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March 1-31, 2006

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Statement Regarding Star Princess

March 23, 2006 (2pm PST) -- Star Princess is currently docked in Montego Bay following a fire aboard the ship early this morning as the ship was in transit between Grand Cayman and the Jamaican port as part of a seven-day voyage. The origin of the fire is still unknown, and Princess is cooperating fully with investigators from the U.S. Coast Guard and other regulatory agencies to determine the cause and assess the damage.

We at Princess extend our deepest sympathy to the passengers and their families who were personally affected by the fire, in particular the family of the passenger who passed away, along with those passengers who experienced smoke inhalation injuries. This is the first time such a tragedy has occurred during the history of our company, and we are devastated by this incident. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the fire. 

Following an assessment today of the damaged cabins, we believe the best course of action is to terminate the current cruise in Montego Bay. All passengers currently onboard will be flown home over the next two days, and will receive a full refund of their cruise and air fare. In addition Princess will cover any out-of-pocket travel expenses our passengers may incur for this change of plans. We will also provide passengers with a future cruise credit equal to 25 percent of the cruise fare paid on this voyage.

Passengers in the cabins affected by the fire, which number approximately 100, will be provided accommodations at hotels ashore in Montego Bay tonight, and the other passengers will remain on the ship until their flights home over the next two days. The ship is safe and is fully operational and continues to provide passengers with full services.

The following cruise, scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale on March 26, will also be cancelled. Similarly, passengers booked on this sailing will receive a full refund, the same 25 percent credit towards a future cruise, and Princess will additionally cover out-of-pocket travel expenses as a result of the change. Over the course of the next few days we will fully assess damage caused by the fire and plan to make the necessary temporary repairs to enable the ship to maintain its onward schedule. A plan for the repairs to the affected cabins will also be drawn up, and passengers booked in those cabins will be advised as soon as possible of our forward plans.

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One Dead, Others Injured Following Fire on Star Princess

March 23, 2006 -- Thursday morning at approximately 3:10 am local time, as Star Princess was en route from Grand Cayman to Montego Bay, a fire broke out in the passenger accommodations, and spread to adjacent cabins. Passengers were immediately notified of the fire using the public address system and requested to report to their muster stations. A full check to account for all passengers and crew was subsequently completed.

Princess deeply regrets confirming that there was one passenger fatality following a cardiac arrest, two passengers with significant smoke inhalation injuries, and nine passengers with minor complications resulting from smoke inhalation. The injured passengers were stabilized in the ship's medical center.

The fire was completely extinguished by crewmembers; however, there is residual smoke throughout the affected area. According to a US Coast Guard statement, the blaze affected about 100 cabins on passenger decks 9 through 12 and early reports indicate port side damage is extensive. The cause of the fire at this time is unknown. A full damage assessment is being carried out now that the ship is in Montego Bay. Authorities were immediately contacted regarding the incident and Princess is working closely with all relevant parties. The Coast Guard also said it is dispatching a fire protection engineer, an inspector and, an investigating officer to Montego Bay to begin an investigation into the incident.

Star Princess sailed from Fort Lauderdale on March 19 on a western Caribbean itinerary with calls at Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, and Princess Cays. The ship was carrying a total of 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members. A special number has been set up for inquiries from immediate family of passengers who are currently onboard: 1-800-693-7222.

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Celebrity Passengers Killed and Injured in Bus Accident

MIAMI, March 23 -- Celebrity Cruises is working in close coordination with Chilean and U.S. authorities to provide assistance in the aftermath of Wednesday's tragic bus accident involving guests sailing onboard Millennium.

"On behalf of everyone at Celebrity Cruises, I would like to express our deepest sympathies to our guests and their families regarding the deaths and injuries that occurred today," said Dan Hanrahan, president of Celebrity Cruises. "We continue to make every effort to provide comfort and assistance to our guests and their families who have been affected by this tragic accident."

Twelve guests were killed and two injured in the accident that occurred near Arica, Chile. The guests were on an independent private tour, not affiliated with the cruise line. The accident occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. local time. The bus in which they were riding swerved to avoid an approaching truck on a rugged mountain highway. The bus apparently ran off the road and plunged 300 feet down a mountainside. The Chilean driver of the bus and the tour guide also were injured. The injured have been taken to a local hospital. Upon learning of the accident, Millennium's captain dispatched a physician, nurse, and concierge to the hospital to assist the injured and local medical personnel.

Celebrity Cruises has established two toll-free phone lines for family members of guests sailing on this cruise. Callers in North America should dial 1-888-829-4050. Callers from outside North America should dial the following number collect 305-539-4050. These numbers are for family members only, and the company requests that the general public not use these numbers so family members of those onboard the ship may receive information in a timely manner.

The guests who were involved in the accident are part of a larger, 64-person B'nai B'rith group. Celebrity Cruises is consulting with a rabbi on how best to support the families. The ship conducted a service onboard for guests who wished to pay their respect to those involved in the accident. Phone lines and Internet access have been opened to guests onboard Millennium so they can communicate with their friends and loved ones to apprise them of their safety.

Celebrity Cruises is flying family members of those involved in the accident, and who choose to go, to Chile. The departure locations of these flights are not being revealed  to provide these family members the privacy they need during this painful, enormously difficult time. At this point, the names of the guests who were involved in this accident are not being provided out of respect for their families.

Celebrity Cruises Vice President for Marine Operations John Krousouloudis is leading a special assistance team from the company that is being dispatched to the ship to help its guests and crew. Celebrity Cruises reported the incident to the U.S. Consulate, U.S. Coast Guard, and Bahamian authorities. The company is working in close coordination with those organizations and Chilean authorities to assist the injured and those onboard the ship. The cause of the accident has not been determined, and Celebrity Cruises will be actively involved in the investigation. Celebrity Cruises will provide additional information regarding this matter as it becomes available.

Millennium departed Valparaiso, Chile, on March 19, on a 14-night sailing that is scheduled to conclude in Fort Lauderdale on April 2. The accident occurred on the fourth day of the cruise and the ship will remain in Arica, Chile, until further notice.

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Seabourn Spirit Explores Arabia & India in November 2006

MIAMI, March 22, 2006 -- Age-old Egyptian tombs and towering fjords; a long-lost city carved from solid stone and futuristic, glass-and-steel towers rising from desert dunes; a Persian-inspired marble dome, glowing in the first rays of the sun, and elephants bathing in a sun-dappled tropical river; these and many other unforgettable sights await travelers on two cruises aboard Seabourn Spirit in November of 2006. The yacht-like ship will depart from Alexandria, Egypt on November 4, 2006 on a 16-day itinerary that begins with a transit of the Suez Canal.

Port calls in Egypt include Sharm el Sheikh on the rugged Sinai Peninsula and Safaga, from where guests can cross the Eastern Desert to the Nile, to visit the temples and tombs of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. Aqaba, Jordan provides access to the amazing rock-cut city of Petra or the majestic wind-carved monoliths of Wadi Rum. Two calls in Oman explore this little-known nation. At Salalah, on the Arabian Sea, guests can learn the secrets of the ancient Frankincense Trail that linked the Far East with Greece in the classical era. Khasab reveals fortress towns built atop dramatic cliffs, towering over fjords cut deep into the rugged coastline. The ship's arrival at Dubai on November 19 will provide guests an overnight stay that will include a complimentary Exclusively Seabourn evening at a desert Bedouin encampment.

On November 20, a new 16-day cruise will begin with an overnight and a half-day stay in Dubai, a fascinating modern metropolis that has sprung up on the shores of the Persian Gulf. At storied Muscat, Oman, guests can opt for a sortie into desert canyons where streams create tranquil oases among the stony wastes. Mumbai, India provides a glimpse of the grandeur created by the colonial Raj, as well as an opportunity to tour the elaborately-carved and painted Hindu Elephanta Caves. At Mumbai, guests may also opt for an overland visit to Agra and the Taj Mahal before rejoining the ship at Cochin, India, a surprising destination that hints at its mixed history with Chinese-style fishing nets, Portuguese and Dutch colonial buildings and even an 18th century Jewish synagogue. 

At Colombo, Sri Lanka, visits are possible to a sanctuary for endangered Sri Lankan elephants, and to a breathtaking temple at Kandy, which holds the relic of the Buddha's Tooth. Penang, Malaysia, was an important port for the spice trade, and visitors here can view one of the world's largest reclining Buddhas, or survey the town's various ethnic neighborhoods from a privileged perch aboard a quaint trishaw. The cruise ends in Singapore on December 6, 2006. The cruises comprise a revised itinerary from the voyages originally planned for this period, substituting the visits to the Arabian peninsula and India for cruises ending and beginning in Mombasa, Kenya.

An optional, three-night pre-cruise extension in Cairo, with escorted sightseeing of the Giza Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum, is available. For more information, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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MSC Cruises USA Announces Revised Itineraries & Deployment

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 22, 2006 -- MSC Cruises has announced revised itineraries and vessel deployments in conjunction with the rapidly growing cruise line’s recent newbuild orders and its expanding presence in Europe and around the world. The moves will help position the cruise line for current and future growth, according to company executives.

