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News from the world of cruise travel ~
February 1-15, 2004

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

Important Travel Safety Information letter from Jack Williams, President and Chief Operating Officer, Royal Caribbean International

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Royal Caribbean Cancels Labadee Port Calls

Miami - Feb 13, 2004 - The top priority of Royal Caribbean International is the safety of its guests and employees. Because of this, the company has decided to cancel the next six port calls scheduled for Labadee, which occur over the next two weeks. Labadee is Royal Caribbean's private, isolated beachfront area on the northern coast of Haiti, which is on the island of Hispaniola. Although Labadee has been far removed from the recent unrest taking place in other areas of Haiti, the company feels this is the most prudent course of action. Royal Caribbean looks forward to resuming port calls in Labadee in the very near future.

For additional information or inquiries, call (305) 539-6573.

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Crystal Cruises Announces Stateroom Upgrade Offer on Southeast Asia Cruise Visiting World Heritage Sites & a World Monument
14-day Crystal Harmony Voyage Offers In-Depth Exploration Of Thailand & Vietnam

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 12 -- From riding an elephant through Thailand's World Heritage Site at Ayuthaya to witnessing a sunrise over the majestic temples of Cambodia's Angkor, the jeweled palaces, exquisite buddhas, cosmopolitan cities and mist-shrouded villages of Thailand, Vietnam and China are explored with incredible savings on an extraordinary 14-day journey from Singapore to Hong Kong aboard Crystal Harmony, departing April 9th. Adding tremendous value to this already-alluring itinerary, Crystal is announcing an opportunity for guests to enjoy a complimentary one- or two-category stateroom upgrade and save up to $1,200 per person. The two-category upgrade is for non-verandah staterooms, while the one-category upgrade is for verandah staterooms. Cruise fares for the 14-day luxury cruise begin at $3,995 per person, double occupancy.

"Our Asia Odyssey is a fascinating itinerary offered at tremendous savings, combining the mystery and intrigue of ancient cultures with the contemporary comfort and luxurious style found aboard Crystal Harmony," says John Stoll, Crystal's director of land programs. "The extended time in each port of call allows for once-in-a-lifetime experiences to historical sites and monuments all while in the attentive care of our award-winning staff and crew."

With a two-night stay in Ho Chi Minh City, overnights in Bangkok and Hong Kong, and extended port calls in Da Nang and Ha Long Bay, guests will have ample time to explore three World Heritage Sites -- including Da Nang's open-air Cham Museum housing artifacts from the architectural treasure My Son; the blue waters of Ha Long Bay's Tonkin Gulf, named a natural World Heritage Site in 1994; and historic Ayuthaya, founded in 1350 and serving as the kingdom's capital until 1767 when it was conquered and destroyed by the Burmese -- as well as the threatened temples of Angkor including the stunning Angkor Wat -- the largest temple in the world, Ta Phrom, Ta Keo, Thommanon, and the Preah Khan Temple, site of the World Monuments Fund's major Asian project.

2004 marks Crystal's thirteenth season cruising in Asia, and the line's team of destination experts has assembled an impressive collection of Crystal Adventures -- shore excursions and overnight land tours -- revealing the continent's immense cultural, geographical and architectural beauty:

  • Visit Bangkok's dazzling Grand Palace to see the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Keo, revered as Thailand's principal image of Buddha.

  • Discover one of Asia's most spectacular private art collections at Ayuthaya's Prasart Museum, just outside of Bangkok.

  • Embark on an adventure aboard a rustic cyclo, or pedal cab, and discover the elegant colonial architecture of Ho Chi Minh City, known universally and affectionately by residents as Saigon.

  • Enjoy a custom-crafted excursion providing a palatable introduction to the art of Vietnamese cooking, hosted by an executive sous chef and introducing a range of exotic fruits and vegetables native to the region.

  • Journey along the Mekong River to My Tho, an area renowned for its coconut palms and prosperous fruit orchards, and enjoy a traditional elephant fish lunch.

  • Explore Hanoi's Temple of Literature, a serene retreat built in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, which later became Vietnam's first university.

  • Cross a footbridge to a tiny island located in the middle of Hanoi's central lake to find the Ngoc Son Pagoda.

The line's Crystal Adventures are carefully customized to complement the onboard experience with enriching shoreside excursions offering both high adventure (physically demanding) and softer adventure, appealing to the varied desires of its guests. Crystal now offers guests the ability to pre-register for their shore tours, allowing extra time to research so that travelers can maximize their experiences in each destination.

Enrichment ashore continues with Crystal's optional Extended Land Programs, allowing for deeper immersion into these fascinating cultures. From Singapore, guests enjoy a five-night tour of Thailand's interior, and from Hong Kong travelers can explore the Faces of China on a five-night tour to visit Xi'an and the world-famous Terra Cotta Warriors. The line's pre- and post-cruise hotel program provides guests with the option of extending their vacation at Singapore's Ritz-Carlton, Millenia or Hong Kong's Inter-Continental.

At 50,000-tons and carrying only 940 guests, the award-winning Crystal Harmony is one of the most spacious and luxurious vessels cruising the world. Its unique size in the luxury market allows for smooth sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, generous amenities and elegant accommodations. The Six-Star rated floating resort is home to grand lounges, a lavish spa outfitted in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui, extensive exercise facilities, complimentary golf, yoga and Pilates instruction, the only Caesars Palace at Sea Casino afloat, and the innovative Creative Learning Institute offering progressive curriculums in the arts, finance, wellness, lifestyle and food and wine. The ship features expansive decks, two pools, gourmet dining, including Japanese and Italian specialty restaurants, and exquisitely appointed staterooms, more than half of which offer private verandahs. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure on Asia or any other worldwide destination, please call 800.820.6663. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Holland America Line Prepares for the Alaska Season With Unparalleled Attention to Guest Satisfaction
Continuing in their Tradition of Excellence, Holland America Line CruiseTours And Gray Line of Alaska Offer Innovations to Enhance the Alaska Experience

SEATTLE, Feb. 12 -- Holland America Line, the leader in Alaska cruises and CruiseTours, has extended its $225 million Signature of Excellence commitment to Alaska tour programs, taking steps to enhance guest satisfaction for the upcoming 2004 Alaska season. Extensive hotel and rail upgrades align with Holland America Line's quest to provide guests with the most distinctive ships at sea and the most spacious accommodations in the premium cruise category, resulting in the ultimate Alaska experience for guests.

"Our brand-new McKinley Explorer domed railcars and our expanded hotel facilities, combined with our award-winning Alaska itineraries, will ensure that our guests enjoy the best in transportation and accommodations, capped by an unsurpassed wilderness experience, " said David A. Giersdorf, executive vice president, marketing and sales. "We are applying the spirit of our "Signature of Excellence" initiative to each and every element of our cruise and land programs, so that our guests experience the definitive Alaska experience in comfort and satisfaction."

Best Alaskan Itineraries
In what is one of the most competitive cruise destinations in the world, Holland America maintains its leading position as the cruise line with the Best Alaskan Itineraries -- a Porthole Magazine Readers' Choice honor it has earned for three years in a row. In 2004, the line will sail seven ships on 139 Alaskan cruises, adding more departures from Seattle, and more private verandahs with a new 1,848-passenger Vista-class vessel. Compared with other major cruise lines, Holland America Line ships carry on average 33 percent fewer guests, have the largest verandahs and offer more suites than any other premium line. The Holland America fleet will visit more glaciers than ever in 2004, with cruises scheduled to tour the imposing 5-mile wide, 40-stories-tall Hubbard Glacier, Tracy Arm with the Sawyer Glaciers, College Fjord, and Glacier Bay National Park. Many cruises will give passengers two separate days of glacier viewing. Port calls include Juneau, Sitka, Skagway and Ketchikan, with dozens of optional excursions available to guests in each port, including dog-sledding, glacier hiking, flightseeing, kayaking and guided city tours.

