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Cruise News
January 1-31, 2008

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Art & Architecture Circles of Interest From Regent Seven Seas Cruises Highlight Classic Creations

FORT LAUDERDALE, Jan 24 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises has scheduled three Circles of Interest enrichment programs focusing on art and architecture for 2008. Circles of Interest feature exclusive onboard and shore-side experiences delivered by world-class lecturers, instructors and authorities from the realms of art, cuisine, history, environmental conservation, photography and wellness. Art- and architecture-focused Circles of Interest from Regent will be offered aboard select summer and fall voyages of the 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony ship Seven Seas Voyager® and the 490-guest, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator®. Lisa Hahn, president and founder of Art Horizons International, a special-interest tour company that provides enriching journeys focusing on art, architecture and the performing arts, will lead June 9, July 26 and September 9, 2008 voyages featuring artistic and architectural treasures in northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Coast, the Greek Isles and northern Africa.

These Circles of Interest programs will provide guests with rare opportunities to discover countless masterpieces representing the height of classic creativity, and meet distinguished contemporary artists who discuss their work and inspirations. Hahn, a trustee of SUNY New Paltz University and board member of The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, has studied art and archaeology at Princeton University and New York University. She will host guests at private receptions, offer informative lectures, and lead tours of art studios, museums and acclaimed art libraries in Africa, Greece, Portugal and Spain. Guests will also have opportunities to interact with other world-class artists and instructors, and enjoy stimulating presentations on classic and contemporary art.

“Our 2008 Art and Architecture Circles of Interest programs feature insightful perspectives on classic and contemporary art from world-class experts, plus an insider’s view into the environments and experiences that influence the creative process,” said Sophie Vlessing, Regent’s vice president, marketing and guest strategy. “These enlightening journeys also offer the enjoyment of a core group of travelers sharing similar interests. Regent’s art- and architecture-themed Circles of Interest will deliver truly memorable experiences throughout 2008.”

The 2008 schedule of art-oriented Circles of Interest cruises includes:

• Art and Architecture, June 9-19, 2008, Seven Seas Voyager, Monte Carlo to Dover – The fine line that divides art and architecture is explored in this fascinating enrichment program. Lisa will welcome guests with a private reception, followed by a lecture focusing on the styles and techniques found in contemporary architecture. Special attention will be paid to the development of modern architecture in Spain and Portugal. The program is highlighted by a visit to Portugal’s new Ellipse Foundation Contemporary Art Center. This dramatic 20,000 square foot space focuses on contemporary Portuguese and international art. Guests will also tour the 14th century Sintra Palace, located atop a mountain village in one of Portugal’s oldest towns.
• Art in Exile, July 26-Aug. 2, 2008, Seven Seas Navigator, Venice to Piraeus – The Cyclades Islands have inspired artists for generations. Today, the Islands’ cobalt blue waters, fresh air, bright white houses and stark rock formations are home to many gifted artists. Lisa will introduce guests to some of these “Artists in Exile.” The program will begin with a lecture on the origins of Impressionist painting in the north of France, and move on to a private group dinner featuring a discussion of the Getty Museum. The program is highlighted by visits to the studios of three contemporary artists living on the small, beautiful island of Mykonos, Greece.
• Architecture and Literature, Sept. 9-20, 2008, Seven Seas Navigator, Istanbul to Piraeus – The world’s greatest literary treasures have often been housed in impressive architectural masterpieces. On this voyage, Lisa will present lectures and presentations focusing on global libraries and learning centers. The program begins with a welcome reception, followed by lectures and a private dinner focusing on libraries as the new temples of culture and communication. Guests will also explore the partnerships and alliances forged across the art world. In Alexandria, Egypt, guests will visit the Alexandria Library Museum, a major cultural center that is a commemoration of the Library at Alexandria, lost in antiquity, and an attempt to rekindle the brilliance this earlier library represented.

Further details on these programs can be found at

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Explore the Columbia and Snake Rivers Aboard Majestic America Line at Exceptional Savings

SEATTLE, Jan. 24 -- Majestic America Line, one of the world's premier river cruise lines and the largest river and coastal cruising company in America, is offering early advantage savings for guests who book by Feb. 22, 2008, on 2008 Columbia and Snake river cruises aboard Empress of the North, Queen of the West and Columbia Queen. The 7-night roundtrip cruise from Portland, beginning March 22, offers guests the opportunity to view deep gorges, transit eight impressive lock and dam systems and discover 1,000 miles of the Columbia and Snake rivers. The itinerary features Native American hunting grounds, Lewis and Clark-era forts, shimmering waterfalls, steep-sided canyons and golden fields of wheat. With 77 sailings to choose from, guests will have the opportunity to view Multnomah Falls' 4,000 foot-high cliffs, experience North America's deepest gorge and visit the oldest settlement west of the Rockies, marking the completion of Lewis and Clark's quest. Guests also enjoy exceptional value from Majestic America Line whose enrichment opportunities and custom tours are included in the cruise which help bring the history of the area to life. The shore tour adventures include the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, Pendleton Woolen Mill and Underground Tour, Tamatslikt Cultural Center, Hells Canyon Jet Boat Ride, Mt St. Helens Visitor Center, and Fort Clatsop.

Empress of the North features a Russian Alaskan decor, where guests enjoy modern five-star comfort, service, and a sense of adventure. With just 122 staterooms and suites, the Empress of the North provides guests an intimate, distinctive atmosphere. Her public rooms are filled with extensive art collections, including unique Native American artifacts and Russian antiques, including rare and beautiful Faberge eggs. Every stateroom reveals Russian heritage with elegant furnishings, including rich mahogany wardrobes and luxurious velvet drapes.

Queen of the West was built to showcase wide-open vistas, forested river banks and small towns of the Northwest. Four decks -- two of them wrapping around the entire ship -- offer panoramic viewing from every angle. Her spacious lounges are filled with generous windows letting in light. All 142 discerning guests aboard enjoy outside staterooms where scenic views change by the hour.

Columbia Queen brings contemporary small-ship cruising to the rivers of the Northwest. This elegant vessel combines state-of-the-art propulsion and navigation systems with luxurious elements typical of much larger luxury vessels. Onboard are spacious public rooms filled with richly polished woodwork and plush seating, Tiffany & Co. chandeliers, and artwork inspired by the Pacific Northwest. Each of the 75 spacious staterooms aboard the Columbia Queen are equipped with modern guest amenities and many offer private verandahs or French balconies.

Each journey aboard a Majestic America Line cruise promises an extraordinary American experience, with incredible attention to quality, wonderful enrichment programs and warm, attentive service from an American crew. For more information, contact a travel agent, call 1-800-434-1232 or visit

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MSC Cruises' Newest Ship MSC Orchestra to Join MSC Lirica for 2008-09 Caribbean Season

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 24 – MSC Cruises will be bringing two state-of-the-art ships, including its newest, to Fort Lauderdale for an exciting 2008-09 Caribbean season that features seven itineraries, 16 enchanting ports, the line’s first call in Bermuda and several special theme cruises. Guests can select itineraries that feature the tropical Deep Caribbean, the wonders of the Western Caribbean, the jewels of the Eastern Caribbean, the exotic Caribbean featuring Panama and the pink sand beaches of Bermuda as well as transatlantic voyages between Fort Lauderdale and some of Europe’s most intriguing ports of call. Most of the itineraries include visits to Cayo Levantado, the line’s private island experience in the Dominican Republic, where guests have the option to explore the waters around the island and view humpback whales as they arrive in the warmer Caribbean waters off the coast of the Dominican Republic to mate and enjoy their newborns.

MSC Cruises’ newest ship, MSC Orchestra, which debuted in 2007, will sail her inaugural Caribbean season, joining MSC Lirica, which has sailed Caribbean waters for several seasons. At 92,400 gross tons, 196 feet high and 961 feet long, with 16 decks (13 of which are passenger decks), MSC Orchestra is the largest member of the line’s fleet to sail the Caribbean. It can carry 2,550 passengers (double occupancy) in 1,275 staterooms (80% outside staterooms, most with a private balcony).

“MSC Orchestra is ideally suited for the preferences of our American and Canadian guests,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA). “It is an elegant ship that epitomizes the line’s ‘Beautiful. Passionate. Italian.’ approach to cruising.”

With more than 236,800 square feet of public areas and 5 restaurants (L’Ibiscus, Villa Borghese, La Piazzetta, Four Seasons, the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant – the only dedicated Chinese restaurant at sea), 10 bars (two of which are open air), 3 meeting and conference rooms, a 21-foot by 12-foot outdoor LED screen that airs movies on the pool deck, and the 16,146 square feet for the Body and Mind Spa, MSC Orchestra represents the perfect combination of grace and style.

MSC Orchestra will arrive in Fort Lauderdale Jan. 2, 2009. The following day she will begin sailing alternating 7-night roundtrip itineraries through April 25, 2009:

--Eastern Caribbean, calling at Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. John, Antigua; and Nassau, Bahamas, as well as two days at sea.
--Western Caribbean, calling at Key West, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic, and two days at sea.
--A special 7-night roundtrip Bermuda sailing departs Fort Lauderdale April 25, 2009. This itinerary includes three days in King’s Wharf, Bermuda and a day in Nassau, Bahamas, as well as two sea days.

MSC Orchestra is scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale May 2, 2009 on an 18-night voyage that will include a two-day visit to New York before heading eastbound to Copenhagen. The itinerary includes calls at Ponta Delgado, Azores; Lisbon, Portugal; Vigo, Spain; La Coruna, Spain; and Dover, England before arriving in Copenhagen.

MSC Lirica will arrive in Fort Lauderdale Dec. 3, 2008 to begin a Caribbean season that includes the following itineraries:

--10-night Deep Caribbean, calling at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Port Castries, St. Lucia; St. John’s, Antigua; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Cayo Levantado, as well as three days at sea.
--10-night Caribbean featuring Panama, calling at Costa Maya, Mexico; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Cristobal, Panama; Cartagena, Colombia; and Cayo Levantado, and four days at sea;
--7-night Western Caribbean, calling at Key West, Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cayo Levantado and two sea days. One of the Western Caribbean sailings is the New Year’s cruise.
--7-night Eastern Caribbean, calling at Cayo Levantado, Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Nassau, Bahamas, and two days at sea. This is the line’s Christmas cruise.

MSC Lirica begins its eastbound transatlantic crossing on April 23, 2009. The 16-night cruise calls at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Fort de France, Martinique; Funchal, Portugal; Lisbon, Portugal; Vigo, Spain and Le Havre, France, before arriving in Dover, England on May 9, 2009.

Theme Cruises
The 2008-09 Caribbean season will also feature several special theme cruises:
--Baseball Theme Cruises: Because MSC Cruises has received such strong response from previous seasons to guests who have had the opportunity to mingle and learn from some of the greats of the game, five baseball theme cruises are slated for the 2008-09 Caribbean season, including MSC Lirica’s Dec. 13 sailing and MSC Orchestra’s Jan. 24, Feb. 28, March 28 and April 11 departures.
--Big Band Cruise: MSC Lirica’s Dec. 3 Deep Caribbean itinerary will featuring the 15-piece Les DeMerle Big Band with vocalist Bonnie Eisele. Featuring the sounds of Ellington, Basie, James and Miller, plus Broadway hits, rock ‘n’ roll classics, hot Latin grooves and show-stoppers from the ‘40s through today. The band will also perform a Big Band Jazz Concert and conduct a lecture on the Big Band era.

“Kids Sail Free” with MSC Cruises on all sailings all the time. Children ages 17 and younger sail free when they accompany two full-fare-paying adults in a stateroom (government fees and taxes are additional; additional restrictions may apply). For more information about MSC Cruises, visit a local travel professional or

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Hurtigruten Unveils Potpourri of Savings Offers for 2008 Cruises Along Norway's Scenic Coast

New York, NY, Jan 2008 -- What has been called “The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage” is now being offered with several opportunities for savings. Travelers can save up to $500 when booking select Hurtigruten’s Norwegian Coastal Voyage between March and December 2008 with those booking a southbound voyage receiving a free shore excursion, either the Lofoten or the Trondheim with Nidaros Cathedral Tour. This discount can be combined with free trans-Atlantic air for both guests on the 12-day sailings or free companion air on the six- and seven-day itineraries for departures on select ships between Mar. 1- April 30 and Oct. 1-Dec. 15, 2008 if booked by March 15. Or passengers can get 50% off the fare for a companion during May and September sailings. Special four-day land packages are also being offered for use in conjunction with the cruise-only sailings.

The six-, seven- and 12-day voyages, aboard a modern Hurtigruten ship, take in Norway’s spectacular fjord-filled, 1,250-mile west coast between the charming Hanseatic port of Bergen and Kirkenes, close to the Russian border. The ships make 34 port calls on the route, ranging from fishing villages in the rugged Lofoten Islands to Art Nouveau Alesund and bustling cities like Tromso and Trondheim. Optional shore excursions range from Midnight Sun concerts in Tromso’s Arctic Cathedral to sea safaris on the Pasvik River to the Russian border and can be booked before departure.

For guests wishing to compliment their voyage with an exploration of some of Norway’s fascinating cities, Hurtigruten is offering land packages that include two pre-cruise nights in Oslo on all sailings, two post-cruise nights in Bergen on the seven- and 12-day voyages and one night each in Bergen and Kirkenes on the six-day. Superior first-class and first class accommodations, air or rail transfers between cities, breakfast daily, transfers and hotel taxes are included.

The cruise includes all meals aboard ship, taxes and port charges. Air taxes and fuel surcharge is additional. Brochures, information and reservations can be obtained from Hurtigruten (formerly Norwegian Coastal Voyage), (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300; for brochures, (800) 666-2374, 24 hours a day;

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Norwegian Cruise Line Launches New Television Commercials

MIAMI, Jan 23—Building on its successful brand identity campaign introduced in late 2006, NCL is introducing a series of new television commercials highlighting the facets of the company’s signature Freestyle Cruising, an approach to cruising unlike any other offered in the industry. Freestyle Cruising leaves regimented schedules behind, and is characterized by having no fixed dining times, resort casual attire, relaxed disembarkation and dozens of on-board entertainment and activity options. Each commercial, developed by NCL’s advertising agency, Austin-based GSD&M’s Idea City, provides a humorous look at guests who are on a traditional, regimented cruise in a typical situation, whether it is being forced to dine with people they don’t know, or to dress in formal attire for dinner. The commercials, with titles such as “Salesman,” “Starer,” “Gallstones,” and “Clothing,” conclude by showing the benefits of NCL’s Freestyle Cruising where guests are “free to whatever” and can dine on their own schedule in resort casual attire at a multitude of on-board restaurants.

“Our first round of television commercials featuring the new brand identity was extremely successful in communicating the overall advantages of NCL’s Freestyle Cruising,” said NCL’s Andy Stuart, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “With this next series, we sought to show the benefits of Freestyle Cruising in more detail -- including choice of restaurants, no set dining times and relaxed attire – to overcome the top barriers to cruising as identified by consumers themselves.”

The new television ads embody NCL’s brand identity that breaks the mold of traditional cruise industry marketing with its light-hearted tone. One way the brand is characterized is with a graphic treatment shown at the end of each commercial that features a white fish swimming against the direction of a school of blue fish, depicting NCL’s innovative spirit in the cruise industry, as well as the type of guest that NCL is looking to attract, one who is a “non-conformist”. NCL’s research shows that the types of people who are attracted to Freestyle Cruising see themselves as individualists in a world in which increasingly everyone else is doing what they are told and accepting what is offered. With these commercials, NCL is communicating with vacationers who want to enjoy their cruise on their terms without the structure and regimentation that is still the central feature of traditional cruises.

