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News from the world of cruise travel
February 1-28, 2005

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

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected--updated monthly

Save Big on Hot Star Clipper Med Cruises This Summer

MIAMI (Feb. 22, 2005) -- This summer, round-trip cruises from Cannes, France, are allowing vacationers to experience the best of the Mediterranean. Star Clippers has introduced special savings of $1,000 off seven-, 10- and 11-night cruise and air packages aboard the 170-passenger Star Clipper. Travelers can sail from the French Riviera to the sun-kissed beaches and azure waters of the Med and save on eight departures from May through October. Star Clipper is sailing a new summer itinerary that includes calls at Sicily, Corsica, the Amalfi Coast, the Aeolian Islands and St. Tropez. The 10- and 11-night round-trip Cannes adventures start at $1,825 per person, double. That includes $400 off the cruise fare, plus $600 off the add-on airfare from major U.S. cities.

The seven-night sailings, also round-trip Cannes, sail to Italy, Elba, Sicily, Corsica and St. Tropez. The Tyrrhenian cruise fares start at $1,325 per person, double. That includes $400 off the cruise fare, plus $600 off the add-on airfare from major U.S. cities. Star Clipper combines the pampered luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the exhilarating thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship. Rediscover what sailing was like during the glorious age of the tall ships while visiting intimate ports of call untouched by larger cruise ships.

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

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Discovery World Cruises introduces new Scandinavia, Baltic and North Atlantic voyages
MV Discovery to Sail to Spectacular Fjords, Baltic Treasures and Serene Canadian Coastlines at Up to 20 Percent Discount

Fort Lauderdale – Enjoy the cultural vibrancy of the new and old world with Discovery World Cruises. This May, the line’s MV Discovery embarks on 11 spectacular voyages throughout the Baltic Sea, North Sea and Northern Atlantic. From the magnificent treasures of the Tsars, through the unmatched charm of Scandinavia, to the pristine grandeur of Canada’s eastern coastline, Discovery lets world travelers explore some of the oldest legacies of Western Civilization. In addition, passengers who purchase their cruise-tour early will enjoy discounts of up to 20 percent.

Specialists in exploring faraway places in comfort and style, Discovery’s hallmark “cruise-tour” concept includes a two-day respite among the cosmopolitan delights of London. Travelers will stay in a centrally located hotel to unwind and adjust to the local time. The included pre- or post-cruise hotel stay offers a great opportunity to visit London’s unmatched museum collections, see a West End show, take in some shopping, dine in one of thousands of restaurants, or drop into a local pub. The line’s air add-on fares to/from London are also available, starting as low as $395.

“For 2005 Discovery World Cruises offers travelers the most affordable way to visit Europe,” said Tim Davey, the line’s vice president of sales, marketing and passenger services. “By prepaying for the cruise, most meals, entertainment, hotel stays and airfare in U.S. dollars, American travelers can virtually insulate themselves from the fluctuating euro. With our cruise-tour package, guests won’t have sticker shock abroad.”

Baltic Discovery
Discovery World Cruises offers travelers the opportunity to soak up the immense culture of St. Petersburg - Peter the Great’s “Window on Europe” – on five exciting itineraries. Baltic Discovery , the season’s inaugural cruise, (departing May 13th); Baltic Capitals (departing June 1st); Scandinavian Summer (departing July 18th); Northern Capitals (departing June 22nd); and Baltic Treasures (departing Sept. 7th). Depending on the cruise MV Discovery spends two or three days in St. Petersburg, allowing passengers the opportunity to attend a performance at the Kirov Ballet, devour the exhibit-rich Hermitage museum, and – on longer visits - take an optional air excursion to Moscow. Baltic cruise-tours start at $2,695 per passenger, double occupancy.

Other highlights include historic and culture-rich Scandinavian and German cities. Passengers can also visit Berlin, from the port of Warnemunde; Tallinn, Estonia – an Old World city whose treasures and secrets are still closely guarded; Helsinki, with its mix of neo-Classical and avant-garde architecture; the colorful charms of Danish Copenhagen; and Viking city of Oslo. These voyages also take passengers through the Kiel Canal, the world’s busiest man-made waterway. 

Norwegian Discovery
MV Discovery will also explore the majesty of the Norwegian fjord lands; and the sparsely populated and wildlife rich North Cape, known as the Land of the Midnight Sun. Two 10-night cruises, The Norwegian Fjords and Norwegian Explorer (departing May 25th and Aug. 31st respectively), take passengers on an exploration of Norway’s dramatic shores, landing at Gudvangen, Ålesund and Bergen. Passengers will also visit Flåm, famous for its spectacular railroads that climb nearly 3,000 feet, and Olden, which is nestled at the foot of giant glaciers. 

In addition, Land of the Midnight Sun (departing June 12th) takes passengers inside the Arctic Circle to Norway’s North Cape for 13 nights, calling on Leknes, TromsØ, and Honningsvåg, the northern-most point in Europe. The line’s 15-night Fjords, Faroes, Fire & Ice (departing July 6th) takes passengers further along the Viking’s explorations to the Orkneys, Faroe Islands and Iceland, where hissing volcanoes, bubbling thermal springs and gushing geysers make it one of the most wild, rugged and colorful landscapes in the world. Norwegian cruise-tour fares begin at $1,795 per person, double occupancy. 

North Atlantic Discovery
MV Discovery then continues on to two breathtaking North Atlantic voyages, Newfoundland & Canada and Iceland Greenland & Canada (departing July 29th and Aug. 17th respectively), to the wondrous and serene lands of Iceland, Greenland and the Labrador Coast. On both 19-night voyages, passengers will call on Reykjavik and Greenland’s coast – with stops in Narsarsuaq, Nuuk and Ilulissat – and experience the lush summer vegetation juxtaposed with glaciers drifting down from the Arctic. Passengers will also cruise to ports of call along the Northeast Canadian coast including L’Anse Aux Meadows, a land once named Vinland the Good (the good grassland) by Leif Erikkson during the very early Viking exploration of America in the first millennium. Rates for these cruises-tours begin at $2,995 per person, double occupancy.

In the summer months, MV Discovery hosts a predominantly British and international clientele, who share an appetite for exploration and knowledge. The mid-size liner has a friendly and convivial atmosphere and features 351 cabins and suites, each with television and hair-dryer; three restaurants; five lounges; a well-stocked library; casino; modern health club and spa; two swimming pools – one beneath a retractable dome; two Jacuzzis; and a duty-free boutique. 

All Discovery World Cruises’ cruise-tours include ground transfers, shipboard accommodations, meals, entertainment, Captain’s Cocktail parties, and applicable port charges. To receive Discovery’s new summer 2005 brochure or to make a reservation, see a travel professional, contact the cruise line toll-free at 866-623-2689, or visit

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Seabourn Creates "Personal Shopper" Services
New Program Provides Local Expertise for Buying the Best in Cities Worldwide

MIAMI, Feb 21, 2005 -- Ultra luxury cruise pioneer Seabourn Cruise Line has introduced an innovative new series of Seabourn's Personal Shopper(SM) shoreside services in prime shopping cities around the globe. The optional program will provide expert local guidance to sources of the finest quality merchandise for travelers when they visit appealing ports of call aboard the intimate, all-suite Yachts of Seabourn. Combining dedicated transportation with invaluable local shopping savvy, Seabourn's Personal Shopper takes the worry and hassle out of indulging in one of the favorite activities of many of the company's well-traveled clientele. It is not designed for garden-variety souvenir shopping, but rather for those seeking the shops, boutiques and ateliers of the finest local designers, craftsmen and artists.

"Shopping is an important part of a vacation to many of Seabourn's guests," noted Deborah L. Natansohn, Seabourn's president. "Whether for personal items or for gifts for loved ones at home, many travelers have a wish-list of things they'd like to pick up while they are in Florence or Copenhagen or Bangkok," she continued. "A taxi is fine if you know exactly what you want and where to get it, but we thought it would be nice to introduce our guests to a local shopping maven who can help them make the most of their time and direct them to the best things the place has to offer."

In Florence, for example, a shopper could probably locate the flagship stores of Ferragamo or Gucci, but with Seabourn's Personal Shopper, selections in their sizes can be ready and waiting when the shoppers arrive at top-line stores, for their consideration. Also, individuals on their own might well miss the nearby frescoed chapel that houses a chemist's founded by monks in the 16th century, which offers exquisite perfumes and essences created for Caterina de' Medici and lotions and soaps in elegant packaging. In Istanbul, there's no shortage of advice on shopping from strangers in the street, but will they really direct you to the finest antique shops in the Cukurcuma or Horhor areas?

