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Cruise News
February 1-28, 2006

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New Grand Turk Cruise Center Welcomes First Cruise Ship 

Feb 25, 2006, GRAND TURK, B.W.I. — As she gently glided into port, Holland America Line’s newest cruise ship, the 1,848 passenger Noordam, made history when she arrived at the Caribbean’s newest port facility – the Grand Turk Cruise Center, British West Indies – on her inaugural call. After departing from New York City on Wednesday, the Noordam made a direct sailing for Grand Turk, marking today’s official opening of the new state-of-the-art, multi-million-dollar facility. The arrival of Grand Turk’s first cruise ship went very smoothly, to the full satisfaction of the cruise line’s management, port operators, and hundreds of cruise passengers.

“I’m proud and honored to be a part of history with today’s inaugural call at this world-class pier and port facility. Grand Turk offers pristine beaches and magnificent waters and it will be a great destination for cruise ship guests,” said Noordam Captain John Scott. 

The new Grand Turk Cruise Center features a state-of-the-art pier that can accommodate two large Super Post Panamax vessels and a 13-acre complex that serves as a gateway to one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands. With its expansive recreation area, including an 800-foot white-sand beach, a swimming pool, cabanas, an array of retail shops and the Caribbean’s largest “Margaritaville”-themed bar and restaurant, owned by music superstar Jimmy Buffet, opportunities abound for cruise guests to discover the Caribbean’s newest destination. Cruise ship passengers can select from nearly two dozen shore excursions, everything from a unique “Hop On, Hop Off” tour visiting famous island attractions to horseback riding, kayaking, and snuba.

In addition to becoming one of the finest cruise ports in the Caribbean, Grand Turk has a glorious past as one of the world’s leading producers of salt. In more recent years, Grand Turk has been used as a base for the U.S. Navy and NASA, and served as the landing spot for Senator John Glenn’s splash down following his orbit of the Earth as part of the Mercury space launch.

By March, the Grand Turk Cruise Center will welcome an additional vessel when Carnival Cruise Lines’ Sensation begins bi-weekly port calls to the island. Later, in June, the new Crown Princess of Princess Cruises, another Carnival Corporation brand, will visit the island as part of its Caribbean cruise schedule. Costa Cruises, a fourth Carnival brand, will include Grand Turk on its itineraries beginning in the fall. Other cruise lines visiting Grand Turk this year include Crystal Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and Radisson Seven Seas.

The new Grand Turk Cruise Center was developed and is operated by Carnival Corporation. For more information, visit

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A Royal Rendezvous: Queen Mary 2 Meets Namesake Queen Mary

VALENCIA, CA - February 23, 2006 - Maritime history was made as two legendary ocean liners, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Mary, met for the first time in Long Beach harbor for a "royal rendezvous" beginning at 12 noon. The commemorative festivities were part of Cunard Lines' Queen Mary 2 highly anticipated maiden call to Los Angeles on February 22, where more than 25,000 spectators turned out to welcome the ship on her arrival yesterday. As she entered Long Beach harbor on February 23, the Queen Mary 2 was met by a flotilla of 800 boats, 14 helicopters, three blimps, a squadron of skytypers and skydivers as well as 6000 spectators lining the shore to view the festivities. A first-time whistle salutation between the famed ocean liners had even more meaning as the QM2 carries one of her namesake's original whistles, the tone of whose deep bass "A" can be heard ten miles away.

Since Queen Mary 2's dazzling debut in 2004, Cunard enthusiasts have wondered if the grand ocean liner would ever meet her legendary predecessor, the Queen Mary. Retired from maritime service for nearly 40 years, the Queen Mary, which sailed from 1937 through 1967, is now permanently berthed in Long Beach and is one of the city's most well-known attractions.

"Since the debut of Queen Mary 2 in 2004, Cunard Line has dreamed of the day these two sister ships would meet," said Captain David Christy, vice president marine, for Cunard Line. "We are delighted that it is here at last and that we have had the opportunity to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience in Long Beach, home of the Queen Mary."

Though longer, taller and nearly twice as large as the Queen Mary, Queen Mary 2 shares a number of venerable "family" traditions with her namesake, including worldwide fame, royal launching ceremonies, spectacular maiden calls and a lineage of hosting noted society figures, celebrities and other luminaries of the day. Queen Mary 2 is the grandest ocean liner ever built. There are 1,310 suites and cabins available in degrees of style and comfort ranging from pampered elegance to almost unimaginable luxury in the ship's famed Grill-level accommodations. Queen Mary 2 brings together like-minded travelers who relish the Cunard hallmarks of impeccable White Star Service
SM, fine dining, sophisticated adventure and legacy of historic voyages and transatlantic travel.

For more information about Cunard, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to For more information about the Queen Mary, call 1-562-499-1620 or visit

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Pride of Hawai'i Ready for Outfitting

MIAMI – Feb 23, 2006 – On Sunday, February 19, Pride of Hawai`i was floated out of Meyer Werft’s roofed building dock and is now berthed at the shipyard’s outfitting pier where all remaining work will be completed. The 93,500-ton Pride of Hawai`i, which is the sister ship to Norwegian Jewel, is scheduled to transit the river Ems passage to Emsehaven on March 11 where she will undergo sea trials March 15 through the 19th.

NCL America welcomes the new Pride of Hawai`i to its U.S. Flagged fleet in April 2006. She is the largest U.S. flagged passenger ship ever built, and joins Pride of Aloha and Pride of America offering seven-day, inter-island cruises visiting the beautiful 50th state’s four main islands. Pride of Hawai`i departs Honolulu on Mondays and features the line’s extremely popular itinerary with a full day in Hilo, Hawai`i; two days in Kahului, Maui; a day in Kona, Hawai`i and two days in Nāwiliwili, Kaua`i. 

Purpose built for NCL’s signature Freestyle Cruising, Pride of Hawai`i features a vast array of accommodations including two luxurious Garden Villas with their own private gardens and sun decks, 10 Courtyard Villas sharing a private courtyard, pool and sundeck on deck 14, and a spectacular top-of-the-ship Owner’s Suite. The ship features multiple lively public rooms, 10 restaurants and impressive onboard amenities.

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Holland America Line Dedicates the New ms Noordam

SEATTLE, Feb. 22 -- "May God bless this ship, her crew and all who sail on her." These were the words said today by Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin, marking the official christening of Holland America Line's new 1,918-passenger cruise ship, the ms Noordam. The festivities took place at the Noordam's new homeport, New York City, in true maritime tradition. To an audience of over one thousand dignitaries and special guests, the Noordam's master, Captain John Scott, blessed the ship followed by the breaking of the champagne bottle across the ship's bow.

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Royal Caribbean Announces Freedom of the Seas Godmother

NEW YORK, Feb. 21, 2006 – Katherine Louise Calder, foster mother to over 400 children, has a new charge as Godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Freedom of the Seas. In a live announcement made during the show’s coverage of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, NBC’s “TODAY” and Royal Caribbean revealed that Calder of Portland, Oregon received the most votes in the “Today Sets Sail’’ national Godmother search. Over 171,000 viewers nation-wide selected one of three finalists profiled on an earlier airing of “TODAY.” 
Putting a new twist on a long-standing maritime tradition, the cruise line sought an extraordinary “everyday” person to serve as the Godmother, as opposed to the customary choices of celebrities or dignitaries. Over the last 27 years, Calder has been a foster care provider for hundreds of special needs children, as well as an adoption advocate in the Portland area. Calder’s long-time dedication to caring for such an under-served community makes her an ideal choice. 

“Louise has demonstrated exceptional courage, determination, inspiration and dedication, embodying the woman we were looking for when we came up with the idea for this contest,” said Adam Goldstein, president for Royal Caribbean International. “We are humbled and excited in equal measure to be able to bring recognition to someone who has selflessly given so much to so many.” The cruise line was so moved by the stories of Calder and her co-finalists, Ieta Kimbrough and Robyn Raphael, that it decided to award each of their charities with a $25,000 donation. 

As Godmother, Calder will participate in a live christening ceremony for Freedom of the Seas to be aired May 12 on “TODAY.” Her status also guarantees her a free cruise for life on any Royal Caribbean ship once a year with the guest of her choice. Calder will preside over the most exciting and innovative ship ever. Freedom of the Seas features the first surfing simulator at sea, an interactive water park, two cantilevered whirlpools that extend 12 feet out from the sides of the ship and a pool deck with a dedicated sports pool that transforms into an open-air nightclub each night. 

At 160,000 GRT and holding 3,634 guests double-occupancy, Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts. The first in Royal Caribbean’s new Freedom class, she will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami. For more information or to make reservations, go to or call (800) 327-6700.

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Hidden Gems Highlight Seabourn Mediterranean Voyage

MIAMI, Feb. 21 -- Linking famous and fawned-over ports with fabulous, but yet-to-be-discovered ones is the particular genius of a 14-day "Splendors of the Mediterranean" cruise being offered this summer aboard the intimate, all-suite cruise ship Seabourn Legend. The voyage departs July 22nd, sailing round trip from Monte Carlo. 

  • Malta's history and medieval heritage attract cruise ships to its picturesque port of Valletta. Its sister-island Gozo offers abundant rewards of its own, but the cruise ships sail right by its charming harbor at Xlendi, which hosts only fishermen and a few yachts. 

  • The steep volcanic cliffs of Santorini grace posters and brochures of the Greek Isles, drawing visitors from around the globe. Mylos, by contrast, is barely recognized, except by the few familiar with the marble goddess discovered there.

Along with Malta and Santorini, Seabourn Legend will visit several other celebrated destinations, taking advantage of its intimate proportions to bring its guests closer to the main attractions. At Taormina on Sicily, Seabourn Legend is able to anchor right off of the town and its famous ruins, rather than at Messina down the coast. Likewise at Amalfi, the ship will anchor right in the harbor, rather than transferring guests from Naples or Salerno. The sleek, yacht-like Seabourn Legend can slip between the high walls of the narrow Corinth Canal, which is a thrilling experience in its own right, and one which allows the ship to call at the Greek port of Itea, close by the ruins of Delphi.

But what is truly exceptional about this cruise are the lesser-known "Seabourn Discoveries" that will supply even seasoned travelers with delightful surprises to add to their stores of memorable experiences. Take Gozo, for instance. According to local lore, it is the very island of Ogygia, where the nymph Calypso rescued Odysseus and enslaved him as her lover. The island is dotted with mysterious megalithic ruins and tall, stone cathedrals, many of which tower over the humble villages where they were built, tributes to the faith, and the craftsmanship, of the local Gozitan masons.

  • Mylos fulfills all the requisite components of a perfect Cyclades isle: fantastic rock formations; beaches varying from broad strands to secluded slivers; villages of sugar-cube houses clinging to steep slopes; whitewashed windmills and glowing azure coves. Plus, in 1820, the exquisite marble statue of Aphrodite of Mylos, later re-named Venus de Milo, was discovered here.

  • Sousse, on Tunisia's northeast coast, was an important town in classical times, and the Sousse Museum holds a large collection of archeological artifacts. Guests can explore the town's medieval medina, or venture out to the charming blue-and-white resort village of El Kantaoui, which offers beaches, a yacht marina and a golf course.

Even at a "celebrity" cruise port such as Santorini, Seabourn puts its own stylish signature on the visit, in this case providing its guests with a complimentary private reception at a winery, with local entertainment and a breathtaking view of the caldera.

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Queen Victoria to be Named in Southampton

VALENCIA, CA, Feb 21, 2006 - Following hot on the heels of last week's announcement of Cunard's new liner, Queen Victoria, is the news that she will be named in her homeport of Southampton on Monday, December 10, 2007. While details of the ceremony itself and who will name the ship have not been released, the event will befit the introduction of a new British queen of the seas, a liner of this name and heritage.

"Our transatlantic liners have been sailing from Southampton since 1921 and we are very proud of our links with the city, so it is very pleasing to be able to confirm now the location for Queen Victoria's naming. We can promise a very exciting and memorable event and look forward to releasing more details in due course," said Carol Marlow, Cunard's president and managing director.

The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will not only be a classic ocean liner, offering the very best of Cunard's heritage and traditions, along with all modern day luxuries, but will also feature some exciting innovations. These will include the first traditional West End-style private viewing boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre; the first floating museum, Cunardia, housing Cunard artifacts and memorabilia and the first two-storey, 'spiral staircased' library at sea. The ship will also feature the line's celebrated luxury Grills accommodation and dining, further enhanced on Queen Victoria with exclusive deck terraces and an al fresco dining option. From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at what differentiates a Cunard liner from a standard cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale, featuring rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory, complete with central fountain and a retractable glass roof.

And, of course, the ship has been constructed with impressive sea keeping qualities that will enable her to travel easily and efficiently through the world's oceans. As well as being the second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Victoria is particularly noteworthy as it is the first time that three Cunard Queens (she joins the world's largest liner Queen Mary 2 and the world's most famous and best-loved liner QE2) have been in service together in the company's 167-year history.

Queen Victoria will depart on her Maiden Voyage the day after her naming on Tuesday, December 11, 2007. This 10-night Christmas Markets Voyage will leave from the company's home port, Southampton, and will call at Amsterdam, Copenhagen (overnight call), Oslo, Hamburg and Bruges, enjoying the pre-Christmas decorations and traditional gift markets.

