carnival Corporation & plc family, both aboard ship and ashore, is saddened and deeply concerned by this horrible tragedy and we are pleased to make this donation to aid in the region's long-term relief efforts, which will be substantial," said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. "The tsunamis are the worst natural disasters of our lifetime and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this catastrophe," he added.

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Radisson Diamond Sold; Departs Radisson Seven Seas 
Fleet June 4, 2005

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 26, 2005 - With its launch of Seven Seas Navigator in 1999, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises implemented a fleet expansion and renewal that included the addition of the Seven Seas Mariner in 2001 and the Seven Seas Voyager in 2003. The delivery of the Voyager coincided with the Song of Flower exiting the fleet, and the determination that the Radisson Diamond, which was delivered in 1992 and was under charter through 2006, would be returned to the owner at the end of the charter period.

Since RSSC was not interested in purchasing the vessel for use after 2006, the owners had the right to sell the ship. At the end of December 2004, the owners notified RSSC that a buyer had been found, and that a firm offer had been made and accepted. At that time, RSSC asked the new owners for an extension of the charter until the end of 2005. Unfortunately, RSSC's offer was not accepted and the new owners notified RSSC on January 24 that they would be taking delivery of the vessel on June 4, 2005, and that they were not interested in extending the charter beyond that date. 
As a result of this notice, RSSC is forced to cancel all Radisson Diamond cruises from June 4, 2005, onward. According to the new owners, the ship will be repositioned to Hong Kong, renamed, and used as a casino ship for the Chinese market.

"We share the disappointment this news will bring to our travel industry partners and their valued clients, and we deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause them," said Mark Conroy, president of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. "The Diamond was our first vessel -a ship that established a new direction for luxury cruising in 1992 - and it's impossible to say goodbye to her without feeling a sense of loss." Conroy continued. "At the same time, the world of luxury cruising has changed and we greet the future 
from the helm of our new generation of luxury ships."

Radisson Seven Seas is currently expediting full refunds of all guests' deposits paid for the cancelled sailings. In addition, the luxury line is offering, as a goodwill gesture, a $700 per person per cruise Future Cruise Credit for affected guests. These certificates may be applied to any available cruise of seven nights or longer in 2005 aboard the Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator. The credit is combinable with the best retail offers in the marketplace.

Radisson Seven Seas Cruises was formed in December 1994 with the merger of Diamond Cruise Line and Seven Seas Cruise Line, each line operating only one ship. From these modest beginnings, the company has evolved into a cruise industry innovator, owning the all balcony-suite design concept that energizes the luxury niche. For further information, contact Radisson Seven Seas Cruises toll-free at 800-477-7500. For brochures and reservation information, call toll-free 800-285-1835 or visit the Web site: To make reservations contact your travel professional.

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Carnival to Host ‘Rusty Wallace Cruise’ Aboard Carnival Valor
 in Dec 2005
NASCAR Legend To Host Week-Long ‘Racing-Themed’ Voyage 

MIAMI (Jan 26, 2005) -– Carnival Cruise Lines will continue its popular “Rusty Wallace Cruise” series with a seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the 110,000-ton Carnival Valor Dec. 4-11, 2005. This voyage, which departs from Miami and visits Nassau, St. Thomas/St. John and St. Maarten, marks the seventh “Rusty Wallace Cruise” hosted by the NASCAR legend. Carnival’s “Rusty Wallace Cruises” are among the most popular and well- attended theme cruises in the industry, with 5,000 racing fans participating in the previous six voyages.

“We’re delighted to again partner with Rusty to continue this popular series, this time on the spectacular new Carnival Valor,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

During the cruise, participants will have opportunities to interact with Wallace through a number of invitation-only events, including autograph, question and answer, and photo sessions. In conjunction with Wallace’s recent announcement that he is retiring from the racing circuit, a private cocktail reception – “Rusty’s Last Call” – and a special farewell ceremony will be held on board. A wide variety of prizes and memorabilia will be available, as well, including complimentary race passes and authentic racing shirts autographed by Wallace. Several racing-themed contests and giveaways will also be held.

“Rusty Wallace Cruise” participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy Carnival Valor’s wide range of on-board amenities and facilities, which include 22 lounges and bars, a 13,300-square-foot health club, full casino gambling, four swimming pools and a 214-foot-long water slide. Dining options include two two-deck-high main dining rooms, an expansive poolside restaurant, an upscale reservations-only supper club, a patisserie, a sushi bar, and complimentary 24-hour room service. Carnival Valor also boasts a 4,200-square-foot enclosed play area, part of the line’s top-rated “Camp Carnival” children’s program, along with an 1,800-square-foot teen club/game room. 

The first 100 bookings will receive “Rusty Wallace Cruise” goodie bags filled with a variety of Carnival logo items and racing paraphernalia. Reservations are currently being accepted for the 2005 “Rusty Wallace Cruise” aboard the Carnival Valor. Prices begin at $629 per person based on double occupancy. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom, along with air add-ons from more than 170 North American gateways, are also available. Participants must reference fare code CPRW when making a reservation to be eligible for the invitation-only events taking place on these voyages.

For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL. Information is also available via Carnival’s web site,

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Royal Caribbean Announces Exclusive European Cruisetours for 2005

MIAMI, Jan. 24 -- From sipping an espresso in Madrid's Plaza Mayor to shopping along the Champs-Elysees, Royal Caribbean International is once again offering guests unforgettable experiences in some of the most beautiful and historic areas of Spain, France and England. Four exclusive cruisetour vacations will be offered in 2005, allowing guests the opportunity to pair a multi-day land vacation package with either a Mediterranean or Northern Europe cruise aboard one of Royal Caribbean's three ships in the region.

"A Royal Caribbean cruisetour is an ideal way to explore Europe. Guests get the chance to sample the attractions of numerous countries by sea and the opportunity to immerse themselves in the customs and cultures of a specific region by land," said Craig Milan, president of Royal Caribbean International's cruisetour division. "Guests also get a great value in Europe with the current exchange rate since our cruisetours, like our cruises, are purchased in advance in U.S. dollars."

In 2005, Royal Caribbean is offering four land packages to pair with its European cruises -- one to London and Paris, two to Spain, and one to the historic English cities of London and York. The cruise line has partnered with Akorn, a division of Abercrombie and Kent and one of the leading customized tour operators in Europe, to provide a superior experience for guests. Land tour portions range from three to five nights and are escorted by knowledgeable, local tour directors who not only provide historical and expert commentary, but also serve as personal concierges to assist with anything from dinner reservations to show or museum tickets. Also included are four- and five-star hotel accommodations in the heart of the city centers, breakfast each morning, a farewell group dinner, and guided tours of top cultural attractions, as well as plenty of free time to pursue individual interests.

  • Guests on seven-night Splendour of the Seas Mediterranean itineraries or 12-night Brilliance of the Seas Mediterranean/Venice or Mediterranean/Greek Isles sailings can enhance their cruise with a three-night Madrid and Barcelona land tour. A five-night land tour, which includes visits to Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, also is available to Brilliance of the Seas' guests.

  • Ten-night cruisetours on Splendour of the Seas start at $2,199 per person, double occupancy. Fifteen- and 17-night cruisetours on Brilliance of the Seas start at $3,199 and $3,949 per person, double occupancy.

  • Jewel of the Seas will sail 12-night Scandinavia/Russia cruises from Harwich, England, and will offer guests the option of either a four-night London and Paris land tour or the four-night Journey through England. The London and Paris cruisetour begins in Paris with a half-day free for sightseeing and shopping. After another full day of sightseeing in Paris, guests board the Eurostar for a train ride through the Chunnel to London. While in London, guests enjoy two days with both city tours as well as free time for shopping and sightseeing.