“Our original plans to bring the MSC Musica to Florida in the fall of 2006 and MSC Lirica to New York by spring 2007 will be delayed,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA). Instead, MSC Cruises will add additional 11-night Caribbean cruises from Florida and continue sailing MSC Musica in Europe for winter 2007. “The revised deployment will enhance our ability to address increased demand for these popular programs and vessels in Europe and the Caribbean,” adds Sasso.

Previously scheduled cruises from New York in 2007 will be postponed. MSC Cruises has advised Bermuda that it will not be operating the MSC Lirica there in 2007 but will continue to discuss opportunities for 2008.

“With the MSC Musica now scheduled to stay in Europe all year, we will bring MSC Opera back to Florida to join MSC Lirica and revise our fall and winter Caribbean sailing calendar to include many more 11-night cruises to the deep Caribbean and Panama, itineraries that have been extremely successful for us in previous years,” says Sasso. 

The new Caribbean deployment schedules for winter 2006-07 are as follows:

  • MSC Opera departs Italy Dec. 2 on a 17-night transatlantic sailing to Fort Lauderdale, where she will do two 7-night holiday sailings before beginning a series of 11-night Deep Caribbean and Panama itineraries. MSC Opera then departs Florida May 9, 2007 for Copenhagen.

  • MSC Lirica will maintain her previously scheduled sailing calendar, departing Italy on Oct. 29 and arriving Nov. 15 in Fort Lauderdale. She will also sail Panama and Deep Caribbean itineraries, including 11-night Christmas and New Year’s sailings. She will depart April 29, 2007 on a 17-night transatlantic sailing to Hamburg, Germany.

Guests booked on any of the previously scheduled cruises will be accommodated and given special consideration for the new Caribbean sailings. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit

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Norwegian Dawn Is Featured On HBO’s All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise

MIAMI, March 22, 2006 – On April 6, 2006, Home Box Office (HBO) will present All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise, a documentary feature film chronicling Rosie and Kelli’s first-ever cruise for gay and lesbian families on board Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) Norwegian Dawn. The documentary, which was shot on the 2004 maiden voyage of R Family Vacations by award-winning filmmaker & Emmy® nominee, Shari Cookson, features a glimpse of society shaped by a truly diverse, inclusive network of families. All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise follows 500 gay and lesbian families from across the nation aboard Norwegian Dawn chartered by Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell. Thanks to the collaboration of R Family Vacations, HBO, NCL and Comcast, television audiences will have the opportunity to explore the vacation experiences of these compelling families as they share love, compassion and adventure as well as endure prejudices on land. 

“NCL is pleased to play such an integral role in a project as original and inventive as this,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. “NCL stands for freedom – and it’s not just the freedom of our signature Freestyle Cruising, but also our company philosophy. We want all of our guests to celebrate their individuality and enjoy their vacations the way they choose.”

R Family Vacations has chartered Norwegian Star this summer for an Alaska cruise and Norwegian Jewel next winter in the Caribbean. “All families deserve respect and all families are bound by love. We’re all equal,” Rosie O’Donnell said. “I think the film shows that the sexual orientation of a parent has nothing to do with the ability to parent.”

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Disney Cruise Line Announces First-Ever Mediterranean Cruises with calls in Spain, Italy and France

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL, March 21, 2006 -- For the first time, Disney Cruise Line is adding European flair to its itinerary offerings, repositioning the Disney Magic for the summer of 2007 to the Port of Barcelona in Spain and offering alternating 10-night and 11-night Mediterranean cruise vacations to Europe.

"Our guests have told us they would love to take a European vacation, but all of the planning and logistics can be daunting. These special sailings will offer a hassle-free way to experience the beauty and culture of Europe combined with the fun of a Disney cruise," said Disney Cruise Line President Tom McAlpin at an announcement event at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort this morning.

With eight European ports of call, which provide gateways to familiar cities such as Florence, Rome, Pisa and Cannes, these new Mediterranean itineraries present the family vacation of a lifetime. 

"The flexibility and mobility of Disney Cruise Line allow us to offer guests a new way to explore other parts of the world while enjoying a world-class cruise experience," said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo. "Disney Cruise Line is a model for the way we are expanding our family vacation business worldwide by offering new experiences the whole family can enjoy."

The four 11-night itineraries depart on Saturdays: May 26, June 16, July 7 and July 28; while the four 10-night itineraries depart on Wednesdays: June 6, June 27, July 18 and Aug. 8. Both itineraries will depart from Barcelona for the summer.

In addition to the Mediterranean cruises, two 14-night trans-Atlantic sailings bookend the 10- and 11-night adventures with the eastbound itinerary departing from Port Canaveral, Fla., May 12, and the westbound starting from the Port of Barcelona, Aug. 18.

Bookings for these special and very limited itineraries are scheduled to open on April 4, giving interested guests time to plan with their families and friends. Starting rates for the Mediterranean 10- and 11-night itineraries range from $2,399 to $3,499 and are based on double occupancy. Guests interested in booking a Mediterranean cruise to Europe with Disney Cruise Line should call (888)-DCL-2500, visit or contact their travel agent.

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Silversea Teams with National Geographic Traveler to Offer Unique Enrichment Program Aboard 2007 World Cruise

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, March 20, 2006 - Silversea Cruises and National Geographic Traveler magazine have joined forces to offer an innovative package of amenities and enrichment presentations aboard Silver Shadow's World Cruise 2007. Headlining the program is award-winning photojournalist Steve McCurry, whose haunting photograph of an Afghan refugee girl has been described by many as the most recognizable photograph in the world today. McCurry is slated to host a series of presentations aboard Silver Shadow as the 382-guest, ultra-luxury cruise ship journeys on its first segment, "The Empire of Time." This 16-day voyage from January 15 to 27, 2007, cruises through the Panama Canal, taking guests from Fort Lauderdale to Santiago to explore the beauty and wonders of South America. 

Other highlights of the National Geographic Traveler program include an exclusive photography exhibit of Steve McCurry's work that will be on board Silver Shadow throughout the World Cruise. For this once-in-a-lifetime travel experience, guests will also receive their own autographed copy of the book Portraits, a collection of McCurry's hand-picked photographs of people he has met on his journeys around the world. 

"Our World Cruise offers guests the luxury to pass the time at a leisurely pace, pursuing the kinds of interests and personally enriching activities that they may not find the time for in their normal, day-to-day routines," said Joseph Proto, Silversea's director of World Cruise and business development. "We're delighted to be able to work side-by-side with an internationally renowned organization like National Geographic Traveler to enhance our guests' experience with an exclusive enrichment program that is sure to give them a unique perspective on the geography, people and cultures of the world they are about to discover on their epic journey." 

Steve McCurry, recognized universally as one of today's finest image-makers, has won many of photography's top awards. Best known for his evocative color photography, McCurry, in the finest documentary tradition, captures the essence of human struggle and joy.

Departing January 15, 2007 from Fort Lauderdale, Silver Shadow's World Cruise 2007 will cross three oceans, seven seas and six continents, visiting 61 different ports, and conclude on the originating coast, in New York City, on May 22. For more information on the World Cruise, visit

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Carnival Freedom to Debut With 12-Day Greek Isles, Mediterranean Cruises Beginning in March 2007

MIAMI, March 20 -- Carnival Cruise Lines' new 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom will operate an exciting inaugural schedule in 2007, encompassing 12-day cruises that include the line's first-ever visit to the Greek Isles and Turkey, as well as extended calls at a variety of magnificent Mediterranean ports. Carnival Freedom's inaugural season kicks off March 14, 2007, and includes seven 12-day Mediterranean & Greek Isles cruises and 12 12-day "Grand Mediterranean" voyages through Oct. 16, 2007. All voyages operate round-trip from Rome (Civitavecchia).

"For Carnival Freedom, we've assembled two terrific itineraries that feature new destinations for Carnival -- the Greek Isles and Turkey -- as well as a variety of spectacular European ports to enable guests to experience the region's broad diversity of cultures, cuisine and history," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. "These new 12-day cruises to the Mediterranean and Greek Isles not only provide exciting itinerary choices for our guests but represent the continuing evolution of the 'Fun Ship' vacation experience," he added.

New Mediterranean & Greek Isles Cruises
The 12-day Mediterranean & Greek Isles cruises include eight ports: Naples, Italy; Rhodes, Greece; Izmir (Ephesus) and Istanbul, Turkey featuring scenic cruising of the Dardanelles; Athens (Piraeus) and Katakolon, Greece; and Livorno, Italy, as well as an overnight call in Rome (Civitavecchia). The seven 12-day Mediterranean & Greek Isles cruises depart March 14 and 26, April 7 and 19, June 18, Aug. 5, and Sept. 22, 2007. These cruises offer guests a variety of unforgettable landside experiences, including visiting the legendary Acropolis and the Temple of Poseidon in Greece, as well as the ancient cities of Olympia, Priere, Didyma and Miletus, which are four of the best-preserved settlements of Grecian history.

