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Cruise News
March 1-31, 2009

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What's on Cruise Diva's mind? A bit of editorializing, news, announcements, and travel tips--find that and more in Cruise Diva's Blog. Recent headlines appear below.

Cruise Diva

Winning Recipe Set for Crystal's 2009 Wine & Food Cruises

LOS ANGELES, March 30: Take two Michelin Star-awarded chefs. Fold in a Bocuse d'Or winner and one French Laundry sous chef. Add a Nobu executive chef. Stir in two James Beard Award-winning wine experts, a couple of Masters of Wine, and blend well with leading mixologists. These are the key ingredients for Crystal Cruises' worldwide 13th annual Wine & Food Experiences of Discovery, served aboard the ultra-luxurious Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. Seven culinary themed itineraries between May and December, 2009 host a marquis selection of the world's premier chefs, wine experts and mixologists to showcase their creativity and craftsman-ship in cooking demonstrations, hands-on classes, tasting sessions and specially designed menus.

"We are fortunate to have attracted some of the most respected experts in wine and food," says Toni Neumeister, vice president, food & beverage. "Perhaps due to chefs' word of mouth or perhaps due to Crystal's distinguished reputation in food and beverage, the caliber of talent on these voyages is astounding."

The distinguished menu of culinary masterminds includes:

Chefs and Other Great Foodies
-- Andre Rochat - Michelin Star-awarded owner of Alize in Las Vegas;
-- Cesare Casella - Michelin Star-awarded chef; creator and Dean of the Italian Culinary Academy in New York;
-- Timothy Hollingsworth - Sous chef at The French Laundry;
-- Odd Ivar Solvold - Bocuse d'Or winner and owner of Solvold and Smak in Norway;
-- Oyvind Naesheim - Executive Chef of Nobu Hong Kong;
-- Claude Troisgros - Restaurant owner from the legendary Troisgros family;
-- Azmin Ghaherman - Owner/chef at Sapphire restaurant in Southern California;
-- Giuliano Hazan - Acclaimed Italian cookbook author and instructor;
-- Carmelo Chiaramonte - Owner of Il Cuciniere in Catania, Italy;
-- Robert Wemischner - Acclaimed chef and instructor; pioneer in culinary fusion techniques;
-- Jon Ashton - Food correspondent for "The Daily Buzz" and chef for Relish magazine
-- Nancy Harmon Jenkins - Expert in Mediterranean cuisine and acclaimed cookbook author;

Sommeliers and Wine Experts
-- Dr. Josef Schuller - Chairman and director of the Masters of Wine;
-- Kevin Zraly - James Beard award winner; founder and instructor of the Windows on the World Wine School;
-- James Cluer - Only the 3rd Canadian Master of Wine, and one of only 265 worldwide;
-- David Glancy - Department Chairman of the Certified Sommelier Program at the Professional Culinary Institute of the Silicon Valley; 1 of only 96 Americans Master Sommeliers
-- David Gordon - Master Sommelier; wine director of Tribeca Grill in NY as well as Nobu and Next Door Nobu
-- Jim Barrett - Owner of Chateau Montelena in the Napa Valley;
-- Kris Margerum - Wine director for Auberge Resorts;
-- Leslie Sbrocco - Wine expert, host and award-winning author;

Cocktail Gurus
-- Dale DeGroff - Three-time James Beard Award nominee referred to as the 'King of Cocktails';
-- Tony Abou-Ganim - Master mixologist and mastermind behind Crystal's cocktail program and menus;
-- Bridget Albert - Mixologist, Director of the Academy of Spirits and Fine Service of Illinois;
-- Ryan Magarian - Renowned mixologist; owner of Liquid Relations and developer of Aviation Gin

With Crystal's own gifted culinary team, the guest chefs, sommeliers and mixologists will lead brand new classes in creating cocktails and preparing pastries, as well as an "Iron Bar" competition and Iron Chef-style contests. Ashore, culinary excursions flavor the experience.

Crystal's 2009 wine & food cruises are scheduled for May 1, Singapore to Dubai; June 7, Rome to London; July 16, Barcelona to Venice; July 25, Stockholm to Copenhagen; August 9, Athens to Barcelona; November 10, New York to Miami; and November 22, Miami to Manaus.

Most Wine & Food Experiences of Discovery voyages offer an All Inclusive - As You Wish, $1,000 per person spending credit for guests to customize their cruise experience. Additionally, Crystal's Family Memories Program offers one free berth for every ten full-fare berths, plus other perks, and the Crystal Assurance Plan offers reduced deposits and cancellation periods, as well as the assurance that guests will be protected at the reduced fare if a stateroom category is later reduced. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the line's website,

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Disney Cruise Line to Homeport Disney Wonder at the Port of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, March 30: Disney Cruise Line announced today that it plans to reposition the Disney Wonder from its Florida base in Port Canaveral to the West Coast in 2011. The company is working with the Port of Los Angeles to finalize a two-year agreement with a three-year extension option. The contract will be considered by the Port of Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners on April 2, 2009. If approved, the new Disney Wonder sailings could generate more than 250,000 guests passing through the Port of Los Angeles over a five-year period.

The addition of a new homeport for Disney Cruise Line is part of the overall expansion plan for The Walt Disney Company. Two new ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, will arrive in Florida’s Port Canaveral in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

“We are looking forward to returning to the Port of Los Angeles and offering our special brand of family cruises on the West Coast,” said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo. “Having a Disney Cruise Line ship based in this region is something families on the West Coast have wanted for a long time, and we’re pleased to bring the Disney Wonder to Southern California in 2011.”

Disney Cruise Line has successfully tested the West Coast market with two summer seasons of Mexican Riviera itineraries from the Port of Los Angeles. The Disney Magic cruise ship first called on the West Coast during the summer of 2005 as part of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary and returned again during the summer of 2008. Disney Cruise Line has not yet announced the details of its itineraries for 2011.

The Port of Los Angeles continues to be one of the busiest cruise ports on the West Coast. Known for its proximity to area attractions, including Disneyland Resort, and ease of convenience for transportation and nearby airports, the Port of Los Angeles provides cruisers with a great experience.

Disney Cruise Line delivers a cruise experience that every member of the family feels was created for their own individual vacation wants and needs. Specifically designed areas and activities for each member of the family allows for both quality time together and wonderful individual experiences. The focus is to allow families to reconnect, adults to recharge their batteries and kids to immerse themselves in worlds of fantasy only Disney can create.

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Holland America Line Debuts New 14-Day Alaskan Adventurer Cruises in 2010

SEATTLE, March 30: Holland America Line is introducing new 14-day Alaskan Adventurer cruises on its flagship ms Amsterdam in 2010, which will sail roundtrip from Seattle and include a call at Anchorage for the first time. The 1,380-guest Amsterdam will be the first cruise ship of a major cruise line to call regularly in Anchorage, providing guests with a full day and evening in Alaska's major city. The Amsterdam will also call at Homer and Kodiak, two new and less frequented ports for guests to discover. The new itinerary reduces the cruise line's overall 2010 Alaska deployment by 10 sailings or about 11,000 guests. The 10 new 14-day sailings replace 20 7-day sailings between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska.

"The new Alaskan Adventurer itinerary is a great new offering in Holland America's Alaska cruise schedule," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales, and guest programs. "It provides a longer itinerary choice - one that lets guests experience far more of Alaska's grandeur while enjoying the ease of a roundtrip cruise. We anticipate many guests will opt for a longer cruise that includes more glacier viewing and ports of call. With the three new ports of Anchorage, Homer and Kodiak, guests will enjoy a unique Alaska cruising experience not available on other cruise itineraries."

The 14-day Alaskan Adventurer cruises depart roundtrip from Seattle May 17 through September 6, 2010. The Amsterdam sails the scenic Inside Passage, highlighted by cruising Tracy Arm fjord with its magnificent twin Sawyer Glaciers. The ship also cruises by Alaska's mighty Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay - the largest glacier in North America. Historic ports of call include Ketchikan, Skagway, Sitka, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, Juneau and Victoria, BC.

In Anchorage, guests can take a comprehensive city tour including the 25-acre Alaska Native Heritage Center, plus have time to enjoy the city's museums, shopping and fine dining. In Homer, they experience its breathtaking location at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center and the famous Homer Spit in Kachemak Bay. Kodiak is truly off-the-beaten path, reflecting both 7,500 years of native Alutiiq heritage and Russian fur trading influence since 1792 as the first capital of Russian America. Shore excursion options out of Anchorage include day trips to Talkeetna for views of Mt. McKinley, flightseeing of the mountain, rafting, sportfishing and more. There will be opportunities for bear viewing, a Turnagin Pass float trip or a day tour to Girdwood for a tram ride to the top of Mt. Alyeska and lunch.

The Alaskan Adventurer increases the choice of Holland America itineraries to a total of four in 2010, joining the popular Alaskan Explorer, Glacier Discovery and Glacier Bay Inside Passage itineraries. These 7-day cruises sail both roundtrip from Seattle and Vancouver and one-way between Vancouver and Seward. Holland America's schedule features eight ships offering 149 total departures from May 3 through September 24, 2010.

Alaska cruises will be open for booking beginning April 10. For more information and to book a cruise, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Royal Caribbean Announces Allure of the Seas' Inaugural Season

MIAMI, FL, March 30: Royal Caribbean Intl today announced the inaugural season of Allure of the Seas, 42 sailings to the Eastern and Western Caribbean on 7-night voyages every Sunday beginning December 12, 2010. Allure of the Seas, and sister-ship Oasis of the Seas, constitute the Oasis class of ships and will be the world's two largest and most revolutionary cruise ships when they debut in November 2010 and 2009, respectively. With the arrival of Allure of the Seas, vacationers will have a choice of a Saturday (Oasis of the Seas) or Sunday departure for an Oasis-class cruise vacation. Bookings for Allure of the Seas' inaugural season will open on April 2, 2009 for Diamond and Diamond Plus level members of the Crown & Anchor Society and April 8 for all Crown & Anchor Society members. General bookings will open on and April 13.

"Through the last four decades, Royal Caribbean has earned a history of innovation and redefined cruising with each new class of ships we launched," said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Allure of the Seas and sister-ship Oasis of the Seas represent the ultimate expression of our vision and determination to provide an experience unlike anything found on land and sea. With Allure of the Seas, we will offer family and adventurous vacationers two spectacular ships from which to choose for an unforgettable cruise."

Allure of the Seas will depart from her homeport of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale and alternate 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Both itineraries will feature three days at sea for guests to enjoy all the revolutionary onboard amenities found in the seven "neighborhoods" that comprise an Oasis-class ship. On the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, Allure of the Seas will call at St. Thomas (Charlotte Amalie), St. Maarten (Philipsburg), and Nassau, Bahamas. The ship will call at Falmouth, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private beach paradise on the northern coast of Haiti, for the Western Caribbean itinerary.