Extra Time in the Best Places
The greatest enhancement in HAL's CruiseTour programs in Alaska is the luxury of time. HAL CruiseTours feature itineraries that provide enough time to truly see the natural wonders of Alaska and the Yukon. Every CruiseTour includes time in Denali National Park, with some options offering an extra, unscheduled day at Denali. CruiseTour itineraries, which range from 11 to 19 days, feature 25 different ways for guests to explore the wonders of the 49th state and Canada's Yukon.

More Time in National Parks
Most visitors to Alaska are seeking a wilderness experience, and especially visits to the national parks of Alaska and the Yukon. Holland America Line CruiseTours spend more time in Denali National Park than any other cruisetour company. All 25 CruiseTours include the complete six-hour Denali Wilderness Tour, offering 71 percent more wildlife viewing and better opportunities to see Mt. McKinley. The "Double Denali" CruiseTours feature a second full, unscheduled day at the Park, allowing for hiking, flightseeing Mt. McKinley, dog-sledding, river-rafting, and more. HAL's five-star ships visit magnificent Glacier Bay National Park more often than any other cruise company. The day in Glacier Bay National Park includes interpretive narration from a Park Ranger and a Huna Totem native speaker. HAL CruiseTours are also returning, for the second year, to the crown jewel of Canada's wilderness national parks -- Kluane National Park. In Kluane, guests can experience an exclusive program of optional activities, including a variety of hikes, with Parks Canada interpreters. They can raft the world-class Tatshenshini River, go heli-hiking or fishing, or take a spectacular flightseeing adventure.

HAL offers CruiseTour Exclusives in Alaska
Each Holland America Line Alaska vacation features special touches unique to the leading premium cruise line in Alaska. Passengers will be sailing with a Native Artist in Residence to enrich their experience. Inside Passage roundtrips cruises feature not one but two major glacier-viewing experiences: Glacier Bay National Park and the twin Sawyer Glaciers in Tracy Arm.

All Holland America Line CruiseTours travel on the new McKinley Explorer Railcars. With eight new McKinley domed railcars, CruiseTour guests will enjoy the largest passenger domed railcars in the world. A cutting edge GPS-triggered narration system on board select coaches and all of the McKinley Explorer railcars feature exclusive interviews with noted Alaskans, providing information to help passengers fully appreciate the natural wonders they are experiencing.

Great Land Tours are the most comprehensive and exciting programs in Alaska and the Yukon. Some tours feature a cruise down the legendary Yukon River aboard HAL's exclusive mv Yukon Queen II. Guests stay at the best Alaska properties: the newly renovated McKinley Chalets, the five-star Alyeska Prince Hotel, and the expanded Westmarks Fairbanks Hotel. The tours include travel by motor coach along the famed Alaska Highway, and Gray Line of Alaska has invested 6.5 million dollars for new coaches that provide the best passenger viewing in Alaska. Their driver/guides complete 125 hours of training, the most extensive program in the industry, to ensure a secure and informative experience for guests.

$34 Million plus in Westmark Hotel upgrades
Holland America Line's subsidiary, Westmark Hotels, is also preparing for the Alaska season with unprecedented investments. A $34 million expansion of the Westmark Hotel in Fairbanks includes 264 new rooms and an array of new conference facilities. These upgrades will expand the property to 401 rooms including 86 suites, an expansion of the restaurant, a new lounge, meeting rooms, and health & fitness center. The upgrades also feature innovations such as the Presidential Suite's chromatherapy sok(TM) tub, a first in Alaska. Bathers in the sok(TM) tub are caressed by tiny effervescent bubbles created by 11 specially engineered air jets, as the chromatherapy, a full spectrum of dramatic color, washes over them in this lavish bathing ritual. Other additions to the Westmark Fairbanks include the Walter Harper Boardroom with new video-conferencing equipment and the 2,200-square-foot Tanana Trade Center for trade show and exhibits. Other Westmark Hotels currently being renovated for the upcoming season include the Westmark Anchorage, the Westmark Tok and the Westmark Whitehorse.

Largest Five-Star Fleet in Alaska
With the largest five-star fleet in Alaska, Holland America excels in service, amenities and special programs. Menus, highlighted by Alaska specialties like salmon, halibut and King crab, are among the most extensive at sea. A wide range of shore excursions is offered in the ports of call, including an exclusive "Just for Kids" program, with high appeal to the growing numbers of families choosing to cruise Alaska for their summer vacation.

The line offers the only trip cancellation program in the industry that provides cash back for canceling for any reason prior to 24 hours before departure. For more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Holland America Line Continues Improving with Bold, Onboard Enhancements & Sets a New Standard in Cruise Dining Experience
New Signature of Excellence Initiative Delivers an Enhanced Five-Star Culinary Experience with a Stunning Ocean View

SEATTLE, Feb. 11 -- Holland America Line announced today that, as part of its $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative, it is once again elevating the five-star dining experience in premium cruising. Dining enhancements include a groundbreaking new Culinary Arts Theater, elegant dining alternatives such as the Pinnacle Grill, more personalized service, the flexibility of additional dining times in the main dining room and enhanced Lido dining service. Holland America Line has long been famous for its innovative dining concepts and the most extensive menus at sea, blending together modern Continental cuisine, traditional favorites and regional specialties appropriate to each cruising area. With these new enhancements, Holland America Line continues to demonstrate its leadership in defining the ultimate premium cruise experience.

The new Culinary Arts Theater integrates a love for food and wine with an entertaining, onboard enrichment experience. The Pinnacle Grill provides an elegant, reservations-only dining alternative that features Sterling Silver premium meats and fresh seafood. Guests in the main dining room will benefit from enhanced one-on-one service, innovative food preparation techniques as well as the ability to choose from four dining times. New services added to the casual Lido include made-to-order dinner entrees and table service provided by wait staff. In addition, Holland America Line's complimentary 24-hour room service has been expanded and enhanced.

"These enhancements will ensure that every dining experience aboard our ships is truly extraordinary," said David A. Giersdorf, Holland America Line's executive vice president, marketing and sales. "We're continuing to deliver on our philosophy that the total dining experience must be as impeccable as the service and quality of the food."

Culinary Arts Theater - Where Food and Wine Meet Entertainment
The innovative Culinary Arts Theater is the perfect draw for food and wine lovers who can choose to participate in guest chef presentations, demonstration events and small cooking classes. The interactive gourmet experiences will take place in the ships' new, specially designed Culinary Arts Theaters featuring state-of-the-art show kitchens with broadcast capabilities that allow guests in the theater audience to get a close-up of the cooking action, and allow other guests to watch these culinary events from the comfort of their staterooms. In addition to interactive events and demonstrations, guests will be able to explore the wide array of culinary offerings at new wine and gourmet specialty shops. The Culinary Arts Theater will debut on the ms Ryndam in October 2004 during a cruise to Mexico and will be added to all ships in Holland America Line's fleet in the next 24 months.

Pinnacle Grill -- The Best Steakhouse at Sea
The Pinnacle Grill is one of the most notable additions to the at-sea dining experience. The popular alternative restaurant is currently featured on all but one of Holland America Line's ships. The restaurant will be added to the last ship, the ms Veendam, in Spring 2004. The reservations-only restaurant celebrates Northwest cuisine and select fine wines in a romantic, upscale atmosphere. Distinctive Bulgari china, elegant Riedel stemware and Frette linens take the Pinnacle Grill to a level of elegant sophistication unmatched anywhere in the premium cruise category.

