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Cruise News
January 1-31, 2006

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CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected--updated monthly

Seabourn Features Exclusive Port Information from the World's Most Influential Travel Magazine

MIAMI, Jan 31, 2006 - Ultra luxury cruise pioneer Seabourn Cruise Line will team up with Condé Nast Traveler to provide the line's guests with exclusive, up-to-date information about what's new, what's hot and what's hip in various ports of call, gathered from the pages of the magazine. The innovative complimentary service will be introduced in April 2006, when the line's three all-suite ships begin their European cruising season. Dubbed "Condé Nast Traveler's Seabourn Insider Tips," the service will provide expert information from the world's most influential travel magazine, highlighting recommended attractions, suggested lunch spots, popular bars, unique experiences, shopping tips and more, produced in the form of easy-to-carry flyers. The Seabourn Insider Tips service is designed to augment the menu of exclusive shore excursions offered by the line in every port of call, and to offer reliable intelligence for guests who wish to customize their own port activities through the ships' onboard concierge services.

"Seabourn's guests are sophisticated travelers, who utilize a lot of resources when they visit a destination," said Deborah L. Natansohn, Seabourn's president. "This intelligence from Condé Nast Traveler's experts will give them unique insights that can help guide them to enriching and fun experiences they might otherwise miss." 

The initial editions of Condé Nast Traveler's Seabourn Insider Tips will include information about 28 European ports of call, focusing on ports that the line visits often and where the ships' itineraries provide extended stays. Among the first ports featured will be Barcelona, Spain; Istanbul, Turkey; The French Riviera; Capri, Rome, Venice, Italy; the Greek Isles of Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu; Stockholm, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; St. Petersburg, Russia and Copenhagen, Denmark. The program will eventually be expanded to include ports in other sailing regions.

Condé Nast Traveler's Seabourn Insider Tips is the latest in a series of enhancements and upgrades to Seabourn's Signature Delights: a myriad of thoughtful touches and pampering plusses that have earned the line a spot on every annual edition of Condé Nast Traveler's prestigious Gold List. Recent additions include Vintage Seabourn, a premium wines pre-purchase package; Seabourn to a Tea, an upgraded menu of rare estate teas, unique blends and herbal tisanes being served on board; Seabourn's Personal Shopper service providing luxury cars and specialized shopping guides in various ports worldwide; WorldPhone global cell and satellite telephone rental services, and Seabourn's innovative Personal Valet luggage shipping service.

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Freedom is ... Virtually Cruising

MIAMI, Jan. 30  -- The ever-changing sitelet is now giving guests more reasons to embark on a virtual visit of the line's newest and most innovative cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas. Commissioned by Royal Caribbean, the successful sitelet, a joint effort by Arnold Worldwide and I-Q Interactive, features full-motion video, complete with three-dimensional renderings of the ship's features folded into onboard scenes for a truly interactive, life-like experience. New content showcasing the ship's innovative features has been revealed on a rolling basis beginning in July 2005 through the launch of Freedom of the Seas in May 2006.

Some of the newest content on the site is the interactive Art Preview. This area showcases all art onboard Freedom of the Seas, including information on the artists and in-progress pictures of these customized works. Freedom's onboard art theme is "The Four Elements - Earth, Fire, Air and Water," each of which the site will visually explore January through April. The sitelet features the Centrum, where the art will encompass all four elements.

Guests can also virtually tour Royal Caribbean's largest stateroom ever, Freedom's Presidential Family Suite. Using advanced video compositing and animation techniques, visitors are transported into a game-like environment resembling the actual 2,000 plus square-foot suite. Visitors can also explore each of the five rooms in the suite and the balcony, interacting with the full-motion people they encounter.

The new experiences are seamlessly tied to previously launched experiences by the Guide, a live-action video composited in the scene, which greets guests upon entering the sitelet. The Guide navigates a personalized tour of the ship based on the user's vacation preferences. Guests can immerse themselves in the ship, seeing and hearing about the onboard amenities, including the FlowRider(R) surfing simulator, cantilevered whirlpools, and the H20 Zone water park. 

If guests like what they see, they can enter to win an unforgettable vacation onboard Freedom, home of the first-ever surf park at sea. From now until February 15, 2006, registered entrants can play the new online Wax & Win Surf Game, where waxing a virtual surfboard could reveal a pair of lucky FlowRider(R) surf simulator images -- the ticket to one of many instant prizes, including iPod nanos, beach bag packages and Royal Caribbean surfing T-shirts.

The success to date of has been above expectation. Since the launch of the latest updates, the average time consumers have been spending on the high-bandwidth site is more than eight minutes, which is well beyond industry standard. This level of consumer engagement is a testament to the highly interactive and engaging content of the site, not to mention its innovative use of technology and design.

At 160,000 GRT and holding 3,634 guests double-occupancy, Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in May 2006. The first in Royal Caribbean's new Freedom class, she will be the most forward-looking and innovative ship the company has built to date. Freedom of the Seas will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami calling in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Royal Caribbean's private destination, Labadee, Hispaniola. Learn more about this incredible new ship by visiting

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Carnival Expands Shore Excursions Offered for 2006 Alaska Season

MIAMI, Jan. 26, 2006 - Carnival Cruise Lines has added a number of new shore excursions, ranging from canopy and railway excursions to kayaking and safari expeditions, to its 2006 Alaska season. With the new tours, more than 100 shore excursions are available in conjunction with Carnival Spirit's seven-day Glacier Bay and Glacier Route cruises that sail northbound from Vancouver or southbound from Whittier/Anchorage May 10 - Sept. 13, 2006. 

"Alaska is one of the most fascinating and breathtaking regions in the world and our wide-ranging shore excursions provide the perfect way for our guests to fully experience and discover this magnificent state," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. "Our excursions complement the expansive amenities and facilities offered aboard the Carnival Spirit to provide an unforgettable Alaska vacation." 

Among the new excursions are:

  • "All Aboard" for a Steam Engine Adventure (Skagway) - Guests travel on an authentic steam engine train along Skagway's White Pass & Yukon Route, which is also known as the "Scenic Railway of the World." During this four-hour excursion, a personal attendant provides guests with a detailed history of the Klondike Gold Rush and how this railroad became an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Guests enjoy the breathtaking panorama of mountains, glaciers, gorges, waterfalls, tunnels, trestles and historic sites from the comfort of vintage parlor cars.

  • Canopy Adventure & Wildlife Expedition (Ketchikan) - This eco-adventure tour provides guests with the opportunity to glide through the rainforest via 4,500 feet of tension cables, bridges and a ground base of nature trails and boardwalks. During the adventure, guests can view wildlife and a hidden waterfall from as high as 135 feet above the ground. Recommended for guests in good physical condition.

  • Glacier Lake Kayak & White Pass Railway (Skagway) - On this excursion, guests can explore the region by kayaking the crystal clear waters of a glacially carved lake. Prior to the kayaking adventure, guests ride the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, where they can enjoy stunning views of waterfalls, trestles, mountains, glaciers and the original trail of 1898.

  • Photo Safari by Land and Sea (Juneau) - A professional photography coach takes guests to local photo hot spots, while sharing photo tips and techniques, to enhance their images of their Alaska vacation. The tour visits a variety of secluded destinations, including historic sites, glacier views and seasonal highlights - such as spawning salmon - as well as an exclusive unforgettable journey through the pristine waterways of Juneau's Channel Islands.

  • A Taste of Juneau (Juneau) - This four-hour excursion includes stops at the Glacier Gardens Rain Forest and the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery, which offers interpretive displays on the lifecycle of salmon and the different hatchery operations. The final stop of the tour includes a traditional Alaskan salmon bake and an opportunity to visit the Salmon Creek waterfall.

These new tours complement the wide variety of shore excursions available on Carnival Spirit's Alaska sailings, ranging from leisurely paced city walks and nature tours to more active pursuits such as biking, cycling and alpine lake snorkeling. Carnival Spirit's 2006 Alaska program consists of 16 seven-day Glacier Route and three seven-day Glacier Bay cruises. Glacier Route cruises depart May 17 to Aug. 30, either northbound from Vancouver or southbound from Whittier/Anchorage. Cruises in both directions feature Prince William Sound, College Fjord, Lynn Canal, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Sitka and the Inside Passage.

Three week-long Glacier Bay cruises will operate round-trip from Vancouver May 10 and Sept. 6 and 13 and feature full days cruising Glacier Bay National Park and the Inside Passage, as well as visits to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. To obtain additional information and purchase Carnival Spirit's Alaska shore excursions, visit Carnival's Web site, Guests are also welcome to visit the Carnival Spirit's shore excursion desk once on board to book shore excursions. Information and reservations on Carnival's Alaska cruises can also be obtained by contacting any travel agent or calling 1-800-CARNIVAL.

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Michelin Stars, Master Sommeliers & Iron Chefs Headline an Award-Winning Menu During Crystal Cruises' 10th Annual Wine & Food Festival 

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25 -- Some of the hottest names in food -- Lucuqes' Suzanne Goin, Fleur de Lys' Hubert Keller, La Pergola's Heinz Beck, CityZen's Eric Ziebold, and Sam Choy of his eponymous collection of international restaurants, among others -- join iconic Master Chefs Andre Soltner, Anton Mosimann, and newcomer Hiroyuki Sakai, known as the Iron Chef French on the popular TV series -- in Crystal Cruises' 10th annual Wine & Food Festival at sea. Toasting a decade of culinary achievements, an A-List of chefs are paired with the finest names in wine to host cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and gala dinners spotlighting the signature cuisine of each guest chef. Complementing each itinerary is a mouth-watering collection of culinary-themed Crystal Adventures shore tours -- from private cooking lessons in Florence and Monte Carlo to wine excursions at Bordeaux's renowned chateaus, and even a wine lesson with the Italian Association of Sommeliers in Rome.

Aboard the ultra-luxurious, award-winning Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, guest chefs and wine experts inspire guests with their knowledge and passion for food and wine on 12 diverse itineraries. The 2006 series features voyages of 11 to 19 days throughout the Mediterranean, the Baltic and Black seas, South America, Australia, Egypt, the Panama Canal and Mexico. Crystal pays careful attention to balancing its Festival with established talent -- Atria's Christian Thornton, Alan Wong of Hawaii's Alan Wong's restaurant, and Conny Andersson of the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel -- and innovative newcomers such as progressive sushi chef and newly published author Tracy Griffith, and the line's own Best Young Chefs of Italy showcasing the emerging talent from a country legendary for its cuisine and led by legendary owner of Valentino restaurants, Piero Selvaggio. Exceptional wine educators include Master Sommeliers Emmanuel Kemiji and Steve Geddes, Master of Wine Jancis Robinson, journalist/author Leslie Sbrocco, as well as vineyard founders and wine educators.