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Windstar Cruises Rolls Out Pre- and Post-Cruise Tour Packages in Istanbul

Seattle, WA, Feb. 20, 2006 –Guests traveling to the Greek Islands on a sleek, four-masted Windstar yacht now have the option to extend their stay pre- or post-cruise with Windstar’s Istanbul Discovery tour package. A one, two or three night package wraps hotel, excursions, guides, transportation, selected meals, and of course, the planning, into a convenient package purchased before leaving home. Tour groups are kept small to complement the small-ship sailing experience.

“We wanted to offer our guests a package tour to complement the cruise where they could experience in depth the culture, history and people of Istanbul,” says Diane Moore, Windstar’s vice president of marketing and sales. “It’s a colorful city filled with ancient history. There’s so much to see. We worked hard with our local tour partner to create a package that offers the best and most authentic experiences of Istanbul along with the quality Windstar is known for in the industry.” Moore says most guests who have booked the package are opting for the three-day package which takes guests past the highlights and introduces them to Turkey with experiences most would not be able to book on their own.

The Istanbul Discovery packages were carefully thought out and put together by a knowledgeable local tour partner in Istanbul, Sea Song Tours. Day one of the three-day package includes visits to top highlights including the Byzantine Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, the famous Grand Bazaar, and at the end of the day, an orientation drive around the old city. A traditional Turkish lunch is served at the Green House Garden, an old Ottoman house. Day two includes visits to St. Sophia, the Church of the Divine Wisdom, known as one of the greatest buildings in the world; the Underground Cistern; and the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul. Day three visits the Suleymaniye Mosque, regarded as the most beautiful of all the imperial mosques; a nearby Egyptian Bazaar to explore the second-largest covered market in Istanbul; and lunch at Hamdi Restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus. After lunch, guests will cruise the Bosphorus Strait aboard a private motor-yacht. On view will be magnificent palaces, old seaside mansions, and impressive fortresses.

The 148-guest motor sailing yachts Wind Star and Wind Spirit sail in the Greek Isles from May through October. The Wind Star and Wind Spirit will both sail the popular Athens to Istanbul itinerary, visiting Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Bodrum and Kusadasi. New for 2006, the Wind Spirit will sail five Greek Islands cruises on a new itinerary between Istanbul and Athens that includes visits to Canakkale and Izmir Turkey; Patmos, Agios, Kos and Naxos, Greece; and Nikolaos, Crete. The addition of this new itinerary allows guests to combine two cruises for a 14-day Greek Isles cruise without repeating ports of call. Guests may purchase a one day package for $185, two days for $325 and three days for $585. All rates are per person based on double occupancy. Windstar guests stay at the five-star Hilton Istanbul hotel.

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Nearly Two Dozen Grand Turk Shore Excursion Choices Available to Cruise Line Passengers

Feb 17, 2006 — With the grand opening of the new Grand Turk Cruise Center later this month, cruise line passengers now have nearly two dozen exciting land- and marine-based excursions that enable them to get an “up close and personal” look at this fascinating island paradise. Holland America Line’s new cruise ship Noordam is scheduled to make the first-ever call at the new Grand Turk Cruise Center on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006, as part of its inaugural voyage from New York. 

Sure to become a favorite excursion in Grand Turk is the unique “Hop On, Hop Off” tour – called the ‘Guana, a Caribbean first – operated by Island Tours, which allows passengers to enjoy a fascinating, fully-narrated tour of the island while riding in a new bus specially designed for this purpose. The new tour buses are fully air conditioned and travel in a continuous loop throughout the island, conveniently stopping at famous landmarks along the way. With their paid ticket, passengers receive a wristband that includes admission to such attractions as the Lighthouse Park at the Northern Outpost, and the old Her Majesty’s Prison. The “Hop On, Hop Off” tour offers passengers the flexibility to visit the island’s famous attractions, or alternatively, to spend a couple of hours exploring the island’s natural surroundings or one of its pristine beaches. With their identifying wristband, passengers can freely get on and off the bus anywhere it stops, ensuring a wide-ranging and varied Grand Turk experience.

The cruise center’s management has worked diligently, on behalf of some of the cruise lines, with seven different tour operators – some of them local, others operating throughout the Caribbean – to develop exciting and varied excursions for cruise line passengers. Land-based tours include beach horseback riding, swimming, bicycling, beach breaks, 4x4 vehicle adventures, horse-drawn carriage tours, dune buggy tours, and visits to Grand Turk’s outer islands. Marine-based tours include snorkeling, scuba diving, self-drive boating, deep sea and flats fishing, helmet diving, semi-submersible tours, snuba and power snorkeling, as well as clear kayaking. Other tours are expected to be developed over the next six to 12 months by these and other tour operators.

A sampling of the excursions include:

  • Sea Trekkin’ – an underwater walking tour that enables guests to wander through nature’s coral beds while holding onto a steady handrail. 

  • Semi-Sub – a narrated tour of the coral reefs and colorful marine life in completely dry comfort aboard a semi-submersible craft. 

  • Snuba – a fascinating combination of snorkeling and scuba.

  • Gibbs Cay – where guests can explore nature, relax on the beach, or snorkel with the docile stingrays for which Gibbs Cay is famous.

  • Grand Turk Bike & Hike – a bicycle adventure tour that brings the island’s colorful history to life with stops at famous Grand Turk landmarks. The tour ends with a short hike to Matterson Beach, where passengers can enjoy a refreshing dip in the warm, clear waters of the Atlantic.

  • Clear Kayaking – a guided tour that takes guests paddling through the gentle, shallow waters of South Creek, learning about the abundant plant and animal life seen along the way. 

  • Horse Drawn Carriage Tour – this intimate and relaxing horse drawn carriage tour provides an entertaining way to learn about Grand Turk’s interesting history.

  • Grand Turk Horseback Ride N’ Swim – an amazing and unforgettable excursion that lets guests explore Grand Turk’s natural beauty on horseback – both on land and in the ocean! 

  • Desert Island Escape – where guests can escape to their own private Caribbean locale for a fascinating two-hour island experience.

  • Sightseeing Boat Ride – on this tour, guests relax, enjoy and let their cares slip away as they enjoy complimentary rum punch aboard a luxury yacht.

For more information, visit

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Norwegian Coastal Voyage Theme Cruises Focus on Maritime Traditions & Norwegian Heritage

New York, Feb 2006 -- Norwegian Coastal Voyage is introducing three theme cruises with five departures from Bergen between April 12 and September 16: the seven-day “Norwegian Maritime Traditions” on April 12 aboard the 482-berth MS Nordlys, and the seven-day “Norwegian Life and Heritage,” April 26 and September 16, on the 490-berth MS Nordkapp, both priced at $1,303 to $2,540 per person, double occupancy,; and the nine-day “Life and Music of Edvard Grieg,” the country’s most famous composer, on April 30 and August 29, at $1,738 to $4,576, on the 674-berth MS Trollfjord.

An AARP member discount of $70 per cabin and a senior savings of $105 per person for travelers age 67 and up can be combined. The single supplement is waived in some cabin categories on the April and September departures. Cruise rates cover expert guest lecturers giving daily talks on Norwegian culture and history against a changing backdrop of mountain and fjord landscapes, six nights’ accommodations in cabin category selected, all meals, taxes, port charges and gratuities; the “Grieg” cruise adds two nights accommodation in Bergen. 

The Trollfjord sailings celebrating the music of Grieg (1843-1907) feature daily recitals by award-winning pianist Rune Alver and lectures by Eilif Løtveit, manager for Bergen International Festival concerts at the Grieg estate; a concert at Troldhaugen (Troll Hill), the composer’s delightful Victorian home near Bergen; the Ringve Music Museum in Trondheim, where young music students play historic instruments; and two nights at a Bergen hotel with breakfast. Lecturers on the Nordlys are led by Professor Bard Kolltveit, director of research at the Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo, and on the Nordkapp, by Dr. Fenella Bazin, retired director of post-graduate studies at the Centre for Manx Studies on the Isle of Man and Norwegian Coastal Voyage aficionado.

An alternative to traditional cruising, the vessels are a unique combination of first-class cruise ship and a lifeline to remote towns and villages along the 1,250-mile coast, carrying local passengers and cargo to 34 ports from Bergen to Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle. 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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Celebrity Cruises Orders Second Ship in New Solstice Class 

MIAMI, Feb. 16 -- Celebrity Cruises has exercised its option to order a second 118,000 gross-registered-ton ship today, reaffirming its commitment to innovative products and high guest satisfaction. German shipbuilder Meyer Werft will build the new tonnage, with delivery of the first ship planned for Fall 2008 and the second ship in Summer 2009. Celebrity also announced names of both new ships. The first new ship will be called Celebrity Solstice, and the second ship will be named Celebrity Equinox. The new series of ships will be known as the Solstice class. Terms for the second Solstice-class vessel are substantially the same as those of the first ship.

Both new ships will be 2,850-guest vessels measuring 1,033 feet in length and 121 feet in width. Their added size will allow Celebrity to offer larger standard staterooms, a higher percentage of balconies and an exceptional range of guest-inspired services and amenities.

"The Solstice-class ships accelerate the tremendous growth and excitement that continues to build with this brand," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We owe a lot of our inspiration to guests and travel partners, and we think they will be enormously pleased with this collaboration."

Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experiences with highly personalized service, authentic five-star dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Its nine ships and their service, cuisine and spas consistently dominate top travelers' surveys. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, the Caribbean, Europe, the Galapagos Islands, 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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A Classic Cunarder Unveiled: First Details of Queen Victoria Released

VALENCIA, CA, Feb 16 -- Announcing the first highly-anticipated details of Cunard's next new ship, the cruise line revealed that Queen Victoria, scheduled to enter service in December 2007, will be a quintessential Cunard liner that includes not only hallmark features associated with the luxury brand, but also exciting innovations including private viewing boxes in the Royal Court Theater, alfresco dining for Grill guests, a floating museum of Cunard memorabilia, and a two-story library with 6,000 books.

With the addition of this new 90,000-ton vessel, the Cunard liner legacy will be faithfully upheld, as Queen Victoria will offer all the classic characteristics that have become associated with the company's unique liner heritage. From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at the experience that differentiates a Cunard liner from a modern-day cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship's homage to the liner traditions of the past with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale, and all graciously-styled with luxurious finishings. The public spaces will set the stage for myriad programs and amenities that also distinguish Cunard's liner persona as guests enjoy entertainment and enrichment options that evoke a more civilized era of travel. The ship will also feature the line's celebrated Queens Grill and Princess Grill stateroom accommodations and private dining rooms, another Cunard exclusive. And, of course, the ship has been constructed with impressive sea-keeping qualities that will enable it to travel easily and efficiently through the Atlantic and other demanding waters around the world.

"Cunard has the unique distinction of having the only true liners in the industry, and we're proud to be able to expand this heritage with our new Queen Victoria," said Carol Marlow, Cunard's president and managing director. "This vessel will offer our guests the classic Cunard luxury and experience they have come to expect while at the same time providing the most up-to-date amenities and facilities, along with a few impressive innovations." Marlow added that the debut of this ship is particularly noteworthy as it will mark the first time that three Cunard Queens (Queen Victoria joins Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2) have been in service together in the company's 167-year history.

In keeping with Cunard's reputation for intriguing itineraries, Queen Victoria will debut with two special maiden voyages, a Christmas Markets Voyage on December 11 and a Canary Islands Festive Celebration on December 21, incorporating both Christmas and New Year.

A Quintessential Liner
At 90,000-tons Queen Victoria will be the second largest Cunarder ever. She will offer all the classic hallmarks of a true Cunard liner, along with some new innovations. Highlights of the vessel include:

  • The Royal Court Theatre, reminiscent of a grand West End theatre with 800 seats. Classically elegant in style, it features a cruising first--elegant private boxes on the upper level

  • A two-story wood-paneled library with a spiral staircase and two full-time librarians overseeing a collection of 6,000 books

  • Alfresco dining for the Grill restaurants in an exclusive outdoor patio called "The Courtyard," reserved exclusively for Grill guests

  • Also for Grill guests, an Upper Grills Terrace which serves as a secluded retreat for sunning and relaxing

  • A floating museum called "Cunardia" displaying historic nautical memorabilia, with an adjacent Cunardia shop

  • A grand conservatory with colonial ambiance called the Winter Garden, featuring a retractable roof which opens to the sky

  • The stunning, classically-inspired double height Britannia Restaurant with sweeping staircases

  • A three-story Grand Lobby featuring a dramatic staircase and exclusive artworks

  • The Royal Shopping Arcade with 4,000 square feet of designer-name shops over two decks, inspired by the Royal and Burlington arcades in London

  • A Todd English restaurant serving innovative Mediterranean cuisine that has proven so popular with guests on board Queen Mary 2

  • A 270-degree lounge called Hemispheres, the venue for classes, lectures or relaxing before transforming into a stunning nightclub in the evening

  • A double height Queens Room with a 1,000 square foot dance floor, for afternoon tea or dancing before dinner

  • A traditional London pub

  • A large number of private balconies -- out of 1,007 guest staterooms, 86 percent will be outside and of these 71 percent will feature a private balcony. Twenty cabins on the ship will be ADA equipped.