  • The Journey Through England cruisetour begins in London where guests enjoy both a guided bus tour and plenty of free time to enjoy the city's famous sites such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, before heading north by train to explore the historic, walled city of York. Prices start at $3,949 per person, double occupancy for the London and Paris cruisetour and $3,599 per person, double occupancy for the Journey Through England cruisetour.

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Seabourn Spirit Again Tops Conde Nast Traveler Poll

MIAMI, Jan. 24 -- The intimate, all-suite Seabourn Spirit is once again the highest-rated cruise ship in the world in the 2005 Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Poll. The ultra luxury ship was awarded the same title in the 2003 poll. Spirit's overall score of 97.7 was bolstered by perfect scores of 100 in the categories of "Itineraries" and "Crew/Service." In addition, the magazine's readers rated the ship's value as "Excellent."

Spirit's identical sisters, Seabourn Pride and Seabourn Legend, shared the spotlight with admirable scores in their own rights. Pride earned a perfect 100 for "Crew/Service" and Legend took the top spot in the small ship category for "Food/Dining," barely edging ahead of second-place Spirit by two-tenths of a point.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Launches "Carnival SeaMiles Platinum MasterCard"

MIAMI (Jan 24, 2005) - Carnival Cruise Lines has partnered with Sea Miles and Juniper Bank to launch the Carnival Sea Miles Platinum MasterCard. This credit card program, available to consumers across the U.S., is unique in that it allows cruise enthusiasts to earn points called SeaMiles that can be redeemed toward cruises aboard Carnival or any other cruise line, as well as select air travel and vacations at quality resorts. Cardholders earn one Sea Mile for every dollar they spend on everyday purchases. Cruises and other vacations can be redeemed for as few as 20,000 SeaMiles. And, unlike other cruise credit card loyalty programs, cardholders earn double SeaMiles when purchasing a Carnival cruise or for any purchases charged to their Sail & Sign shipboard account during their “Fun Ship” voyage.

“Carnival is delighted to team up with Juniper Bank and Sea Miles on the new Carnival Sea Miles Platinum MasterCard, which is designed specifically for cruise enthusiasts,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. “Although there are many reward programs out there, only the Carnival Sea Miles Platinum MasterCard offers cardmembers an opportunity to earn points toward cruises on any cruise line as well as other select vacations through everyday purchases and double points when using the card to book a Carnival cruise or make purchases on board,” he added. 

Carnival Sea Miles Platinum cardmembers also enjoy a low introductory APR for six months on balance transfers, as well as 5,000 bonus SeaMiles for first use and no annual fee. Additional benefits include 100% fraud protection, emergency cash, travel accident insurance, and emergency card replacement. To apply for a Carnival Sea Miles Platinum MasterCard, call 1-866-255-1351 or visit or

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Royal Caribbean Named Best Overall Cruise Line by Travel Agents in Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards
Latest Award Caps Cruise Line's List of Honors for 2004

MIAMI, Jan. 21 -- Travel Weekly has named Royal Caribbean International Best Overall Cruise Line for the second year in a row in the publication's Second Annual Readers Choice Awards. More than 2,000 travel professionals were surveyed for the competition, which also gave the line top honors for Best Cruise Line: America and Best Cruise Line: Caribbean.

"Travel Weekly's readers represent many of the most informed and experienced members of the travel industry, so it is a particular honor to be named two years running as the best cruise line," said Adam Goldstein, executive vice president for Royal Caribbean International. The Travel Weekly awards cap an impressive year of international honors for Royal Caribbean. Recognized by consumers, travel agents, industry professionals and journalists, Royal Caribbean has been singled out for excellence for overall cruise experience, culinary offerings, marketing, ship design, environmental consciousness and technology.

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Carnival Cruise Lines to Offer Special "Miami Heat Cruise"
 in February 2005
Three-Day Voyage on Fascination To Feature NBA All-Star Game "Watch Party," Private Cocktail Reception, Autograph Session with Players & Other Special Events

MIAMI -- Carnival Cruise Lines is offering a special "Miami Heat Cruise," featuring current and/or former players and executives from the Miami Heat, aboard the 2,052-passenger "Fun Ship" Fascination in February 2005.
The three-day voyage, which will operate from Miami Feb. 18-21, will feature a special "watch party" to view the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 20. A private Welcome Aboard cocktail party and autograph session with Heat players and executives, as well as appearances by Burnie, the team's mascot, the Heat Dancers and the Xtreme Team are also scheduled.

Other highlights include a basketball/sports clinic, as well as a dance clinic conducted by the Heat Dancers. "This cruise will provide an unforgettable vacation experience not only for Miami Heat fans but for any sports enthusiast, given the wide variety of unique and exciting activities," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

In addition to interacting with Miami Heat players and executives, guests can also enjoy the Fascination's many on-board amenities and facilities, including 12 lounges, bars and nightspots, a 12,000-square-foot health club and full casino gambling. A wide range of dining options, including three restaurants, a 24-hour pizzeria, and complimentary 24-hour room service are also available. 

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for the "Miami Heat Cruise," which includes a stop in Nassau, The Bahamas. Prices begin at $399 per person based on double occupancy. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom are also available. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit Participants must request fare code CDM1 when making a reservation. 

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Celebrity Cruises Announces Plans to Sail in Asia-Pacific
Top Premium Line's Highly Rated 'Summit' First to be Deployed in 2006 

MIAMI -- Vividly illustrating its commitment to offering exotic travel experiences in faraway lands, Celebrity Cruises today announced plans to sail in the Far East and South Pacific in 2006. The 1,950-guest Summit, ranked first in service and second overall in Conde Nast Traveler's "Best Cruise Ships in the World" survey, will be deployed to Asia and the Pacific, offering cruises in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, and other destinations. While specific itineraries are still being developed, Celebrity envisions a series of round-trip and open-jaw cruises of varying lengths. The line expects bookings for its new Asia-Pacific product to open by April 2005.

"This is a natural evolution for Celebrity, coming on the heels of our launch of Celebrity Xpeditions in the Galapagos Islands, our tripling of capacity in Europe over the past two years, and our deployment of new hardware in South America," said Celebrity's President & COO Jack Williams. "Our guests and travel partners told us they want to experience Asia with Celebrity, and now they can."

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2005 Europe Cruises on CLIA Lines: Demand is at All-time High
Rising euro means cruise vacations offer best value for 2005!

NEW YORK – Europe cruises will deliver a one-two punch this spring, summer and fall – the end result of which translates into a double whammy in value. The high cost of the euro against the U.S. dollar, coupled with extraordinary early booking opportunities, make 2005 Europe cruises doubly tempting. 

“Travelers who plan land vacations in Europe will pay more this year and perhaps experience sticker shock. However, travelers who opt for all-inclusive cruise vacations will pre-pay in U.S. dollars, significantly insulating them from currency fluctuations,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the premier marketing association for 19 leading North American cruise lines and 16,500 affiliated travel agents. There is another reason to book early, said Dale. “Executives from CLIA-member lines are reporting that Europe itineraries are selling faster, and sooner, than virtually any time in history. To get the best deal and the cruise and cabin of their choice, it would be extremely judicious for travelers to book their cruises as soon as possible.”

There is a style of ship and itinerary to meet any prospective vacationer’s desires. Travelers can choose between luxury yachts that carry as few as 100 passengers or contemporary mega ships that can hold up to 3,000. Cruise guests also have the option of extending their holiday with land tours before or after their cruise, which can also be paid in U.S. dollars before departure.

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Carnival Corp Expects Financial Impact From Cancellation of P&O Cruises' Aurora 2005 World Cruise

MIAMI -- The 1,870-passenger cruise ship Aurora, operated by P&O Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corporation, is experiencing a technical problem with its propulsion system that has forced the cancellation of its 103-day, 2005 world cruise. Passengers on the affected voyage are being provided refunds and future cruise discounts. The company expects the vessel will return to service prior to the date it was to end its world cruise and anticipates scheduling revised shorter replacement cruises.

