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

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

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Caribbean Princess Will Debut in Destination Known for Romance and Fun, Joining Golden Princess for Line's First Two-Ship Summer Season
New Ship to Feature Outdoor "Dive-In Movies" and Largest Number of Balconies of Any Ship Afloat

On this national day of romance, Princess is announcing that its love affair with the Caribbean is expanding. In April 2004 the line will debut a new "Love Boat" named Caribbean Princess, which will sail exclusively in this destination year-round. This new ship will be joined by Golden Princess, significantly expanding Princess' presence there with the company's first two-ship summer of Caribbean cruising.

Together the two ships will offer four different itineraries. True to her name, Caribbean Princess will offer two popular routes -- an alternating seven-day Classic Eastern and Western Caribbean program. She will be a sister ship to the line's immensely successful Grand-class of ships, which includes Grand Princess, Golden Princess and Star Princess. Golden Princess will offer alternating seven-day Southern Classic and Southern Explorer Caribbean itineraries.

"By naming our new ship ‘Caribbean Princess' and basing her year-round there, plus adding a second ship next summer, it's clear we're making an expanded commitment to our Caribbean program," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "Importantly, this new deployment brings affordable balconies to the Caribbean in the summer, along with a multitude of onboard choice, which is a hallmark of our new ships. Combining this with the fun and romance of the Caribbean will be a winning combination for summer vacations."

A brand-new feature of the Caribbean Princess will be "Dive-In Movies," a splashy way for passengers to enjoy the latest movies under the sun or stars as they relax on deck. The movies will be played on a giant, Times Square-style screen built into the superstructure of the vessel at the mid ship pool. The screen will also show special sports events, and will be used for the Caribbean island night parties held during every cruise. And true to any movie-watching venue, a variety of movie snacks will be available for passengers' enjoyment.

These two ships will also feature the line's signature Personal Choice DiningSM. Only Princess offers passengers the opportunity to choose either the traditional, same time/same table option; or Anytime DiningSM, which gives passengers the flexibility to choose when, where and with whom they dine throughout the cruise.

Other features of the ship will be a new Caribbean-themed alternative restaurant, plus Princess' trademark Italian trattoria, Princess' now-renowned Lotus Spa, four pools, three separate show lounges, an Internet café, and nearly 900 cabins with balconies, more than on any other cruise ship. "And of course a wedding chapel will be featured, because of the growing interest by couples in the unique opportunity to get married at sea by the captain, and then follow their sea-going nuptials with a romantic honeymoon cruise," said Brown.

Caribbean Princess will begin her inaugural Caribbean season on April 17, 2004 with a Western Caribbean sailing featuring some of the area's most popular ports -- Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios (or Montego Bay), Cozumel and Princess Cays, the line's private island in the Bahamas. Ports for the alternating Eastern Caribbean itinerary are St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays. Both itineraries sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Beginning May 2, 2004 Golden Princess will offer a seven-day Southern Classic Caribbean itinerary roundtrip from San Juan with calls at Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Thomas; alternating with a Southern Caribbean Explorer itinerary calling at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Caracas and Aruba.

The 116,000-ton Caribbean Princess is currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. Princess' 2004 summer Caribbean season will be available for booking beginning March 3, 2003, and rates will begin at $699. Fares for balcony cabins will begin at only $1,099 per person, double occupancy. Third and fourth berth fares begin at $199.

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Cross The Atlantic On A Masted Sailing Yacht

Seattle, WA, Feb. 14, 2003 — Windstar Cruises is offering a total of four transatlantic crossings in 2003, each 14-days in length. Two spring cruises journey from the Caribbean to Europe in April and two fall sailings return from Europe to the Caribbean in November.

On the spring ocean crossings the 308-passenger msy Wind Surf and her 148-passenger sister-ship the msy Wind Spirit journey from St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands to Lisbon, Portugal on April 20 and April 5, 2003 respectively.

On the fall ocean crossings, both ships depart from Lisbon, Portugal with the Wind Surf headed for Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 16, 2003 and the Wind Spirit sails for St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands on November 22, 2003.

"Impeccable service, elegant style and a romantic ambience are what define a Windstar cruise. Crossing the Atlantic on our sailing ships is an unparalleled experience," remarked Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales for Windstar Cruises. "Not only does Windstar offer a one-of-a-kind vacation experience, we are also enticing consumers with free and low cost airfare, all-inclusive amenities and enrichment lectures," added Russell.

The 14-day cruises become leisurely and therapeutic exercises in relaxation. While onboard for the transatlantic crossing guests will glide through the ocean waters, glimpse dolphins at play, view unrivaled sunsets, or simply listen to the sails snapping in the wind. Numerous opportunities for education and enrichment allow guests to participate in a wide variety of fitness classes including Pilates and yoga; cooking lessons and demonstrations with the Executive Chef; Internet and email computer classes; art appreciation classes; and fun navigation courses led by the ship’s officers.

On past ocean crossings, Wind Spirit guests had the luck of witnessing over five consecutive days of strong winds and straight sailing unassisted by motor power. On another crossing, the Wind Surf encountered a woman in a 22-foot rowboat, attempting a rare achievement of rowing solo across the Atlantic. The ship and guests provided her with fresh food, reading material, a Walkman, and a Grundig world band radio. Passengers later learned she had successfully completed her journey.

Windstar is offering an all-inclusive package on both Wind Surf 14-day Atlantic crossings in 2003. The package includes round-trip airfare from select cities, one night hotel stay in Lisbon, all necessary transfers, unlimited soft drinks and bottled water, unlimited wine with lunch and dinner, $200 WindSpa credit, unlimited Internet access and all enrichment lectures. The all-inclusive transatlantic packages start at $2,600 for the April 20, 2003 sailing from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to Lisbon, Portugal and $2,400 for the November 16, 2003 cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Lisbon, Portugal. 

For the April 20 sailing, the cities from which the free airfare is included in the package are Baltimore, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; Memphis, Tennessee; New York, New York; Newark, New Jersey; Norfolk, Virginia and Washington D.C. There are a total of 61 other cities from which low cost airfare add-ons are available.

For the November 16, 2003 voyage, the cities from which free airfare is included in the package are Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Meyers, Miami, Sarasota and West Palm Beach, Florida. There are a total of 69 cities from which low cost airfare add-ons are available.

Passengers who book the fall transatlantic package onboard Wind Surf without airfare and hotel receive a $495 airfare and hotel credit. However, no credit is available for either air or hotel separately. Cruise only rates for the four transatlantic cruises vary by date. The Wind Spirit crossing on April 5, 2003 from St. Thomas to Lisbon starts at $1,195 and on November 24, 2003 from Lisbon to St. Thomas starts at $1,343. The Wind Surf crossing on April 20, 2003 from St. Thomas to Lisbon starts at $1,295 and on November 16 from Lisbon to Ft. Lauderdale starts at $1,343. All rates are quoted per person, double occupancy including port charges and taxes. Windstar offers optional trip cancellation protection that provides cash back when you cancel for any reason prior to 24-hours before departure.