"I jumped at the chance to do another cruise with Crystal. The staff is amazing, the guests are interested and excited about the food and wine program and then, there's the cruise itself -- how could I resist the invitation!" says Suzanne Goin of Lucques, a Food & Wine magazine 1999 Best New Chef, who returns in 2006 for the second time.

During each Festival cruise, the guest chef prepares a five-course dinner featuring his/her signature dishes utilizing the sailing region's freshest ingredients, matched with wine pairings by the guest wine expert. The menu, showcasing an appetizer; soup, salad or pasta; seafood/fish and meat entrees; and dessert, is offered to all guests in the Crystal Dining Room. By day, the visiting chef also demonstrates cooking techniques, share recipes and tips, and participates in question and answer sessions.

The Master Sommelier and other guest wine experts host wine tastings to compare vintages and varietals; provide a bit of history on wines in the regions sailed; and share valuable hints on choosing and pairing wines. Guests become more familiar with Crystal's cellar of more than 200 selections, one of the most extensive at sea.

"The caliber of our program and the top name chefs and wine experts it continues to draw is a reflection of Crystal's culinary philosophy and commitment," says Toni Neumeister, Crystal's vice president, food and beverage operations. "It is a testament to our culinary team that these masterful chefs are assured of our ability to deliver their award-winning menus to our guests on itineraries around the world with the same attention to detail they are accustomed to in their home restaurants."

In addition to the Wine & Food Festival cruises, Crystal is building on its reputation for excellence with innovative new concepts. The cruise line recently released its second vintage of C Wines, its proprietary label featuring three reserve and three premium selections of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and merlot. Further, the intimate Vintage Room plays host to the ultimate gourmet experiences with the first-ever, at-sea wine-makers dinners.

The line's devotion to cuisine is further evidenced by its alliances with some of the world's most celebrated names in food, wine and hospitality -- Nobu Matsuhisa brings his legendary cuisine to the aptly-named Sushi Bar and Silk Road restaurant aboard Crystal Serenity; specialties from Wolfgang Puck's Chinois on Main are showcased at Jade Garden, the intimate Asian restaurant aboard Crystal Symphony; and Piero Selvaggio's, Italian specialties are featured in Crystal's Prego restaurants.

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Save on Star Clippers Summer Med Sailings

MIAMI, Jan. 24, 2006 -- Mediterranean sailings reign supreme this summer, and guests wanting to explore the ancient civilizations and sun-drenched beaches without breaking the bank can take advantage of Star Clippers' savings of up to $1,000 per person, double. Offering an enticing menu of choices, Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper -- the flagship of the fleet -- sail to hidden harbors and cruising favorites throughout the eastern and western Mediterranean on a variety of itineraries with a variety of savings. 

Royal Clipper: Save $700 per person on 10- and 11-night sailings
The Croatian Coast and Italy's idyllic ports highlight this season aboard the 227-passenger Royal Clipper. The 10- and 11-night journeys that sail between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Venice, Italy, call at ports in Italy, Aeolian Islands, Sicily, Greece and Croatia. Cruise fares start at $2,335 per person, double, after special savings. That includes $400 off the cruise fare, plus $300 off the add-on airfare from major U.S. cities.

Star Clipper: Seven-, 10- and 11-night sailings offer savings up to $1,000
The 170-passenger Star Clipper sails six different itineraries that touch an array of harbors in the Western Mediterranean. To enhance the already-popular voyages, Star Clipper has added inaugural calls in Albania and Montenegro to the 2006 itineraries. 

Two different seven-night round-trip Cannes, France, voyages include calls in Corsica, Italy, Monaco and France. Cruise fares start at $1,575 per person, double, after the savings. That includes $500 off the cruise fare, plus $500 off the add-on airfare from major U.S. cities.

For guests seeking a longer journey, Star Clipper sails 10- and 11-night itineraries between Cannes and Dubrovnik, Croatia. The cruises call at ports in France, Italy, Greece, Albania and Montenegro, including an evening sail past still-active Stromboli volcano. Cruise fares start at $2,235 per person, double, after the savings -- $500 off the cruise fare, plus $300 off the add-on airfare from select U.S. gateways.

Exotic adventures await on 10-night sailings between Lisbon, Portugal, and Cannes. Departing May 10 and Oct. 14, 2006, these two special Star Clipper sailings call at ports in Portugal, Morocco, Spain and France. Cruise fares start at $2,335 per person, double, after savings that include $400 off the cruise fare, plus $400 off the add-on airfare.

Star Flyer: Save up to $700 on sailings to Greece and Turkey
The Parthenon beckons on eight different eastern Mediterranean itineraries aboard the 170-passenger Star Flyer. On the seven-night round-trip Athens, Greece, sailings, the ship calls at traditional ports in Greece and Turkey including Rhodes, Santorini, Bodrum and Kusadasi. The ship also calls at lesser-known favorites like Hydra and Sinfnos, Greece. Cruise fares start at $1,675 per person, double, after the savings. That includes $400 off the cruise fare, plus $200 off the add-on airfare.

Star Flyer's sailings between Istanbul, Turkey, and Athens showcase the best of the two countries. Guests spend seven nights exploring the mythical ruins and stunning Aegean Coast, with optional tours to Ephesus and Pergamum during the cruise. Cruise fares start at $1,675 per person, double, after savings that include $400 off the cruise fare, plus $300 off the add-on airfare. Featuring inaugural calls at Palermos Bay, Albania, and Kotor, Montenegro, Star Flyer sails a special 10-night voyage from Athens to Venice departing Sept. 9. The cruise also includes calls throughout Greece and Croatia. Cruise fares start at $2,335 per person, double, after savings, including $400 off the cruise fare, plus $300 off the add-on airfare.

Star Clippers combines the pampered luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the exhilarating thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship. Guests rediscover what sailing was like during the glorious age of the tall ships while visiting intimate ports of call untouched by larger cruise ships. The four- and 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 panoramic view of the horizon, a unique sailing adventure awaits.

For more information or to make a reservation, contact a travel professional, call Star Clippers at (800) 442-0551 or visit To request a brochure, call (800) 442-0556.

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Variety of New Features Added to Carnival Cruise Line’ Internet Offerings

MIAMI, Jan. 24, 2006 – Carnival Cruise Lines has introduced a variety of enhancements to its Internet offerings, revamping its popular Web site and launching an innovative new social networking/group planning tool, “” – the first site of its kind in the cruise industry.

“The Internet has become an indispensable tool for vacation research and planning, used by millions of people each day. The updated site delivers enhanced functionality and more comprehensive overview of the ‘Fun Ship’ vacation experience. ‘’ enables guests to build lasting vacation memories with their family and friends and stay connected to fellow ‘Fun Ship’ enthusiasts using an innovative new social networking/group planning technology,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 


  • A host of new and expanded features have been incorporated into the revamped site, including an interactive destination map, destination “virtual tours,” guest video testimonials, and a “close-to-home” cruise locator, along with a new “look and feel” mirroring the line’s current advertising campaign.

  • The new destination “virtual tours” offer viewers an opportunity to get an “up close and personal” look at the many sites and attractions available at a variety of Caribbean, Mexican and Bahamian ports. With this helpful tool, guests can even preview select shore excursions offered in a specific region.

  • There’s also a new interactive destination map where, with just a simple click of a button, visitors can navigate directly to various sub-regions and further explore the dozens of different itineraries featured on Carnival’s three- to 16-day cruises.

  • Also new are video testimonials from guests who offer their opinions about their Carnival vacation experience, while a new “close-to-home” cruising page provides detailed information on the line’s embarkation ports, including 18 in North America and one in Italy. 

  • The site also reflects the mosaic theme currently employed in Carnival’s current “Million Moments of Fun” print advertising campaign, which depicts different aspects of a “Fun Ship” vacation with dramatic illustrations composed of thousands of smaller images.

  • Rounding out the Web site enhancements are new photographs and content, along with easier-to-view deck plans of the “Fun Ship” fleet. Future plans include an enhanced meeting and incentive group planning section.

New ‘’ On-Line Community 

  • “,” the line’s new on-line community, was specifically created to bring family and friends together by helping them plan and manage their “Fun Ship” cruise. Using an innovative electronic invitation tool and insightful guest-written message boards and cruise reviews, the site provides users with a variety of helpful resources to select the “Fun Ship” vacation that matches their interests and lifestyles. 

  • Taking its cue from the recent trend of “togethering” – in which families and friends partake in fun, memorable activities to bring them closer together – the site’s customized “e-vites” can be tailored for family reunions, “girlfriend getaways,” and a host of other groups. 

  • To use the interactive “e-vite” tool, the group coordinator simply selects the cruise of their choice – including ship name, departure point, cruise duration and itinerary – and then forwards the information via e-mail to friends and family members.

  • Recipients can then respond with an RSVP or provide feedback on the cruise through private message boards. Members of the group can even “vote” or answer poll questions on the different aspects of the voyage.

  • The site’s interactive features can also be used by travel agents as an electronic group marketing tool to attract or retain their client base. 

  • “” also features real-time message boards where registered users can ask questions, post responses and offer feedback about a past or future “Fun Ship” cruise to other on-line community members. There’s also a section where users can post longer length ship reviews containing detailed information on their recent Carnival vacation.

In addition to the on-line resource of, additional information on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience is available by contacting any travel agent or calling 1-800-CARNIVAL.

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Holland America Line Welcomes 2006 With a New Ship, New Cruises and $225 Million Enhancements Completed on the Entire Fleet

SEATTLE, Jan. 24 -- In 2006, Holland America Line will debut the new ms Noordam, feature eight ships cruising Alaska, and complete its Signature of Excellence enhancements across the fleet. The 13 ships of the world's leading premium cruise line will offer nearly 500 sailings to all seven continents from more than 25 home ports. Itineraries range from two to 108 days and feature several maiden ports, and calls to the new Caribbean port of Grand Turk.

2006 Highlights

  • The 1,918-passenger ms Noordam debuts in February 2006 and is the first to be delivered with completed Signature of Excellence amenities. She will sail maiden 10- and 11-day voyages to the Caribbean from Holland America Line's latest homeport, New York City, through the spring. The Noordam will sail fifteen 10-day Mediterranean cruises for the summer before returning to New York in the fall.

  • The innovative Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine will feature more than 60 celebrated chefs and culinary experts to provide cooking demonstrations and classes in the new state-of-the-art onboard show kitchens. Culinary guests include Nick Stellino, chef, host, writer and co-executive producer of Nick Stellino's Family Kitchen V; Jacques Torres, chocolatier extraordinaire, renowned pastry chef, cookbook author; and Aaron Sanchez, chef/owner Paladar, New York City and consulting chef, Mixx, Atlantic City, NJ. Each million dollar Culinary Arts Center features plasma screens to view the action and portable cooking stations where groups of up to 16 guests or children participating in Club HAL can participate in hands-on classes. A Culinary Group Program offers special fares to groups of at least 25 guests and a cabin for a guest chef, a pair of one-hour Culinary Arts Center demonstration sessions, a complimentary deluxe wine-tasting or cocktail party, and a 5"x7" color group photo for each cabin.