Menus include "Sterling Silver" premium hand-selected cuts of beef, unsurpassed in tenderness and taste, including bone-in Delmonico rib-eye steak, center-cut Porterhouse steak and two sizes of filet mignon. Also featured are savory seafood dishes such as Northwest clam chowder, Alaskan king salmon, and Dungeness crab cakes with spiral shaved cucumber and sweet chili sauce. Delicious entrees are complemented by a wide assortment of side dishes, including Washington spuds au gratin, grilled asparagus avec Bearnaise, sauteed button mushrooms or a honey maple three-bean ragout. Guests can top off their meal by choosing from a collection of delectable desserts such as warm Grand Marnier chocolate volcano cake, not-so-classic baked Alaska made with Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream and a new creme brulee sampler.

The Main Dining Room -- a Dining Experience as Breathtaking as the View
Servers greet guests in the main dining room with menus of five-course selections, from appetizers, soups and salads to entrees and desserts. Each day, guests can choose from more than 25 delicious menu items. Here they are able to savor fare such as seared scallops and filet mignon with crab legs and Hollandaise sauce. To complement the meal, Holland America Line offers an extensive wine list, including many wines rated "excellent" by Wine Spectator. Holland America Line is enhancing its gracious, old-world hospitality and service in the main dining room by providing new, one-to-one service. This will allow one server to stay with their assigned tables while a food "runner" delivers each course from the kitchen. This not only ensures quicker delivery time for the delectable cuisine, but the freshness of meals will be increased as well.

Other enhancements include all-white table linens on every ship and elegant, new Rosenthal main course plates. In addition, guests now can choose from four dinner seating times in the main dining room. With two additional seating times, guests enjoy greater flexibility and still can take advantage of the Holland America Line's celebrated evening entertainment.

New Options Continue to Enhance Popular Lido Dining Experience
If a more casual experience is desired, guests can choose to visit the renowned Lido. Holland America Line pioneered Lido dining as an alternative that features breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. The Lido offers a broad selection of freshly carved meats and seafood, fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, beverages and desserts. This popular dining experience has been further enhanced to provide guests with a relaxed, sit-down dinner option with new made-to-order dinner entrees and table-side waiter service at dinner.

Complimentary 24-hour room service has also been expanded and enhanced to provide yet another dining choice for those who wish to enjoy their meals in the privacy and comfort of their stateroom or private verandah.

These changes as well as other aspects of the Signature of Excellence program began in late 2003 and will be completed across all of Holland America Line's fleet of ships in the next 24 months. For more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Royal Caribbean Named Best Overall Cruise Line In 'Travel Weekly's' First Annual Readers Choice Awards
'Travel Weekly' Awards Join Line's Impressive List of Honors for 2003

MIAMI, Feb. 11 -- "Travel Weekly" magazine has named Royal Caribbean International Best Overall Cruise Line in the publication's First Annual Readers Choice Awards. The awards competition, which surveyed more than 2,200 travel professionals, also gave the line top honors in the Best Cruise Line: America and Best Cruise Line: Caribbean categories. The "Travel Weekly" awards join an impressive list of honors garnered by Royal Caribbean for 2003. In total, Royal Caribbean was recognized by travel agents, journalists and travelers alike for excellence in the areas of ship design, family cruising, entertainment, dining, travel agent support, technology and loyalty programs.

"We are extremely pleased to be recognized in such a wide range of categories, reflecting our commitment to providing outstanding vacations," said Adam Goldstein, executive vice president, Brand Operations, for Royal Caribbean International. "We place a great deal of importance on each element of the cruise experience. It is rewarding to see those efforts acknowledged by both industry experts and travelers."

Following is a selection of awards recently received by the company:

-- Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas won Best Large Ship Design in "Conde Nast Traveler's" 2004 Cruise Poll: The World's Best Cruise Ship Awards. The line's Radiance-class ships offer an elegant, yacht-like design, with a wide variety of entertainment, dining and activity options.

-- Royal Caribbean was named Best Family Cruise in "'s" World's Best Cruises 2003. The cruise line's complimentary, year-round Adventure Ocean Youth Program is recognized as one of the industry's leading youth programs.

-- In "Recommend Magazine's" Seventh Annual Readers' Choice Awards, more than 1,000 travel agents recognized the line for having the Best Large Ship, as well as Best Onboard Entertainment and Best Food. The cruise line also received top honors for overall best Travel Agent Support.

-- Readers of "Porthole Cruise Magazine," a leading cruise magazine for both first-time and loyal cruise vacationers, named Royal Caribbean as the leader in three categories in the Fifth Annual Reader's Choice Awards: Best Caribbean Itineraries, Best Eco-Friendly Cruise Line, and Best Computer Facilities.

-- Editors at "" awarded Royal Caribbean the Best at Sea award for Best Loyalty Program for the cruise line's Crown & Anchor program; Best Alternate Dining for its specialty steakhouse restaurant, Chops Grille; Best Lido Buffet for the Windjammer Cafe; Best Theater for Serenade of the Seas' rain-forest-inspired Tropical Theater; and Best Activities.

An international cruise brand, Royal Caribbean also has earned top honors in multiple European awards competitions. For the second year in a row, "Travel Trade Gazette's" survey of 9,500 U.K. travel agents named Royal Caribbean the Best Fly/Cruise Company. In addition, the UK "Guardian/Observer" and "Irish Independent Travel News" (ITTN) named Royal Caribbean Best Cruise Line 2003. The company also was named Best Cruise Line 2003 in the Grand Travel Award Norway, Grand Travel Award Sweden, Danish Travel Award, and Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Award competitions.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand currently with 18 ships in service and two more under construction or on firm order. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700.

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'Shine Miami' Sheds Million-Dollar Light On 
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

MIAMI, Feb. 11 -- The first annual "Shine Miami" fundraiser created by Celebrity Cruises for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation achieved luminous results: The two-day event, January 30 and 31, raised more than $1 million -- the highest amount ever raised for the organization via a single event in Florida. More than 500 sponsors, donors and volunteers enjoyed the festivities at the Coca-Cola Company Gala and Auction Celebration at the InterContinental Miami Hotel, where Chef Emeril Lagasse made an appearance and designed a special appetizer for the evening. Entertainment included live comedy, magic, music, and live and silent auctions.

"Our enormous thanks and applause go to our title and presenting sponsors, The Coca-Cola Company and Saint Ives U.S. Division, as well as Shine Miami's many corporate and individual contributors, committee members and volunteers who joined together to support our efforts," said Williams. "With the support of people like these, we are that much closer to finding a cure for this devastating disease."

Shine Miami was developed to celebrate the style and heart of the city and citizens while raising money for a worthy cause. Celebrity Cruises' President and COO Jack Williams, a long-time supporter and member of the CF Foundation Founders' Council, conceptualized and orchestrated the Shine Miami weekend. He has helped raise millions of dollars for the CF Foundation, most recently raising $300,000 by crossing the finish line of the New York City Marathon.

For more information about how to become part of Shine Miami in 2005, visit, or call 786-275-8000. For more information about cystic fibrosis, visit the CF Foundation Web site at or call 1-800-FIGHT CF. And for more information about Celebrity Cruises, the industry's highest-rated premium cruise brand with a taste of luxury, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111, or visit the Celebrity Web site at

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Seattle, WA, Feb 10, 2004 — The two most exciting events in the French Riviera – the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix race – are the focus of a special Windstar cruise in May on board the luxurious, 308-passenger Wind Surf sailing yacht.

“Imagine the excitement and romance of anchoring in Cannes alongside the yachts of the rich and powerful during the Film Festival,” says Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales for Windstar Cruises. “Combine that with a trip to Monaco at the height of the Grand Prix, with a private event just for our guests that overlooks the finish line, and you have the makings of an unforgettable experience in the French Riviera.” 

In an itinerary that is truly “180 Degrees from Ordinary,” the voyage spends two days in Cannes at the height of the Film Festival and three days in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The International Film Festival, started in 1946, has become the world's most prestigious congregation of film talent and aims to display quality film works that have played a role in the evolution of cinematography as an art. Stargazing in Cannes during the festival is unrivaled.