To receive a brochure or for more information contact 1-877-827-7245. For reservations contact a travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Sail over to Windstar Cruises online at

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Celebrity Cruises and Master Chef Michel Roux Honor Roux Scholarship Winner

MIAMI, Feb. 14 -- A promising young chef is about to embark on a rare opportunity to transition directly from cooking in a small, intimate restaurant to the galley of a ship, where fresh, gourmet meals are prepared for more than 1,000 guests at once, thanks to the combined efforts of Celebrity Cruises and its culinary and wine consultant, Master Chef Michel Roux. From February 21-28, the top-rated premium cruise line will provide Andre Garrett, 29, winner of the annual Roux Scholarship, with intensive training in culinary preparation in a cruise ship environment, with Garrett working side-by-side with the executive chefs aboard Celebrity's Mercury.

"We are thrilled to welcome Roux Scholar Andre Garrett into Mercury's galley," said Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Fleet Operations Dietmar Wertanzl. "This is an incredible opportunity for a young chef to participate in preparing a la carte, gourmet cuisine from scratch for more than 1,000 guests at a time. Celebrity has received countless accolades for accomplishing this fleetwide, thanks to our longtime affiliation with Michel Roux."

Garrett's work experience with Celebrity Cruises marks the near- culmination of his 2002 Roux Scholarship award package, which was preceded by three months of work with Guy Savoy, the new 3-star Michelin restaurant in Paris; a visit to Italy's Caffe Musetti to view coffee roasting processes, and a trip to Ay to visit the home of Champagne Gosset, among other career- building activities awarded through the scholarship program.

The Roux Scholarship was founded in 1983 by Michel Roux and his brother Albert. Michel is the owner of the multiple award-winning Waterside Inn in Bray-on-Thames near London, and has been culinary consultant for Celebrity Cruises since its founding in 1989. His brother, Albert, is the owner of London's famed Le Gavroche. Celebrity Cruises has been a program sponsor since 1995.

"The primary objective of our scholarship is to encourage young culinary talent and to provide them with a springboard to achieve their full potential," said Michel Roux. "Through our scholarship, we aim to encourage Britain's young chefs to develop their skills and thus raise culinary standards in hotels and restaurants throughout the country."

Finalists in the Roux Scholarship are required to prepare and present their own recipes in cook-offs held at regional centers in the U.K. They also are required to prepare a dessert for four from a selection of ingredients provided just prior to the start of the cook-off. A panel of judges, chefs and proprietors from some of Europe's finest restaurants, including the Roux brothers, evaluate the finalists based on their practical and imaginative use of ingredients, culinary skills, organization and cleanliness.

The industry's highest-rated premium cruise line with a taste of luxury, Celebrity Cruises' nine-ship fleet is the youngest of any major line. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, the Panama Canal and South America. For more information, visit the Celebrity web site at

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Citing Higher Consumer Demand for Closer-to-Home Cruises,
Line Makes Deployment Change

2/13/2003 -- Princess Cruises announced a deployment change for Grand Princess that will keep the ship in the Caribbean this summer. The line made this change in response to an anticipated shift in demand from North American passengers toward Caribbean destinations this summer, with lower demand than originally expected for Mediterranean destinations.

Grand Princess had been scheduled for 11 12-day Mediterranean cruises, plus two trans-Atlantic crossings, for the period of May 4 to October 5. She will now offer 22 seven-day Caribbean cruises during this time. Her sister ship, Golden Princess, will continue with her summer Mediterranean program, sailing an identical itinerary to the one planned for Grand Princess. Passengers currently booked on Grand Princess' Mediterranean cruises will be automatically rebooked onto the equivalent sailing on Golden Princess.

"While consumer demand is adequate for one ship in the Mediterranean, we see stronger demand for closer-to-home cruises," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "Keeping the Grand Princess in the Caribbean for the summer supports the booking trends we're seeing at this time." "Because the two ships are identical, and sailing on identical 12-day ‘Grand Mediterranean' itineraries, we hope to minimize any impact on our passengers' vacation plans," said Brown.

The affected Grand Princess cruises include the May 4 and September 23 trans-Atlantic crossings, and 11 Mediterranean cruises departing May 14 through September 11. Grand Princess' new summer Caribbean season will officially begin on May 4 with a western Caribbean sailing, which will alternate with an eastern itinerary. The ship continues its schedule of exclusively western Caribbean cruises in the fall.

"We also appreciate that great vacation values are very important to consumers right now," said Brown. "Our new Caribbean summer season aboard Grand Princess will offer just that." Rates for the newly announced departures begin at just $499 per person, double occupancy. In addition to Golden Princess Mediterranean schedule, Princess' European summer program will include Royal Princess with a variety of 12-day Western Europe sailings roundtrip from London, and Regal Princess with 10-day sailings throughout the Northern European region, roundtrip from Copenhagen.

"Our Europe-based fleet of three ships this summer will continue to offer such a variety of great itineraries to our passengers," said Brown. "The change in deployment for Grand Princess doesn't change that. It does signal our desire and capability to be flexible in providing the types of cruise vacations people are looking for."

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Crystal Cruises Announces Last-Minute Cancellation Insurance
'Cruise Protection Program-PLUS' Guarantees 90% Future Cruise Credit

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13 -- Luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises is launching "Cruise Protection Program-PLUS," an optional new insurance upgrade allowing travelers to cancel their cruise for absolutely any reason up until three days before departure, and receive a 90% cruise credit of the cancellation fee valid for any sailing within 12 months. Cruise Protection Program-PLUS is available on all cruises aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony, and the new Crystal Serenity, departing between May 15 and December 31, 2003.

The new program is available as an upgrade to the line's standard Cruise Protection Program which covers trip cancellation and interruption for medical reasons and a range of other emergency assistance services. The cost to upgrade to the Cruise Protection Program-PLUS from Crystal's standard insurance plan for cruise fares under $8,000 per person is an additional $200 per person, or 3% of the cruise fare for voyages over $8,000 per person. Crystal Cruises launched a similar program in late 2001 that expired at the end of 2002.

Crystal Cruises' ultra-luxurious vessels, Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity offer 63 sailings, ranging in length from seven to 104 days, in Asia, Europe, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, South America, South Pacific, New England/Canada, Alaska, Antarctica, Mexican Riviera and the Panama Canal/Caribbean. The line's third ship, Crystal Serenity, debuts in July. For more information on Cruise Protection Program-PLUS and to make reservations, contact your professional travel agent. For a complimentary brochure, call 800.820.6663. The luxury line's web site is located at

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New Ship Takes First Princess Passengers to Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva and Rangiroa

2/11/2003 -- One of Princess' newest vessels, Tahitian Princess, has been busy adding to the line's roster of worldwide destinations with inaugural visits to three little-visited destinations, the Marquesas islands of Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva, as well as Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Islands group. The 680-passenger ship's visit to these distant tropical paradises fulfilled a travel dream for many passengers, and sparked a great deal of excitement among the local residents.