  • Signature of Excellence enhancements will be completed on 10 ships at the start of 2006 and all 13 ships by the fall of 2006. The $225 million initiative includes upgrades to the ship's public spaces to luxurious amenities in every stateroom. Highlights include the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine, the Explorations Café powered by The New York Times, the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, and improved youth facilities and programming featuring The Loft and The Oasis teen-only activity areas.

  • Holland America Line features the industry's first Friends and Family Reunion Program to provide families booking five or more staterooms with special group pricing, complimentary beverage and dinner packages, a family photo per stateroom and stateroom upgrades.

  • Holland America Line also offers charity group rates, where a charity receives a special-savings cruise fare and Holland America Line donates $50 or $100 per stateroom to the charity depending upon the cruise.

  • As the leader in Alaska cruises, Holland America Line continues to offer a comprehensive selection of Alaska cruise itineraries and departures, sailing eight ships on 159 cruises in 2006. Holland America Line introduces three ships to Seattle and adds a unique new port, Icy Strait Point in Southeast Alaska. The company's five-star ships offer the most entries into Glacier Bay National Park. 

  • The ms Statendam will feature nine 14-day sailings between Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand, during "Down Under's" summer. A 16-day Australia, Orient and China cruise also places the Statendam in Hong Kong for three 14-day China and Japan sailings followed by an 18-day trans-Pacific cruise from Japan to Alaska.

About Holland America Line: With the introduction of the 1,918-passenger ms Noordam in early 2006, Holland America Line's fleet grows to 13 ships. Itineraries include Australia/New Zealand, Asia, South America, Canada/New England, Panama Canal, a world cruise and popular sailings to several ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico and Europe. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Carnival ‘Fun Ships’ Holiday, Ecstasy & Sensation to Undergo 
Extensive Makeovers

MIAMI, Jan 19 – Carnival Cruise Lines’ SuperLiners Sensation, Holiday, and Ecstasy will each undergo extensive multi-million-dollar renovations following their charter to the U.S. government for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Following the charters, the vessels will resume four- and five-day service this spring, with the Sensation launching a brand new schedule from Port Canaveral, Fla., March 23, the Holiday returning to Mobile, Ala., year-round March 27, and the Ecstasy returning to Galveston, Texas, year-round April 8, 2006. Following its new program from Port Canaveral, the Sensation will return to New Orleans to resume year-round four- and five-day cruises Oct. 26, 2006.

“Because the ships were maintained to Carnival’s high standards throughout the charter period, the Holiday, Ecstasy and Sensation are all in excellent condition and these multi-million-dollar renovations will make these terrific ‘Fun Ships’ even better when they resume service this spring,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

Holiday Refurbishment
Highlighting the Holiday’s extensive 20-day refurbishment, which will take place in Freeport, The Bahamas, will be a totally redesigned lobby area with new seating, and new carpeting and tile work throughout, providing a more comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. In addition to a host of cosmetic enhancements throughout the vessel, a new nine-hole miniature golf course will be added to Verandah Deck, providing guests of all ages with a fun outdoor diversion. 

The Four Winds and Seven Seas main dining rooms will receive new ceilings, along with a variety of new and updated galley equipment. The beauty salon in the Spa Carnival facility will also receive a makeover with new exercise equipment, carpeting and tile work. 

Renovations to Ecstasy and Sensation
The refurbishments of the 2,052-passenger Ecstasy and Sensation, which will take place in Mobile, Ala., will include new nine-hole miniature golf courses and new 1,600-square-foot Children’s World play areas, part of the ongoing expansion of the line’s top-rated “Camp Carnival” program. Aft lounges on both ships will be reconfigured to house new family recreation areas featuring audio/visual equipment for displaying movies and other programming. The Ecstasy and Sensation will also house new art galleries and 1,200-square-foot conference rooms. 

All of the Ecstasy’s 1,026 cabins, including 54 suites, will be completely refurbished, while new lighting, flooring, wall coverings and dessert stations will be added to the Panorama Bar & Grill poolside restaurant. The ship’s gift shop will be renovated, as well. 

A patisserie offering specialty coffees and sweets and a new photo gallery will be installed on the Sensation’s promenade, while a redesigned Internet café will be located adjacent to the ship’s purser’s information desk on Empress Deck. The Sensation’s 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival facility will also be renovated and a poolside stage will be relocated to a covered area on Lido Deck, providing guests with more space for sunning and relaxing. Suites on the Sensation will also be refurbished to include an entirely new décor and completely remodeled bathrooms.

The Sensation’s new schedule from Port Canaveral will run March 23 - Oct. 19, 2006 (the Elation will take over the program Oct. 23, 2006). Four-day cruises visit Nassau and either Freeport or Half Moon Cay, while five-day cruises call at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. The Sensation will then reposition to New Orleans to resume year-round four- and five-day cruises beginning Oct. 26, 2006. Four-day cruises departing Thursdays visit Cozumel while five-day cruises departing Mondays and Saturdays feature Cozumel and Calica/Playa del Carmen or Costa Maya.

The Holiday will return to Mobile March 27, 2006, to resume year-round four- and five-day Mexico cruises – the only year-round program from that port. Four-day cruises to Cozumel depart Thursdays and five-day voyages to Cozumel and Calica/Playa del Carmen or Costa Maya depart Mondays and Saturdays.

The Ecstasy will resume its previously operated schedule from Galveston beginning April 8, 2006. On this route, four-day cruises depart Thursdays and visit Calica while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays and visit Progreso and Cozumel.

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for all of the ships’ 2006 departures. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Atlantis Launches Four New All-Gay Cruises for Its Fifteenth Anniversary

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA,  Jan. 19 -- Atlantis Events, Inc., the world's largest company specializing in all-gay and lesbian cruises and resort vacations, kicked off its fifteenth anniversary year by announcing four new all-gay cruises designed to give travelers more variety, choice and value than ever before. In total, Atlantis will offer a record seven all-gay cruises in 2006, handling more guests than any other gay and lesbian tour operator. Atlantis charters entire cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts for the exclusive use of its gay and lesbian guests. Since 1991, Atlantis has hosted almost 80,000 guests on more than 80 different cruise, resort and tour experiences.

The company's four new 2006 cruises are: the Summer in Alaska cruise on Celebrity's #1-rated Infinity; two back-to-back Mediterranean cruises between Barcelona and Athens, an industry first, on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas; and a new San Diego-to-Acapulco cruise on RCCL's Serenade of the Seas. The four new cruises complement the company's existing winter 2006 cruises to the Western Caribbean, South America and the Eastern Caribbean, all of which sold out in record time.

"With the support of our loyal guests, we've been able to grow our offerings from a single resort in Mexico to nine diverse destinations throughout the world in 2006," said Rich Campbell, chief executive officer of Atlantis. "Our new 2006 lineup continues our tradition of bringing our guests the most vacation choices in the world of gay travel. Whether they're looking for a casual beach in Mexico or a tour of Istanbul, we have a cruise to suit a wide variety of tastes and traveling styles. We've managed to keep our rates in line with 2005 as we continue to provide the best value for the gay traveler," said Campbell.

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Silversea Sets Golfing on a Global Course in 2006 

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 19 -- For 2006, Silversea is once again offering its popular Silver Links 365 golf program. On every day of every voyage, guests cruising aboard ultra-luxury, 382-guest Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper have the opportunity to improve their game with the help of the line's onboard PGA-classed golf professionals. In addition to organized shipboard activities, Silver Links 365 offers optional golfing excursions, arranged and escorted by the ships' golf pros, to some of the world's most challenging and revered courses. From the gently rolling fairways at the elegant Fairmont Princess Golf Course on Acapulco's Revocadero Beach, to the natural lakes and lush terrain of Shanghai's Silport Golf Club, to the ancient dunes and pine groves at Zeebrugge's Royal Zoute Golf Club, guests will have a chance to perfect their game at acclaimed courses in all four corners of the globe.

"The popularity of golf is increasing every year, and there's a growing segment of golfers looking to score a perfect round on some of the world's more exotic courses," said David Morris, Silversea's senior vice president of sales for North America. "For those affluent world travelers looking for an extraordinary golf vacation where they can polish their game in style, our Silver Links 365 program offers privileged access to some of the most beautiful and challenging courses on six continents this year."

The program's escorted, optional golfing excursions vary in price from course to course and include all transfers to and from the select golf courses, pull or power-drive carts, green and any applicable caddy fees. Should guests choose to leave their clubs at home, the finest Nike clubs, shoes and golf essentials are available for rental, demo or purchase on board Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper. Golf clubs can be rented for as little as $45. The ships' experienced teaching professionals offer a wide array of activities both on and off the vessels. During days at sea, they provide private instruction in the ships' 22' x 10' custom-built golf cages featuring breathtaking ocean-view backdrops. Scheduled daily events may include complimentary clinics, demonstrations and putting contests suitable for all ranges, levels and abilities. Golfers have the option to further improve their game by experiencing the latest V1 video-teaching technology, the same digital system utilized by Tiger Woods. The Silver Links 365 golf program affords guests the opportunity to compare their swings to some of golf's greatest legends and the hottest names on tour. Priced at $55 for a half-hour session, $110 for a full-hour session, and a special package rate of $135 for three half-hour sessions, lessons also include a VHS video of the session with custom voice-over by the ship's golf pro.

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Dielmann Expands on Golfing Programs

NEW YORK, Jan. 18 – Peter Deilmann Cruises is offering an expanded program of golf theme cruises this year on both its European river cruises and ocean sailings on the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Baltic and around the British Isles. Golf enthusiasts can sail the inland waterways of the Danube, Rhine, Rhone and Seine rivers, visit historic cities and towns and golf on some of Europe’s most renowned courses. Departures are between April and September.

Deilmann river cruises feature golf in the Danube regions of Austria, Hungary and Germany, the Provence region of France on the Rhône, the Normandy region of France on the Seine and the Rhineland areas of Germany, France and Switzerland. The six river cruise and golf packages include pre- or post-hotel stays that offer additional opportunities to golf at nearby courses.