Seabourn's Personal Shopper tours provide transportation by luxury private car and the services of a knowledgeable, English-speaking shopping specialist. They can be arranged as half-day or full-day events, and tailored to the interests and wishes of the shoppers. Full days include reservations for luncheon in a favorite local restaurant. The Personal Shopper programs are currently offered in Florence, Rome, in several ports on the Cote D'Azur including Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo, in Athens, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Bangkok, Hong Kong and St. Petersburg, Russia. Others are planned. Prices range from $295 to $895, depending on the location and duration.

The Yachts of Seabourn sail cruises of seven to 21 days or longer on award-winning itineraries worldwide. With Early Booking Savings of up to 50 percent, fares start from $2,498 per person, based on double occupancy. For information, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Cruising Europe Aboard Wind Surf an Even Sweeter Value When Paying in Dollars
Experience Europe and Extraordinary Value Aboard a Luxury Sail Yacht

Seattle, WA, February 21, 2005 — With the US dollar versus the euro, Americans traveling on land-based vacations are spending considerably more to visit Europe these days. A better option for exploring Europe is to sail aboard Windstar Cruises’ 308-guest luxury motor sailing yacht Wind Surf. Guests can explore the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Aegean seas, on six to eight-day cruises from Lisbon to Barcelona, Malaga to Marseille, Rome to Malta, Malta to Venice and more.

“Visiting Europe on a Windstar cruise is a great value, especially given the U.S. dollar in comparison to the euro,” says Jim McHugh, Windstar’s vice president of marketing and sales. “The Wind Surf’s resort-style atmosphere and unique sailing capabilities offer vacationers a world-class European experience with value, romance and luxury wrapped up in a convenient cruise package.”

The Wind Surf’s itineraries combine both smaller, unique ports of call with favorites such as Venice and Rome. Guests may find themselves exploring Spanish Morocco in Ceuta, Spain; sipping cappuccino in Sorrento; gambling in Monte Carlo; shopping for hand-painted porcelain in Portimao, Portugal; or visiting a fortress in Hvar, Croatia. Itineraries aboard the Wind Surf may be combined to make 14- or 21-day voyages with no repeating ports of call. For example, guests may book back-to-back sailings on June 5 from Rome to Malta and June 12 from Malta to Venice to create a 14-day grand exploration of the Amalfi Coast and Adriatic Coast. 

On the Wind Surf’s May 15 cruise, guests may rub shoulders with glitterati at the Cannes Film Festival and thrill to the speed of the Formula One race cars in the Grand Prix. This special itinerary visits Portovenere, Italy before spending two nights in Cannes for the glamorous Cannes Film Festival and two nights in Monte Carlo that coincide with the 2005 Grand Prix Race. The 8-day voyage from Rome to Nice starts at $1,995 per person, double occupancy. Combined with a 6-day Nice-to-Nice cruise departing May 23, guests can create a 14-day European exploration cruise along the Côte D’Azur visiting Portofino, Italy; St. Tropez, Marseille, Port-Vendres and Sanury-sur-Mer, France. Rates for this special combination cruise start at $2,895 per person, double occupancy. 

Windstar Cruises is offering “Europe on Sail” on select 2005 cruises aboard the luxury motor sailing yacht Wind Surf. The Wind Surf features Signature Cuisine created by acclaimed chef Joachim Splichal, Sail Light and vegetarian healthy menu options from author Jeanne Jones, and complimentary water sports activities. The updated WindSpa echoes the Wind Surf’s quiet elegance and features a skilled and talented staff committed to providing guests with unique treatments and services, from massage to cutting edge facial and body treatments to hairstyles and paraffin pedicures. 

For a thoroughly relaxing cruise getaway to enjoy all of the ship’s amenities, guests can kick back aboard the Wind Surf beginning November 13 for a 14-day transatlantic crossing from Lisbon, Portugal to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Whether a 7-day Mediterranean or a 14-day transatlantic crossing, the Wind Surf provides the ideal platform for exploring the tranquil seas, with top-quality activities, amenities and services.

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Discover Your 'Inner Adventurer' in Alaska This Summer With 38 New Shore Tours From Crystal Cruises

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17 -- A rock climbing and rappelling adventure in Skagway; an extreme rainforest hike in Wrangell; a birding expedition in Sitka; and a wilderness kayaking excursion in Vancouver are but a few of the 38 new "Crystal Adventures" debuting this summer during Crystal Harmony's 2005 Alaska season. With an emphasis on active adventure--kayaking, dog sledding, glacier trekking, mountain biking, flightseeing and more--Crystal Cruises continues to provide new opportunities for personal discovery with its most comprehensive collection of Alaska shore excursions ever offered, 125 in all.

From May through September, Crystal is offering 12 departures -- the most extensive Alaska season ever offered by the luxury cruise line. The season begins May 9 with a just-added 9-day itinerary featuring three glacier visits starting at $2,195, followed by a new 7-day journey round-trip from Vancouver on May 21 with fares from $1,495. Ten 12-day cruises operate conveniently round-trip from San Francisco departing May 30, with fares from $2,395; June 11, 23; July 5, 17, 29; August 10, 22, starting at $2,795; and September 3, 15, with fares beginning at $2,595 and $2,395, respectively. All itineraries feature at least one glacier experience; three include two glacier experiences.

"From ecological discoveries to more active pursuits, the tour options on every Alaska itinerary are staggering," says John Stoll, Crystal Cruises' director, land programs. "When creating our 'Crystal Adventures,' our team is guided by the increasing interest of our sophisticated guests to collect experiences that are unique, exclusive and personally enriching."

The diverse landscapes, seascapes and ecosystems of Alaska make it an ideal repeat destination for adventurers of all kinds -- nature buffs, culinary aficionados, fitness enthusiasts, and families. For example, kayaking adventures offered in nearly every port of call provide a new perspective of the Last Frontier. Highlights of the new "Crystal Adventures" appealing to the "inner adventurer" in all guests include:

  • Close encounters with Alaskan wildlife such as feeding a reindeer and petting an octopus; 

  • Intimate whale watching safaris;

  • An expanded selection of fishing expeditions;

  • Visits to Alaskan breweries; and,

  • Soft adventure for the whole family, such as panning for gold, biking a rainforest, and rafting down rivers.

As part of the Crystal Visions Enrichment Program, special-interest lecturers including noted geologists, historians and naturalists will be aboard all sailings to share their insight on the natural beauty, history and culture of Alaska. From the regal beauty of Victoria to the Tlingit history of Ketchikan, ports of call reveal the beauty of a land embraced by nature. Depending on the itinerary, guests will travel to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Whittier, Seward and Haines, Alaska, cruising the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier and/or Tracy Arm.

A complete listing of all 125 Alaska shore excursions may be found on the Crystal Cruises website at For a complimentary brochure on the 2005 Alaska season, please contact a travel agent or call 866-446-6625.

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SeaDream Yacht Club Sets 2006 Dream Schedule
Caribbean and Yucatan Peninsula: January through April
Europe: May through October

2006 Caribbean, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula & Belize Highlights Tranquil Private Beaches, Spanish Colonial Cities and Haciendas, Eco-Tourism in the Biosphere, Mayan Ruins 

2006 European Highlights Croatia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania, Egypt, Cyprus, North Africa, Spain, Mediterranean, Greek Islands 

2006 Year-End Holiday Highlights Christmas: French West Indies and the Grenadines; New Year’s Eve: French West Indies

SeaDream Yacht Club, operator of the twin, ultra-luxury, mega-yacht cruisers SeaDream I and II, has announced its schedules and itineraries for 2006. They include: 

  • The French West Indies, Netherlands Antilles and British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean

  • Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Belize

  • Croatia, Ukraine, Romania, Egypt, Cyprus, North Africa, Spain the Mediterranean and the Greek Islands in Europe

“This is the most ambitious schedule we have put forth since we began late in 2001,” said Larry Pimentel, CTC, President and C&O of SeaDream Yacht Club.

SeaDream I and II will sail in the Caribbean, the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize from January through April 2006 and from November through the end of 2006 and onward. They will sail in European waters from May through October 2006. Included for 2006 are classic cities and resort destinations and intriguing small and exclusive yachting ports. Most sailings are seven days but the schedule also features some shorter sailings ideal for those with time constraints. New Caribbean ports for 2006 include: La Romana, Dominican Republic; Saba, Netherlands Antilles; Bequia and Union Island in the Grenadines; Port Antonio, Jamaica and Portsmouth, Dominica. Home ports with turnarounds in the Caribbean and the Yucatan Peninsula are San Juan, St. Thomas, Bridgetown and Puerto Morelos (Cancun), on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. 