"Tahitian Princess is an outstanding new ship for us, and a wonderful way to visit these somewhat far-flung tropical paradises," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "The new calls in the Marquesas and Tuamotus are another example of how Princess is truly a worldwide cruise line, offering a rich array of destination choices for passengers."

The inaugural calls were part of Tahitian Princess' January 13 sailing on its French Polynesia/Marquesas Islands itinerary. The ship will also offer cruises on this itinerary on Feb 22, Oct. 20, Nov. 9, Nov. 29, Dec. 19 and Jan 18, 2004. The only ship offering 10-day itineraries of French Polynesia, Tahitian Princess sails year round from Papeete on three distinct routes (French Polynesia/Cook Islands and French Polynesia/Samoa Islands round out the offerings).

Hiva Oa -- Tahitian Princess' first call to Hiva Oa, on January 18, brought passengers a unique look at the final resting place of legendary artist Paul Gaugin and French singer Jacques Brel. The first cruise ship to ever grace the island was greeted by great enthusiasm on the part of the locals, who turned out in force to host an extensive craft market right at the pier area. Many artists from other local islands traveled to Hiva Oa just for the occasion. The festive atmosphere in the port area also extended to a traditional drum and song greeting at the pier and a fruit tasting area where passengers could sample the true flavor of the island for no charge.

For passengers who wished to travel into town, and view attractions such as the Gauguin Museum, Gaugin's "House of Bliss," and the Calvary Cemetery, Princess arranged for shuttles aboard the island's only available conveyances, three school buses and eight private cars that served as local taxis. More than 450 passengers took advantage of this unique option, and enjoyed the local color offered by the transport option.

Nuku Hiva -- The administrative capitol of the Marquesas, this island earned a claim to fame recently as one of the sights used on the "Survivor" television series. Of course, in pre-"Survivor" days, this delightful island was made famous by Herman Melville, who deserted his ship and hid in one of the island's valleys. The largest island in the Marquesas archipelago, Nuku Hiva is known for its breathtaking beauty, and Princess passengers could enjoy two scenic tours designed to showcase the island's highlights during the inaugural visit on January 17. Tahitian Princess visitors also were able to explore a number of local sites, including Hakapaa Bay, one of the two bays used for "Survivor;" and Paeke, one of the island's richest archaeological sites.

Rangiroa -- Tahitian Princess passengers also had the unique opportunity to visit the world's second largest coral atoll on January 20. Known as a water sports paradise, Rangiroa is famous for scuba diving with a large population of sharks and abundant coral. Three water-related tours were available to guests, as well as the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Rangiroa's more than 200 islets, small channels and central lagoon from one of the atoll's many beaches.

The 680-passenger Tahitian Princess entered service for Princess Cruises on December 24, 2002. The vessel offers a boutique version of many of the Personal Choice Cruising options that have become Princess trademarks, including a wide variety of dining experiences -- such as a 24-hour Lido Cafe and alternative dining programs with both an Italian restaurant and an American steakhouse -- and 92 percent outside staterooms, more than two-thirds of which include a private balcony for enjoying the dramatic Polynesian scenery.

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

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Celebrity Cruises Unveils New Concepts, 
Taps Shipboard Talent To Oversee Implementation

MIAMI, Feb. 11 -- Celebrity Cruises is unveiling a variety of new concepts designed to add "a taste of luxury" to the premium cruise line's award-winning attributes.

Among the new elements being offered to guests are expanded options and hours in Celebrity's AquaSpa(SM) by Elemis; a broader range of enrichment lectures; increased choices in cuisine, including a Sushi Cafe; sunset happy hours with live music and refreshments; increased options in dining hours, with something available to whet guests' appetites 24 hours a day; sunset yoga and Pilates classes; frosty towels and sorbet service poolside, and increased opportunities for guests to interact with the ship's officers.

The new concepts represent just one component of Celebrity's "brand transformation," which falls on the heels of the Fall 2002 introduction of a simplified treatment of the distinctive "X" logo; the line's new tagline, "a true departure"; a fresh, trade ad campaign built around the brand's themelines of "rejuvenation, enrichment" and "connections," and a distinctive new TV and print consumer ad campaign that made the campaign's white "Celebrity" T-shirts such a sought-after commodity that they are being sold on the Celebrity web site.

The new concepts and many more were introduced on Millennium in September, then evaluated based on a combination of feedback from guests and shipboard management. The initiatives assessed as offering the highest degree of guest satisfaction are those being implemented fleetwide by July. To ensure the successful implementation of these new enhancements, Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Fleet Operations, Dietmar Wertanzl, has created several new, key roles, each assumed by individuals with extensive shipboard management experience, all reporting to Wertanzl.

Celebrity's new director of Brand Essence is Antony Papageorgiou, who began his career as Guest Relations Manager onboard Celebrity's Horizon nine years ago, then spent five years as director of Corporate Training for Crystal Cruises, where he played an integral role on the team credited for taking the brand to the top of the luxury category. Papageorgiou now directs the implementation of all of Celebrity Cruises' brand essence initiatives, including core service standards, product and service development, management and leadership skill development, and processes designed to solidify the Celebrity culture of service and style.

Overseeing Celebrity's evolving theatre shows, enrichment lectures and other guest entertainment offerings is Michael Thomas, director of Entertainment and Cruise Programs. Thomas brings extensive experience to his new role, having served since 1980 as an Entertainer and Cruise Director for Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line and, most recently, Celebrity Cruises. He also has performed in dinner theaters, nightclubs and hotels across the country, and preceded his entertainment and cruising career in academia, teaching high school- and college-level biology, microbiology and marine biology for seven years.

Concurrently, the new position of manager of Onboard Brand Transformation has been assumed by George Traganis, who brings 20 years of cruise industry experience to the role. Traganis previously served as hotel manager on every class of Celebrity ships, including opening each of the four Millennium-class ships when they launched between 2000-2002. Traganis supervised the day-to- day implementation of the new concepts on Millennium, and now manages those being implemented throughout the Celebrity fleet.

The industry's highest-rated premium cruise line with a taste of luxury, Celebrity Cruises' nine-ship fleet is the youngest of any major line. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, the Panama Canal and South America. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111, or visit the Celebrity web site at

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Cunard Line announces 2004 World Cruise for Queen Elizabeth 2

MIAMI - Cunard Line's 2004 World Cruise on board Queen Elizabeth 2 will celebrate the travels of the great explorers of our time. The world's most famous ship will depart New York January 5, 2004, on a 110-day voyage around the globe. All the remarkable details are contained in a new, 42-page brochure available now from travel agents and Cunard.