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Celebrity Cruises Expands 'Celebrity Xpeditions'
Exclusive, Exotic Travel Experiences Now Offered With Every Major Cruise Itinerary

MIAMI, Jan. 19 -- Just one year after launching "Celebrity Xpeditions," an extension of Celebrity Cruises offering elite, exotic travel experiences, the line is making good on its promise to offer one Xpeditions experience on every major cruise itinerary. Celebrity Xpeditions launched in January 2004 as a one-of-a-kind program offering travelers the premium experiences they expect of Celebrity -- in entirely new and different venues, such as the Galapagos Islands, the Arctic, the Antarctic, and Moscow.

"Our goal at Celebrity is to fulfill dreams, and what we're announcing today is a compelling example of that," said Williams. "Who hasn't imagined visiting locations like the Great Pyramids, Easter Island, or the Matterhorn? The exotic destinations and exclusive experiences we offer through Celebrity Xpeditions are what many people only dream about."

The new Celebrity Xpeditions offerings, by cruising region, include:

  • Alaska: A "fire and ice" experience in Vancouver, with helicopter and Zodiac tours of the Mt. Garibaldi volcano site and Howe Sound; and treks through the Alaskan wilderness in search of black bears.

  • Bermuda: An aquatic archaeology course from the platform of a 43-foot catamaran.

  • California Coastal/Mexican Riviera: Marlin fishing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with a tournament-seasoned crew.

  • Caribbean: Underwater exploration and diving adventures culminating in National Geographic diver certification in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

  • Hawaii: Heli-tours and lava tube cave explorations in Hana.

  • Mediterranean: A four-day exploration of the Great Pyramids of Egypt with leading Egyptologists; storybook stays in Switzerland, including hikes beside the majestic Matterhorn.

  • Panama Canal: Behind-the-scenes visits of Johnson Space Center and Houston Space Center in Texas, led by Apollo VII Astronaut Walter Cunningham.

  • South America: The Lost City of the Incas in Machu Picchu; archaeological explorations of the Copan Ruins in Honduras, and tours of the isolated Easter Island and its mysterious Moai statues carved of volcanic rock.

The new lineup joins the existing series of Celebrity Xpeditions, including cruise vacations in the enchanting Galapagos Islands onboard the 296-foot megayacht, Celebrity Xpedition; voyages in the isolated Arctic and Antarctic aboard the polar-class, 434-foot icebreaker, Kapitan Khlebnikov in partnership with Quark Expeditions; a behind-the-scenes tour of the former headquarters of the KGB and Kremlin in Moscow; a race car driving academy led by professional drivers Justin and Derek Bell in Palm Beach, Fla., and the line's pre- and post-cruise land tours on luxurious, domed rail cars and motor coaches in Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111, or visit the Celebrity web site at

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Star Clipper to Race in 2005 Antigua Classic Regatta

MIAMI, Jan. 19, 2005 -- Star Clippers officials announced that the line will enter the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. During the April 10-18, 2005, voyage of spv Star Clipper, guests will have an opportunity to participate in the races alongside other ships in the Tall Ship Class. Hosted on board by Star Clippers' owner and president, Mikael Krafft, himself a dedicated yachtsman, the 170-passenger ship is scheduled to spend three days during the eight-day voyage taking part in the annual yachting event. 

"The excitement and uniqueness of the regatta make it a passenger and crew favorite," said Jack Chatham, vice president of sales and marketing for Star Clippers. "We decided that rather than just being an observer we'd give our guests a greater experience by participating in the races."

Since its inception in 1987, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta has grown into a worldwide and world-class sailing event. The regatta aims to maintain classic and professional seamanship while reaching out to trainees, multinational crews and passengers of the world's great sailing ships in a friendly competition. 

The round-trip St. Maarten itinerary also includes calls at Anguilla, St. Barts, Iles de Saintes and Dominica before spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Antigua for the three main days of competition. Cruise-only fares begin at $1,795 per person, double. Star Clippers offers passengers an authentic tall ship experience while providing all of the luxuries found aboard a modern mega-yacht. Guests enjoy exotic destinations untouched by larger ships, delectable cuisine in one unhurried seating and pampering services in a casually elegant atmosphere. For more information on Star Clippers or to make a reservation, call 1-800-442-0551, contact a travel professional or visit

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TaylorMade® Golf Takes to Sea With Crystal Cruises
Golf Theme Cruises Spotlight World's Best Courses 

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18 -- The No. 1 driver on the PGA Tour, TaylorMade's r7 quad, finds a new home this month aboard the No. 1 large- ship cruise line as TaylorMade takes to sea as the official golf club of luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises. In addition to the prestigious r7 quad driver, the new alliance showcases TaylorMade's acclaimed 2005 rac OS IRONS, the Mezza Monza putter, and the r5 dual Type N -- the most forgiving driver TaylorMade has ever engineered. Crystal's comprehensive golf program features right and left handed clubs available for both men and women, as well as golf clinics, instruction by PGA golf pros, a putting green, practice cage, and golf driving ranges aboard each ship -- Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.

One of the most respected names in golf, TaylorMade drivers ranked No. 1 at every PGA Tour event in 2004, the third year in a row, extending TaylorMade's streak to 156 consecutive events (dating back to 2001) at No. 1. Since its inception in 1979, TaylorMade has led the golf industry's technological evolution.

"Like Crystal, TaylorMade shares a passion for perfection, providing golf enthusiasts the world over with innovative products and services that continuously exceed the expectations of a discerning clientele," says Nitsa Lewis, Crystal's vice president, marketing. "All of our partnerships have reflected a match of quality companies who excel in their respective fields."

New Golf Theme Cruises Feature World-Famous Courses
The true traveling golf enthusiast will take special interest in one of Crystal's two dedicated golf cruises spotlighting some of the world's finest golf courses and well-known PGA pros:

  • August 23, 2005, aboard Crystal Symphony, British Isles cruise 11-day exploration from Copenhagen, Denmark to London, England with optional play at some of the most popular courses in the region including the legendary Gleneagles King's Course (Edinburgh, Scotland), Mount Juliet (Belfast, Ireland), Portmarnock Links (Dublin, Ireland), and Royal County Down (Waterford, Ireland). Legendary golf pro Billy Casper will be joined by Bob Casper for this special departure.

  • October 25, 2005, aboard Crystal Serenity, Canary Islands cruise 12-day journey from Barcelona, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal with optional play at the Real Club de Campo Malaga (Granada, Spain), Montecastillo Golf Resort (Seville, Spain), Royal Golf Dar Es-Salam (Casablanca, Morocco), Real Club de Golf de Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), and Penha Longa Golf Course (Lisbon, Portugal).

Attesting to its popularity, on non-golf themed cruises, as many as 10% of Crystal's guests attend the golf classes offered year-round with pros providing complimentary instruction at morning sessions ranging from 45 minutes to an hour, and 30 minute afternoon golf clinics during days at sea. Lessons cover a wide range of topics including basic mechanics, full swing, irons (hands-on), woods, putting, chipping and pitching, sand play, equipment and specialty shots. Depending on the itinerary, the line's concierges will also make golf arrangements ashore for guests on an individual bases at acclaimed worldwide courses such as Mahogany Run in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, or at London's Orsett Golf Club.

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NCL Announces Partnership With Famed Second City Troupe
Norwegian Dawn is First Cruise Ship to Feature Renowned Improvisational Ensemble

MIAMI, Jan. 18 -- Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today announced its exclusive partnership with the famed sketch and improvisation troupe, The Second City. Debuting this month, six performers from the storied comedy empire will quip, sing and laugh their way through a special customized comedy revue aboard Norwegian Dawn on each of her roundtrip sailings from New York City. Performing an inventive and hilarious medley of satirical skits, songs, and improvisation, The Second City is always original, daring, and wildly entertaining. A world-class comedic troupe, The Second City has long been recognized as incubator for celebrities and is famous for encouraging the talents of many great performers, including: Bill Murray, Bonnie Hunt, Chris Farley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jeremy Piven, George Wendt, Mike Myers, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Tim Meadows and Tina Fey.