Five of the eight new commercials are currently airing on network and cable television nationwide including the Travel Channel on January 25 between 8 and 9 p.m. ET and during 60 Minutes on February 10 between 7 and 8 p.m. ET. Visit to view the new commercials.

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Empress of the North Alaska Cruise Features
Renowned Sports Leader & Entrepreneur Peter Ueberroth

SEATTLE, Jan. 22 -- Majestic America Line, one of the world's premier river cruise lines and the largest river and coastal cruising company in America, announced a special Alaska cruise aboard the 223-guest Empress of the North departing Juneau, May 24, 2008, hosted by distinguished sports leader and business entrepreneur Peter Ueberroth. Ueberroth currently serves on the board of directors for Ambassadors International, Inc., the parent company of Majestic America Line.

"On this exclusive cruise featuring Mr. Ueberroth, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy Alaska's wilderness, wildlife and history on board the luxurious Empress of the North," said Diane Moore, Executive Vice President, Majestic America Line.

Ueberroth served as the sixth commissioner of Major League Baseball, was president of the organization responsible for staging and operating the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, named 1984 Man of the Year by Time Magazine and authored the bestseller "Made in America." He founded the First Travel Corporation in 1962 and sold the company in 1980, when it was the second-largest travel business in North America. Currently, Ueberroth is the managing director of Contrarian Group Inc., and owner and co-chairman of the Pebble Beach Company. He serves as chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors and is on the board of directors for The Coca-Cola Company and Hilton Hotels Corporation.

The 7-night roundtrip cruise visits Alaska's most colorful ports of call including Juneau, the Gold Rush capital with its colorful boomtown frontier history and nearby Mendenhall Glacier; Sitka, once known as the capital of Russian America, accessible only by sea or air; Skagway, and its storied boardwalk; and Petersburg, a Scandinavian-influenced fishing village also called Little Norway. The cruise also transits Peril Strait, the 22-mile-long Wrangell Narrows and Lynn Canal, North America's longest glacial fjord. Guests will also have the opportunity to take an unforgettable cruise into the mouth of the Stikine River, considered one of the last truly wild rivers in North America. On the final day, the trip culminates with one of the most dramatic travel experiences in the world -- Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier and a breathtaking journey through the 26-mile-long Tracy Arm featuring North and South Sawyer Glaciers.

The Empress of the North reflects a Russian Alaskan theme, where guests enjoy modern five-star comfort, service, convenience and sense of adventure. Expansive art collections throughout the ship display unique Native American artifacts and Russian antiquities such as beautiful and rare Faberge eggs. With just 112 staterooms and suites, the Empress of the North provides intimate access to the scenic places, historical events and varied cultures that have shaped the great land and provides guests with a view of the vast wilderness and waterways of Alaska's Inside Passage that most Alaska cruises miss. For reservations, contact your travel agent or Majestic America Line at 1-800-434-1232. Visit Majestic America Line online at

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Silver Shadow to be Only Ultra-Luxury Cruise Ship in Alaska This Summer

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 22 -- This summer, Silversea's all-suite, 382-guest Silver Shadow will be the only ultra-luxury cruise ship exploring Alaska. Boasting a crew-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.29 and a space ratio of 74.0 (or 7,400 cubic feet of space per guest), Silver Shadow offers a level of personalized service and spaciousness that is unsurpassed. And at just 28,258 gross tons, these hallmarks of luxury are served up in a most intimate, club-like environment not available on larger ships. From the majesty of snow-capped glaciers and misty fjords to the awesome beauty of a rain forest, Silversea reveals the natural wonders of Alaska and the Pacific Coast on ten distinctive itineraries of nine to 12 days. Several sailings feature convenient round-trip departures from Vancouver, with open-jaw voyages also available from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seward.

"Designed to provide a truly exceptional travel experience, our Silver Shadow is the perfect option for the discerning world traveler who wants to be pampered in luxury and comfort while exploring Alaska's spectacular scenery," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "There are a number of mainstream mega-ships calling in Alaska this summer, but only Silversea offers an exclusive alternative for the sophisticated traveler seeking an award-winning, all-inclusive and intimate shipboard experience." Added Morris, "With one voyage already sold out, and others about to, space is filling up quickly, so now's the time to book."

In addition to savings of up to 40%, Silver Shadow guests will enjoy spacious, ocean-view accommodations (most with private veranda), sumptuous gourmet cuisine, personalized service, warm Italian hospitality, and Silversea's generous 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 provided in the Grand, Royal, Rossellini and Owner's Suites.

The Alaska voyages will showcase a diverse enrichment program of noted scholars, writers, and other experts selected from a variety of fields to share their passion, knowledge and insider views for the entertainment and edification of Silversea's guests. A small sampling includes:
-- For the nature lover, marine biologist John Palmisano (Ph.D.) will host the May 31 Los Angeles-to-Vancouver "Inside Passage" voyage, offering insights on the oceans and diversity of marine life.
-- For the gourmet, on June 21, Silver Shadow's Vancouver-to-San Francisco cruise welcomes Relais & Châteaux chef Anne Desjardins from the award-winning restaurant and inn L'Eau à la Bouche (Ste-Adèle, Québec) and wine expert John Shafer of Shafer Vineyards and Winery (Napa Valley, California).
-- For the nature lover, Sabin Robbins, published author, former zoo society director and writer-editor at the National Geographic Society, will host Silver Shadow's September 5 "Inside Passage" cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles. Robbins' field research includes East Africa, Galapagos Islands, Amazon River and the whale nurseries of the Pacific.

Silversea guests can extend their Alaska voyage with optional pre- and post-cruise land programs featuring deluxe accommodations, all transportation, transfers, guided sightseeing and some meals. Highlights include:
** From Vancouver, "The Majestic Canadian Rockies" four- or five-night program explores the breathtaking peaks and valleys of the Canadian Rockies from the comfort of your railcar. Enjoy two nights in Banff and visit the "Jewel of the Canadian Rockies" -- Lake Louise, set in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join the Rocky Mountaineer for a two-day journey by rail through the snow-capped Canadian Rockies, past the Continental Divide, the Spiral Tunnels and Kicking Horse Canyon to Kamloops for an overnight stay. Continue your rail adventure past the Cascades, lush Fraser River Valley and Hell's Gate, then on to Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean. (Offered on all Alaskan itineraries except 3812, 3815, 3816.)
** From Seward, the three-night "Denali -- Nature at Her Grandest" program features a journey to Denali by luxury rail, crossing the magnificent vista of Hurricane Gulch. Denali National Park, one of the world's greatest wildlife sanctuaries, offers the chance to spot grizzly bears, caribou, moose and wolves. The park rests under the shadow of spectacular Mount McKinley, North America's highest mountain. (Only available on Voyage 3820.)
** Also from Seward, the six-night "Land of the Midnight Sun" offers the ultimate Alaskan experience, combining the grandeur of Denali National Park with a journey of over 300 miles above the Arctic Circle to Barrow, the largest Inuit settlement in Alaska. Here in the land of the midnight sun, stand on the northernmost tip of the continent, encounter the unique traditional lifestyle of native Alaskans and explore the white wilderness of the tundra. The program includes a scenic riverboat adventure from Fairbanks. (Only available on Voyage 3820.)

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Chef Nobu Matsuhisa to Sail Aboard Crystal Symphony

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 21 -- World-class master chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa will travel aboard the award-winning Crystal Symphony this spring to officiate the opening of two new restaurants. Silk Road and The Sushi Bar were conceived in partnership with luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises and will feature the coveted cuisine of this legendary chef. On March 21, 2008, at the start of Crystal Symphony's Hong Kong to Beijing cruise, Nobu will preside over a traditional sake ceremony for all guests. During the cruise, he will personally oversee the launch of both restaurants and will continue to work closely with his Nobu-trained chefs on the delicate nuances of preparing his eclectic cuisine, an innovative blend of classically styled Japanese foods with Peruvian and European influences.

Occupying the former Jade Garden space, Silk Road and The Sushi Bar will accommodate a total of 68 guests and will be open most evenings. While there is no additional charge, reservations are recommended for Silk Road; dining at The Sushi Bar will be on a first come, first served basis. The new restaurants represent an expansion of Nobu's culinary alliance with Crystal Cruises. Since 2003, his cuisine has enjoyed tremendous success aboard Crystal Symphony's fleetmate, Crystal Serenity. All of the head chefs in Silk Road and The Sushi Bar have held key positions at one of Nobu's worldwide restaurants. In the case of Crystal Symphony, the head chefs were chefs at his Los Angeles or Tokyo establishments.

"During the past four years, Crystal has done an incredible job of ensuring the consistent quality and integrity of my cuisine served aboard Crystal Serenity, regardless of wherever the ship may be in the world," comments Nobu. "I am very pleased to build upon my relationship with Crystal Cruises and fully expect the opening of The Sushi Bar and Silk Road to further enhance Crystal Symphony's tradition of culinary excellence."

Toni Neumeister, Crystal's vice president of food and beverage operations, adds, "Like Nobu, we share a deep appreciation of discovering the world and its people through food, and we look forward to presenting our savvy clientele with yet another new dimension of choice and excellence." The 15-day cruise program (12-day cruise plus three-day land program) includes two ports of call in Japan, including an overnight stay in Kobe and a full day in Hiroshima. China is explored with two days in Shanghai, a call Dalian and an inclusive three-day overland adventure to Beijing.

About Crystal Cruises
Aboard the ultra-luxurious Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, refined elegance meets casual simplicity. With an emphasis on innovative product differentiation, the renowned Crystal experience is distinguished by classic service, abundant space, extensive choices and superior quality, providing worldwide vacations that bridge the best of land and sea. For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Second ‘John Heald Bloggers Cruise’ Scheduled For Feb 2009 Aboard Carnival Fantasy From New Orleans

MIAMI, Jan 21 – Following the response to the inaugural John Heald Bloggers Cruise taking place this week aboard Carnival Freedom, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that the popular senior cruise director will host a second Bloggers Cruise, this time aboard the Carnival Fantasy Feb. 7-12, 2009. The second Bloggers Cruise, a five-day voyage operating round-trip from New Orleans and calling at the Mexican ports of Progreso and Cozumel, will bring together thousands of enthusiasts of Heald’s widely read blog, which has attracted more than 1.4 million visitors since its debut last March. The announcement for the second Bloggers Cruise was made yesterday by Heald aboard the Carnival Freedom where more than 1,000 of his readers gathered for a week of fun and interaction.

Through his blog (located at and, Heald offers a unique, behind-the-scenes look at shipboard life, with humorous and often poignant anecdotes and observations focusing on the people and places he comes in contact with on a daily basis. He is often joined by his wife Heidi, assistant cruise director and regular blog contributor.

“I am very excited to host the 2009 Bloggers Cruise aboard the Carnival Fantasy and can’t wait to see the amazing additions that have taken place on board following the ‘Evolutions of Fun’ refurbishment,” Heald said. “This cruise will be a great opportunity for those who love cruising and read the blog thingy to come together for a fun celebration. Of course, I relish the chance to see New Orleans again and maybe in a small way this cruise will highlight the Big Easy's continuing rejuvenation,” he added.

Carnival Fantasy was selected as the venue for the second “Bloggers Cruise” as it will be the latest ship to undergo the second phase of the line’s “Evolutions of Fun” vessel refurbishment program, which will result in a total transformation of the ship. The upgrades, scheduled to be completed during a month-long dry dock this fall, will include a Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, Serenity adults-only area, and a totally redesigned main Lido pool area. These renovations will complement phase one of the program which included extensive refurbishments in public areas, as well as all staterooms and suites.

Special ‘Bloggers Cruise’ Events
During the five-day cruise on Carnival Fantasy, Heald will serve as cruise director and host a number of exclusive events, including a Welcome Aboard Reception, trivia contests, and question-and-answer sessions. Special photo opportunities with Heald will be available, as well. A variety of special giveaways and logo items will be provided to all Bloggers Cruise participants, and Heald will, of course, be submitting entries to his blog throughout the voyage.

The Perfect Venue
The “Second Bloggers” cruise also provides participants the opportunity to sail from New Orleans and experience all the great features and attractions this one-of-a-kind city has to offer. The namesake in the line’s highly successful Fantasy-class, the Carnival Fantasy features a variety of dramatic public spaces, with 12 themed lounges and bars, a 12,000-square-foot spa, full casino gambling and on-board duty-free shopping.

Dining options aboard Carnival Fantasy include two formal restaurants offering extensive menus and wine lists and a 700-seat casual poolside eatery featuring 24-hour pizza and ice cream, along with a sushi bar, a coffee bar serving specialty coffees and sweets, and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service. Extensive facilities for children and teens, part of the top-rated “Camp Carnival” and “Club O2” programs, respectively, are also available. Carnival Fantasy also offers a wide range of accommodation categories, all of which have been renovated and feature the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows.

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

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'Turf's Up!' The Grass Really Is Greener on Celebrity Solstice

MIAMI, Jan. 18  -- There is a new job opening at Celebrity Cruises: groundskeeper. The perfect candidate must be willing to perform his or her duties while traveling the world aboard a beautifully appointed ocean liner. The successful candidate also must be a dedicated horticulturist who possesses an unmistakable enthusiasm for the unexpected, as the greens will be miles out at sea.

When Celebrity Solstice launches in December, vacationers will find that the grass really is greener on a Celebrity Cruises vacation. The ship will present an industry first on the top deck of the ship: real, growing grass, set in an innovative new country club environment known as "The Lawn Club." The half-acre Lawn Club on Celebrity Solstice will invite guests to enjoy bocce ball and croquet, practice their putting, picnic with a basket of wine and cheese, or simply feel the grass between their toes, while sailing the oceans of the world. The area also will feature the Hot Glass Show, another first in the industry, developed in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass; the Patio on the Lawn; the Lawn Club Shop, and the Sunset Bar.

"We want our guests to experience the unexpected, like the thrill of sinking a putt on a freshly manicured lawn in the middle of the ocean," said Dan Hanrahan, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. "The experiences on and around the lawn exemplify what we aim to achieve: to recognize, celebrate and indulge our guests in style."

Achieving that reality was no easy task. Celebrity worked with design firm Wilson Butler Architects to design the entire club area, then engaged a team of landscape architects and irrigation specialists along with turf and soil scientists at the University of Florida. Together, they conducted extensive research and tested a variety of grasses to determine which can withstand the winds, sun, shade and temperature variations that will affect the grass and soil as the ship sails in the Caribbean this winter. Other considerations included the ability of the grass to tolerate foot traffic, irrigation and day-to-day care and maintenance of the grass. Even the weight of the grass and soil had to be considered, as well as the water they absorb from the atmosphere and from irrigation.

Metric Facts about The Lawn Club on Celebrity Solstice

  • At 2,130 square meters (22,927 square feet), The Lawn Club is just over a half-acre in size.

The Lawn Club is:

  • Over three times larger than New York's Rockefeller Center ice skating rink (668 sq. meters)
  • 1.7 times larger than an Olympic-size swimming pool, which is 1,250 sq. meters
  • The equivalent of 8.2 tennis courts (these are 260 sq. meters each)
  • 2.4 times the size of Centre Court at England's Wimbledon Lawn & Tennis Club, which is 902 sq. meters
  • One-third the size of a regulation soccer field, which is 6,500 sq. meterss

The Lawn Club is the central element of the top-deck experiences on Celebrity Solstice. The Patio on the Lawn offers elegant yet relaxed sitting areas where luxury meets casual country club charm. Guests can read the morning paper, lose themselves in a good novel, or enjoy a cup of gourmet coffee with friends, courtesy of the patio's coffee cart service.

"Everything about the Celebrity Cruises brand is authentic," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman of Celebrity Cruises. "Our vision for a completely genuine experience demanded nothing less than real grass, and we sought out the right innovation to make that vision a reality."