Architectural marvels at sea, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will span 16 decks, encompass 220,000 gross registered tons (GRT), and host 5,400 guests at double occupancy with 2,700 staterooms. Each ship will feature the cruise line's new neighborhood concept, seven themed areas throughout the ship that offer different experiences for guests to choose, based on their personal styles, preferences or moods. Inspired by seaside entertainment esplanades, Boardwalk will engage the entire family - whether young or young at heart - with eateries, retail outlets, carnival games, and an original, handcrafted carousel - a first at sea. Nine decks above, the first zip-line at sea will whisk guests from end to end on a thrilling aerial adventure. Boardwalk will lead to the AquaTheater at the stern of the ship, where the amphitheater - another first at sea - will offer a guest pool area by day and a performance venue at night, featuring dramatic acrobatics, synchronized swimming, water ballet, professional high-diving, and elaborate fountain shows synchronized to music and lights.

Enhancements to the cruise line's signature Royal Promenade, the heart of the ship, will include a mezzanine level that overlooks the main promenade below. Natural light will cascade into the Royal Promenade through the overhead Crystal Canopy sculptured-glass domes, and illuminate the boulevard of boutiques, restaurants, bars and entertainment lounges. The Rising Tide bar, the first moving bar at sea, will offer guests the opportunity to enjoy a cocktail as it slowly ascends into Central Park, the neighborhood above. Central Park, a revolutionary design in which the center of the ship opens to the sky, will feature lush, tropical grounds spanning the length of a football field. With its serene pathways, seasonal flower gardens and canopy trees, Central Park will evolve from a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere during the day to a gathering space for alfresco dining and entertainment in the evenings.

The Pool and Sports Zone will feature a sloped-entry beach pool (exclusive to the Oasis-class) and two larger FlowRider surf simulators. Building on the Royal Caribbean's popular Vitality wellness program, guests will be able to soothe mind, body and soul in the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, which also includes a dedicated spa area just for teens. Entertainment Place will include the cruise line's signature after-dark spaces in more intimate venues that offer a variety of entertainment options. And the Youth Zone will offer a wealth of kid- and teen-friendly adventures, featuring the cruise line's first nursery for infants and toddlers (six months or older).

The Oasis class of ships also will debut a new portfolio of 37 categories of accommodations, many with views unique to the ship. Park View and Boardwalk View balcony staterooms offer inward facing accommodations overlooking the two open-air neighborhoods. Another industry-first, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas will introduce 28 contemporary bi-level loft suites with double-height, floor-to-ceiling windows for incomparable vistas of the sea. The lofts will feature LCD televisions, separate vanity areas, a guest bathroom downstairs and an upstairs master bathroom featuring his and hers shower heads, fog-free mirrors, and limestone mosaic tile accents. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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Water Park, Adults-Only Retreat, Resort-Style Pool, 98 Balconies Highlight Carnival Ecstasy’s Refurbishment This Fall

MIAMI, March 30: The 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy will undergo an extensive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment this fall that will include the addition of an expansive new water park, an exclusive adults-only retreat, a Circle “C” facility for 12- to 14-year olds, and a redesigned resort-style main pool area. Additionally, 98 balconies will be added to existing ocean view staterooms. The refurbishment, which will take place during a 28-day dry dock from September 19 to October 17, 2009, continues a series of major upgrades to the line’s eight Fantasy-class vessels. Carnival Ecstasy will be the second ship to have additional balconies added following the success of a similar implementation on the Carnival Sensation earlier this year.

Carnival Ecstasy operates year-round 4- and 5-day western Caribbean cruises from the Port of Galveston. On this route, 4-day cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel while 5-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays and call at Cozumel and Progreso.

“With a host of new open deck attractions and 98 new balcony staterooms, we’re providing Carnival Ecstasy guests with opportunities for even more memorable vacation experiences,” said Roberta Jacoby, Carnival’s senior vice president of hotel operations. “Plus with today’s consumers seeking more affordable, close-to-home vacations, adding these exciting new features makes a four- and five-day cruise on Carnival Ecstasy from Galveston an even greater value,” she added.

Exciting Open Deck Features
A signature element of the Fantasy-class upgrades is Carnival WaterWorks, a fun-filled aqua park located on Verandah Deck. Designed with an all-ages appeal, WaterWorks encompasses a 300-foot-long twisting, turning water slide – the longest and most elaborate at sea – along with dual-lane 82-foot-long racing slides, and a wide variety of water spray toys. In addition, Carnival Ecstasy’s main pool on Lido Deck – which includes a swimming pool and two large whirlpools - will be totally transformed to feature a distinct resort-style ambiance. Vibrant oversized umbrellas, thatched roofing and colorful tile work will create a decidedly tropical feel.

Exclusive Adults-Only Retreat
Another new feature on the Carnival Ecstasy will be Serenity, the line’s popular adults-only retreat located aft on Promenade Deck. With design elements that include teak decking, large umbrellas and thatched roofing, Serenity provides an ocean-going oasis for relaxation and comfort. Guests can enjoy icy cocktails and frozen drinks while relaxing in plush chaise lounges and chairs. Food service is available in the casual Panorama Bar & Grill located nearby.

Ninety-Eight More Balconies
Private balconies will be added to 98 existing ocean view staterooms on the Carnival Ecstasy to create spacious new 230-square-foot accommodations. Sixty-two of the staterooms will be located aft – with several of these featuring extended balconies – while 24 others will be located mid-ship and 12 near the stern. Several of the Carnival Ecstasy’s suites will be modified to feature larger, extended balconies.

Other Enhancements
Also included in the Carnival Ecstasy’s refurbishment will be the addition of a new Circle “C” center aimed at the 12- to 14-year-old set. Located on Atlantic Deck 8, the facility will include plasma screen televisions displaying movies and music videos, a high-tech sound and lighting system, gaming consoles and a touch-screen jukebox.

Additionally, all of the ship’s 1,026 staterooms will be upgraded with new plasma screen TVs as well as updated wall coverings, tile work, carpeting and light fixtures. Extensive cosmetic enhancements will be made to virtually all public rooms and areas, with new upholstery, furniture, and wall coverings incorporated into the Blue Sapphire main show lounge, Neon Bar piano bar, Stripes dance club, the poolside Panorama Bar & Grill and Wind Song and Wind Star main dining rooms. In addition to refurbished elevators and elevator lobbies as well as new lighting and carpeting in the atrium, Carnival Ecstasy’s Internet café will be relocated to Empress Deck and new workstations will be included. Public restrooms and guest corridors will be renovated, as well.

Reservations are currently being accepted for the Carnival Ecstasy’s 4- and 5-day western Caribbean cruises from Galveston. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501.

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Silversea Brings You Closer to Europe and the Mediterranean

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, March 30: Wherever your heart leads you -- from the lush green fields of Northern Ireland to the Byzantine majesty of Istanbul or the golden beaches of the Greek Isles -- Silversea Cruises stands ready to customize your experience with a host of new small group and private explorations ashore.

"To complement the launch of our new 'Silver Shore Concierge' service in July, we have developed several new destination enrichment programs for Europe and the Mediterranean this year," said Darius Mehta, Silversea's director of land programs. "Among the new options, and branded under the 'Silver Shore Collection' label, are enticing excursions with a wine, culinary or cultural focus, as well as special tours offering the exclusive use of transportation and flexible itineraries to suit a couple or a group of friends wanting a more intimate and personalized experience ashore."

Silversea offers a number of optional shore tours featuring the private use of air- and watercraft that are ideal options for families, friends or dinner companions looking for unique and intimate experiences with itineraries that can be easily customized to meet a small group's interests and sightseeing preferences. For example:

-- Escape from the typical tourist haunts and create your own private yacht expedition to explore the southern beaches of Mykonos, visiting deserted coves only accessible by boat, and taking a swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea.
-- Witness breathtaking vistas of the Holy Land on a private helicopter adventure that takes you soaring along the Mediterranean shoreline to view the amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site of Acre before landing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee for a fascinating walking tour of historic sites.
-- Experience Italy's stunning Amalfi and Sorrento coasts in style on your own chartered boat, stopping long enough to tour Positano on foot, at your own pace, or pausing for a swim in Capri or shopping in Anacapri -- the itinerary is up to you.

In addition, other new "Silver Shore Collection" tours offer intimate and in-depth explorations of local history and culture, such as:

-- A leisurely drive through the beautiful Tuscan countryside takes you to the grand 11th-century Castagneto Carducci Castle for a tour of the interior portrait gallery and salons (not normally open to the public) and a wine-tasting in the garden's tented lounge.
-- Enjoy lunch at Baronscourt, the private home of the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn, and experience its tranquil surroundings set in a sheltered valley in the foothills of Northern Ireland's Sperrin Mountains.
-- When in Rome … slip behind the wheel of a Ferrari sports car and accelerate through the Etruscan countryside … the way 21st-century Romans do.
-- Indulge your senses with the sights, sounds and flavors of Istanbul during a private cooking lesson revealing the secrets of preparing traditional Turkish cuisine.
-- Pair your tour of Copenhagen's famous Tivoli Gardens with a thirst-quenching visit to one of the city's "coolest" new attractions -- the Absolut Ice Bar -- where the entire bar is made of ice and drinks are served in a cube of ice.

Plus another exciting new option is the "Live the City" treasure hunt style-excursion offered in Monte Carlo and Florence on Silver Whisper's voyage of June 20. This innovative and mind-enriching experience spans from shore to ship. As you explore the local sights and history with your "Live the City" map and guidebook in hand, your brain is put to the test solving a series of clues relating to each city's cultural heritage and famous attractions. Each clue reveals hidden treasures often missed by passers-by. The entertainment continues after you return to the ship with the grand finale -- The Showdown Quiz -- a big-screen mental challenge for you and your fellow explorers, testing your knowledge of the day's discoveries and solutions to the clues.

New Relais & Châteaux Land Programs: For those luxury travelers seeking a closer look at some of Northern Europe's most enchanting landscapes, Silversea is pleased to offer new pre- and post-cruise land extensions featuring the charming properties and fine restaurants of Relais & Châteaux. For example, guests can extend their cruise vacation ashore and journey from London to discover Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, an elegant country house hotel featuring individually styled guest rooms and superb, two-Michelin-starred cuisine, or explore Ireland's majestic scenery, pastoral farmlands and a 13th-century castle with lodging at two exquisite Relais & Châteaux properties: Sheen Falls Lodge and Marlfield House, as well as The Merrion, one of Dublin's most luxurious hotels. These optional land programs are available on select Silver Cloud sailings (#1911, 1912, 1921 and 1922), and include all lodging, transportation, transfers, guided sightseeing and some meals.