From New York QE2 sails through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles, across the Southern Seas to New Zealand and Australia, then through Southeast Asia to India, Africa and Europe before heading back to New York. The least expensive inside stateroom is $23,999 per person, double, including early booking discounts. Grand Suites are $299,999 per person, double.

"Cunard's World Cruise has been a famous annual event since we introduced the very first World Cruise back in 1922," said Deborah Natansohn, the line's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "This year we'll visit 38 ports of call in 25 different countries. But our fabulous segments let guests share in all the glamour even if they don't take the full cruise."

Join a famous annual sea-bourn celebration
For travelers not prepared to spend nearly four months at sea, Cunard Line is offering 14 exciting segments, ranging from as little as 12 to as many as 108 days. A 12-day cruise via the Panama Canal is priced from $3,549 per person, double. Round-trip Economy Class air transportation and ground transfers are included for all published segments. Complimentary Business Class air upgrades are offered depending on the segment and cabin category selected. Guests sailing for 90 days or longer fly in First Class and receive complimentary gratuities.

A collection of black-tie galas, themed balls and specialty parties makes the QE2 World Cruise one of the most famous, liveliest and longest-running soirees of the social season. Indeed, Cunard's renowned flagship is greeted with fanfare at virtually every port along her route.

Cunard's most popular segments have all been named to honor the thirst for adventure and discovery that motivated some of the earliest explorers:

Balboa's Path Between Two Seas (New York to Los Angeles, January 5-19) This two-week cruise through the Caribbean to the Mexican Riviera is via the always-fascinating Panama Canal. Vasco Nuñez de Balboa was the first European to see the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean when he crossed the isthmus of Panama by land.

Thor Heyerdahl's South Pacific (Los Angeles to Sydney, January 19 - February 17) In 28 days this itinerary will explore blissful South Pacific isles, plus New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania. However, QE2 guests will be considerably more comfortable than Heyerdahl, who sailed these same waters on Kon Tiki, a crude raft made of Balsa wood.

Captain Cook's Discoveries (Sydney to Hong Kong, February 17 - March 8) A fascinating 20-day voyage along the Great Barrier Reef to Pacific Rim outposts and Japanese treasures. James Cook and his Endeavor crew discovered the land Down Under in 1770.

Marco Polo's Far East (Hong Kong to Cape Town, March 8 - April 6) Marco Polo spent 17 years in China, but Cunard's guests can visit many of the great cities of Asia in just 29 days, along with India, its neighboring island gems and South Africa.

Follow Vasco Da Gama Around the Cape (Cape Town to New York, April 6-25) Namibia, South Africa, the Canary Islands and Lisbon highlight this grand 19-day expedition. In 1498, Da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, opening up the East to European commerce.

Enhancing these epic journeys are optional, overnight sightseeing tours to historic and cultural inland attractions, such as the shogun palaces of Kyoto in Japan, Ayer's Rock in the Australian Outback, India's magnificent Taj Mahal and the Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi'An, China.

Cruise the world in unrivalled comfort
has often been called a "City at Sea." Indeed, the Cunard flagship has all the five-star amenities and features required for an extended ocean voyage such as a World Cruise. The luxurious liner features six dining venues; several elegant bars and lounges; a European-style spa, complete with his and hers dry sauna, a co-ed steam chamber and a co-ed thalassotherapy pool; a computer learning center with both Internet and e-mail access; the largest library afloat, manned by licensed librarians; and the most famous Grand Ballroom at sea.

Shipboard facilities also include a gymnasium, aerobics studio, beauty salon, cinema and showroom, casino, medical center, hot tubs, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, video arcade, golf driving range and putting green, formal wear shop (rentals available) and several duty-free boutiques - including the only Harrods at sea.

The very popular QE2 Heritage Trail is a permanent exhibit that uniquely retraces through artworks and other memorabilia, the history of great Cunard liners. Other unusual shipboard facilities include a florist, synagogue, children's center staffed by British nannies, and the only kennel at sea. For any women traveling alone, a brigade of gallant Gentlemen Hosts assures that they will not miss out on a dance.

Relish Cunard's White Star ServiceSM
Menus are carefully planned to provide variety throughout the three-month voyage and Cunard's White Star Service pays homage to the company's proud 163-year British tradition of excellence. In fact, the ship's five-star Grill accommodations recently won the prestigious maritime Oscar from the Berlitz guide to Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2003. The author, Douglas Ward, states: "If you occupy one of the top-level suites, with butler service and all the trimmings of finery, your experience should be nothing short of superb."

Entertainment on the World Cruise is also specially programmed for variety. Local talent is often showcased to complement top-name comedians, singers, dancers and enrichment lecturers. For more information about the 2004 QE2 World Cruise or for a "Voyage of the Explorers" brochure, contact your professional travel counselor, call Cunard at 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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NEW YORK Feb 5, 2003 -- Royal Olympic Cruises is kicking off the New Year with a new trade name-Royal Olympia Cruises. This has been decided following the successful name changes of the company's two new vessels, from Olympic Voyager and Olympic Explorer to Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer. 

Greek-flagged Royal Olympia cruise vessels are based in Piraeus, the port of Athens, and the name "Olympia" reflects the great seafaring tradition of giving ships female names. It also speaks directly to the company's intense pride in its national heritage, as the region of Olympia was one of the most important landmarks of ancient Greece. Legend has it that the ancient gods fought to make Olympia a holy sanctuary, and it remains to this day the very heart and soul of Greek myths and traditions. Indeed, it is one of the most popular and magical destinations in the entire country, symbolizing peace, unity of nations and the spirit of fair competition.

Mr. Arne Egeland, Executive Director of R.O.C.'s Sales, Marketing and Reservations center in New York, commented for this release: "This is an exciting time for our company. With the line's recent Top Ten performance in the Condé Nast Readers Poll and the Editor's Choice Award from Travel Holiday magazine for the Olympia Explorer, we've gained increased worldwide recognition. This change is going to bring a much stronger brand cohesion to our line. The company trade name will now be echoed in the names of our two flagships as well as in our completely revamped and upgraded past passenger club, the Olympia Society. We applaud this new trade name and are excited about the strengthened brand image that will result from it."

There will be a phased changeover. The company's logo design and logotype remain unaltered, as does the tagline, "The intelligent way to see the world." The website has already been revised, and the URL now points to the company website. Company advertising, collateral, signage, forms, stationary, shipboard materials and etc. will all be changed over as soon as possible.

Royal Olympia Cruises is one of the world's leading international cruise lines, with a seagoing heritage that stretches back to the mid-1800's. The standard-bearer for the tradition of the Classic Cruise Experience, Royal Olympia is renowned for its elegant, "human-sized" vessels, uniquely rich worldwide itineraries and shore excursions, warm and friendly Greek crew and international staff, outstanding cuisine and service, and its industry-leading cultural enrichment program. Royal Olympia's fleet of seven mid-size ships includes the state-of-the-art, 836-passenger Olympia Explorer (debuted May 3, 2002) and her sister ship, Olympia Voyager (launched June 2000). These high-tech vessels are the fastest cruise ships in the world, with up to 30-knot service speed, which enables them to deliver more ports per cruise and more time in port. For reservations or information, contact a travel agent.