With the overnight call in Civitavecchia, guests can enjoy a shore excursion to Rome to see the centuries-old Coliseum or to Vatican City to tour St. Peter's Basilica, while during the extended call in Istanbul, guests can visit the fabled Blue Mosque and Topkapi Museum. On the departure from Istanbul, Carnival Freedom will sail the spectacular Sea of Dardanelles, which connects the Aegan Sea with the Sea of Marmora.

Exciting 12-day 'Grand Mediterranean' Voyages
The 12-day "Grand Mediterranean" cruises visit seven ports: Naples, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice, Italy (two-day call); Messina, Sicily; Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; and Livorno, Italy. The 12 voyages depart May 1, 13 and 25, June 6 and 30, July 12 and 24, Aug. 17 and 28, Sept. 10, Oct. 4 and 16. On these voyages, guests can visit captivating European cities such as Capri, Taormina, Monte Carlo, Florence and Pisa, which are home to some of the world's most celebrated museums and centuries-old historical landmarks and attractions. Particularly noteworthy is the two-day call in Venice, where guests can sample the city's excellent restaurants, view stunning architecture, and visit magnificent museums and cathedrals.

Signature 'Fun Ship' Amenities

  • Carnival Freedom will offer a wide range of signature "Fun Ship" amenities: 22 lounges and bars, a 13,300-square-foot spa, a jogging track, Internet cafe, and four swimming pools -- one with a 214-foot-long water slide. A nine-deck-high glass-covered atrium provides easy and convenient access to the various areas. 

  • Dining choices include twin two-level formal restaurants with extensive menus and wine lists, a 1,400-seat casual poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, and an reservations-only supper club serving prime steaks and other upscale cuisine. These venues will feature "Georges Blanc Signature Selections" created by the talented French master chef.

  • Carnival Freedom will also include a comprehensive golf program, an 1,100-square-foot conference center, a duty-free shopping mall, and expansive facilities for the line's "Camp Carnival" and "Club 02" programs catering to children and teens, respectively.

  • Of the ship's 1,487 staterooms, 60 percent will offer an ocean view with 60 percent of those featuring private balconies--perfect for scenic cruising.

Pricing and Reservations
Prices for Carnival Freedom's new 12-day Mediterranean & Greek Isles cruises begin at $999 per person and the 12-day Grand Mediterranean voyages at $1,449 per person, based on double occupancy. Round-trip air supplements from a variety of North American gateways, along with special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom, are also available. Carnival will begin accepting individual and group reservations March 27, 2006. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit

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Royal Caribbean Revamps Bedding Fleetwide

Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean President dons silk PJs in "playboy" fashion to demonstrate the new bedding.

MIAMI, March 2006 – Sleeping on a cruise ship never felt so good! Guests cruising with Royal Caribbean International will soon experience the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation with the introduction of a new fleet-wide bedding program. The program, designed to enhance the sleep experience, includes an extreme makeover from bed frames to covers and, includes: 

  • New bed frames designed to prevent sagging;

  • Nine-inch-thick spring mattresses with separate two-inch-thick micro-fiber pillow tops;

  • 220-thread-count long-staple cotton-blend sheets;

  • Two micro-fiber pillows, plus one decorative pillow;

  • Duvet with cotton-blend covers;

  • Bed skirts; and

  • Colored bed scarves placed at the end of the beds to protect the duvet. 

“Though we think bedtime is the last thing on anyone’s mind while on a Royal Caribbean cruise, we do realize that sleeping well is essential to our guest’s vacation experience,” said Adam Goldstein, president. “As with other Royal Caribbean enhancements, our new bedding program will provide our guests with a compelling stateroom experience.”

The cruise line also has created a solution to the dreaded gap that invariably forms when two twin beds are pushed together to form one larger, queen-size bed. Custom-designed pillow tops are doubled over when placed atop twin beds, but are unfolded and laid on top of one another and the mattresses to create a queen-size, gap-free mattress. 

The new bedding program will make its debut in May on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Freedom of the Seas, and will be rolled out to the rest of the fleet by May 2007.

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New York is Homeport for Three New Crystal Symphony Cruises This Fall

LOS ANGELES -- For its 2006 New England and Canada season, luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises is featuring more fall foliage cruises traveling round-trip from New York. From September through October, the award-winning Crystal Symphony showcases the fall splendor and rich history of this unique part of the world on five destination-rich itineraries including a new 11-day and two new seven-day round-trip departures from New York, as well as two 11-day itineraries between New York and Montréal. 

"The history and foliage of New England and Eastern Canada have become a major attraction for travelers within the U.S. as well as abroad," says Bill Smith, Crystal's senior vice president, sales and marketing. "Sailing into or out of New York adds another unforgettable feature to the itinerary as well as convenience." 

The season begins with two new week-long itineraries departing from New York on September 14 and 21. Included are visits to Newport, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts (overnight); Bar Harbor, Maine; and, Halifax, Nova Scotia. The new 11-day cruise, also from New York, departs on October 20 and features a call at Québec City and scenic cruising of the Saguenay River. With an added dash of flavor, one of New England's best loved chefs, Christian Thornton of Atria in Martha's Vineyard, brings his talents aboard as part of Crystal's Wine & Food Festival at Sea.

At the heart of Crystal's New England & Canada season are two 11-day cruises journeying into the heart of French Québec, each showcasing a maiden port of call for Crystal. From New York on September 28, Crystal Symphony visits Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport, calling on the maiden port of La Baie des Ha! Ha!, Canada; spending a full day in Québec City; and, ultimately arriving in Montréal for an overnight. The October 9 departure from Montréal features the same itinerary with a maiden call at St. John, New Brunswick in place of Le Baie des Ha! Ha!.

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

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Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils Norwegian Pearl's Hull Art

MIAMI, March 15, 2005 – Today at the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Conference in Miami, NCL Corporation (“NCL”) unveiled the colorful hull artwork for its newest build, Norwegian Pearl, now scheduled for early delivery in November 2006. Norwegian Pearl’s decorative hull artwork will be splashed along both sides of the hull featuring dramatic strands of colorful pearls and streamers running from the bow of the ship almost to the middle of the ship. Pearls naturally come in a wide variety of colors, ranging from creams and roses to greens and golds. The hues on Norwegian Pearl’s hull will showcase a colorful palate including green, plum, cranberry and sapphire blue. 

“Each of our ship’s hull artwork expresses the vessel’s individual personality,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. “With the Norwegian Pearl artwork, we wanted to embody the colorful palette of the ship’s dynamic public rooms and bring it to the outside of the ship.” 

As the eighth big, new ship to join the NCL fleet since modernization began in 2000, Norwegian Pearl will feature all the attributes of NCL’s dynamic modern Freestyle Cruising fleet. She features 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. 

NCL is currently building three ships, including one more for the NCL America brand in Hawai`i - Pride of Hawai`i (delivery in April 2006), Norwegian Pearl (delivery in November 2006) and Norwegian Gem (delivery in 2007).

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SeaDream Yacht Club Opens Books on 2007 Sailings

MARCH 2006 -- SeaDream Yacht Club has opened its 2007 inventory of voyages for individual bookings and charters. The year 2007 will see SeaDream I and II, the ultra-luxury operator’s twin, mega yachts, sailing primarily seven- to ten-day voyages in Europe in the summer and South America and the Caribbean in the winter. SeaDream’s 2007 schedule and itineraries are posted on its website

The just released 2007 schedule features more beaches, more overnights and more late evening stays in various ports. Among new ports for 2007 are: Anegada, Barbuda, Vieques and Culebrita in the Caribbean; Paxoi, Paros, Molyvos, Syros, Kos and Ithaki in the Greek Islands and Port Camargue, France on the Mediterranean coast. While SeaDream has regularly sailed in Europe and the Caribbean since its introduction in the fall of 2001, it is introducing new South America sailings in the upcoming winter season.  As with both Europe and the Caribbean, SeaDream’s South America itineraries emphasize the smaller, more exclusive yachting ports.

SeaDream’s President & CEO Larry Pimentel said “The fact that we plan to sail in South America for the second winter is testimony to how pleased we are with high degree of interest in these sailings and on how advanced bookings are shaping up. While we have been recording outstanding business for 2006, we have been experiencing a high degree of interest in 2007.”

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Strong 4th Quarter Passenger Totals Highlight 2005 Growth for CLIA-Member Cruise Lines

MIAMI BEACH - The leisure cruise industry's dynamic passenger growth continued in 2005, according to statistics compiled by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Based on full-year statistics from CLIA's member-line fleets, the cruise lines carried a record 11.18 million worldwide passengers in 2005, a 6.9 percent increase over passenger totals for 2004. North American passenger totals grew by 9 percent during the same period, to 9.67 million guests, up from 8.87 million in 2004. 

For the fourth quarter of 2005, worldwide passengers increased to 2.84 million guests, up 10.6 percent from the 2.56 million who sailed in 2004. North American guest totals for the fourth quarter grew 8.8 percent to 2.38 million, up from 2.19 million in 2004. The 2005 passenger figures are new statistics released today by CLIA, whose 20 member cruise lines represent over 97 percent of the cruise capacity marketed in North America. CLIA-member cruise lines enjoyed equally high utilization rates, posting a 103 percent occupancy factor for 2005, identical to the occupancy achieved in 2004. 