New European ports for 2006 include: Trieste and Viareggio, Italy; Sarande, Albania; Kotor, Montenegro; Port Said and Alexandria, Egypt; Casablanca and Agadir, Morocco. Home ports with turnarounds in Europe are Nice, Monte Carlo, Venice, Athens, Istanbul, Dubrovnik, Alexandria, Naples, Seville and Rome.

In 2006, year-end holiday sailings of SeaDream I and II will include Christmas Eve in Marigot and St. Martin or Union Island in the Grenadines; and New Year’s Eve at St. Martin or St. Barts.

In both the Caribbean and in Europe SeaDream has frequent late evening port departures or overnights. Pimentel commented: “It’s a shame to force guests back aboard and to depart in the early evening hours when in many ports the action doesn’t get started until quite late.” 

SeaDream’s complete 2006 schedules and itineraries may be found on its website 

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Silversea's New “Wine Series” Cruises Enhance 
2005 Summer Schedule

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Feb 17, 2005 -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has just rolled out an enticing lineup of five new Wine Series cruises that will explore the Mediterranean and Northern Europe this summer. On each wine-themed cruise, discerning travelers with a passion for fine wines will enjoy sampling great vintages and learning about the tradition and art of fine winemaking in special tastings and lectures conducted by wine professionals, vineyard owners and winemakers from renowned establishments. On most voyages, guests will also have the chance to explore some of the world’s most celebrated wine regions on guided shore excursions. 

“Our Wine Series cruises are a great way for guests to broaden their understanding and appreciation for one of life’s most cherished luxuries – fine wine”, said Barbara Muckermann, Silversea’s senior vice president, worldwide marketing and communications. “We’ve invited top experts from some of the world’s most acclaimed vineyards and wineries to visit and interact with our guests, guiding them through entertaining tastings and lectures that add a unique and enriching dimension to their cruise experience.” 

Highlighting this year’s Wine Series cruises are optional shore excursions offering guests guided tours of legendary wine-producing regions. From the Rhône Valley in Provence, where Silversea guests can explore the famous vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, to rising-star winemaker Fattoria Villa Maionchi, located in Lucca, Tuscany, to the acclaimed Giogantinu Cellars of Sardinia’s Gallura region, Silversea offers a selection of carefully tailored shore experiences that are the perfect complement to its wine-themed cruises. 

Listed below are the 2005 Wine Series cruises: 

  • Silver Shadow’s “Classic Civilizations” 10-day cruise from Rome to Athens, May 25 – June 4, 2005 (Voyage 3514). Hosted by Eileen Crane, Domaine Carneros, Napa, California. Early Booking Incentive fares start at $5,776 per person. 

  • Silver Wind’s “Mediterranean Realms” 10-day cruise from Rome to Palma de Mallorca, July 1 – 11, 2005 (Voyage 2516). Hosted by Philip Di Belardino, Castello Banfi Vineyard Estate & Winery, Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. Early Booking Incentive fares start at $6,286 per person. 

  • Silver Shadow’s “Tuscany & The Riviera” 7-day cruise from Rome to Monte Carlo, July 8 – 15, 2005 (Voyage 3519). Hosted by Rob and Diana Jensen, Testarossa Vineyards, Los Gatos, California. Early Booking Incentive fares start at $4,766 per person. 

  • Silver Whisper’s “Baltic Discoveries” 7-day cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen, July 16 – 23, 2005 (Voyage 4527). Hosted by Kathleen Heitz Meyers, Heitz Cellars, Napa Valley, California. Early Booking Incentive fares start at $4,766 per person. 

  • Silver Shadow’s “In the Wake of Medieval Adventurers” 7-day cruise from Venice to Barcelona, August 5 – 12, 2005 (Voyage 3523). Hosted by Francesco Russo, Capannelle Winery, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy. Early Booking Incentive fares start at $4,076 per person. 

Silversea has just published its “2005 Culinary & Wine Series” program schedule. The colorful leaflet provides a concise overview of the programs, ships, itineraries and hosts for these special theme cruises. To request a copy, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986.

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Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Continues to Operate its 4-Star Expedition Vessel MS Bremen

Hamburg, GERMANY, Feb 16, 2005 - Due to strong demands from parts of its German speaking clientele of the BREMEN, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Expedition Leaders have amended the companies’ marketing and sales partnership. Under this amendment, Hapag-Lloyd will continue to operate the BREMEN under its current name and will not be renaming the vessel DISCOVERER by the midst of this year. By continuing to operate the vessel under its current name, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises seeks to assure especially the BREMEN’s past passengers that they can expect to find the same high standards with respect to service, comfort and expedition style travel programs aboard the BREMEN that they have been used to from their past sailings.

Irrespective of this change in the partnership, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is continuing to market selected expedition itineraries of the vessel to an international, English speaking clientele, notably in the US. Expedition Leaders intends to continue its support of the vessel’s English speaking departures in the future through its own marketing and sales efforts in the US. 

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a subsidiary of TUI Group, the world’s largest tourism group, is presently operating two ships with a focus on expedition travel: Five-Star HANSEATIC and Four-Star BREMEN. Both are two of the very few ships in the world that can safely navigate the icy waters of the Arctic and Antarctic. The other two ships of Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet are EUROPA, frequently reviewed as world’s most beautiful and luxurious ship and C.COLUMBUS, a Three-Star-Plus ship that holds special appeal because of its cruise trips through the Great Lakes.

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I'll Take 'Baltic Treasures' for $9,356, Alex
Popular 'Jeopardy!' Host Trebek Will Join Scandinavia Cruise on Seabourn Pride

MIAMI, Feb. 14 -- Alex Trebek, charismatic host of the phenomenally successful television quiz show "Jeopardy!," will sail aboard the ultra luxury Seabourn Pride this summer as a part of the ship's "Dress Circle" enrichment program. The 14-day "Baltic Treasures" cruise, which sails roundtrip from London on June 19, 2005, visits a number of attractive cities including Warnemunde, Germany (for Berlin or Prague); Tallin, Estonia; Stockholm, Sweden and St. Petersburg, Russia, where the ship stays for three days. It will be the second Seabourn cruise for Trebek, who is also a well-known geography buff and hosts the National Geographic Society's annual Geography Bee.

"Our guests really enjoyed traveling on Seabourn Spirit with Alex Trebek in the Mediterranean in 2003," said Seabourn president Deborah L. Natansohn. "I'm sure he'll add a lot of fun to the cruise in Scandinavia, too," she added, "but we may need to disqualify him from the Team Trivia contests we play on board!"

The two-week cruise is filled with unusual highlights, beginning with the fact that the intimate, 208-guest Seabourn Pride docks near the Tower Bridge in the heart of London. Three full days and two overnights in St. Petersburg afford Seabourn's guests ample opportunity to explore the city's historic, cultural and artistic riches and add a full-day tour to Moscow if they wish. A complimentary 'Exclusively Seabourn' shoreside experience will comprise a private reception and concert in the magnificent baroque Yusupov Palace. The ship also stays overnight in Stockholm, one of Northern Europe's most appealing capitals.

With Early Booking Savings of up to 25 percent, fares for the cruise start from $9,356 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean- view suite. Past guests of Seabourn or any of the World's Leading Cruise Lines (Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Princess, Holland America and Windstar) qualify for Signature value Savings of 50 percent, with fares starting from $5,998 per person, double. For information or reservations, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Royal Caribbean Intl Welcomes Fisher-Price, Inc. Onboard the Ultimate Adventure Tour
Interactive Fisher-Price Cabana Shares New Offerings for Youngest Cruisers

MIAMI, Feb. 14 -- Royal Caribbean International and Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of Mattel Inc, are taking the unique programming developed for the line's youngest guests on the road. A new activities area, the Fisher-Price Cabana, is the latest addition to Royal Caribbean's Ultimate Adventure Tour, a mobile marketing campaign that brings the Royal Caribbean onboard experience to shore as it circles the nation.

"Our partnership with Fisher-Price has allowed us to create outstanding new onboard programming for families who cruise with us," said Dan Hanrahan, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales, for Royal Caribbean International. "We are pleased to share those fun and enriching programs with families across the country."

The 20-foot by 20-foot Fisher-Price Cabana is open to children of all ages and offers free/open play with some of Fisher-Price's most popular toys such as the Little People® Farm, Laugh & Learn™ Home, Peek-a-Blocks™, Doodle Pro™, Rescue Heroes® characters and more. In addition to being a great play break for parents and kids, parents also will have the opportunity to learn more about the newest programs on Royal Caribbean cruises -- the Aqua Tots and Aqua Babies playtime sessions designed by Fisher-Price for young cruisers ages 6 months to 36 months.