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Master Chef Oversees Menu For Crystal Serenity's
 "Sushi Bar'' and "Silk Road Restaurant''

NEW YORK, Feb 6, 2003 -- Master Chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa has partnered with Crystal Cruises to bring his legendary cuisine to a second dining venue aboard the luxurious Crystal Serenity, set to debut in July. "Crystal Cruises has a reputation for good food, good service, and hospitality that is exquisite,'' says Nobu. "I feel confident that my cuisine will only enhance an existing tradition of excellence."

Having created a menu for the luxury liner's "Sushi Bar'' this past June, Nobu turned his attention to creating the menu for the ship's "Silk Road Restaurant,'' which he unveiled here at his New York restaurant today. Each specialty restaurant will feature exclusively Nobu's eclectic cuisine, an innovative blend of classically styled Japanese foods with distinct Peruvian and European influences. While the "Sushi Bar'' will feature an assortment of Nobu's sushi and sashimi, "Silk Road Restaurant'' will boast more than two dozen of Nobu's signature appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts. In addition, Nobu will be unveiling his own line of china in both the "Sushi Bar'' and "Silk Road Restaurant'' during Crystal Serenity's inaugural season. The collection will not be available in his land-based restaurants until later this year.

"We are thrilled that our partnership with one of the great masters of the culinary world has evolved into such an unprecedented culinary alliance,'' says Toni Neumeister, vice president, food and beverage operations, Crystal Cruises. "Nobu had barely completed the menu for our Sushi Bar when he returned to the kitchen and further paired his philosophy with ours, creating an exceptional menu for Silk Road Restaurant that our guests are sure to enjoy.''

Nobu's inventive cuisine has been redefining the meaning of "sushi" since the opening of his first restaurant in Beverly Hills in 1987. While connoisseurs can sample his fare in his eponymous restaurant empire in Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Miami Beach, Aspen and Las Vegas, and a soon-to-open restaurant in Shanghai, the Crystal alliance marks a global expansion, as Crystal Serenity is designed for worldwide cruising.

Crystal Cruises Chef Toshiaki Tamba, a 27-year veteran, has just completed training under the tutelage of Nobu on the delicate nuances of preparing his eclectic cuisine onboard. Chef Tamba will oversee "The Sushi Bar'' and "Silk Road Restaurant'' in Nobu's absence. In addition to Nobu's personal involvement of supervising the restaurants and hosting culinary demonstrations aboard Crystal Serenity, chefs from his worldwide collection of prestigious restaurants will also join the ship to assist Chef Tamba and lead cooking demonstrations.

The "Silk Road Restaurant'' will feature seven appetizers, from Matsuhisa shrimp to lobster spring roll with caviar; three soups (mushroom, miso and spicy seafood); three salads (tomato ceviche, sashimi and mushroom); a collection of eight tempting entrees, from Nobu-style lobster with truffle yuzu sauce and Nobu-style black cod with miso to chicken with teriyaki balsamic; and a choice of trio of crème brulees or bento box for dessert. Meanwhile, the Sushi Bar will feature an assortment of sushi and new style sashimi, including three Nobu specials, salmon tartar with sevruga caviar, tiradito Nobu-style, and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno.

Nobu has been described as a "sushi mogul" and without question there is an air of celebrity that surrounds Nobu and each of his restaurants. Yet it is his unwavering passion to communicate his "kokora" - or his heart in Japanese - through every single dish he makes that has earned him a litany of awards almost too numerous to list, beginning with his 1989 award as one of Food & Wine magazine's 10 Best New Chefs and highlighted by Matsuhisa's 1993 recognition as one of the top destination restaurants in the world according to The New York Times.

The Nobu alliance is the latest development in Crystal's continued pursuit of culinary excellence that includes exclusive pairings with the world's leading names in food and wine - Piero Selvaggio's Valentino and Wolfgang Puck's Chinois on Main for Valentino at Prego aboard Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, and Chinois at Jade aboard Crystal Symphony, respectively. The luxury line's devotion to sharing the joys of food and wine with guests is further evidenced by its own highly regarded Wine & Food Festival, now in its seventh year.

The newest member of Crystal Cruises' Six-Star-rated fleet, at 68,000 tons, Crystal Serenity will feature a higher space-per-guest ratio than her sister ships, Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, expanded areas for spa services and other athletic, cultural and intellectual pursuits, an increased number of penthouses, enlarged staterooms and now an alliance with one of the world's leading chefs. Crystal Cruises currently operates the 50,000-ton, 940-guest sister ships, Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, two of the most spacious and luxurious vessels cruising the world. Their unique size in the luxury market allows for smooth sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, generous amenities and elegant accommodations. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure, call 800.820.6663. Visit the web site at

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Ship Will Debut with Gulf of Alaska Program in July

Princess Cruises announces that the delivery of Island Princess has been postponed necessitating the cancellation of the vessel's first scheduled voyages. The inaugural cruise is now set for July 12, 2003, a Gulf of Alaska sailing between Vancouver and Seward. Affected departures include the May 13 Panama Canal transit voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, a three-night coastal cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver, as well as six seven-day Gulf of Alaska cruises.

"While naturally we are disappointed with the delay, by working constructively with Chantiers to make a realistic assessment of the delivery date, we have been able to reach an early decision on the postponement," said Phil Kleweno president of Princess Cruises. "As a result we are in a position to minimize the disruption for our passengers and offer them accommodation on alternative Princess cruises."

Passengers booked to sail on the affected cruises will be offered a full refund, as well as credit toward alternate cruises in 2003 or 2004. The 88,000-ton Island Princess is the sister to Princess' newest vessel, Coral Princess, the largest of the line's ships to be able to transit the Panama Canal. The 1,970 - passenger Island Princess will debut with a series of seven-day Gulf of Alaska voyages between Vancouver and Seward, moving to the Panama Canal in the fall. The ship features multiple dining and entertainment venues; plus more than 80 percent of cabins feature a private balcony, a Princess hallmark.

Island Princess is being constructed at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in France.

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Charlie Palmer Invites Select Group of Friends as Guest Chefs on Seabourn Yachts

MIAMI, Feb 5, 2003 -- Because Charlie Palmer is both a consummate chef and a genuinely likeable guy, it's not surprising that the renowned chef/restaurateur maintains friendships with some of America's other celebrated chefs. This informal circle of chefs share an enthusiasm for fine food and great cooking, and now Charlie is inviting them to share his enthusiasm for The Yachts of Seabourn, too. He has invited a number of them to join Seabourn cruises in 2003 as guest chefs, to form the core of a new culinary branch of Seabourn's Dress Circle onboard enrichment called the 'Chefs' Circle.'