"The reason for the industry's robust growth can be stated simply: cruises represent the consumer's very best vacation value," said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA ( "More and more leisure travelers are enjoying the variety of pleasures found aboard today's ships, which include superb service, sensational cuisine, and diverse amenities and facilities."

CLIA's passenger carryings statistics for 2005 also include:

  • Itineraries of one to five days accounted for a 34 percent share of the cruise market; itineraries of six to eight days accounted for 52 percent; nine- to 17-day itineraries accounted for 13 percent and itineraries of 18 days or longer accounted for 0.3 percent of the market.

  • The average length of a cruise in 2005 was 6.95 days versus 6.90 days in 2004.

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SeaDream Yacht Club Introduces Advance Online Spa Bookings

SeaDream Yacht Club has introduced an advance online booking system for the highly-rated Asian Spas aboard its twin-mega yachts SeaDream I and II. The system is reached through the internet by accessing SeaDream’s website at and then linking to the spa booking site, or by going directly to The system is accurate and easy to operate. 

Larry Pimentel, SeaDream Yacht Club President and CEO, said the new system is another convenience for SeaDream guests who enjoy the range of Asian Spa offerings while sailing with the award-winning ultra-luxury operator. “Our Asian Spa consistently is rated a perfect ten in onboard guest surveys. The spa service is an important adjunct to our overall onboard service,” Pimentel said.

SeaDream’s Spas offers an extensive range of Asian treatments such as the well-known traditional Thai Massage, Shiatsu Massage and Javanese Lulur Body Scrub. There is a wide range of health and wellness, therapeutic experiences---massages, body wraps and scrubs as well as a series of facial therapies. All spa offerings are for men as well as women. Along with the spa therapies SeaDream’s Asian Spa operates a salon with services including manicures and pedicures and other beauty treatments. These may be booked in advance online as well. The spas are open from 8am until 8pm daily.

SeaDream Yacht Club is a member of the highly-regarded Thai Spa Association. In fact, it is the only seagoing spa member. Also, for the size of its twin mega-yachts, accommodating only 55 couples in elegantly appointed staterooms--with eight massage therapists aboard each vessel, SeaDream offers the highest ratio of masseuses per guest of any passenger ship operating today.

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Save on Star Clippers Fall & Winter Caribbean Sailings

MIAMI, MARCH 14, 2006 -- Next fall and winter, travelers will have another reason to leave the cold weather behind and head to the warm waters of the Caribbean aboard an authentic sailing ship. Star Clippers has introduced special savings of up to $700 off cruise and air packages on seven-night Caribbean sailings aboard Royal Clipper and Star Clipper. The offers are available to U.S. and Latin America residents on a variety of departures from November 2006 through April 2007. 

Savings of $700 per person, double, are available on sailings from Nov. 11, 2006, to Jan. 21, 2007. That includes $400 off the cruise fare, plus $300 off the add-on airfare from major U.S. cities. Cruise-only savings of $600 per person also are available. From Jan. 27 to April 15, 2007, guests can save $500 per person, double, on Caribbean sailings. That includes $300 off the cruise fare, plus $200 off the add-on airfare from major U.S. cities. Cruise-only savings of $400 per person also are available.

Royal Clipper, the 227-passenger flagship of the fleet, sails two different seven-night, round-trip Barbados itineraries. The Windward Islands itinerary features calls at St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, Iles de Saintes and Martinique. The Grenadine Islands itinerary includes calls at The Grenadines, Grenada, Tobago Cays, St. Vincent, Bequia, Martinique and St. Lucia.

The 170-passenger Star Clipper sails two seven-night Caribbean itineraries round-trip from St. Maarten. The Leeward Islands itinerary offers calls at Nevis, Iles de Saintes, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Antigua and St. Barts. The Treasure Islands itinerary features calls at Anguilla, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Jost van Dyke, St. Kitts and St. Barts. 

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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New Builds Strengthen MSC Cruises’ Position as the Leading 
European Cruise Line

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 14, 2006 -- MSC Cruises has announced it will further expand its rapidly growing fleet of contemporary European-style cruise ships. The line, headquartered in Naples, Italy, has signed a contract with Chantiers de l’Atlantique confirming an order for construction of yet another Panamax ship, with delivery slated for March 2008, along with confirming the option for an additional ship. The ship will be the fifth of the line’s confirmed orders. MSC Cruises currently has contracts with Chantiers de l’Atlantique to build two Panamax and two post-Panamax vessels. The latest addition and option are for Panamax vessels in the same class as the 89,600-ton MSC Musica, which is having her inaugural sailing July 1. MSC Orchestra, the second Panamax ship, is scheduled to join the fleet in 2007. The line has also contracted for two post-Panamax newbuilds, MSC Fantasia and MSC Serenata. The addition of this fifth new order will increase the line’s fleet to 12 ships by 2009. 

“We have come a long way since 2002, when we had three ships in service. This move further solidifies MSC Cruises’ position as the leading European cruise company and the fastest-growing cruise line,” says Sasso. “We are committed to making investments that confirm MSC Cruises as the dominant force in the European cruise market.”

Like its sister ships MSC Musica and MSC Orchestra, the newbuild will feature cutting-edge technologies and innovative design. The ship will carry 2,500 passengers and have more than 242,000 square feet of public area. In addition, 85 percent of the staterooms will be outside accommodations and 65 percent of the total number of staterooms will have balconies. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit

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American Cruise Lines Joins Cruise Lines International Association

MIAMI BEACH - The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) will welcome American Cruise Lines as its newest member effective March 15, said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA, the cruise industry's chief marketing organization. American Cruise Lines (ACL) will bring to 20 the number of CLIA-member cruise lines, which collectively represent 97 percent of the cruise capacity marketed in North America. CLIA ( is also comprised of nearly 17,000 travel agencies, making it the largest travel industry association based on agency membership. 

A leader in small-ship cruising, ACL ships sail with no more than 100 passengers along the smooth, inland waterways of the United States, on nine itineraries between Maine and Florida. To enhance each port visit, carefully selected "enlighteners" - naturalists, historians and other experts - are on board to offer informal lectures, lead expeditions and answer passengers' questions. The line's relatively new fleet - built in 2000, 2002 and 2005 - offers spacious staterooms and opening picture windows; many feature private verandahs. Complimentary cocktail parties and hors d'oeuvres each evening let guests recap the day's excitement prior to dinner, where masterful chefs create regionally inspired meals that showcase the freshest ingredients from the waterfront towns along the way.

"We welcome American Cruise Lines to the international CLIA fleet," said Dale, "The company's ships offer vacationers a casual and intimate onboard atmosphere, coupled with an educational adventure along the inland waters of the East Coast."

To learn more about American Cruise Lines, go to To make a reservation, contact a CLIA-member travel agency. To locate an agency near you, use the Travel Agent Locator on CLIA's website at

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Oceania Cruises Announces the 2007 European Collection

Miami, FL, March 13, 2006 — Oceania Cruises is pleased to announce the release of the new 2007 European Collection voyages. With three ships positioned in Europe for the season, Oceania Cruises will offer guests an unrivaled array of itineraries that set a new standard of excellence for destination cruising. Recognizing that discerning travelers are constantly seeking new adventures and a more in-depth travel experience, Oceania Cruises crafted the 2007 European Collection to offer 53 departures with 20 distinct itineraries to sate even the most seasoned traveler. Sailing to the Western Mediterranean, the Greek Isles and Scandinavia, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica will sail to more than 70 ports throughout Europe.

New Ports, More Destinations, Fewer Sea Days
As the industry leader in destination cruising, Oceania Cruises has elevated the cruise experience to new heights with more than 80 overnight port stays in the greatest destinations in Europe such as Athens, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Sorrento, St. Petersburg, Stockholm and Venice. In addition to such treasured favorites as Barcelona, Portofino, Athens, Monte Carlo, Rome and Provence, to name but a few, we have added an astounding and eclectic array of new ports. Loyal repeat guests and first-time guests alike will be awe struck by the ancient beauty of Cinque Terre, which is easily accessible from the Ligurian port of La Spezia. The charming Albanian seaside port of Sarande beckons with its story-book charm as do the dramatic Roman ruins of Butrinti, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the Albanian coast. Other new and noteworthy ports include Mitilini, on the Greek isle of Lesbos; historic Cagliari, on the Italian isle of Sardinia; the yachtsman’s haven of Portoferraio on Italy’s stunningly beautiful isle of Elba and captivating Mahon, the jewel of Spain’s Balearic Islands. 

2007 European Collection voyages range from 10 to 16 days in length and feature an overabundance of port time and a minimum number of sea days. On average, 10- and 12-day itineraries will feature no more than one sea day and 14-day itineraries will feature no more than two sea days. 

  • The Greek Isles are more popular than ever and in 2007, we offer 25 sail dates with nine distinctly different itineraries. 