The centerpiece of the Ultimate Adventure Tour is a one-of-a-kind truck that converts into an inflatable, 40-foot-high, scale model of a Voyager-class ship. Designed from actual blueprints of Navigator of the Seas, the attraction includes a theater for guests to learn more about the cruise experience and the wide range of vacation options on Royal Caribbean cruises. A 20-foot-tall, mobile rock-climbing wall is set up alongside the "ship" if visitors want to challenge themselves to reach to new heights. First seen on the line's Voyager-class ships, rock-climbing walls are now fleetwide.

Visitors to the tour also can request additional information at interactive kiosks; sign up for a Royal Caribbean Platinum Plus Visa card, which allows users to earn points toward free merchandise, onboard activities, upgrades, cruise discounts and free cruises; book a cruise on-site; or enter a sweepstakes to win a seven-night cruise for two.

Scheduled events for the Ultimate Adventure Tour this spring include:

  • Feb. 19-21 - Coconut Grove Arts Fest; Coconut Grove, Fla.

  • March 17-April 3 - NASDAQ-100 Open; Key Biscayne, Fla.

  • April 7-10 - Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival; Forth Worth, Texas

  • April 23-24 - Houston International Festival; Houston, Texas

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 19 ships now in service and two more under construction. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. For additional information, please visit or call 800-327-6700.

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$75,000 in Prizes Up for Grabs in Three Carnival Cruise Lines Slot Tournaments in 2005

MIAMI (Feb 2005) – A guaranteed $25,000 prize pool awaits lucky guests sailing on any of three Carnival Cruise Lines’ voyages featuring special slot tournaments in 2005. Sponsored by Carnival’s Ocean Players Club, the tournaments are open to all guests age 18 and over and will be held aboard three seven-day cruises – May 22 from Miami aboard the new Carnival Valor, Aug. 14 from New Orleans on Carnival Conquest, and Oct. 29 from Port Canaveral, Fla., on Carnival Glory. Each of these 110,000-ton ships offers a 9,000-square-foot casino with more than 220 slot machines and a variety of table games, including blackjack, craps, roulette and poker. 

The entry fee for the tournament is $100 per person which can either be paid in advance or once on board. Tournament entries are limited and guests are encouraged to enter prior to departure. First-place winners for each tournament receive $10,000 and a variety of other cash prizes totaling $15,000 will be awarded throughout the tournament. Tournament participants will receive a number of on-board amenities, including complimentary champagne and chocolates in their stateroom, as well as an invitation to attend a private cocktail reception and awards reception. 

“The Ocean Players Club Slot Tournaments add even more excitement to our ‘Fun Ship’ cruises by offering guests a chance to take home a share of $25,000 in cash,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

In addition to fast-paced casino action, participants in the Ocean Players Club Slot Tournaments aboard Carnival Valor, Conquest, and Glory can enjoy 22 lounges and bars, an array of formal and casual dining options, including an upscale reservations-only supper club and complimentary 24-hour pizza and stateroom service, along with four swimming pools and a 13,300-square-foot health club. Each vessel also features a 4,200-square-foot children’s play area, part of the top-rated “Camp Carnival” program. Sixty percent of the ships’ staterooms offer an ocean view or a private balcony. 

The Ocean Players Club offers something for every level of player, from awards for playing slots to establishing credit lines and betting limits for high rollers. Players can earn points towards complimentary beverages, free gifts, discounts off onboard services, future cruise benefits and even cash back rebates redeemable on board future cruises. 

Membership in the Ocean Players Club is free and enrollment is coordinated with the casino host on board. For more information visit Prices for the Ocean Player Club Slot Tournaments cruises begin at $679 per person (includes entry fee). Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom and “Fly Aweigh” air supplements from more than 170 North American gateways are also available. For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” Slot Tournament cruises, contact any travel agent, call 1-888-OPC-CLUB or visit

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Bermuda Bound: CLIA Cruise Lines Predict a Buoyant 2005 Season

NEW YORK – Sailing to quaint, picturesque Bermuda has never been easier – and with the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) member lines, half the fun is getting there. This year, CLIA member lines will offer Bermuda sailings from six convenient East Coast cities aboard eight cruise ships, each of which boasts its own decidedly distinct ambiance and amenities. In short, there’s something for everyone: families, singles, newlyweds and seniors.

There’s a reason why 40 percent of travelers return to Bermuda again and again. First, there’s the lure of the island’s sugary pink sand beaches set against turquoises seas. Pastel houses are appointed with vibrant bougainvillea hibiscus and oleander. And although Bermuda provides travelers with all 21st century amenities, it has not lost touch with its Colonial past. Horse-drawn carriages still meander down Hamilton’s Front Street, and proper British afternoon tea is still a time-honored tradition. Last but not least, the island boast more golf courses per square mile than any other destination on the planet.

This veritable paradise is in easy reach. Cruise ships depart from ports up and down the U.S. Eastern seaboard, including Baltimore, Boston, Cape Liberty (Bayonne, NJ), New York, Norfolk (VA) and Philadelphia. “Last year’s Bermuda cruises by CLIA-member lines were a resounding success, and all indications point to a stellar 2005,” said Terry L. Dale, CLIA’s president and chief executive officer. CLIA is composed of 19 member cruise lines representing 95 percent of the cruise capacity marketed in North America and 16,500 travel agencies – making it the largest travel agency association in terms of membership. 

To ensure space on these highly popular sailings – and to obtain the very best values – Dale advises travelers to consult a CLIA-member travel agent and book as early as possible. “The buzz words for booking 2005 cruises are ‘book early.’ Member lines report that bookings are coming in at an extremely healthy clip.” Following is a list of CLIA-member fleet vessels bound for Bermuda in 2005:

Horizon and Zenith will operate on Bermuda itineraries roundtrip from Cape Liberty, Norfolk, and Philadelphia. Horizon will sail on seven-night itineraries roundtrip from Norfolk and from Philadelphia. Zenith, meanwhile, will sail on seven-night itineraries roundtrip from Cape Liberty. Celebrity Cruises features cuisine prepared under the guidance of award-winning Master Chef Michel Roux.

Norwegian Cruise Line will position two ships in Bermuda this season. Norwegian Crown will operate on a series of six- and seven-day itineraries roundtrip from New York to Bermuda as well as a roster of six-day roundtrip cruises from Philadelphia. Norwegian Majesty will sail on seven-day itineraries roundtrip from Boston to Bermuda.

Luxury cruise operator Radisson Seven Seas will offer 13 cruises to Bermuda from May through early September aboard the 490-passenger, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator. Customizing the shipboard experience for family groups, the Club Mariner children’s program will be available from June through August for kids six to 11 and 12 to 17. 

Grandeur of the Seas will sail roundtrip from Baltimore on alternate Sundays. Jewel of the Seas will operate on 10-night itineraries roundtrip from Boston to the Caribbean with an overnight at Bermuda’s King’s Wharf. Voyager of the Seas, meanwhile, will sail on five-night voyages roundtrip from Cape Liberty departing on alternate Sundays.

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

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Pride of America Unveils Her Stars & Stripes

Miami - February 11, 2005 -- Pride of America left the dry dock at Lloyd Werft this week and is now alongside the outfitting pier at the German shipyard. Sea trials are scheduled from May 19 through May 22 and NCL America will take delivery of Pride of America on June 6, 2005. After a series of inaugural events and cruises in the U.K. and the U.S. mainland, Pride of America will sail to Honolulu where she will be based year round beginning July 23, 2005. She joins NCL America's first U.S.-flagged ship, Pride of Aloha, which began sailing seven-day round-trip Hawai`i voyages last July.

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Norwegian Coastal Voyage Crosses Arctic Circle to Explore 
Lofoten Islands

New York, NY, Feb 2005 -- Norway’s Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle take center stage on Norwegian Coastal Voyage’s new 11-day “Lofoten Islands” air-inclusive cruise tour. Mountains carved from glaciers, bird-nesting islands, whales in their summer home, two of Norway’s largest glaciers, fishing hamlets and the midnight sun are some of the highlights while guide-led hiking tours, fishing trips and onboard lectures are featured activities. The cruise-tour, priced at $4,000 to $4,795 per person, double, has 11 departures from New York, June through August, 2005. AARP membership results in savings of $100 per cabin. Add-on airfare from dozens of U.S. cities is available. 