In Monte Carlo, guests have the option of attending a special event that will bring them to the forefront of the glamorous and exciting Grand Prix race. Monaco hosts one of the oldest races on the Formula One automobile racing circuit. Started in 1929, the demanding course is also one of the last true street circuits situated around a spectacular harbor with narrow streets and ocean view.

The voyage sets sail from Nice, France on Sunday, May 16th, returning eight days later.
Calls at St. Florent, Corsica and Portofino, Italy complete the extraordinary 8-day voyage, which begins and ends in Nice, France. Prices for the Wind Surf’s Grand Prix cruise begin at US$2,595 per person, double occupancy.

Exclusive Grand Prix Event Planned
Windstar guests who choose to attend an exclusive Grand Prix race-day event in Monte Carlo will find themselves on the very edge of Formula One excitement. Windstar has reserved the Le Benoit Restaurant, which is located next door to the Hermitage Hotel and has a lovely outdoor terrace that offers panoramic views of the race’s start and finish lines, as well as the harbor and the Royal Palace. In an exclusive party for Windstar passengers, the restaurant will be the venue for an unforgettable day of dining and watching the race. A buffet lunch will be served, including a dessert and cheese buffet, and specialty wines will be poured throughout the afternoon, concluding with a champagne toast to the winner of the race. The event is limited to 120 Wind Surf passengers at a price of US$890/person.

About Windstar Cruises
Seattle-based Windstar Cruises operates three sailing yachts known for their casually elegant atmosphere. A high-percentage of return guests attests to the appeal of Windstar’s casual ambiance of resort-style attire, innovative cuisine and wine selections, open restaurant-style seating, attentive service, exotic destinations and complimentary water sports.

Rates are quoted per person, double occupancy including non-discountable amounts and taxes. Windstar offers optional trip cancellation protection that provides cash back when you cancel for any reason prior to 24-hours before departure. 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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Guests Stay In Shape with Carnival Miracle's Spacious, Sophisticated Health & Fitness Center

MIAMI (Feb 10, 2004) - With a wide range of sophisticated workout equipment, invigorating exercise classes and luxurious body and facial treatments, guests can stay fit or treat themselves to some extra  special pampering in the 14,500-square-foot "Adonis Spa" aboard the new 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle.

"A top-notch, well-equipped exercise facility and the latest in spa trends have come to be an expected and highly anticipated aspect of the cruise vacation experience," said Bob Dickinson, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. "Therefore, we have gone to great lengths to ensure our shipboard health and fitness facilities are comprehensive, stunning and exciting." Approximately 1.5 million guests - roughly half of Carnival's total passenger base - are expected to use the line's fleetwide spa  facilities this year.

The two-level Adonis Spa will span the forward portion of Lido Deck 9 and Sun Deck 10 and will feature a multi-level configuration, which maximizes space and provides magnificent sea views from the large picture windows that surround the facility. The facility will house a wide variety of high-tech exercise equipment, including stationary bicycles, treadmills, and rowing and stair-climbing machines. A variety of free weights and dumbbells will be available, as well. Adjacent to the workout areas is a mirrored aerobics room, which will serve as the venue for Carnival's wide range of exercise classes, including low- and high-impact aerobics, step and senior aerobics, and various stretching and relaxation sessions. The spacious facility can also accommodate large groups or be reconfigured to host multiple classes simultaneously.

The Carnival Miracle will also offer a variety of exotic "European-style" treatments, including "aroma stone therapy," a treatment based on an ancient ritual that combines heated and scented oils with a full body massage using warm basalt stones, creating a relaxing and rejuvenating sensation. These treatments complement a sophisticated menu of full body and scalp massages, seaweed wraps, mud packs, and various slimming and toning therapies. Treatments are conducted by the Carnival Miracle's highly trained staff, who also provide nutrition and training tips, wellness counseling sessions, and fitness evaluations such as height/weight and  body fat composition analyses. Ten private treatment/massage rooms, locker facilities and sauna and steam rooms are also included, as well as four swimming pools and five whirlpools, including one in the spa and four others on Lido Deck 9, along with a padded jogging track encircling Sports Deck 11. The spa includes a full-service beauty salon, "Venus Salon," which will offer a variety of  hair services, as well as manicures and pedicures.

As part of Carnival's Total Choice Dining(SM), cruising's most comprehensive dining program offering the widest variety of formal and casual options at sea, menus in Carnival Miracle's formal restaurant, the Bacchus dining room, will feature the line's signature Spa Carnival Fare -- dishes lower in fat, calories, sodium and cholesterol. Meats are broiled or roasted, salads prepared with low-fat or fat-free dressings and desserts with sugar substitutes. Vegetarian selections are also available in the Bacchus dining room, while the expansive two-level Horatio's poolside restaurant includes an extensive salad bar and a 24-hour frozen yogurt station.

Carnival Miracle is slated to debut from Jacksonville with a series of 12 three- to six-day voyages through April 17, 2004, marking the first time that Carnival has ever operated from that port. The ship will also offer seven-day departures from Baltimore and New York before repositioning to Tampa for year-round seven-day western Caribbean cruises from that port beginning Nov. 7, 2004. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit

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Celebrity Cruises' 'Faces' Wins Top Ad Honors
Distinctive Ad Campaign Created by Arnold Worldwide Receives Platinum Award

MIAMI, Feb. 9 -- The ad campaign that made Celebrity Cruises' t-shirts a hot commodity won a cool platinum award, the highest in the category, for consumer print advertising at the recent Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) annual Adrian Awards ceremony in New York. The "Faces" campaign was created for Celebrity by Arnold Worldwide, a Boston-based advertising agency owned by Havas. The ads showcase the cruise line's guests wearing fitted white t-shirts bearing the word, "celebrity." The ad copy creatively conveys how each guest's specific needs are met when cruising with Celebrity.

"Cruise lines typically show images of ships, the sea, or the dining experience, so we chose to take a more unconventional approach, connecting our messaging with a branded icon, our Celebrity t-shirt," said Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Marketing Steve Hancock. "We are thrilled with this honor, and equally pleased to note that the campaign resulted in an 83 percent increase in unaided brand awareness."

In another competitive face-off, the February edition of Conde Nast Traveler revealed that seven of the top 10 ships in the publication's latest annual reader survey are Celebrity ships.

Celebrity Cruises is the industry's highest-rated premium cruise brand with a taste of luxury. The cruise line has nine ships in its fleet, which 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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Carnival Cruise Lines Takes Delivery Of New 
88,500-Ton Carnival Miracle

20th 'Fun Ship' To Be 'Officially' Named By Former Army Private Jessica Lynch In Dockside Ceremonies In Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 27

MIAMI, Feb. 9 -- Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc, today took delivery of its 20th "Fun Ship," the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle. The delivery took place during traditional handover ceremonies in Helsinki at Kvaerner Masa-Yards, the Finnish shipyard that constructed the massive $375 million SuperLiner. Following a 14-day transatlantic crossing from Helsinki to Jacksonville, Fla., Carnival Miracle will be "officially" named Feb. 27, 2004, by former Army private Jessica Lynch, then depart on its inaugural three-day voyage from Jacksonville, marking the first time that Carnival has ever operated from this Northeast Florida port. 

"Not only is the Carnival Miracle a spectacular 'Fun Ship' with all the features and facilities desired by today's discriminating vacationers, it also will operate a truly innovative inaugural schedule with departures from four convenient U.S. homeports, including our first-ever voyages from Jacksonville," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. "We are also very honored that Jessica Lynch, who represents the thousands of brave men and women of our armed forces, will be naming this vessel in Jacksonville, a city that possesses a storied maritime and military history," he added.