  • Insignia’s 12-day sailings between Rome and Venice on April 28 and May 10 feature 11 ports of call with three overnight port calls and no sea days. 

  • Insignia’s new 14-day voyages between Rome and Athens feature calls in Sorrento, Italy; Messina, on the Italian isle of Sicily; Valletta, Malta; La Goulette, Tunisia; Heraklion, on the Greek isle of Crete; Alexandria, Greece; Limassol, Cyprus; Antalya, Turkey; Rhodes, Greece and Kusadasi, Turkey. 

  • A new 14-day Istanbul to Barcelona voyage calls upon the great wonders of the archeological world – Mitilini, on the Greek isle of Lesbos; Kusadasi, Turkey; Rhodes, Greece; Antalya, Turkey; Limassol, Cyprus; Alexandria, Egypt; Heraklion, on the Greek isle of Crete; Valletta, Malta; La Goulette, Tunisia; Cagliari, on the Italian isle of Sardinia; and Mahon, Spain. 

  • Nautica leaves virtually no port unexplored in the Mediterranean, Greek Isles or Black Sea. Sailing 15 voyages that range from 10- to 14-days in length, many of her voyages combine the best of Greece, Turkey and Italy. 

  • Regatta traverses virtually all of Europe with voyages to the Greek Isles, Mediterranean, Western Europe and the glittering, great northern cities of St. Petersburg, Russia; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; Berlin, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Gdansk, Poland; Tallinn, Estonia; and Bruges, Belgium. 

“Oceania Cruises has deftly crafted each 2007 European voyage to provide our guests the richest combination of destinations, overnight port stays and enriching shore side exploration opportunities,” stated Bob Binder, Executive Vice President of Oceania Cruises. Voyages begin and end in the great cities of Europe, affording guests the opportunity to extend their stay in Stockholm, London, Barcelona, Rome, Venice, Athens and Istanbul. “Whether taking a shorter 10-day cruise or combine several of our unique voyages to create the ultimate European travel experience, discerning travelers will enjoy the grandeur of Europe amidst the warmth and casual elegance that is unique to the Oceania Cruises experience,” added Binder. 

Free Airfare and 2 for 1 Cruise Fares Start at $1,999 Per Guest
With Free Airfare from 20 North American gateways and 2 for 1 cruise fares, these extraordinary voyages are the pinnacle of value. 2 for 1 cruise fares start at just $1,999 per guest and guests are urged to make their reservations as early as possible to ensure that they take advantage of the free airfare and receive the accommodations of choice on their preferred voyage. Detailed itineraries and pricing for Oceania Cruises’ 2007 European Collection will be available online at on April 3, 2006. As many 2006 European Collection voyages sold out so quickly, guests are urged to make their reservations as quickly as possible to avoid disappointment. The 2007 European Collection will open for reservations on April 3, 2006 and the offer of Free Airfare and 2 for 1 Cruise Fares expires August 31, 2006.

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Princess Adds Another 680-Passenger Ship to Fleet

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., March 9 -- Princess Cruises announced that it will expand its fleet with a sister vessel to the line's popular Tahitian Princess and Pacific Princess. The 680-passenger ship will be named Royal Princess, taking the name of a much-beloved Princess ship which had long been cruising in Europe and other exotic worldwide destinations. Its new successor will take over a similar deployment when she enters service in spring 2007. The 30,000-ton ship originally entered service in 2001 as a Renaissance vessel (named R8) and is currently cruising as Swan Hellenic's Minerva II. Royal Princess will join its sisters Tahitian Princess and Pacific Princess to give passengers a cruising environment with all the hallmarks of choice for which Princess is known, including a variety of dining and entertainment options and a large number of cabins with private balconies.

"We're delighted to welcome the new Royal Princess to our fleet," said Alan Buckelew, the company's president. "The Princess cruise experience is all about choice, and we're sure this new ship addition will please our passengers who enjoy traveling aboard a smaller vessel to exotic destinations. We're expecting that this ship will rapidly achieve the same loyal passenger following as her sisters Pacific and Tahitian." Buckelew added that the company's smaller ships nicely complement its fleet of larger vessels, furthering Princess' commitment to providing passengers with exotic itineraries and providing a "boutique version" of the company's Personal Choice Cruising program. This includes a variety of dining experiences such as a 24-hour Lido cafe and alternative dining venues, and nearly three-quarters of all cabins featuring private balconies.

The ship will begin sailing for Princess in April 2007 after a two week dry dock to make some interior modifications. Her first itineraries will be in Europe with 12-day sailings in the Mediterranean, Holy Land and Black Sea, and details of these cruises will be announced shortly. "With the addition of Royal Princess, this further modernizes the Princess fleet, which is already one of the youngest in the industry," added Buckelew. "In 2007 our average ship age will be just under six years, and we know that our passengers appreciate the features and amenities we can offer with newer ships."

Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Seabourn's European Tours Satisfy an Appetite for Activity

MIAMI, March 9 -- Ultra luxury cruise pioneer Seabourn Cruise Line has created a European "Adventure Collection" of shore excursions that offer its guests opportunities to feel the burn while seeing the sights in ports of call from Norway to the Greek Isles. The adventurous, active experiences are designed to satisfy vacationers who believe that sybaritic shipboard indulgences like the line's sumptuous dinners and herb-scented bubble baths should be complemented by a certain amount of vigorous exertion. For example, Seabourn offers guided bicycle excursions in Madeira; Sardinia; Taormina, Sicily; Florence, Athens, Helsinki, around Stockholm's Royal Djurgaarden park and, in Denmark, at Skagen and on the island of Bornholm. Guests are also offered chances to explore the French island of Corsica, the slopes of Sicily's Mt. Etna, the Greek isle of Corfu and the vineyards and flower fields of Provence on mountain bikes.

For those seeking something even more strenuous, Seabourn offers excursions involving the popular European activity called "canyoning," in which participants swim, jump, climb, rappel and float down scenic river canyons, one located near Nice, France and another at the Alcantara Gorge on the island of Sicily.

A variety of guided walking tours are available in nearly twenty of the line's European ports of call, including cliff walks on the isle of Guernsey; walking the moors of Dartmoor from Plymouth, England; exploring the Art Nouveau section of Aalesund, Norway on foot; following Cezanne's footsteps from Nice, strolling Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, an "insider's" walking tour of Mykonos and volcano hiking on Santorini.

Some Adventure Collection excursions feature highly specialized activities, such as a sea-kayaking tour of the waters around Dubrovnik, sailing on the Turkish coast and a truffle-hunting expedition near Rovinj on Croatia's Dalmatian Coast.

Adventure Collection tours are offered in Europe along with Seabourn's award-winning "Signature Series" tours, which often feature privileged entry into museums and other attractions when they are closed to the general public, exclusive receptions with local dignitaries, or introduction to fascinating local features that are well known to insiders, but remain off the typical tourist's itinerary.

Back on board, Seabourn's active guests will appreciate the ship's fully-equipped, sea-view gym and the award-winning Spa at Seabourn, even as they enjoy a continuing series of thoughtful enhancements to shipboard and shoreside services called Signature Delights that add luxury and value for guests aboard the three 208-guest Yachts of Seabourn: Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. Signature Delights include free Massage Moments on deck; complimentary service of spirits and wines including French champagne throughout the cruise, gourmet cuisine created by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, indulgent Pure Pampering therapeutic bathing selections from Molton Brown and an Exclusively Seabourn complimentary shoreside experience on every cruise. For information, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Cunard's Commodore Warwick to Retire After 36 Years of Service

VALENCIA, CA - March 9, 2006 - Cunard Line announced that Commodore Ronald W. Warwick O.B.E., Master Queen Mary 2, will be retiring July 31, 2006 after 36 years of company service. 

Commodore Warwick joined Cunard Line as a Third Officer in 1970. He first sailed as Captain in 1986 on board Cunard Princess, and also sailed in command of the Cunard Countess and Cunard Crown Dynasty, before his first appointment as Master of Queen Elizabeth 2 in August 1990. From April 1996 he sailed permanently as senior Master on board Queen Elizabeth 2 until his appointment as Master-designate of Queen Mary 2 in 2002. In December 2003 he was promoted to the rank of Commodore of the Cunard Line fleet.

Commodore Warwick holds the unique distinction in Cunard Line's long history of notable Captains by following in the footsteps of his late father Commodore William E. Warwick C.B.E., who sailed as Master of the Queen Mary, was the first Master appointed to Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1968, and was also promoted to Commodore of the fleet, in 1970. 

In June 2005 Commodore Ronald Warwick's service to the Merchant Navy was recognized by him being awarded the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours for that year. Commodore Warwick also holds the rank of Captain in the Royal Naval Reserve, and is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute.

To mark the occasion of his retirement year, Commodore Warwick and his wife Kim will be sailing on Queen Mary 2 in June and July and several special events are planned during these voyages.