"There's nothing better than a great laugh, especially while on vacation, which is why we're proud to be the first cruise line to offer such high-level comedic performances aboard one of our ships," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. "In addition to great restaurants, amenities, itineraries, shore excursions and accommodations, we also want to offer our passengers the best and most creative entertainment options possible. This partnership helps us do just that."

In addition to performing one night each sailing, The Second City ensemble will introduce the art and philosophy of improvisation to Norwegian Dawn passengers by hosting onboard workshops. Drawing on The Second City's history of ensemble improvisation, satire and revue comedy, these workshops will be dedicated to exploring passengers' artistic voices and providing the tools and techniques needed to express those voices.

"The Second City troupe will also offer children's workshops through NCL's popular Kids Crew program," said Keith Cox, NCL's vice president of entertainment and onboard programming. "In addition to being fun and interactive, these workshops will introduce youngsters to many of the important principles of improvisation, such as the value of listening, working as a team and the amazing results of saying 'yes, and' rather than 'no, but.'"

"The Best of Second City" will replace Norwegian Dawn's current Music of the Night performance, which features the musical scores of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.

One of NCL's largest ships, accommodating 2,224 passengers and 1,112 crew, Norwegian Dawn sails round-trip from New York to the Caribbean year-round. For further information on NCL or NCL America, agents in the U.S. and Canada may contact NCL at (800) 327-7030; visit NCL's website at

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New Seine River Cruises from Paris, other new itineraries in Peter Deilmann's 2005 European River Cruises

NEW YORK, Jan. 18, 2005 -- Peter Deilmann Cruises is offering more than 240 European river cruises in 2005 on nine deluxe river ships that operate on the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Rhône, Saône, Seine, Elbe, Oder and other rivers from late March through early November. New for 2005 are cruises on the Seine River from Paris with ports of call in Le Havre, Rouen and Vernon (Giverny) aboard the 100-passenger, five-star MV Cezanne. For the first time, Deilmann is offering travelers a choice of cruising two French rivers, the Seine and Rhône. Rhône sailings from Lyon and Avignon to the Burgundy and Beaujolais wine regions and historic Provencal cities will operate on the four-star Princesse de Provence. Also new this year are the multi-country sailings of the five-star Casanova to historic cities and towns along the Rhine and Moselle rivers, the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and the Danube and cruises by the Frederic Chopin, a five-star vessel built in 2002, on the Vltava and Elbe rivers between Prague and Potsdam (Berlin) and the Oder River between Germany and Poland with cruise tours to Gdansk and Warsaw in Poland. 

In addition, Deilmann is introducing special interest programs featuring music, golf, gardens and cycling on several of its river cruises. A music cruise on the Mozart in October, escorted garden tours, pre- and post-golf packages and cycling in France, Germany and Austria are among the choices.

The 106-page Great Rivers of Europe 2005 catalogue presents all the cruise itineraries and destinations of Deilmann’s river vessels and 18 different cruise tours designed for travelers who like the convenience of having all components of their trip pre-arranged. Deilmann Cruises arranges pre- and post-cruise city packages, shore excursion packages, air transportation, meet and greet service and transfers between airports and ships. For the Great Rivers of Europe 2005 brochure, contact a travel agency or Peter Deilmann Cruises at 1-800-348-8287 or by e-mail at . The brochure can also be viewed at

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Recommend Magazine Readers Choose Windstar for Small-Ship Luxury Yachting

SEATTLE, WA, January 17, 2005 – Readers of Recommend Magazine have voted Windstar Cruises the best cruise line for a small-ship cruise experience in the eighth annual Reader’s Choice Awards. The magazine reports that Windstar was an easy choice for agents. “They’ve been providing luxury yachting ‘for the rest of us’ since 1986 and the concept has been a hit since.”

In the June issue of the magazine, readers were asked to name their top travel providers in 62 categories.  The responses were tallied for a listing of the best in the travel industry, now appearing in the December issue. Recommend Magazine is targeted to travel agents. “Travel agents are our partners and we are extremely proud to be rated number one among small-ship cruise lines,” says Jim McHugh, Windstar’s vice president marketing and sales.  “Windstar is truly ‘180-degrees from ordinary’ and guests won’t find another luxury cruise experience quite like this.  Our combination of romantic sailing ships, casual yet elegant atmosphere, personal service and exotic destinations is unique in the industry. We will continue to find ways to enhance and improve upon on our award winning vacation experience.”

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Happy Birthday Queen Mary 2!
Britain's Flagship Celebrates First Year of Service

VALENCIA, Calif., Jan. 13 -- Queen Mary 2 celebrates her first birthday after entering service and making worldwide headlines in January 2004. The first transatlantic liner to be built since QE2, Queen Mary 2 is the biggest (151,400 tons), the longest (1,132 feet), the tallest (236 feet) the widest (135 feet) passenger liner ever and, at a cost of $800 million, the most expensive passenger ship in history.

And what a year it's been! Four days after being named by Her Majesty The Queen during the most stunning naming ceremony ever, this record-breaking ship set off on her Maiden Voyage and has been making headlines ever since. Her first year has seen her complete 13 Atlantic crossings, sail 125,000 nautical miles and carry almost 130,000 passengers. She has been a crowd-puller at every port she has visited for the first time and almost three million turned out when she sailed up the east coast of England at close range in July. Passenger reaction to Queen Mary 2 has been overwhelming with passengers rating the ship highly when it comes to dining, service and on board facilities -- which have no equal at sea today.

Queen Mary 2 has entertained a range of celebrities including Antonio Banderas, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Hurley, Esther Rantzen, Sir Jimmy Savile and The Muppets. Her Royal Court Theatre has been the venue for shows from Dame Shirley Bassey, Jon Bon Jovi, Harry Connick Jr. and Beyonce Knowles while eminent visitors have included Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent, the Rt Hon John Prescott MP, Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and Senator Hilary Clinton. She was the flagship vessel at the Athens Olympics in August where she played host to Queen Sophia of Spain, former President George Bush and Olympic athlete royalty including Great Britain's gold medal winner Ben Ainslie. She's now so famous, in fact, that already four books have been published about her!

Queen Mary 2 is fast proving to be the destination in her own right. Everything about this ship is superlative and she offers a whole host of 'firsts' and exclusives. 79% of cabins feature private balconies. There is over $5 million of artwork on board. The world's first floating Planetarium offers virtual reality rides through the galaxies. A cultural academy is operated by the University of Oxford. She has the first suites with private lift access, the first Canyon Ranch Spa at sea, the first Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar at sea, the largest Library at sea (with 8,000 hardbacks, 500 paperbacks, 200 audio books and 100 CD ROMs) and the largest ballroom with the biggest dance floor at sea. Workshops and master classes are performed by RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts). She also boasts the longest jogging track at sea, the largest and most extensive wine cellar at sea -- and, if that's not enough, the 'Queen Mary 2' signs near the funnel are the largest illuminated ship's name signs in maritime history!

Queen Mary 2 will sail 26 Atlantic crossings in 2005. Crossing the Atlantic on the only scheduled service by sea is an experience and an adventure. Nobody knows this more than Cunard: the company's ships have crossed the Atlantic every year, without fail, since 1840. Queen Mary 2 is the first transatlantic liner to be built since her elder sister, Queen Elizabeth 2, entered service in 1969. An Atlantic 'steamship' crossing is a 'must do' journey -- one that has been undertaken for over 160 years by everyone from emigrants to film stars, from Dickens to the Duchess of Windsor. A crossing enables passengers to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers and is a relaxing and rewarding opportunity to savour. The past comes to life on board Queen Mary 2 with the Maritime Quest exhibition -- the first ever permanent exhibition on an ocean liner where deck upon deck and corridor upon corridor trace Cunard's proud history since its founding in 1839. The journey to New York has the added benefit of 25-hour days as well as the never-to-be-forgotten experience of seeing at dawn the most famous cityscape in the world. Fares for the six-day cruising (including flight to / from the ship) start from $1,499 per person. 