Carnival Miracle will operate three-, five- and six-day departures from Jacksonville through April 17, followed by a series of seven-day cruises from Baltimore and New York through the fall. The ship will then reposition to Tampa to launch year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises Nov. 7, 2004, becoming that port's newest and largest cruise ship.

More than three football fields long and encompassing 12 passenger decks, Carnival Miracle offers a wide variety of amenities and features, including a 14,500-square-foot health club, indoor and outdoor promenades, a children's play room, a wedding chapel, Internet cafe, and a duty-free shopping mall. Of the ship's 1,062 staterooms, 80 percent offer an ocean view with 80 percent of those featuring private balconies.

Dining options include a two-level main dining room, an expansive poolside restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets and a 24-hour pizzeria, an upscale reservations-only supper club, a patisserie, and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service. Sixteen lounges and bars, with dramatic interiors inspired by famous fictional icons of film, literature, theater and song, are featured, as well.

Carnival is accepting reservations on all of the Carnival Miracle's 2004 departures. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit

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Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Poll Names Crystal Symphony & Crystal Harmony As Best Mid-Sized Ships

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 6 -- For the fourth consecutive year, Crystal Cruises earned the top spot in Conde Nast Traveler's annual readers' survey for "The Best Cruise Ship in the World" with Crystal Symphony leading 16 other ships in the medium-sized ship category (carrying from 500 to 1,500 passengers). Sister-ship Crystal Harmony won the second best overall score. A complete list of the awards appears in the February issue. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Harmony outscored all other medium-sized ships in the categories of food, activities, and service, where they tied for a high score of 96.9. The luxury line's newest ship, Crystal Serenity, which launched in July 2003, will join the list of candidates in the same category next year.

This award is the latest in an extended line of accolades given to the luxury line since its inception, just over fifteen years ago. In 2003, Crystal Cruises received an unprecedented eighth consecutive designation as "World's Best" cruise line (with cruise ships carrying over 400 and 425 passengers) in the readers' surveys conducted by both Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler magazines, respectively.

"It continues to be a great honor to be rated number one by discerning travelers, and it is a testament to the hard work, dedication and creativity of all of our employees, shipboard and shoreside," says Gregg L. Michel, president, Crystal Cruises. "The high individual scores for both of our ships in the Conde Nast Traveler poll reflect the consistency of our luxury fleet and match the record ratings of our quality assurance surveys completed by our onboard guests."

The Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards for "The Best Cruise Ships in the World" represent the culmination of an extensive poll of travel preferences, in which subscribers were asked to rate individual ships on five criteria: itineraries, service, design, food, and activities.

The 940-guest, 50,000-ton Crystal Symphony and Crystal Harmony were joined by the 1,080-guest Crystal Serenity in July of 2003. The newest member of Crystal Cruises' Six-Star-rated fleet, at 68,000 tons, Crystal Serenity features 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 89 sailings in 2004, ranging in length from seven to 106 days. Combined, the three luxury ships will explore 178 destinations in 56 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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Carnival Cruise Lines & Florida Marlins Team Up For Fun-Filled 'Marlins Championship Cruise' In November 2004
Highlights of Four-Day 'Fun Ship' Imagination Voyage Include Player Autograph and Photo Sessions, Appearance by Billy The Marlin, Memorabilia Auctions & More 

MIAMI, Feb. 6 -- Players, coaches and executives from the defending 2003 World Champion Florida Marlins will participate in the upcoming "Florida Marlins Championship Cruise" aboard Carnival Cruise Lines' 2,052- passenger "Fun Ship" Imagination in November 2004. The four-day voyage will operate round-trip from Miami Nov. 4-8, 2004. Ports of call include Key West, Fla., and Cozumel, Mexico.

In addition to myriad opportunities to interact with Marlins players and coaches throughout the voyage, Carnival's "Florida Marlins Championship Cruise" will feature exclusive autograph and photo sessions, a private cocktail reception, and appearances by the team's mascot, Billy the Marlin, and the Marlins Mermaids. An auction for baseball memorabilia benefiting various charities will also be offered. Other invitation-only events include a "Marlins Town Hall Meeting," an interactive Q&A session where fans can ask the organization's top executives questions about the team. A variety of youth baseball-themed events will be also featured.

"Carnival is delighted to team up with the defending 2003 World Series Champion Florida Marlins to offer this one-of-a-kind cruise vacation experience," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. "The Marlins' dramatic season, including a thrilling playoff run and World Series victory, was truly unforgettable and this cruise offers baseball fans a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the league's rising stars. It will be a 'grand slam' event that baseball fans will never forget!" he added.

During the "Florida Marlins Championship Cruise," participants can also enjoy the Imagination's wide range of on-board amenities, including 12 lounges, bars and nightspots, a 12,000-square-foot health club, full casino gambling, a duty-free shopping mall, and three restaurants -- two fine dining rooms and an expansive poolside eatery with breakfast, lunch and dinner alternatives and a 24-hour pizzeria. A sushi bar and complimentary 24-hour room service are also available. Other features include a jogging track, and indoor and outdoor children's play areas, part of the line's top-rated "Camp Carnival" children's program. A diversity of entertainment choices, including Vegas-style entertainment, midnight comedy shows, live bands, and other acts, are also included.

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for the "Florida Marlins Championship Cruise." Prices begin at $499 per person based on double occupancy. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom are also available making this a great family vacation value. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit Participants must request fare code CDML when making a reservation.

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Luxury Line Unveils Unique Wedding and Vow Renewal Programs

Seattle, WA, February 5, 2004 - For a wedding that is truly 180 degrees from ordinary, a Windstar Cruise combines the romance of sailing ships and the intrigue of exotic destinations with user-friendly websites and personal wedding planners, making planning the event of a lifetime easy and a dream come true. The award-winning ships of Windstar offer a wedding experience unlike any other in the travel industry, arranging nuptials at sea and onshore on more than 140 itineraries throughout the Caribbean, Tahiti and Europe. From the most intimate exchange of vows to the most elaborate and indulgent celebrations, Windstar offers a wedding and vow renewal program as only a small ship can with individually tailored ceremonies. Weddings are arranged through The Wedding Experience by calling (877) 580-3556 or visiting A personal Wedding Planner is available to
assist in advance and onsite, attending to extraordinary personal touches from the simple--fresh flowers adorning the aisle as a violinist plays Canon in D--to the grand--a fireworks display sailing out of Venice.

"There is perhaps nothing more romantic than being at sea aboard the intimate sailing ships of Windstar as they explore some of the world's most exclusive harbors," says Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales. "Our wedding and honeymoon packages, combined with the personalized service of our wedding and travel planners, are by far the most comprehensive in the cruise industry and offer tremendous romance and value."

Planning a romantic vacation is easy with Windstar's Romance Under Sail program featuring a dedicated interactive website - - inviting couples to research and customize their honeymoons and romantic escapes online. With special packages that celebrate all things romantic-an extensive menu of wines and champagnes, intimate shore excursions, scuba diving adventures, spa treatments and special in-suite commemorative amenities and services-the website eliminates the stress of last-minute planning by allowing couples to customize their special vacation in advance.

Windstar's Romance Registry adds a new twist to an established tradition with a gift selection that goes beyond the conventional china and silver to offer the sublime, such as an extensive selection of vintage wines and champagnes, rejuvenating spa treatments and romantic excursions ashore. An on-staff Romance Coordinator assists with special requests and adds that extra touch of personalized attention. "Romance Under Sail" captures romance ashore with a selection of excursions specifically designed for couples featuring such escapades as an overnight interlude in an over-water bungalow at one of Bora Bora's beautiful resorts; Parasailing in Moorea; a Gondola Serenade at Night in Venice; a day in Kythira, the 'island of love' and Eros and Ahprodite; a Passion Catamaran sail in the Grenadines.