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Windstar Cruises' Sailing Ships Explore the Waters from the Western Med to the Greek Isles in 2006

SEATTLE, March 8 -- Windstar Cruises' three elegant and intimate motor sailing yachts will spend seven months this year sailing in the Mediterranean and Greek Islands. Windstar's Greek Islands cruises have proven extremely popular, and the company is increasing its number of sailings in 2006 from 27 to 38. 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 new itinerary allows guest to combine two Greek Island cruises for a 14-day voyage with no repeating ports of call.

Between April and November, the 308-guest Wind Surf and 148-guest Wind Star and Wind Spirit will sail a total of 40 voyages in Europe. Homeports include Lisbon, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Monte Carlo, Malaga, Marseille, Nice and Venice. The Wind Surf will sail the Western Mediterranean from April through November including a 14-day Nice-to-Nice itinerary to coincide with the Grand Prix race in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The Wind Star and Wind Spirit will each sail three seven-day cruises beginning late April and then again in late October.

"Europe is a very popular cruise destination for us," says Diane Moore, vice president of marketing and sales for Windstar Cruises. "Our new Greek Isles sailings feature a new itinerary with smaller, unique ports. There's no better way to see the beautiful Greek Isles than by sea, especially aboard a casually elegant Windstar ship."

The Wind Star will also operate a series of eight cruises between Athens and Venice in July and August. Ports of call on the Athens to Venice itinerary include Monemvasia, Katakolon, and Corfu, Greece and Dubrovnik, Croatia. The Venice to Athens itinerary visits Rimini, Italy; Hvar and Dubrovnik, Croatia and Cephalonia and Kythira, Greece. The company has adjusted its itineraries to allow for later departures and more overnights in ports, so guests can enjoy more time for shopping, shore excursions and nightlife in favorites such as Monte Carlo, Monaco; Ibiza, Spain; Santorini, Greece; Sorrento, Italy; and Dubrovnik, Croatia. 

Taking the adventure from ship to shore, Windstar has organized shore excursions in port ranging from active and adventurous to relaxing and luxurious. "We've done all the research and booked with the best tour operators," says Moore. "We take care of all the details with attention paid to the quality and safety of each excursion so that our guests can spend their day enjoying themselves."

If romance is in the air, a gullet ride for two in Bodrum, Turkey is a romantic sailing experience through the magnificent coves of the Bodrum Peninsula. A delicious lunch of local specialties and chilled white wine will be served on board. For adventure, see Monaco by helicopter or take the tram 3,000 feet up to the top of Mount Capanne in Portoferraio, Italy.

Windstar has made reservations at fine dining hot spots. At the Hotel Splendido overlooking the picturesque harbor in Portofino, Windstar has arranged for the maitre d'hotel to meet guests, present the lunch menu, and discuss different types of olive oil used in Italian cuisine. In Mykonos, dinner is served at La Maison de Katrin, a romantic and classy restaurant in town often visited by stars. In Monaco, a private helicopter whisks guests to Moustiers village for lunch at La Bastide de Moustiers. Famous Chef Alain Ducasse prepares a three-course lunch of French Provencal cuisine.

New Tours for 2006

  • In Canakkale, Turkey, Ancient Troy takes guests to the famous site of the legendary city destroyed in the Trojan War. In Izmir, Turkey, the Pergamum Acropolis & Asclepion tour visits the site's ruins and includes a lunch of Turkish cuisine in the city center.

  • In Katakolon, Greece, Ancient Olympia takes guests 2,000 years into the past. A guided tour includes one of the seven wonders of the ancient world- the Temple of Zeus.

  • The Deluxe Granada & the Alhambra tour in Malaga, Spain visits the stunning Muslim-Hispano 14th century Alhambra. Lunch will be served at Ruta del Veleta, one of Spain's finest restaurants. Often visited by Spain's royal family, the restaurant is known for their creativity with Spanish and Andalusian cuisine.

  • In Portofino, guests may opt for the five-hour tour to Genoa, the main commercial port of Italy, also known as a genteel seaside resort. A guide will narrate the town's history and sights.

In 2006, a collection of 20 voyages are designated "Foremast Sailings" for alumni. On these sailings, alumni guests will receive 50% or more off the brochure tariff.

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NCL America Dedicates Onboard Library to United States’ Flagship Vessel

MIAMI, March 8, 2006- Honoring the fastest ocean liner ever built, NCL America is proud to announce that the library onboard its newest ship, Pride of Hawai`i will be named the SS UNITED STATES Library. This library will not only be a peaceful, relaxing sanctuary for passengers, it will also pay tribute to the history of this great American beauty, thanks to special assistance from the SS UNITED STATES Conservancy. 

"As one of the country's most venerable ships from the glory days of trans-Atlantic sea travel, the SS UNITED STATES was revolutionary, faster and more technologically advanced than anything else afloat at the time,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. “As the proud owners of the SS UNITED STATES, NCL America is privileged to dedicate a library to this American icon on board our newest and now largest U.S-flagged ship, Pride of Hawai`i.”

The SS UNITED STATES Library will feature original photography, vintage advertisements and original lithographs from renowned marine artists, as well as wall-hanging annotations from Conservancy experts to help educate passengers about the vessel's great significance and her place in maritime history.

"The SS UNITED STATES embodied in one single creation the best of American marine engineering, advanced technology, and artistic style; she was our nation's most visible and best known national symbol in the 1950's and beyond," said Greg Norris, vice president and board member of the SS UNITED STATES Conservancy. "I sailed in the SS UNITED STATES eight times during my youth and have always been in awe of her incredible presence and grandeur. It's truly a pleasure to share my knowledge and experience with NCL America, and I hope the Conservancy and NCL can continue to breathe new life into this American icon.”

NCL America welcomes the new Pride of Hawai`i to its U.S. Flagged fleet in April 2006. She’s the largest US 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. 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 also features multiple lively public rooms, 10 restaurants and impressive onboard amenities. 

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Crystal's Wine-Makers Dinners Now Available for Online Booking

LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2006 - Wine enthusiasts traveling with Crystal Cruises may now book the line's highly regarded Wine-Makers Dinners  online in advance of their cruise. The shipboard reservation service is  easily accessed at Hosted in the intimate Vintage  Room aboard both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, the dinners showcase gourmet menus of world cuisines and rare wines on every voyage for just ten to 14 guests.

As many as five Wine-Makers Dinners may be offered on a typical 11-day cruise. Guests are welcome to reserve a single seat for an all-inclusive cost of $180 per person, joining a minimum of ten of their fellow travelers for the extravagant culinary experience. Or, they may reserve  the entire Vintage Room for an exclusive private party for $1,800. The price includes a tasting menu reflecting the ships' cruising region, four to eight different wines, and all gratuities. Guests may also create custom menus with wines of their choice, with the price changing  accordingly.

"In keeping with our guests' desires for new and authentic experiences, Crystal was the first cruise line to debut the Wine-Makers Dinners in 2003, offering more than just lectures and tastings to create a total experience that enriches, educates and even surprises the most  sophisticated aficionado," says Toni Neumeister, Crystal's Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations. "Now, with the option to pre-reserve this unique experience online in advance of their travels, guests are assured a truly enriching event that reveals the historical, cultural and culinary nuances of wines." 

Crystal's award-winning culinary team works in tandem with the line's expert sommeliers to create menus that showcase the unique attributes of each vintage, with exceptional vintages from famed wine-making regions such as Bordeaux, Napa Valley, Australia, and Italy. The Wine-Makers Dinners are savored by connoisseurs eager to discover appellations not easily accessible in stores and restaurants, from a first-growth Bordeaux to a classic Spanish vega sicila.

As with its Crystal Adventures shore tours, Crystal Spa & Salon appointments, specialty restaurant reservations and Creative Learning Institute classes, cruises must be paid for in full at least 180 days prior to the sail date in order to take advantage of the online pre-reservation service.

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More Than Changing A Name, Regent Seven Seas Cruises Builds on Acclaim

NEW YORK, March 7 -- Signaling its enduring commitment to the luxury business and its Regent brand, Carlson Companies, one of the world's leading hospitality, travel and marketing companies, announced an evolutionary step: the merger of Regent Hotels and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises under its global Regent banner. The new global Regent brand will encompass Regent Hotels and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, which will change its name to Regent Seven Seas Cruises with immediate effect, reflecting its alignment with Regent Hotels, born in Asia and legendary for service.

The re-branding of the cruise line, which has earned a reputation for distinguished luxury cruising since its inception in 1992, also signals the continued upgrading of amenities throughout the fleet. In shedding its old name for its new brand identity, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises is not just becoming Regent Seven Seas Cruises, "Our acclaimed cruise line is evolving to a new higher level," said Jay Witzel, president and CEO of Carlson Hotels Worldwide and Carlson Cruises Worldwide. Sketching out developments over the next 18 months, including the upgrading of suite design, décor, amenities and technology plus the roll out of innovative new product offerings and services, Witzel noted that Regent Seven Seas would align with Regent Hotels under the theme of "The Regent Experience."