"We are grateful to Charlie for the opportunity to bring some of America's most skilled and talented chefs aboard The Yachts of Seabourn," said Rick Meadows, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Seabourn. "Charlie has thrilled Seabourn's guests with his exciting new menus on board", Meadows continued. "So we know that when Charlie suggests one of his friends as a guest chef, we're going to love the results."

Chefs' Circle guest chefs will give cooking demonstrations on board, and signature dishes from their repertoires will be featured on a Restaurant dinner menu one night during their cruises. Another signature dish will be featured one night in the casual Veranda Café indoor/outdoor alternative dining venue on board.  In addition, when the opportunity presents itself, they may escort one of Seabourn's signature "Shopping with the Chef" excursions to local markets in a port of call. More importantly, as is the case with all Dress Circle guests, they will be a part of the sociable, club-like atmosphere that prevails aboard the Seabourn Yachts.

Chefs scheduled for Seabourn's Chefs' Circle cruises in 2003 include:

Michel Richard, owner and executive chef of Citronelle, Washington, DC. (May 18, 2003 Seabourn Legend Nice to Barcelona). In 1987, Richard opened Citrus in Southern California, where his adaptation of his native French cuisine earned him induction into the James Beard Foundation's 1988 'Who's Who in American Food and Wine'. Richard subsequently opened and operated Citronelle in Santa Barbara and Bistro M in San Francisco, as well as additional Citronelles in Baltimore and Philadelphia. The current Washington DC flagship Citronelle was opened in 1994, and after a $2 million renovation in 1998, Chef Richard moved to Washington and has concentrated his considerable talents there, to continued wide acclaim.

Andrew Carmellini, chef de cuisine Café Boulud, New York, NY.  (July 13, 2003 Seabourn Legend Nice to Barcelona). Carmellini's background and training aptly prepared him for the sort of praise and awards he has garnered. He was a weekend chef for then-Governor Mario Cuomo while still studying at CIA. His stages included  Michelin-starred establishments in Paris, London, the South of France, Italy; and New York's Lespinasse and Le Cirque. Since owner Daniel Boulud selected Andrew to take over the kitchen in his newest restaurant, he has been named the James Beard Foundation's "Rising Star Chef of the Year", one of Food & Wine Magazine's "Best New Chefs of 2000" and nominated as the 2002 James Beard "Best Chef in New York".

Rick Moonen, rm, New York (August 10, 2003 Seabourn Legend Nice to Barcelona). A true oceanophile, Moonen often fishes on his day off. At work, according to the New York Times, he "has mastered the art of cooking fish."  His previous restaurants Oceana and Molyvos have both garnered three-star reviews from the Gray Lady. A CIA graduate, Moonen did his stages at such legendary eateries as La Cote Basque and Le Cirque. He was also Executive Chef at Le Relais, Century Café and Chelsea Central before joining The Water Club. The 1993 Chef of the Year for the  Northeast Region from Chefs of America, Rick is a founding member of the culinary conservation group Seafood Choices Alliance, actively advocating  sustainable harvest of foods from the sea.

David Burke, Park Avenue Café, New York. (August 24, 2003 Seabourn Spirit Venice to Rome). Citing Auguste Escoffier as his mentor, David Burke sums up his culinary approach as "Respecting the classic cooking techniques while keeping things interesting and current." A CIA graduate, Burke has won a string of top awards including the Nippon Award of Excellence in Japan; Chef Magazine's Chef of the Year; the first-ever CIA Auggie Award (named for Escoffier) and the 1998 Meilleur Ouvriers de France Diploma, France's highest culinary honor. Burke is the Corporate Executive Chef for the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, Executive Chef and partner in Park Avenue Cafés in New York and Chicago and Chief Culinary Consultant for Singapore Airlines.

Jean Alberti, Kokkari Estiatorio, San Francisco (September 7, 2003 Seabourn Spirit Athens to Istanbul). Educated in a classic Alsatian hotel school and at the CIA in Hyde Park, French born Alberti did his stages in Michelin-starred restaurants such as La Bougongne and La Charrue d'Or, as well as establishments in England and Spain. He spent over a year exploring the food and culture of Greece before opening Evvia Estiatorio in Palo Alto, California. Alberti's masterful interpretations of rustic Hellenic traditions are now featured in a beautiful San Francisco location, inspiring San Francisco Chronicle critic Michael Bauer to pronounce them "Greek food elevated to an Art Form."

David Pasternack, Esca, New York. (September 21, 2003 Seabourn Spirit Venice to Rome). "Esca" is Italian for bait. An apt name for a place that chef and avid fisherman David Pasternack has turned into a shrine for lovers of impeccably fresh fish and seafood. One of the growing empire of restaurants involving partners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, Esca is perhaps best known for crudi-fish and seafood served raw. Pasternack, formerly of David Bouley, Prive and Picholine, and his staff also deliver perfectly grilled and salt-crusted fish, and lusty southern Italian pastas to accompany them. Esca was one of five nominees for the James Beard Foundations "Best New Restaurant in America," and David is a nominee this year for "Best Chef in New York."

For information on The Yachts of Seabourn, contact your travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Special Rates, Exclusive On-Board Discounts and Giveaways, Highlight Seven-Day Caribbean Cruises on Carnival Conquest, Smoke-Free Paradise

MIAMI (02/05/03) - Based on overwhelming demand for its first-ever "Fun Ship Reunion Cruises" announced last month, Carnival Cruise Lines has added two more of the popular voyages, which feature special pricing and a host of value-added extras such as free Carnival logo items and shipboard discounts. The two new "Reunion Cruises" include a seven-day "exotic" eastern Caribbean voyage from Miami aboard the 2,052-passenger smoke-free Paradise Sept. 28, 2003, and a seven-day western Caribbean cruise from New Orleans aboard the new 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest Oct. 19, 2003. Prices for the Paradise cruise, which calls at Nassau, Casa de Campo and St. Thomas, begin at $479 per person, while rates for the Carnival Conquest voyage, featuring Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, start at $599 per person. The cruises can be booked through any travel agent. 

"When we announced our first 'Fun Ship Reunion Cruises' they were an immediate hit and have been selling like gangbusters. These special voyages are a great way to reward our past guests for their loyalty and business over the years," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president. 

"Fun Ship Reunion Cruise" participants receive a booklet with $300 worth of coupons for on-board merchandise and discounts, including free beach towels, tote bags and photos, complimentary wine with dinner, casino tokens, and reduced-rate spa treatments and shore excursions. "Reunion Cruise" participants also enjoy signature "Fun Ship" amenities such as expansive spa facilities, full casino gambling, and a delicious array of formal and casual dining options, including patisseries, sushi bars and complimentary 24-hour pizza and stateroom service. Carnival Conquest also houses an upscale supper club serving prime beef and other gourmet cuisine. 