For ocean cruisers, Deilmann has seven golf and sailing holidays on the luxury liner Deutschland to Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Monaco, the British Isles and Scandinavia that offer free air from 16 U.S. cities. The first ocean golfing cruise is the Italian Golf Cup 2006, April 12-24, a 12-night sailing on the Mediterranean with play at six courses in Venice, Ravenna, Syracusa, Olbia (Sardinia), Genoa and Pisa. The Mediterranean Golf Cup 2006, April 24-May 6, allows golfers to play courses in Rome, Ajaccio (Corsica), Monte Carlo, St. Tropez and Puerto Banus, Sotogrande and Seville in Spain. The Atlantic Golf Cup, May 3-18, combines a 12-night sailing with nine rounds of golf that feature five courses in southern Spain on the Mediterranean and includes three nights at Hotel Duques de Medinaceli, near Cadiz, Spain. On the Atlantic, courses played are in Lisbon, Santander, La Pallice and St. Malo, France. The Britannia Golf Cup, May 26-June 9, is a 14-night sailing with seven rounds of golf in England, Ireland and Scotland including the Nick Faldo course in London and the famous 36-hole Gleneagles course near Edinburgh.

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From Ferraris on the Riviera to Canoeing in Croatia - 33 New Crystal Adventures Focus on Active, Individual and Authentic Experiences

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18 -- Strap in behind the wheel of a Formula 1 race car in Monte Carlo. Explore the Balkan Mountains, the Greek Isles and the hilltop villages of Southern France on a 4x4 off-road adventure. In keeping with its penchant for enriching adventure ashore, Crystal Cruises is debuting its most dynamic collection of Mediterranean Crystal Adventures in 2006. With 33 new shore tours, travelers are promised unique experiences in treasured destinations. From May through November 2006, the ultra-luxurious, award-winning Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity explore the Eastern and Western Mediterranean on 17 diverse itineraries. To enrich one's experience of each destination, Crystal Cruises' land programs team has set 275 active and cultured excursions ashore.

"The trend among our well-traveled guests is for more active experiences -- ones that cast a different view of a destination yet are still filled with enrichment and culture," says John Stoll, Crystal's director of land programs. "With an emphasis on variety, Crystal's 2006 collection of Mediterranean shore tours showcases individual adventures and authentic experiences providing guests with a more personal connection to each destination."

Balancing the line's increase in active Crystal Adventures are traditional favorites including tours showcasing the cultural and culinary secrets of each destination. Throughout the Mediterranean, Aegean, Adriatic and Black seas, breathtaking scenery, countryside and historic treasures are revealed in unique detail. Highlights include:

Active Adventure

  • Drive a Formula 1 race car with instruction both on and off the course (new from Monte Carlo).

  • New 4-wheel-drive adventures explore the rugged trails of Corfu, the natural beauty of Croatia's Konavle region (from Dubrovnik), and the Balkan Mountains (from Nesebur, Bulgaria).

  • Kayak Dubrovnik's Adriatic coast, river-raft in Split, and canoe in Zadar for new perspectives of Croatia.

  • Soar above the Cote d'Azur (from Monte Carlo), the Amalfi Coast (from Sorrento) or the Dolomite Mountains (from Venice) on a helicopter journey.

  • Explore the underwater world of Punta Campanella on a scuba diving expedition (from Sorrento).

Culinary Delights

  • A wine tasting with the Italian Association of Sommeliers in Rome, a visit to the renowned Jean Leon Winery in Barcelona, and a journey from Cadiz into Andalusia to sample famed sherries offer new discoveries in intimate settings.

  • Learn to make paella in Spain (from Barcelona) and discover the secrets of Tuscan cuisine (from Florence) from leading chefs on two new culinary tours; or savor a private cooking lesson at renowned Le Moulin de Mougins (from Monte Carlo) or an exclusive three-course meal with one of Greece's culinary masters (from Santorini).

  • Cultural Insights

  • An overnight adventure to Sienna in the heart of Tuscany reveals the best preserved medieval city in Italy (new from Rome).

  • Before The Da Vinci Code, there was Angels & Demons. A new tour of Rome showcases the key symbols and landmarks in Dan Brown's best-selling book.

  • The newly reopened Teatro Tasso presents the colorful history of Naples in a rich production of music, drama and dance (new from Sorrento).

  • Evening concerts at Ephesus (from Kusadasi) and classical performances at the Odessa Philharmonic Society Concert Hall offer historical insights both architectural and musical.

  • A private visit to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel (in Rome) is available through special arrangements exclusively for Crystal guests.

High Style

  • Discover the Cote d'Azur behind the wheel of a convertible Mercedes, BMW, Fiat or Peugeot. Or spend the day in high style cruising the Riviera in a Ferrari or Lamborghini (from Monte Carlo).

  • Shop the fashionable boutiques of the French Riviera with a personal shopper, and then enjoy lunch at the legendary Cafe de Paris. 

  • Create a signature perfume at Galimard's Studio des Fragrances in Cannes.

With more seven-day departures added to its roster of 10-, 11- and 12-day cruises, sophisticated travelers enjoy the luxury of choice among itineraries, destinations and activities ashore. Traveling from Athens, Lisbon, Venice, Monte Carlo and Rome, ports of call vary by itinerary and may include: Nesebur, Bulgaria; Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar, Croatia; Alexandria, Egypt; Katakolon, Mykonos, Rhodes, Samos and Santorini, Greece; Florence, Naples, Portofino, Rome, Sorrento, Taormina, and Trieste, Italy; Tripoli, Libya; Funchal, Portugal; Barcelona, Bilbao, Cadiz, Gijon, Las Palmas and Tenerife, Spain; and, Istanbul and Kusadasi, Turkey.

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Silversea's Expanded Mediterranean Season Offers More Romance, Adventure & a Touch of the Exotic

Ft. Lauderdale, FL,  Jan 17--This year ultra-luxury Silversea is pulling out the stops with an extended season in the Mediterranean offering a diverse collection of nearly 40 cruises sailing from March to mid-November. For those sophisticated travelers looking to avoid the crowds and extreme temperatures of summer, there's no better way to explore the Mediterranean than aboard one of Silversea's elite, intimate ships. The award-winning line's elegant 296-guest Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, and 382-guest Silver Whisper, will call in 90 distinctive destinations in over 20 countries.

Imagine strolling the fragrant gardens of the Alhambra in the coolness of a gentle spring breeze, or exploring Lebanon's ancient Baalbeck acropolis on a warm, sunny October afternoon, long after the summer tourist crowds have departed. Now imagine enjoying those adventures from the comfort and pampering luxury of your intimate, six-star ship as you sail from one intriguing port to the next -- this is the Mediterranean at its most exclusive.

"The Mediterranean is no longer just a summertime destination," said David Morris, Silversea's senior vice president of sales for North America. "Travelers are getting more savvy and sophisticated. We're seeing a growing segment of our guests who prefer to plan their trips for the spring and fall just to avoid the heat and crowds of the summer tourist season. "But it's not just about extending the time our ships spend in the Mediterranean. We're committed to providing a diverse selection of itineraries and programs. This year we're featuring new shore excursions, exclusive land extensions, and increased calls to exotic destinations like Lebanon, Syria and Libya."

In addition to savings of up to 50%, guests will enjoy spacious, all-suite, ocean-view accommodations, most with private veranda, award-winning gourmet cuisine, personalized service, warm Italian hospitality, and Silversea's unmatched selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities. Plus, complimentary Butler Service is now available in the Grand, Royal, Rossellini and Owner's Suites.

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Celebrity Cruises Launches New 'The Celebrity Treatment' Ad Campaign

MIAMI - Jan 17 - Celebrity Cruises has launched a major new advertising campaign built around the theme, "The Celebrity Treatment." Created by Arnold Worldwide, the TV and print campaign showcases how Celebrity Cruises' service and experience as a whole makes the line's guests feel like celebrities. 

"This campaign is designed to convey the emotional connection our guests feel from the minute they step aboard until the moment they reluctantly leave," said Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Marketing, Ellen Taaffe. "It playfully conveys that special something that only we can offer, which we call 'The Celebrity Treatment'." 

The broadcast campaign - consisting of two 30-second ads directed by award-winning commercial director Erich Joiner - hits the airwaves this week and marks the first time in several years that Celebrity has advertised on network TV. The new ads will appear this month on hit shows such as Desperate Housewives, Lost and According to Jim, and also will appear on select cable channels including the Travel Channel and Food Network throughout the year. 

The print campaign - a portion of which features work by well-known photographer Peggy Sirota - will run in a breadth of consumer publications and newspapers throughout the year.

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Cruise West Announces Addition of New Ships & Itineraries Yorktown Clipper and Nantucket Clipper to Expand Line Operations

SEATTLE, Jan. 17--Cruise West, the preeminent American-owned and operated small-ship cruise line, announced today that it has acquired the Yorktown Clipper and the Nantucket Clipper previously part of the Clipper Cruise Line fleet. The 138-guest Yorktown Clipper and 102-guest Nantucket Clipper have officially joined the Cruise West family today. Both ships are U.S.-flagged coastal cruise ships joining Cruise West's fleet of American-owned vessels, and will significantly enhance the company's operational reach. The new ships will sail the 2006 itineraries on the East Coast, Great Lakes, Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico and Central America that were already published by Clipper Cruise Line, but under Cruise West ownership and management. Guest amenities will offer the comfortable and modern accommodations of these former Clipper small ships with the distinguished exploration approach that Cruise West has so successfully pioneered.

Cruise West is the largest American small-ship cruise line and will now be operating 10 vessels accommodating 70 to 138 guests on itineraries in Alaska, Mexico, Costa Rica, on the Columbia River, in California Wine Country, the South Pacific, and Japan. This expansion will also increase the destinations that Cruise West guests can travel to with the new vessels' previously scheduled itineraries to the East Coast of the Americas, Great Lakes and Caribbean. 

Chairman and CEO Dick West said, "We are delighted to expand our operations to the East Coast and to offer our guests exciting, additional itineraries in the up-close, casual, and personal style of cruising that have branded our ships for over 60 years." 

Cruise West - a second-generation, family-owned business - offers the opportunity to explore remote locales by providing one-of-a-kind, personalized itineraries not offered by larger cruise lines. The casual style onboard encourages relaxation and interaction between guests and crew alike. The emphasis for all Cruise West destinations is outward on history, local cultures, shoreside attractions, and personal service. The cruising style offers flexible schedules allowing intimate encounters with wildlife, scenery and with like-minded guests. Zodiacs and other excursion crafts offer access to wilderness shorelines. Each ship features Cruise West Exploration Leaders who are experts in the history, biology and lore of the destination. For more information, visit or call 1-800-888-9378.