Departing Bodo, the 171-berth MS Lofoten explores the northwest coast of Norway before heading to the Lofoten Islands, which stretch like a wall of mountains off the coast. Nature’s marvels include Svartisen Glacier, Norway’s second largest glacier; Moskenesstraumen, one of the world’s strongest ocean currents; and Eggakanten, the edge of the Norwegian Continental Shelf where whale sightings are quite common. Gildeskal Island’s Sand Mountain, Torghatten’s landmark hat-shaped mountain and Lovund’s famous bird cliff are additional landmarks on the journey. Offering insight into the area’s history and culture are the 12th-century church of the Alstahaug Islands, the arctic fishing villages of Selsoyvik and Reine, the whale museum at Andenes, the galleries and museums of Lofoten’s capital city of Svolvaer and one of the country’s best preserved trading stations at Kjerringoy. PolarCirkel boats allow passengers to explore otherwise inaccessible locations along the way. 

The capital city of Oslo, a fascinating study in history and culture, hosts passengers before and after the cruise. The included Oslo Pass allows for free travel on public transportation (bus, tram, subway, boat, local train) within the city limits, free admittance to most museums and attractions as well as discounts on a variety of cultural and sightseeing attractions and parking. 

Reminiscent of classic steamer vessels, the MS Lofoten is Norway’s only floating national historic monument. Built in 1964 and continuously refurbished, the majority of its cabins have upper/lower berths, about half with private facilities. The “Lofoten Islands” package includes roundtrip transatlantic flight between New York and Oslo, roundtrip Oslo-Bodo flight, train transfers from the Oslo airport, cabin category selected, all meals during the cruise, most shore excursions, air taxes, port charges and two nights accommodations at first-class hotels with breakfast. Add-on airfare from dozens of U.S. cities is available. Norwegian Coastal Voyage Inc. is at 405 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022; (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300; fax (212) 319-1390; for brochures, (800) 666-2374, 24 hours a day;

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Currents Magazine Sets Sail With a New Look 
Reflecting ‘Today’s Carnival’ 

MIAMI (Feb 10, 2005) — Currents magazine, published by Carnival Cruise Lines for its past guests and travel agent partners, has been totally redesigned with a fresh contemporary look, including updated artwork and exciting new features that intend to convey the new level of quality of “Today’s Carnival.” Currents has a readership of more than three million, making it one of the most widely read in-house publications in the marketplace. The publication, which is mailed to past guests for two years after their cruise, is designed to keep guests and travel agent partners apprised of Carnival’s exciting destinations and wide range of on-board amenities. It also offers exclusive opportunities for past guests to take advantage of upcoming “Fun Ship” cruises at outstanding values. 

The new Currents provides a more contemporary tone that conveys the excitement and energy of the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, along with a new cover logo, and compelling cover imagery and headlines designed to draw readers into the magazine. New departments, including “Embark,” a lively front-of-book section with a mix of timely, quick-hit articles on the latest cruise trends, as well as opportunities for readers to tell their Carnival stories and submit photos as part of an ongoing photo contest, are also available. Content is also tailored to two specific audiences — guests who travel with their families and those who travel with other adults, with covers, articles and sections of the magazine targeted at each group.

The 2004-2005 winter issue, recently mailed to past Carnival guests, offers an interesting feature story on walking Puerto Vallarta’s exciting boardwalk, The Malecon; a look at the stunning new Carnival Liberty, set to debut July 20, 2005; and engaging stories on romantic getaways for couples, and wildlife viewing for families. For additional information on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” cruises contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Celebrity Cruises Partners With National Geographic
Guests See World Through Acclaimed Photojournalists' Eyes 

MIAMI, Feb. 10 -- The magazine known for presenting stunning images from around the world, National Geographic Traveler is bringing its imagemakers to Celebrity Cruises. The two organizations have teamed up to bring noted photojournalists onboard for the line's "Celebrity Discoveries" series, one of the most extensive enrichment programs at sea, presenting up to four lecturers on every cruise, discussing topics ranging from world affairs and finance to art and music.

"National Geographic Traveler is legendary for offering rare insight into the world's most intriguing places," said Celebrity's Director of Entertainment and Cruise Programs Michael Thomas. "They are the perfect partner to enrich our guests' cruise experience as they travel to exciting and exotic destinations."

The three lecturers scheduled thus far include:

  • Daisann McLane--Infinity, February 13: Journalist, traveler and photographer, McLane has been encouraging readers to explore the world and its cultures in unconventional ways for more than 20 years. A contributing editor to National Geographic Traveler, her column "Real Travel" appears in every issue of the magazine.

  • Pablo Corral--Infinity, February 27: Corral is a photojournalist, publisher, and author of five photographic books, "Bare Earth," "Silent Landscapes," "Ecuador, From Magic to Horror," "Ecuador" and "Andes." A native of Quito, Ecuador, Corral's work has appeared in National Geographic, among other magazines.

  • Michael Melford--Infinity, March 13: Photographer Melford first picked up a camera while studying engineering in college, and found photography the "perfect marriage" of his technical and creative sides. Melford works for numerous international magazines and advertising agencies and is best known for his location photography. He recently finished work on a book for National Geographic entitled Treasures of Alaska.

In partnership with the magazine, Celebrity also will introduce a National Geographic channel on its in-stateroom TV system to present some of what National Geographic considers its best programming. Celebrity guests will receive an exclusive subscription offer to National Geographic Traveler, as well as an opportunity to win a framed, limited edition National Geographic print. Celebrity's ConciergeClass and suite guests will receive a complimentary book from the onboard lecturers, and an invitation to a private autograph session. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111, or visit the Celebrity web site at

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Best New Chefs of America Add Sizzle to Crystal Cruises' 
2005 Wine & Food Festival
Food & Wine Magazine Teams Up With Luxury Line to Spotlight Hot New Talent

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 9 -- Some of the hottest names on the American culinary scene including Gray Kunz of Cafe Gray (New York City), David & Michelle Myers of Sona (Los Angeles) and Dominique Filoni of Bianca (Philadelphia) -- all recipients of Food & Wine magazine's coveted Best New Chef award -- have joined a stellar cast of rising stars and master chefs already scheduled for Crystal Cruises' 2005 Wine & Food Festival. Table 8's Govind Armstrong, Alma de Cuba's Jose Garces, and established names in cuisine -- Bradley Ogden, Andre Soltner, and Alan Wong, among others -- will take to sea with noted wine experts on 15 cruises to all corners of the globe aboard the elegant Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. Now in its ninth year, the festival will also welcome Alfredo Russo, Owner/Chef of Dolce Stil Novo in Italy's Piedmont region, aboard as part of the progressive culinary program "Best Young Chefs of Italy" created with Crystal's long-time partner Piero Selvaggio, proprietor of the acclaimed Valentino restaurants.

"It is both an honor and a privilege to have the most innovative and applauded names in cuisine and wine on board to work alongside our own award-winning chefs and sommeliers," says Toni Neumeister, vice president, food and beverage operations. "The collective awards and recognitions of the 2005 Wine & Food Festival participants is a testament to the increasing stature of Crystal's annual festival -- with the ultimate benefit to our guests who are treated to exclusive and enriching experiences."

Italian culinary master Roberto Donna of Galileo, renowned celebrity chef Andre Rochat of Andre's French Restaurant, and Canada's barbeque-grilling expert Ted Reader, host of the hit television show "King of the Q," lend an international flair to the festival, while Sam Choy specializes in the unique tastes of Hawaiian regional cuisine. Some of the most prominent names in wine -- Leslie Sbrocco, wine journalist for the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle, Master Sommeliers Richard Dean and Steven Geddes will also share their knowledge and passion for wine, offering professional insights into the world's best vintages. In most cases, the visiting chefs are paired with itineraries that reflect either the style of their cuisine or the location of their restaurant.

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.

At wine tastings featuring professional Riedel tasting glasses, Crystal's Master Sommeliers and other guest wine experts will 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. In addition to the Wine & Food Festival cruises, Crystal is building on its reputation for excellence with innovative new concepts. The cruise line has its own proprietary label called C Wines, featuring six new appellations including three reserve and three premium selections of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and merlot. Further, the intimate Vintage Rooms aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity play host to the ultimate gourmet experiences with the first-ever, at-sea Wine & Champagne Makers Dinners.

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

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

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Holland America Line Announces 2006 Deployment Featuring 
13 Ships, All Seven Continents

SEATTLE, Feb. 9 -- In 2006, Holland America Line will debut the new ms Noordam, visit Libya for the first time, feature eight ships cruising Alaska, and Australia/New Zealand voyages aboard the ms Statendam. The 13 ships of the world's leading premium cruise line will offer nearly 500 sailings to all seven continents from more than 25 home ports. Itineraries range from two to 108 days and feature many ports, including such new ones as Benghazi, Libya; Pearl Island, Panama; South Georgia Island in the sub-Antarctic islands; and Narvik, Norway.