Windstar's complimentary water sports program allows for intimate exploration of some of the world's most exclusive destinations - from waterskiing in an exotic lagoon, bay or harbor, to kayaking along intimate shorelines, to windsurfing, sailing, scenic boat rides, snorkeling, and scuba diving in 31 of the world's most exotic locales from Virgin Gorda to Ibiza, and from St. Tropez to Santorini. Breathtaking beaches and pastoral countrysides are inviting escapes to enjoy a Picnic Basket for Two, complete with champagne, fruit, and gourmet sandwiches and treats.

The culinary experience of any vacation plays a very important role, and Windstar's award-winning Signature Cuisine created in tandem with acclaimed celebrity chef and restaurateur Joachim Splichal delights the senses with menus created especially for lovers. The Romance Under Sail website features favorite menu selections with links to recipes, allowing guests to return home and recreate the tempting dishes they experienced at sea.

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

About Windstar Cruises
Carrying just 148 to 308 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar exude a private yacht-like atmosphere creating camaraderie and lasting friendships between shipmates. The company's unique vacations offer a seaside window on the world, combining the refinement of a luxury hotel with a moveable feast of cultural experiences. The three sailing yachts cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at more than 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and Tahiti.

Guests sailing in 2004 will benefit from a recent multi-million dollar investment in the Windstar fleet. Enhancements range from new flat screen TVs and DVD players in staterooms to new fabrics, décor and window treatments throughout the ship.

Visit Windstar Cruises online at For brochures or more information contact 1-87-STAR-SAIL (1-877-827-7245.) For special offers and information about Windstar's romantic cruises, visit To make reservations, or receive more information, contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245.

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Crystal Cruises' 8th Annual Wine & Food Festival Spotlights Award-Winning International Talent on 16 Worldwide Voyages
2004 Culinary Cruises Feature Leaders of Cuisine, Masters of Wine And the Best Young Chefs of Italy

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 5 -- In what is fast becoming one of the culinary world's most recognized events, Crystal Cruises' 8th Annual Wine & Food Festival is attracting the attention of an international roster of acclaimed chefs and wine experts representing both hot new talent and established masters. On 16 voyages in 2004, prestigious names such as world-renowned Master Chef Anton Mosimann of London's Chateau Mosimann-Private Dining Club, alumni of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs -- Campanile's Nancy Silverton, Popina's Randy Lewis, The Village Pub's Mark Sullivan -- and celebrated chefs from The Leading Hotels of the World -- One Aldwych Hotel's Mark Gregory, Orchid Restaurant's Darryl Fujita, and Andrea Manzoni of Florence's Hotel Regency -- join an award-winning team of chefs and noted wine aficionados aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.

"We are thrilled and honored to once again have attracted the attention of the world's leaders in cuisine and wine," says Toni Neumeister, Crystal's vice president, food and beverage operations. "Each year, this event is received with increased anticipation not only by our discerning clientele, but also by our own culinary team as it affords them a unique opportunity to learn new techniques and styles, while being on the cutting edge of restaurant trends. Our Wine & Food Festival cruises present such a positive experience for all involved -- from the guests to the visiting chefs to the Crystal culinary team," Neumeister continues. "Our clientele is treated to exclusive meals shared by some of the world's most celebrated names in cuisine, our visiting chefs have an opportunity to explore the world, and our own award-winning culinary staff reaps the benefit of continuing education under the tutelage of innovative experts."

As the luxury line prepares to host its annual event, some of the most respected names in wine, such as Master of Wine John Clevely, former managing director of Veuve Cliquot/U.K.; David Stevens, first president of the Masters of Wine Institute; Andrea Fulton, winery sommelier at Justin Winery in Paso Robles, CA; and, Robin Kelly O'Conner, U.S. Liaison for the Bordeaux Wine Bureau, among others, will share their expertise and passion for wine, offering personal and professional insight into the world's best vintages.

The 2004 Wine & Food Festival features repeat performances by celebrated experts of gastronomy, including culinary icon Andre Soltner, former owner/chef of one of America's best restaurants, New York's Lutece; Hawaiian star chef Sam Choy, chef/owner of Diamond Head restaurant; and author Leslie Sbrocco, wine journalist for New York Times Online and the San Francisco Chronicle -- all onboard to inspire guests with their knowledge and passion for food and wine with special menus, exclusive tastings, and insightful lectures and demonstrations.

Consider, for example, Crystal Serenity's 12-day "Iberian Sunsets" from London to Athens departing May 13, with Rino Pennucci, executive chef of Relais Le Jardin restaurant at Florence's Hotel Regency, nominated as best hotel restaurant by the Touring Guide, and Don Hewiston, proprietor of Cork & Bottle Wind Bar in London, wine book author and journalist. Crystal Harmony's 12-day "Alaskan Majesty" cruise roundtrip from San Francisco departing June 11 promises exclusive insights into what has been described as the "poshest pub around" when San Francisco Bay-area's own Mark Sullivan, executive chef at the award-winning The Village Pub, teams up with pub owner and wine director, Tim Stannard. Brooke Vosika, executive chef of New York's famed Four Seasons Hotel who was recently named one of the top chefs in the U.S. by France's highly acclaimed Bocuse D'Or competition, and David Gordon, sommelier of New York's Tribeca Grill, and producer/distributor of Bacchus and Jeanne Marie wines, join Crystal Symphony's "Autumn Spectacular," an 11-day journey from New York to Montreal departing September 20.

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

Crystal's master sommeliers and other guest wine experts will lead guests through wine tastings to enjoy and compare appellations, vintages and varietals; learn the history of wine in the regions sailed; receive valuable hints on choosing and pairing wines, and become more familiar with Crystal's cellar of more than 200 selections, one of the most extensive at sea. These tastings feature the renowned Riedel Tasting Glass, which allows guests to evaluate different wines in a short period of time, while improving several aspects of judging wine.

In addition to the Wine & Food Festival cruises, Crystal continues on its worldwide journey to advance the culinary arts, leading the way with innovative programs such as its recently announced "Best Young Chefs of Italy," a collaborative effort with long-time partner Piero Selvaggio, proprietor of the acclaimed Valentino restaurants. Crystal welcomes the future stars of the culinary world -- such as Walter Ferreto, the hot new talent at Il Ristorante Albergo, Il Cascinolenuovo and Pisterna in Italy's Piedmont region, and Ciccio Sultano of Sicily's famed Duomo Restaurant -- on board to work alongside its own chefs to create exclusive menus featured seasonally at Selvaggio's "Valentino at Prego," the Italian specialty restaurant aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.

Crystal's devotion to cuisine is further evidenced by its alliances with some of the world's most celebrated names in food, wine and hospitality -- Nobu Matsuhisa brings his legendary cuisine to the aptly-named "Sushi Bar" and "Silk Road Restaurant" aboard Crystal Serenity; and Wolfgang Puck's acclaimed Santa Monica-based restaurant, Chinois on Main, is showcased at "Jade Garden," the intimate Asian specialty restaurant aboard Crystal Symphony.

Crystal's three sister ships -- the 940-guest, 50,000-ton Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony and the 1,080-guest, 68,000-ton Crystal Serenity -- are among 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. The Six-Star rated liners feature grand lounges, a lavish spa outfitted in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui, extensive exercise facilities, complimentary golf, yoga and Pilates instruction, Asian and Italian specialty restaurants, the only Caesars Palace at Sea Casino afloat, and the popular Computer University@Sea, offering 24-hour e-mail and internet access, as well as hands-on instruction, expansive decks, two pools, award-winning cuisine and entertainment, and exquisitely appointed staterooms, more than half of which offer private verandahs.

Following is Crystal Cruises 2004 Wine & Food Festival schedule. Guest chefs and wine experts are subject to change.