The Hot Glass Show, presented in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass, is the patio's main feature. In its own, dedicated glassblowing studio, the Hot Glass Show will present the history and craft of glassblowing, from its ancient origins to its current countless uses. Three resident "gaffers" -- highly skilled glassblowing artists -- will educate and entertain cruisers with live glassmaking shows, lectures and workshops.

The area also features the Sunset Bar -- the ideal sailaway setting on any ship, enhanced on Celebrity Solstice by the natural grass in The Lawn Club. Located at Celebrity Solstice's highest point aft, the Sunset Bar provides breathtaking views in a relaxed atmosphere.

"We're confident our guests will be thrilled with The Lawn Club and the many new entertainment and sports options it offers," Hanrahan said.

Celebrity's current fleet will be joined by Celebrity Solstice in 2008, Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, and a fourth Solstice- class ship in 2011. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800- 437-3111 or visit And for more information about Celebrity Solstice, visit

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Carnival Cruise Lines to Host 2008 'Wild Winners' Tournament

MIAMI, Jan. 18 -- Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's largest cruise operator, in conjunction with the Ocean Players Club, a casino rewards program for guests sailing aboard the World's Leading Cruise Lines, is hosting its 2008 "Wild Winners" Tournament, comprised of a series of slot, blackjack and poker tournaments. The tournaments will be held on 10 different seven- to nine-day "Fun Ship" cruises operating January through October 2008, culminating in a grand final event on board Carnival's newest ship, the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor in November.

"With convenient homeports located throughout the U.S. and a variety of itineraries to choose from, guests not only enjoy a memorable and fun cruise vacation, but also have the opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in cash prizes," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and guest services.

The preliminary slot and blackjack tournaments each offer a cash prize of $2,500. All first place winners receive complimentary balcony accommodations for two and a free entry to the Final Event on the Carnival Splendor Nov. 17. The Grand Final slot and blackjack tournaments will each offer $25,000 in cash prizes and the winner of the poker grand final event will win a $10,000 seat to the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, NV, plus $1,000 cash for travel expenses. Entry fees for the slot and blackjack tournaments are $100 per person and $150 per person for the poker tournament.

Tournament dates are as follows:

  • Feb. 3 -- Carnival Pride: seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise departing from Long Beach/Los Angeles
  • March 8 -- Carnival Freedom: seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise departing from Miami
  • April 23 -- Carnival Miracle: eight-day Eastern Caribbean cruise departing from New York
  • May 10 -- Carnival Glory: seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise departing from Port Canaveral, FL
  • June 15 -- Carnival Pride: seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise departing from Long Beach/Los Angeles
  • July 19 -- Carnival Liberty: seven-day Western Caribbean cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale
  • Aug. 17 -- Carnival Conquest: seven-day Western Caribbean cruise departing from Galveston, TX
  • Sept. 13 -- Carnival Victory: seven-day Fall Foliage cruise departing from New York
  • Oct. 18 -- Carnival Spirit: nine-day Mexican Riviera cruise departing from San Diego
  • Nov. 17 -- Carnival Splendor: four-day Eastern Caribbean cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale (Grand Final Event) 

The Ocean Players Club offers something for every level of player, from awards for playing slots to establishing credit lines and betting limits for high rollers. Players can earn points at the slots toward instant cash rewards, complimentary beverages, free gifts, and future cruise benefits. Membership in the Ocean Players Club is free and enrollment is coordinated with the casino host on board. For more information, visit For additional information and reservations regarding the upcoming "Wild Winners" slot and blackjack tournaments, contact any travel agent, call 1-888-OPC-CLUB or visit

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Celebrates Ten Years of Uninterrupted South Pacific Service for Paul Gauguin


FORT LAUDERDALE, Jan 18 – At a gala ceremony in Papeete Harbor featuring fireworks and colored water streaming skyward from tugboats, Tahiti’s government and Regent Seven Seas Cruises this week celebrated 10 years of uninterrupted South Pacific service for the ultra-luxury cruise ship Paul Gauguin. French Polynesian Tourism Minister Marc Collins presented Mark Conroy, president of Regent, with a commemorative plaque honoring the ship’s 10th anniversary. Collins thanked Conroy for Regent’s decade of fidelity in deploying the popular vessel year-round in Tahiti. The ceremony was highlighted by traditional music and dancing.

“From her very first cruise,
Paul Gauguin has provided our guests with a unique experience featuring an authentic Polynesian flavor,” said Conroy. “We could not have achieved this success without the spirit of welcome and cooperation we continue to receive from the Tahitian government and people. Regent is proud to operate this magnificent ship in this beautiful destination, and to introduce Tahiti’s charms to discerning travelers from around the world.”

Paul Gauguin first arrived in French Polynesia’s Society Islands in January 1998, having sailed from its shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, via the United States mainland and the Hawaiian Islands. Arriving amidst much fanfare, Paul Gauguin ushered in a new era of cruising in Tahiti, introducing outstanding onboard luxury and gracious, friendly service combined with generous and insightful exploration into Tahiti’s cultures and unrivaled natural beauty. Paul Gauguin has completed more than 400 South Pacific cruises, carrying more than 120,000 guests and contributing tens of millions of tourism dollars to Tahiti’s economy. Since its construction, the ship has undergone four refurbishments at a cost of more than $15 million.

Paul Gauguin offers year-around, seven-night cruises departing roundtrip from Papeete to Raiatea, Taha’a, Bora Bora and Moorea. The ship’s schedule also features 11-night voyages that include Rangiroa and Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands; 10-night cruises that include Huahine; and 14-night journeys that include Fatu Hiva and Ua Huka in the Marquesas and the remote Cook Islands. Additional information can be found at

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Star Flyer's Arrival in Tahiti Met with Music & Dance


MIAMI, Jan. 17 -- Star Flyer arrived at its new homeport of Papeete, Tahiti, Dec. 26, 2007, to a welcoming filled with pomp and circumstance. Fire boats jetting water and outriggers ushered the ship into the port, while local dignitaries and hundreds of well-wishers greeted the ship pierside along with performances by traditional Tahitian musicians and dancers. Local dance troupe O Tahiti E performed quayside, followed by a plaque exchange between the ship's master, Captain Bruno Borowka, and Marc Collins, Tahiti's Minister of Tourism. Star Clippers Vice President Eric Krafft, son of owner and President Mikael Krafft, also attended the kick-off of the Tahiti program.

"We have never been welcomed like this before and we are overjoyed by how enthusiastically the Tahitians embraced us upon our arrival," said Eric Krafft, vice president for Star Clippers. "Everyone at Star Clippers is excited that the Tahiti itineraries are under way, and the incredible booking response from our guests tells us that the French Polynesia program is going to be successful for years to come."

Dec. 30, 2007, the ship began sailing year-round seven-, 10- and 11-night round-trip Papeete cruises. The eight ports of call that compose the destination-intense itineraries take the ship to the Society and Tuamotus islands. Along the way, sunset departures, cruising in crystalline lagoons and opportunities to dive and snorkel in some of the most spectacular sites in the world enhance every itinerary. And shore excursions are designed to introduce guests to the fascinating culture and history of the Polynesian people.

Star Flyer sails a seven-night, round-trip Papeete itinerary that calls at Huahine, Raiatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora, and Cook Bay and Opunohu Bay, Moorea, with an overnight in Papeete before disembarkation.

The 10-night round-trip Papeete cruise takes Star Flyer to the Society Islands and Tuamotu Atolls, with special cruising in the Rangiroa Lagoon. The ship calls at Fakarava, Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Taha'a, Huahine and Moorea. The 11-night voyage adds an overnight call at Huahine.

To request a brochure, call toll-free (800) 442-0556 or e-mail . To make a reservation, contact a travel professional. For information, call Star Clippers at (800) 442-0551 or visit Star Clippers
to view a video about the line or take a virtual tour of the Star Clippers ships.


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First-Ever “Betty Boop” Fan Cruise to Set Sail 10/9/08 on Carnival Elation


MIAMI, Jan 17 – Carnival Cruise Lines and Jason Coleman, Inc., a producer of celebrity-hosted fan cruises, have partnered to offer the “Betty Boop Fan Cruise,” the first authentic, fully licensed specialty cruise that celebrates the legendary “Queen of Cartoons” Betty Boop. The five-day cruise aboard the “Fun Ship” Carnival Elation is scheduled to depart from San Diego, Calif., on October 9, 2008, and will visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico. This exclusive voyage will feature one-of-a-kind opportunities for fans to take part in special Boop events, screenings, and parties, take photos with Betty herself, and learn about the latest collectibles and Betty Boop apparel to look for in 2008 and 2009. Each guest will also receive a special gift bag with Betty Boop goodies, news, and more. In addition, fans will have the opportunity to attend a special photo, autograph, and Q & A event hosted by Mark Fleischer, President of Fleischer Studios and grandson of animation pioneer and Betty Boop creator, Max Fleischer.

“The Betty Boop Fan Cruise” will celebrate the beloved Betty Boop, her history-making debut as the first animated screen siren, and her influence on pop culture, fashion, and fun. Other activities will include Q&A sessions, a unique chance to share and trade Betty Boop collectibles, a Betty Boop welcome party with photo opportunities, and more. Jason Coleman, Inc. will work with Fleischer Studios and King Features to create an unforgettable event. As the worldwide exclusive licensing agent for Betty Boop, King Features works closely with Fleischer Studios to keep Betty entertaining her fans.  Fans can learn more about the cruise at

“This cruise offers a fantastic opportunity for Betty Boop fans to come together and experience an outstanding vacation they will never forget, and to celebrate a character that has brought decades of joy, entertainment, and smiles to fans around the world,” said Vicki Freed, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest services.

First introduced in the 1930s, Betty Boop was created by Max Fleischer for his “Talkartoons” series, the first “talkies” of animation, which Max’s company, Fleischer Studios, produced for Paramount. Mae Questel provided Betty’s distinctive voice. By 1932 Betty, considered to be the first and only female animated screen star, had taken the country by storm. Betty starred in more than 100 cartoons, 90 of which are included in the official “Betty Boop” series which ended in 1939. Since then, Betty has appeared in dozens of hit movies, television specials and commercials. She was the first cartoon character to be profiled by A&E’s “Biography” series.

The “Fun Ship” Carnival Elation features a diverse selection of lounges, bars and nightspots, along with a 12,000-square-foot health and fitness center, Wi-Fi Internet access, cellular phone service, and three pools, one of which features the line’s signature “Twister Waterslide.” The 2,052-passenger vessel also houses three restaurants, including two elegant main dining rooms with extensive menus and wine lists, and a poolside eatery offering a wide variety of cuisine, in addition to 24-hour pizza and self-serve ice cream/frozen yogurt. A sushi bar and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service are also available.


“I am ecstatic to be working with Carnival Cruise Lines, Fleischer Studios, and King Features to bring this great vacation event opportunity to life for Betty Boop fans,” said Jason Coleman, President of Jason Coleman, Inc. “This is an exclusive opportunity for fans to interact with fellow Betty Boop enthusiasts and collectors, meet top experts, and enjoy a wonderful cruise experience on the beautiful ‘Fun Ship,’ Carnival Elation.” Jason Coleman, Inc. is currently accepting reservations for the upcoming “Betty Boop Fan Cruise” aboard the Carnival Elation, which includes all “Betty Boop” activities. For additional information or to book, call Jason Coleman at (877) 269-0272, or visit

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Seabourn Means Business (Business Class Air, That Is)


MIAMI, Jan 17, 2008 -- The Yachts of Seabourn has launched a special promotion offering two-for-one international business class airfares to join ten Europe cruises of nine to 15 days  aboard the intimate, all-suite Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. The complimentary airfare, with a value of up to $5,800 per couple, may be combined with special savings of up to 40% off the brochure fares for the cruises. The airfares are available round trip from 38 North American gateways to voyages embarking between March and July, 2008 in Lisbon, Venice, London, Copenhagen, Rome, Nice and Barcelona and exploring itineraries in the Adriatic, the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Western Europe and Norwegian fjords.


"A Seabourn cruise already offers the best value in luxury travel to Europe this year," said Seabourn president and CEO Pamela Conover. "The comfort and convenience of business class travel is something that our guests use and value," she continued, "So this offer is consistent with the style they have come to associate with Seabourn." 


For details on this special promotion, contact your travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Premier Political Pundits Highlight PBS Personalities During Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ “PTV at Sea” Voyages

FORT LAUDERDALE, Jan 17 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) is inviting guests to join celebrated stars of television’s Public Broadcasting System (PBS) aboard two 2008 cruises featuring insightful discussion of the 2008 presidential election, world affairs, and the creative realms of film, performance and art. Regent’s Public Television at Sea ("PTV at Sea") cruises, part of its Spotlight Series enrichment program, depart April 7 aboard the 490-guest, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator®, and November 15 aboard 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony ship Seven Seas Voyager®. 

In April, as the nation anticipates a pivotal electoral decision, Regent’s PTV at Sea cruise will focus on an exclusive post-primary political discussion of the highest caliber. Gwen Ifill, host of Washington Week, PBS’ acclaimed political program, will lead a panel of respected journalists in a careful examination of the 2008 presidential campaign during a journey departing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale to Bermuda and the Bahamas aboard Seven Seas Navigator. Ifill will discuss strategies and issues that will directly impact the presidential race with a panel of distinguished journalists including:

  • Dan Balz, National Political Correspondent, The Washington Post
  • Martha Raddatz, Chief White House Correspondent, ABC News

In addition, leading political analyst Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report will provide front-line insight and information on the 2008 primaries, the campaign frontrunners and the possible outcome of the nation’s November decision.

In November, award-winning historian Ric Burns will discuss his films, including the critically acclaimed documentary The History of New York, and distinguished producer Jac Venza will discuss the history of one of PBS’s longest running shows, Great Performances, during a fall Mediterranean cruise aboard Seven Seas Voyager.

PTV at Sea itineraries are as follows:

  • April 7-18, 2008, Seven Seas Navigator - Washington Week highlights the 11-night voyage departing from Fort Lauderdale that will visit Port Canaveral, FL; Savannah, GA; Charleston, S.C.; Hamilton and St. George’s, Bermuda and Nassau, Bahamas.
  • November 15-23, 2008, Seven Seas Voyager - Arts and culture are celebrated as the Seven Seas Voyager departs from Civitavecchia, Italy (the port for Rome) on a 16-night voyage calling at Palermo, Sicily; Tunis, Tunisia; Cartagena and Malaga, Spain; Casablanca, Morocco and Funchal, Madeira before crossing the Atlantic to disembark in Fort Lauderdale.

Regent’s PTV at Sea cruises are offered in partnership with locally based PBS stations nationwide and Artful Travelers, which pairs the best of art, culture, entertainment and travel to create extraordinary experiences. PTV at Sea guests will enjoy rare opportunities to meet and mingle with their favorite public broadcasting personalities at dinners, cocktail parties, shore excursions and other organized events during both voyages. Each cruise will be highlighted by incisive, interactive panel discussions.

Visit for more information and updates as additional lecturers are confirmed. Reservations can be made by calling Artful Travelers at 800-645-8566. While certain activities and events during these cruises are only available to guests purchasing their cruise through Artful Travelers, some events will be open to all guests as part of Regent Seven Seas’ Spotlight Series, featured on Regent’s website

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Prolific Authors & Chef Lead Crystal Adventures in Vietnam, Thailand & India

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 16  -- Crystal Cruises has tapped award-winning international authors on Asian culture and a chef with global passions to join guests and add their regional insights to several compelling tours in Vietnam, India and Thailand. On select April cruises, Crystal guests have the unusual opportunity to explore Vietnam's mysterious Cu Chi Tunnels and the imperial city of Hue with filmmaker/professor/author Dr. Jean Pierre-Isbouts, share the Taj Mahal with author/historian Diana Preston who wrote a book about the treasure of India, or visit a local Thai market with guest chef, Azmin Ghaherman.