Please visit for more information and to review the availability of these and other optional shore excursions and land programs on specific voyages.

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MSC Cruises Hits a Home Run With 'Baseball Greats' Sailings

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 30: Fans of America's past time can gain unique insights into the world of Major League Baseball on MSC Cruises' "Baseball Greats" theme cruises. Some of the greats of the game will be onboard, sharing their skills and their memories, during the powerful lineup of five baseball greats theme cruises scheduled for MSC Poesia as the ship sails her inaugural season in North American waters during the 2009-10 Caribbean season. The "Baseball Greats" theme cruises consistently have been among the line's most popular sailings during the last few Caribbean winter seasons.

In addition to visits to some of the Caribbean's most beautiful locations, each "Baseball Greats" sailing includes free interactive guest/player activities, including a player-hosted trivia game in which guests can test their baseball knowledge, question-and-answer sessions with the players, a guest pitching contest and a lively story-telling session in which the players share some candid revelations about some of the "characters" of the game. Players will also host pitching, hitting, fielding and base running clinics. Perhaps the most popular activity is the free autograph session at the end of the cruise.

MSC Poesia offers "Baseball Greats" theme cruises on the following roundtrip itineraries from Fort Lauderdale:

-- Nov. 20, 2009: 10-night Southern Caribbean featuring Panama, calling at Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Cartagena, Colombia; Cristobal, Panama; and Playa del Carmen, Mexico
-- Jan. 16, 2010: 7-night Western Caribbean, calling at Key West, Florida; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Nassau, Bahamas
-- Feb. 6, 2010: 7-night Western Caribbean
-- March 6, 2010: 7-night Eastern Caribbean, calling at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philippsburg, St. Maarten; Road Town, Tortola; and Nassau, Bahamas
-- April 3, 2010: 7-night Eastern Caribbean

Special guests on these itineraries will be announced at a later date. As on all MSC Cruises' sailings, kids ages 17 and younger sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults. MSC Poesia's 2009-10 Caribbean season will also feature Big Band and Polka theme cruises. To review information about MSC Cruises and its theme cruises, visit or a local travel professional.

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Royal Caribbean Intl, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Cruises Introduce Special Fares for America's Finest

MIAMI, March 26: In challenging times, good news is particularly welcome, and when it centers on those who do good for others, it's even better. That's the inspiration behind the introduction of new, special rates exclusively for police officers and firefighters on cruise vacations with Royal Caribbean Intl, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises.

Active employees of local, state or federal law enforcement agencies or fire departments in the U.S. now can book a Celebrity, Azamara or Royal Caribbean cruise vacation at fares up to 20 percent off the best prevailing rate on select sailings with each brand. Guests traveling in the same stateroom also are eligible to receive the special rate. Police officers and firefighters interested in booking a cruise vacation at the new special rates will be asked to provide valid proof of employment (badge or police officer/firefighter ID card) when booking and upon boarding the ship.

About Royal Caribbean Intl: Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 20 ships currently in service and two under construction. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, South America and New Zealand. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

About Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and South America. Celebrity's current fleet - including the new Celebrity Solstice - will be joined by Celebrity Equinox this year, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit

About Azamara Cruises: Azamara Cruises unlocks the hidden corners of the world for those who desire to immerse themselves in the rich details of every voyage. The deluxe ships - Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest - offer an intimate experience, while allowing access to exotic destinations experienced travelers long to reach. For the 694 guests on each Azamara Cruises ship, every moment at sea embodies the pinnacle of luxury, and each footstep on shore accentuates the difference between visiting a place and getting a true sense of place. This year, Azamara Cruises presents the best of enchanting Europe, elite Asia, and the most captivating Caribbean and the Panama Canal. The line also offers unique cruisetours in Asia and Europe. For more information, you are invited to call 1-877-999-9553 or visit

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Updated Itinerary, New Vessel for Galapagos 2010 Cruise West Sailings

SEATTLE, March 26: In celebration of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, Cruise West, one of the world's leading providers of small-ship exploration cruises to the most fascinating destinations on earth, has updated its popular Galapagos itinerary. During the 2010 season, the 10-day/9-night cruises will journey throughout Darwin's inspiring islands on the elegant, 100-guest Galapagos Explorer II, sister ship to Cruise West's Spirit of Oceanus. The itinerary to this UNESCO World Heritage Site has been rearranged, ensuring that visitors receive maximum exposure to the Islands' diverse wildlife and spectacular scenery. Save up to $600 per person by booking and paying in full by May 22, 2009.

Ecuador - a remarkably varied country with mountains, jungle, coastal areas and islands - is home to one of Latin America's prize jewels, the Biosphere Reserve of the Galapagos Islands. Traveling 650 miles west of the mainland, guests will sail the waters that gave birth to revolutionary scientific theories, explore multi-colored volcanic islands, and interact with thousands of animal species including giant tortoises, pink flamingos, blue-footed boobies and Galapagos penguins.

More than 9,000 feet above sea level, the Ecuadorian adventure begins in the charming colonial town of Quito, once the northern capital of the Inca Empire. After a historical walking tour of the city viewing Baroque art, strolling cobblestone streets and enjoying a birds-eye view of the metropolis from observation point El Ventanal, visitors will savor renowned Mediterranean cuisine at the Theatrum Restaurant & Wine Bar in the National Theater.

Guests will fly from Quito to San Cristobal Island to board the Galapagos Explorer II, a 293-foot vessel that includes a Jacuzzi, marine observation deck and reading room. Experienced naturalist guides will also board the ship, poised to lead expeditions in search of wildlife and to provide invaluable local and historical insight both on-ship and off. First day highlights in the Galapagos include snorkeling, swimming and strolling along the beach near San Cristobal Island, a haven for Darwin's finches, brown pelicans and yellow warblers.

The following days at Hood, Santa Cruz, and Rabida islands will feature: indigenous wildlife viewing (tropical fish, lava lizards, Galapagos dove, white-tipped reef shark, Sally Lightfoot crabs and more); a visit to the Charles Darwin Station to learn about on-island research and to view the Galapagos tortoise breeding and rearing center; a meander through Puerto Ayora, the largest town on the islands; and climbing lava cliffs to glimpse seawater spraying high into the air through precarious fissures.

The ship will then sail to desolate yet breathtaking Bartolome Island, offering 360 degree views of the archipelago as well as an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, green and black volcanic formations. The next stop is James (Santiago) Island, the only location Fur Seals can be found in the Galapagos. The following morning, guests will witness marine iguanas basking on every plausible surface of Fernandina Island - snorkelers can watch them feeding underwater on clear days. On the northwestern tip of Isabela Island, approachable only by dinghy, intrepid sea-goers can snorkel at a cave renowned for its dazzling array of marine wildlife.

The Galapagos sojourn ends with a 45-minute bus ride through changing vegetation zones in the Santa Cruz Highlands, where guests can quietly approach the 40 giant tortoises native to the region. After breakfast, guests will disembark the ship and fly to Guayaquil for departure home, or head to Lima to begin a fully guided, post-cruise land excursion of Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Historians-at-heart will uncover ancient Incan mysteries for six days in Peru, first exploring the lively markets and significant monuments of Cusco, then relaxing on a comfortable train ride to the charming Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel where guests stay for two nights. Gazing up from the base of the Andes, Machu Picchu is entirely hidden from view - exactly as its 14th century artisans intended. A fully guided tour (or independent tour, if desired) whisks travelers to this hidden perch, recognized as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The post-cruise excursion ends back in Cusco with tours of the Inca Fortress, Citadel of Ollantaytambo and the circular terraces of Moray.

Galapagos cruises depart March 29 and April 5, 2010. To learn more about the Galapagos itinerary, or other Cruise West voyages, call 1-800-296-8307, contact a travel professional or attend one of the company's online live presentations - Visit to view the schedule.

More information about Cruise West, Cruise West's 2009/2010 Galapagos itineraries or cruise locales as diverse as Panama & Costa Rica, Mexico's Sea of Cortes, Japan, Vietnam, the Galapagos, Antarctica, the Pacific Northwest or the romantic rivers of Europe can be found online at or by calling 800-296-8307.

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SeaDream Yacht Club Offers Exceptional Savings

March 26: SeaDream Yacht Club, ultra-luxury operator of the twin mega-yacht cruisers SeaDream I and II, is offering outstanding savings on select Caribbean and Mediterranean voyages this spring and summer--between 34 and 64 percent savings from published rates on both SeaDream I and II.

Why such a good deal? “Even in this down economy our voyages are selling actively as we adjust our rates with a little help from our pocket calculator. These are topping off rates,” says SeaDream President Bob Lepisto, “and they are extraordinary. Prices are down, not our award-winning service. At the recent Cruise Shipping Miami conference there were three buzzwords expressed by all cruise execs--value, value and value. SeaDream expresses the epitome of the word value. It’s what we are all about.”

These exceptional savings are per person based on double occupancy of a stateroom. SeaDream fares include all meals, wine with lunch and dinner, open bar with selected premium brands, plus use of “water toys” from the vessel’s Marina and gratuities. Some conditions apply. Contact your travel professional or SeaDream Yacht Club 1 800 707-4911.

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New 4- and 5-Day Departures To Cabo San Lucas Added To Carnival Elation's Existing Schedule From San Diego

MIAMI, March 25: A new 4- and 5-day cruise option featuring day-long calls at Cabo San Lucas will be added to the Carnival Elation’s existing schedule from San Diego in July 2009, complementing the ship’s popular 3- and 4-day Baja program. Carnival Elation, which emerged from a multi-million-dollar renovation last week with a host of new features, will operate the West Coast’s only 3-, 4- and 5-day schedule, expanding upon the line’s industry-leading short cruise offerings. Roughly half of the “Fun Ship” fleet offers voyages of five days or less in length. On its new schedule, Carnival Elation will operate a year-round series of 4- and 5-day cruises for a two-week period followed by another two weeks of 3- and 4-day Baja departures.

4- and 5-Day Cruises to Cabo San Lucas
Beginning July 2, 2009, Carnival Elation’s four-day “long weekend” cruises will depart Thursdays and visit Cabo San Lucas. Two different 5-day itineraries will also be offered. Five-day cruises departing Saturdays will feature the industry’s only itinerary that includes two full days in Cabo San Lucas, providing guests with a unique opportunity to enjoy one of Mexico’s most spectacular destinations. Five-day cruises departing Mondays will feature both Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada.

New Departure Days for 3- and 4-Day Cruises
The Carnival Elation’s 3- and 4-day cruises which currently depart on Thursdays and Sundays, respectively, will be changed to Fridays (3-day cruises) and Mondays (4-day cruises) starting with the July 20, 2009, 4-day departure. These new departure dates offer guests an even more convenient option on these popular short cruise itineraries from San Diego.