But for the new Regent Seven Seas Cruises, he stressed, "some things will not change." Building on the finest accommodations at sea, with the world's only all-balcony suite vessels, intimately small and mid-sized ships, award- winning cuisine, celebrated itineraries to over 300 ports worldwide and an elegant ambience with gracious service guests rave about, "the line is evolving naturally to its next logical step," Witzel noted. Since its inception in 1992, Radisson Seven Seas has won acclaim in the luxury category as one of the "World's Best Cruise Lines." Having raised the bar on luxury through its ownership of the all-balcony suite concept, and partnerships with famed Le Cordon Bleu® and Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society, the re-branding from Radisson to Regent Seven Seas Cruises "keeps pace with valuable insights gained from guests, prospective affluent travelers and our extensive proprietary research," said Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Future guests can expect improved computer service with WiFi capability for those who prefer to use their own laptops. In addition, cell phone access will be available, even when at sea. Suites will boast new bedding with down comforters and Egyptian cotton linens, Regent-branded bath amenities, flat screen televisions, DVD players, and new clocks. Top suites will feature iPod music systems with Bose speakers. Ships will receive upgrades during regularly scheduled dry docks over the next 18 months.

For further information, contact Regent Seven Seas Cruises, 1000 Corporate Drive, Suite 500, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33334; or toll free 1-800-477- 7500; for brochures and reservation information toll free 1-800-285-1835; or visit the Web site: For reservations, contact your travel professional.

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Carnival Corporation Launches Asian Cruise Initiative

MIAMI, March 6 -- Costa Cruises, an Italian-based subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc, announced that it will enter the Asian market in July 2006 with the Costa Allegra operating round-trip voyages from Shanghai. The 1,000-passenger (total capacity), 28,500-ton vessel will be marketed exclusively to Chinese clientele, initially operating a series of 24 five-day cruises from Shanghai to Nagasaki, Japan, and Cheju, Korea, beginning July 3, 2006.

"We have been exploring a strategy for entering the Asian marketplace for some time and have indicated that our entrance into this hugely populated market would be through one of our existing brands. These cruises represent a first step in this initiative and will serve as a platform for future expansion into other areas of Asia. Although all of our brands are virtually unknown in China, we chose Costa because it is already very international in nature, serving guests of many different nationalities, languages and cultures," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman and CEO. He noted that most of Carnival's other brands cater to specific nationalities.

Costa Cruises Chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi's extensive experience working in Asia was another factor in selecting Costa, according to Arison. Prior to being recruited by Carnival Corporation in 1997, Foschi spent seven years in Hong Kong and Singapore overseeing the Pacific Asia operations for the Otis Elevator Company. During this time, he managed an organization consisting of 22 separate operations, employing nearly 18,000 people, with sales of approximately $1.8 billion. "Pier is a highly talented international executive and his years in Asia, combined with his vast experience overseeing Europe's leading cruise company, bring a unique insight and perspective into our new Asian cruise initiative," Arison said.

Arison noted that China is one of the world's fastest growing travel markets, with more than 31 million Chinese traveling abroad last year. That number is expected to grow to 50 million by 2010. "Asia is a vastly underserved market and although these cruises on the Costa Allegra may be just a small step, if it proves as successful as we anticipate, this region could be the next great growth area for cruising," he said. 

To oversee its entry into Asia, Costa has created a new division, Costa Asia, with an office in Hong Kong and an office in Shanghai scheduled to open in April of this year. This marks the first time that a large international cruise company has been granted a license by the People's Republic of China to embark its citizens from Chinese ports. In May, Costa plans to open a call center in mainland China. According to Foschi, "This project, together with our previously announced new itineraries in the Far East and UAE, is part of Costa's strategy of business development and expansion in what we believe are emerging, high-growth markets. It will be a great thrill to see a Costa Cruises' ship in the ports of the People's Republic of China and other Asian countries."

Prior to the launch of service from Shanghai, Costa Allegra will undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation to create an on-board product specifically tailored to the preferences of Chinese vacationers but with a European flair. Following the refurbishment, the Costa Allegra will offer a variety of dining options, including a "fusion" (Asian/Italian) restaurant, a sushi/noodles bar, an Italian restaurant, a wellness center, and a shopping area. Entertainment will be geared toward Asian tastes, as well. While Costa Allegra's deck and engine officers, along with key departmental management, will be Italian, they will be assisted by more than 230 Chinese professionals who will be hired from local hotels and resorts.

Additional information is available at,, and

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Holland America Line's ms Noordam Makes Her European Debut 

SEATTLE, March 3 -- With Europe, an ever popular cruise destination, Holland America Line is adding a fifth ship, the new ms Noordam, to sail the Mediterranean throughout the summer. The Noordam makes her European debut starting with a 16-day Atlantic crossing from New York to Rome followed by a full summer of 10-day cruises exploring the romantic and beautiful Mediterranean round trip from Rome (Civitavecchia) from May through September. The Noordam offers two itineraries for guests to choose from: the Mediterranean Enchantment, which features the Western Mediterranean, and the Roman Empire, which showcases the Eastern Mediterranean and Greek Isles. Each 10-day cruise may be combined back-to-back for a 20-day complete Mediterranean adventure.

Mediterranean Enchantment Sails Western Mediterranean
The works of Gaudi, Picasso and Michelangelo, ancient cities and lost civilizations, bustling markets of Italian leather and north African treasures -- these are just a few of the highlights of a 10-day cruise featuring the Western Mediterranean aboard the Noordam. The itinerary includes visits to the tiny principality of Monte Carlo, Monaco; Livorno, Italy for excursions to Florence and Pisa; Gaudi and Picasso's mesmerizing Barcelona, Spain; the island of Palma de Mallorca, Spain; La Goulette, Tunisia; Sicily's intriguing Palermo; and Naples, Italy with optional excursions to Capri, Pompeii or Sorrento. Cruises depart May 1 and 21, June 10 and 30, July 20, August 9 and 29 and September 18, 2006.

Roman Empire Sails Eastern Mediterranean and Greek Isles
Medieval art and architecture, magnificent ruins of ancient temples and baths, dazzling white houses clinging to 1,000 foot-high cliffs -- these are a few of the highlights of a 10-day cruise featuring the Eastern Mediterranean and Greek Isles aboard the Noordam. The itinerary includes visits to enchanting Dubrovnik, Croatia; the idyllic islands of Corfu, Katakolon and Santorini, Greece; the ancient wonders of Kusadasi, Turkey; Valletta, Malta; and sailing the Strait of Messina off Italy's southern tip. Cruises depart May 11 and 31, June 20, July 10 and 30, August 19 and September 8, 2006.

16-day Transatlantic Big Band Cruises
Departing April 15 and September 28, 2006, the Noordam's 16-day transatlantic cruises feature the sounds of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie and Benny Goodman, to name a few. On April 15, 2006, Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians with Al Pierson will share their distinctive style with over 500 hit songs to their credit including "Auld Lang Syne." On September 28, 2006, the Nick Ross Orchestra will perform each night of the cruise with a line-up of classic Big Band sounds of the 1940s.

Food and Wine Experts Headline the Noordam's Culinary Arts Center
Holland America Line welcomes acclaimed culinary experts Gerald Dawes and Charles Dale aboard the Noordam this summer to headline the Noordam's Culinary Arts Center, a state-of-the-art "show kitchen at sea." Gerald Dawes will share his expertise on Spanish food, wine and culture aboard the Noordam's July 20, 2006 Mediterranean cruise and Charles Dale, culinary visionary and founder of Aspen's Range and Rustique, will entertain and enlighten with his expertise on rustic yet modern cuisine aboard the Noordam's September 18, 2006 Mediterranean sailing.

With the introduction of the 1,918-passenger ms Noordam in early 2006, Holland America Line's fleet grows to 13 ships, offering nearly 500 cruises from more than 25 home ports. Itineraries range from two to 108 days and visit all seven continents, including new Australia/New Zealand and Asia sailings, a world cruise and popular sailings to several ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico and Europe. The ms Noordam also will offer Caribbean sailings in the winter from new homeport New York City, followed by a full summer season sailing the Mediterranean round trip from Rome. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Windstar Cruises Welcomes World-Renowned Artist Dale Chihuly Aboard the Wind Surf

Seattle, WA, March 1, 2006 –Renowned artist Dale Chihuly joins the msy Wind Surf’s voyage from Rome to Nice departing June 11, 2006. Chihuly, best known for his glass artwork, will board the 308-guest msy Wind Surf with his family for a week of cruising in the Mediterranean. Guests are invited to see the artist in action along the way. Instead of glass art, Chihuly will create five paintings. All painting will be done pier side. One painting will be auctioned off on board the ship with proceeds donated to Chihuly’s designated charity—The Hilltop Artists in Residence Program, an at-risk program for teens located in Chihuly’s hometown of Tacoma, Washington. Chihuly will host a cocktail reception aboard the ship one evening. All guests will be invited to attend.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Dale Chihuly and his family on board the Surf this summer,” says Diane Moore, Windstar’s vice president of marketing and sales. “It’s not everyday you have the chance to meet a legendary artist like Chihuly and seeing him in action painting on the pier will be a highlight.”