For more information about Queen Victoria and Cunard Line, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Glamour at Cannes & the Thrill of a Formula One Race in Monaco on 
Wind Surf's 14-Day Grand Prix Cruise

SEATTLE, Feb. 15 -- Partake in the glamour of the Cannes Film Festival and the thrill of the Monaco Grand Prix race during the Wind Surf's special fourteen-day Grand Prix cruise. Guests will also be treated to an exclusive wine tasting event hosted by renowned Woodhouse Family Cellars, a boutique Washington State winery. An itinerary 180-degrees from ordinary transports guests to two exhilarating events in the Mediterranean aboard the elegant 308-guest motor sailing yacht Wind Surf. Guests will overnight in Cannes, France during the star-studded Cannes Film Festival and spend two nights in Monaco during the Formula One Grand Prix race. Other ports visited include St. Tropez, France; St. Florent, Corsica; Ponza, Amalfi, Sorrento, Portovenere and Portofino, Italy.

"We've put together a longer itinerary for the Grand Prix cruise this year to give our guests the opportunity to enjoy the events and have ample time to relax on this luxurious Mediterranean cruise," says Diane Moore, Windstar's vice president of marketing and sales. "Optional exclusive events have been arranged for Windstar guests in St. Tropez, Cannes and Monaco."

Coinciding with the Cannes Film Festival is a gala dinner at The Hotel Majestic. The Majestic is renowned as a place to see and be seen with dinner served in the Villa de Lys restaurant. Bruno Oger, an exemplary chef with a passion for regional products and the French "art de vivre," will prepare a menu of Provencal cuisine." The gala dinner is available to Wind Surf guests and is $375 per person. 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.

In Monte Carlo, an elegant private dinner will be held on the eve of the Grand Prix at the Monaco Private Car Collection Museum of the late H.S.H. Prince Rainier III. Guests have the opportunity to walk through the exhibits, which include one hundred cars of all ages, made by the biggest European and American firms, and six state coaches belonging to the late HSH Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The dinner is $425 per person. Guests who wish to attend the Grand Prix may purchase the Monaco Grand Prix Package Tour that includes a private "Welcome to Monaco" cocktail reception and gala dinner on board the ship; a gift package of Bushnell binoculars, Official 64e Grand Prix de Monaco program, Official Team Ticket holder, Souvenir hat and Souvenir jacket. On Saturday, guests will enjoy the Formula One Grand Prix time trials from Tribune K reserved seating. Tribune K seating is located near the pool where guests will see cars coming towards them at tremendous speed, slow down for the turn, and then accelerate for the turn at the pool. In the evening, guests attend the private dinner at the Monaco Private Car Collection Museum. On Sunday, a private breakfast on board the ship is followed by a thrilling day of viewing the final Grand Prix race from the same track-side reserved seats.

In St. Tropez, a cocktail party is planned at the Bylos Hotel, which maintains a mythical place in jet set history for partying, luxury and Provencal authenticity. The party includes a one-hour open bar with champagne and hot and cold canapes on the Terrace de l'Olivier, overlooking the swimming pool. The price per person is $179.

Oenophiles will enjoy an educational discussion on board the ship hosted by Bijal Shah, owner of Woodhouse Family Cellars, a boutique Washington State winery. Shah will provide insight into the production of his boutique wines, along with a complimentary wine tasting of labels offered through his company, which includes Darighe, Kennedy Shah, Dussek Family Cellars and Maghie Cellars. Bijal and his uncle, winemaker Tom Campbell, began making wine for friends in 1998. What started as a passion to share good wine with friends has turned into a popular boutique winery. Many of the wines that will be tasted are already sold out and can no longer be purchased.

The voyage sets sail from Nice, France on Sunday, May 21, returning 14 days later. Rates for the Wind Surf's Grand Prix cruise begin at US$3,999 per person, double occupancy. All optional events on this cruise have limited capacity and must be pre-booked. Inquiries may be sent to .

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Carnival Glory Hosts Third Annual ‘Mind/Body Cruise’

MIAMI, Feb 2006 – From yoga and tai chi/qigong classes and cooking demonstrations to fitness and nutrition workshops hosted by leading wellness experts, the third annual “Mind/Body Cruise” offers a variety of interesting and insightful activities designed to rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit. Sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines and Shape and Men’s Fitness magazines, the week-long health and wellness cruise takes place aboard the 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory Dec. 2-9, 2006. Ports of call include Key West, Belize and Cozumel. 

“Wellness has become an important part of American’s daily lives. We’re delighted to team up once again with Shape and Men’s Fitness magazine’s to host this interactive week-long wellness cruise which offers insightful workshops and demonstrations to help guests get on the road to healthier lifestyles,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

Classes focus on tai chi/qigong, meditation, yoga, and pilates, as well as nutritional seminars on the effect of different foods on mood and energy levels, and the impact of vitamins, minerals and supplements on the body. A variety of fitness classes, including “Jamaican/Caribbean Cardio Dance,” strength training, “Shipshape Boot Camp,” and Beginning Capoeria Martial Arts, is also included. There are also cooking demonstrations that provide participants with helpful tips for preparing delicious, guilt-free dishes. Leading the workshops and demonstrations will be some of the nation’s top experts in fitness, nutrition and wellness, who will also be available to answer questions and conduct one-on-one wellness evaluations. These experts include:

  • Teri Hanson – A personal trainer and group fitness instructor for more than 20 years, Hanson is assistant fitness editor for Weider Publications, contributing to such magazines as Shape, Natural Health and Fit Pregnancy.

  • Elizabeth Somer – The author of several nutrition and wellness books and a contributing editor to Shape magazine, Somers is a consultant for NBC’s “Today” and a former nutrition correspondent on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

  • Maria and Kent Burden – Authors of the award-winning book, “Yin Yang Fitness: The Whole Package of Health” and creators of a series of mind and body DVDs, the Burdens have made numerous appearances on television programs in both the U.S. and U.K. 

  • Garth Somerville – The self-described “Fitness Ambassador to the Caribbean,” Somerville is the fitness director for Sandals resorts and known for his high-energy style combines live drumming and Caribbean dance moves.

  • Steven Stiefel – A fitness instructor for more than a decade, Stiefel is a contributor to Muscle & Fitness, Men’s Fitness, Flex, Hers and Physical magazines, and author of two fitness books with Ulysses Press.

  • Karen Koumas – A group fitness instructor since 1985, Koumas’ classes are designed to increase strength, balance and flexibility. A certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, she has also appeared on numerous fitness magazine covers. 

  • Jeffrey Scott – A Reebok University global master trainer and an international fitness presenter, Scott has starred in more than 20 fitness videos and has made numerous television appearances including “Wake Up New York” and NBC’s “Today” show.

While aboard the Carnival Glory, “Mind/Body Cruise” participants can enjoy a 13,300-square-foot spa featuring exercise equipment and workout facilities, as well as whirlpools, saunas/steam rooms, and health and beauty treatments. Carnival Glory also includes four swimming pools, one with a 214-foot-long water slide. 

Dining venues include two two-level main dining rooms, an expansive 1,200-seat casual eatery poolside and an elegant upscale supper club. Health-conscious menu items, including a nightly vegetarian selection and “Spa Carnival Fare,” guilt-free dishes that are lower in sodium, fat, cholesterol and calories, are available in main dining rooms, while the poolside eatery boasts a 35-item salad bar and a 24-hour frozen yogurt station. 

Carnival Glory also features numerous dancing and entertainment venues, including a piano bar, wine bar, sports bar, and an elaborate multi-level theater showcasing lavish Vegas-style entertainment. “Camp Carnival” and “Club O2,” programs offering expansive facilities and age-appropriate activities for children and teens, respectively, are also available. 

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for the upcoming “Mind/Body Cruise” aboard Carnival Glory. Prices begin at $679 per person based on double occupancy and include all “Mind/Body Cruise” activities. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom, along with round-trip air supplements from more than 170 North American gateways, are also available. Participants must reference fare code CSSH when making the reservation. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Cunard Unleashes New Amenities for Pampered Pets 
(And the Owners Who Love Them)

VALENCIA, CA, Feb. 15 -- Luxuries abound for pets crossing the Atlantic aboard Queen Mary 2. Long accustomed to cosseting travelers in the lap of luxury, Cunard is now extending its expertise to the four-legged friends of its Queen Mary 2 passengers. Recognizing the growing trend toward traveling with pets, the cruise line has made noteworthy enhancements to its "Pets on Deck" program, including adding a range of pet-friendly services and amenities such as fresh-baked biscuits at turn-down; a choice of beds and blankets; and even a QM2-logoed coat. Queen Mary 2's kennel program is overseen by a full-time Kennel Master who takes care of daily pet care responsibilities such as feeding, walking and cleaning the ship's 12 spacious kennels.

As part of the enhanced program, traveling dogs and cats also receive a complimentary gift pack featuring a QM2-logoed coat, Frisbee, name tag, food dish and scoop; a complimentary portrait with pet owners; a crossing certificate and personalized cruise card. Other pet perks include:

  • extra comfortable pet beds in two sizes

  • healthy gourmet cookies for dogs and cats baked fresh daily and offered at bedtime

  • fleece blankets

  • assortment of dog and cat toys

  • cat posts and scratchers

  • selection of premium pet foods from top brands

"For some Cunard passengers, transporting their pets safely and comfortably is a top priority, and having them cross the Atlantic onboard QM2 is far more desirable than flying them between continents," said Carol Marlow, president and managing director of Cunard Line. "And now our passengers' pets can truly travel in real style."

The kennels and adjacent indoor and outdoor walking areas are open throughout the day, enabling passengers to spend significant time with their pet. Reservations for the kennels may be made at time of booking, and are based on space availability. The kennel fee ranges from $300 to $500. Taking good care of its passengers' beloved pets is a long and illustrious Cunard tradition. The line's friendly pet policy dates back to the maiden voyage of the Britannia in 1840, when three cats were on board. Since then, circus elephants, canaries, a monkey and even a boa constrictor have traveled Cunard.

Widely considered the line-of-choice by generations of celebrities, Cunard has also transported a surprising number of notable pets. Mr. Ramshaw, the world's only trained golden eagle, made at least 21 transatlantic crossings on mid 20th-century liners; Rin-Tin-Tin, star of 36 silent films, traveled on the Berengaria; and Tom Mix and Tony, stars of the 1930's western series "Miracle Rider," regularly trotted up the gangway. (Tony's hooves were even fitted with special rubber shoes to prevent the horse from slipping.) In the 1950s, Elizabeth Taylor brought her pampered puppies on board the original Queen Mary and exercised them regularly on the ship's sports deck. She even ordered special meals for them from the fish chef. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor also traveled with a beloved pup and, at the Duke's behest, Cunard installed a lamp post beside the kennels.

For more information about Cunard, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Over $100,000 in Prizes Available on Four Carnival ‘Winners Slot Tournament Cruises’ in 2006

MIAMI, Feb 2006 – Carnival Cruise Lines and the Ocean Players Club will host four “Winners Slot Tournament Cruises” in 2006, featuring more than $100,000 in cash and prizes. Three preliminary slot tournaments will be held on the Carnival Conquest’s March 5-12 voyage from Galveston, Carnival Pride’s May 14-21 cruise from Long Beach, Calif., and Carnival Legend’s Sept. 9-17 cruise from New York. A “Grand Final Event” tournament will take place on the Carnival Victory’s Nov. 12-19 voyage from Miami.

The tournaments are open to guests age 18 and over. Tournament space is limited and booked guests are encouraged to enter prior to departure by completing the online registration form available at Entry fee for the first three tournaments is $50 per person and $250 for the final cruise and is payable on board. Prizes from each of the first three preliminary slot tournaments total more than $10,000 in cash and the top three winners from those tournaments also receive a complimentary stateroom and free entry for the finals held aboard the Carnival Victory. The winner of the grand final tournament will receive $25,000, as well as complimentary suite accommodations on a future Carnival sailing.

“With more than $100,000 up for grabs, our ‘Winners Slot Tournament Cruises’ will be a thrilling event for our guests and offer an exciting opportunity for them to win some great cash and cruise prizes,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

The Carnival Conquest, Pride, Legend and Victory all offer an expansive casino, featuring more than 200 slot machines and a variety of table games, including blackjack, craps, roulette and poker. All tournament participants will receive an invitation to a private cocktail and awards reception during each cruise. Guests who pre-register for the tournament prior to the cruise will also receive a special Bon Voyage gift in their stateroom. In addition to fast-paced casino action, slot tournament participants enjoy a wide range of on-board amenities, including a variety of lounges, bars and entertainment venues, formal and casual dining options, a state-of-the-art health and fitness center and four swimming pools.

The Ocean Players Club offers something for every level of player, from awards for playing slots to establishing credit lines and betting limits for high rollers. Players can earn points at the slots toward instant cash rewards, complimentary beverages, free gifts, and future cruise benefits. Ocean Players Club will rebate the entry fee on board with the new “Cash Back” instant rebate system. Every $10 of instant cash back guests earn on the cruise will be matched up to the cost of the entry fee. 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 “Winners Slot Tournaments Cruises” begin at $479 per person. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom, along with round-trip air transportation from more than 170 North American gateways, are also available. For additional information and reservations on the “Winners Slot Tournament Cruises,” contact any travel agent, call 1-888-OPC-CLUB or visit

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Oceania Cruises Debuts Cruise Planner & Online Butler Service

Miami, FL, Feb 13, 2006 — Oceania Cruises announced a significant number of guest and travel agent enhancements that debuted on which include Online Butler Service, a new Cruise Planner and the Guest Referral Network. Designed exclusively for Oceania Cruises, these new online tools continue the line’s legacy of innovation, convenience and comfort.