Crystal Harmony:

  • January 24 Hawaii 10 days round-trip Honolulu 

  • February 3 Hawaii 10 days round-trip Honolulu 

  • February 13 Hawaii 10 days round-trip Honolulu 

  • June 11 Alaska/Canada 12 days round-trip San Francisco 

  • June 23 Alaska/Canada 12 days round-trip San Francisco 

  • September 3 Alaska/Canada 12 days round-trip San Francisco 

Crystal Symphony 

  • May 23 Baltic 11 days London to Stockholm 

  • July 8 British Isles 11 days London to Paris 

  • September 20 Canada/USA 11 days New York to Montreal 

Crystal Serenity 

  • January 19 World Cruise 26 days Los Angeles to Yokohama 

  • February 15 World Cruise 22 days Yokohama to Singapore 

  • March 8 World Cruise 29 days Singapore to Cape Town 

  • April 6 World Cruise 29 days Cape Town to New York 

  • May 13 Mediterranean 12 days London to Athens 

  • July 25 Mediterranean 12 days Venice to Rome 

  • August 18 Mediterranean 12 days Barcelona to Venice

Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary copy of the 2004 Cruise Atlas and a Wine& Food Festival brochure, call 800.820.6663. Visit the website: .

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Ancient Civilizations and Natural Splendors Showcased on Two Voyages in March

FORT LAUDERDALE - MV Discovery continues her world tour this spring with two voyages that explore the beautiful islands of Hawaii, transit the legendary Panama Canal and "discover" Mexico's spectacular beaches and rich cultural sights. Discovery World Cruises' flagship began her inaugural season by venturing to South America, Antarctica, and the Pacific. 
The line's Hawaii & the Mexican Riviera cruise-tour combines the lush Polynesian gardens and volcanic landscapes of Hawaii with the rich history, rugged cliffs and famous sights of the Mexican Riviera. The 18-night itinerary, departing March 16, sails from Honolulu, making stops in Maui and Hilo before embarking on a voyage of the Pacific bound for the Mexican Riviera. MV Discovery will visit such popular Mexican beach resorts as Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo and Acapulco. Guests disembark in Acapulco, where they will enjoy an included three-night stay and sightseeing tour before returning home. During Discovery's inaugural season, rates feature two-for-one pricing. Rates for the first passenger start at $2,150 and the second person occupying the same cabin sails free. Also included is a three-night stay and sightseeing tour in Honolulu before embarking on the voyage of the Pacific Coast. 
Mayan Mexico & the Panama Canal, departing March 29, is a 16-night itinerary to intriguing Pacific ports of call and ancient Mayan civilizations. Passengers will enjoy an included two-night hotel stay and sightseeing tour in Acapulco before traveling to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Coast Rica; Puerto Cortez, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Progresso, Mexico; and Fort Lauderdale. During the voyage, passengers will be captivated by the magnificent attributes of these regions including the volcanic beaches of the Gulf of Nicoya in Costa Rica, the Barrier Reef of Belize, the Mayan ruins of Tikal and the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as the most sacred of all Mayan cities, Chichen Itza. 
Along the way, passengers will have the opportunity to gain insights on Magellan's great voyage, the Spanish invasion into the new world, the British acquisition of territories in Central America from on-board lecturers. A highlight of the itinerary is a daytime transit of the Panama Canal. Inaugural season rates start at $2,900 for the first passenger and the second person occupying the same cabin pays just 50 percent. 

Each cruise-tour offers guests an "up-close and personal" experience throughout each of the destinations visited. Expert guides and respected enrichment lecturers provide passengers with detailed briefings on each port of call. The lecture series is complemented by on-board cultural performances by local folkloric troupes. The 650-passenger MV Discovery is versatile enough to explore the smallest coves and out-of-the-way harbors, offering passengers the opportunity to see some of the most fascinating destinations in the Pacific and Central America. She is resplendent with every modern comfort and convenience including 351 cabins and suites, equipped with televisions and built-in hairdryers; three restaurants; five elegant lounges; a well-stocked library; casino; modern health club and beauty center; two swimming pools, including one with a retractable dome; two Jacuzzis; and duty-free boutiques. The ship's senior officers are from Scandinavia, the cruise staff is American and European, while the service staff - perhaps the ship's biggest asset - is from The Philippines. 

Founded in 2002 by Gerry Herrod, a noted travel industry entrepreneur and adventure cruise specialist, Discovery World Cruises is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, with an operations center in London. For more information and to make a reservation, see a travel professional or contact Discovery World Cruises toll-free at 866-623-2689.

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Galley Fire on Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas

MIAMI, Feb 5, 2004 -- Royal Caribbean International's Majesty of the Seas experienced a brief 21-minute galley fire early this morning. The fire caused minor damage and no guests or crew members were harmed in any way and the ship is sailing safely. The fire, caused by a deep fat fryer, began at 4:47 a.m. in the ship's Windjammer Cafe on the tenth deck, aft. Crew members fully extinguished the fire by 5:08 a.m. As a precaution, the ship's Master asked guests to move to their muster stations for 24 minutes. The fire and its related smoke caused minor damage to the Windjammer's galley area. The ship will continue its current sailing, however, the cafe, which is used for casual dining, will be closed and service will be moved to other dining areas.

Majesty of the Seas is carrying 2,376 guests and 829 crewmembers on a four-night Caribbean cruise. It departed Miami on Monday, February 2, and has visited Nassau, Bahamas, Royal Caribbean's private island of Coco Cay, Bahamas, and today is calling in Key West, before ending its cruise in Miami tomorrow.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, with a combined total of 27 ships in service and two under construction or on firm order. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. Additional information can be found on

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Ultra Luxury Cruise Line Touts Value of Its Cruises for European Travel

MIAMI, Feb 4, 2004 -- Seabourn Cruise Line has introduced a marketing message touting the relative value of ultra luxury cruising as a hedge against the effect of a weaker dollar on the cost of indulging in a luxury European vacation in 2004. The message "The Yachts of Seabourn: keeping your dollar strong in Europe this year" appears as a tag line on promotional materials. The Yachts of Seabourn refers to the company's three identical, all-suite sister ships, Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. 

According to Richard Meadows, Seabourn's senior vice president of sales and marketing, "Cruises provide excellent value for travelers in Europe, when compared against the cost of luxury all-suite accommodations, gourmet cuisine and superb service." And, says Meadows, since Seabourn's fares include a lot of extras that would normally be paid for separately in local currencies, such as drinks, entertainment, transportation, some shoreside experiences and even gratuities, all paid for in dollars, "They will enjoy a far more luxurious European vacation for their money on a Seabourn cruise." 

At a time when some land-based tour operators are adding currency surcharges, Meadows wonders whether some consumers might consider cutting back on the level of luxury they expect. "That would be a shame," says Meadows. "Instead, they can pay in dollars for an all-inclusive, ultra luxury Seabourn European cruise this year and have an unforgettable vacation, with no negative effects from currency exchange."

All three intimate Yachts of Seabourn sail in Europe in 2004, on cruises of seven to 21 or more days in the Mediterranean, Western Europe, the Baltic & Scandinavia and the British Isles. Fares feature Early Booking Savings up to 50 percent and start from $2,998 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean-view suite. For information, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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    Royal Caribbean International Announces Nordic Empress To Receive Major Renovations, New Name
    New Empress of the Seas Will Feature Expanded Dining, Entertainment, Fitness Options and Exciting Itineraries for 2004

    MIAMI, Feb. 2 -- Royal Caribbean International announced Nordic Empress will undergo extensive renovations before arriving this spring in the New York City metro area to begin unique six- and eight-night Bermuda cruise vacations from the newly named Cape Liberty Cruise Port. To reflect the magnitude of the revitalization, the line will officially rename the ship Empress of the Seas, bringing her in line with the remainder of Royal Caribbean's fleet, which all feature "of the Seas" names. Renovations on the 1,602-passenger Nordic Empress will extend to every area of the ship, and are designed to further enhance the onboard experience. A main focus is providing guests with additional dining, entertainment and fitness areas. All work will be completed by May 2004.