"We will be offering more cruises to more destinations in 2006 and guests will have more choices of itineraries and homeports," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Our Signature of Excellence enhancements will be completed on 10 ships at the start of 2006 and all 13 ships by the fall, so guests will enjoy such new amenities as our Culinary Arts Center and Explorations Cafe powered by the New York Times."


  • The Noordam debuts in February offering 10- and 11-day, roundtrip cruises from New York to the Caribbean. The newest Vista-class ship will sail 13 cruises to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean Feb. 22 to Apr. 5 and Oct. 14 to Dec. 16; it will also offer two 16-day transatlantic sailings and fifteen 10-day Mediterranean cruises from Rome.

  • Eight ships will sail 159 cruises to Alaska. The ms Westerdam, ms Zaandam and ms Oosterdam will homeport in Seattle, and five ships will sail from Vancouver.

  • The ms Statendam will feature nine 14-day sailings between Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand, during "Down Under's" summer -- Jan. 7 to Feb. 18 and Oct. 27 to Dec. 22 -- including a holiday cruise. The Statendam also sails from Australia to Indonesia, The Philippines, China, Korea, Japan and Russia in the spring and offers a 28-day South Pacific cruise from the U.S. West Coast to Auckland in the fall.

  • The 793-passenger ms Prinsendam sails the "Circle of the Sun" Grand World Voyage that showcases a total solar eclipse Mar. 29, features nine maiden ports of call including Benghazi, Libya, and explores such exotic places as Madagascar, Zanzibar and Mombasa. The 108-day journey departs from Ft. Lauderdale Jan. 5 to visit 36 ports in 22 countries on six continents, including South America, Antarctica, South Africa, East Africa, India, and Mediterranean before returning to Fort Lauderdale on Apr. 20.

  • The Prinsendam again will explore the Amazon River to Manaus, Brazil, on two South America cruises: a 28-day sailing from New York/ Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Lauderdale on Apr. 23 and a 24-day cruise from Cape Town, South Africa to Ft. Lauderdale on Nov. 8.

Eight ships will cruise to Alaska in 2006, including the addition of a third ship sailing from Seattle. The Westerdam, Oosterdam and Zaandam will be homeported in Seattle and sail seven-day, southeast Alaska cruises May 5 through Sept. 29. The Statendam, ms Ryndam, ms Veendam, sail between Vancouver and Seward, visiting Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier. And the ms Volendam and ms Zuiderdam will offer seven-day cruises roundtrip from Vancouver to Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm. Holland America Line's CruiseTour options highlight the Yukon, Denali National Park, Canada's Kluane National Park and Tombstone Territorial Park.

The line's inaugural Australia/South Pacific season kicks off at the end of 2005 with a 35-day South America/South Pacific cruise from San Diego to Auckland on November 17, 2005, and a 16-day Australia/New Zealand holiday cruise from Auckland to Sydney on December 22, 2005. The ms Statendam then offers a series of nine 14-day cruises between Sydney and Auckland that spotlight port calls in Australia and Tasmania plus visits to the most noted sites on the north and south islands of beautiful New Zealand. A 16-day Australia, Orient and China cruise places the Statendam in Hong Kong for three 14-day China and Japan sailings followed by an 18-day trans-Pacific cruise calling in Japan, Russia's Far East and Alaska.

The ms Maasdam will sail between Boston and Montreal May 13 through Oct. 7, offering 16 seven-day cruises total. It also offers a 15-day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Montreal departing Apr. 28 and a 10-day cruise from Montreal to Norfolk sailing Oct. 7. Guests enjoy such ports as Martha's Vineyard; Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Quebec. Summer sailings provide ideal opportunities for a family vacation and October itineraries are especially designed to take advantage of the region's famous display of dazzling fall color.

Holland America Line remains the leader in 10-day or longer cruises, offering seven distinctive itineraries ranging from 10 to 16 days in 2006. It also offers the most complete 14-day Southern Caribbean itinerary and more choices of seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa than any other premium cruise line. A total of 10 ships will sail the Caribbean in 2006, including the Noordam from its new homeport of New York.

Sailing to the Southern Caribbean, the Maasdam features its popular 11-day itinerary from Norfolk. The Volendam will continue its exciting 10-day Seafarer itinerary roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, while the Ryndam will offer premium 14-day cruises roundtrip from Tampa. The Zaandam will sail 10-day Southern Caribbean-Panama Canal Sunfarer itineraries, and the Prinsendam will feature two cruises that venture up the remote Orinoco River in Venezuela.

The Westerdam and Zuiderdam will offer seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, many of which call at Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private Bahamian island. New activity choices include a horseback riding and swimming excursion, a stingray adventure, Half Moon Lagoon aqua park and an AquaTrax watercraft tour.

From May through October, Holland America Line is offering 55 European and transatlantic cruises on four ships in 2006, featuring the Noordam with 15 Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises roundtrip from Rome.

Sister flagships, ms Rotterdam and ms Amsterdam, and the Prinsendam also cruise Europe. The Rotterdam will offer 10- to 15-day sailings between "European Capitals" such as Lisbon, Athens, Rotterdam and Copenhagen, plus feature Scandinavia and Russia cruises, from Apr. 20 to Oct. 22. The Amsterdam also will feature Scandinavia and Russia cruises, sailing roundtrip from Copenhagen on 10-day itineraries from May 23 to Aug. 11. The Prinsendam will sail a series of exotic 16- to 21-day cruises to such places as Spitzbergen, Iceland, the North Cape in Norway, and Egypt, North Africa, Greece and the Black Sea.

Around its Europe schedule, each ship will feature two transatlantic crossings that offer guests unusual ports of call. This Noordam sails two 16-day transatlantics between New York and Rome. The Amsterdam will cruise a north Atlantic route that includes Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The Rotterdam will sail the south Atlantic between Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon, calling at the Canary Islands, Gambia, Senegal, and Morocco. The Prinsendam offers a 34-day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to the North Cape in the spring and a 22-day cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town, South Africa in the fall.

Holland America Line's Oosterdam will cruise Mexico in 2006, offering 29 seven-day cruises roundtrip from San Diego to sun-drenched Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. The Zaandam will sail three 10-day Sea of Cortez cruises, adding Topolobampo for optional tours to Copper Canyon, Loreto and La Paz to the above ports. Holland America Line is the only premium line to sail the Sea of Cortez.

San Diego is also the homeport for Holland America Line's popular Circle Hawaii cruises. The Amsterdam leads with a 30-day Circle Hawaii/Tahiti/Marquesas cruise departing Jan. 6 and then offers five 15-day Hawaii sailings from Feb. 5 to Apr. 21. The Zaandam features four 15-day Circle Hawaii cruises in the fall, alternating them with its Mexico cruises from Oct. 7 to Dec. 21. Holland America Line is also offering an 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise on the Volendam that sails from Seattle to the islands and returns to Vancouver. Guests visit ports of call including Hilo and Kona, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai; and Lahaina, Maui, and cruise past Kauai's scenic Na Pali Coast and Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano.

In 2006 seven Holland America Line ships will feature 29 cruises highlighting the Panama Canal, including 15 roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Itineraries range from 10 to 34 days and depart from Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, New York, Vancouver, Seattle and San Diego. Two transcanal cruises, departing Apr. 14 on the Zaandam and Apr. 22 on the Veendam, will feature a new port of call: Isla de San Jose on Pearl Island, Panama. While most transcanal cruises range from 17 to 21 days in length, the Veendam also features a 34-day voyage departing Sept. 24 from Vancouver to Tampa. En route, this cruise crosses the equator twice while exploring the Mexican Riviera, Caribbean, Amazon River and Brazil.

Flagship Rotterdam and intimate Prinsendam will offer cruises to South America in 2006, providing guests with a distinct choice of itineraries. The Rotterdam will sail four 16-day cruises between Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Valparaiso, Chile, departing Jan. 31 to Mar. 20 and two more Nov. 20 and Dec. 6. It will also feature two 20-day South America and Antarctica Explorer cruises with departures Jan. 11 and Dec. 22; these sailings add adventurous cruising along the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula. The Rotterdam's South America cruises highlight capitals such as Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay, and stunning scenery including Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean Fjords. Some sailings include the Falkland Islands. The Prinsendam will also feature two cruises that add an adventure up the Amazon River to Manaus, Brazil. A 28-day cruise will sail from New York/ Ft. Lauderdale on Apr. 23 and another 46-day cruise will sail from Lisbon, via Cape Town, South Africa, to Ft. Lauderdale on Oct. 17.