“We’re always looking for ways to diversify our itinerary offerings to provide our guests with the widest variety of experiences ashore,” said Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival’s executive vice president of marketing and guest experience. “Carnival Elation’s new three-, four- and five-day cruise schedule and new itineraries visiting Cabo San Lucas offer our guests a truly unique selection of memorable vacation choices, all at a very affordable price,” he added.

The 70,000-ton Carnival Elation – the only cruise ship operating year-round from San Diego – offers a host of new facilities and features following an extensive renovation, as part of the line’s product enhancement program for its eight 70,000-ton Fantasy-class vessels. Carnival Elation’s refurbishment included the addition of Serenity, an exclusive adults-only retreat, a new Circle “C” club geared to 12- to 14-year-olds, and expanded Lido-area dining options, including a new Mongolian Wok custom stir-fry station and an updated deli and dessert station. The Carnival Ecstasy’s suites were also remodeled and cosmetic enhancements were made to a variety of shipboard areas. These features complement the ship’s myriad resort-style amenities, including 12 lounges and bars, three restaurants, four swimming pools, a 115-foot-long water slide, a 12,000-square-foot health and fitness center, an Internet café, and ship-wide Wi-Fi access. Reservations are currently being accepted for all of the Carnival Elation’s 3-, 4- and 5-day sailings from San Diego. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501.

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Trio of Royal Caribbean Ships to Sail From Four Northeast US Port in 2010

MIAMI, March 25: From the pastel pink beaches of Bermuda, to the balmy breezes and crystalline waters of the Caribbean, to Canada and New England’s palette of multi-colored fall foliage, Royal Caribbean International’s 2010 sailings from the Northeast will offer a wide array of itineraries suited to virtually any vacationer. Explorer of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas will sail from Baltimore; Boston; Norfolk, Va.; and Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J. In total, the ships will offer 84 sailings16 more than last yearon 14 itineraries, calling at 22 ports on 5- to 9-night cruises. Bookings for cruises opened today.

Enchantment of the Seas’ debut in the Northeast will mark the cruise line’s first year-round deployment in the Maryland port. The 2,252-guest Enchantment of Seas will replace the 1,950-guest Grandeur of the Seas and increase Royal Caribbean’s capacity in the region by 302 berths, comprising an additional 36 balcony and 87 oceanview staterooms. The ship also will offer more family-friendly onboard amenities, including expanded youth programming spaces, and Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse, Chops Grille. Enchantment of the Seas’ initial Baltimore deployment will include a 5-night Bermuda and 9-night Eastern Caribbean roundtrip itinerary in the summer and autumn seasons. The ship will first sail the same itineraries in May and June from the Port of Norfolk, exclusively offering Bermuda cruises from the Virginian port. The winter and spring season itineraries will be announced at a later date.

Explorer of the Seas will continue its year-round service from Cape Liberty in April 2010. The ship’s fourth consecutive year of service in the New York metropolitan area will feature a 5-night Bermuda cruise and two alternating 9-night “Bermuda and Caribbean” and “Bermuda and Bahamas” itineraries.In addition, Explorer of the Seas’ season will kick off with a special 13-night Southern Caribbean sailing departing March 28.

Both Explorer of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas’ short Bermuda cruises will feature a two-day call at Kings Wharf, from where guests can explore the island’s pink beaches, quaint shops and night life at their leisure. Guests on Explorer of the Seas’ Bermuda and Bahamas itineraries will enjoy a day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island paradise in the Bahamas, while guests on Enchantment of the Seas’ Eastern Caribbean itinerary will call at Labadee, the cruise line’s private beach destination on the northern coast of Haiti.

Royal Caribbean also will return to Canada and New England in autumn 2010 with convenient sailings from Baltimore, Boston, and Cape Liberty, offering 14 itineraries ranging from seven to nine nights, including ports of call at Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; and Canada’s Saint John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Jewel of the Seas will sail 7-night roundtrip voyages from Boston, while Explorer of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas will each offer four 9-night cruises from Cape Liberty and Baltimore, respectively. Enchantment of the Seas also will offer a special 8-night roundtrip itinerary on June 18, which will add extended port time in Halifax and Bar Harbor.

Guests will have a multitude of shore excursion options designed to provide guests one-of-kind experiences. They can test the trade winds on Labadee’s Dragon’s Breath Flight Line, the longest flight line in the world over water, zipping over the bay at speeds of up to 50 miles an hour. In Bermuda, travelers can snorkel at night, viewing sea creatures rarely seen during the day. During a call in Bar Harbor, guests can embark on a bike tour that crisscrosses some of the most scenic areas of Acadia National Park.

Voyager-class Explorer of the Seas boasts innovative onboard amenities, such as a full-size basketball court, in-line skating track, ice-skating rink, and the Royal Promenade, a boulevard that spans nearly the length of the ship, lined with shops, restaurants, bars and lounges. Jewel of the Seas features a 10-story glass Centrum, glass elevators facing the sea and the highest percentage of outside staterooms of any Royal Caribbean ship. Onboard every Royal Caribbean ship, guests enjoy award-winning Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions, top-rated Adventure Ocean and teen programming, and Royal Caribbean’s renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service from every staff and crew member.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 20 ships currently in service and three under construction. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, South America and New Zealand. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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A Taste of Alaska-Commemorative Dinner Served on
Holland America Line's Alaska Ships

SEATTLE, March 25: A new commemorative dinner menu--featuring the best of Alaska cuisine--plays a starring role in the main dining room one night during each seven-day Alaska cruise this summer. Holland America has created the special menu in celebration of the state's 50th anniversary of statehood in 2009. Master Chef Rudi Sodamin researched Alaska's culinary heritage and combined traditional foods with his own Signature of Excellence flair to create the cruise line's commemorative menu. In addition, "Salmon 50 Ways" returns to the ships' menu offering fresh, wild Alaska salmon in 50 different recipes over the weeklong cruise.

"The celebration dinner incorporates the foods found in Alaska's communities into one grand menu," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Alaska offers abundant fresh ingredients, a favorite being wild seafood, and our culinary team has created a memorable menu to showcase the tastes of Alaska."

Served in the main dining room one evening, the menu incorporates Chef Sodamin's own twist on traditional Alaska cuisine. For example, as an appetizer, he spikes a berry melange with a splash of whiskey. A Fairbanks Seafood Platter combines Alaskan prawns, salmon jerky, clams, smoked salmon and smoked halibut. For an Alaskan inspired salad, he adds smoked salmon to frissee lettuce, pear and fennel. Soup choices include Ketchikan Fisherman's Chowder, Reindeer Sausage and Vegetable Chowder and Chilled Yukon Gold Vichyssoise.

Guests have a choice of nine different entrees including Razor Clams, Bay Scallops and Manila Clams over Noodles; Grilled Salmon with Endive and Caramelized Orange Zests; Grilled Venison with Wild Mushrooms and Alaskan King Crab Cobb Salad. Appropriate for a celebration dinner, decadent desserts adorn the menu. Highlights include an Alaska Dessert Sampler of chocolate mousse in a chocolate shell, maple cheesecake and apple buckle with sugared berries. A cruise favorite, Gold Rush Baked Alaska is a decadent combination of chocolate ice cream surrounded with vanilla sponge cake and coated in meringue dusted with edible gold. It comes with a choice of topping: Peppermint Hot Fudge, Raspberry Chocolate Swirl or Praline Crunch.

The line's popular "Salmon 50 Ways," first offered on Alaska-bound ships in 2005, returns to further commemorate the state's 50th anniversary. Between the various dining venues serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, fresh, wild Alaskan salmon will be prepared 50 different ways over the course of the weeklong cruise.

Holland America Line buys approximately 1.3 million pounds of wild Alaskan seafood per year, the majority being salmon. As the salmon season hits full stride, Holland America Line's famous on-deck Salmon Bake will prepare an array of flavors such as Basted Honey Maple, Soy Garlic, and Holland America Line's award-winning Dill, Sea Salt and Vodka, a salmon culinary treat.

Holland America Line has been leading tours in Alaska for more than 60 years and has eight premium ships offering a total of 156 cruises and 29 CruiseTours ranging from 10 to 20 days in length. For more information about booking, contact a travel agent or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Seabourn Lowers Rates For Pre- and Post-Cruise European Hotels

MIAMI, March 24: Working with its top-quality hotel partners in European cities where its intimate vessels begin or end voyages, The Yachts of Seabourn has lowered prices on optional pre- and post-cruise extensions, in some cases by as much as 18 percent. Combined with enhanced savings on its cruise fares in Europe this year, the small-ship cruise specialist offers tremendous value to travelers who want to extend their stays in some of Europe’s most appealing cities. The lower prices are for stays from July through November in 10 European cities.

“There’s never been a better value for a European vacation,” said Pamela Conover, Seabourn’s president & CEO. “At these prices, the chance to combine a Seabourn yachting voyage with extra days in the most beautiful hotels in Europe’s most exciting cities is reason enough to celebrate, all by itself.”

The rate reductions vary by city and property from about nine percent to 18 percent. They include accommodation at fine hotels such as the Gritti Palace and the Luna Hotel Baglioni in Venice; the Grand Bretagne and the King George Palace in Athens and the Excelsior in Rome. Seabourn’s bundled extensions include full American breakfasts, transfer between the hotel and the pier, staffed hospitality desks, all taxes and service charges (including V.A.T.) and porterage.

In addition, Seabourn’s Destination Services Department recently designed over 100 new private excursions that guests can purchase to enjoy during their stays. The Yachts of Seabourn will have four vessels cruising in Europe in 2009. Seabourn Pride will be based in Northern Europe for most of the season, sailing round trip from Copenhagen to Scandinavia, Russia and the Norwegian Fjords. Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend will be sailing in the Adriatic Sea and along the French and Italian Rivieras, respectively. The industry’s first new ultra luxury ship in over six years, Seabourn Odyssey, debuts on June 24 at Venice and sails in the Greek Isles, Turkey and the Black Sea throughout the summer, before crossing to the Americas in the autumn. Fares for an array of 2009 voyages have been reduced by 50 to 65 percent, with all-inclusive fares starting from $2,999 per person for seven days, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean-view suite. For more information, contact your travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Silversea Serves Up New Menu Of Culinary Theme Cruises For 2009

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, March 24: With a collection of the world's most flavorful destinations expertly paired with the culinary world's hottest talents, ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is offering an irresistible selection of moveable feasts for those sophisticated travelers who enjoy high-end dining as much as the adventure of luxury travel.