"Our guests seek distinctive experiences, wherever in the world they travel," says John Stoll, Crystal Cruises' director of land programs. "The expertise of Dr. Pierre-Isbouts, Chef Ghalerman and Ms. Preston add depth, personalization and exclusivity to the Crystal Adventure excursions."

"Mysteries of the Far East" cruise: Hong Kong to Singapore, Apr 14-25, 2008

  • Features a call in Chan May, Vietnam; an overnight call in Ho Chi Minh City; an overnight call in Bangkok's port of Laem Chabang; and overnight stay in Singapore.
  • A recognized authority on Southeast Asia, Dr. Isbouts will offer insights and commentary on the intricate Chu Chi tunnel networks once used by the Vietcong, and a more personalized look into the history, culture and architecture of Hue, from its Imperial Palace to the Heavenly Lady Pagoda -- one of the holiest pagodas in all Vietnam.

"Silk and Spices" voyage: Singapore to Dubai, Apr 25-May 11, 2008

  • Features calls in Phuket, Thailand; Cochin, Marmagoa, and Mumbai, India; Muscat, Oman; Doha, Quatar (a maiden call); and an overnight call in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Diana Preston, author of Taj Mahal: A Love Affair at the Heart of the Moghul Empire, will escort the full-day tour to discuss the treasure's creation, its cultural and architectural heritage, and daily life within the imperial palace. The excursion includes chartered roundtrip air from Mumbai to Agra, an exploration of the palace apartments, grand mosques and marble pavilions of Agra Fort, lunch and hospitality room accommodations, and an exclusive tour of the Taj Mahal.
  • Guest chef Azmin Ghaherman will supplement his onboard Wine & Food Festival demos and dinner with a shore-side excursion to a local market in Phuket. The owner of Sapphire Laguna restaurant in Laguna Beach, Ghaherman was born in Iran, educated in Switzerland, and has held executive chef positions from Australia to Malaysia, honing his global oriented approach to fine cuisine.

For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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NCL Launches Annual Freestyle Resolution Sales Event

MIAMI, Jan 16 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is starting 2008 off with a bang with its biggest sale of the year, the Freestyle Resolution Sales Event, which launched on January 7. This highly anticipated annual event features the best deals on cruise destinations from NCL, the youngest and most distinctive fleet in the industry. Consumers and travel agents alike can ring in the New Year with great savings and fun, as each week for the next seven weeks, NCL offers a new destination and special offer, along with a chance to win a free cruise. This week, Alaska is the featured destination and the offers include an on-board credit up to $100 per stateroom and 10 percent off per stateroom in the Suites and Villas category.

Also, back by popular demand is NCL’s Freestyle Showdown online game that lets visitors challenge their friends to see who knows the most about NCL’s Freestyle Cruising fleet and then enter to win a free cruise. Last year, this game was incredibly popular with more than 30,000 people participating. No time to play? Visitors can simply register each week to be eligible to win the cruise or send a friend information on the event and be entered to win the incredibly popular Wii™ video game system by Nintendo.

“Our Freestyle Resolution Sales Event is a great time to take advantage of some amazing cruise deals,” said Scott Rogers, NCL’s senior vice president, sales and marketing. “Guests can enjoy Freestyle Cruising on our ships which are the youngest in the industry and offer up to 11 restaurants and 13 bars and lounges, the largest and most luxurious suite complexes, the only bowling alleys at sea and much more.”

The Freestyle Resolution Sales Event runs through the end of February 2008. For more information and to find each week’s destination offer, consumers should go to or contact their travel agent for more information.

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Holland America Line's ms Prinsendam Receives Enhancements to Staterooms and Public Areas

SEATTLE, Jan. 16 -- Holland America Line has completed a significant upgrade to its "Elegant Explorer," ms Prinsendam. Totaling more than $20 million, the enhancements include new luxury bathrooms in all staterooms, the addition of the Explorations Cafe powered by the New York Times, expanded and refurbished shopping promenade, and new carpets and stone flooring.

"These renovations are yet another example of how Holland America Line continues to provide an unparalleled experience for today's premium cruise guests," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Our guests are very pleased with the changes to our staterooms and public areas. Many sail on this ship regularly and have let us know how much they appreciate the enhancements."

Stateroom upgrades included remodeling bathrooms and redesigning closet space. New carpet, desks, chairs and other furniture were also installed. New carpeting was laid throughout the dining room and lounges aboard ship while the Lido restaurant was resurfaced with stone and carpeting. Serving counter and seating areas were upgraded. Some outside decks were recovered, too.

On the sports deck, new croquet and bocce courts and two new putting greens were installed. A new Stuyvesant Room also was created to serve as a meeting room (that doubles as Club HAL space for children) and the library near the Explorations Cafe was expanded with more space and books.

All balconies received the final improvements to meet recently adopted International Maritime Organization regulations. And additional technical improvements were made with upgrades to radar systems, lifeboats and other nautical equipment.

Prinsendam travels on voyages from 14- to 73-days to exotic destinations worldwide. With a passenger count of 793, ms Prinsendam is the smallest ship in the Holland America Line fleet and is very popular among guests. For more information about ms Prinsendam, please visit

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Food Network's Popular Series Features a 'Dinner: Impossible' Challenge Aboard Sapphire Princess

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan. 15 -- In one of his first challenges for the third season of Food Network's popular series "Dinner: Impossible," Chef Robert Irvine accepted a "gastronomic dare" by Sapphire Princess' culinary team, the results of which will be revealed Wednesday, January 16 at 10 pm ET/PT. Viewers can tune in to see if the noted chef was successful with his surprise challenge to cook for the 2,900 passengers who were aboard the ship during an Alaska cruise this past summer.

The "Dinner: Impossible" episode promises to be one of the show's best, with many twists and turns and even some tears. Aboard Sapphire Princess, Chef Irvine receives a culinary curveball from Princess' food and beverage team headed by the line's Master Corporate Chef Alfredo Marzi. In Ketchikan, Alaska, Chef Irvine receives his largest challenge--creating a buffet of hors d'oeuvres for a 2,900 passenger sailaway party that will take place in seven-and-a-half hours. Chef Irvine, assisted by the Sapphire Princess culinary team, must figure out a way to solve the challenge before time runs out.

"We are so thrilled our talented food and beverage team had the opportunity to welcome aboard 'Dinner: Impossible,' and showcase their culinary talents and the ship's multi-faceted galley operations," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president. "Food Network is one of the most-watched cable networks, and we know from the response of our passengers aboard Sapphire Princess during the filming that they are huge fans of Chef Robert Irvine."

"When I first started working as a chef, I spent a lot of time on cruise ships," said Chef Irvine, "so I was excited about the challenge of revisiting the experience. Part of the success of the Princess culinary operation is the precision of their planning all the dining opportunities for passengers onboard. When I came onboard and started creating a party for the passengers from scratch, that's where it got interesting .... and nerve-wracking! This is a great episode and one I hope all our fans will watch."

About "Dinner: Impossible"
If you could combine James Bond with MacGyver, you would get Robert Irvine, a real life chef extraordinaire and the host of "Dinner: Impossible." Every Wednesday at 10 pm ET/PT, Robert is thrown a new culinary curveball and the team must figure out a way to solve their challenge before time runs out. From making dinner for 150 passengers aboard a luxury locomotive to recreating an authentic 18th century meal, will he succeed or will it truly be, "Dinner: Impossible"?

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Carnival's New 'Read my Valentine' Contest Awards Couple Free 'Fun Ship' Cruise for Most Romantic Story

MIAMI, Jan. 15 -- As part of a unique Valentine's Day promotion, Carnival Cruise Lines is awarding a free "Fun Ship" cruise to a couple who submits the most romantic story to the line's Web site, Through the "Read My Valentine" on-line contest, which runs from Jan. 14 to Feb. 14, 2008, couples can recount a romantic story about their partner on any topic they'd choose, from an interesting "how we met" tale to a memorable Valentine's Day gesture or their favorite romantic memory from a "Fun Ship" cruise. Official rules for the contest are posted on

The top five entries will be selected by a team of judges from Carnival and then posted on where visitors to the site can vote for their number one choice. The contest winner will receive a four-day western Caribbean cruise for two in the luxurious owner's suite aboard the 2,052-passenger Carnival Imagination from Miami or Carnival Inspiration from Tampa. Both of these ships recently underwent multi-million-dollar upgrades as part of Carnival's extensive "Evolutions of Fun" shipboard refurbishment program and feature such new amenities as a Serenity adults-only area, redesigned main pool, Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, and renovated 12,000- square-foot Spa Carnival health club.

The winner will also have his or her story featured in the summer 2008 edition of Currents, Carnival's travel publication mailed to more than three million of the line's past guests.

"Valentine's Day is a wonderful reminder to people to take the time to express their love for one another. And with Carnival such a popular venue for couples to celebrate special occasions, the 'Read My Valentine' promotion is a fun and engaging way to commemorate this treasured day," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and guest services.

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Voyager of the Seas Arrives in Galveston for its First Winter Season in Texas

MIAMI, Jan. 14 -- Everything is bigger in Texas and the next biggest thing in the Lone Star State is Royal Caribbean International's Voyager of the Seas. The largest cruise ship ever to be based in the Gulf Coast and to sail from the Port of Galveston, Voyager will sail seven-night itineraries visiting the Caribbean, South America and Mexico calling on Cozumel, Costa Maya and Yucatan, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and George Town, Grand Cayman through April 2008.

"Voyager's arrival also marks the first time a Voyager-class ship has been deployed in Texas," said Alice Norsworthy, senior vice president, Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. "We are excited to offer more Texans the opportunity to experience our signature style of cruising right from their backyard."

At a ceremony held onboard Voyager of the Seas yesterday, special guests, including local dignitaries, travel agents and media gathered to celebrate the arrival of the ship which was adorned with gigantic longhorns, 140 feet long and weighing 600 pounds. Following the ceremony, Royal Caribbean kicked off a week-long charity auction on eBay ( with proceeds benefiting the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation (, which helps seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities. The highest bidder will win the longhorns and a seven-night cruise for two.

"In 2006, we welcomed 617,000 cruise travelers, making Galveston the Gulf Coast's most popular cruise port. With the arrival of Voyager of the Seas, the port will undergo a $3.3 million upgrade to accommodate a 50 percent increase in Royal Caribbean guests," said Steven M. Cernak, port director, Port of Galveston. "Hosting the most innovative ship in the Gulf will have a significant economic impact, adding to the success of 2006 when we saw $1.1 billion in direct spending, resulting in 19,341 jobs created and $907 million generated in new income in the state of Texas as a result of the cruise industry."*

When she debuted in 1999, Voyager of the Seas introduced cruise-industry innovations such as an ice-skating rink, rock-climbing wall and the 308-feet- long Royal Promenade, a shopping, dining and entertainment boulevard. Offering a vacation experience that can be tailored to suit all energy levels, Voyager also features a basketball court, miniature golf course, interactive golf simulator, three swimming pools, six whirlpools, the full-service Voyager Day Spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

In the evenings, guests can enjoy a myriad of activities from top-rated Broadway-style productions in the theatre to gaming in the Casino Royale and a variety of dining and entertainment experiences in 16 bars and lounges and seven restaurants, including a 1950s-style Johnny Rockets Diner and Royal Caribbean's signature specialty restaurant, Portofino Italian Ristorante.

For the younger set, Voyager of the Seas also offers the line's award- winning Adventure Ocean children's program. Teens have dedicated onboard areas such as the Optix teen disco giving them their own space to meet, build friendships and relax with their peers. They, along with other cruisers will experience the line's hallmark Gold Anchor Service, which helps make each guest vacation a unique and unforgettable experience with friendly and engaging service from the staff and crew.

* Statistics are according to a study commissioned for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Port upgrade cost estimate provided by Port of Galveston.

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Delve Into Four Distinctive Countries on Cruise West's Grand Asia Cruise

SEATTLE, Jan 14 -- Cruise West will explore ancient dynasties and modern cultures of four Asian nations cruising from Northern Japan to South Korea, China and Vietnam on the distinctive Grand Asia voyage. Guests sailing the 120-guest, all-suite Spirit of Oceanus will be true insiders, journeying beyond well-known attractions to get up-close with the culture, people and history of these countries. Cruise West's knowledgeable Exploration Leaders will share their passions and expertise, while guest speakers unravel the mysteries of these countries.

The 2008 Grand Asia itineraries, cruising on November 10 and 24, 2008, offer an early booking incentive of up to $900 per person for guests who pay the full amount upon booking by February 8, 2008, or savings of $400 per person for guests booking their cruise and paying in full by May 9, 2008.

After increasing from 16-nights in 2007 to 18-nights in 2008, the Grand Asia experience also now offers four new ports of call: Kobe, Miyajima/Hiroshima, Danang, UNESCO World Heritage Sites Hoi An and Hue. Journeying between Kobe and Hanoi, the Spirit of Oceanus sails Japan's Seto Inland Sea and the Yellow and South China Seas, winding around islands and down a mystical coastline that boasts a diverse terrain of pristine beaches and verdant mountains.

There are new highlights to experience each day: exploring gardens, temples and artisan centers, coastal ports, castle towns, bustling cities and remote villages in Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam. Other activities include: meeting with a Shinto priest as well as watching a performance in Miyajima; tours of the peace parks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a visit to Shanghai, once a sleepy fishing town and now China's premier cultural, commercial and financial center; as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ha Long Bay; Hoi An and Hue, Vietnam's Imperial City.

Add-on Extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage Sites Angkor Wat and Kyoto
Guests can extend their journey with two pre- and/or post-land tours. Those wanting the ultimate tour can add both. The Japan Land Tour offers four days of city exploration beginning with Kyoto, known as the "Heart of Japan." Touring in Kyoto includes the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Kiyomizu Temple, the Kinkakuji Pavilion with its gold leaf on lacquer floors and Ryoanji Temple renowned for its Zen Gardens. In addition, explorers will visit Nara, home to the Daibutsu, an enormous bronze Buddha at Todaiji Temple, and Horyuji Temple, the oldest intact temple complex in Japan. The Vietnam and Cambodia Land Tour offers seven days exploring cities and sites including: the temples of the World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, a prime example of the classical style of Khmer architecture; the cosmopolitan city of Ho Chi Minh; and the Cu Chi Tunnels, a 75-mile-long underground maze and one of the most famous battlegrounds of the Vietnam War; UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Tonle Sap Lake; and Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.

Spirit of Oceanus
Cruise West's Spirit of Oceanus is the line's most spacious and luxurious ship. Each suite offers spacious closets, a large marble bathroom, sitting area and television. Two lounges, an outdoor bistro and open-seating dining room provide a casual atmosphere for guests to interact with one another, the crew, Exploration Leaders and guest speakers. Seven suite categories are offered onboard, including 14 suites featuring private balconies and one 550- square-foot elegantly spacious Owner's Suite located on the ship's Sun Deck.

Up-Close, Casual & Personal Cruising
Cruise West offers the opportunity to explore remote and distinctive destinations throughout North and Central America, Asia and the South Pacific. Small-ship cruising allows for personalized experiences not offered by larger cruise lines. Guest capacities aboard Cruise West's nine ships range from 78- 138. Guests may expect personal enrichment through onboard narrative and presentations by local experts. The ships' forward lounges and ample outdoor deck space provide outstanding viewing opportunities, and inflatable boats allow for up-close exploration and shore landings. For more information, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit

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Star of First Show for Kids in Gay & Lesbian Families Sets Sail on Rosie Cruise

LOS ANGELES, Jan 14 -- Production company Pink Pea announced that the star of Dottie's Magic Pockets, the first children's program for kids in gay and lesbian families, will appear on the R Family Vacations Cruise to the Mexican Riviera, March 15-22, 2008.