In addition Queen Mary 2 offers a variety of cruises to Northern Europe, the Mediterreanan and the Caribbean. More records will be broken in winter 2006 when she becomes the largest passenger ship ever to circumnavigate South America and visit the US West Coast and Hawaii. For more information on Queen Mary 2, consult a travel professional, call 1-800-7CUNARD or visit the website at

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Star Clippers Offers Savings on Med Voyages

MIAMI, Jan. 13, 2005 -- Journey to the hidden harbors, secluded beaches and secret hideaways of the Mediterranean on board a true sailing ship and save up to $800 per person off a cruise and air package. Star Clippers is offering passengers these special savings on 58 departures from May through October aboard Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper.

Star Flyer, Star Clipper and Royal Clipper combine the pampered luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the exhilarating thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship. Rediscover what sailing was like during the glorious age of the tall ships while visiting intimate ports of call untouched by larger cruise ships.

  • Star Clipper is sailing seven-, 10- and 11-night adventures in the western Med from $1,325 per person, double. That includes $400 off the cruise fare, plus save $400 off the add-on air fare from major U.S. cities. The 170-passenger vessel visits ports in Italy, France, Monaco, Sardinia, Portugal, Morocco and Corsica.

  • The 227-passenger flagship, Royal Clipper, also is sailing seven-, 10- and 11-night voyages in the western Med from $1,525 per person, double. That includes $300 off the cruise fare, plus save $300 off the add-on air fare. Various itineraries visit ports in Italy, Sicily, Croatia, Amalfi and Aeolian islands. 

  • Star Flyer takes 170 privileged passengers on seven-night escapades in the eastern Med from $1,425 per person, double. That includes $300 off the cruise fare, plus save $400 off the add-on air fare from many U.S. cities. Itineraries visit the best ports in the Greek Isles and Turkey.

The four- or five-masted clipper ships feature a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. Passengers dress in resort-casual attire and dine in one unhurried, open seating. Whether unwinding in the bowsprit net while gazing at the sea below or climbing the mast for a better view of the horizon, a unique adventure awaits. For more information or to make a reservation, contact a travel professional, call Star Clippers at 1-800-442-0551 or visit To request a brochure, call 1-800-442-0556.

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CATCHING THE CRUISE WAVE: Ships are filling fast, so book now while savings are still hot

NEW YORK – It’s a new year. And a new Wave Season – that time of year from January to March when cruise lines reel in their largest ‘wave’ of bookings for the year. “This year’s Wave Season is already off to a hot start,” said Terry L. Dale, president and chief executive officer of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). CLIA comprises 19 leading North American cruise lines with more than 150 ships and 16,500 member travel agencies, making it the travel industry’s largest association based on agency membership.

“CLIA cruise lines are reporting bookings that are even stronger than pre-9/11 Wave Season levels. Ships are also filling up fast. European cruises represent a particular value versus land-based travel in Europe because travel expenses including food, lodging and entertainment are fixed in dollars,” said Dale. “Those travelers who want to choose from the very best itineraries and reserve the best staterooms should book as soon as possible,” he adds. “In the end, it’s all about the early bird catching the worm. Travel agents need to stress to clients that they shouldn’t wait and hope for the best cabins and itineraries. Our advice is to get booked now – to avoid ‘missing the boat.’ ”

To locate an agency near you, use the Travel Agent Locator on CLIA’s website at 

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Shape Up & Ship Out With Crystal Cruises on Voyages Supporting Health & Fitness
Luxury Line Features Spring Departures With Better Than 2-for-1 Savings

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 10 -- Staying in shape or slimming down, toning up the body or tuning up the mind -- whatever the resolution, Crystal Cruises steams into the New Year with eight Health & Fitness cruises dedicated to overall wellness and enrichment. In 2005, nutrition and fitness experts from the Cleveland Clinic, professionals from the Tai Chi Cultural Center, Debbie Rocker's exclusive WOW® -- Walk on Water -- program, revitalizing exercise classes, invigorating instructors, best-selling authors and motivating lectures will inspire guests to observe their fitness resolutions while traveling amidst the luxury of Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. Each of the Health & Fitness cruises will offer specialized instruction in either yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi and are complemented by Crystal's state-of- the-art Feng Shui-designed spa and gym facilities, wide full Promenade Decks ideal for outdoor jogging and walking, and healthful menus, including low-carb and low-fat selections all prepared in accordance with American Heart Association guidelines. 

"There is nothing more rejuvenating than a luxury vacation, and our Health & Fitness cruises offer sumptuous comfort and the opportunity to learn something new," says Bill Smith, Crystal's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "With the specialized programming, each voyage is designed to provide harmonizing enrichment to body, mind and spirit."  

The easy-going rhythms of the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera provide a soothing warm weather backdrop for Crystal's Health & Fitness series, which kicks off this Spring with a 7-day March departure round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale specially priced at only $1,695 per person -- a better than 2-for-1 savings. The Health & Fitness collection features a specialty on yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi, depending on the sailing, including:

  • March 17 -- 7 days, Crystal Symphony, Tai Chi emphasis, round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale

  • March 24 -- 10 days, Crystal Symphony, yoga emphasis, round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale

  • Sept 28 & Nov -- 7 days, Crystal Harmony, Pilates and yoga emphasis, respectively, round-trip from Los Angeles

  • Oct 22 -- 10 days, Crystal Harmony, Tai Chi emphasis, round-trip from Los Angeles

  • Nov 26 -- 10 days, Crystal Serenity, yoga emphasis, round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale

  • Dec 6 -- 8 days, Crystal Serenity, Pilates emphasis, round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale.

  • Dec 14 -- 8 days, Crystal Serenity, yoga emphasis, round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale

The award-winning Crystal fleet features a wide range of complimentary gym and fitness classes including general gym orientation, instruction and equipment, toning and body sculpting, step and aerobics, as well as nutrition seminars, swimming (including aqua aerobics), paddle tennis and golf driving range instruction under the direction of a full-time Fitness Director and Sports Director.

Crystal's progressive philosophies on the overall well-being of its guests are evidenced by its innovative enrichment programming both on board and ashore. The cruise line created the revolutionary Creative Learning Institute with a dedicated fitness component featuring hands-on, interactive instruction in Thai Chi and health and fitness seminars conducted by the renowned Cleveland Clinic. Fitness expert Debbie Rocker customized a "Walk on Water" program for the cruise line utilizing her signature WALKVEST®, designed to maximize the health benefits of walking.

Ashore, guests may choose from active excursions such as:

  • an exhilarating all-hands-on-deck Catamaran Challenge in Cozumel;

  • a two-and-a-half mile hike through Coba in Quintana Roo, including the 79-foot-high Iglesia Pyramid, the largest ruins of the Mayan culture;

  • an invigorating bike tour of St. Thomas; or,

  • a kayaking and snorkeling eco-excursion in Antigua.

The Crystal Spa, found aboard all three ships, is designed in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui, the Oriental Art of Placement to evoke health, prosperity and happiness, and offers a variety of treatments applying these principles to the body. A range of therapies designed to alleviate stress and tension include Yin Yang Facials with essential oils, Exotic Lime & Ginger Salt Glow with Well-Being Massage, and Aroma Stone Therapy using heated volcanic basalt stones and aromatherapy to release tension.