The enlightening café lifestyle of Paris in the 1920s (immortalized in A Moveable Feast) stayed with American writer Ernest Hemingway throughout his life … wherever he traveled … and for Silversea guests, this year's 11 Culinary Arts voyages promise similar opportunities for personally enriching experiences that will linger long after the journey ends. These unique culinary theme cruises showcase the artistry of award-winning chefs of top dining establishments from around the world, including the internationally acclaimed chefs of Relais & Châteaux, the distinguished international association of charming properties and finest restaurants.

"We're delighted to feature some of the world's most celebrated chefs on our Culinary Arts voyages," said Rudi Scholdis, Silversea's culinary director. "Our culinary theme cruises are a great way to meld together fascinating destinations with cooking events and demonstrations that entertain and edify, as well as reveal the personalities, skills – and a few culinary secrets – of the masters of haute cuisine."

On the culinary sailings, celebrity chefs will display their exceptional talents during dynamic and informative cooking demonstrations where guests can taste and learn firsthand the secrets of enticing signature dishes. Many of the award-winning chefs are also designated Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux, such as Rick Tramonto, partner and executive chef of Chicago’s Tru, a Mobil Four Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant; Eyvind Hellstrøm, owner and chef of Michelin Two Star Bagatelle in Oslo; and Anne Desjardins, the chef/co-owner of CAA Four Diamond L'Eau à La Bouche in Ste-Adèle, Québec.

The Culinary Arts enrichment voyages also feature escorted provisioning trips to international markets (when the itinerary permits), food and wine pairings, creative regional dishes, and a five-course grand gourmet dinner. Throughout these special voyages, the featured guest chef and Silversea’s executive chef are on hand to share their culinary expertise and answer any questions.

Following below is a list of the Culinary Arts voyages.

-- Voyage 3912: Silver Shadow, May 28 - June 7, Seward to Vancouver, 10 days. Jonathan Lindenauer -- Bon Appétit magazine's chef de cuisine will be in residence to bring the Bon Appétit Supper Club to life and offer guests a taste of his signature recipes. This avant-garde concept of a stylish, limited-time dining experience will transform La Terrazza into a New York-inspired restaurant.
-- Voyage 3917: Silver Shadow, July 20 - August 1, San Francisco (roundtrip), 12 days. Gregory Short -- Executive chef of Masas, San Francisco.

-- Voyage 1926: Silver Cloud, October 19 - 29, New York to Barbados, 10 days. Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef Anne Desjardins -- Co-owner of L'Eau à La Bouche Ste-Adèle, Québec, Canada.
-- Voyage 3929: Silver Shadow, November 13 - 22, Barbados to Fort Lauderdale, 9 days. Relais & Châteaux Chef Stéphane Mazières -- Executive chef of Le Gaïac restaurant at Hôtel Le Toiny, St. Bart's.

-- Voyage 3909: Silver Shadow, April 11 - 29, Sydney to Singapore, 18 days. Relais & Châteaux Chef Mathew Macartney -- Executive chef of Chateau Yering, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

-- Voyage 2915: Silver Wind, May 14 - 21, Barcelona to Nice, 7 days. Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef Rick Tramonto -- Executive chef/partner of Tru, Chicago.
-- Voyage 2922: Silver Wind, July 18 - 28, Monte Carlo (roundtrip), 10 days. Relais & Châteaux Chef Vincent Nattress -- Executive chef of Meadowood Resort, St. Helena, California.
-- Voyage 4931: Silver Whisper, October 3 - 10, Venice to Rome, 7 days. Lidia Bastianich -- Author, TV chef and co-owner of Felidia and Becco restaurants, New York City.
-- Voyage 4933: Silver Whisper, October 17 - 24, Monte Carlo to Athens, 7 days. "World of Relais & Châteaux" -- Over seven days, these five Relais & Châteaux chefs are set to take part in what is sure to be the ultimate culinary festival at sea: Jacques Thorel, Auberge Bretonne (La Roche-Bernard, Britanny, France); Eyvind Hellstrøm, Bagatelle (Oslo, Norway); Julien Lahire, Auberge du Moulin Hideux (Noirefontaine, Belgium); Christian Gölles, Gasthof Post (Lech am Arlberg, Vorarlberg, Austria); Erwan Louaisil, El Castell de Ciutat (La Seu d'Urgell, Lleida, Spain)
-- Voyage 2933: Silver Wind, October 18 - 30, Istanbul to Rome, 12 days. Anton Mosimann -- Chef/owner of Mosimann's, London.

Voyage 1916: Silver Cloud, July 11 - 26, Copenhagen (roundtrip), 15 days. Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef Eyvind Hellstrøm -- Chef/owner of Bagatelle, Oslo.

Relais & Châteaux is an exclusive collection of 480 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 56 countries. Established in France in 1954, the Association's mission is to spread its unique art de vivre across the globe by selecting outstanding properties with a truly unique character. Furthermore, Relais & Châteaux is also a family of hoteliers and Grands Chefs from all over the world who share a passion for and a personal commitment to ensuring their guests are privy to moments of exceptional harmony. To choose Relais & Châteaux is to experience an unforgettable celebration of the senses. From the vineyards in Napa valley to the beaches in Bali, from the olive trees in Provence to the lodges in South Africa, Relais & Châteaux offers a chance to explore the Route du Bonheur and discover a special place in a variety of destinations.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper--and launching in December, Silver Spirit--all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents. For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent.
For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

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Celebrity Cruises' New Celebrity Solstice & Celebrity Equinox Present Exceptional European Vacation Deals

MIAMI, March 24: Celebrity Cruises just made its already-enticing Europe cruises that much more irresistible. Beginning today, Celebrity Solstice, the most widely heralded ship to enter the market in 2008, and eagerly anticipated sister ship, Celebrity Equinox, present unprecedented pricing for European vacations on the dynamic duo, along with a special, limited offer: Guests who book any Celebrity Solstice or Celebrity Equinox 2009 Europe cruise between March 23 and April 1, 2009, will receive a discount coupon for up to $500 toward a Celebrity vacation in 2010.

"There has never been a better time to enjoy a European vacation, and no better ships on which to experience it than Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox," said Celebrity's President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "When you consider all that these ships have to offer - from the stunningly beautiful hotel environment to the spectacular service to the extraordinary cuisine - then try to match that combination on land, the value of what we're offering is abundantly clear."

With 10 extraordinary dining venues; a half-acre Lawn Club with real, growing grass; live glassblowing shows; hip nightclubs; distinctive entertainment, and an overall style and design that countless press have described as "dazzling," "breathtaking" and "stunning," Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox offer enough that guests could be tempted to never get off the ship. But on the line's itineraries featuring some of the most attractive, culturally rich destinations in Europe, they probably will.

Among the incredible destinations are Santorini, Mykonos and Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Istanbul and Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; and Naples/Capri, Italy, on Celebrity Solstice's 10- and 11-night Eastern Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia), from May 4 through Nov 20, 2009.

Celebrity Equinox, one of the newest ships to sail in Europe, meets "Ancient Empires" on 13-night voyages from August 18 through October 23, 2009, roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia), with visits to Naples/Capri; Athens (Piraeus) and Rhodes, Greece; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Haifa and Ashdod, Israel, and Alexandria, Egypt.

Celebrity Equinox also will present a 10-night "Best of Europe" itinerary departing from Southampton, England, August 8, 2009, with visits to Paris (Le Havre) and Cherbourg, France; Barcelona, Cartagena and Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Gibraltar, U.K.; and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy.

Celebrity will provide a discount coupon for each stateroom reservation made during the eligible booking window good toward any 2010 Celebrity vacation of seven nights or more in length, with the exception of Celebrity Xpedition cruises and holiday sailings. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit

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New Itineraries & Ports Add Unprecedented Variety for Princess Cruises’ 2010 Europe Season

SANTA CLARITA, CA, March 23: The iconic wonders of the ancient world, the continent’s bustling cities and the majestic beauty found along dramatic coastlines will be showcased with Princess Cruises’ just-announced 2010 Europe program, which offers an unprecedented choice in itineraries and departure dates on six ships. Princess’ 39 different itinerary choices throughout the unforgettable destinations of the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Russia, the British Isles, the Norwegian Fjords, and the Holy Land feature nine new routes, including five new “Interlude” voyages that offer the opportunity for shorter seven-day getaways from London or Rome. Plus, the line’s signature two-day experiences will give passengers the opportunity for a more in-depth exploration of regional highlights in Egypt, Israel and St. Petersburg.

The line’s 2010 Europe program will features 96 departures, and its ships will visit 130 destinations, including 11 added ports of call. Cruise lengths range from seven to 25 days during the April to December season. Bookings for the season open April 9, 2009.

“Our 2010 season underscores how we use our more than two decades of experience in Europe to design the widest array of fascinating cruise choices for our passengers,” said Jan Swartz, Princess executive vice president. “We innovate our itineraries every year by introducing different combinations of marquis and emerging ports, and we offer both our returning favorite itineraries plus new, innovative routes that enable passengers to explore the region on either our large amenity-filled ships or smaller vessels for a more intimate experience.”

Princess ships sailing throughout Europe next summer include:

-- Ruby Princess returning to cruise the line’s signature Grand Mediterranean itinerary and Greek Isles routes
-- Star Princess sailing to Scandinavia and Russia during the summer, then to the Mediterranean and Egypt in the fall – including a new Mediterranean Odyssey itinerary
-- Crown Princess begins the season with several Greek Isles and Mediterranean cruises before sailing to the British Isles, Norway and Iceland
-- Grand Princess offers convenient seven- and 14-day Mediterranean cruises from Southampton
-- The intimate Ocean Princess features a selection of Mediterranean, North Cape, Iceland and Greenland routes, and debuts new seven-day Interlude voyages in Norway, Scandinavia, the British Isles and the Mediterranean
-- Small sister ship Pacific Princess sails the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Holy Land

Highlights of Princess’ 2010 Europe itineraries are:

Seven-Day “Interludes” – For travelers looking for a quick European getaway, or the opportunity to combine a cruise with a land stay, Princess is introducing a series of new seven-day Interlude itineraries. Passengers can explore the Greek Isles, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Norway or Ireland and Scotland with these shorter voyages, which can be combined with an optional hotel stay in London or Rome. Featuring the intimate small-ship atmosphere of Ocean Princess, Interlude itineraries also offer a variety of new ports of call to explore, including the Greek islands, medieval villages and beach resorts. Passengers can also take advantage of special events such as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, featured on the Ireland and Scotland Interlude.