Cruise Planner
The new online Cruise Planner allows guests to plan and save information regarding their next voyage with Oceania Cruises. A personalized system for building the cruise vacation of their dreams, guests may plan up to five future cruises and use the system to compare their top five cruise choices, personalize specific details of their voyage, organize shore excursions and pre- or post-cruise land programs, or build a day by day planning journal which they may take along with them on their Oceania Cruises vacation. Utilizing the Cruise Planner is simple and easy, all guests need to do is login using an email address and password.

Online Butler Service 
Visitors to may now avail themselves to the services of James, the line’s online Butler. An industry first, James will greet and assist visitors throughout their visit, guiding them to and through important information they may have otherwise overlooked.

Guest Referral Network
With the launch of the new Guest Referral Network, the industry’s only online consumer booking engine that requires the use of a Travel Agent, guests may now reserve their cruise of choice quickly and conveniently online at With complete access to live inventory and pricing for their cruise, guests have all the information and tools they need to book their Oceania Cruises vacation from the comfort of their home or office. Guests may customize their cruise experience online with host of cruise enhancements including pre- and post-cruise hotel and land options, full-cruise Cabana packages, shore excursions and insurance. Created and designed by Oceania Cruises and developed by Spotwerks, Inc., the Guest Referral Network allows guests to book their Oceania Cruises vacation online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once the guest has selected their cruise of choice, they are prompted to select a travel agent who will assist them in planning their Oceania Cruises vacation. “The new Guest Referral Network is a comprehensive new tool that not only empowers consumers, it recognizes the significant role travel agents play and reinforces how important they are to both the guest and Oceania Cruises,” stated James Rodriguez, Vice President of E-commerce and National Accounts.

Once the reservation has been forwarded to the agency of choice, the agent will follow up with the guest to review the details and reconfirm payment information. “Travel agents are our partners and the new Guest Referral Network is the only travel agent friendly consumer booking engine in the cruise industry. This is just one of the many ways we seek to constantly enhance both the guests’ and agents’ experience,” stated Bob Binder, Executive Vice President for Oceania Cruises.

About Oceania Cruises
Oceania Cruises is the world’s largest upscale cruise line. Featuring a fleet of intimate and luxurious 684-guest ships, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica, Oceania Cruises sails to the most alluring ports in Europe, China and the Far East, South America and the Caribbean. Combining the finest cuisine at sea, exceptional personalized service, luxurious accommodations and extraordinary value, Oceania Cruises is setting a new, worldwide standard for luxury cruising. For additional information or reservations, please contact your Travel Agent or Oceania Cruises at 800-531-5658 or visit them at

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First-Ever Princess Cruises "Captain's Awards" Honor Cruise-Themed Films & Actors

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Feb 9, 2006 - As the film awards season kicks into high gear, Princess Cruises has taken the voting to the high seas with the launch of the first ever "Princess Captain's Awards." In a light-hearted survey, "Princess-themed" categories were voted on by 45,000 members of the Princess Captain's Circle, the line's guest loyalty program, and talented actors ranging from Johnny Depp, voted "Captain Most Likely to Steal Your Heart," to Audrey Hepburn, voted "Favorite Movie Princess," were saluted with honors for their performances. Princess will pay tribute to the nominees and winning films all summer long on board the line's new ship Crown Princess, which will begin roundtrip Caribbean sailings out of the new Brooklyn, New York pier in June 2006.

The "Captain's Awards Summer Film Festival" will capitalize on the ship's dramatic film venue, its signature Movies Under the StarsSM screen. An industry first when Princess launched it in 2004, Movies Under the Stars offers passengers the opportunity to enjoy a drive-in style outdoor movie experience on the 300-square-foot LED movie screen day while relaxing in comfortable chaise lounges, the swimming pool, or the hot tub. Captain's Awards favorites will be shown on all Crown Princess sailings throughout the summer.

"The winning films reflect a mix of timeless classics and new favorites among categories that underscore signature elements of the Princess brand, like balconies and great escapes," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "The incredible 45,000 responses we received from our online survey of Princess past passengers proves they really enjoy pop culture and movies continue to be a favorite pastime."

Nominees and winning films include:

Winner: The Shawshank Redemption 38%
The Great Escape 25%
The Fugitive 22%
Escape From Alcatraz 11%
The Truman Show 4%

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet - Titanic 51%
Deborah Kerr & Cary Grant - An Affair to Remember 30%
Audrey Hepburn & Humphrey Bogart - Sabrina 15%
Shelly Winters & Jack Albertson - The Poseidon Adventure 4%

Winner: Grease 46%
American Graffiti 34%
Rebel Without A Cause 16%
The Outsiders 4%

Winner: Audrey Hepburn - Roman Holiday 41%
Alicia Silverstone - Clueless 22%
Reese Witherspoon - Legally Blonde 13%
Anne Hathaway - The Princess Diaries 12%
Robin Wright - The Princess Bride 12%

Winner: Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean 35%
Sean Connery - The Hunt for Red October 30%
Mel Gibson - Mutiny on the Bounty 17%
Russell Crowe - Master and Commander 10%
Gregory Peck - Moby Dick 8%

Winner: Pretty Woman 45%
Romeo & Juliet 20%
Breakfast at Tiffany's 19%
West Side Story 16%

Winner: Cameron Diaz - My Best Friend's Wedding 34%
Matthew Broderick - Ferris Bueller's Day Off 27%
Bill Murray in Lost - Translation 14%
Ellen Dow ("Rosie") - The Wedding Singer 13%
Gwyneth Paltrow & Huey Lewis - Duets 12%

Winner: The Little Mermaid 52%
Splash 20%
Crocodile Dundee 2 13%
Love Actually 8%
Annie Hall 7%

Scheduled to launch in June 2006, the 113,000-ton Crown Princess will introduce Princess' first-ever roundtrip Caribbean sailings from New York. This inaugural sailing season will feature nine-day roundtrip voyages to both the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and will mark the return of Princess' return to Bermuda, as well as its debut at the port of Grand Turk.

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

The ship will also feature the many hallmark features that define the Princess experience, including the dramatic Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, multiple dining and entertainment options, Personal Choice Dining featuring traditional or Anytime seating, a two-story Lotus Spa with fitness center, an extensive children and teen's center, a wedding chapel and nearly 900 staterooms with private balconies. Additional information about Crown Princess is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Cruises Let Couples Celebrate Valentines Day EVERY Day

NEW YORK, February 9, 2006 - Lovers take notice: Every day of a cruise vacation is Valentine's Day. Whether it's a wedding, vow renewals, honeymoon or couple's getaway, there's no better venue for romance than today's passenger-pleasing ships. In fact, the nearly 150 ships that sail for members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) offer a cornucopia of activities and amenities that heighten the mood for love.

In addition to moonlit walks on deck and indoor and poolside Jacuzzi dates, couples can also savor romantic repasts at tables for two in intimate specialty restaurants, dance cheek-to-cheek in softly-lit nightclubs and revel in massages for two. Many high-end suites feature butler service and enable couples to enjoy time away from other guests.

"The incredible number of amenities, facilities and features dedicated to creating an air of romance at sea ensure that travelers sailing aboard CLIA member-line ships will come home with something priceless - memories that will last a lifetime," said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA (, the marketing and training organization for 19 premier cruise lines and nearly 17,000 North American travel agencies. 

Many CLIA-member cruise lines offer flexible wedding and vow renewal packages and many feature shipboard wedding chapels. Packages are available in prices to match virtually any budget and depending on the package, can provide photographers, bridal bouquets, wedding cake, wedding music and champagne toasts. Honeymooners will also enjoy the atmosphere of romance aboard today's cruise vacations. Some CLIA lines feature special honeymooner events and extras including private cocktail parties, complimentary drinks and cakes in the dining room.

The best way to learn more about the romance of cruising is to seek the professional counsel of a CLIA travel agent. To locate a CLIA-member travel agency near you, use the Travel Agent Locator on CLIA's website at

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Windstar’s Cuisine de l’Amour Features Romance Menu

Seattle, WA, Feb 8, 2006 – Special dinner menu for two served via room service complete with candles and romantic music. Windstar Cruises serves up a romantic dinner for two using ingredients legendary for their romantic powers. Cuisine de l’Amour will be served via room service only and will be available year-round on the 148-guest Wind Star and Wind Spirit. The 308-guest Wind Surf will begin serving the menu later in the year.

“Windstar is a romantic, couples-oriented cruise line,” says Diane Moore, Windstar’s vice president of marketing and sales. “We want to offer unique experiences to enhance couples’ time together and a romantic dinner served in the privacy of their stateroom will be one more—and a fun way to reconnect!”

The Cuisine de l’Amour’s romance menu offers a choice of appetizer, a set soup, choice of salad, and two entrée options, finished with a set dessert.

Cuisine de l’Amour


  • Prelude of Spicy Grilled Shrimp on a Pillow of Avocado Embraced with Garlic and Coriander

  • Serenade of Artichoke with Chèvre in Harmony with a Sweet Basil Essence


  • Tango of Green Asparagus Spears Velouté Flirting with Crispy Prosciutto Confettis


  • Ménage of Arugula, Pine Nut and Gorgonzola, Charmed by a Honey-Drenched Fig Dressing 

  • Bouquet of Fresh Greens with a Corolla of Grilled Scallops and Pineapple Drizzled with Honey-Dijon and Poppy Seed Vinaigrette Droplets


  • Rack of Lamb under a Blanket of Sun-Dried Love Apples, Seduced by a Rosemary-Garlic-Mint Sauce and Fleshy Vegetables On a Bed of Espresso-Potato Gratin 

  • Salmon Filet with a Whisper of Herb and Garlic Butter, Snuggled in Pastry Sheet and Laid over Forbidden Rice and Carrot Circles 


  • Fantasy of Fresh Strawberries Caressed by Decadent Chocolate Ganache with Kisses of Chantilly Cream Aroused with Pernod

Dinner will be served in the comfort of the guests’ private stateroom. To enhance the romantic atmosphere, an elegant candle will grace the serving tray. For romantic music, guests may request an Apple iPod Nano which will be delivered with dinner and queued to the romance playlist. The Nano can be placed in the Bose SoundDock speaker installed in each stateroom. A romance-inspired room service menu will be available in each stateroom. Guests may order the complimentary Cuisine de l’Amour one day in advance. Other options for purchase will be included on the room service card. For example, guests may opt to order champagne, wine to complement the meal, a massage in the spa and massage oil.

Windstar’s romantic and casually elegant atmosphere has been a hit with honeymooners and couples seeking vow renewal ceremonies. Weddings can also be arranged in advance for either ashore or on board the ship. Celebration packages are available for purchase such as the Honeymooners, Just for Us, Anniversary or Vow Renewal package. Details are available in the gift shop on Windstar’s website,

Windstar is well known for traveling off the beaten path on itineraries from the Mediterranean, Amalfi Coast and Greek Isles to the Aegean Sea, the Caribbean and Costa Rica. In most destinations, a mixture of non-repeating, seven-day itineraries has been designed to allow for 14-day voyages with no repeating ports of call. Itineraries have also been adjusted for later departures and more overnights in ports so guests can enjoy more time for shopping, shore excursions and nightlife.

About Windstar Cruises
Seattle-based Windstar Cruises operates three motor sailing yachts known for their pampering without pretense and their ability to visit the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world’s most treasured destinations. The unobtrusive service and attentive staff create a casually elegant atmosphere that effortlessly fosters camaraderie among guests and crew. Carrying just 148 to 308 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas.

Windstar’s Degrees of Difference initiative adds new luxury amenities and enhancements to the five areas that anchor the line’s overall guest experience—dining, accommodations, service, destinations and activities. Additions include new Signature Cuisine menus from Chef Joachim Splichal, Apple iPod Nanos and Bose SoundDock speakers, Riedel stemware, luxury linens and mattresses, L’Occitane bathroom amenities, hammocks built for two and more. The initiative will be completed in stages during winter 2006.

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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Oceania Cruises Releases New 2006-2007 Winter Collection Brochure

MIAMI, FL, Feb 7, 2006 — Oceania Cruises is pleased to announce the launch of its new 2006-2007 Winter Collection Brochure in conjunction with its offer of Free Air and 2 for 1 Cruise Fares on all 2006-2007 sailings to Asia, South America and the Caribbean. Featuring the line’s renowned voyages to Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the cover pays homage to the spectacular, vividly colored Blue Morpho butterfly. Perfectly symbolizing the brilliance, grace and tranquility of the line’s destinations, the Blue Morpho is also symbolic of Oceania Cruises with its distinct markings and explorative nature. “Our guests hold such a deep appreciation for the culture, history and natural beauty of the destinations we visit that we wanted to showcase one of nature’s wonders on the cover of our latest brochure,” state Bob Binder, Executive Vice President of Oceania Cruises.

Highlights of the 2006-2007 Winter Collection
With 27 voyages that sail to virtually every corner of the globe, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica chart a course for the world’s most alluring destinations. And for a limited time, all Winter Collection voyages offer the extraordinary value of Free Air and 2-for-1 Cruise Fares. 

  • Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires, 10 Day voyages aboard Insignia

  • Singapore to Hong Kong, 15 Day voyages aboard Nautica

  • Miami to Miami, 26 Day voyage aboard Regatta

Showcasing the wonders of the world, from the awesome splendor of Iguaçu Falls to Hong Kong’s magnificent skyline, Oceania Cruises is the leader in destination cruising. Featuring overnight port stays in the most intriguing ports of call, Oceania Cruises affords its guests a plethora of opportunities to immerse themselves in the history, culture and culinary delights of the world’s most captivating lands. “Oceania Cruises offers discerning travelers the ultimate destination experience blended with the extraordinary style, comfort and gourmet cuisine that Oceania Cruises is noted for,” added Binder. 

These new itineraries represent the pinnacle of value and are certain to sell out as quickly as the 2005 and 2006 sailings. Complete itineraries, fares and shore excursions are available online at or through your travel agent. The offer of Free Air and 2-for-1 Cruise Fares is capacity controlled and has been extended through March 31, 2006.

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Freedom Is ... Enjoying a Good Sweat in the World's Largest Fitness Center & the First Full-Size Boxing Ring at Sea

MIAMI, Feb. 8 -- Once again shattering the antiquated notions of cruising being a passive vacation option, Royal Caribbean International announces the action-filled and cutting-edge amenities that will be found onboard Freedom of the Seas when she makes her debut in May 2006. Along with features such as the FlowRider® surfing simulator and cantilevered whirlpools that have never before been seen on a cruise ship, Freedom will be outfitted with a full-size Everlast boxing ring, a group Pilates reformer studio and many other elements that are rarely seen in shoreside gyms, let alone on a cruise ship fitness center.

"We have a legacy of offering the unexpected to our guests and we knew with Freedom of the Seas we had to come out with something fabulous at every turn;  our fitness center, the largest one found on any cruise ship, is no exception," said Adam Goldstein, president. "Through partnerships with such 'heavyweights' as Steiner Leisure Limited, Everlast, Life Fitness and New Balance, we are confident we are providing our guests with the best and most innovative options in the marketplace."

Royal Caribbean's 15-year partnership with Steiner, operator of all spas and fitness centers fleet-wide, has played an integral part in helping to create the innovative and unexpected experience for which the cruise line has become so well-known. For the line's Day Spas, Steiner recently developed and launched Generation Y Spa, spa services for teens, acupuncture and even Gentle Touch Tooth Whitening. Below is a description of the equipment, activities and classes that have been created for the Freedom ShipShape Fitness Center in conjunction with Steiner.

Fight Klub
For the first time ever, experienced boxers looking to hone their skills or novices wanting to try something new can get their fill while onboard a cruise ship. With Freedom's "Fight Klub," guests can test their chops with a variety of boxing-related activities, including one-on-one training sessions with an experienced instructor inside a full-size 20' by 20' Everlast boxing ring. Multiple Everlast speed bags, jump ropes, heavy bags and padded punching mitts are available. Additionally, groups of three people can partake in sparring sessions with freestanding body master bags, all supervised by an on- site boxing coach. Die-hard Rocky wannabes can train in three one-hour sessions with a boxing coach -- the workout includes a warm up, bag work, mirror boxing, footwork and pad work.

ShipShape Class Program
Guests looking for a more serene workout will find plenty of options onboard the most innovative ship at sea. For starters, the six reformer machines in the Life Fitness Peak PilateSystem studio give Freedom of the Seas the first-ever dedicated Pilates reformer group exercise program found on a cruise ship. One-on-one training with a Pilates professional also is available and includes a complimentary postural analysis. Also offered throughout the seven-day sailing are introductory "pathway to Yoga" classes, including Friday's class on the beach of Labadee, Hispaniola, Royal Caribbean's private island.

Other classes in the program include:

  • Step Up, an easy-to-follow step class;

  • Firm Up, a total body conditioning class designed to tone the body;

  • Balance In Motion, a stretch class to relieve tension with gentle stretches and exercises;

  • BOSU® training, an innovative core workout done with an inflated rubber domed BOSU® balance trainer;

  • Boot Camp X-Treme circuit training for seasoned exercisers looking for an extra challenge;

  • Salsamania classes, a Latin-inspired exercise class incorporating dance moves and energetic music for a lively and fun workout;

  • The "Night Klub" indoor cycling program, held in a high-tech studio outfitted with enhanced lighting features to create a night club-style light show throughout the class and

  • Trekking, another group class, allows guests to run on one of six treadmills in a half-circle formation for an invigorating workout incorporating various intensity levels and inclines. 

Cutting-Edge Training Equipment
Royal Caribbean has once again teamed up with Life Fitness, the largest health club exercise equipment supplier in the world, to provide nearly all of the fitness machines onboard Freedom of the Seas. New to cruise line gyms is Life Fitness' Cable Motion Series, which provides strength training and gives exercisers the freedom to move limbs independently of one another or to use different weights for each limb. It has user-defined paths of motion that allow for a variety of exercises.

Additional strength-training options include another industry "first": Power-Plate North America's Next Generation Power-Plate, a device utilizing advanced reflex technology. The central component of the machine, which resembles a large scale, vibrates subtly between 30 to 50 times per second, triggering a reflexive response that stimulates an increase in blood flow to muscles and joints and exponentially increasing the efficiency of the workout. The Power-Plate is just beginning to make its way to mainstream shoreside gyms from the fitness facilities of professional sports teams.

For the first time on a Royal Caribbean ship, all cardio equipment has personal LCD screens to keep guests entertained while they are working out.

For The Runners & Walkers
There are as many ways to enjoy the ports of call along Freedom of the Seas' Western Caribbean route as there are guests on the ship. Thanks to Royal Caribbean's partnership with New Balance, a leading manufacturer of high- performance athletic footwear and apparel, avid runners can follow mapped out routes at select ports of call and enjoy a safe run at each destination without having to worry about getting lost on their way back to the ship or measuring the distance on their own. Other components of the New Balance partnership include:

  • Walking and running activities utilizing the onboard running track;

  • Self-service kiosk to service cruisers with running (5K, 10K or Marathon) and walking training programs;

  • Stretch and fitness tips at intervals along the onboard running track and

  • Cruise and Sports staff will be outfitted with New Balance footwear and apparel.

ShipShape Seminar Series
Small lifestyle changes can often greatly enhance well-being, which is why Royal Caribbean offers its ShipShape Seminar Series, created in consultation with Elemis spa-therapy innovators, a subsidiary of Steiner. These scripted seminars and multi-media presentations cover topics such as healthy eating and nutrition, body detoxification and tips for reaching the "burn fat fast" zone. In addition, a session is offered to introduce the Polar BodyAge fitness assessment system, which tests cardiovascular health, body fat, strength, flexibility and more to compare the body's "fitness age" with its chronological age. Factors such as diet, exercise and stress can either slow down or speed up the aging process. The Polar BodyAge system helps guests determine how their lifestyle has affected their bodies.

To help familiarize guests with all of the fitness activities available in Freedom's ShipShape Fitness Center, two 65-inch interactive plasma televisions located in the entryway will allow guests to find out more about the classes and equipment available and to check class schedules. 

Of course, there are more places than the fitness center for guests looking to get their heart rates up. The FlowRider®, ice-skating rink and expanded rock-climbing wall each offer guests a chance to get the heart pumping. For an interactive sneak peak at the new and expanded rock-climbing wall that will be found on Freedom of the Seas, visit

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

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Star Clippers Guests to Receive Free Tickets to Monaco Grand Prix 
Practice Sessions

MIAMI, Feb. 8, 2006 -- Passengers traveling on Star Clipper's May 20, 2006, sailing will have the opportunity to get a flavor for Formula One racing's hottest event: the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. Courtesy of Star Clippers, complimentary tickets will be offered to guests interested in attending practice and qualifying sessions throughout the day. The standing tickets are located in the Z1 area on the Kennedy Quay where the cars pass by at full speed. Passengers interested in taking advantage of the free ticket offer must mention it at the time of booking. A limited number of tickets are available on a first come, first served basis.

The 170-passenger Star Clipper will call at Monte Carlo, Monaco, on May 25 during a seven-night round-trip Cannes, France, sailing. Additional calls during the cruise include Ile Rousse and Bastia, Corsica; Portovenere and Portofino, Italy; and Porquerolles, Hyeres Island. Fares for the cruise begin at $1,375 per person, double.

"We're constantly seeking unique opportunities to provide our guests with memorable vacations," said Jack Chatham, vice president of sales and marketing for Star Clippers. "There is nothing more exhilarating than witnessing the Monaco Grand Prix so close that you can feel the power of the cars as they race by, and we're thrilled to be able to give that experience to our passengers." 

The Monaco Grand Prix has been a regular fixture of the world championship since 1955, and many consider it to be the race that determines the good from the great in Formula One racing.

Star Clippers combines the pampered luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the exhilarating thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship. Guests rediscover what sailing was like during the glorious age of the tall ships while visiting intimate ports of call untouched by larger cruise ships. The four- and five-masted clipper ships feature a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. Passengers dress in resort-casual attire and dine in one unhurried, open seating. Whether unwinding in the bowsprit net while gazing at the sea below or climbing the mast for a panoramic view of the horizon, a unique sailing adventure awaits.

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

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Carnival to Continue ‘Rusty Wallace Cruise’ Series in 2006

MIAMI, Feb 8, 2006 – Carnival Cruise Lines’ and NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Rusty Wallace have teamed up again for another “Rusty Wallace Cruise”--this time with a seven-day voyage aboard the Carnival Pride in December 2006. The week-long cruise will operate round trip from Long Beach, Calif., Dec. 3-10, 2006. Featured ports include Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Carnival’s “Rusty Wallace Cruises” began in 2001 and over the years more than 6,500 racing fans have enjoyed opportunities to meet and interact with the stock car racing legend, who retired from the active circuit late last year.

“Carnival’s ‘Rusty Wallace Cruises’ are among the most popular theme voyages in cruising and we’re delighted that Rusty has agreed to continue the series, this year aboard the Carnival Pride,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

Commented Rusty Wallace, “My affiliation with Carnival has been such a success and I’m very excited to be on board again this year. Although I am out of the Number 2 Miller Lite driver’s seat, my fans have supported new endeavors such as the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with sponsor Callaway Golf, my Busch series racing team sponsored by Top-Flite Golf and my latest gig as a broadcaster for ABC/ESPN. I really enjoy meeting fans and I hope this upcoming voyage on the Carnival Pride will allow me to give back some of the appreciation they have shown throughout my career.” 

The “Rusty Wallace Cruise” aboard the Carnival Pride will feature a number of invitation-only events, including private cocktail receptions the first and last night of the voyage, as well as exclusive question-and-answer and photo sessions. A variety of prizes and memorabilia, including complimentary race passes and authentic racing shirts autographed by Wallace, will also be available. Several racing-themed contests and giveaways will be held throughout the voyage, as well. 

While aboard the Carnival Pride, “Rusty Wallace Cruise” participants can enjoy the ship’s numerous “resort-style” amenities, including a 13,300-square-foot spa, four swimming pools, and dancing and entertainment venues that range from an intimate piano bar to an elegant multi-level theater showcasing lavish Vegas-style revues. Dining options include a two-level main dining room, a casual poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, and an upscale reservations-only supper club offering prime steaks and other gourmet cuisine. Carnival Pride also features expansive indoor and outdoor play areas and a full activities schedule for kids ages 2-14, all part of the line’s top-rated “Camp Carnival” program. A teen program with activities geared toward older kids is also available. Also featured is a comprehensive golf program offering professional instruction both aboard ship and during golf excursions. 

Eighty percent of the Carnival Pride’s staterooms offer an ocean view with 80 percent of those featuring private balconies. Reservations are currently being accepted for the “Rusty Wallace Cruise” aboard the Carnival Pride. Prices begin at $599 per person based on double occupancy. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom, along with round-trip air transportation from more than 170 North American gateways, are also available. Participants must reference fare code CPRW when making a reservation to be eligible for the invitation-only events taking place on this voyage. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Silversea Explores the Grandeur of Northern Europe

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Feb 8, 2006 - This summer Silversea's ultra-luxury, all-suite ships Silver Cloud and Silver Whisper will offer an exclusive collection of 16 voyages showcasing the art, history and grandeur of some of Northern Europe's most celebrated destinations. From Rostok to Reykjavik, St. Petersburg to Stockholm, Silversea bridges the distance between dreams and the world's most luxurious travel experience, traveling to places where most mass-market ships are simply too large to venture to. For the privileged guests aboard Silversea, this year's Northern Europe collection offers the possibility to journey sixty-one miles up the Gironde River to uncork the fine wines of Bordeaux; sail under the Tower Bridge into the heart of London; travel up the Neva River to call in the center of St. Petersburg; or cruise into Norway's narrowest nooks.

"For the well-heeled world traveler, there's no better way to explore the cultural and historic treasures of Northern Europe than aboard the award-winning, intimate ships of Silversea," said David Morris, Silversea's senior vice president of sales for North America. "Our ships offer a level of spaciousness, luxury and comfort that is unrivaled, combined with more in-depth destination experiences -- like our three-day, two-night stopovers in St. Petersburg. When you factor in our all-inclusive value, Silversea is the very best option for exploring Northern Europe this summer."