Other amenities include Internet cafes, "Camp Carnival" with fun, supervised activities for kids ages 2-15, a comprehensive on-board golf program, and a variety of dancing and entertainment options ranging from Las Vegas-style revues in elaborate, multi-level theaters to pulsating discos and intimate piano bars. 

Carnival is still accepting reservations on the previously announced seven-day Caribbean "Reunion Cruise" aboard Carnival Triumph departing Miami May 10, 2003, with prices beginning at $599 per person. An eight-day "exotic" southern Caribbean "Reunion Cruise" from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., aboard Carnival Legend will depart Dec. 7, 2003. To book a "Fun Ship Reunion Cruise," travel agents must provide a valid past guest number for their clients and request fare code CDP5. The offer is valid for individual bookings only and cannot be combined with any other discount or promotional offer. Rates are for category 4A (interior) accommodations based on double occupancy. The offer is capacity controlled. Bookings for the two new "Reunion Cruises" must be made by March 15, 2003. Certain other restrictions apply. For information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501 or visit the line's travel agent Internet portal at

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Sister-Ship Crystal Harmony Also Scores High

LOS ANGELES, Feb 5, 2003 -- Crystal Symphony, the 940-guest luxury ship operated by Los Angeles-based Crystal Cruises, has been named "The Best Medium-Sized Cruise Ship in the World'' by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Crystal Symphony rated first overall among 47 of the world's leading medium-sized (carrying from 500 to 1,500 passengers) and large (1,500-plus passengers) cruise ships.

In its medium-sized category, Crystal Symphony was rated first overall among 19 similar-sized vessels, ranking number one in service, food, itineraries and activities. Combined with ships in the larger category, the 50,000-ton Crystal Symphony also placed first overall, ranking number one in service, food, itineraries and activities. Its sister-ship, the 940-guest, 50,000 ton Crystal Harmony, placed third overall in the medium-sized category. One year ago, in the same readers' poll conducted by Condé Nast Traveler, Crystal Harmony rated number one in its category.

 "We are extremely gratified to once again be recognized for our product excellence, and such high praise speaks to the consistency of our fleet no matter where we cruise in the world," says Gregg L. Michel, president, Crystal Cruises.

This award is the latest in an extended line of accolades given to the luxury line since its inception.  For the seventh consecutive year, Crystal Cruises was named best large-ship line in the 2002 readers' surveys conducted by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines. The Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Poll for "The Best Cruise Ships in the World" represents the culmination of an extensive poll of travel preferences, in which subscribers were asked to rate individual ships on five criteria: service, food, itineraries, activities and design. Official results have been published in the magazine's February 2003 issue, on newsstands now.

Crystal Symphony and Crystal Harmony will be joined by the 1,080-guest Crystal Serenity, set to debut in July. The newest member of Crystal Cruises' Six-Star-rated fleet, at 68,000 tons, Crystal Serenity will feature a higher space-per-guest ratio than her sister ships, expanded areas for spa services and other athletic, cultural and intellectual pursuits, an increased number of penthouses and enlarged staterooms.

The line offers an unprecedented 70 sailings in 2003, ranging in length from seven to 104 days.  Combined, the three luxury ships will explore 107 destinations in 55 countries this year. Crystal Cruises is sold exclusively through travel agents.  Call 800.820.6663 for a brochure, or detailed cruise information can be found at the line's web site

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Miami, FL, Feb 5, 2003 – Oceania Cruises is pleased to announce it has achieved booking levels that far exceeded management’s expectations for its first week of operations. Oceania Cruises officially opened its inaugural season for bookings on January 27th and during that week; bookings were more than triple the anticipated volume. 

The wave of bookings continues into the second week at 40% ahead of the projected booking curve through the close of business Tuesday, February 4th/ Several sailings are already more than 50% sold with a large number of Regatta’s sailings filled to more than 1/3 capacity. Oceania Cruises is experiencing heavy demand for the Regatta’s inaugural July 5th sailing and her summer season of cruises to Scandinavia and the Baltic. Demand for the fall Mediterranean season is also much greater than anticipated. 

“I’m extremely gratified that Oceania Cruises has received such a terrific response and the traveling public has been so quick to embrace our product” said Frank Del Rio, President and CEO of Oceania Cruises.

“Outstanding value is one of our key differentiators, Travel Agents and guests have been very quick to recognize that fact.” Added Joe Watters, Chairman of Oceania Cruises.

Oceania Cruises features two intimate and luxurious 684 passenger ships, REGATTA sm and INSIGNIA sm. Oceania Cruises’ hallmarks are an unsurpassed culinary experience, a casually elegant atmosphere and unparalleled personal service coupled with extraordinary value. For additional information on Oceania Cruises or to make a reservation please contact your  Travel Agent. To request a brochure, call 800-531-5658 or visit

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MIAMI -- February 4, 2003 - Bearing units in Infinity's propulsion system will require more extensive repairs than originally expected, Celebrity Cruises announced today, following a thorough examination of the ship's propulsion equipment. These repairs will take longer than estimated earlier, and, unfortunately, will result in one additional sailing, on Feb. 23, being cancelled. Infinity is expected to resume service March 9. 

The company cancelled two sailings on Infinity last week-a Feb. 2 sailing from Ensenada, Mexico, to Hawaii and a return trip Feb. 13-to make needed repairs. It also shortened a Jan.19 cruise. The ship is in transit today, traveling to a dry-dock facility in Newport News, Va. 

Guests holding a booking on the cancelled sailing will receive a full refund for their cruise, plus a voucher for a 50-percent discount on any Celebrity cruise of 14 nights or less, departing on or before April 1, 2004, excluding Europe, Christmas and New Year's sailings. Travel agents will receive their full commission, plus a $50 rebooking fee per cabin when their clients reschedule their trip. A special Help Desk has been set up to assist travel agents or guests with rebooking, air transportation and other issues. The toll-free number is 1-888-701-7192. Additional information can be found on

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Royal Caribbean Receives Top Honors in Recommend, Modern Bride and Porthole Magazine Annual Awards
Travel Agents, Readers Give Cruise Line High Marks For Entertainment, Dining, Itineraries

MIAMI, Feb. 4 -- Royal Caribbean International continues its winning streak with top rankings in annual surveys by Recommend, Modern Bride and Porthole Cruise Magazine. The brand was recognized for excellence in the areas of entertainment, dining, honeymoon travel, itineraries and technology.

"We're honored to be named as leaders in the industry by some of the most discerning travelers and travel agents out there," said Adam Goldstein, executive vice president, Brand Operations, for Royal Caribbean. "The groups surveyed are very aware of the full range of choices available. We're pleased that they recognized Royal Caribbean and our ships as outstanding in so many different areas."