Following the highly successful launch of Dottie's Magic Pockets in September 2007, the live appearance by "Dottie" (Jen Plante) will mark the first time LGBT families and friends from across the country will be entertained by the main character of a kids' show that is set in a lesbian household.

"R Family Vacations is very excited that Dottie from Dottie's Magic Pockets will be on board with us for our March 15th-22nd Mexican Riviera cruise. We are excited to be able to introduce Dottie to all of our families, especially the children! I'm sure with all the creative and imaginative people on the ship, Dottie's pockets will be filled with extraordinary goodies! See you on board!" said Gregg Kaminsky, co-founder of R Family Vacations.

Children on the R Family Vacations cruise will be entertained with interactive live performances by the fabulous "Dottie" in her polka-dotted bow along with screenings of episodes from the first Dottie's Magic Pockets DVD. Entitled "Doing the Flower" and "Beat Beet," each 25-minute episode features Dottie along with loveable puppets, adorable cartoons, and original songs and dances. The episodes also include images and characters that represent gay and lesbian families, such as Princess, an animated caterpillar with two dads.

About Kids' Programming for Gay and Lesbian Families: The 2000 US Census, the most current data available, reported that one-third of female partner households and one-fifth of male partner households in America have children. In the seven years since that census, most sources believe those numbers have significantly increased. The launch of Dottie's Magic Pockets in September 2007 marked the first time a children's show created especially for these families and their friends was made commercially available.

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Azamara Cruises Announces New Deployment for Azamara Journey

Miami, Jan 2008 - Deluxe cruise line Azamara Cruises has announced new itineraries for Azamara Journey beginning in the fall of 2008. On November 12, 2008, the ship will sail a new, 12-night Western Mediterranean cruise roundtrip from Barcelona. On December 3, 2008, the ship will sail from Barcelona on a 15-night transatlantic voyage concluding in Miami, where Azamara will present two new, 16-night Panama Canal sailings, followed by a series of 12-night exotic Caribbean cruises through March 2009, when the ship will relocate to Europe. Azamara Journey will retain its current, published itinerary lineup until the November 12 sailing. The new deployment replaces the itineraries previously announced for Azamara Journey in South America from December 2008 through March 2009. "Demand from both our travel agent partners and guests for our new Asia and exotic Caribbean cruises has led us to focus on these markets in lieu of South America and a world cruise," said Azamara’s President and CEO Dan Hanrahan.

These changes will replace Azamara's previously announced 2008-2009 sailings in South America and world cruise in 2010. Azamara Cruises plans to announce details of its 2010 cruise itineraries for both
Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest in late March or early April.

Visit Azamara Cruises website for more information. This year, Azamara Cruises presents the best of South America and the Panama Canal, elite Asia, the most captivating Caribbean and enchanting Europe. To book cruises, guests are invited to call their travel agents or contact an Azamara Certified Vacation Planner at 1-877-999-9553.

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Princess Debuts 37 New Shore Excursions for 2008 Alaska Season

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan 10  - Whale watching, a five-course Alaska feast, and the art of glass making may not seem to have anything in common at first glance, but on a Princess Alaska cruise these are just some of the unique "Great Land" experiences available through the line's shore excursion program in 2008. A total of 37 new tour options join Princess' extensive Adventures Ashore program, which presents passengers with a total of 224 Alaska excursions in 2008. New tours include an opportunity to go behind the scenes on a commercial fishing vessel featured on TV's Deadliest Catch, a ziplining tour designed for families, a walking tour with a Skagway "madam," an opportunity to learn the art of glassblowing, and an Alaskan chef's table that will delight food lovers.

"Each year we're delighted to find new ways for our passengers to experience the many facets of Alaska," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "We've worked closely with many local tour providers to showcase the wide array of rich culture, wildlife and natural beauty that can be experienced by our passengers."

Among the new tours are:

  • Juneau: Private Whale Watch & Custom Juneau Tour (Princess Exclusive) - The opportunity for a private whale encounter and to experience Juneau by land and sea with a personal tour for groups of up to 10 people. The day features a covered jet boat excursion personally tailored by the skipper to travel to the day's best whale watching opportunities, plus an onshore tour with a personal guide who will customize visits to whichever Juneau attractions the group wishes.
  • Ketchikan: Alaskan Chef's Table- The perfect tour for food lovers, this chef's table experience features a sumptuous five-course tasting menu featuring fresh Alaska seafood, served in a private club dining room overlooking the harbor. The feast serves up 10 distinctive dishes highlighting Alaska's sustainable wild seafood, accompanied by personal stories highlighting Ketchikan's culture, such as when Norwegian grandmothers competed to cook up the best fish cakes in town. Guests will also leave with recipes to duplicate the memorable meal at home. Bear Creek Zipline Course- The perfect eco-adventure for families, younger children and those new to ziplining. While many such courses are only open to teens and adults, this fun course can also accommodate kids five and up, who will enjoy four dual cable ziplines, a suspension bridge, a Tarzan-style rainforest swing and a speedy mountain slide. Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour: Participants can learn about the life of Alaska's commercial fisherman with this unique opportunity to sail aboard a vessel featured on the Discovery Channel program "Deadliest Catch." The vessel has now been modified with seating for passengers who will enjoy the opportunity to observe the skilled fishermen in action as they bring a variety of sea life to the surface for observation before releasing them back to the wild.
  • Skagway: Ghosts & Goodtime Girls Walking Tour - The first time Princess is offering a walking tour in Skagway, this excursion lets passengers step back in time and learn about the town's rich history. One of the lavishly costumed madams of the Red Onion Saloon guides passengers through the streets and alleys of Skagway past gold rush-era buildings and the once-infamous red light district. The tour ends at the famed Red Onion Saloon, where participants will be able to explore the rooms of this former brothel, and maybe catch a glimpse of Lydia, the resident ghost; Golden Glassblowing Experience - This unique hands-on experience provides passengers with the opportunity to learn how to create their own glass art with a fun-filled glassblowing workshop in Jewell Gardens. Passengers will learn the ancient art of working with molten glass and will then create a glass ornament for their window or Christmas tree, and can even choose to decorate it with 24K gold. 

Connoisseur Route Tours: New for 2008, the intimate Tahitian Princess will sail on a unique 14-day Connoisseur itinerary featuring a number of calls not usually included on most Alaskan cruises, including the chance to visit Kodiak, Valdez and Seward, with a variety of new tour options in each. Together these new ports introduce more than 20 new excursion options, including:

  • Valdez: Best of Valdez - For those who want to do it all, this comprehensive tour includes wildlife viewing, fishing, walking on glacial moraine and a seafood lunch.  Passengers will tour the area aboard a fully equipped catamaran with stops for fishing or helping with shrimp pots, as well as exploring Shoup Glacier Lake, where the boat's captain can sail right to the base of the glacier. Columbia Glacier Cruise - A cruise through iceberg-studded waters to visit Alaska's largest tidewater glacier. The massive ice field clocks in at 435 square miles in size and has the dubious distinction of being the world's quickest receding glacier as well. Passengers will likely spot Alaska's famed wildlife en route, including whales, harbor seals, sea otters, sea lions and a variety of birds.

  • Seward: Alaska Sea Life Center & Puffin Experience - Bird lovers can get up close and personal with Alaska's distinctive puffins with a visit to Seward's Alaska SeaLife Center. In addition to the center's many marine life exhibits, guests will enjoy an interactive program on the puffins and will have the opportunity to meet the birds. Resurrection Bay Sea Kayaking - One of the area's premiere destinations, Resurrection Bay offers a beautiful backdrop for a kayaking adventure. A guide introduces paddlers to the natural wonders of this gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park where encounters with sea otters, eagles, porpoises, leaping salmon and sea birds are common.

  • Kodiak: Russian Heritage Tour - An opportunity to explore the influence of Russia and the Alutiiq people on Kodiak with a journey to many of the town sights. Highlights include a tour of cannery row, a visit to the Russian Orthodox Seminary (one of only three in the United States), and a Russian tea featuring borscht, Russian tea cakes and pirozhkis, accompanied by a local band performing traditional Russian music. Back Country, Brewery and Winery Tour - An excursion featuring a fun combination of the area's rich scenery and some of Kodiak's local libations. Passengers will visit Kodiak Brewery for a tour and tasting, the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge to learn about the area's flora and fauna, and the Kodiak Island Winery to sample locally made wines and a light lunch.

All Alaska Adventures Ashore® are currently available for pre-reservation. Passengers who are already booked on an Alaska cruise can reserve their tours by logging on the Cruise Personalizer on, to ensure they get the excursions of their choice. As many tours fill up quickly, passengers are encouraged to make selections as early as possible.
These new excursion options are offered as part of Princess' 2008 Alaska season, featuring eight ships sailing through the scenic waters of the "Great Land" on a total of 136 departures aboard a diverse lineup of vessels that range from 670 passengers to 2,670 passengers. In addition to Tahitian Princess' new Connoisseur itinerary, Princess offers Gulf of Alaska cruises and cruisetours plus round-trip Inside Passage sailings from Seattle and San Francisco. All of the line's 2008 Gulf of Alaska cruises include visits to Glacier Bay, and Princess ships will carry more passengers to this spectacle of ice and sea life than any other cruise line.
Additional information about Princess' Alaska program is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Royal Caribbean Opens Dance Floor to Vacationers in New Production Show

MIAMI, Jan. 9 -- Royal Caribbean International guests can Rumba, Samba, Cha-Cha, Waltz or Swing into the spotlight in "Invitation to Dance," the cruise line's newest production show featuring guests as stars aboard Explorer of the Seas. Created in conjunction with Louis van Amstel, Emmy-nominated choreographer for ABC-TV's "Dancing with the Stars," and Cheryl Burke, two-time winner on the show, "Invitation to Dance" transports the world of professional ballroom dancing to the high seas. Guests sailing on Explorer have the opportunity to compete for the honor of best ballroom dancers at sea. With the guidance of professional dancers, stylists and make-up artists, guests may just realize their true calling while on vacation.

"Invitation to Dance' is another example of Royal Caribbean's dynamic and innovative approach to offering engaging entertainment and activities for our guests," said Peter Compton, vice president, Entertainment and Guest Activities, Royal Caribbean International. "With all the excitement surrounding competitive dancing on television, we are now challenging our guests to live out a dream while enjoying their cruise vacation."

Chosen during an evening of ballroom dancing at the beginning of each cruise, four couples are selected to participate in the "Invitation to Dance" production show later that week. The finalists work with Royal Caribbean's professional ballroom couples to learn slick dance moves, attend costume fittings, and receive star treatment in preparation for their Royal Caribbean stage debut. Showtime is an exciting evening in the spotlight for the dancing couples as they join the Royal Caribbean cast on stage and compete against each other for the applause and support of their fellow guests.

Explorer of the Seas sails year-round from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ, on five-night Bermuda getaway cruises and nine-night Caribbean vacations. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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Oceania Cruises' Nautica Debuts Down Under

Miami, FL, Jan 9 − Oceania Cruises’ Nautica debuted in glorious Sydney, Australia today, kicking off her inaugural season of sailings to Australia and New Zealand. Nautica arrived from Europe after a 45-day journey from Rome via Singapore and during her two-day inaugural stay in Sydney, she will host hundreds of top-producing Australian travel agents and media as the ship and the line’s award-winning product are showcased Down Under for the very first time.

“Australia and New Zealand are extremely important destinations and source markets for us and I am delighted that so many agents will be our guests aboard Nautica over the next few days and in the coming weeks,” stated Bob Binder, President of Oceania Cruises.

Glistening like new, Nautica recently completed a $5 million refit at the Union Naval shipyard in Marseille, France. During the refit, all soft furnishings were replaced or renewed, all new carpeting was laid throughout the public rooms and accommodations and more than $1 million was spent installing new bathrooms in the ship’s 52 Penthouse Suites. Each of the Penthouse Suites is now resplendent with a new granite and marble bathroom which boasts all new flooring, countertops and vanities, bathtubs and fixtures. In addition, new 20” and 26” flat-screen LCD televisions with DVD players were installed in all of the Penthouse Suites, Concierge Level Veranda Staterooms and Stateroom accommodations.

 Nautica will sail a total of four voyages in Australia and New Zealand during her inaugural season and return again in 2009 and 2010. “Australasia was the most requested new destination in our company’s history and subsequently became the fastest-selling voyages we currently offer. We’re eagerly anticipating the day we can dedicate one of our ships for a full-season of voyages Down Under,” added Binder.

Highlights of Nautica’s 2008-2009 Voyages Down Under

Southern Cross Holiday: 18-Day Voyage from Singapore to Sydney, departs December 20, 2008 [Singapore • Semarang • Padang Bay • Komodo • Darwin • Thursday Island • Cairns (Great Barrier Reef) • Townsville • Whitsunday Island • Brisbane • Sydney]

Splendors of Down Under: 15-Day Voyage from Sydney to Auckland, departs January 7, 2009 and January 22, 2009 (Reverse) [Sydney (Overnight) • Melbourne • Hobart • Milford Sound • Dunedin • Christchurch • Wellington • Napier • White Island • Great Mercury Island •Tauranga • Auckland]

Coral Seas and Asian Jewels: 21-Day Voyage from Sydney to Bangkok, departs February 6, 2009 [Sydney • Brisbane • Whitsunday Island • Townsville • Cairns (Great Barrier Reef) • Thursday Island • Darwin • Komodo • Padang Bay • Semarang • Singapore • Ko Samui • Bangkok (Overnight)]

For additional information, to make a reservation, or to order a brochure, please contact your Travel Agent or Oceania Cruises at 800-531-5658. Visit us at

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Seabourn Invites Transatlantic Guests to Linger in Lisbon

MIAMI, Jan 10 - Seabourn Cruise Line is offering special 45% Sail & Stay Savings, plus a free two-night extension at Lisbon's luxurious Four Seasons Ritz hotel to guests booking Seabourn Pride and Seabourn Legend 13-day Portugal Passage transatlantic cruises from Ft. Lauderdale to Lisbon this spring.

On arrival at Lisbon, Seabourn guests will be met and treated to a guided orientation of the city's cultural and historical highlights, before checking into the gorgeous Four Seasons Ritz hotel, centrally located on one of the city's most beautiful broad boulevards. An additional full day and another night allow for guests to explore the many attractions of Lisbon and its surrounds, from the fairytale, hilltop town of Sintra to the seaside resorts of Cascais, the Queluz Palace, a copy of Versailles, plus stellar museums such as the collection of royal coaches and the brilliant Gulbenkian Museum, truly one of Europe's finest art collections. An evening sortie to one of the city's many fado bars provides a taste of Portugal's popular, impassioned songs of love and loss.

The cruises include a port call at Funchal, Madeira, where all guests will enjoy a complimentary Exclusively Seabourn soirée at the exquisite Reid's Palace hotel, long a favorite of celebrities and crowned heads basking in the island's eternal spring climate. For more information, contact your travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Silversea Rolls Out 2009 Worldwide Cruise Schedule

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jan 9 -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has announced its 2009 worldwide voyage schedule and is now accepting reservations. The company's four award-winning, all-suite ships are set to visit over 320 different ports in 108 countries on a diverse schedule of over 140 itineraries ranging from seven to 92 days. Complete day-by-day itineraries can be found at

"This is one of our most innovative deployments ever," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "Our 2009 schedule includes several new ports with an array of specially crafted itineraries focused on exploring popular marquee destinations as well as some of the world's most exotic regions."