For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 866-446-6625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Industry Predicts Cruising Will Be Vacation of Choice in 2005
Cruise Lines to Launch More Ships, Longer Cruise Programs, Exciting New Itineraries and Expanded Enrichment Activities

NEW YORK, Jan. 10 -- Leisure cruising will continue to ride a wave of unprecedented passenger growth and popularity in 2005 buoyed by strong customer demand, an emphasis on ship introductions and innovations, more U.S. homeport availability, a renewed demand for exotic ports, plus strong brand marketing and attention to quality and service standards, predicts the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). According to CLIA, the cruise industry's chief marketing organization, comprising 19 leading cruise lines with more than 150 ships and 16,500 member travel agencies, 2004 was a banner year for the cruise industry in terms of newbuilds and passenger growth. Last year CLIA cruise lines capped a record setting, five-year building boom that introduced 62 new ships to the North American market. Although in 2005 capacity growth will be reduced compared with previous years, in the long run, cruising's building boom will continue, as several CLIA lines are planning new vessels for 2006 and beyond.

With the new ships have come a new generation of guests. When the numbers are tallied, CLIA expects more than 10.6 million people will have sailed on its member-line ships in 2004, including approximately 9 million from North America -- the industry's highest-ever total -- with 30 million predicted within the next three years. Moreover, during the past 15 years, guest totals climbed by an average of 8 percent each year, and in recent years as much as 15 percent, with 2004 growth expected to be at least 11 percent.

In 2004 12 new or reintroduced ships were added to the CLIA member line fleet. In 2005, there will be six. With fewer ship introductions, all signs indicate that, with continued demand, and the decrease in capacity introduced, travelers wishing to cruise will need to plan earlier and act fast to secure their cabin preference at today's cruise fares. CLIA-member cruise lines and travel agencies report that, unlike the last several years, post 9/11, when passengers booked cruises at the last minute, as late as 30 days prior to sailing, many are now making reservations three to six months prior to departure, and even longer for luxury and exotic itineraries. Vacationers will likely find it more important than ever to book their cruise early in 2005, and also benefit from an array of early booking incentives.

Responding to consumer demand for closer-to-home vacations over the last several years, the cruise lines responded by moving ships within driving distance of more customers. These "homeport" cruise itineraries drive down the total cost of taking a cruise (by about $500), and also make cruising more convenient and accessible. This year, CLIA ships will sail from more than 30 North American and U.S. territory ports, from Mobile, Ala., to Galveston, Tex., to San Diego, Calif.

And Stimulates New Itineraries
With the homeport phenomenon firmly entrenched, cruise lines are enhancing traditional itineraries with new and exciting destinations, including 15- plus-day cruises out of North American ports that sail to South America, and 10-plus-day voyages that explore the lesser-known islands of the deep southern Caribbean. These complement the popular Eastern and Western Caribbean programs.

CLIA-member lines offer cruise guests 1,800 worldwide ports of call, and those ports beyond North American waters are again in heavy demand, with some ships offering 50- to 100-plus day world cruises to exotic locations. All factors also point to a decidedly exceptional cruise season in Europe, with advance bookings coming in at a fast and furious pace.

US Dollar Rates Hedge Against Currency Fluctuations
Because the dollar is in decline against other international currencies, particularly the euro (by as much as 30 percent), vacationers cruising in Europe will realize significant savings because they prepay for their accommodations, dining and entertainment in U.S. dollars rather than paying separately for these costs, as on a land-based tour. Exotic destinations including the entire Pacific-Asia region plus Antarctica, South America and even the Middle East are also poised for growth as increasing numbers of CLIA lines incorporate these regions into their itineraries.

Although multi-generational and family cruising has always been supremely popular, this travel segment is soaring to new heights as families place a stronger emphasis on spending quality time together. Cruise ships, which offer activities and amenities for every age group, are an ideal environment for multigenerational family vacations.

CLIA estimates that more than 1 million children under the age of 18 sailed on CLIA's member line ships in 2004. This trend is expected to accelerate in 2005 and beyond, as cruise lines continue to add amenities and activities for the whole family, from toddlers to grandparents. Virtually all lines feature extensive, highly supervised children's programs where kids are placed in age-appropriate groups. Teen lounges, video arcades, computer learning centers, toddlers' play areas as even special shore excursions for children are all a part of the mix.

"At the end of the day," said Dale, "CLIA's 19 member lines can virtually guarantee that there's a cruise that's tailor-made for virtually any type of traveler -- and that's one of the many very important reasons 2005 will be another stellar year for the cruise industry." For more information, contact a CLIA-member travel agency. To locate an agency near you, use the Travel Agent Locator on CLIA's website at

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Star Clippers to Return to Homeport of Phuket in February

MIAMI (Jan. 10, 2005) - Star Clippers executives announced today that it will return Star Flyer to its traditional homeport of Phuket, Thailand, for its Feb. 12, 2005, sailing. The decision resulted from positive reports in the affected areas that recovery is moving quickly and many islands surrounding Phuket already have reopened for tourism. The tsunami on Dec. 26 swept over parts of Asia, and Star Flyer was repositioned to homeport out of Singapore throughout January. After receiving reports that the infrastructure in Thailand is ready to receive tourists, Star Clippers executives decided that returning the 170-passenger vessel to Phuket was the best way to aid the recovery efforts.

"The heartwarming work that the Thai people are putting into getting the region back on track is extraordinary," said Jack Chatham, vice president of sales and marketing for Star Clippers. "Thailand remains popular for tourists, and one way for us to help their economy recuperate is to return Star Flyer to its homeport." 

The cruise itinerary for the Feb. 5, 2005, sailing will be revised to sail from Singapore to Phuket. This one-week sailing will call at Malacca, Penang, Langkawi and Ko Adang and Ko Lipe of the Butang Island Group of Thailand. For more information, call 1-800-442-0551, contact a travel professional or visit

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Silversea Unveils Exclusive New Collection of 2005
 Culinary Arts Cruises 
Featuring the Celebrated International Chefs of Relais & Châteaux

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, January 2005 -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is teaming up again with Relais & Châteaux - Relais Gourmands, the prestigious association of boutique hotels and restaurants, to offer a unique collection of eleven new Culinary Arts theme cruises in 2005. The popular culinary enrichment program will showcase the artistry of award-winning chefs from around the world, such as Eyvind Hellstrøm of Oslo's Bagatelle, a Michelin Two Star restaurant; Alois Vanlangenaeker, the Michelin Star chef of Il San Pietro Hotel in Positano, Italy; and Rick Tramonto, partner and executive chef of Chicago's Tru, a Mobil Four Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant.

"We're delighted to continue featuring some of the world's most acclaimed chefs through our partnership with Relais & Châteaux," said Barbara Muckermann, Silversea's senior vice president, worldwide marketing and communications. "Our guests are sophisticated world travelers with a keen interest in personal development and continuing education, and our Culinary Arts cruises are a great way to meld together exciting travel destinations with cooking events and demonstrations that entertain and edify, as well as reveal the personalities, skills - and a few culinary secrets - of the masters of haute cuisine."

This year's collection of Culinary Arts cruises offers guests a chance to explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu on the slopes of the Andes Mountains; witness the serene beauty of sun-drenched Caribbean beaches; soak up the glamour and nightlife of Monte Carlo; or enjoy a leisurely bike ride and lunch along Québec's scenic St. Lawrence River - to mention just a few highlights of the eleven different itineraries. 

On each culinary sailing, the distinguished guest chefs of Relais & Châteaux - Relais Gourmands will display their epicurean artistry during informative and entertaining cooking demonstrations. Guests can taste and learn firsthand the secrets of enticing signature dishes created by master chefs like Robert Carter, executive chef of the Mobil Four Star and AAA Four Diamond Peninsula Grill at Planters Inn, Charleston, South Carolina; Paul Wade, executive chef of the Mobil Four Star Montagna restaurant at The Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado; Marc Fosh, the Michelin Star executive chef of the gourmet restaurant at Read's Hotel, Santa María, Mallorca; and Joachim Koerper, the Michelin Two Star chef/owner of Spain's famed Girasol restaurant. 