Known for his avant-garde blown glass artwork, Dale Chihuly is a leader in the development of glass as a fine art. His work is included in over two hundred museum collections worldwide and he’s been the recipient of many awards, including eight honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. The founder of Pilchuk Glass School in Washington, Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. He has created many well-known series of works, among them the Baskets, Persians, and Seaforms, but he is also celebrated for large architectural installations such as Chihuly Over Venice and Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem.

Other ports visited on this itinerary include Rome; Porto-Vecchio, France; Portoferraio, Elba; Livorno and Portofino, Italy; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Nice. The ship will overnight in Livorno and Monte Carlo to allow guests more time for shoreside exploration and dinner ashore. Cruise rates for the June 11 voyage with Chihuly start at $2,449 per person based on double occupancy.

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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Cruisers Increasingly Seek Active Sightseeing Options

NEW YORK – Travelers who think cruise-line sightseeing tours are passive propositions are in for a surprise – nothing could be further from the truth! Today, cruise lines offer a wide variety of heart-pounding shore excursions including whitewater rafting, race-car driving, rappelling, diving and zip-lining atop rain-forest canopies. The increased availability of high-activity sightseeing tours is evidence of the changing tastes of today’s seagoing vacationers, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the marketing and training organization for the world’s 19 leading cruise lines and nearly 17,000 North American travel agencies. 

“Active or adventurous optional tours add excitement and enrichment to a cruise vacation,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA ( “A significant number of today’s cruise vacationers are seekers and explorers. They’re not the passive bus-tour type. They may kayak one day and join a mountain-bike trek the next, and they’ll find these and other activities aboard today’s ships.”

Those in search of more “traditional” tours need not worry, as cruise lines continue to feature popular visits to landmarks, historical sites, museums, botanical gardens and other mainstream sightseeing options.

Following is a sampling of active sightseeing options offered by CLIA-member cruise lines:

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES: Carnival Cruise Lines offers its guests a sightseeing adventure that uniquely combines cave tubing and rain forest exploration in Belize. On this tour, travelers have the opportunity to tube down the Sibun River amidst craggy cave and rock formations, as well as view the lush foliage and vegetation of the Belizean jungle during a 45-minute hike.

CELEBRITY CRUISES: A Celebrity Cruises’ excursion lets guests soar between the tops of St. Martin’s 200-year-old mango and mahogany trees to experience the largest bird habitat in the northeastern Caribbean. The course comprises a sequence of zip-lines, rope swings and bridges suspended from platforms mounted from forest trees.

CRYSTAL CRUISES: In the Mediterranean, Crystal Cruises’ guests have the chance to drive a Formula 1 race car with instruction both on and off the course in Monte Carlo. This Crystal Adventures extreme excursion is aimed at “driving technique purists as well as gear lever and heel-and-toe enthusiasts.” 

CUNARD LINE: Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 South America cruises offer whitewater rafting excursions in the majestic Chilean fjords from Puerto Mont. Guides take passengers on a 12-mile-long descent of the azure waters of the Petrohue River, which features spectacular waterfalls, verdant forests, mountains and volcanoes.

DISNEY CRUISE LINE: A guided, 40-minute nature walk to the tranquil side of Disney Cruise Line’s private island, Castaway Cay, introduces vacationers to the history and geology of the Bahamas. Once there, they embark on a one-hour kayak excursion through the ecologically sensitive mangrove environment and tidal zones.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE: As part of Holland America Line’s new adventuresome series of Off the Beaten Path tours, passengers journey on a photo safari via small boat from the Croatian village of Opuzen to where the Neretva River delta forms a huge marsh with numerous birds, fishes and other species. 

MSC CRUISES: When MSC Cruises visits Roatan Island, off the northern coast of Honduras, certified divers can explore a coral reef that was the cause of many naval disasters and is now Honduras’ only location for a shark encounter that may include Black Tip, Bulk and Silver sharks.

NORWEGIAN COASTAL VOYAGE: Passengers on Norwegian Coastal Voyage’s expeditions to Antarctica & the Chilean Fjords have the chance to observe several hundred Magellanic penguins in their natural habitat at a colony on Seno Otway (Otway Sound), located 40 miles north of Punta Arenas, Chile – the southernmost city on earth.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE: Norwegian Cruise Line’s NCL America brand offers heli-hike adventures on Maui. Guests fly over Hana and its majestic rainforest to Haleakala, the world’s largest dormant volcano, where they touch down at a remote site, before ascending the slopes to the crater’s summit for a hike.

PRINCESS CRUISES: Among Princess Cruises’ most popular excursions, Canopy Tours let guests “fly through the treetops” on a series of zip-lines. Some also offer rappelling, rope bridges, obstacle courses and other elements. These Canopy Tours are available in Puerto Vallarta, Kauai, Maui, Ketchikan, Jamaica, Belize and Costa Rica.

RADISSON SEVEN SEAS CRUISES: In Corsica, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises lets amateurs feel like professional rock climbers. With an expert guide, participants in safety harnesses scale the sides of steep ridges and up rock faces clipped to a system of cables called the Via Ferrata, the Italian phrase for “Iron Way.”

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTL: From Skagway, Alaska, Royal Caribbean offers a Klondike rock climbing and rappelling tour featuring the smooth granite walls of the White Pass. Travelers hike a short distance to the base of rock cliffs smoothed by retreating glaciers. There are climbing options for all abilities.

SEABOURN CRUISE LINE: From the fishing village of Sanary-Sur-Mer on the French Riviera, Seabourn Cruise Line guests can travel to quaint Bandol in the Cotes de Provence for a mountain biking adventure among fields of flowers and vineyards and through groves of pine and mimosas dotted with villas. 

SILVERSEA CRUISES: A kayak adventure in Vietnam? Silversea Cruises offers this optional excursion from the port of Ha Long Bay. Participants, who travel in two-person canoes, explore a fishing village and host of grottoes and caves, including famous Luon Cave, featured in the French film Indochine in 1991.

WINDSTAR CRUISES: In Costa Rica, Windstar Cruises features a full-day river float excursion down the Corobici River, depending on the water level. While paddling down river, participants will view a variety of birds that nest near Palo Verde National Park and chattering monkeys hanging by their tails.

The best way to learn more about these exciting optional sightseeing tours and excursions 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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Costa Concordia Brings a New Dimension to Cruising With
 Largest Spa at Sea

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., March 1 -- When the Costa Concordia sets sail for the first time in July 2006, it will mark the arrival of a new style of cruising with the luxurious Samsara Spa, the largest wellness center ever built on a ship. Extending over two decks and boasting panoramic views of the ocean, the 20,500 square-foot haven of relaxation and rejuvenation will offer travelers the ultimate wellness experience at sea. Elements of the spa's invigorating treatments and stunning design are inspired by the meaning of "Samsara," which is associated with the path to spiritual enlightenment, bliss and balancing of life energies. A full menu of treatments based on Ayurvedic principles, a state-of-the-art fitness center, exclusive spa accommodations and a specialty restaurant are just some of the spa's innovative features. 

For those who want to fully immerse themselves in the Samsara Spa ambience, 55 cabins and 12 suites situated in the center of the spa provide a veritable extension of the experience at all times. Guests who reserve these accommodations will have access to exclusive privileges including flat screen televisions, a special set of Samsara bath accessories and a "Welcome Ritual," all included in the cruise price. The "Welcome Ritual" features unlimited access to the spa and Thalassotherapy pool, two complimentary fitness classes, a personalized wellness consultation with a spa expert, two treatments, two sun-lamp sessions in the solarium and an invitation to a special spa tea ceremony.

In addition, guests who reserve exclusive Samsara Spa accommodations will have access to the renowned wellness cuisine in the Ristorante Samsara. This specialty restaurant features spa-friendly cuisine created by renowned Michelin-star chef and founder of Italian molecular cuisine, Ettore Bocchia. Other cruise guests may dine in the Ristorante Samsara for an additional fee.

The Samsara Spa features numerous treatments inspired by aromatic herbs, essential oils, exotic plants and Ayurvedic essences. Ayurvedic-inspired treatments include the Shiordara Body Glow, a sea salt exfoliation combined with an essential oil compress; and the Shiorbhyanga Massage, which includes a combined relaxation technique using aromatic frangipani essence and reflexology. An Aroma Stone Therapy session, created by Elemis, uses the healing power of hot stones combined with essential oils for a blissfully relaxing massage experience. All spa guests will have access to Thalassotherapy baths, a rock sauna (a hotter version of classic saunas) and a Turkish bath (either traditional or scented with gently fragrant rosemary, eucalyptus and lavender). Before all treatments, spa guests may begin their path to rejuvenation in the Tepidarium, a warm thermal bath. Couples who wish to indulge in the spa experience together may do so in one of two special couples' treatment rooms. An expansive fitness center and wide variety of wellness classes complete the spa's facilities.

Costa's newest flagship, the Costa Concordia, will join the Italian cruise line's fleet in July of 2006. Weighing 112,000 tons with a double occupancy of 3,000, she is the largest cruise ship in Costa's growing fleet and the largest ship ever built for an Italian company. Additional features on the flagship vessel include a Formula One driving simulator and two pools with retractable magrodomes. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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

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