In addition to savings of up to 40%, guests will enjoy spacious, all-suite, ocean-view accommodations, most with private veranda, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, personalized service, warm Italian hospitality, and Silversea's unmatched selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities. Plus, complimentary Butler Service is now available in the Grand, Royal, Rossellini and Owner's Suites. 

Silversea guests can extend their Northern Europe voyage with optional pre- and post-cruise land programs featuring deluxe accommodations, all transportation, transfers, guided sightseeing and some meals. Prices range from $2,540 to $4,305 per guest. Highlights include: 

  • From Copenhagen or Stockholm, the five-night "Splendors of the Romanovs" explores the cultural and historic splendors of St. Petersburg and Moscow. Enjoy the magnificent treasures of the Hermitage Museum, including visits to the Gold Room and the Hermitage Theatre. Explore Peter and Paul Fortress, last resting place of the Romanovs, imposing St. Isaac’s Cathedral, lively Nevsky Prospect lined with palaces, churches and theatrical buildings and the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre. Stroll the magnificent rooms of the Romanovs’ most lavish residences, including Catherine Palace, with the beautifully restored Amber Room and Amber Workshops, and Peterhof, the Versailles of the North. Highlights of Moscow include Red Square, the Kremlin, an exclusive visit to the Kremlin Palace and a performance at the Bolshoi Theatre. 

  • From Lisbon, "Portugal's Royal Past" three-night program offers a journey through Portugal’s rich cultural heritage. Explore the Roman ruins of Conímbriga, an important archaeological center dating back to the second century B.C. Discover Coimbra, the first capital of Portugal, where in 1290 King Dinis founded the third oldest university in the world. Visit the university's royal chapel and its spectacular library built in the 18th century and considered a masterpiece of baroque art. Tour the Palace of Queluz, a summer residence of the Portuguese royal family. Visit Santa Maria Church, a medieval church known for its remarkable collection of tiles and paintings. Overnight in regal palaces like the Palace Hotel in the heart of the lush Bussaco forest. The hotel was built as the last summer residence of the Portuguese monarchy. 

Guests can taste and learn firsthand the secrets of enticing signature dishes created by award-winning chefs and authors on the following Culinary Arts Cruises: 

  • Silver Cloud's "Vintage Reflections" 12-day cruise from Barcelona to London, May 21 - June 2, 2006 (Voyage 1613). Hosted by: Javier Martínez, chef du cuisine at Michelin Three Star Can Fabes, a Relais Gourmand restaurant blending modern-day Barcelona with Catalonian inspiration. Sarah Edington, author and personal caterer to members of England's royal family, prime ministers and Archbishops of Canterbury. Her books include "The Captain's Table: Life and Dining on the Great Ocean Liners." Silver Sailing fares start at $5,727 per person (40% savings). 

  • Silver Cloud's "North Sea Explorer" 10-day cruise from Stockholm to London, September 13 - 23, 2006 (Voyage 1626). Hosted by: Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, a Chicago-based worldwide gourmet chocolate company. Having worked extensively in Southeast Asia and Australia, her chocolate creations combine exotic influences in a delicious East-meets-West theme. Silver Sailing fares start at $4,767 per person (40% savings). 

  • Silver Whisper's "Through the Pillars of Hercules" 14-day cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona, September 15 - 29, 2006 (Voyage 4633). Hosted by: Sergio Torres, head chef of El Rodat's H'Anoa restaurant in Javea, Alicante, Spain. Silver Sailing fares start at $6,657 per person (40% savings). 

Discerning travelers with a passion for fine wines will enjoy sampling some of the world’s finest vintages and visiting world-famous wineries, cellars and vineyards on the following Wine Series Voyages, hosted by top wine experts: 

  • Silver Whisper's "Vintage Europe" 12-day cruise from Monte Carlo to London, July 17 - 29, 2006 (Voyage 4626). Hosted by: Michael Green, wine educator and Gourmet magazine's wine and spirits consultant. Green is often featured on Food Network, CNN and NPR. Early Booking Incentive fares start at $7,836 per person (20% savings). 

  • Silver Cloud's "From the Channel to the Bay of Biscay" 10-day cruise from London to Lisbon, September 23 - October 3, 2006 (Voyage 1627). Hosted by: Remington Norman, former Master of Wine and author of "The Great Domaines of Burgundy," Norman is a winner of the Andre Simon prize and member of the Académie Internationale du Vin. Silver Sailing fares start at $5,561 per person (30% savings). 

Detailed information and complete itineraries are available at

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NCL’s New Norwegian Pearl Will Bowl You Over

MIAMI – Feb 7, 2006 - NCL’s next ship, Norwegian Pearl, will bowl over the cruise competition with a “striking” innovation – a full size, four lane, ten-pin bowling alley. The bowling alley is part of an all-new, all-day entertainment, sports bar and nightclub complex called Bliss. During the day, Bliss is a sports bar with a four lane bowling alley, multiple flat screen televisions to show sports events, and air hockey, foosball and other arcade games. 

In the evening, in a complete change of mood, Bliss transforms into a hip, high-energy ultra-lounge, with the plasma screens adding video tracks to the non-stop music spun by Norwegian Pearl’s own Vibe Master. A spacious dance floor, a full bar, and mood-lit bowling all add to the atmosphere of a totally unique seagoing experience. The venue is designed in deep reds, blues and purples and appointed with modern furniture including plush seating with high back chairs, day beds with cushions and pillows and comfortable banquettes near the bowling lanes.

“Bowling is one of America’s most popular recreational sports, with more than 69 million* participants in the United States,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL. “We are constantly pushing the Freestyle Cruising theme on our ships – bringing our guests all kinds of unexpected opportunities to relax and have fun as the mood takes them. What better than to bring one of the most popular landside activities in the nation onto a ship. Will the ball roll perfectly true? Much of the time yes, and some of the time no. We won’t be hosting the world bowling championships; it’s just fun we’re shooting for! Bowling, drinking, dancing, and laughing with your friends and family. That’s a strike every time in our book!”

The entertainment complex during the day is also the perfect venue to host bowling parties for guests of all ages. Gutter bumpers will automatically pop up for kids’ bowling parties – or for adults who might need a little help with their scores. With its finger on the pulse of what today’s more casual travelers want on vacation, NCL has debuted several novel onboard entertainment options in recent years. In 2005, NCL was the first cruise line to offer, on Pride of America, an onboard bungee trampoline, as well as a giant gyroscope, an exhilarating, open-air sphere originally designed for training astronauts in weightlessness.

In addition to the new bowling alley, Norwegian Pearl will also feature all the attributes of NCL’s dynamic modern Freestyle Cruising fleet including multiple restaurants, vibrant public rooms, versatile, family-friendly accommodations and NCL’s popular new style of accommodations - Courtyard Villas - which along with each ship’s two Garden Villas make up the biggest, most luxurious, most innovative suite complexes at sea.

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Holland America Line Visits Ports on Three Continents

SEATTLE, Feb. 7 -- Holland America Line continues to broaden its successful South America cruise program, announcing new voyages for 2006 and 2007 that enhance accessibility and link sights on multiple continents. Three new sailings take guests to a range of exotic ports and diverse destinations such as crossing the Atlantic from Africa to Brazil, journeying through the great locks of the Panama Canal, strolling the Malecons (boardwalks) of Manta, Ecuador, cruising the mighty Amazon River or penguin watching in Ushuaia the world's southernmost town.

"We've gone to great lengths to deliver the diversity of this stunning continent, and it is showing in the increasing popularity of South America cruises," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Holland America Line is committed to being an innovator of intriguing itineraries and offering guests special features, including our award-winning Explorations Speaker Series to complement the destination and inside passage sailing for optimal scenic viewing of the Chilean Fjords."

These unique 15- to 66-day voyages complement the company's popular 16-day South America Explorer and 20-day Antarctic Experience voyages. Four ships will visit a total of 60 ports on 25 sailings during 2006 and 2007, with some cruises conveniently offering multiple ports of embarkation. Shore excursions feature the Argentine Pampas, Chilean wine countries, Antarctic landscapes, tango shows, penguin colonies and rushing waterfalls. The ships will stay overnight in Buenos Aires, Argentina as well as Rio de Janeiro and Manaus, Brazil.

The 793-passenger ms Prinsendam, 1,316-passenger flagship ms Rotterdam and 1,258-passenger ms Veendam will sail to South America January to April and September through December in 2006 and 2007. Experts from the Royal Geographic Society will join the cruises to give insights on ancient cultures, migrating penguins, forests, glaciers and other regional phenomena.

Twelve 16-day South America Explorer Cruises
Rio's red-hot culture melds into blue-white brilliance as the Rotterdam glides south to glacial regions on 12 cruises between Valparaiso, Chile, and Rio, January through March, November and December of 2006 and 2007. Holland America Line features inside-passage sailing through the Beagle, Cockburn and Darwin channels and Strait of Magellan for ideal glacier and wildlife viewing. Cruises include Euro-chic Montevideo, Uruguay. Fares start at $1,899.

Three 20-day Antarctic Experience Cruises
Holland America Line, the first of major cruise lines to explore Antarctica, again will offer three in-depth Antarctic Experience sailings on Dec. 22, 2006, Jan. 11 and Dec. 18, 2007. The Rotterdam will reveal the resplendent inlets, natural ice sculptures and waddling penguins of Elephant, Paulet, Deception, Anvers and Petermann islands. Guests may fly over Antarctica on a flight-seeing tour, visit the verdant Tierra del Fuego National Park, or take a photo safari to Puerto Montt's Osorno Volcano. Fares for these cruises between Rio and Valparaiso start at $3,499.

2006 Amazon River and Panama Canal Adventure
On a Sept. 24, 2006 sailing, the Veendam will offer embarkation in Vancouver, Seattle or Los Angeles for a 34-, 33- or 30-day, respectively, cruise to Tampa. The ship will glide down the Pacific coast and transit the Panama Canal, visiting, among others, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica; Oranjestad, Aruba; and St. George's, Grenada. Then, she will spend a week in the Amazon, calling at Parintins, Santarem, Boca da Valeria and staying overnight in Manaus. Fares start at $4,499.

Sojourning in the South Atlantic in 2006 and 2007
The Rotterdam offers a blend of cities and tropics on four Southern Transatlantic crossings between Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon in spring and fall of each year. Port calls include Canary and Cape Verde islands, eccentric Salvador and canal-laced Recife, Brazil. Fares start at $1,779.

Fall 2006 Taste of Two Continents Cruise
On Oct. 17, 2006, the elegant 793-passenger Prinsendam will sail from Lisbon to Fort Lauderdale, stringing together lush Amazonian jungles with West African coasts to find amber deserts, exotic markets and roaming animals along a dozen port calls. Shore excursions feature the enigmatic Pink Lake near Dakar, Senegal, a quad bike desert ride, a journey to Marrakech, and canal boat tours down Amazon tributaries. The ship will call at 20 ports, including Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Walvis Bay Namibia; Georgetown, Ascension Island; Fortaleza and Belem, Brazil; and Bridgetown, Barbados. Fares for the 46-day cruise start at $8,139. Guests may board in Cape Town on Nov. 8 for a 24-day cruise, with fares starting at $4,649.

Fall 2007 Amazon Explorer Cruise
On Nov. 24, 2007, the Prinsendam will make a novel voyage roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale to the Amazon. She will spend five days in the Caribbean, visiting Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Gustavia, St. Barts; Castries, St. Lucia; and Kingston, St. Vincent. After crossing the Equator and celebrating the King Neptune ceremony of ancient sea legend, guests will visit French Guiana's intriguing Devil's Island, known for beautiful butterflies and its legendary prison of the Napoleon era. The Prinsendam will continue through the Amazon River to the captivating jungle villages of Boca da Valeria, Santarem, Parintins and Manaus. Returning to Florida, the ship will continue making Caribbean port calls, including St. Georges, Grenada; Road Town, Tortola; and Half Moon Cay. Fares start at $4,799.

Circle South America & Antarctica Grand World Voyage
And finally, an epic grand voyage around South America aboard the Prinsendam takes in 17,400 nautical miles to 33 ports in 14 countries. This 66-day roundtrip sailing, departing Jan. 5 from Ft. Lauderdale, combines travel down the captivating Amazon River with four days of scenic cruising around the white wonders of Antarctica. The ship calls at nine ports in Brazil -- including tropical Recife, culturally diverse Salvador and three nights in Rio de Janeiro -- and seven Chilean ports, featuring the beautiful Bavarian lake district of Puerto Montt, the Emerald forests of Puerto Chacabuco, and fascinating Antofagasta, with its myriad lakes, geysers, deserts and volcanoes. The cruise also offers overnights in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Callao (Lima), Peru; and Manaus, Brazil. Other highlights include Devil's Island, known for the expansive prison where Napoleon banished political prisoners, Caribbean Turks and Caicos, and the charming San Blas Islands, inhabited by the Cuna Native Americans. Fares start at $12,499.