The Culinary Arts cruises also feature food and wine pairings, creative regional dishes, and a five-course grand gourmet dinner. Throughout these special voyages, the featured guest chef and Silversea's executive chef are on hand to share their culinary expertise and answer any questions.

Watch for information about Silversea's exciting new schedule of Wine Series cruises for 2005, to be announced in the coming weeks.

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Royal Caribbean Announces Cruise News for 2005
New Itineraries, Onboard Enhancements Usher in Exciting Year for Guests

MIAMI, Jan. 5 -- From extreme makeovers to outstanding new itineraries from the Northeast, Royal Caribbean International is offering even more innovative amenities and exciting vacation options for guests in 2005.

Freedom of the Seas Under Construction
Royal Caribbean's much-anticipated Freedom of the Seas is under construction with bookings scheduled to open in spring 2005. At 158,000 gross registered tons, Freedom will be the world's largest cruise ship when she enters service in April 2006 and will sail year-round, seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami. The line will be releasing details on the ship's unique and innovative features throughout 2005.

Onboard Enhancements
Sovereign of the Seas continues her year-round, three- and four-night Bahamas itineraries from Port Canaveral, having undergone an extreme makeover at the end of 2004 that transformed all areas of the ship and added Boleros, the line's hot Latin lounge; a sit-down coffee and ice cream shop; and three teen-only venues. The third Royal Caribbean ship to undergo extensive renovations in recent years, Sovereign's most visible additions are 62 new balconies, creating the ship's first balcony staterooms.

This spring, the line is going to new lengths with Enchantment of the Seas, which will receive a 73-foot midsection insert, dramatic suspension bridges, a splash deck for kids, and bungee trampolines that send guests soaring into the air. Returning to service in July 2005, Enchantment of the Seas will offer a series of special summer and fall Canada/New England sailings from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., as well as from Philadelphia and Boston, before returning to year-round Caribbean sailings from Fort Lauderdale.

Northeast News
Royal Caribbean is strengthening its Northeast lineup, with Voyager of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas set to sail alternating five-night Bermuda and nine-night Western Caribbean itineraries from May through November 2005 from Cape Liberty, in Bayonne, and Baltimore respectively. In addition, the line's newest ship Jewel of the Seas returns to Boston in September 2005 to offer new 10-night Bermuda/Caribbean sailings visiting Tortola, B.V.I.; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; King's Wharf, Bermuda, and Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private destination in Hispaniola.

Exotic Caribbean Itineraries
Royal Caribbean has 16 ships in the Caribbean this winter, including Empress of the Seas, which is offering exotic itineraries in Southern Caribbean through April 2005. Departing from San Juan, the unique 11-night adventures take guests to St. Maarten, St. Barts, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Venezuela, Aruba and Curacao. Empress also sails three-night cruises to St. Thomas/St. Maarten and St. Kitts/St. Maarten.

Exploring Ashore
In 2005, Royal Caribbean once again is offering exclusive European cruisetours, pairing land trips to some of the most historic and beautiful regions of England, France and Spain with European cruises on Brilliance of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas in the Mediterranean and Jewel of the Seas in Northern Europe. Land-tour portions, ranging from three to five days, are escorted by knowledgeable, local Tour Directors. They include four- and five- star hotel accommodations and guided tours of top cultural attractions, as well as plenty of free time to pursue individual interests.

Royal Caribbean guests can explore Alaska and Canada with cruisetour packages in conjunction with seven-night Alaska cruise itineraries. Vision of the Seas sails one-way Gulf of Alaska itineraries between Vancouver and Seward, while Radiance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas sail roundtrip Hubbard Glacier itineraries from Vancouver. Guests aboard Vision of the Seas sailings can choose from 19 cruisetours that explore Alaska's natural wonders and include travel by deluxe motorcoach and luxurious glass-domed railcars, the Wilderness Express. Adventurous land excursion options include white-water rafting, glacier flight-seeing and heli-hiking. The line also offers Canadian Rockies and Whistler cruisetours in conjunction with the roundtrip Hubbard Glacier cruises.

Galveston Getaways
Royal Caribbean is continuing short cruises from the Gulf. Splendour of the Seas will return to Galveston in November 2005 to sail four- and five- night itineraries to the Western Caribbean during the 2005-06 winter season.

For additional information, call 800-327-6700 or visit the company's Web site at

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Carnival Corp Orders New 112,000-Ton Ship for Costa Cruises Unit
Existing Costa Vessel Costa Tropicale to Be Transferred to P&O Cruises Australia

MIAMI, Jan. 4 -- Carnival Corporation announced an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of a new 112,000-ton vessel for its Costa Cruises unit. Delivery is scheduled for Spring 2007. To be built at an all-in cost of 475 million euro, the as-yet-unnamed ship will feature a basis two-guest capacity of 3,000 and total capacity, including upper berths, of 3,800. It will be a sister ship to the Costa Concordia, which begins a new class for Costa when it debuts in late Spring 2006. The new "Concordia-class" vessels will offer innovative facilities and features, including a wide range of formal and casual dining venues, four swimming pools, two of which will include retractable domes, and state-of- the-art telecommunications capabilities. Of the ships' 1,500 staterooms, more than 60 percent will offer either an ocean view or balcony.

"Continuing to invest in the Costa brand and introduce new vessels to its fleet is key to maintaining Costa's preeminent position as Europe's number one cruise line and to ensure Costa's fleet is the most modern in the European market," said Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison.

Carnival Corporation also announced plans to transfer the Costa vessel Costa Tropicale to its P&O Cruises Australia unit in October 2005. She will be renamed Pacific Star and will join the Pacific Sun and Pacific Sky in serving the expanding Australian and New Zealand market. The 1,022-passenger ship, which originally entered service under the Carnival Cruise Lines brand in 1982, was operated by that line until its transfer to Costa in 2001. Prior to joining the Costa fleet, the vessel underwent an extensive $30 million refurbishment. Further details of her Australasian itineraries will be announced later this month.

On the transfer of Costa Tropicale to P&O Cruises Australia, Arison stated, "We are constantly evaluating our ship assets and looking at which brands can best utilize certain types of vessels based on the characteristics of each brand and the markets in which each one operates. Costa Tropicale is a ship extremely well suited to the P&O Cruises Australia brand, and its transfer to that fleet is a perfect example of the synergies we can capitalize on through our multi-brand, global strategy."

The new Costa Concordia-class ship will be constructed at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente yard. To accommodate that vessel's construction schedule, minor adjustments were made to the delivery dates for two other Carnival Corporation ships under contract with Fincantieri. Delivery of Carnival Cruise Lines' new Carnival Freedom, a 110,000-ton Conquest-class ship, originally scheduled for Spring 2007, will be moved up three months to February 2007. The delivery date for the previously announced new Cunard vessel Queen Victoria has been modified from July 2007 to December 2007.

Based on the new ship contract and delivery schedule adjustments announced today, Carnival Corporation's capacity growth will be 7.6 percent in 2007 and 6.6 percent in 2008 versus previously anticipated capacity increases of 6.6 percent in 2007 and 5.7 percent in 2008. Including the new Costa ship, Carnival Corporation has 13 new ships under contract and scheduled for delivery between 2005 and 2009. Additional information is available online at

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Crystal Cruises Announces 2006 Itineraries With a Record Number of Worldwide Destinations

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 3 -- Renowned for its service excellence and stimulating onboard programs, Crystal Cruises is placing even more emphasis on destinations in 2006. Crystal's award-winning luxury fleet, Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, will visit a record 214 ports in 82 countries, representing more than 20% more ports and almost 50% more countries than the line visited in 2004. More overnight stays in port have been scheduled than for any previous year. In all, a choice of 97 cruises are available ranging from a new three-day sampler to new seven-day itineraries on each of the ships to rich 10-, 11- and 12-day cruises, as well as the ultimate voyage: a 106-day World Cruise.