New Ports – Eleven fascinating ports of have been added this season, including seven maiden calls and four ports where Princess ships are returning after an extended absence. New ports include Lübeck (Travemünde), a German UNESCO World Heritage site with a well-preserved medieval old city; Iteá, the gateway for the archeological site of Delphi in Greece; Cephalonia (Argostoli), the largest of the Greek Ionian islands known for stunning beaches and charming villages; Khios, a Greek isle off the Turkish coast noted for medieval villages and the eleventh century Nea Moni monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Eidfjord, a picturesque Norwegian village located at the heart of stunning Hardangerfjord; Koper (Slovenia), gateway to the capital city of Ljublijana; and Nice (France), the French Riviera beach resort town near Monte Carlo and Cannes. Also new to the season are Newcastle in Northern England on River Tyne with access to Hadrian’s wall; Portimao, (Portugal), for the scenic Algarve Coast; the exotic and historic city of Tangiers in Morocco; and Constanta (Romania), a seaside resort on the Black Sea.

Signature 2-Day Experiences – Select Princess itineraries feature two-day experience opportunities to give passengers more time to explore the culture and sights of some of the region’s most intriguing places, including the ancient wonders of Cairo and Giza, the landmarks of the Holy Land, and the magnificent palaces and sights of St. Petersburg.

Mediterranean and Greek Isles – Princess offers 22 different itineraries – including five new routes – to the sunny Mediterranean. Ruby Princess will again sail on the line’s signature Grand Mediterranean and Greek Isles itineraries, with additional departures on Crown Princess and Star Princess. Grand Princess offers roundtrip voyages from Southampton to the Western Mediterranean, while Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess offer the small ship experience on a variety of sailings including the Holy Land and Black Sea and the new Interlude voyages.

Scandinavia/Russia and Norway – Seven itineraries ranging from seven to 18 days give travelers more choices than ever to the popular cities of Scandinavia and northern Europe. Star Princess returns to offer the line’s classic 10-day Scandinavia/Russia voyages, featuring a two-day St. Petersburg experience. Two new seven-day sailings on Ocean Princess provide a small ship perspective with Scandinavian and Norwegian Interludes as well as an 18-day Land of the Midnight Sun adventure, while Grand Princess offers roundtrip sailing options from Southampton, and Crown Princess sails to the stunning Norwegian Fjords.

Northern Europe – Ten Northern European vacation options cover the popular British Isles, plus remotely beautiful Iceland and Greenland. Passengers can choose to explore the British Isles in depth aboard Crown Princess or travel to the top of the world on Ocean Princess. Options also include a selection of extended Passage and Explorer voyages between continents.

Princess also offers three European cruisetours which combine some sailings with a fully-escorted land tour to explore the Italian destinations of Rome and Florence, Ireland’s wild west and the breathtaking Ring of Kerry, or the imperial treasures in Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Berlin.

Launch Fares for seven-day Europe sailings start at $1,199 per person, based on double occupancy. Captain’s Circle Launch Savings discounts of $100 per person are available to Captain’s Circle members who make their Europe bookings by September 30, 2009. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Technology Concierge Humanizes New Gadgets for Crystal Guests

LOS ANGELES, March 23: In its inimitable fashion, luxury specialist Crystal Cruises is giving technology a big dose of individual attention. Introducing a groundbreaking service - Technology Concierges on each of Crystal's ultra-luxury ships to train and educate guests on their latest gadgets. From iPods® to iPhones™, from Blackberrys® to GPS devices, Technology Concierges can help guests fully understand the sometimes daunting features of popular devices they own or are considering for purchase. The complimentary service - a first in the cruise industry - begins through Crystal's educational, user-friendly ComputerUniversity@Sea aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity in April and May, respectively.

The fully-trained Technology Concierges will enlighten guests on the newest trends and teach them finer nuances of today's most popular devices, such as:

-- Apple iPod nano®
-- Apple iPhone
-- BlackBerry® Bold
-- Kindle 2 wireless reading device
-- Palm Treo Pro
-- Garmin® Colorado 400c (GPS) navigational device

To further enhance the service, Crystal's Bistros, the popular centrally-located cafes for complimentary cappuccinos and tasty bites, will carry the latest technology magazines for guests to peruse. Crystal's "Gadget Committee" plans to continually add new technology and update their in-house education to ensure the Technology Concierges remain current.

"For many, portable tech devices have become essential travel accessories, yet most people aren't familiar with half of their functions and capabilities," said Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president, hotel operations. "Whether one is too busy or simply less tech savvy, the Technology Concierges offer great opportunities to master one's gadgets with one-on-one assistance from an expert. And a vacation is a great time to explore something new."

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the line's website,

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MSC Yacht Club Among 'Best Suites at Sea'

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 23: MSC Cruises offers guests the ultimate in cruising with its new MSC Yacht Club. Like a "ship within a ship," MSC Yacht Club dedicated VIP areas are available onboard the MSC Fantasia, which debuted in December 2008) and MSC Splendida (to be launched in summer 2009). The MSC Yacht Club allows guests to experience the best of both worlds -- more personalized service and a private, intimate space while also enjoying the full benefits of all the magnificent vessel has to offer.

MSC Yacht Club offers guests a cruise experience comparable to sailing on a luxury yacht. Guests enjoy an extraordinary level of pampering and service that begins with priority check-in and continues with 24-hour service by butlers trained to International Butler Academy standards. Butlers are available to unpack, deliver international newspapers, serve daily English Afternoon Tea and arrange for front-row seats in the ship's theater.

Available 24 hours a day, the Concierge Desk (complete with stairs adorned with Swarovski crystals) staff provides a wealth of information and services, including reservations for alternative dining and spa services as well as private shore excursions and onboard shopping.

This unique lifestyle experience includes several exclusive areas for MSC Yacht Club guests, including the Pool One (pool, solarium and two spa baths under a Sky Dome), Top Sail Lounge with spectacular panoramic views and the Prive VIP area of the Liquid Disco. Most suites offer special access to the MSC Aurea Spa.

The spacious suites within MSC Yacht Club are fitted out to the highest standards, complete with full bath and shower with marble accents, interactive TV, WiFi, Nintendo Wii, luxurious linens by Mascioni Italy, ergonomic mattresses and a Dorelan pillow menu. MSC Yacht Club guests have access to round-the-clock dedicated room service menu; complimentary drinks, pastries and appetizers at the Top Sail Lounge all day long; complimentary dining at L'Etoile, the gourmet French restaurant, as well as dining in a reserved section of the panoramic Cerchio d'Oro main restaurant. Complimentary beverages are available in the MSC Yacht Club cafes, bars and the ship's main restaurant.

MSC Yacht Club offers a choice of 88 Deluxe Suites (sleeping 2 to 4 adults), 9 Executive Family Suites and 2 Royal Suites. Two of the Deluxe Suites are fully equipped for the comfort of people with disabilities. MSC Yacht Club suites also have complimentary mini-bars.

While providing all the comfort, service and privacy of a personal yacht, MSC Yacht Club offers the best of both worlds, bringing full and privileged access to the incredible variety of superior sports facilities, shopping, dining, gaming and entertainment found on the magnificent floating city. To review more information about MSC Yacht Club, visit or a local travel professional.

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Tons of Slime for Everyone on the Nickelodeon Family Cruise
 with Royal Caribbean

NEW YORK, March 20: Nickelodeon has assembled a week of non-stop activities, big talent and a dose of slime for everyone during the Nickelodeon Family Cruise with Royal Caribbean, which sets sail this summer--July 26-Aug. 9, on Royal Caribbean International's Mariner of the Seas, and Aug. 9-16, on Freedom of the Seas. Families will be able to participate in a variety of activities, including: SpongeBob SquarePants 10th birthday bashes; interactive game shows; special screenings of Nickelodeon series; character meet-and-greets; and more. Additionally, guests will have the opportunity to meet some of Nick's biggest stars, including True Jackson, VP's, Keke Palmer, Ashley Argota and Matt Shively; iCarly's Jeannette McCurdy and Nathan Kress; SpongeBob SquarePants' Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob himself; and Back at the Barnyard's Chris Hardwick, the voice of Otis.

The Nickelodeon Family Cruise with Royal Caribbean's schedule of branded activities will include:
-- SpongeBob SquarePants 10th Anniversary-themed activities: Each cruise will feature a full slate of absorbing activities such as SpongeBob-themed events--several featuring the voice of SpongeBob, Tom Kenny--special screenings of never-before-seen episodes; character meet-and-greets; and a SpongeBob 10th birthday bash.
-- Slime Beach: New for 2009, kids of all ages get the opportunity to be slimed for a one of a kind family photo opportunity.
-- Slime Time Live!: Both kids and parents can experience Nickelodeon's trademark green slime at Studio Nick during this interactive game show, with the ultimate goal of getting messy together.
-- Nick Live Poolside!: At the pool each day, there will be Nick-themed interactive game shows.
-- Nick Screenings: Each day, families can catch a special screening of kids' favorite shows--some which have never been seen before--including: SpongeBob SquarePants; True Jackson, VP; and more!
-- Nick Characters: Kid's favorite Nick characters like SpongeBob, Patrick, Dora and Diego will be on-board every day to treat kids to an autograph and a photo during meet-and-greet sessions.
-- Nick Jr. events: Nick Cruise will feature daily activities for little ones including story times, playrooms, live shows, arts and crafts sessions and more.

The Nickelodeon Family Cruise with Royal Caribbean will depart from Los Angeles, CA on July 26 on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, the largest ship to be home ported on the West Coast. It will sail to the exotic Mexican Riviera stopping in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Mazatlan, Mexico; and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The Eastern Caribbean cruise will leave on Aug. 9 from Port Canaveral, FL, on the largest and most innovative cruise ship in the world--the Freedom of the Seas--and will sail to Nassau, Bahamas; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Royal Caribbean's private island destination, CocoCay in the Bahamas.

Families sailing on each cruise will enjoy all of the luxurious accommodations that Royal Caribbean cruise ships offer. Mariner of the Seas features revolutionary amenities including: an on-board ice-skating rink, a full-size basketball court, an in-line skating track, the cruise line's iconic rock-climbing wall and the Royal Promenade, a boulevard of shops, restaurants, bars and lounges that runs nearly the length of the ship. Freedom of the Seas also offers a multitude of activities, including the FlowRider surf simulator, the H2O Zone interactive water park, an ice-skating rink, a nine-hole mini-golf course, 11-route rock-climbing wall, as well as Royal Caribbean's other signature amenities. Parents will also have an opportunity to partake of some of the luxurious amenities available on both ships including a full service spa, nightclubs, shows, adult only pools, casino and Royal Caribbean's signature onboard kids program "Adventure Ocean."