Of special note is the company's first-ever Grand Pacific Voyage, a 92-day extended odyssey that explores the azure waters and pristine beaches of the Pacific Ocean. Following a diverse route from Los Angeles to Papeete, Sydney and the Far East, with final stops in Alaska and Vancouver, Silver Shadow will visit 45 ports, 15 countries and two hemispheres on this epic journey.

Other highlights include return visits to Alaska plus 10 new destinations: Szczecin (pronounced Stettin, as it was once known), Poland; Malmo, Sweden; Skagen, Denmark; Gozo Island, Malta; Symi, Greece; Koper, Slovenia; Olhahali Island, Maldives; Nemuro, Japan; Visakhapatnam and New Mangalore, India.

Silver Cloud starts the year exploring South America before heading to the most exclusive destinations of the Caribbean. From late May through September, the intimate 296-guest ship will be positioned in Northern Europe and the Baltic offering 11 cruises of seven to 15 days, including several voyages featuring three-day, two-night stopovers in historic St. Petersburg. Other highlights include Voyage 1920, offering inaugural calls to Szczecin, Poland, once considered the "Paris of the North"; Sweden's beautiful Malmo, home of famous 15th-century Malmohus Castle; and Skagen, Denmark, a picturesque resort town and 19th-century colony for artists and writers. The ship heads back to the Caribbean and South America for the fall.

The 296-guest Silver Wind begins 2009 with cruises to Africa, the Seychelles and the Arabian Peninsula, highlighted by inaugural calls to the sunny beaches of uninhabited Olhahali Island in the Maldives (Voyage 2905) and India's less-traveled Visakhapatnam and New Mangalore, both gateways to important temple sites (Voyage 2906). From mid-April to early November, the ultra-luxury ship will traverse the Mediterranean on over 20 different itineraries ranging from seven to 12 days. Of special interest to Formula One racing enthusiasts is Voyage 2916, which overnights in Monte Carlo during the Grand Prix. Other highlights include return visits to Israel's popular coastal cities of Haifa and Ashdod (Voyage 2935), and Voyage 2919 offers the new destination of Gozo Island, second largest of the Maltese Islands, known for its impressive citadel and the Ggantija prehistoric temples. The ship repositions to Africa's east coast and the Sechelles for the fall.

The 382-guest Silver Shadow kicks off the year with a series of mostly 9-day Caribbean voyages before transiting the Panama Canal to Los Angeles to embark on its 92-day Grand Pacific Voyage from March to June. Of special interest to nature-lovers is an inaugural call on May 18 to Nemuro, Japan, home of the magnificent Shunkunitai Wild Bird Sanctuary. On the schedule for the summer is Alaska, with a series of 12 cruises ranging from seven to 12 days, including several round-trip departures from San Francisco and Vancouver. During the balance of the year, Silver Shadow transits the Panama Canal and continues on a course exploring the warm waters and sunny beaches of the Caribbean.

For the 382-guest Silver Whisper, the year opens with the sights, sounds and flavors of Australia, New Zealand, the Far East and South Pacific featured on eight itineraries, ranging from nine to 18 days. Highlights include extended overnight stays in Auckland, Sydney, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tianjin (Beijing), and Shanghai. On a pair of spring repositioning cruises, Silver Whisper will journey from Singapore to Dubai, with an overnight stay in vibrant Mumbai, followed by a Dubai-to-Athens voyage that overnights in Dubai and includes overnight visits to Safaga and Aqaba, gateways to some of the world's most treasured archaeological sites. An extended summer season in the Mediterranean offers the opportunity to explore the region in absolute luxury with 22 mostly seven-day voyages, many of which can be combined for a more expansive journey without duplicating any ports. Highlights include two new destinations for Silversea: the Greek island of Symi, renowned for its picture-postcard beauty (Voyage 4928), and Koper, Slovenia, famous for its medieval architecture and fascinating Postonja Caves (Voyage 4921). Silver Whisper wraps up the year exploring the Arabian Peninsula, India, Australia and New Zealand.

For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent.
For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

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New Dramatic Comedy 'Bonneville' Sets Sail Aboard Princess Cruises Fleet

NEW YORK, Jan. 9 -- In a first for both the movie and cruise industries, Princess Cruises and SenArt Films Releasing will partner for unprecedented sneak previews of the upcoming dramatic comedy "Bonneville." The joint announcement was made today by Princess Cruises Senior Vice President Jan Swartz, and SenArt Films Releasing founder, Robert May. This is the first time a major motion picture will be screened on a cruise ship prior to its theatrical release.

Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Joan Allen star in "Bonneville," the story of three friends who set out on an unexpected, life-changing road trip across the American West in a 1966 Bonneville. The film unites these three acclaimed actresses in a celebration of love, loss and friendship. The film will be released in theaters on February 29.

Princess passengers can view "Bonneville" on each of the line's 16 ships during the week of February 11 (exact premiere dates vary by ship and itinerary). The film will be premiered in the theaters onboard the ships and where available, on the line's "Movies Under the Stars," Princess' proprietary outdoor movie "theater" where passengers can view movies on a 300-square-foot LED screen by the pool on the ships' top decks. Destinations visited during the week of February 11 include: Sydney, Australia; Bangkok, Thailand; St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, San Juan, Ft. Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Mazatlan, Puerta Vallarta, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, Honolulu, Maui, Cape Horn, Buenos Aires, Tobago, Devil's Island, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Tahiti, Bora Bora and Auckland.

Princess and SenArt Films Releasing have also partnered to give away a 7-Day Mexican Riviera Cruise for two as part of an online sweepstakes on the Bonneville website. To enter, visit

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New Menus Filled With Regional Flair Enliven Cuisine Aboard Holland America Line's Fleet in 2008

SEATTLE, Jan. 8 -- From coconut scallops in the Caribbean and Spanish tapas in the Mediterranean to chicken mole in Mexico, guests sailing aboard Holland America Line's premium cruise ships in 2008 will savor new menus reflecting their ship's current itinerary. Master Chef Rudi Sodamin has incorporated flavors, techniques and recipes from around the world on new menus fleetwide. Menus are changing to reflect the ship's sailing itinerary, and local foods are brought on board to better reflect the regional cuisine. The new Mexico and Caribbean menus are the first to debut and are available now on ships sailing those itineraries.

"Part of the fun of travel is experiencing new cultures," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales, and guest programs. "By incorporating regional dishes, Chef Rudi has brought the excitement of visiting new destinations to the dining room."

Fresh fish will be brought on board in the Caribbean and Mexico along with local produce such as chayote, bread fruit, guava and fresh Mexican chiles. Island spices, local fish and produce, and Sodamin's knowledge of local specialties spice up the menu. On the Mexico itinerary, a guest might dine on Chicken mole, a Mexican regional specialty. In the Caribbean, the recipe changes to Caribbean jerk-style chicken. Other sample dishes include: chili-rubbed tuna brochette, chilled West Indian lassi soup, mahi mahi with roasted corn salsa and plantains, Mexican tortilla soup with mushrooms, and guava stuffed chicken.

In an effort to enhance the fine dining experience on board, Sodamin will continue to introduce new menus as the ships change sailing destinations. He's developing new menus for Northern and Southern Europe, as well as other destinations. On European itineraries, guests can enjoy prosciutto and coppa from Italy, Spanish tapas, Mediterranean olive oils and produce, artisanal cheeses and Norwegian salmon. Alaskan sailings will continue to feature wild Alaskan seafood.

Dinner menus in the main dining room have been redesigned with a fresh, modern look. A list of starters includes appetizers, soups and salads. Next is an entree section, followed by Chef Rudi Sodamin's recommendations for the day. A selection of entrees available daily includes favorites such as Caesar salad and New York strip steak. Wine and champagne recommendations appear at the bottom of the menu.

Guests on board may choose to dine in a variety of venues, from a quick bite poolside to a formal five-course affair. Every ship features an elegant main dining room; sophisticated Pinnacle Grill where guests can sample Sterling Silver beef and fresh seafood; the casual indoor-outdoor Lido Restaurant, and the Terrace Grill on deck for lunchtime fare.

For more information, contact a travel agent or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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LOS ANGELES, Jan 8 - Beginning in May, Crystal Cruises is prohibiting smoking on verandahs of all staterooms and suites aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. In keeping with lifestyle trends, most areas of Crystal ships have been non-smoking for several years, including restaurants and the main entertainment lounges. Non-smoking areas dominate most bars and lounges, although there are some tables that permit smoking. Cigarette smoking is permitted in private accommodations, although pipe-smoking and cigars are only permitted in the Connoisseur Club and most open decks.

"The majority of our guests are non-smoking, and travelers are used to more non-smoking environments today," says Gregg Michel, Crystal Cruises' president. "We respect that smoking is a personal lifestyle decision but there is growing discomfort from non-smokers about verandah smoke negatively impacting the enjoyment of their personal outdoor living space."

As with the current policy, guests who do not observe the non-smoking policy will first be asked to comply. Failure to do so can result in a guest being asked to leave the ship at his/her own expense. The new smoking policy takes effect with the May 7, 2008 London-to-Rome cruise on Crystal Serenity and the May 25, 2008 Athens-to-London cruise on Crystal Symphony.

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Make a Change Personal Discovery Journeys & SeaDream Yacht Club Join in Mediterranean Voyage of Personal Growth

Northern California luxury travel company, Make a Change Personal Discovery Journeys, has announced it has chartered SeaDream Yacht club’s 110-passenger, mega-yacht cruiser SeaDream II for a Mediterranean voyage in July this year with a roster of top motivational speakers to inspire the guests.

The SeaDream II will sail from Monaco July 12 and call on Portofino (Italy), Poltu Quatu (Sardinia), Bonifacio and Calvi (Corsica), and Cassis (France) before returning to Monaco for disembarkation July 19.

Speakers are:

  • John Assaraf--best-selling author and entrepreneur who has pioneered the “One Coach” system;
  • Janet Attwood--Author of The Passion Test, the Effortless Path to Living Your Destiny;
  • Scott deMoulin--Highly respected speaker, trainer and consultant in sales, communications and personal performance enhancement;
  • Shore Slocum--Leadership trainer well-known for his speaker boot camps.

The group will make a series of regular presentations during the seven-day SeaDream voyage. Booking is made through Make a Change Personal Discovery Journeys, not through SeaDream Yacht Club. Contact Nicole or Sydney at 1 800 971-7300. Email is .

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Glamour at Cannes and the Thrill of a Formula One Race on Wind Surf's 8-Day Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix Cruise

SEATTLE, Jan. 8 -- Partake in the glamour of the Cannes Film Festival and the thrill of the Monaco Grand Prix race during Windstar Cruises' special 8-day cruise aboard the elegant, 312-guest msy Wind Surf departing May 18, 2008, from Nice, France. Guests will overnight in Cannes, France during the star-studded Cannes Film Festival and spend three nights in Monaco during the prestigious Formula One Grand Prix race. Other ports visited include St. Tropez, France and St. Florent, Corsica.

"This popular cruise offers guests the exciting allure of Cannes, exclusive Grand Prix events and luxurious Mediterranean cruising," said Diane Moore, Executive Vice President, Windstar Cruises.

Guests who wish to attend the Grand Prix may purchase the Monaco 66e Grand Prix Package Tour which begins on Friday, May 23 and ends on Sunday, May 25, 2008, and includes a private "Welcome to Monaco" cocktail reception and gala dinner on board the ship on Friday; an exclusive gift package of Bushnell binoculars, official 66e Grand Prix de Monaco program, official Monaco Auto Club Ticket holder, souvenir hat and souvenir jacket. Guests will also receive Tribune K reserved seating at the Formula One Grand Prix time trials on Saturday.

On Saturday evening, an exclusive Windstar reception will be held at the H.S.H. Prince Rainier III Auto Collection Museum where guests will have the opportunity to stroll through the exhibits which include one hundred cars of all ages, made by the biggest European and American firms, and will be able to view six state coaches belonging to the late H.S.H Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The car that carried Rainier and Grace Kelly away from the church after their wedding will also be on exhibit. The private reception will be catered by France's world famous Lenotre of Paris.

On Sunday, a private breakfast on board the ship is followed by a thrilling day of viewing the final Grand Prix race from the same track-side reserved seats. The limited 3-day package must be pre-booked.

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Health Guru Deepak Chopra Teaches Life Extension Techniques Aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises in 2008

FORT LAUDERDALE, Jan 8 – Maintaining personal health and fitness in today’s fast-paced world requires innovative strategies from the experts. Regent Seven Seas Cruises, voted the world’s #1 small-ship operator by readers of Condé Nast Traveler, will provide guests with a means to achieve physical and mental well-being with a June Alaska voyage featuring celebrated doctor, spiritualist and life-extension guru Dr. Deepak Chopra, who will host “Grow Younger, Live Longer” aboard 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner®.

“Grow Younger, Live Longer,” developed by Chopra and Dr. David Simon, co-founders of the Chopra Center, draws on the timeless cultural traditions of the East, as well as modern discoveries in quantum physics, plus Chopra’s and Simon’s many years of personal and professional experience. The program offers a transformative 10-step process designed to “reverse” participants’ biological age through instruction in areas including stress management, relationship fulfillment, cultivating a youthful mind, sexual vitality, restful sleep and optimal nutrition.

“Aging isn’t inevitable, and those who join us on our Alaskan cruise will learn how to transform the way they look, feel, and live their lives,” said Dr. Chopra. “Whether you’re communing with a brown bear or bonding with a glacier, these are simple reminders of your timeless, ageless self.”

“Grow Younger, Live Longer” also features instruction in primordial Sound Meditation and Chopra Center yoga; Pilates, calisthenics and movement; plus meditation and Ayurvedic cooking classes. A native of New Delhi, India, Chopra is former Chief of Staff at The New England Memorial Hospital and Boston Regional Medical Center. His revolutionary health and wellness principles were first outlined in his 1986 book, Creating Health, and were expanded in Quantum Healing (1989) and Perfect Health (1991). He has also addressed spiritualism’s effect on mental and physical health in The Book of Secrets (2004) and Life After Death: The Burden of Proof (2006).  

Departing from Seward, Alaska on June 4, Seven Seas Mariner will cruise to historic Sitka and Juneau, plus the gold-rush era town of Skagway and Ketchikan, before ending in Vancouver, B.C. This seven-day journey is highlighted by scenic cruising of majestic Hubbard Glacier, Alaska’s longest tidewater glacier, and Tracy Arm, featuring tidewater glaciers and steep, 2,000-foot granite walls rising out of the water. “Grow Younger, Live Longer” must be pre-purchased by contacting Regent’s Reservations department and costs $1,955 per person, exclusive of cruise fare. Additional information can be found at

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Brand New Musical Aboard Disney Cruise Line Brings Disney-Pixar's 'Toy Story' to the Stage for the First Time

CELEBRATION, FL, Jan. 8 -- Disney Cruise Line will transform one of the most beloved animated features of all time into a stage spectacular aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship when "Toy Story-The Musical" makes its debut at the Walt Disney Theatre this spring. This is the first time the popular Disney-Pixar classic has been adapted for the stage. Preserving the humor and heart of the original "Toy Story" film from Pixar Animation Studios, "Toy Story-The Musical" explores the true meaning of friendship as Buzz Lightyear and Woody transform from jealous adversaries to best friends with an unbreakable bond. The show's elaborate costumes capture the vibrant colors and playfulness of the animated characters. Guests of all ages will delight in an original collection of show tunes that retell the story in a fun and energizing way.

"World-class Disney entertainment is an important hallmark of Disney Cruise Line that sets us apart from the rest of the cruise industry and one of the reasons guests sail with us again and again," said Disney Cruise Line President Tom McAlpin. "'Toy Story-The Musical' represents the next generation of staged entertainment for Disney Cruise Line and a great enhancement to our incredible array of entertainment aboard the Disney Wonder."