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Sailing Solo Special: Single Supplement Waived for Crystal's Spring Big Band Voyage

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 16 -- Discriminating dance and music enthusiasts traveling solo can enjoy special savings, experienced dance partners and The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on Crystal Cruises' April 29, 2006 Trans-Atlantic voyage aboard the award-winning Crystal Symphony. Crystal Cruises has waived the usual 25% single supplement for its category E outside staterooms, offering its single travelers an exceptional value for this Big Band themed voyage. The luxury line is also adding extra Ambassador Hosts to serve as dancing and dining partners. Further, travelers can save 15% off all stateroom and suite categories for reservations made by February 15, 2006. Cruise fares start at just $1,929 for single occupancy accommodations.

Renowned for its entertainment and learning programs, Crystal Symphony's days and nights can be as stimulating or relaxing as one prefers. In addition to evening shows and lots of dancing, the Big Band cruise features afternoon dances, swing lessons, and presentations designed around the theme. Guest lecturer Loren Schoenberg, conductor, saxophonist and current executive director of The Jazz Museum in Harlem, will engage listeners with tales of big moments in big band history. Guests choosing to combine their Trans-Atlantic experience with the subsequent 10-day Lisbon to Athens Mediterranean cruise will receive an additional 10% savings on the cruise fare. The single supplement reverts to 25% for most categories of this May 8 cruise.

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NBC’s “Today” & Royal Caribbean Select Finalists in Search for 
Freedom of the Seas’ Godmother

NEW YORK, Jan 16 – Royal Caribbean Intl and NBC’s “TODAY” show are one step closer to selecting the winner of ‘Today Sets Sail,’ a national search for the Godmother of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas. Three finalists were selected from thousands of entries, and their inspirational stories were profiled on “TODAY” earlier this morning. The Web-based viewer vote is now officially open, and the winner will be announced live from the Torino Winter Olympics in February. A new twist on a long-standing maritime tradition, the Godmother search seeks to honor an everyday person who has demonstrated exceptional courage, determination, inspiration and dedication, just as the following three finalists have (listed in no particular order): 

  • Katherine Louise Calder of Portland, Oregon, has been a foster parent to over 400 children in the last twenty-seven years, acting as a “level three” special needs foster care provider and adoption advocate in her area.

  • Ieta Kimbrough of Indianapolis, Indiana, overcame homelessness and domestic violence as a young mother and eventually founded The House of Refuge in 2001, a support system for victims of domestic violence in Indiana. 

  • Robyn Raphael of Roseville, California, founded the Keaton Raphael Memorial, in memory of her five year-old son who died of neuroblastoma in 1998, to assist children and their families in their fight against pediatric cancer. 

Viewers are encouraged to go to and vote for their favorite finalist. All votes must be submitted by 9:00 P.M. EST on Friday, January 20, 2006. The winner selected to be Freedom of the Seas’ Godmother will preside over the most exciting and innovative ship at sea and will be allowed to cruise for life on any Royal Caribbean cruise once a year for free with the guest of their choice. Freedom will feature the first-ever surfing simulator at sea, an interactive water park, two cantilevered whirlpools that extend 12 feet out from the sides of the ship and a pool deck with dedicated sports pool that transforms into an open-air nightclub each night.

At 160,000 GRT and holding 3,634 guests double-occupancy, Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in May 2006. The first in Royal Caribbean’s new Freedom class, she will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami calling in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Royal Caribbean’s private destination, Labadee, Hispaniola. For more information or to make reservations, go to or call 800.327.6700.

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A Royal Occasion: Queen Mary 2 Meets Namesake Queen Mary

VALENCIA, CA - Jan 2006 - Since Queen Mary 2's dazzling debut in 2004, Cunard enthusiasts have wondered if the grand ocean liner would ever meet her legendary predecessor, the Queen Mary. On February 22, 2006, that question will be answered when Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call to Los Angeles and unites for the first time with her namesake, the Queen Mary, in nearby Long Beach. Retired from maritime service for nearly 40 years, the Queen Mary, which sailed from 1936 through 1967, is now permanently berthed in Long Beach and is one of the city's most well-known attractions.

"Through Cunard's storied history, we can recall few occasions that have inspired so much anticipation," said Carol Marlow, president and managing director for Cunard Line. "The meeting of the Queen Marys is a rare opportunity to witness the convergence of Cunard's illustrious past with the line's 21st century future."

The historic meeting of the two Queen Marys will take place twice on Wednesday, February 22 - at both 7:00 am and again at 5:00 pm - as Queen Mary 2 sails through outer Long Beach harbor, sounding a special greeting to the Queen Mary. The first-time salutation will take on even more meaning as Queen Mary 2 carries one of her namesake's original whistles, the tone of whose deep bass A note can be heard up to ten miles away. Queen Mary 2, which will have just completed her 38-day South America Odyssey, will make her historic Los Angeles debut in the Port of Los Angeles where she will be berthed for a series of inaugural voyages sailing on February 22, February 25 and March 8. Details regarding related festivities and specific viewing areas for the public will be announced soon.

Though longer, taller and nearly twice as large as the Queen Mary, Queen Mary 2 shares a number of venerable "family" traditions with her namesake, including worldwide fame, royal launching ceremonies, spectacular maiden calls and a lineage of hosting noted society figures, celebrities and other luminaries of the day. The two Queen Marys are also linked by Cunard's history of legendary voyages. Interestingly, the Queen Mary charted her one and only journey to South America on her "Last Great Cruise" in October 1967, and Queen Mary 2 will have just returned from her maiden foray into the region, becoming the largest passenger vessel ever to round the famed waters of Cape Horn.

The Queen Mary first set sail in May 1936, and was named for and launched by Her Majesty Queen Mary amidst great fanfare and celebration. During her more than 30 years at sea, the most celebrated liner of its time hosted A-list celebrities and society figures, sailed more than 1,000 transatlantic crossings and played a pivotal military role between 1940-1946, when she was commissioned to transport military troops during World War II. After carrying more than 765,000 service personnel throughout the conflict, Prime Minister Winston Churchill credited Queen Mary (as well as sister ship Queen Elizabeth) with ending the war one year earlier than estimated. Today, the Queen Mary is one of Southern California's most recognizable icons and continues to educate and entertain visitors from all around the world, offering tours, exceptional exhibitions, a calendar of festivals and numerous social and special events year-round.

Both considered the very finest ocean liners of their day, the two ships offer a range of fascinating similarities and differences. For example, length-wise Queen Mary 2 is just 113 feet longer than the Queen Mary, but in terms of gross tonnage, she is nearly twice the size of her predecessor. In days gone by, salt cod and kippers were menu highlights -- today, caviar and lobster top the bill of fare. In addition, the Queen Mary has a dozen decks, but QM2 has 17. Finally, Queen Mary 2 can carry nearly 600 more passengers than her namesake. Some things never change, however. Champagne, for example, remains the beverage of choice for generations of travelers, impeccable White Star ServiceSM remains a Cunard hallmark, renowned enrichment programs and leisure offerings are still the primary onboard pursuits and, whatever the decade, Cunard ocean liners attract the world's most famous celebrities, including entertainers ranging from Duke Ellington to Carly Simon.

During the Golden Age of Ocean Travel, the Queen Mary welcomed such famous personalities as Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, and Clark Gable. Continuing Cunard's illustrious heritage of hosting royalty, society luminaries and famed entertainers, Queen Mary 2 has hosted a variety of notable guests.

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Princess Cruises Makes Marriage Proposals Memorable with
 "Engagement Under The Stars" Package 

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan 2006 - Where else should suitors turn for help in creating a "stellar" marriage proposal than Princess Cruises, famous as the romantic setting of "The Love Boat" television series? Beginning in June 2006, with the launch of the line's newest ship, Crown Princess, a new "Engagement Under the Stars" package will offer the opportunity for a couple to enjoy movie-star status when they agree to tie the knot. Guys can pop the question to their unsuspecting betrothed with a personal video proposal shown on the ship's giant outdoor Movies Under the Stars movie screen and, after she says "yes," Princess will continue to keep the stars in their eyes throughout the sailing with a special romantic dinner, amenities, and the creation of keepsake items to remember the occasion long after they return home. 

"Engagement Under the Stars" proposals will take place just prior to one of the evening's outdoor feature films at a time prearranged with the proposer, who will bring his unsuspecting fiancé-to-be to the scene under the guise of seeing the evening's show. Priced at $695, the package includes: 

  • A secret session for the proposer with the ship's videographer to create a personalized on-screen proposal 

  • Two glasses of champagne and a red rose presented to the couple immediately following the proposal

  • A bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries in the couple's stateroom the evening of the proposal 

  • An engagement portrait session with 8x10 engagement photo 

  • Four candid 8x6 photos of the surprise proposal 

  • A Princess Cruises romantic, in-room breakfast 

  • A dinner for two at one of the ship's sophisticated alternative dining venues, such as Sabatini's Trattoria or Crown Grill

  • A couple's massage in the Lotus Spa 

  • A complimentary pottery class offered through the ship's signature learning program, ScholarShip@Sea, at which the couple will design a commemorative "engagement plate" souvenir 

  • A 10 percent discount off of fine jewelry in the shipboard boutiques, just in case the groom didn't bring a ring 

  • A $100 credit towards a wedding-at-sea package on a future voyage 

The "Engagement Under the Stars" package enables any "Regular Joe" to provide his bride-to-be with a highly romantic and attention-getting proposal... without him having to do any of the planning. "All the gentleman has to bring is the ring and the question," says Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "We've tapped into many of the ship's fabulous amenities - from dining, to spa, to our ScholarShip@Sea program, and of course, our signature Movies Under the Stars screen - to combine the most romantic and memorable experiences for newly engaged couples, and we're very happy to offer this package to grooms-to-be who want to create a lasting impression on their partners."

Movies Under the Stars, an industry first when Princess launched it in 2004, offers passengers the opportunity to enjoy drive-in style outdoor movies on the 300-square-foot LED movie screen day and night on the top deck of the ship while relaxing in comfortable chaise lounges, the swimming pool, or the hot tub. After debuting on Crown Princess, the "Engagement Under the Stars" package will be rolled out to all Princess ships that feature Movies Under the Stars, including Caribbean Princess, Grand Princess, and Sea Princess. Scheduled to launch in June 2006, the 113,000 ton Crown Princess will introduce Princess' first-ever roundtrip Caribbean sailings from New York. This inaugural sailing season will feature nine-day roundtrip voyages to both the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and will mark the return of Princess' return to Bermuda. 

In addition to "Engagement Under The Stars," the ship will feature a number of new service and design innovations to the Princess fleet, including a dramatic new piazza-style atrium, new casual dining venues and expansion of some favorite shipboard areas. Within the new street café environment of the atrium, passengers will find an International Café serving up fresh pastries and baked goods in the morning and other assorted offerings throughout the day, as well as the introduction of Vines, a new wine and seafood bar. Several signature Princess venues have been further enhanced, including an expanded Sabatini's Trattoria with a new piano lounge area and new location high on Deck 16 to offer panoramic views. The Crown Grill will also make its debut on this ship, which is a new steak and seafood restaurant that expands on the line's signature Sterling Steakhouse concept with an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs will custom-prepare steamed shellfish and cooked-to-order steaks and chops. 