In Recommend Magazine's Sixth Annual Readers' Choice Awards, the result of a survey of more than 1,000 travel agents, Royal Caribbean was named as having the Best Large Ship and as the cruise line with the Best Onboard Entertainment and Food. Royal Caribbean ships offer a wide range of dining options, from the elegant and traditional main dining rooms and casual Windjammer Cafes on all ships to the Johnny Rockets burger joints on Voyager-class ships. Guests of all ages also will enjoy the onboard entertainment ranging from intimate jazz trios to full-scale, Broadway-caliber productions created and rehearsed at Royal Caribbean's Hollywood, Fla., production studios.

Brides-to-be won't have to look any further than Royal Caribbean when planning their honeymoon. For the third time, Modern Bride recognized the brand as the World's Favorite Cruise Line, based on its poll of more than 3,000 ASTA travel agents that specialize in honeymoon travel.

The cruise line's Royal Romance full-service wedding and vow-renewal program allows couples to create unique and romantic ceremonies aboard a Royal Caribbean ship or on shore at exotic ports of call. The program offers a variety of alternatives to fit couples' every wish and budget, including ceremonies on top of a glacier or in a rainforest in Juneau, Alaska.

Readers of Porthole Cruise Magazine, a top resource guide for both first- time and loyal cruise vacationers, named Royal Caribbean as the leader in three categories in the Fourth Annual Reader's Choice Awards: Best Caribbean Itineraries, Best Eco-Friendly Cruise Line, and Best Computer Facilities. Royal Caribbean has a total of 14 ships cruising the Caribbean this winter, departing from seven convenient ports: Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Tampa, New Orleans, Galveston and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Vacationers can choose from a range of cruise lengths from three to 11 nights. In addition, the cruise line will have eight ships in the Caribbean throughout 2003, including new year-round departures from Galveston aboard Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas.

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

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Miami, FL, Feb 4, 2003 – Oceania Cruises is pleased to announce it has joined ASTA, the American Society of Travel Agents. 

“ASTA is the world’s largest association of travel industry professionals and we’re ecstatic to have so quickly established our membership in such an esteemed organization” said Frank Del Rio, Oceania Cruises’ President and CEO. “Our relationship with ASTA serves to reaffirm our commitment to our travel agency partners as we work to establish Oceania as the most pro agent cruise line in the marketplace” added Del Rio. 

"We are delighted to have Oceania Cruises as a member and we look forward to working with Oceania to develop programs to support the travel agency community," said ASTA President and CEO Richard M. Copland, CTC. 

ASTA is the world's largest association of travel professionals. Its 20,000 members include travel agents and the companies whose products they sell such as tours, cruises, hotels, car rentals, etc. ASTA is the leading advocate for travel agents, the travel industry and the traveling public. ASTA’s mission is to enhance the professionalism and profitability of member agents through effective representation in industry and government affairs, education and training, and by identifying and meeting the needs of the traveling public. 

Oceania Cruises features two intimate and luxurious 684 passenger ships, REGATTA sm and INSIGNIA sm. Oceania Cruises’ hallmarks are an unsurpassed culinary experience, a casually elegant atmosphere and unparalleled personal service coupled with extraordinary value. For additional information on Oceania Cruises or to make a reservation please contact your Professional Travel Agent. To request a brochure, call 800-531-5658 or visit

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"Romance Under Sail" Year-round on msy Wind Star

Seattle, WA, February 3, 2003 – Windstar Cruises is offering cruisers free roundtrip airfare to Tahiti from 78 cities across North America on 13 upcoming cruises onboard the 148-passenger masted sailing yacht Wind Star from February through mid-May.

"It’s hard to imagine a more perfect pairing than Tahiti and Windstar," remarked Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales for Windstar Cruises. "Whether you are celebrating a honeymoon, anniversary, birthday or just getting away – the luxurious pampering found aboard Wind Star is the ideal match for the unparalleled beauty and serenity of Tahiti and her islands," added Russell.

Voted "Most Romantic Cruise Line" by Porthole Magazine and and "Top Honeymoon" by viewers of Today Throws a Wedding and, Windstar and Tahiti present the ultimate escape for couples looking to get away from it all.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Windstar is offering an optional "Romance Under Sail" shore excursion that provides guests with the opportunity to truly indulge in each other’s company. This romantic interlude includes one overnight stay at either the Bora Bora Beach Resort, Bora Bora Lagoon Resort or Bora Bora Beachcomber Intercontinental in a premium over-water bungalow with a private gourmet dinner for two under the stars. A champagne breakfast delivered by outrigger canoe tops off this romantic experience, which also includes all transfers.

Ports of call on the line’s seven-day sailings include the Society Islands of Raiatea, Huahine, Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete. Itinerary highlights include overnight stays in Raiatea, Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete. Also included is a gala deck barbecue onboard msy Wind Star the evening of Moorea’s port call and an afternoon beach barbecue on Motu Tapu off Bora Bora. Passengers can relax and enjoy this private island, dine shore-side, and partake in a variety of watersports and outdoor activities.

Onboard features include all outside staterooms, each facing out to sea offering a variety of amenities and comforts; more than one crew member for every two guests; and a sports platform where guests can water-ski, sail, kayak and participate in any number of water sports right from the ship. All cruises feature award-winning cuisine with menus created exclusively for Windstar by Joachim Splichal, one of the country’s master chefs.

Ashore guests can shop for black pearls and native art, and explore the tropical terrain on a four-wheel drive tour or riverboat cruise. The surrounding lagoons offer endless opportunities to explore the amazing underwater world of tropical sea life. Snorkeling is very popular while the more adventurous will enjoy excursions that let you swim with the sharks, rays, and dolphins.

All cruises are seven days with the exception of one 14-day journey, on September 26, 2003, to the Marquesas Islands of TV fame. This 14-day sailing replaces calls at Raiatea and Huahine with Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Pou, Nuku Hiva and Rangiroa in the exotic Marquesas Islands. Special Polynesian Holiday and New Year’s sailings will be offered on December 19 and 26, 2003 respectively, for those seeking a festive tropical holiday getaway.

Windstar’s free air offer is available on the following cruise departure dates: February 7, 14, 21, and 28, March 7, 14, 21, and 28, April 11, 18, and 25, and May 2 and 9, 2003. The all-inclusive cruise rate includes free roundtrip airfare from 78 designated gateways across the United States and Canada, a post-cruise hospitality room and all necessary transfers, and starts at $3,101 for the above dates, except March 7 which is offered at $2,892, per person, double occupancy.

Low-cost roundtrip airfare ranging from $445 to $745 is offered on the April 4 cruise and on 20 sailings from May 16 through Dec. 26, 2003. Cruise rates start at $3,101 per person, double occupancy on the majority of those sailings, with the 14-day Marquesas journey on Sept. 26 starting at $6,076. All cruises depart on a Friday, with convenient same day flight schedules available from many cities.

Windstar also offers a trip cancellation protection program that provides cash back for cancellation for any reason prior to 24-hours before departure. To receive a brochure or more information contact 1-87-STAR-SAIL (1-877-827-7245.) For reservations contact a travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-SAIL (1-800-258-7245.) Visit Windstar Cruises online at

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

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