Following the storyline of the original Disney-Pixar film, "Toy Story-The Musical" will give guests a toy's eye-view of life in Andy's room. The musical opens with an introduction to Woody, a pull-string talking cowboy who has long been six-year-old Andy's favorite toy. But Andy's birthday brings a new arrival - Buzz Lightyear, the coolest action figure in the universe. Woody's jealousy gets the better of him and he schemes to get rid of his new rival, but things go dreadfully awry. Woody and Buzz find themselves outside of Andy's room and in a hostile world. Working together and overcoming their differences, they find their way back to Andy - along the way developing an appreciation of one another and creating a friendship.

"The 'Toy Story' film offered us a rich story and some incredible visual elements to build upon," noted Jim Urry, vice president of Entertainment for Disney Cruise Line. "The team we assembled created costumes, set designs and a whole new musical score to literally transport our guests into the middle of the whimsical world of Buzz and Woody."

Taking audiences into that world was no small task. Larger-than-life props help transform the 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre into a toy-sized world of fun and adventure. A rear projection screen aids the transformation between human-sized and toy-sized scenes and takes the show from the comfort of Andy's the frenzied world of Pizza the frightening room of Andy's neighbor, Sid.

Using Randy Newman's Oscar nominated hit song "You've Got a Friend in Me" as a departure point, this production has a new eight-song score that brings the story to life. New York-based Valerie Vigoda and Brendan Milburn from the band GrooveLily blended together pop, rock and folk music to create a contemporary score that truly captures the heartfelt whimsy of the animated tale.

The costumes for "Toy Story-The Musical" are some of the most complex ever developed for a Disney Cruise Line production. Costume designer Ann Closs- Farley created an extraordinary vision for what the characters would look like on stage. With a combination of articulated puppets and inflatable costumes, the "Toy Story" characters come to life - including a nearly 9-foot-tall version of Rex the dinosaur and a 4-foot-round Hamm the piggybank.

In all, "Toy Story-The Musical" represents one of the largest productions ever developed for a cruise ship. This is just the second time a Pixar animated feature has been adapted for the stage by Disney Creative Entertainment. In early 2007, "Finding Nemo-The Musical" debuted at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort and has been a tremendous success.

"Toy Story-The Musical" compliments an already stellar lineup of entertainment performed every voyage on the Disney Wonder, joining stage shows "The Golden Mickeys" and the award-winning "Disney Dreams." A leader in the family cruise segment, Disney Cruise Line offers three-, four- and seven-night itineraries to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Land/sea vacation packages that include a stay at Walt Disney World Resort are also available. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit or call Disney Cruise Line at 888/DCL-2500.

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Cruise West Offers Early Booking Savings on Alaska Inside Passage 

SEATTLE, WA, Jan. 8 – Cruise West, the leading small-ship cruise line that has been sailing to Alaska for more than 60 years, is offering savings for those guests who book one of five distinctive Alaska Inside Passage itineraries before February 29, 2008. Cruise West provides five of its up-close, casual and personal itineraries on its small ships – including, for the first time, the newly renamed Spirit of Glacier Bay (formerly Spirit of Nantucket). Several new features designed to help guests fully appreciate Southeast Alaska’s abundant wildlife, charming ports, jagged peaks, and immense glaciers have been added to the itineraries in 2008, including optional land tours of incredible Denali National Park and Preserve. Details on itineraries include:

  • The 10-night Gold Rush Inside Passage cruise travels between Seattle and Juneau – going along the historic path of the original 1898 Klondike Gold Rush stampede. Charming ports that dot the coastline in the San Juan Islands, Skagway, Ketchikan and Juneau in Southeast Alaska are included.  The itinerary also cruises in Frederick Sound, known for its whale viewing, and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. This itinerary is available on six ships and is offered in May, August and September.
  • Alaska’s Inside Passage cruise sails between Ketchikan and Juneau from May through August and visits the Tsimshian community of Metlakatla, Petersburg, Skagway, Haines, Frederick Sound, Sitka, and Glacier Bay. This itinerary offers a mix of port calls and scenic waterways.  The newly refurbished 138-guest Spirit of Yorktown, 102-guest Spirit of Endeavour – which is new to this itinerary – and 96-guest Spirit of ’98 cruise this itinerary.
  • The deep Inside Passage wilderness is explored on the eight-night Alaska’s Whales & Wilderness Inside Passage cruise, round trip from Juneau from May through August. This cruise centers on sea and wildlife viewing and includes nutrient-rich Icy Strait, renowned Glacier Bay, Frederick Sound and port calls at Sitka and a Wilderness Community.  Cruise West guarantees that guests will see whales on this itinerary. The 78-guest Spirit of Alaska and 84-guest Spirit of Discovery cruise this itinerary.
  • The 11-night Coastal Odyssey onboard Cruise West’s flagship and 120-guest all-suite vessel Spirit of Oceanus travels more than1,600 miles between Vancouver, B.C. and Anchorage.  Ports of call include the Tsimshian community of Metlakatla, the darling fishing village of Petersburg, popular Skagway, charming Sitka and Whittier.  There are numerous wildlife viewing opportunities in the spectacular settings of Prince William Sound, Glacier Bay, Misty Fiords, Tracy Arm, and Frederick Sound.
  • For guests with a more limited time schedule and budget, the three and four-night Glacier Bay Highlights cruises onboard the newly named 102-guest Spirit of Glacier Bay, a new addition to the Alaska fleet, will not disappoint. Cruising round trip from Juneau, explore the World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The four-night cruise also makes a port stop at charming Haines.
Land tours of Denali National Park and Preserve, one of America’s greatest national treasures and home of towering Mt. McKinley, North America’s tallest peak, can be added to any Cruise West Alaska itinerary, allowing guests to experience Alaska’s pristine interior. New for 2008, booked guests may pre-book shore excursions online at least 21 days in advance of departure date. Go to and follow the online prompts.  For additional information or to book a Cruise West cruise, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit 

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Record Number of Culinary Tours Set for Crystal Wine & Food Cruise

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 7 -- An unprecedented number of wine and food-themed excursions and onboard presentations by the culinary world's brightest stars set the stage for Crystal Serenity's May 2008 Wine and Food cruise. Highlighted by a two-day overnight call in Bordeaux, the 12-day voyage from London to Rome offers 18 epicurian Crystal Adventures in the French wine country, Portugal, Spain and the French Riviera, as well as onboard events with Master Chef Andre Soltner and Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein. Connoisseurs short on time can experience new six-day segments of the cruise.

"From cooking lessons in Barcelona and the South of France to 'from the barrel' tastings at Chateau Mouton Rothschild, the region is rich in opportunities for authentic wine and food programs," says John Stoll, director of Crystal Cruises' land programs. "To visit the wine regions of Bordeaux, Cognac, St. Emilion, and Pomerol, as well as Spain's La Rioja region and Lisbon's Port Wine Institute on the same voyage is a rare treat. To pair that experience with onboard instruction and a multi-course dinner prepared by James Beard Award-winning Master Chef Andre Soltner, former owner of New York's famed Lutece, is extraordinary."

Whether guests opt for the complete 12-day voyage or one of the two six-day segments, nearly 10 carefully crafted boutique excursions in each port of call help travelers make the most of their time ashore. Of the 57 shoreside experiences featured, a full one-third are devoted to fine wine and food, including:

  • New: Wine making and explore the cellars at magnificent Chateau Margaux;
  • New: Enjoy a tour, tasting and dinner at historic Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte;
  • New: The famed Medoc wine road to visit the village of Soulac and its basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site;
  • New: The Cognac region and learn how the fine liquor is crafted
  • Wine tasting and the reserves at Spain's coastal Txakoli Cellar, the underground El Fabulista Cellar and the architectural marvel Ysios Cellar 

In addition, new outdoor adventures allow guests to:

  •  New: Experience a mountain safari in the Serra Sintra region outside Lisbon
  •  New: Sail on a dolphin and whale watching expedition off the coast of Gibraltar
  •  New: Bicycle through Barcelona
  •  Visit Bilbao's stunning Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry
  •  Scuba dive around Gibraltar for certified divers and beginners alike

Departing London on May 7, 2008, Crystal Serenity will call in Bordeaux and Villefranche, France; Bilbao and Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Gibraltar, United Kingdom; before concluding in Rome. The cruise can be experienced as a full 12-day journey or in two six-day segments (London to Lisbon / Lisbon to Rome). Fares for the full 12-day Epicurean Adventure from London to Rome begin at $4,595. Fares for the six-day segments begin at $2,530. All fares are listed per person, double occupancy.

Crystal's unwavering commitment to a superior wine and food experience is evidenced by the line's extensive wine cellars offering more than 230 wines and as many as 25,000 bottles, a reserve wine list featuring such rare vintages as 1959 Chateau Lafite Rothschild and 1971 Chateau Petrus; Crystal's own proprietary label, C Wines; and intimate Vintage Room dinners. All of the line's sommeliers have been recently certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, enhancing a fine dining experience highlighted by collaborations with world-renowned Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio for its specialty restaurants.

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PocketMD Offers Crystal Guests Peace of Mind

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 7 -- Travelers now have the ability to carry records of their entire medical history and health needs anywhere in the world. Luxury travel specialist Crystal Cruises has partnered with PocketMD to offer guests a service that uses exclusive, state-of-the-art technology to store one's complete medical record on a CD the size of a credit card. The groundbreaking service allows travelers to conveniently carry information on medications, allergies, surgeries, vaccinations, lab test results and even actual EKG readings and dental records.

Once guests have purchased the service and have completed the required authorization forms, the experts at PocketMD do all of the legwork, contacting physicians to obtain the necessary data. PocketMD then organizes, formats and uploads the records without compromising any information provided by medical contacts or physicians. Compatible with Windows, Macintosh and Linux computer software, this technology is available in all languages and can be used worldwide. The CD literally fits into a traveler's wallet or Crystal's keycard holder.

"The portability and convenience of this service offers incredible security and peace of mind to travelers who may be managing a specific health issue, or simply want to be able to handle an unexpected medical emergency with ease while far from home," says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal's senior vice president, hotel operations. "Doctors can quickly read one's medical history, which helps them provide the most appropriate treatment."

Subscriptions to PocketMD cost $149.00 for the first year, and include unlimited updates. Renewals are available $129.00. For additional information, or to purchase this service, access the "Before You Sail" link at, or contact PocketMD at 877-633-7915.

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msy Wind Star Sails into 2008 With Enhancements Completed

SEATTLE, Jan. 7 -- The 148-guest Wind Star is the last of Windstar Cruises' three ships to complete the Degrees of Difference multi- million dollar initiative to enhance the line's fleet of motor sailing yachts. Guest upgrades include remodeled bathrooms in all staterooms, an expanded beauty salon and a refurbished lounge.

Stateroom bathrooms now have a more contemporary look with new fixtures, open glass shelves, new cabinets, granite countertops, porcelain sinks, and a magnifying mirror. Teak floors were refinished to retain the popular nautical style. Full length mirrors and slippers were added in staterooms.

In the Lounge, the bar was relocated to a central and visible location near the back of the room and refreshed with reupholstered furniture, new carpet, ceiling, lighting, and wall coverings.

The Salon moved from deck one to deck three by the Lounge providing a more serene spa experience with space for relaxation. Expanding into the area vacated by the bar, salon space doubles with a new waiting area, two separate massage rooms, an area for facials and hair/nail treatments, and pedicure chair. The number of massage appointments available for guests has doubled and new spa treatments have been added including La Therapie Hydralift Facial, Elemis Aroma Spa Seaweed Massage, and Ionithermie Cellulite Reduction Program. The expanded spa menu turns the former salon into a complete spa facility.

Other additions in guest areas include new tables and chairs in the Veranda, a new couch and ceiling in the Lobby and upgrades to public bathrooms. In the Pool Bar, a new bottle display area, new lighting, and wall and ceiling coverings update the look. Upgrades were also completed for the technical operations of the ship.

In 2006, Windstar invested in luxury amenities on board all three ships. Wireless internet is available throughout the ship along with Bose SoundDock speakers in all staterooms, Apple iPod Nanos pre-loaded with music for complimentary check-out and laptops for rent. Plush Euro-Top mattresses, luxury bedding, Egyptian cotton towels and bath amenities by L'Occitane were added to staterooms as well. Other additions include lemon-scented iced towels and orange sorbet served on warm days.

In The Restaurant, enhancements include a reinvigorated menu served on elegant Rosenthal china with Riedel stemware; a new wine list featuring more boutique labels plus the flexibility to purchase wine in ports along the ships' itineraries; and Petit-fours, trays of delicate sweet treats, to be served with coffee at the end of dinner.

The four-masted Wind Star will sail roundtrip from Costa Rica January through March with a limited amount of Panama Canal cruises in the spring and winter, returning to the Greek Isles from May to October and offering a few Mediterranean itineraries in late spring and late fall.

The 312-guest Wind Surf completed Degrees of Difference upgrades in December 2006 and the 148-guest msy Wind Spirit completed upgrades in April 2007.

About Windstar Cruises
Windstar Cruises operates three sailing yachts known for their pampering without pretense and their ability to visit the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations. Carrying just 148 to 312 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. For more information including brochures, rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online at

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Another Perfect Score for MSC Cruises

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Jan 7 – Conducting a surprise Christmas Eve inspection in St. Thomas, V.I., U.S. Public Health (USPH) officials had nothing but praise for MSC Lirica, which received a perfect score of 100 following the rigorous examination.
The inspection team of the Vessel Sanitation Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the award of 100 points was by no means a ‘”Christmas Gift.” They said the exceptional score was awarded because of the outstanding state of sanitation, safe food handling, and the general high level of understanding and compliance in the areas of food, water, air and general hygiene onboard MSC Lirica.
Over the years, MSC Cruises’ ships sailing in Caribbean waters have consistently earned “Superior” scores on USPH inspections.

The CDC officers conducted intense inspections of the food provisioning, storage and preparation areas, the ship’s laundry, bars, self-serve buffets, restaurants, warewashing machinery, room service operations, medical and children’s centers, as well as its Integrated Pest Management Program, waste management, housekeeping and public area cleanliness, recreational and potable water protection and supply system, air purity controls, and the ship’s general procedures to prevent or control illnesses such as Norovirus.

“We are extremely proud of our consistently top-rated scores from the USPH inspectors. Our guests often tell us that we have the best entertainment and the cleanest ships afloat,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA). “Such accolades are the results of a dedicated effort to provide our guests with the safest, cleanest and most enjoyable holiday.”

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit

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NCL Closes $1 Billion Investment by Apollo

MIAMI, Jan 7 – NCL Corp (“NCL”), parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line and NCL America, announced the closing of a $1 billion cash equity investment by private equity group Apollo Management, LP (“Apollo”) in NCL.

The infusion strengthens NCL’s balance sheet and will enable the company to make significant investments in a number of key areas, in addition to funding continued expansion of what is already the youngest fleet in the industry. The company recently announced it will take its signature Freestyle Cruising to the next level with the introduction of Freestyle 2.0, a major enhancement to its on-board product fleet wide, that will further improve the guest experience, including an increased investment in food of $50 million over the next two years, and an upgrading of stateroom bedding and amenities across the fleet. The company also announced a new travel agent program, Partnership 2.0, which includes major changes to the way NCL does business and is designed to strengthen its relationships with travel partners. Both programs will be implemented within the first half of this year, and are part of the preparation for NCL’s next large step forward, the introduction of the “F3” concept ships in 2010, under construction now in France at a cost of over $1.1 billion per ship. Concurrent with the new investment, the company has bolstered its senior management team with the addition of two key executives, one to the position of EVP and CFO and the other who will spearhead a new strategic planning and business development initiative. NCL is also building on its successful brand identity campaign with increased investment in consumer marketing, including the launch of a series of six new television commercials that will air nationwide beginning today.