The ship will also feature the many hallmark features that define the Princess experience, including the dramatic Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, multiple dining and entertainment options, Personal Choice Dining featuring traditional or Anytime seating, a Lotus Spa with fitness center, an extensive children and teen's center, a wedding chapel and nearly 900 staterooms with private balconies. 

More information about the "Engagement Under the Stars" package is available by calling The Wedding Experience at 1-866-444-8820. Additional information about Crown Princess is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Holland America Line Names New Signature Class

SEATTLE, Jan. 9 -- Holland America Line will call its recently announced pair of new-builds the Signature Class, taking the name from an integral component of the premium line's branding and the current US$225 million Signature of Excellence initiative. With a firm order for one ship due in summer 2008 and an option for another in spring 2010, the Signature Class marks Holland America Line's latest class of new build vessels and the largest ever constructed for the premium line. Previous new-build series include the four-ship Statendam Class group, four-ship Rotterdam Class, and four-ship Vista Class. The line also owns and operates the 793-passenger Elegant Explorer, the ms Prinsendam. With an estimated all-in cost of $450 million each, the new 86,000-ton Panamax Signature Class vessels will be built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard. The vessels are unnamed at this time.

"With innovative design and guest offerings, the Signature Class ships will continue the evolution of Holland America Line's sophisticated mid-sized ships and further our premium leadership position," said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer. "The two 2,044-passenger ships represent a 22 percent increase in our capacity and will allow us to achieve a greater share of the growing premium cruise market."

The ships of the Signature Class will evolve from the line's Vista Class ships and further define and expand the Holland America Line premium brand with new concepts such as an innovative topside 144-seat restaurant and 50-seat lounge surrounded by panoramic views overlooking the ocean expanse and the Lido pool. Other additions are an Explorer's Lounge Bar, a premium wine-tasting lounge, an elegant luxury jewelry boutique, new atrium bar area, enhanced and reconfigured show lounge, and a new photographic and imaging center. The Signature Class goes beyond the Vista Class, adding decks and 63 new staterooms. Forty-seven will be verandah cabins and ten will be a new style of stateroom with ceiling-to-floor and wall-to-wall panoramic windows. Total, the new Signature Class will carry 1,022 double occupancy staterooms, with 67 percent featuring verandahs and 86 percent outside. 

Staterooms will spotlight all the Signature of Excellence premium amenities of plush Euro-top Mariner's Dream Beds, deluxe waffle/terry cloth robes, Egyptian cotton towels, flat panel TVs, dvd players, make-up mirrors with halo lighting, massage shower heads, professional grade hair dryers, fresh flowers and complimentary fruit baskets. The Signature Class will continue several much-admired Holland America Line features, including outside-view, glass elevators at midship; the Explorations Cafe -- a cyber-coffee house powered by The New York Times; the Pinnacle Grill and Pinnacle Bar; the innovative Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine, where culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and intimate classes in a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchens; an expanded Greenhouse Spa and Salon with thermal suites and hydro-pool, the largest gymnasium ever built for Holland America Line; and a youth facility that includes the teens-only Loft.

On the technical side, Signature Class ships will feature the latest state-of-the-art navigation and safety systems including dynamic positioning abilities to hold the ship in a precise position. The vessels will be powered by six diesel generators and propelled by the latest Azipod propulsion technology. 

"This new class of ships demonstrates the strength of our brand, the loyalty of our guests and the dedication of our more than 15,000 employees worldwide," said Kruse. "The added capacity will provide greater opportunities for our guests and employees alike."

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What's New in Alaska Excursions for 2006

SEATTLE, Jan. 9 -- Ultimate excitement and exploration summarize Holland America Line's new excursions for 2006 in Alaska. Drive in a Hummer through the back country near Ketchikan or glide on a zipline through a rich rain forest canopy on the Canopy Adventure & Wildlife Expedition. Take a gentle hike through the Chilkat Rainforest or paddle a kayak on glistening Glacier Lake. Whether enjoying a Holland America Line Alaska Cruise or CruiseTour, guests have the opportunity to fully experience each destination through a wide variety of optional in-depth and exciting excursions. For 2006, Holland America Line has added more than 30 new excursions to complement its already extensive list.

"All excursions are designed to make the most of guest's time at each destination, create memories and provide the best guide services available in all 22 port and inland destinations in Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia and home port Seattle," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "With such an array of interests among our guests, we created excursions that range from sightseeing, history and culture to flightseeing adventures and high activity."

Each year, Holland America Line offers more than 230 excursions on Alaska and Yukon Cruises and CruiseTours, many featuring national parks. New excursions are being introduced in Haines, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, Homer, Seward and Cooper Landing. For example, in Haines, guests may enjoy the provocative scenic Valley of the Eagles Gold Adventure or Photo Safari by Land & Sea led by a professional photographer in Juneau. New excursions such as Tribal Dance & Cultural Legends and Remote Bush Exploration & Grizzly Bear Search in new port call, Icy Strait Point, highlight local culture, wildlife and wilderness. On the Homer & Kenai Peninsula Exploration CruiseTour guests may take advantage of world-class sports fishing for halibut and salmon or the outstanding Marine and Whale Watching Discovery Cruise. Most excursions are suitable for families and many are available for guests with disabilities.

Guests enjoy thrilling experiences from numerous excursions including Helicopter Flightseeing & Glacier Trek; Musher's Camp and Dog Sled Adventure; Alaska Bear Adventure by Floatplane; Tatoosh Islands Sea Kayaking; and the Eagle Preserve Float Adventure -- a float trip through the world famous Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. In the Yukon, guests have the opportunity to explore majestic Kluane National Park by foot, cultural cruise, fishing tour or river rafting, and rugged Tombstone Territorial Park, by motor vehicle or hiking one of three trails with a guide. Over the Arctic Circle near Coldfoot, the Anaktuvuk Pass Adventure takes guests to the remote Nunamiut Eskimo village of Anaktuvuk to discover their way of life. Numerous excursions spotlight National Parks, Preserves and Refuges and make the most of the Great Land.

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Holland America Line Increases Seattle-to-Alaska Sailings With Addition of Third Ship in 2006

SEATTLE, Jan. 5 -- Seattle's home town cruise line, Holland America Line, will nearly double its roundtrip sailings from Seattle to Alaska in 2006, adding a third ship to offer a total of 61 departures from May 5 through September 22. Last year, the line, the leader in Alaska Cruises and CruiseTours, featured 37 seven-day cruises on two ships from Seattle. Guests that book an Ocean-View Stateroom or higher by February 28, 2006, will receive free parking in Seattle on select cruises in May, June and July, a great convenience and a value of $70. Guests who book a suite on selected cruises receive a free pre-cruise night at Seattle's Fairmont Olympic.

Vista-class ship ms Oosterdam returns to sail another season of seven-day Alaskan Explorer cruises, joined in 2006 by sister ship ms Westerdam. Together the two 1,848-passenger liners will offer a total of 40 seven-day cruises from Seattle, most highlighting Alaska's immense Hubbard Glacier and Yakutat Bay. However, nine sailings on the Westerdam will cruise to spectacular Glacier Bay National Park, boosting the total number of Holland America Line voyages to this renowned site in 2006. Glacier Bay departure dates are May 7, 14 and 28, July 16, 23 and 30, August 20, September 10 and 17. Also new to Seattle, the 1,432-passenger ms Zaandam completes the trio featuring 21 cruises which showcase Glacier Bay as well.

"The increasing demand for seven-day Alaska cruises, coupled with the convenience of departing from a U.S. port, is driving our expansion of cruises departing from Seattle," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "The 61 sailings we'll offer next summer make up 40 percent of our total deployment to Alaska in 2006, a total of 159 cruises on eight, five-star ships."

All the Westerdam's and Oosterdam's cruises call at the ports of Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, B.C. The sailings to the Hubbard Glacier and Yakutat Bay spend a half-day cruising past the glacier's massive face: five miles wide and 400 feet tall. Pristine Yakutat Bay offers excellent opportunities to view marine wildlife as well as icebergs calving. The scenic area is bordered by some of the tallest mountains in North America, including Mt. St. Elias, the third tallest mountain in North America. Cruise fares on start at $699 per person, double occupancy.

The ms Zaandam offers 21 Friday departures from Seattle May 5 through Sept. 22, sailing the Alaskan Explorer via Glacier Bay itinerary. The ship calls at Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, B.C., and spends a full day cruising spectacular Glacier Bay National Park.

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ABC's Good Morning America Teams With Norwegian Cruise Line to Offer "Girl's Weekend Out" on New Norwegian Jewel

MIAMI - Jan 4, 2006 - ABC's Good Morning America and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) have announced they will offer dozens of women and their friends a week aboard NCL's newest Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Jewel, for the popular morning news program's "Girls' Week Out!" event. Good Morning America is inviting women from around the country to write a 500-word essay describing why they and up to nine of their girlfriends deserve a get-away from their everyday lives. The lucky viewers will be treated to a Caribbean cruise aboard Norwegian Jewel. Participants can enter until January 11, 2006. Details on how to enter can be found at "Good Morning America" will select at least 15 teams of entry writers and their friends by January 18, 2006; they will travel onboard the Norwegian Jewel cruise that departs from Miami on February 5, 2006. The ship will call in Roatan, Honduras; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica and NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. The morning program will host special events and activities for the lucky viewers during the week-long cruise and broadcast live with a special correspondent from the ship for five days. 

“This morning television event with 'Good Morning America' exemplifies what NCL is all about. We offer guests the freedom from the stress and demands of everyday life and the freedom to do whatever they want on their own schedule,” said Andy Stuart, executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services for NCL. “Freestyle Cruising gives our guests the opportunity to dine whenever, wherever and with whomever they like; choose what they want to wear, and enjoy a relaxed, resort-like environment, allowing them to personalize every aspect of their cruise experience to make it exactly what they want it to be.”

Norwegian Jewel is the company’s fifth purpose-built ship for Freestyle Cruising and is a sister to NCL’s innovative Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn. Like her sisters, she features 10 restaurants, dynamic public rooms and two Garden Villas but offers a brand new style of accommodations – the addition of 10 courtyard villas with a private courtyard and sundeck on deck 14. Both courtyard and garden villa guests have a concierge lounge available to them and dedicated butlers offer continental breakfast, refreshments all day and canapés and drinks before dinner. The ship also includes a new concept for NCL – a “Bar Central” -- featuring a martini bar, a champagne and wine bar, and a beer and whisky pub all connected but touting three distinct personalities. 