Also new for 2006 are new itineraries in almost every destination that Crystal regularly visits, including Alaska, Canada/New England, South America and the Baltic; Crystal Serenity will make her first-ever Baltic cruises, including a new cruise to the Arctic Circle; and an exotic Christmas/New Year cruise for Crystal Harmony in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. Seventeen maiden calls are scheduled throughout the year, including Ayr, Scotland; Pisco, Peru; Tripoli, Libya; and Gijon, Spain.

"Our 2006 schedule offers a variety of port-intensive itineraries to appeal to those who want to immerse themselves in a destination, as well as cruises with more days at sea for multi-repeaters who relish Crystal's distinctive onboard experience," says Bill Smith, senior vice president, sales & marketing. "Like the Crystal Cruises' product, our 2006 cruise collection is about choices."

Crystal Harmony
Crystal Harmony will kick off the year with a couple of Panama Canal cruises followed by a winter dedicated to South America's summer, including a new cruise to the Amazon. In the spring, the 940-guest, 50,000-ton luxury ship will offer a single Caribbean, Panama Canal and two Mexican Riviera cruises and then will head north on a three-day sampler cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver to reposition for her summer Alaska series. In addition to the line's successful 12-day cruises round-trip from San Francisco, Crystal Harmony's Alaska season will feature seven-day and new 10-day cruises round-trip from Vancouver, with new calls in Whittier and stunning glacier cruising in College Fjord, Columbia Glacier and Prince William Sound. In the fall, Crystal Harmony innovates a series of South Pacific and Australia/New Zealand cruises and concludes the year with a new 14-day holiday itinerary Down Under.

Crystal Symphony
Crystal Symphony begins the year with a series of Panama Canal cruises followed by exotic cruises to the South Pacific, China and Japan, Southeast Asia, India and Egypt. She returns to the Mediterranean in the spring and, instead of her previous patterns of heading north to the Baltic, Crystal Symphony will remain in the Mediterranean through the summer with seven- and 12-day itineraries, all of which feature one to three overnight stays -- more than ever previously offered. Fall foliage cruises in New England and Eastern Canada include more departures round-trip from New York and new overnight stays in Montreal. Crystal Symphony's Christmas/New Year cruise will be 14 days round-trip from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera.

Crystal Serenity
Following a couple of seven-day Mexican Rivera cruises in January, Crystal Serenity will make her third World Cruise on a an innovative itinerary featuring overnight calls in Gauyaquil, Ecuador; Callao (for Lima), Peru; Sydney, Australia; Cape Town, South Africa; Victoria, Seychelles; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Safaga (for Luxor), Egypt and Bordeaux, France, as well as several maiden calls. Crystal Serenity will spend the spring through summer cruising the Baltic, North Cape, Western and Northern Europe before heading south for fall Mediterranean cruising. A Canary Islands cruise and Trans-Atlantic reposition Crystal Serenity to the Caribbean in late November, where she makes warm weather cruises through December. Crystal Serenity spends Christmas and New Year on a new tropical 14-day pattern through the Caribbean.

For 2006, Crystal is offering a combination of exotic and close-to-home cruises of varying lengths. Of the 97 cruises, 50% sail either round-trip from a domestic port or embark or disembark from a domestic port:

  • 29 sail round-trip from domestic ports,

  • 20 cruises begin or end in a domestic port.

For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 866-446-6625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Carnival Rolls Out New On-Line Shore Excursion Booking System
More Than 1,000 Different Choices Available On Comprehensive Web Site 

MIAMI, Jan. 3 -- Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's largest cruise operator, has introduced a new on-line shore excursion booking system that provides guests the opportunity to purchase shore excursions prior to their cruise utilizing the line's user-friendly Web site, With the new system, guests are able to book shore excursions in conjunction with all Carnival "Fun Ships" sailing to 65 different ports throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Canada, New England and Europe. More than 1,000 different shore excursion choices are available. Snorkeling and scuba expeditions, horseback riding, helicopter flightseeing, shopping and city tours are among the excursions that can be booked via this new dynamic shore excursion booking engine. In-depth information such as excursion description, activity level, duration, and pricing are included in each listing.

"More consumers than ever are using the Internet for travel research and purchases and our new on-line shore excursion booking system provides Carnival guests with an easy and convenient means for purchasing the wide variety of fun and interesting shore excursions available aboard the 'Fun Ships,'" said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

To access the new on-line shore excursion booking engine, guests must be registered on and have a fully deposited cruise booking. After accessing their cruise booking through the "View Cruise Details" link, guests are prompted with the "Add Shore Excursions" option, which lists all shore excursion choices associated with the ports of call featured on their particular cruise. To purchase a shore excursion, guests simply click on the shore excursion of their choice and enter credit card payment information via a secure encrypted reservations portal. Guests are provided with a printable shore excursion confirmation and shore excursion tickets are delivered to guests' staterooms on embarkation day. On-line shore excursion orders can be made from 180 days up to five days prior to departure date. Guests are also welcome to visit the shore excursion desk once on board to book shore excursions and obtain additional information.

The new on-line shore excursion system is just the latest enhancement to Carnival's popular Internet site, which encompasses more than 2,000 Web pages and offers a host of new and expanded features, including enhanced site navigation, streaming video, personalized content tailored to each visitor, and more 360-degree "virtual tours" of the "Fun Ship" fleet. For additional information and reservations on Carnival's "Fun Ship" cruises, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Seabourn Brings Guest Registration to the Web
Online Form Increases Efficiency, Accuracy for Cruise Documents

MIAMI, Jan 3, 2005 -- Ultra luxury cruise pioneer Seabourn Cruise Line has added an interactive Guest Registration Form to its content-rich website located at Booked guests can now submit required information and requests to the company by filling out a secure form that ensures accuracy and facilitates efficient processing of final cruise documentation for their vacations aboard the three intimate, all-suite Yachts of Seabourn.

According to Deborah L. Natansohn, Seabourn's president, "Seabourn's Guest Registration Form is a multi-purpose tool that not only gathers information required by authorities for embarking guests, but also allows guests to let us know how they'd like their beds arranged and what they want stocked in their in-suite bars. Using the online form assures faster, more accurate processing and that will add up to better service."
Links to the Guest Registration Form are located on several pull-down menus on Seabourn's website. Visitors click on the link and log in using their booking number, name and cruise departure information.

The initial pages of the secure form will already contain basic information such as the names of guests and the beginning and ending ports and dates of the cruise. The rest of the form consists of fields for entering official identity information such as passport numbers, citizenship, birth dates, addresses and emergency contacts for all guests on the booking. These pages are followed by a form for customized requests including a menu of spirits and wines that can be requested for the in-suite bar setup and whether the guests prefer a queen-size bed or two twin beds. Specialized requests, such as birthdays or other milestone dates guests will be celebrating while on board, food or other allergies or physical disabilities, are still best arranged by telephone with Seabourn's staff.

Once the forms are completed, the information is displayed for final review and any necessary changes before being submitted. After submission, the information is harvested by Seabourn's reservation system and linked to the bookings. Guests will receive email confirmation within minutes that their form has been successfully received.

A hard copy of the Guest Registration Form can also be downloaded from the website, or, for agents or guests who do not have access to the internet, the form is still being included in the preliminary documents sent approximately 90 days prior to departure. These can be filled out manually and faxed to the company's headquarters. But for convenience and improved accuracy, the company is encouraging travel agents and guests to utilize the online form whenever possible. For more information on The Yachts of Seabourn, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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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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