For information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-724-5425 or visit

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Celebrity Cruises' Master Chef Michel Roux Marks 20-Year Milestone With Michelin

MIAMI, Feb. 8 -- As Celebrity Cruises celebrates its third consecutive year sweeping Conde Nast Traveler's readers' survey of the world's best ships, the line's culinary and wine consultant, Master Chef Michel Roux, marks his 20th consecutive year of receiving three stars, the highest possible rating, from the discriminating Michelin Guide. This year's highly respected European restaurant guide features 5,500 entries. Only two in the U.K. received a three-star rating. One of them is Roux's Waterside Inn in Bray-on-Thames, just outside of London. 

"Fine cuisine has always been synonymous with Celebrity, largely due to Michel Roux," said Celebrity's President & COO Jack Williams. "Chef Roux has successfully translated his award-winning concept at the Waterside Inn into an extraordinary gourmet dining experience across our fleet. We congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition." 

As Celebrity's culinary and wine consultant, Roux creates the line's award-winning menus and wine lists, and assists with training the executive restaurant staff. Approximately six times a year, he cruises on Celebrity ships to evaluate the consistency of the quality and performance of culinary operations. He revises menus every six months. Roux says his philosophy for delivering outstanding cuisine is simple: "Use the finest, freshest ingredients. Prepare everything, from main courses to desserts, from scratch." He applies the same, exacting standards whether serving one guest or 2,500 onboard every ship.

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Steiner Leisure Limited Announces Renewal of its Agreements With Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Feb. 8, 2005--Steiner Leisure Limited announced it has renewed its agreements with Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises. The Royal Caribbean International fleet of 19 vessels has been separated into two groupings and renewed for four and five years, respectively, and includes spa operations aboard the highly anticipated Freedom-class ships. This renewal continues the relationship between Steiner and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. that has been in place for over 20 years. 

The agreement with Celebrity Cruises for its fleet of nine vessels has been renewed for four years. Celebrity's renowned Aquaspa by Elemis, which includes the unique "Persian Garden" and thalassotherapy pool amenities, has received a number of accolades for the quality of its experience. 

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New How-to Book for Making Popular Stateroom ‘Towel Animals’ Now Available from Carnival Cruise Lines
‘Carnival Towel Creations’ Provides Step-By-Step Instructions and Photos For Making More Than 40 Different Creatures

MIAMI (Feb 9, 2005) – One of the many popular and unique features of a Carnival “Fun Ship” cruise is the whimsical “towel animals” that greet guests when they return to their stateroom each evening. Now there’s a new instructional book offering step-by-step directions, along with accompanying photos for guests wishing to recreate these creatures back home. 

“Carnival Towel Creations” is filled with colorful images and easy-to-follow instructions for making a wide variety of “towel animals” like those created each night by the line’s stateroom stewards for guests’ enjoyment. These truly creative designs often incorporate guests' sunglasses, hats or other accessories and people genuinely look forward to the surprise each evening, particularly children. Instructions for more than 40 different designs--everything from cats and dogs to dinosaurs, elephants and snails--are featured within the colorful 88-page publication.

“Our guests have been asking for years for a manual on how to make ‘towel animals’ at home. 'Carnival Towel Creations' will not only bring enjoyment to the many people who have sailed on Carnival over the years but also anyone interested in an easy instructional guide for creating these fun, whimsical creatures,” said Carnival President and CEO Bob Dickinson.

“Towel animals” are one of Carnival’s signature elements and are even featured in the line’s new national television advertising campaign. The line’s staterooms stewards undergo more than 10 hours of training to learn how to create the various designs and it is estimated that the stewards create some seven million “towel animals” each year. 

The “towel animals” are just one of the many personal touches available within Carnival’s staterooms, which in addition to being as much as 50 percent larger than those on other contemporary cruise ships, offer in-stateroom amenities baskets and upgraded linens and towels. Guests in balcony and ocean view accommodations are also provided with plush terrycloth robes. 

“Carnival Towel Creations” is available in the “Formalities” shops or from the stateroom stewards aboard the line’s 20 “Fun Ships.” The cost is $12.95. For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” cruises, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Star Clippers Earns Top Travel Industry Honors

MIAMI (Feb. 8, 2005) -- For the seventh consecutive year, Star Clippers was named World's Leading Specialist Cruise Operator at the 11th annual World Travel Awards held recently in Barbados. The awards are voted on by travel agents, with more than 2.5 million voting forms broadcast to more than 50,000 front-line agents and 80,000 travel agencies worldwide.

"We are honored that the travel community recognizes Star Clippers as an exceptional cruise experience," said Jack Chatham, vice president of sales and marketing. "Receiving this award once again confirms our reputation as the premier specialty cruise line."

Known as the "who's who" of the travel community, the World Travel Awards were developed in 1993 to celebrate excellence and achievement in the world's travel and tourism industry.

Star Clippers also was named one of the world's best small-ship cruise lines by "Condé Nast Traveler" in the 2004 Reader's Choice Awards. A select group of readers rated a variety of travel-related categories, and Star Clippers rated high in all six criteria applicable for cruise lines, including service, cuisine and itineraries. For more information, call 1-800-442-0551, contact a travel professional or visit

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World's Largest Cruise Line Expects to Carry Record Number of Passengers Aboard 'Fun Ships' in 2005
Capacity Increases in Five U.S. Homeports, New Year-Round Embarkation Ports, Fleetwide Product Enhancements Add Up to Anticipated Record-Breaking Year

MIAMI, Feb. 7 -- With capacity increases in five U.S. homeports, new year-round programs from Mobile, Ala. and Jacksonville, Fla., and its first-ever Mediterranean cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines expects to carry a record 3.3 million passengers and operate an unprecedented number of voyages in the coming year. Newer, larger "Fun Ships" have been deployed in Miami; Tampa; New Orleans; Galveston, Texas; and Long Beach, Calif., representing an average capacity increase of 31 percent over the vessels they replaced. In total, Carnival will operate more than 1,300 cruises aboard 20 "Fun Ships" departing from 18 different North American homeports, the most in cruising, during 2005.

The unprecedented number of cruise offerings, combined with a high quality shipboard experience influenced by the line's wide-ranging "Today's Carnival" product enhancement strategy, adds up to an anticipated record-breaking year for guests carried, according to Carnival President and CEO Bob Dickinson. "From new itinerary and homeport choices to expanded dining, activity and entertainment options, Carnival has a variety of exciting developments on tap for the coming year," he said. "Consumers are encouraged to book early to not only get the best price but also the itinerary and stateroom of their choice," Dickinson added.

Capacity Increases in Five U.S. Homeports
Carnival has recently expanded capacity in five different U.S. homeports, deploying newer, larger tonnage on a variety of three- to eight-day itineraries. These include the 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor, the largest "Fun Ship" ever based in Miami, operating week-long Caribbean voyages. Carnival also continued its dramatic growth in New Orleans and Galveston by deploying 2,052- passenger "Fantasy-class" vessels in those markets. The 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle also became Tampa's largest "Fun Ship," while the 2,052- passenger Inspiration was deployed on four- and five-day cruises from that port, providing a fresh new alternative on this popular itinerary. The 2,052- passenger Paradise was redeployed to Long Beach to become the newest cruise ship to operate short cruises from the West Coast.

First-Ever Mediterranean Cruises, Transatlantic Voyages
Carnival Liberty will also operate a series of 12-day, seven-port cruises round-trip from Rome (Civitavecchia) July 20 - Oct. 12, 2005, calling at Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice, Messina, Barcelona, Cannes, and Livorno. Following this program, Carnival Liberty will operate a 16-day transatlantic voyage departing Rome (Civitavecchia) Oct. 24, and arriving Fort Lauderdale Nov. 9, 2005, calling at Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Funchal (Madeira), and St. Maarten.

New Year-Round Programs from Mobile, Jacksonville
2005 also marks the first full year of new "Fun Ship" cruise programs from Mobile and Jacksonville -- the only year-round schedules from those ports. From Mobile, the 1,452-passenger Holiday departs Thursdays on four-day cruises to Cozumel, and Mondays and Saturdays on five-day voyages to Cozumel and Playa del Carmen or Costa Maya. From Jacksonville, the 1,486-passenger Celebration departs Thursdays on four-day cruises to Freeport and Nassau and five-day cruises to Key West and Nassau.