“With the Apollo investment, NCL is now in the strongest financial condition we have ever enjoyed in our 41-year history,” said NCL Corporation’s President and CEO Colin Veitch. “With both Star Cruises and Apollo as dedicated and supportive shareholders, and with a fleet that has just become the youngest in the industry, we will take our vision of innovation to new and exciting levels.”

Steve Martinez, partner at Apollo Management, noted, “NCL has the youngest, most distinctive fleet in the industry, along with its innovative Freestyle Cruising that delivers an experience that is vastly different from the traditional cruise product. Given this and the upcoming introduction of its F3 concept ships, we see NCL as having sizeable growth potential. We are pleased to solidify this partnership with Star Cruises and the existing management team of NCL, so that we can work together to propel this company forward.”

As of closing, Apollo, through its affiliates NCL Investment Ltd. and NCL Investment II Ltd., has become a 50 percent owner of NCL. Star Cruises (“Star”), NCL’s previous sole shareholder, has retained all of its existing shares in NCL and, like Apollo, is a 50 percent owner. Apollo will name a majority of the NCL board of directors with certain consent rights retained by Star.

“We welcome Apollo as we embark on the next phase of growth in NCL’s history,” said Star Cruises Chairman and CEO Tan Sri KT Lim. “We are extremely proud of what we have achieved to date with NCL, but we are even more optimistic about what the future holds for the company now that Apollo has joined us. NCL is well positioned for continued success in 2008 and beyond.”

The completion of the investment constitutes a change of control under NCL’s outstanding 10 5/8% senior notes due 2014 (the “Notes”). NCL will make a change of control offer within 30 days of the closing at 101%, together with accrued but unpaid interest up to but not including the date of repurchase, for the Notes as required under the indenture governing the Notes.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Launches New Multi-Million-Dollar Branding Campaign to Promote 'Fun Ship' Cruising

MIAMI, Jan. 7  -- Carnival Cruise Lines will launch a new multi-million-dollar branding campaign that injects a fresh new look and feel into the company's various advertising, marketing and collateral materials. The centerpiece of the wide-ranging initiative is a series of new 30- second television spots which debut Monday, Jan. 7. Backed by the Queen classic "You're My Best Friend," the spots feature striking images of guests of all ages enjoying a Carnival cruise, enhanced by sophisticated computer animation and editing techniques that seamlessly blend one scene into another. The end result is a series of highly visual commercials that convey Carnival's memorable vacation experience by transporting viewers into the relaxed and carefree environment of a "Fun Ship" vacation.

Pegged to the song's key lyrical phrase "Oooh, you make me live," three different commercials have been created, each targeting a core market for Carnival. "No Age Limit on Fun" showcases multi-generational travel; "A Big New World" is aimed at families; and "A World of Delightful Surprises" focuses on the romance aspect of cruising. Although the commercials are aimed at specific audiences, all three spots convey Carnival's unique ambiance and diversity of choices, both on-board and ashore.

"Carnival has earned its title of world's most popular cruise line by providing our guests with fun, memorable vacations that are a great value. This new TV ad campaign truly captures the essence of our brand in an entertaining and creative way," said Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival's executive vice president of marketing and guest experience. "Exciting new ships and innovations such as the 'Evolutions of Fun' ship refurbishment program have added an entirely new dimension to the Carnival vacation experience and this branding effort reflects the continued evolution of the 'Fun Ship' product," he added.

The 30-second TV commercials are just one component of a multi- million-dollar branding effort that is built around the charge to "Let the Fun Begin," designed to reinforce the company's core brand value of providing guests with fun, memorable vacations. The phrase has been incorporated into a new consumer and trade print advertising campaign, as well as a variety of marketing and collateral materials. The new print campaign encompasses full-page images gleaned from the various TV spots, with shots of couples and families relaxing in scenic locales and enjoying various on-board activities typically associated with "Fun Ship" cruising.

A central design component of the marketing materials -- from the line's new fleet brochure to web banners and more -- is a playful new "swirl" motif, a wave-like design that serves to frame photos and other images in the pieces. The new TV spots will air on all major broadcast networks, as well as select cable channels such as USA, TNT, TBS, Food Network, Travel Channel, HGTV, and Discovery Channel. The first of the new spots, focusing on family cruising, can currently be viewed at The new print ads will be featured in a variety of national newspapers, as well as consumer magazines such as People, O - The Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Food & Wine and Redbook, and trade publications, including Travel Weekly, Travel Agent, Travel Trade, TravelAge West and Vacation Agent.

Carnival is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 "Fun Ships" operating voyages ranging from three to 18 days in length to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, New England, Canada, Bermuda, Europe, the Greek Isles and South America. The line currently has three new ships on order, including the 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor, set to launch Carnival's first Northern European cruise program July 13, 2008, and the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic - to be the largest "Fun Ships" ever constructed when they enter service in June 2009 and October 2011, respectively.

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2008-09 Land Programs Deliver
Pre- & Post-Cruise Adventure

FORT LAUDERDALE, Jan 3 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises will offer enlightening and stimulating adventures ashore in combination with its 2008 and 2009 worldwide itineraries. Regent’s exotic pre- and post-cruise land programs are highlighted by exciting and unusual transportation modes. For example, travelers who enjoy riding the rails can go fast from Tokyo to Osaka aboard Japan’s Shinkanse, or bullet train, or really fast aboard China’s Magalev from Shanghai. Guests who prefer a more leisurely pace can cross Kent, England in a 19th century Victorian railway car, journey from Colombo to Kandy in Sri Lanka aboard the famous Viceroy railway, or take an Indian Pacific Railroad luxury sleeper from Adelaide to Perth. Airborne adventurers can drift 1,000 feet over historic Stockholm or soar above Kenya’s Masai Mara national reserve in hot-air balloons. Helicopters provide the means to survey the breathtaking waterfalls of a Central American rainforest or Italy’s stunning Amalfi coast.

Thinking of active pursuits? Guests on Regent shore excursions can catch a wave in Maui as they learn to ride the pipe on a surf board, travel by canoe across Helsinki’s placid sounds, and deep-sea raft near the Arctic Circle from Honningsvåg. Need wheels? Vacationers can opt for an escorted tour through historic Berlin via Rolls-Royce, or rev a Harley-Davidson around sunny St. Maarten. Modern-day cowboys and cowgirls can steer their mounts across Kalmar, Sweden to the island of Oland, or gallop along a Tahitian beach in Huahine aboard a robust Marquesan steed. The four-legged options extend to the largest of land animals – guests can take rides on elephants from South Africa’s Camp Jabulani. These and other exotic shore excursions are offered in connection with Regent’s 2008 and 2009 voyages aboard 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager®, 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner® and 490-guest, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator®.

“Regent offers the most comprehensive and varied land programs in the industry from exotic train travel to intimate stays in European capitals,” said Darius Mehta, Director of Land Programs. “We strive to lead the industry with innovation and variety.”

Regent’s 2008 land programs offer a wide array of land programs transportation options including:

  • “Vintage Railway and Bodiam Castle” (Seven Seas Voyager, June 9, 2008 from Monte Carlo to Dover; June 24, 2008 from Dover to Copenhagen) – Guests journey to Tenterden, in the heart of the Kent countryside, to board an authentic steam train for an eye-opening journey to Bodiam in a genuine 19th Century railway carriage. Bodiam Castle, one of Britain’s most famous and evocative, was built in 1385 and features ramparts that rise dramatically above the moat below.
  • “St. Thomas Ocean Racing Challenge” (Seven Seas Navigator, Feb. 25, 2008, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale) -  Guests experience the thrill of world championship yacht racing during this unique and amazing ocean adventure in St. Thomas. Following a brief orientation and safety briefing, guests have an opportunity to help trim the sails, tack, jibe and take the helm.
  • “Catamaran Sail and Reef Snorkel” (Seven Seas Navigator, April 7 and 18, 2008, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale) - This shore-side adventure features the best sailing and snorkeling in Nassau, Bahamas. Guests journey by catamaran to a lush tropical reef for amazing snorkeling. Bottled water is provided throughout and rum punch is offered after snorkeling.
  • “Hot Air Ballooning” (Seven Seas Voyager, July 15, 2008 roundtrip Stockholm; July 26, 2008 Stockholm to Copenhagen; August 2, 2008 Copenhagen to Stockholm) – Following a comprehensive briefing, guests board the balloon for an airborne view of the “Venice of the North.” Floating at 1,000 feet, guests enjoy a stunning view of Stockholm’s parks, squares, airy boulevards, twisting medieval streets and waterside walkways.
  • “Deep Sea Rafting and Ice-Bar” (Seven Seas Voyager, June 24, 2008, roundtrip Stockholm) - Guests embark on an unforgettable deep-sea experience during this boat ride to North Cape, Magerøya Island, Helnes and Honningsvåg's famous Ice Bar. Guests receive a security briefing and the equipment required for the tour, including an approved floatation suit.  Embarking on rubber launch boats, travelers start from Honningsvåg and raft out to the Sarnesfjord, Sarnes and later Sarnesfjorden.  Upon returning to Honningsvåg, guests will visit the Ice Bar, carved from real ice, for non-alcoholic beverages.  
  • “Helicopter Flight to Volcanic Montserrat” (Seven Seas Mariner, April 7, 2008, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale; Seven Seas Navigator, March 14 and Dec. 29, 2008, Fort Lauderdale roundtrip) - Experience the awesome presence of a live volcano during this picturesque flight-seeing tour over Montserrat. Guests embark on a 50-minute helicopter flight to the East Coast of Montserrat at an elevation of approximately 1,500 feet. Rising to 3,000 feet over the still-active volcano, guests view the frequent emissions of ash, smoke and steam.
  • “Kandy by Viceroy Train” (Seven Seas Voyager, March 13, 2008, Singapore to Mumbai) – Vacationers board the 75 year-old Viceroy Special, an immaculately restored, fully-functional private luxury train, for a journey to Kandy, one of Sri Lanka's most historic and celebrated destinations. Furnished in period style, the Viceroy Special features two observation saloons with plush seating, adjoining smoker's lounge and restroom facilities, and a restaurant car. The last stronghold of the Sinhala Kings, Kandy was ceded to the British in 1815. Its shrines and monasteries remain prime examples of Buddhist influences in Sri Lanka to this day.
  • “Elephant Back Safari at Camp Jabulani (Seven Seas Navigator, Nov. 1, 2008, Mumbai to Cape Town) – At the Kapama Private Game Reserve, a 32,000-acre game preserve named after a Swazi King whose tribe inhabited the Drakensberg Mountain region in the 1880s, guests interact with a specially trained herd of 12 elephants as they explore the vivid wildlife of the African bushveld from atop the backs of these giant mammals. Daily elephant safaris are supplemented with morning and evening game drives, bush walks, off-road wildlife safaris and bird watching.

Regent’s shore excursion options are truly extensive and exciting, allowing guests to personally create the travel experience of a lifetime. Regent’s 2008 and 2009 schedule of itineraries, ports of call and shore excursions can be found at

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Princess' New Chef's Table Dinners to Roll Out Fleetwide

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Jan 2 - Princess' Chef's Table, the exclusive dining experience that debuted to rave reviews earlier this year aboard Emerald Princess, will now be introduced across the line's fleet. Currently available on Emerald Princess, Crown Princess and Caribbean Princess, the Chef's Table is scheduled to debut aboard most vessels in the fleet in early 2008. The line's smaller ships, Tahitian Princess, Pacific Princess and Royal Princess are not part of the initial roll-out but are hoped to offer the program at a later date.

Designed as a unique treat for "foodies," Chef's Table experience offers a select group of gourmands the rare opportunity to be welcomed into the inner sanctum of the ship's galley to enjoy a full evening of memorable sights, tastes, and conversation hosted by the executive chef. While many passengers are able to enjoy galley tours during the quiet off-hours, the Chef's Table experience takes interested diners behind the scenes during the height of dinner preparation where they'll also enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, followed by a special multi-course tasting dinner paired with selected wines in the dining room. Participants in Emerald Princess' first season of Chef's Table evenings may have felt like dining room celebrities as other passengers stopped to snap pictures and admire the striking table set-up and unique menu selections.

"We knew many of our guests would enjoy this unusual close-up view of our culinary operations, but we were truly surprised by the tremendous interest--it's sold out every cruise," said Rai Caluori, Princess' executive vice president of fleet operations.  "Hosting the Chef's Table requires an impressive level of dedication from our talented culinary team, but they've committed to offering it on rest of our fleet because we wanted to offer as many guests as possible the opportunity to enjoy this exclusive culinary experience."
The Chef's Table begins when the Maitre d' personally escorts the passengers to the galley where they can observe the bustle of dinner-hour preparations and meet the executive chef, plus enjoy French champagne with appetizers. The chef previews the details of the menu he created for that evening, and the group is welcomed to their special table in the dining room. The multi-course menu is specially created by the chef, and is not offered anywhere else on the ship. The fare might include anything from a focus on regional cuisine to a showcase of indigenous ingredients from a recent port. Each course is accompanied by a detailed explanation of special features, preparation methods, and tasting suggestions. Specially selected wines complement the meal.  During the dessert course, the chef rejoins the group at their private table to participate in a discussion about the evening's meal, answer questions, and share culinary secrets perfected during many years of experience at sea and on land.
Additionally, each couple at the Chef's Table will receive a personalized autographed copy of Princess' best-selling cookbook, Courses, A Culinary Journey, which has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide and is available on Guests will also enjoy a complimentary photo taken at the private table with the chef. The Chef's Table experience can be reserved by up to 10 passengers per night, at a cost of $75 per person. Reservations are made onboard through the ship's DINE telephone line or in person at the dining reservations table set up on the first day of the cruise.
Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Compensation Plans in the Works for Hurtigruten's MS Fram Passengers

Jan 1 - MS Fram, built in 2007, and at 12,700 tons specially designed for cruising arctic waters, is sailing to Ushuaia, Argentina, after engine problems in Antarctica on Dec 28 caused the ship to drift into a glacier front at Brown Bluff and suffer damage to a single lifeboat. There were no reported injuries to passengers nor damage to the ship itself. The ship was able to restart its engines quickly and made its way to Chilean base Frei at King Georges Island for inspection. After the inspection, the decision was made to send the ship back to Ushuaia, scheduled to arrive on Jan 2.

Hurtigruten takes safety very seriously and it is of the outmost importance that the ship and all safety equipment on board are in perfect condition. This includes replacement of the lifeboat and identifying and repairing the cause of the engine problems. The line has therefore decided to cancel the upcoming Jan 2 Antarctica cruise in order to accomplish those tasks. Approximately 240 passengers will be affected by this cancellation. MS Fram will resume her scheduled cruise departures on Jan 10.

A compensation plan has been announced for passengers affected by the
MS Fram's recent shortening of its Antarctica sailing of Dec 25 and cancellation of the Jan 2, 2008 departure. The refund amount for passengers currently aboard is in the process of being determined with information to be released immediately after passengers are notified; in the meantime, they will be offered a 30% reduction of fares for a future sailing in Antarctic or along the Norwegian coast. Passengers booked on the cancelled Jan 2 departure will receive a full refund of the cruise and its components as well as 50% off future Antarctica or Norwegian Coastal sailings.

Hurtigruten is making every effort to book all passengers on departures that run through Feb 2008. Re-bookings with the discount must be made by April 1, 2008, are non-transferrable, and can be for 2008-2009 season. Affected passengers can contact their travel agent or Hurtigruten at (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300. 

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Cruise News Archive - Past cruise news items listed by month

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

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