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Silversea Cruises Rolls Out Its 2007 Worldwide Schedule

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 6, 2006 -  In 2007, ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is offering its most diverse collection of worldwide itineraries with a record number of 350 destinations featured on 137 different itineraries ranging from six to 126 days. Calling in nearly 120 countries, the line's four award-winning, all-suite ships will visit 29 new ports in an exciting year of firsts, including the company's long-anticipated first World Cruise to completely circle the globe. 

"We have a growing list of repeat cruisers and our guests are a very exclusive group of inquisitive world travelers interested in unique experiences and in-depth cultural exploration," said David Morris, Silversea's senior vice president of sales for North America. "To successfully cater to this type of sophisticated and discerning traveler, we have to keep adding variety and intriguing options to our program each and every year. For 2007, we have absolutely put together our most expansive and imaginative collection of voyages to date." 

New Destinations: In the Mediterranean, there will be inaugural calls in Antibes, Cassis, Porquerolles, and Cherbourg, France; Vigo, Spain; Sibenik, Croatia; Batumi, Georgia; and Latakia, Syria. In Northern Europe, new ports include Oye, Norway; Vaasa, Finland; Lulea and Ornskoldsvik, Sweden; Oban, Scotland; and Plymouth, England. The line will also debut new island destinations in the South Pacific, including Norfolk Island, Pine Island, Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Corregidor Island and the port of Alotau in Papua New Guinea. The Indian Ocean and Arabian Peninsula offer inaugural visits to Dzaoudzi, Mayotte; Tulear, Madagascar; Curieuse, Seychelles; and Al Manamah, Bahrain, while Pare Pare, Indonesia and Guangzhou, China will debut in the Far East. Other firsts include a visit to the Caribbean island of Marie Galante, Guadeloupe and the island of La Horta in the Azores. 

World Cruise 2007: Departing January 15, 2007 from Fort Lauderdale, Silver Shadow's World Cruise will cross three oceans, seven seas and six continents, visiting 61 different ports, and conclude on the originating coast, in New York City, on May 22. During the nine segments of this extraordinary four-month odyssey, guests will enjoy 126 days of unrivaled luxury as they follow the trade winds from Mexico to Peru, then sail across the Pacific to the fabled South Seas with stops at such idyllic isles as Robinson Crusoe Island, Easter Island and Pitcairn Island. Guests will visit the island paradises of the South Seas including Bora Bora, Tahiti and Fiji before sailing to the most desirable destinations of New Zealand, Australia and the Far East, including enticing resorts like Bali and Phuket. They'll explore exotic India, the spice ports of Arabia, the mysteries of Egypt and the must-see ports of the Mediterranean. On the final leg of this epic journey, Silver Shadow will pass through the Strait of Gibraltar en route to the Atlantic Isles and Bermuda on a classic Grand Crossing to New York City.

Silver Cloud: The 296-guest Silver Cloud begins 2007 with cruises to Australia, New Zealand, the Far East, India and the Arabian Peninsula, featuring inaugural calls to Norfolk Island, Australia; Pine Island, New Caledonia; Corregidor Island, Philippines; and Alotau, Papua New Guinea. From May to early November, the ultra-luxury ship will take part in a total of 20 cruises through the Mediterranean, ranging from seven to 12 days. New destinations include the famed golden beaches of Antibes, Menton and Porquerolles along the French Riviera, and Syria's modern Latakia, gateway to the ancient ruins of Ugarit. Also offered, in August, is an enticing 12-day, Athens-to-Istanbul voyage to the Black Sea, calling in Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Romania and Bulgaria. In the fall, Silver Cloud transits the Suez Canal and explores the Arabian Peninsula and Africa, making inaugural visits to Dzaoudzi on the island of Mayotte, Tulear in Madagascar and Curieuse in the Seychelles. 

Silver Wind: The 296-guest Silver Wind starts the year exploring South America on three cruises of eight to 16 days and then offers a series of mostly seven-day cruises to the most exclusive destinations of the Caribbean, including an inaugural call to the picturesque island of Marie Galante in the Lesser Antilles. From May to early November, Silver Wind offers an extended summer season of 12 cruises of seven to 15 days, journeying through the Mediterranean and Northern Europe before repositioning to the Caribbean with a 16-day London-to-Barbados cruise that includes the new port of Vigo, Spain, known for its winding, narrow streets and appealing old-town atmosphere. Silver Wind features return visits to exotic destinations like Lebanon, Syria and Libya, as well as an inaugural call to the charming village of Cassis, France. In the fall, the ship offers a series of cruises to the Caribbean and South America, including two journeys through the Amazon River and two opportunities to visit Antarctica on optional excursions from Punta Arenas, Chile. 

Silver Shadow: After completing its World Cruise in May, the 382-guest Silver Shadow will offer a series of cruises to Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea, ranging from seven to 12 days, including several three-day, two-night stopovers in the historic city of St. Petersburg, two visits to the new port of Cherbourg, France (offering an optional excursion to the WWII Normandy beaches), and a rare 12-day Stockholm-to-Stockholm cruise exploring Sweden and Finland further north, around the Gulf of Bothnia, with inaugural visits to Vaasa, Finland and Lulea and Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. During the fall, Silver Shadow will offer five cruises visiting the warm beaches of the Caribbean and two 15-day voyages transiting the Panama Canal between Fort Lauderdale and San Diego. 

Silver Whisper: During winter, 382-guest Silver Whisper visits the enchanting lands of the Far East and Indian Ocean on eight exotic itineraries, ranging from nine to 12 days, featuring inaugural calls to Guangzhou (Canton), China, and Al Manamah, Bahrain. After repositioning to the Mediterranean in April, for an extended summer season, the elite all-suite ship offers 26 opportunities to explore the region in absolute luxury, including a series of 19 seven-day voyages. A unique six-day, five-night stopover in Valencia, Spain, will give guests a front-row seat for the America's Cup races in June. The line's first return visit to Israel in several years, with calls in Haifa and Ashdod, concludes the Mediterranean season in November. During the balance of the year, Silver Whisper transits the Suez Canal and continues on a course exploring the Arabian Peninsula, Indian Ocean and Australia.

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Luxury from Head to Toe: Holland America Line Introduces “Time to spa” Stateroom Amenities

Seattle, January 4, 2006 – Holland America Line is bringing the luxuries of the exclusive Greenhouse Spa and Salon to each individual stateroom with the introduction of a new line of amenities by Elemis Aromapure that once again defines Holland America as the leader in premium cruising. Traditionally, the Elemis line of aromatherapy products could only be found in the ships’ award-winning Greenhouse Spa and Salon, a tranquil oasis of pampering, relaxation and the latest skin, body and hair treatments. Now, guests can indulge daily with Elemis Aromapure’s “Time to Spa” miniatures in their own stateroom. The fleet wide roll out of new amenities begins with the launch of the ms Noordam on February 22, 2006.

“We selected the premium Elemis Aromapure line to complement our Signature of Excellence stateroom upgrades,” says Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. “Every experience, from sleeping upon a plush Euro-Top mattress to indulging in the internationally acclaimed Elemis soaps, shampoos and conditioners, is part of our overall initiative to set a new standard in premium cruising.”

Elemis is one of the world’s leading companies in aromatherapy skincare and spa-therapies. Each product is infused with essential oils and exotic plant extracts to treat the skin and re-awaken the senses. Holland America Line’s guests will enjoy luxuriant and subtle fragrances in each of the Elemis “Time to Spa” amenities including:

  • Elemis Pure Shine Shampoo: Infused with the aroma of lime, basil and grapefruit, this gentle shampoo leaves hair and scalp deeply cleansed. 

  • Elemis Pro-Vitamin Conditioner: A citrus experience that replenishes moisture with conditioning Vitamin B5, penetrating hair to nourish from root to tip, while detangling and strengthening. 

  • Citrus Soap Slice: This clear pure Glycerin soap is lightly infused with the aroma of grapefruit, basil, clove and lime and promises to leave the face feeling cleansed and refreshed. 

  • Sharp Shower and Bath Gel: This aroma-therapeutic blend of mint, chamomile, wild marjoram, nettle and thyme in a mineral rich sea salt base leaves skin tingling with vitality. 

  • Pure Zest Cleansing Soap: Infused with nature’s own lime, clove leaf, lavender and rosemary extracts in palm oil; designed to inspire a new zest for life. 

  • Vitamin Rich-Body Lotion: Infused with vitamin-rich wheat germ, carrot and sweet almond oil; a welcome treat for thirsty skin. 

As part of Holland America Line’s Signature of Excellence initiative, the addition of Elemis Aromapure “Time to Spa” amenities is the latest in a long list of recent stateroom enhancements. With the upgrades, each stateroom now features Mariner’s Dream Beds with plush, Sealy Posturepedic Premium Plush Euro-Top mattresses, 250-thread-count, white cotton bed linens, 100 percent Egyptian cotton towels and deluxe waffle and terry cloth bathrobes. New amenities also include premium massage showerheads, 5x magnifying make-up mirrors with halo lighting and stylish, quiet, salon-quality hair dryers. Guests are welcomed with a polished stainless steel basket filled with complimentary fresh fruit including a variety of apples, oranges, grapes and pears and each room features an elegant stainless-steel ice bucket and serving tray for use with in-cabin beverages. The Signature of Excellence luxuries of a Holland America Line cruise can also be enjoyed at home. Many of the amenities found onboard including Mariner’s Dream Beds, terry cloth bathrobes and 250-thread-count, white cotton bed linens can be purchased at Elemis Aromapure’s “Time to Spa” products can be purchased at the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, in the ships’ boutiques or from home at  

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Holland America Line Announces 2007 Asia Pacific Cruises Ancient and Modern Cultures Contrast & Intrigue

SEATTLE, Jan. 4 -- Holland America Line returns to Asia and the Pacific in 2007 with cruises spotlighting cultural capitals and burgeoning tourist attractions of China, Japan, Korea, Eastern Russia, the South Pacific and Alaska on five sailings. Asia Pacific cruising commences aboard the 1,258-passenger ms Statendam in spring of 2007 on three 14-day sailings between Hong Kong and Osaka followed by a unique 18-day Transpacific repositioning cruise from Osaka to Vancouver. Fall 2007 brings a popular 64-day Asia, Australia and Polynesian Explorer aboard the 1,380-guest ms Amsterdam cruising from Seattle to Singapore transiting the North Pacific and returning to North America by way of Southeast Asia, Australia and the South Pacific Seas en route to San Diego.

"Asia is one of the hottest travel destinations of the 21st century," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "China, which is gearing up to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, is on the radar of savvy travelers the world over. Holland America Line is proud to provide premium cruises throughout Asia and the Pacific, visiting the region's top attractions."