Guests may purchase two- to five-night pre- and post-cruise packages featuring Rio and Iguazu Falls; Lima, Peru, Machu Picchu and Santiago, Chile; and an extended Rio de Janeiro stay to see samba shows and Sugarloaf Mountain. Fares start at $291 per person, double occupancy. For more information contact a travel professional; call 1-877-724-5425 or visit online at

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Royal Caribbean International Orders Bold New Ship

MIAMI, Feb. 6 -- Royal Caribbean International fast-forwarded cruise-ship innovation today by ordering a new ship that will take the line's award-winning guest experience far into the future. The 5,400-guest, 220,000-gross registered ton ship, a prototype developed under the project name, Genesis, builds upon the trailblazing innovations of the brand's landmark Voyager and Freedom classes of ships. Finnish shipbuilder Aker Yards will build the ship for a Fall 2009 delivery, continuing a 35-year collaboration with Royal Caribbean.

At 1,180 feet long, 154 feet wide and 240 feet high, Project Genesis will give Royal Caribbean ample room to create memorable new icons and amenities to heighten guests' cruise experience. Energy efficiency also was prioritized in the new design with significant modifications made in the form of the hull and in the air conditioning and water production and treatment systems. The company estimates the all-in cost of the ship to be approximately $230,000 per berth or roughly comparable per berth to a Freedom-class ship, despite its being a prototype with significant advancements. The contract is contingent upon the completion of certain conditions by the end of February. Royal Caribbean also has an option for a second ship.

"It is exhilarating to take such a giant step into the future," said Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain. "We are fortunate to have such gifted collaborators as Aker Yards, and such valued supporters and advisors as our guests and trade partners. Project Genesis truly is a remarkable ship. Its bold design, daring innovations and technological advancements will delight our existing cruisers and help us draw in new ones."

Yrjo Julin, president of Aker Yards Cruise and Ferries, is equally proud of the companies' work. "After developing so many generations of cruise ships together, we are excited about jumping so far out in front of cruise-ship design with this highly innovative and exciting ship," Julin said. "Working together, we will create an unparalleled experience for the next generation of cruisers." Julin estimates Project Genesis will take 5,800 man years to complete. Aker Yards has delivered 11 ships to Royal Caribbean over the last four decades. Three of the brand's newbuilds are now under construction at the yard. The first out is Freedom of the Seas, which debuts in June.

Additional information can be found on the cruise line's web site at

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MSC Cruises Announces 2006-07 Caribbean Itineraries

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Feb 6, 2006 -- MSC Cruises’ announces an exciting lineup of new 2006-07 Caribbean itineraries along with repositioning sailings to New York and the debut of the MSC Musica in the North American market.

“It’s going to be a memorable season, from beginning to end,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA. “With a new ship and exciting itineraries, we are continuing to make new cruising experiences available to our guests.”

For the Italian-owned MSC Cruises, the season begins with the Nov. 15 arrival of MSC Lirica in Fort Lauderdale after a 17-night transatlantic crossing from Genoa. The ship will sail an 11-night Deep Caribbean Thanksgiving Cruise that calls at San Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Tortola and Cayo Levantado. The ship will then sail a series of alternating 11-night cruises to Panama and the Deep Caribbean, including a Christmas itinerary that calls in Jamaica, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras and a New Year’s sailing that visits Puerto Rico, the West Indies and the Dominican Republic.

MSC Lirica ends the Caribbean season with an 11-night cruise to Montreal that departs Fort Lauderdale on April 29. En route, the ship will call at New York, Boston, Halifax, Sydney and Quebec. The ship departs Montreal May 10 on an 8-night sailing that calls at Quebec, Charlottetown, Louisbourg, Halifax and Newport before arriving in her new homeport of New York. 

MSC Musica comes to North America
An 89,600-ton Panamax vessel with cutting-edge technologies and innovative design that is both classic and elegant, MSC Musica’s inaugural cruise departs Venice July 1. After sailing a series of Eastern Mediterranean itineraries, the ship leaves Genoa Nov. 8 on her 16-night inaugural transatlantic sailing. MSC Musica arrives in Fort Lauderdale to an evening of celebration Friday, Nov. 24. The following day the ship begins sailing weekly 7-night roundtrip cruises to San Juan, St. Maarten, La Romana and Cayo Levantado, through March 10.

The newest addition to the fleet will host 2,550 guests. Of the 1,275 staterooms, almost 80 percent will be outside accommodations, and 65 percent of the total number of staterooms will have balconies. MSC Musica will be the largest member of the line’s fleet, with more than 242,000 square feet of public area including expansive outdoor deck space of more than 86,000 square feet.

The new MSC Musica also features: 

  • A sparkling three-deck waterfall in the central foyer, where guests can be entertained by a piano suspended, by means of a transparent crystal floor, above a pool of luminous water;

  • A 13,000-square-foot spa/beauty facility offering aerobics, yoga and such treatments as aromatherapy, thalassotherapy, chromotherapeutic hydro-massage and a purifying Turkish bath;

  • An elegant 7,000 square-foot casino; 

  • Several dining options, including two restaurants, a Sushi Bar, an a la carte restaurant and a pizza/grill;

  • A variety of bars/lounges, including a Cigar Room, Wine Tasting Bar and Coffee Bar, as well as a 46-foot-long bar in the casino and a Well-being and Fitness Center Bar;

  • Expansive entertainment venues a three-deck theatre that seats 1,240, a panoramic disco at the ship’s stern, and numerous locations throughout the ship for additional entertainment;

  • Expanded onboard shopping opportunities with shops dedicated to electronics, logo merchandise and cosmetics, and an art gallery;

  • Sports and fitness-related activities, including a tennis court, golf simulator, jogging track and mini-golf.

MSC Musica returns to Europe on a special 20-night cruise to Venice that departs Fort Lauderdale March 17 and includes an overnight in Venice aboard ship at the end of the cruise.

“MSC Musica adds yet another dimension to the MSC Cruises fleet, while maintaining the Italian design, ambiance, service and cuisine that has come to be expected from an MSC Cruises experience,” says Sasso. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or a local travel agent.

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NCL to be first cruise line to homeport in the Big Easy since 
Hurricane Katrina

NEW ORLEANS, Feb 2, 2006 – At a gathering in Jackson Square, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and the Port of New Orleans announced that NCL will be the first cruise line to homeport in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. NCL’s Norwegian Sun returns to the Port of New Orleans on October 15, 2006 to sail seven-day exotic Western Caribbean cruises. 

“We are pleased to return Norwegian Sun back to her winter home in the Big Easy and in some small way assist in the recovery process of New Orleans,” said Andy Stuart, executive vice president of sales, marketing and passenger services for NCL. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Port of New Orleans and welcoming passengers back on board to explore the Western Caribbean from this historic city.”

"New Orleans blossomed into one of the most popular points of embarkation for cruise ship customers and was on pace to break the 1 million-passenger mark," said Gary LaGrange, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. "The cruise industry evolved into a major economic engine for the entire city, generating $226 million in direct and indirect sales annually. NCL is a vital part of that success and I commend them for their support and commitment to the rebuilding of a greater New Orleans."

Norwegian Sun’s seven-day itinerary out of New Orleans begins October 15 through April 8 and calls on Costa Maya, Mexico; Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala; Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. 

Norwegian Sun, launched in 2001, is NCL’s first purpose-built Freestyle Cruising vessel. The ship features nine distinctive restaurants accommodating 1,936 passengers with more than 400 balconies, 30 mini-suites with balconies and four Owner’s Suites. Amenities on Norwegian Sun include dynamic public rooms, expansive kid’s center with a children’s pool, a large casino, an Internet Café with 24 computer stations and a full service health spa and salon. For further information, please contact NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030; visit NCL's website at

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Active Enrichment Distinguishes 80 New Crystal Adventures
 in Europe This Summer

LOS ANGELES, Feb 1, 2006 – Bobsledding the Olympic track in Lillehammer. Hiking one of Geirangerfjord’s spectacular waterfalls. High-speed sailing in the Finnish archipelago. Teeing off on championship golf courses in Dublin or Edinburgh. With an emphasis on active enrichment, Crystal Cruises is debuting 80 brand new Crystal Adventures on 11 varied cruises throughout the Baltic and Northern Europe this summer. Savvy travelers seeking unusual and authentic experiences may choose from 333 shore tours ranging from a two-day excursion to Moscow to an afternoon drink at Stockholm’s unique Ice Bar. 

For its May-through-August Baltic and Northern European season aboard the ultra-luxurious Crystal Serenity, Crystal Cruises is offering more than 30% additional Crystal Adventures in 2006 than in 2005. Further, the luxury line has been raising its own bar by introducing approximately 45% more new tours than it presented in 2005. 

Why are there so many new choices in 2006 for a line that has been traversing the Baltic and Northern Europe for many years? One reason is that Crystal is visiting more destinations in the region than last year. Destination-rich itineraries of 7 to 14 days include voyages through Scandinavia and Russia, British Isles, a North Cape journey crossing the Arctic Circle, and assorted other destinations in Northern Europe. Maiden calls in Riga, Latvia; Spitsbergen, Norway; Ayr & Troon, Scotland; La Rochelle, France; and Gijón, Spain are sprinkled through the season. Crystal is also repeating visits to seldom-visited ports on its itineraries, such as Hamburg, Germany and Zeebrugge, Belgium.

“Besides our added port content, another reason for our shoreside expansion is that our tour operators get it,” explains John Stoll, Crystal’s director of land programs. “We’ve been actively challenging them for the past few years to broaden the scope of the experiences we can offer ashore. Today it’s a collaboration and partnership at its most creative. The results are more boutique tours designed to capture the imagination of the modern and contemporary Crystal guest who seeks more authentic adventures and luxurious one-of-a-kind experiences that are personally enriching.”

New Crystal Adventures include:

· A once-in-a-lifetime experience on the original Olympic Bobsled and Luge track used in the 1994 games at Lillehammer (from Oslo);
· A jet-set speed boat adventure through the Finnish archipelago (from Helsinki); 
· A ten-mile biking adventure on picturesque Isle de Ré (from La Rochelle); 
· An exclusive tour of the privately owned Blair Estate, reputed to be the oldest continually inhabited mansion house in Scotland which has not been rebuilt (from Ayr & Troon); and,
· A private cooking class with Alejandro García Urrutia, one of Spain’s best-known chefs (from Gijón). 

Crystal’s commitment to offering guests extensive choices is evidenced by its broad collection of new tours in established ports of call. In St. Petersburg alone, eight of the 32 tours offered are brand new, and all take advantage of Crystal Serenity’s three-day, two-night stay in Russia’s cultural capital. Highlights include:

· A new two-day excursion to The Hermitage allows for a more in-depth exploration of the treasured collections at one of the world’s most important museums;
· A Russian Ballet performance at the Mariinsky Theatre, home of the Kirov Dance Troupe; 
· A performance of Russian spiritual songs by the famed Alexander Nevsky Lavra choir on a visit to the Alexander Nevsky Monestary debuts this year, as does a gala dinner at the majestic Grand Duke Vladimir’s Palace; and,
· Overnight excursions to Moscow include the rare opportunities to fly a MiG fighter jet or explore the KGB Museum.

“The Baltic’s depth of beauty and the richness of each individual port make this an ideal repeat destination,” adds Stoll. “The choices in each destination are staggering – whether one is seeking cultural enrichment or more active pursuits.”

From adventure and art to cultural enrichment and pop culture, the variety of Crystal Adventures promises to pique the interests of all Crystal guests:

Active Adventure

· Flightseeing excursions offer new perspectives of Stockholm, Hamburg, Dublin and Oslo; 
· A hot air balloon journey showcases the idyllic Irish countryside (from Dublin); 
· New horseback riding adventures along the scenic trails of Dryhaven forest (from Copenhagen); and, 
· New golfing excursions at the Montgomerie at Carlton House in Dublin, and the St. Mellion Golf & Country Club in Plymouth.

Art & Culture

· An organ recital at the 11th-century Dome Cathedral, the largest place of worship in the Baltics housing one of the largest organs in all of Europe (from Riga);
· The masterful collections of the Van Gogh Museum and Rembrant House are showcased on a new tour (from Amsterdam), as are the treasured works of Author Astrid Lindgren at the Junibacken Museum (from Stockholm); 
· Visit to the centuries-old former residence of Sir Francis Drake (from Plymouth). 

Jewish Points of Interest

· A new tour in Amsterdam follows the city’s Jewish History path, visiting the hiding place of Anne Frank, and includes a guided visit to the Jewish Historical Museum; and,
· One of Copenhagen’s latest attractions, the Danish Jewish Museum, showcases 400 years of Jewish presence in Denmark.

The Popular – Spirits & Wine

· A pub crawl in Dublin, a beer tasting seminar in Zeebruge, gin tasting at the Plymouth Gin Distillery, and a visit to the famed Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen provide a ‘taste’ of local flavor; and,
· Three new journeys to the renowned chateaus of Bordeaux offer wine enthusiasts the chance to sample first growths and explore the pastoral countryside.

Cruises depart from London, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. Depending on itinerary selected, per person, double occupancy fares begin at $3,395. Pre- and post-cruise hotel stays are available at The Renaissance Chancery Court and The Berkeley Hotel, both in London; the Copenhagen Marriott; and The Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Guests also have the opportunity to experience the spectacular scenery of Europe aboard the Orient Express pre- and post-cruise depending on itinerary.

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

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Carnival Names New 112,000-Ton Cruise Ship Carnival Splendor

MIAMI, Feb 2, 2006 – Carnival Splendor is the name Carnival Cruise Lines has chosen for its new 112,000-ton cruise ship scheduled to enter service in spring 2008. Representing a new class of ship for the line, the 3,006-passenger vessel will be constructed by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and feature an innovative new design, including the largest spa and children’s facilities in the Carnival fleet. 