For more information or to make reservations, visit, call 1-866-770-NICK or call your local travel agent. American Airlines is the official airline of the Nickelodeon Family Cruises with Royal Caribbean Intl. For more information about Freedom of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas, visit

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Windstar Cruises Launches its e-Sail Docs Program

SEATTLE, March 19: Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, has introduced an e-Sail Docs program to support the cruise line's environmental efforts. Not only will Windstar guests who participate in the program help the environment, they will receive their cruise documents earlier, in a more convenient fashion since e-Sail Docs will be delivered electronically.

e-Sail Docs include the same information as traditional paper documents; however, they are delivered as a PDF file through email. Guests, who are interested in participating in the e-Sail Docs program, can now sign up for them through a Windstar reservations specialist. Guests will receive their e-Sail Docs shortly after their final cruise payment is made and will collect a $50 per person future cruise certificate as a thank you for helping support Windstar's environmental initiatives.

"Windstar is extremely committed to environmental protection and we continue to look for practices we can engage in to safeguard our environment," said Diane Moore, president, Windstar Cruises. "Ideally, we would like to get 100 percent guest participation in our new e-Sail Docs program."

Windstar works to ensure that guests enjoy the luxury and comfort of cruising while the cruise line does its part to preserve the environment. Windstar ships are accredited to the internationally recognized ISO 14001 standard for their environmental management system. Windstar has designated ship environmental officers who are responsible for maintaining Windstar's robust standards to preserve and protect the marine environment and its many inhabitants. Windstar's environmental practices include recycling and waste reduction efforts, fuel and water conservation efforts as well as the use of environmentally-friendly, biodegradable cleaning supplies. For more information including 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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Royal Caribbean Announces 21st Alaska Vacation Season

MIAMI, March 19: Flight-seeing, whale watching, hiking, biking and zip-lining are just part of the exhilarating mix of options for guests who sail on Royal Caribbean International’s 2010 Alaska cruises. The cruise line today unveiled 37 sailings for the season, 7- to 14-night itineraries aboard Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas. Guests can choose sailings from San Diego; Seattle; Seward, Alaska; and Vancouver, British Columbia, which will call at total of thirteen ports – eight of which are Alaskan. Guests also can complement their Alaska cruise with a cruisetour extension and travel beyond the ports into the rugged interior of Alaska. Celebrating its 21st consecutive season in the Great Land, Royal Caribbean is opening bookings for its 2010 Alaska cruises and cruisetours immediately.

Guests sailing on Radiance of the Seas’ itineraries can further immerse themselves in Alaska’s culture and wildlife with a choice of 21 cruisetour options, 19 of which feature journeys aboard the Wilderness Express, Royal Caribbean’s exclusive and luxurious glass-domed railcars that offer panoramic views of the magnificent scenery. Cruisetour highlights include stays in Denali with a tour into the National Park, where guests can seek out Alaska’s “Big Five,” grizzly bear, caribou, Dall sheep, wolf and moose; tram rides from the ski slopes of Alyeska, soaring 2,300 feet up to the apex of Mount Alyeska, for breathtaking views of mountain ranges and hanging glaciers; and stays in the historic village of Talkeetna, nestled at the base of Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak, where guests can participate in such optional activities as jet boating and flight-seeing. Throughout, guests on a Royal Caribbean cruisetour will be escorted by a tour director.

Royal Caribbean’s shore excursions also will provide guests with adventurous and decidedly unique ways in which to experience the Alaska destinations. At Icy Strait Point, for instance, guests can ride the world’s longest ZipRider zip line – 5,300 feet long with a 1,300-foot vertical drop – that accelerates up to 60 miles an hour to the beach below. Guests also can opt for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of sailing aboard a commercial crabbing vessel in the Bering Sea, where they just might find themselves holding an Alaskan crab on deck.

Alternating north- and southbound 7-night itineraries between Seward and Vancouver every Friday, Radiance of the Seas will call at four Alaskan ports – more than any other cruise line offering non-roundtrip Alaska itineraries. Ports of call will include Ketchikan; Juneau; Skagway; and Icy Strait Point, the only wilderness port in Alaska. Guests also will visit Hubbard Glacier, the world’s largest advancing calving glacier at six miles wide and 300 feet high and the highest rated destination by past Alaska cruise guests. Radiance of the Seas also will offer two special “Ultimate Alaska” itineraries, a 13-night San Diego to Vancouver cruise on May 8, featuring a call at Nanaimo, British Columbia – last visited by a Royal Caribbean ship in May 2007 – and a 14-night voyage sailing in the reverse direction on September 10.

Rhapsody of the Seas will offer a 7-night roundtrip itinerary, sailing from Seattle and plying the Inside Passage with calls at Alaska’s Juneau and Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia. Highlights will include a cruise through the 32-mile Tracy Arm Fjord, with its narrow walls rising more than 8,000 feet high and visits to Sawyer Glacier, whose glacier face rise approximately 200 feet high.

Radiance-class Radiance of the Seas and Vision-class Rhapsody of the Seas boast two acres of dazzling glass walls, affording guests sweeping vistas of Alaska’s landscape as it unfolds. Guests can try their hands at the ships’ iconic rock-climbing walls for an even more thrilling view from the ship’s highest point or enjoy a myriad of rejuvenating spa treatments in the Day Spa. Younger guests will be entertained and enlightened in the cruise line’s award-winning Adventure Ocean and teen programming, with scheduled activities led by a college-graduate counselor beginning as early as 9 a.m. and concluding at 2 a.m. In the evenings, guests can enjoy the cruise lines award-winning Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions shows, and reflect on the day’s experiences in multiple onboard bars and lounges over cocktails. Throughout, all guests enjoy Royal Caribbean’s friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service from every staff and crew. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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Silversea Set To Expand Butler Service To All Accommodations Aboard Its Fleet

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, March 18: Luxury travel innovator Silversea Cruises is raising the bar in personalized service with plans to feature butlers for all guest accommodations aboard its award-winning fleet. The enhanced service will be phased in gradually over the coming months. The line's newest all-suite ship, Silver Spirit, will feature butler service in all accommodations when launched in December.

"By expanding the butler service, we're essentially elevating the qualifications and caliber of our hospitality staff to ensure we continue to deliver a guest experience of unsurpassed quality," said Christian Sauleau, executive vice president of fleet operations for Silversea. "Our butlers come to us from some of the world's finest hotels and grandest homes, already highly trained in the art of recognizing guest preferences and anticipating their needs, ever attentive yet in the most unobtrusive manner. Each butler, assisted by a suite attendant, is empowered to troubleshoot problems and provide special service touches, if desired by the guest, for example unpacking and packing clothing, facilitating a dry cleaning request or preparing a scented Jacuzzi bath, ultimately creating a suite environment where one can relax and feel totally cared for."

As the complimentary butler service rolls out to all accommodations, it will join an already expansive array of all-inclusive amenities available to Silversea guests, including a premium assortment of wines, champagne and spirits served throughout the ship, all gratuities, and on select sailings, the Silversea Experience®, an exclusive shoreside event. All accommodations are ocean-view (most are suites) and feature Pommery Champagne upon arrival; fresh fruit and flower arrangements; selection of European bath amenities; fine bed linens; premium mattresses; choice of pillow; plush robes and slippers; personalized stationery; 24-hour room service; in-suite beverage cabinet stocked daily on request with guest's selection of wines, spirits, bottled water and soft drinks; and twice daily suite service with turndown nightly.

Currently, complimentary butler service is available in the top-category accommodations--Royal, Grand and Owner's Suites. In the coming months, it will be rolled out to Silver and Medallion Suites as follows:

-- May 7: Silver Wind
-- May 17: Prince Albert II
-- May 19: Silver Whisper
-- May 30: Silver Cloud
-- June 7: Silver Shadow

Butler service will then be extended to all accommodations on all ships as follows:

-- September 21: Prince Albert II
-- October 9: Silver Cloud
-- October 24: Silver Whisper
-- November 9: Silver Wind
-- December 2: Silver Shadow

For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent.
For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

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Norwegian Epic To Feature Largest Ship-Within-A-Ship Suite Complex At Sea & Innovative New "Studios"

MIAMI, March 18: At the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Miami Convention today, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) revealed the full range of innovative and varied accommodations to be offered on its next generation of Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic. In another industry first, Norwegian is also opening group block space reservations on Norwegian Epic today exclusively for its travel partners before the ship goes on sale to the general public later this spring.

Norwegian Epic, NCL’s largest Freestyle Cruising ship to date, set for delivery in May 2010, will feature the biggest ship-within-a-ship suite complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship. Guests staying in one of these suites will have exclusive access to the Courtyard Villa complex featuring a pool, two whirlpools, gym, saunas, sundeck, indoor/outdoor dining, bar/nightclub and concierge lounge. Always an innovator, Norwegian pioneered the ship-within-a-ship concept on its Jewel class ships and is now taking that vision to epic proportions on the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic.

For the budget-conscious traveler, Norwegian also unveiled a new category of inside staterooms – The Studios. A first in design for the cruise industry, these ultra-modern staterooms maximize space and feature a large, round window that looks out into the corridor, along with customizable color changing light effects that mirror different stages of the day or the guest’s mood, including a love setting for those romantic nights at sea. The Studios occupy two decks and have exclusive key-card access to the Living Room, a two-story shared private lounge. The area is a two-floor lounge which features a concierge, bar, room service, two large TV screens, and comfy seating for hanging out, reading a book or just enjoying a cocktail before dinner.

For the first time in its 43-year history, Norwegian is also introducing spa balcony, deluxe balcony staterooms and suites located within the spa with complimentary access to the ship’s ultra-relaxing thermal suite and invigorating and state-of-the-art fitness center. For families traveling on Norwegian Epic, NCL has placed the majority of its family-friendly staterooms, both deluxe balcony and balcony staterooms, many that connect, on two decks within close proximity to an expanded, biggest ever Kids Crew facility for added convenience.

“True to its name, Norwegian Epic takes Freestyle accommodations to the next level, offering a wide range of staterooms, suites and villas to suit every type of guest,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Since this ship is our largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising vessel to date, we’ve taken a fresh approach to our stateroom mix, offering niche accommodations such as our family and spa categories, along with creative, ground-breaking design as evidenced by The Studios with Living Room and largest ever Courtyard Villa complex.”

These specialized accommodations complement the ship’s New Wave Inside, Balcony and Deluxe Balcony staterooms announced last year. These New Wave staterooms feature curved walls and lines creating a modern and chic experience. Norwegian has maximized the living space with a bathroom that is completely unique with a separate shower stall, separate water closet and a modern vanity top sink. Norwegian Epic is also a balcony-rich ship, with all of its outside staterooms featuring private balconies.

More details on Norwegian Epic’s accommodations are as follows:

Villas and Suites:
· A total of 60 Courtyard Villas, Penthouse Suites and Deluxe Owner’s Suites on two private decks high atop the ship on Decks 16 and 17. All have exclusive access to a private pool, two whirlpools, saunas, sun deck, fitness facility, private indoor/outdoor dining, bar and concierge lounge. There are 46 of NCL’s signature Courtyard Villas featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms of ultimate luxury. Six Courtyard Penthouses include a bedroom with separate living and dining area. Eight Deluxe Owner’s Suites feature all-around floor to ceiling windows, bedroom and separate living and dining area. There are also seven Penthouse Suites located in other areas of the ship.