An enhanced itinerary for 2007 adds a visit to Chilung, the port city for Taipei in Taiwan, offers scenic cruising in the Inland Sea of Japan and a late night departure from Nagasaki. Other highlights of the 14-day adventure include overnight stays at Shanghai and Xingang giving ample time to explore -- Shanghai, China's largest metropolis provides access to the garden city of Suzhou while Xingang is gateway to the Forbidden City of Beijing, the Ming Tombs and Great Wall. Guests may also venture deeper into Chinese antiquity uncovering the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century -- the lifelike Terra Cotta Warriors of Xian. In Dalian, through the line's extensive shore excursion offerings guests may meet with a Chinese family in their home; Pusan, Korea's second largest city boasts famous resorts, parks, and ancient temples; and Nagasaki, is home to the stirring World War II Peace Memorial Park. This shoppers' dream cruise is ideal for acquiring unique items such as a custom- tailored clothing or Asian art and jewelry.

Cruises departing on March 22, April 5 and April 19, 2007 sail between Osaka, gateway to classical Japan and Hong Kong where past, present and future are all on display. An optional 6-night pre- or post-cruise package from Hong Kong delves deeper into China's wonderful sights exploring Beijing's myriad attractions and including a flight to Xian to see the famous Terra Cotta warriors. Guests can also experience the castles of shoguns, serene gardens, and ancient Buddhist temples while learning more about Japan with an optional 3-night pre- or post-cruise tour highlighting Osaka, Nara and Kyoto.

On May 3, 2007, the ms Statendam sails on a Transpacific cruise weaving her way from Japan and the scenic Kuril Islands to the rugged Aleutian Chain, stopping at a remote Russian outpost and carries onward to the natural wonders in majestic Alaska, arriving 18 days later in Vancouver, British Columbia. Travelers can combine the sizzling energy of Tokyo with intriguing places that follow a different rhythm. Nature holds sway on Hokkaido, the least developed of Japan's four main islands, and takes center stage while cruising the Aleutian Chain and down the glacier-studded Alaskan coastline to Vancouver. Along the way, guests can explore Kamchatka's volcanoes by ATV in Petropavlovsk, Russia; experience rugged Dutch Harbor and its picturesque setting; see massive Kodiak bears in their native habitat on beautiful Kodiak Island; and enjoy the wildlife of beautiful Czarist-era Sitka. Nature lovers will be in their element in Glacier Bay National Park where massive tidewater glaciers regularly calve huge icebergs in a stunning Ice Age display. A 3-night pre-cruise tour featuring Nara, Japan's ancient capital host to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Kyoto, where temples and gardens reveal the Japanese blend of art and architecture, completes the experience.

For total immersion into the contrasting cultures and countries of Asia and the Pacific, book a fall 2007 grand sweep of the North Pacific and South Pacific aboard the premium line's 1,360-guest ms Amsterdam flagship, featuring 21 ports of call across three continents and five overnight stays featuring Tokyo, Xingang, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Padang Bai, Indonesia. This cruise offers convenient roundtrip departure from North America and encompasses most ports featured on spring Asia sailings as well as colorful Singapore, intriguing Indonesia and the alluring South Pacific.

Also available as two unique cruises, segment sailings end or begin in Singapore. The first 33 days focus on the North Pacific visiting Russia, Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. The second 31 days reflect Polynesia and the South Pacific visiting Indonesia, Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, Christmas Island and Hawaii. Departing from Seattle on September 21, 2007, the 64-day Asia, Australia, and Polynesian Explorer voyage explores the North Pacific, visits Singapore mid-cruise on October 24 for segment embarkation and disembarkation, and then begins her South Pacific swing featuring a Thanksgiving feast under sail just before reaching San Diego on November 24, 2007.

Whichever sailing suits, Holland America Line makes Asia even more accessible by offering an extensive shore excursions program with a choice of city tours, shopping outings, active adventures and cultural activities; running the gamut from half- and all-day tours to overnight land packages. Guests can walk the Great Wall, have tea with a Chinese family, ride Tokyo's Bullet Train, shop for Russian stacking dolls and experience the great outdoors on kayaking, fishing, hiking and wildlife tours. Shore excursions may be viewed online and are available for booking online approximately six months prior to sailing.

Holland America Line offers an array of cruise enhancements including the intriguing Explorations Speaker Series to pique the interest and shed light on history, culture and sightseeing attractions. Solo travelers enjoy an exceptional onboard experience with mixers and onboard Social Hosts. The new Culinary Arts Center is a state-of-the-art facility featuring cooking demonstrations, tasting events and intimate hands-on cooking classes offered by award-winning chefs. On select cruises, guests can learn from and mingle with guest chefs from top restaurants and resorts, as well as experts in wine, chocolate and cheese, and leading cookbook authors and media personalities.

Sailing aboard ms Statendam reveals the perfect blend of intriguing destination and luxurious onboard experience. Gracious, unobtrusive service, many fine dining options including the reservations-only Pinnacle Grill, and the intimacy of mid-sized ships with ultra-spacious staterooms distinguishes Holland America Line as a leader in global voyaging. Airy private verandahs and the largest, most comfortable and most finely appointed suites of any major cruise line are a popular draw for seasoned travelers. Leisurely days at sea offer the opportunity to take advantage of a wide array of activities and amenities. The relaxed coffeehouse-style Explorations Café invites passengers to sip espresso drinks, browse through one of the most extensive libraries at sea and enjoy access to a variety of activities, resources and audio and video programming. Luxurious spa services in the recently expanded Greenhouse Spa and Salon provide a rejuvenating retreat. For more information contact a travel professional; call 1-877-724-5425 or visit online at

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From Athens to the Arctic Circle, 30 Different Itineraries Distinguish Crystal Cruises' 
2006 European Season 

LOS ANGELES, Jan 3 -- In keeping with its penchant for choices, Crystal Cruises' ultra-luxurious Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will visit 70 ports of call in 27 countries on 30 different European itineraries in 2006. From May through November, Crystal Cruises is showcasing the best of the Mediterranean and Northern Europe with more seven-day departures, intriguing maiden calls, new extended land programs ashore and more overnight stays in the world's best destinations. Complementing the majority of 10- to 14-day cruises in Europe are new seven-day cruises in the Mediterranean and the Baltic, and maiden calls include visits to Ayr & Troon, Scotland; Tripoli, Libya; Gijon, Spain; Trieste, Italy; Spitsbergen, Norway; La Rochelle, France; and Riga, Latvia.

In Southern Europe from spring through fall, 15 itineraries explore the romance and history of the Mediterranean from the west -- Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands, France, Monaco; to the east -- Italy, Greece, Croatia, Turkey and Egypt; and on up into the Black Sea. In summer months, travelers will discover the majesty of Northern Europe on 15 enriching itineraries through the British Isles, the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic and even the Arctic Circle.

"Crystal Cruises has individually crafted each European cruise itinerary to provide a rich combination of destinations with more overnight stays and more time in ports," says Bill Smith, Crystal's senior vice president, sales & marketing. "Whether taking a shorter seven-day jaunt or combining several unique cruises to create the ultimate European exploration, luxury travelers will enjoy the grandeur of Europe and the warmth and luxury of the Crystal experience."

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Norwegian Cruise Lines Announces Names for Its Two New Ships: 
Norwegian Pearl & Norwegian Gem

MIAMI, Jan 2006 - NCL Corporation is proud to announce the names of its two newest ships – Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem. The ships, previously known as hull S.669 and S.670, will be Norwegian Jewel class ships and will be delivered in February 2007 and October 2007 respectively. Currently under construction at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem will feature all the attributes of NCL’s dynamic modern Freestyle Cruising fleet with multiple restaurants, vibrant public rooms, versatile, family-friendly accommodations and NCL’s popular new style of accommodations - Courtyard Villas - which along with each ship’s two Garden Villas -- make up the biggest, most luxurious, most innovative suite complexes at sea.

“Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem will be the ninth and 10th big new ships to join the NCL fleet since the fleet modernization began in late 1999,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. “Once Norwegian Gem is delivered in 2007, over 80 percent of NCL’s capacity will be big, new and modern, keeping NCL on track to offer the youngest fleet in the industry by 2010.”

Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem will join Pride of Hawai`i when she is launched in April and the seven big new ships built since 1999 and already in service – Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Spirit, Pride of Aloha, Pride of America and Norwegian Jewel. NCL will announce specifics on the new ships’ public rooms and itineraries in the near future including details about each ship’s distinctive hull artwork.

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Dawn Princess to Offer Extended 2006-07 Mexican Riviera Season

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan 2006 - Passengers interested in Northern California departures can now take advantage of an extended season of Mexican Riviera voyages as Princess Cruises has added 12 additional sailings of this popular itinerary to Dawn Princess' 2006-07 schedule. These 11-day roundtrip San Francisco cruises call at Mazatlan, Acapulco, Ixtapa/ Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. A full-day and evening call in Acapulco highlight the itinerary, providing an opportunity to experience more of this resort city's dynamic energy and enjoy the port's nightlife. And, passengers can enjoy time before or after their cruise exploring the eclectic sights of San Francisco, including Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square and the infamous Alcatraz, as well inviting coastal towns and the scenic wine country. 

"These Mexican Riviera cruises from San Francisco have proved enormously popular with vacationers from the Bay Area and beyond," said Jan Swartz, senior vice president of customer service and sales for Princess. "A day longer than our usual 10-day sailings, this itinerary offers extra time to really give our passengers a taste of Mexico and enjoy an extended call in Acapulco." 

The ship will now offer a total of 20 departures between September 26 and April 23, 2007. The new sailings replace the ship's previously scheduled Southern Caribbean and Grand Panama Canal departures. Dawn Princess' new sailings add to one of the line's most comprehensive Mexico seasons ever. In total, four ships -- Diamond Princess, Golden Princess, Dawn Princess and Island Princess -- will cruise the Mexican coast in 2006-07, continuing Princess' legacy and leadership in the region with itineraries that first brought the line to prominence. In addition to Dawn Princess' San Francisco departures, Diamond Princess will sail the line's classic seven-day roundtrip voyages from Los Angeles, with an additional special holiday voyage aboard Island Princess. Golden Princess will also sail from San Francisco when she makes her West Coast debut with 10-day roundtrip sailings and a one-way voyage from Acapulco in April. 

The 1,950-passenger Dawn Princess offers passengers the line's renowned Princess Service aboard a vessel offering two showrooms, two dining rooms -- featuring Princess' unique Personal Choice Dining, offering a choice of restaurant-style Anytime Dining or Traditional fixed-seating -- a 24-hour restaurant, an ocean-view fitness center, a sports deck, separate children and teen facilities and a teak promenade deck which encircles the entire ship. The ship also features 410 cabins with private balconies, a Princess trademark.

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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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