'Today's Carnival' Product Upgrades
Carnival has revamped virtually every aspect of the "Fun Ship" cruise experience over the last few years, everything from dining options and shore excursions to children's programming and spa facilities. New activities have been added to the line's top-rated "Camp Carnival" program, including art, music, science, and reading programs, while shore excursions now feature more active "adventure-type" tours. A new youth spa program has added to the line's expansive Spa Carnival health and fitness facilities. The new Carnival Valor is the first cruise ship to offer "100 percent bow to stern" Wi-Fi capabilities, complementing the line's fleetwide Internet cafes and Wi-Fi services. Dining options now include a greater variety of casual choices such as fleetwide 24-hour pizzerias and delis and upscale offerings like reservations- only supper clubs on select vessels.

For additional information and reservations on Carnival's "Fun Ship" cruises, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Exotic Explorations Await Adventurous Caribbean Cruisers
Royal Caribbean International Adds Exciting New Shore Excursions

MIAMI, Feb. 7 -- New shore excursions will have Royal Caribbean International guests zipping between treetops in a Jamaican jungle, taking a dip in the shadow of an active volcano and exploring ancient, remote Mayan ruins in Guatemala. With exciting new excursions bringing the total number of offerings to more than 600, Royal Caribbean's Explorations! program gives guests the chance to explore the Caribbean in unique and unexpected ways. Shore excursions for guests of all ages and activity levels are offered in conjunction with every cruise itinerary.

"Our new excursions offer adventures and rich experiences on land, at sea and even in the sky," said Craig Milan, senior vice president, Shore Excursions and Explorations!, for Royal Caribbean International.

Following is a sampling of the new additions in the Caribbean for 2005:

  • The Original Canopy Tour (Ocho Rios, Jamaica) Sail through the treetops on this unforgettable jungle canopy tour in Jamaica. Adventurous travelers cross between platforms mounted in the cliffs and trees along an intricate harness system. The horizontal traverses, ranging from 105 feet to 660 feet, offer a bird's eye view of the lush, tropical landscape.

  • St. Barths Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous (St. Maarten) Hop onboard a Hydrocruiser vessel to travel in the lap of luxury to St. Barths, known as the playground of the rich and famous. Upon arrival, guests can shop at some of the most exclusive stores in the world; grab a bite at Le Select, famous for inspiring Jimmy Buffet's "Cheeseburger in Paradise"; or visit famous beaches such as Shell Beach.

  • Tikal Ruins by Air (Belize) Special excursion to the ancient Mayan city of Tikal. Guests travel by air to Guatemala, where local guides help them explore extensively excavated and restored ruins in the dense jungles of Peten.

  • Tabacon Hot Springs and Arenal Volcano (Costa Rica) Journey to one of mother nature's most awe-inspiring sights, an active volcano. Traveling through Costa Rica's banana country, cruisers visit the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort, which offers natural hot springs straight from the volcano. Guests can enjoy a dip in the springs, stroll the lush landscape and view the unique hot water waterfalls.

  • Grenadines Flightseeing (St. Lucia) Fully narrated flightseeing tour takes guests soaring high above the panoramic beauty of the Grenadines. From St. Lucia, a chartered aircraft with large picture windows transports guests along the rugged coasts of St. Lucia and St. Vincent, affording unforgettable aerial views.

Royal Caribbean guests can find the full selection of Explorations! shore excursions and book their desired adventures in advance on the company's Web site, Excursion details are available by port city as well as in an downloadable brochure, customizable by ship and sail date.

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Royal Caribbean Intl Announces Partnership with 
American Culinary Federation
Award-winning Cruise Line Enhances Quality Dining at Sea

MIAMI, Feb. 3 -- In an industry first, Royal Caribbean International has partnered with the American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF) to develop an innovative culinary training and certification program for the cruise line's senior culinary professionals. The program, which reinforces Royal Caribbean's commitment to quality dining at sea, offers continuing education to nearly 100 of the line's senior executive chefs, executive chefs and executive sous chefs. The new curriculum supplements knowledge and skill level through a combination of ACF-certified theoretical and practical classroom experiences. Throughout the program, Royal Caribbean chefs perfect their preparation and service skills, concentrating on attention to detail, taste, nutritional value, food safety and overall guest satisfaction. They also undergo a series of examinations following each session to earn their official ACF certification. In addition, the senior chefs who participate in the training will share key learnings from each course with their culinary staffs fleetwide. 

"The partnership between Royal Caribbean and the American Culinary Federation is an ideal match, considering ACF's exceptional reputation and expertise in culinary service and Royal Caribbean's strong commitment to culinary development," said Frank Weber, director, Culinary and Beverage, for Royal Caribbean International. "We are pleased to take our culinary department to the next level with this new partnership and look forward to offering guests even more outstanding dining experiences."

The organizations first came together last summer when ACF honored the line with an "ACF Achievement of Excellence Award," a prestigious dining award recognizing superior foodservice and cuisine. Both organizations quickly realized the mutual benefits of entering into a partnership and soon began crafting the innovative culinary training program, applying ACF's expert knowledge, creativity and service to an industry outside the confines of traditional culinary corporations. Royal Caribbean offers guests a wide variety of dining choices, ranging from multi-course meals in elegant main dining rooms to casual, eclectic options in the Windjammer Cafes. Select ships also feature intimate specialty restaurants Portofino and Chops Grille steakhouse. The line's culinary team consists of approximately 4,200 employees, including the stewarding crew on its 19 ships, as well as a specialized shoreside culinary department.

For additional information about the cruise line, please visit their Web site at or call 800-327-6700. 

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Discount Programs Available to Cruisers from Philadelphia
New “Freestyle Philly” and “Cruise Philly First” Programs Offer Cruise Visitors a Way to Stay Overnight and Save

PHILADELPHIA, PA – January 25, 2005 – There are now even more reasons to book a cruise from Philadelphia. Cruise passengers who extend their stay pre- or post-cruise can benefit from two overnight packages the provide savings on hotels, restaurants and attractions. For Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) passengers, there is the “Freestyle Philly” program, and for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) and Celebrity Cruises passengers, there is “CruisePhilly First.” Both offer special hotel rates combined with savings opportunities at more than 75 restaurants and cultural attractions in the Philadelphia region.

“Freestyle Philly” includes a special rate for NCL passengers starting at $199 per person, double occupancy, for two nights at the Marriott Center City (price includes room, tax, portage and transfer to the hotel and pier; special one night rates are also available) as well as discounts at attractions such as the acclaimed Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the new National Constitution Center and restaurants such as George Perrier’s Brasserie Perrier and the festive Cuban favorite, Cuba Libre. All NCL passengers participating in “Freestyle Philly” will receive a coupon book which includes all of the discounts, as well as the Philadelphia Culture Pass, which provides savings at more than 60 venues and attractions city-wide. Participants in the package will also receive a beach towel upon check-in.

“CruisePhilly First” offers similar incentives, including special rates at the Hampton Inn in Center City, the Independence Park Best Western, the Holiday Inn Historic District and the Ramada at the Philadelphia International Airport. “CruisePhilly First” package rates range from $93 to $178 per night, depending upon hotel. Like “Freestyle Philly,” participants receive a coupon book with savings at more than 60 regional restaurants and attractions, the Philadelphia Culture Pass and a beach towel upon check-in.

“We know that most passengers sailing from the Port of Philadelphia and Camden live in a 500 mile radius and drive to the terminal,” said Melissa Grimm, Director of the Port of Philadelphia and Camden, a department of the Delaware River Port Authority. “Many are taking an extra day to visit Philadelphia and we wanted to enhance their trip and encourage them to stay overnight and take advantage of all that the region has to offer. Whether it’s the new Salvador Dali exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art or the Adventure Aquarium in Camden which reopens in May, there is so much to do and see in the region.”  

NCL operates a similar program in Seattle, which has proven very successful. According to Mitch Schlessinger, NCL vice president, North American sales, “Many of our cruise passengers choose a cruise based on the embarkation city and spend a day or two pre- or post-cruise touring on land. We’ve had sold-out seasons the last two years in Philadelphia and passengers have commented about how much there is to do and see in the city. The ‘Freestyle Philly’ program will add additional value for these passengers and additional reasons to cruise on NCL.”

To book the “Freestyle Philly” or “CruisePhilly First” packages, contact a travel agent or log onto NCL passengers should mention the booking code, N10E. For more information about cruising from Philadelphia, visit or call (856) 968-2052. For more information about travel to Philadelphia, call the new Independence Visitor Center, located in Independence National Historical Park, at (800) 537-7676, or visit

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

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