“Carnival Splendor will introduce a host of guest-driven facilities and features to usher in an exciting new era of ‘Fun Ship’ cruising,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

Highlights include a 17,800-square-foot spa – the largest ever incorporated into a Carnival ship. Encompassing two forward decks, the facility features an elaborate thermal suite, a variety of health and beauty treatment rooms, and Carnival’s first thalasso therapy pool. Encircling the upper level of the spa will be a winter garden that will include a ceremonial tea house. 

A 5,500-square-foot children’s playroom – the largest in the Carnival fleet – will be located mid-ship. Above the facility will be a new water play area – a first for the line. Located aft will be a new sports deck featuring arena-style seating for games and other events, while a reservations-only supper club will be located atop the poolside Lido restaurant, providing diners with magnificent ocean vistas. The mid-ship pool – one of four on board – will be enclosed by two full decks of glass walls. The area will be covered with a two-deck-high retractable dome that can be closed during inclement weather. A large balcony will encircle the upper deck of the pool area. 

The vessel will also include 1,503 staterooms, 60 percent of which will offer an ocean view with 60 percent of those featuring private balconies.

Carnival Splendor is one of three new “Fun Ships” currently under construction or on order with Fincantieri. In addition to Carnival Splendor, Carnival’s order book includes the 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom, scheduled to enter service in February 2007, and an as-yet-unnamed 130,000-ton SuperLiner – to be the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed – slated to debut in fall 2009. Carnival currently operates a fleet of 21 “Fun Ships” offering voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda and Europe. For additional information and reservations on any of Carnival’s “Fun Ship” cruises, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Atlantis Gay Cruise Calls on the Cayman Islands

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA, Feb. 2 - Atlantis Events, Inc., the world's largest company specializing in all-gay and lesbian cruises and resort vacations, on Tuesday became the first company to bring a major gay tourism event to the Cayman Islands since one of its cruises was denied permission to make a port call there in 1998. Subsequent to that incident, in 2001, the Cayman Islands government established an official policy of non-discrimination, making it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of race, age, religion or sexual orientation. But up until Tuesday, when the Atlantis-chartered Navigator of the Seas arrived with approximately 3,200 gay and lesbian guests, no all-gay cruise charters or other large gay vacation groups had returned to the Caymans.

"Atlantis applauds the government of the Cayman Islands for reaffirming its policy of non-discrimination and for respecting the rights of all visitors," said Rich Campbell, Atlantis CEO. "We want to thank the citizens of the Cayman Islands for extending such a warm welcome to our guests and their leadership for upholding their policy of non-discrimination."

The cruise arrived into Grand Cayman at approximately 11:00 am local time on Tuesday, January 31, and departed the island at 6:00 pm that evening. Approximately 1,000 guests participated in organized tours throughout the island while another 1,400 enjoyed exploring the island on their own. The ship was met upon arrival by a number of supporters and onlookers, and without any substantial protests.

"We're thrilled that we have been able to put the incident that took place in 1998 in the past," said Campbell. "The Cayman Islands are a beautiful and charming destination, with so much to offer visitors in the way of fine beaches, shopping, snorkeling and excursions. Atlantis' guests visited the Cayman Islands as tourists, just as any other visitors would, and had a terrific time enjoying the exceptional services, facilities and attractions that these islands have to offer. The response from most guests on-board the cruise has been overwhelmingly positive and many look forward to returning to the Cayman Islands in the future," noted Campbell.

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Bermuda Cruises Offer Hassle-Free, Close-to-Home Getaways

NEW YORK, Feb 2, 2006 - What could be better than vacationing in Bermuda, a destination so popular that 50 percent of visitors return a second time? Cruising to Bermuda. This year, 13 ships from the member companies of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) will offer convenient cruises to Bermuda from eight North American homeports, eliminating the hassles and costs associated with air travel. 

In 2006, travelers can sail to Bermuda from Baltimore; Boston; Cape Liberty (Bayonne, N.J.); Charleston; Gloucester, Mass.; Fort Lauderdale; New York and Philadelphia. Three cruise companies will offer regular Bermuda routes from April through October. Other ships will visit the destination on seasonal U.S. East Coast, transatlantic and Caribbean itineraries departing from Northeast cities. 

Bermuda exudes a British charm and flavor, and boasts strong African and Caribbean cultural roots. Bermuda's characteristic pastel-colored buildings and pink-hued beaches are among its treasures. Driving is on the left, and although rental cars are not available, horse-drawn carriages are plentiful and motor scooters are for hire. The island is also a veritable paradise for sports buffs. In addition to being one of the world's premier golf destinations - it is said that Bermuda has more acreage-per-square mile dedicated to golf than any other country in world - tennis players, snorkelers and divers will find plenty of active options here.

Cruise ships call at three Bermuda ports. Hamilton, the island's capital city, features excellent shopping options, entertainment and restaurants on the waterfront. St. George's is the center of Bermuda's maritime and cultural history, and King's Wharf at the Royal Naval Dockyard offers many shopping and restaurant choices, as well as several museums. 

"Bermuda cruises offer tremendous convenience," said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA ( "The many services, facilities and amenities of CLIA member lines' passenger-pleasing ships combined with Bermuda's wonderful sights and sounds make this destination perfect for an idyllic vacation."

Following is a list of Bermuda cruises offered in 2006 by CLIA-member cruise lines:

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES: Carnival Cruise Lines calls at Bermuda on a six-day itinerary aboard Carnival Legend that departs April 20 from New York. The itinerary spends a full day in Bermuda, docking at King's Wharf. The itinerary will also offer a visit to Newport, R.I.

CELEBRITY CRUISES: Celebrity Cruises' Zenith sails roundtrip from Cape Liberty on seasonal seven-night sailings that offer two nights aboard ship in Hamilton and one overnight in St. George's. Constellation operates a nine-night Caribbean roundtrip Cape Liberty itinerary on April 19 that calls at King's Wharf. 

COSTA CRUISES: For the very first time, Costa Cruises will feature Bermuda in its roster of itineraries. Costa Magica sails on two seven-night sailings to Bermuda, April 21 and April 28. Both itineraries depart from Fort Lauderdale and include overnight calls at Hamilton and Nassau.

CRYSTAL CRUISES: Crystal Cruises' Crystal Serenity includes a call at Hamilton as part of the ship's 10-day transatlantic itinerary departing Lisbon on Nov. 15. The itinerary, which calls at Ponta Delgada in the Azores, will feature an overnight in Hamilton before guests disembark in Miami.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE: Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Crown and Norwegian Majesty offer Bermuda departures from Philadelphia, New York, Boston and the new port of Charleston on itineraries of five to seven days. Norwegian Spirit is offering 10 eight-day Bermuda and Eastern Caribbean itineraries out of New York calling at St. Thomas, Tortola and King's Warf.

PRINCESS CRUISES: Crown Princess, the newest member in the Princess Cruises' fleet, features a stop at Bermuda's West End on its 10 nine-day Eastern Caribbean itineraries that begin in June roundtrip from New York. Additional port calls are San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk.

RADISSON SEVEN SEAS CRUISES: Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' all-suite Seven Seas Navigator sails on an 11-night journey, departing April 7, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, which spends two nights in Hamilton. The itinerary also includes port calls at Cape Canaveral, Savannah, Charleston (for an overnight) and Nassau. In addition to offering all-suite accommodations, 90% of the suites aboard Navigator also include private balconies.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL: Royal Caribbean International's Empress of the Seas operates on seven-night itineraries from Philadelphia with overnights at St. George's and Hamilton. Explorer of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas sail on five-night itineraries from Cape Liberty and Baltimore, respectively, overnighting at King's Wharf.

SEABOURN CRUISE LINE: Seabourn Cruise Line's Seabourn Pride calls at Bermuda during a "Food & Wine Festival" theme cruise departing Gloucester, Mass., on October 29. The 12-day voyage includes an overnight stay in Hamilton, enabling guests a day and a half to enjoy Bermuda's many attractions.

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That's Entertainment; Cruise Ships Bring a Taste of Broadway 
to the High Seas

NEW YORK, Feb 2, 2006 – Guests aboard today’s cruise ships don’t have to visit New York’s Broadway or London’s West End to see top theatrical performances. Seagoing vacationers enjoy live, nightly shows inspired by today’s popular theater hits as well as highly original productions.

“Many activities that are ‘extras’ on a typical land-based vacation, including entertainment, are included in the cost of a cruise,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the chief marketing organization for 19 major cruise lines and nearly 17,000 North American travel agencies. “Cruise guests can, in many cases, be entertained by a different show on every single night of their vacation.”

In addition to theater, travelers can also enjoy dazzling shows that pay tribute to showbiz greats and musical eras or become a part of the act in productions that invite audience participation and competition, and in some cases, the chance to become a shipboard performer! Also, some CLIA ( cruise lines feature celebrity performers and leading popular music performers on selected sailings while other cruise companies invite local and regional folkloric troupes on board for performances that enhance the destination experience.

Many of today’s onboard theaters boast state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment, and can in some cases accommodate as many as 1,400 guests in one sitting. Performances run the gamut, and guests can enjoy numbers from their favorite shows, from classics to contemporary favorites. CLIA-member cruise lines also offer theme cruises that focus on a library of musical styles from jazz to big bands and to the “Doo-Wop” music of the 1950s and 1960s. CLIA ships also feature smaller lounges and showrooms where cruisers can enjoy cabaret singers, classical quartets and piano recitals. And those guests looking to express their own star qualities will find dedicated karaoke clubs and facilities on some ships. 

Following is sampling of entertainment options available on CLIA member cruise lines: 

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES: Carnival Cruise Lines offers more than 40 lavish Las Vegas-style production shows, including “Rock Down Broadway,” “Wonderful World” and “Signin' With the Band” aboard the new Carnival Liberty. Featured aboard several vessels is the new "Carnival Legends" show where guests don elaborate costumes and perform the tunes of musical superstars in the main show lounge backed by a full orchestra and dancers.

CELEBRITY CRUISES: Celebrity Cruises presents four production shows on seven of its 10 ships on cruises of seven days or longer. Shows span a breadth of musical genres, ranging from dance to opera to rock and more. Summit and Constellation feature spectacular performances created in partnership with the world-famous Cirque du Soleil. 

CRYSTAL CRUISES: Guests sailing with Crystal Cruises are entertained in show lounges by the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers in such spectacular original productions as “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” “Million Dollar Musicals,” “COLE!” and “Curtain Call,” as well as the line’s distinctive “Repertory Theatre at Sea.” The luxury line also features celebrity entertainers onboard, who have included Carol Channing, Tommy Tune, Marvin Hamlisch and Joel Grey.

CUNARD LINE: The 1,200-seat Royal Court Theatre aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 features three full-scale production shows – a rock opera, dance extravaganza and tribute to Judy Garland – created by British producer Belinda King. Shows include a cast of 16 international performers,12 dancers and four principle singers from London’s West End. 

DISNEY CRUISE LINES: Disney Cruise Lines’ newest show, “Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story,” made its debut this summer. Other onboard productions include “The Golden Mickeys,” which is a musical salute to Walt Disney, and “Disney Dreams,” featuring Disney characters who teach a young girl about the power of her dreams.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE: Elaborate new Las Vegas-style shows, created by Barry Manilow’s producer, Stiletto Entertainment, were introduced aboard Holland America Line ships, bringing the total number of shows fleet wide to 32. The list of eleven new shows includes “Let Us Entertain You,” “On Track,” “Gold,” “Southern Nights,” “H2Oh!,” “Club Nevada,” and “If Walls Could Rock.”

MSC CRUISES: The lineup of shows aboard MSC Cruises’ ships can include French-style revues; Spanish shows with Flamenco and modern dancers; American-style Las Vegas reviews with international acts and a salute to the U.S.; variety shows combining acrobatics, dance, lights and music; Italian-style shows featuring operatic performances; repertoires of classical music; and magic shows.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE: Norwegian Cruise Line features original productions that appeal to a wide range of tastes. Pride of America, sailing Hawaiian waters, features "America's Beat and Dance of Life.” Norwegian Jewel's productions include "Cirque Bijoux," "Band on the Run," and "Country Gold." Second City performers are featured on Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Spirit.

PRINCESS CRUISES: Every Princess Cruises’ ship features award-winning productions, most of which are written, costumed and choreographed by the line. Many ships offer more than one theater venue so guests have the choice of seeing a show before or after dinner. A stage show designed for Caribbean Princess pulses with music from the islands. 

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL: Royal Caribbean International creates Broadway-caliber entertainment with its own in-house company, Royal Caribbean Productions. The line features more than 30 shows fleet wide, including “Now and Forever,” featuring selections from current Broadway musicals and “Can’t Stop the Rock,” a tribute to popular music. The Krooze Komic Program features interactive performance artists.

SILVERSEA CRUISES: Silversea Cruises’ four luxury ships feature a portfolio of new production shows that include “Cirque Nouveau,” a Cirque du Soleil-style tapestry of aerial ballet, song and fantasy; “On Broadway,” a tribute to popular Broadway musicals; and “Showtime at the Apollo,” celebrating some of the best known stars of the Apollo Theatre.

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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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