    "Nordic Empress has always been a favorite of many of our guests, and we are pleased to add features that are debuting on our newest ships to make her an even more exciting vacation option," said Adam Goldstein, executive vice president, Brand Operations, for Royal Caribbean International. "In addition, her new itineraries in both Bermuda this spring and summer and the Southern Caribbean next winter offer our guests unique ways to explore these exotic destinations."

    Increased dining options are in high demand among cruisers, and the renamed Empress of the Seas will feature a new specialty restaurant, Portofino, serving Italian cuisine, in addition to an upgraded Windjammer Café and refurbished main dining room. In between meals, guests can enjoy specialty coffee drinks from Seattle's Best Coffee or indulge their sweet tooth with 16 different flavors from Ben & Jerry's at a new, combined Latte'tudes coffee bar and ice cream scoop shop.

    Guests who take advantage of Empress of the Seas' ShipShape Fitness Center and Day Spa will be treated to more than a great workout or spa treatment. The expanded spa and gym complex will be on two levels, including a fitness center overlooking the Viking Crown Lounge, perched at the top of the ship, offering spectacular, panoramic sea views. In addition, the ship features the line's signature rock-climbing wall, installed in late 2003.

    Vacationers looking for high-quality entertainment will find plenty to choose from. The former High Society Lounge on Deck 6 now will be Royal Caribbean's Latin-themed bar, Boleros, offering specialty tequilas and cocktail favorites like mojitos, as well as outstanding live entertainment. Empress of the Seas also will feature the line's popular Schooner Bar, a nautical-themed lounge with sing-along piano entertainment, which replaces the mid-ship Carousel Bar on Deck 5.

    The ship's casino will be moved to Deck 6, and a new card room will be created off the Centrum. In addition, the main theater, the Strike Up the Band Showroom, will be updated with new carpet and upholstery.

    Guest staterooms will receive new and upgraded bathrooms throughout all categories. In addition, some staterooms, including the Royal Suite and Superior Ocean View staterooms, will feature new decor, while others accommodating third and fourth guests will be fitted with modified wardrobes offering increased storage. Empress of the Seas' Owner's Suites will be completely redesigned, with new furniture and finishings. Other refurbishments include general facelifts to the lobbies, elevators, landings, corridors and restrooms, and enhancements to the shopping areas and Pool Deck.

    Unique Itineraries to Bermuda and the Southern Caribbean
    Empress of the Seas will offer alternating six- and eight-night Bermuda itineraries from May through October from the New York City metro area. She will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to sail from Cape Liberty Cruise Port, in Bayonne, New Jersey. Located across the New York Harbor from lower Manhattan, just 15 minutes from the Newark airport and right off the New Jersey Turnpike, the new port is a convenient departure point for both drive- market guests and those arriving by air.

    The six-night Bermuda itineraries depart on Sundays and include stops in King's Wharf and Hamilton, Bermuda. The eight-night cruises depart Saturdays and visit King's Wharf, Hamilton and St. George's, Bermuda. Prices start at $599 per person, double occupancy for a six-night cruise and $799 for an eight-night cruise.

    In late October, Empress of the Seas will reposition to San Juan, where she will offer guests a choice of four Southern Caribbean adventures. The highlight is the 11-night Exotic Caribbean itinerary that takes guests to St. Maarten, St. Barts, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Margarita Island, Aruba and Curacao.
    Empress of the Seas also will sail three-night St. Thomas/St. Maarten and St. Kitts/St. Maarten sailings, as well as four special, four-night Dominican Republic cruises, with stops in Santo Domingo and Catalina Island, on Oct. 25, Nov. 1, 8 and 15. Prices start at $899 per person, double occupancy for the 11-night itinerary, $283 for the four-night itinerary, and $278 for the three-night itineraries.

    Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand currently with 18 ships in service, and two more under construction or on firm order. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site
    or call 800-327-6700.

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    2004 Wave Period Points to Another Record Year For North American Cruise Industry, Says CLIA

    NEW YORK, Feb. 2 -- The North American cruise industry is on track for another record-setting year, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). January marks the start of the Wave Period, when cruise lines traditionally gauge the strength of the market based on bookings during this high-volume period. The 2004 "wave" has been particularly strong, with several CLIA-member lines reporting record-setting numbers during this heavy booking season.

    "The CLIA-member lines are telling us that 2004 will be a very strong year for the cruise industry," says Terry L. Dale, president and chief executive officer of CLIA, the nonprofit marketing and training organization representing 20 leading cruise lines in the North American market. "There has been record cold weather in many parts of the country and the economy is showing signs of a real recovery, both of which may lead more people to think about digging into their wallets. With this surge in interest, it is important for travelers to book early to ensure availability of their choice of cabin and the best rate."

    CLIA Chairman Mark Conroy says that at Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, of which he is president and chief executive officer, "Call volume since the first of the year is up 30 percent over the same date last year and revenue for 2004 is up almost 30 percent." He also says, "Close-in bookings represent a good portion of the volume; however, we are also seeing great activity for the summer programs in Europe, Bermuda and Alaska."

    Cunard Line, which recently held inaugural festivities for its Queen Mary 2, reports booking activities initially tripled and call volume remains at an all-time high.

    MSC Italian Cruises reports the first three U.S. sailings of its new ship, the MSC Lirica, are completely booked. The 1,590-passenger vessel is also fully booked for its transatlantic cruise that departs May 15 for Genoa, Italy.

    Costa Cruises also experienced strong booking activity throughout the month of January in line with expectations for Caribbean sailings and 20 percent ahead of last year on bookings of cruises to Europe.

    Cruise lines that offer longer sailings and unusual itineraries also seem to have started off 2004 on a positive note. Norwegian Coastal Voyage, Inc., which offers scenic cruising combined with a working ship experience along Norway's west coast, reports booking are 14 percent ahead of the same time last year. Swan Hellenic, which focuses on adventure-oriented cruises, is running about 60 percent ahead of the same period last year.

    Oceania Cruises also experienced a record-setting week for phone volume during the first week of January, with call volume exceeding the previous record by 25 percent. The line reports increased demand for travel to Europe, particularly the Mediterranean and Greek Isles, and noted that some itineraries are sold out.

    Mimi Weisband, vice president, public relations for Crystal Cruises, reports that the line has "seen huge growth since the first of the year." She indicates that the results for the week ending Jan. 26 were 108 percent higher than bookings for the same week last year and the past four weeks have been 83 percent higher than the same period of 2003.

    Silversea Cruises is projecting a booking increase of 30 to 35 percent in 2004, noting that Mediterranean, Baltic, Far East/Japan, and Alaska voyages are "all filling up nicely." In addition, the second week of January set an all-time record for reservation sales for Silversea Cruises, with a net passenger gain of almost 20 percent above the previous high set in July 2003.

    Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is a nonprofit marketing and training organization comprising 20 leading cruise lines in 2004, which together accommodate 95 percent of the North American cruise passengers. Approximately 16,000 travel agencies focused and engaged in the sales of cruise vacations in the U.S. and Canada are members of the association. The association conducts cruise industry-related research and communication initiatives to educate and promote the attributes of cruise vacations and CLIA member travel agencies to the traveling public. CLIA is a recognized travel industry leader in sales education. CLIA provides an extensive array of educational programs for travel agents including curriculum leading to certification as Accredited Cruise Counsellors, Master Cruise Counsellors and Elite Cruise Counsellors--considered the consumers' best resource for planning a cruise vacation.
    For more information about cruise vacations, visit CLIA's website at or visit a CLIA-member travel agency. Find one using the Cruise Expert Locator on CLIA's website or by looking for the blue, white and gold CLIA seal displayed at a local travel agency. 

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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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