The Studios and Living Room:
· 128 ultra modern studios located on two decks, 11 and 12. Each sleeps two, has a den-like feel with a large, round window looking onto the corridor with customizable color changing light effects that mirror different stages of the day. Inside the Studios, a control panel allows guests to select their own light effect depending on their mood, including a love setting for romantic nights at sea.
· The Living Room is a shared social space exclusively for the use of Studio guests. The area is a two-floor lounge which features a bar, room service, two large TV screens, and comfy seating for hanging out, reading a book or just enjoying a cocktail before dinner. A concierge is available to book dinner reservations and shore excursions.

Spa Suites and Staterooms:
· Located on Deck 14, a total of 39 spa suites, deluxe balcony and balcony staterooms have private key-card entry to the enclave surrounding Norwegian Epic’s ultra-luxurious thermal suite and fitness center. For an added indulgence, eight spa suites each feature an in-room whirlpool.

Family Staterooms:
· 225 Family Deluxe Balcony and 146 Family Balcony staterooms, with triple and quad occupancies, are located on two decks (13 and 14) within close proximity to the expanded Kids Crew. These staterooms feature Norwegian’s signature New Wave design with contemporary curved architecture and open living space. The curved walls and ceilings maximize the living space with a bathroom that is completely unique with a separate shower stall, separate water closet and a modern vanity top sink.
· Many of the family staterooms can connect, perfect for families and multigenerational groups.

Deluxe Balcony Staterooms:
· 98 Deluxe Balcony staterooms featuring NCL’s signature New Wave design, with contemporary curved architecture and open living space. The curved walls and ceilings maximize the living space with a bathroom that is completely unique with a separate shower stall, separate water closet and a modern vanity top sink.

New Wave Balcony Staterooms:
· 851 Balcony staterooms feature Norwegian’s New Wave design and open living space; located throughout the ship on Decks 8 to 14.

· 560 Inside staterooms, with contemporary décor and open living space, including a bathroom that is completely unique with a separate shower stall, water closet and a modern vanity top sink; located on Decks 8 through 14.

NCL plans to reveal two more chapters about Norwegian Epic. Chapter 4 details will be revealed on April 3, 2009 at the Cruise3Sixty show in Ft. Lauderdale and Chapter 5 details will be revealed in New York City in May 2009. To view renderings and register for news, visit For further information on NCL, visit or contact NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (866) 234-0292.

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Princess Cruises Features 21 New Adventures Ashore for 2009 Alaska Season

SANTA CLARITA, CA, March 18: The world’s highest and longest zipline, an Alaska seafood culinary feast and an exhilarating bike ride through the Tongass National Forest highlight the 21 new tours Princess Cruises is debuting this summer Alaska season. Whether visitors are interested in the adrenaline rush of an exciting adventure, delving deeper into local culture, enjoying authentic Alaska flavors or organizing their own private fishing expedition, Princess’ Adventures Ashore program features new choices to help passengers make the most of their time in port.

The new tours join Princess’s extensive Alaska shore excursion program, which offers 222 options this summer. Among the new choices are a variety of activities in Icy Strait Point, as this season Princess begins calling regularly at this uniquely Alaskan port near the state’s largest Tlingit community.

“There are so many ways to experience Alaska, and we want to offer passengers the full breadth of the options available in each of our ports,” said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. “These local tour operators offer great ways for our passengers to experience the wildlife, natural beauty, native culture and thrilling adventures available throughout this great state.”

Among the new activities passengers can enjoy this summer are:
-- Alpine Zip and Glacier Adventure (Juneau) – Passengers can fly through the trees in a scenic alpine rainforest, plus visit Juneau’s breathtaking Mendenhall Glacier. Participants will have a bird’s-eye view as they take a thrilling ride from tree to tree over multiple zip lines surrounded by snowcapped mountains.
-- Bike and Tram Elevation Sensation (Juneau) – Visitors can combine the exhilaration of a bike ride descending 1,200 feet through the Tongass National Forest with an effortless 1,800-foot ascent on the Mount Roberts Tramway.
-- Private Salmon Fishing and Wildlife Cruise (Juneau) – The unique opportunity to relax on a private, all-inclusive marine adventure that can include fishing, whale watching and sightseeing, depending on what passengers wish to do. Up to six passengers can enjoy this personalized VIP experience.
-- Coastal Wildlife Cruise (Ketchikan) – A high-speed boat ride into the wilderness to search for black bears, orcas, eagles, humpback whales and other wildlife on the move. Specially designed for wildlife viewing, the boat provides a prime bear-watching venue.
-- Taste of Skagway (Skagway) – The unique flavors of the “Gateway to the Klondike” offer up a gourmet delight with a tour that takes passengers to Jewell Gardens for a taste of delicacies made from the garden’s own organic ingredients as well as the opportunity to sip fine Alaska wines. At the Gold Rush Brewery, visitors can sample three locally brewed beers and “gold nugget” appetizers – corn fritters with honey butter.
-- Tribal Dance and Cultural Legends (Icy Strait Point) – An opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the local Tlingit culture at an interactive performance showcasing the rich heritage of the original inhabitants of Glacier Bay.
-- Wild Alaska Culinary Extravaganza (Icy Strait Point) – A culinary demonstration and hands-on cooking course where visitors can learn about the local seafood, with guidance on filleting and cooking fish such as salmon and halibut as well as how to cook, crack, clean and eat a crab with style. The excursion concludes with a family-style feast.
-- Remote Wildlife and Brown Bear Search (Icy Strait Point) – A trip to explore the wilds of Chichagof Island in search of the Alaska coastal brown bear – otherwise known as the grizzly bear – and other local wildlife.
-- Ziprider Adventure (Icy Strait Point) – At 5,330 feet, the Ziprider cable ride is the highest zip line in the world. Six riders can zip at the same time on parallel cables, so it’s a race to the bottom on an exhilarating ride at speeds up to 60 mph.
-- Hoonah Bike Trek (Icy Strait Point) – An eight-mile ride through Alaska’s largest Tlingit settlement, with experienced guides to lead riders through the scenic coast and rainforest, and explain local life as visitors pedal through the village of Hoonah.
-- Glacier Bay Flightseeing (Icy Strait Point) – Passengers can get a bird’s-eye view of the majesty of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, one of the state’s most dramatic attractions. Visitors will fly past waterfalls, lakes, deep crevasses and the azure blue meltwater pools that make up the park, as well as the mighty Brady Glacier.

All Alaska Adventures Ashore® excursions are currently available for pre-reservation. Passengers who are already booked on an Alaska cruise can reserve their tours by logging on to the Cruise Personalizer on, to ensure they get the excursions of their choice. As many tours fill up quickly, passengers are encouraged to make selections as early as possible.

Princess Cruises will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alaska’s statehood in 2009 with a full season of cruisetour and cruise itineraries showcasing the best of the state, including the incomparable Denali National Park and Glacier Bay National Park. Throughout the May 9 to September 14 season, the Princess fleet will offer a total of 130 Alaska sailings, featuring the line’s signature Gulf of Alaska sailings, Inside Passage routes from Seattle and San Francisco, and a small ship experience on 14-day Connoisseur voyages to some of the state’s less-visited ports. In addition, Princess will again take more passengers to the ice-filled wonder of Glacier Bay than any other line, with 81 visits (all Gulf and Connoisseur voyages). Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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NCL’s Booking Volume Up Double Digits

MIAMI, March 17: Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) saw its bookings rise 15 percent year over year through March 15, 2009. In addition, its new Groups 2.0 program, launched in December, saw a 288 percent increase in group staterooms blocked compared to the same time last year. The company credits its successful Freestyle Resolution Sales Event that ended on March 15, Freestyle 2.0, Partnership 2.0 and strong travel partner support as several factors that have contributed to these increases. In addition, Norwegian recently launched its job loss protection plan, helping guests to book a stress-free future cruise despite uncertain economic times.

From January through early March, the company conducted weekly Executive Webinars with its travel partners, where senior executives discussed specific areas of the business and enhancements to its fleet, providing agents with insight and creative ways to sell its Freestyle Cruising vacations. More than 14,000 agents registered for these weekly sessions which were lauded by agents as providing them with the knowledge to sell Norwegian more.

“Our cruises represent a tremendous value during these challenging economic times,” said Andy Stuart, NCL’s executive vice president of global sales and passenger services. “We are encouraged by this double-digit growth and we want to thank our travel partners for their assistance in showing today’s wary consumers that they can still take an enjoyable and relaxing vacation on one of our 11 Freestyle Cruising ships and feel that they are getting great value for their money.”

For further information on NCL, visit or contact NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (866) 234-0292.

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Celebrity Eclipse First Dedicated UK Ship Sailing From Southampton

LONDON, March 17: 'Celebrity Eclipse' has been announced as the third-ship in the new Solstice class and is the first to sail from Southampton for a full season, being inline with continuing ship investment to markets outside mainland North America. The five-star contemporary ship, uniquely designed with interiors by Tihany Design, offers five different European and Mediterranean cruising itineraries from April 2010 designed for travellers who prefer to depart from the UK.

Responding to the demand for new destinations and varying cruise lengths, Celebrity Eclipse will offer 26 cruises, a combination of short and longer itineraries. With sailings from four-night taster cruises to Cork and 16-night Eastern Mediterranean cruises. The first season of Celebrity Eclipse features new ports of call for Celebrity Cruises including Toulon (Provence), Cagliari (Sardinia) and Malaga (Spain). Plus, the 2010 summer season of Celebrity Eclipse also includes overnight stays in Palma de Mallorca on a 14-night Spanish Mediterranean cruise, and St Petersburg and Copenhagen on a 14-night Scandinavia and Russia cruise.

In summer 2010 Celebrity Cruises will base all three of its new Solstice-class ships in the European region as the brand seeks to continue growth outside North America. Sister ships Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox will operate from Civitavecchia (Rome) and synonymous to Celebrity Cruises, guests can enjoy lawn sports whilst at sea on the real grass lawn onboard any of the Solstice-class ships.

Robin Shaw, vice president and MD, Celebrity Cruises, UK and Ireland explained, "We have steadily seen a greater proportion of guests choosing Celebrity Cruises as a real alternative to traditional cruising. With the commitment of a dedicated ship from Southampton, we are hoping to see a continued rise in this trend. In bringing such a contemporary ship into the market, it is our clear aim to make Celebrity Cruises one of the major players in the British and Irish cruise industry. Celebrity Eclipse will change the face of premium large ship cruising from the UK."

For more information, visit or contact the Celebrity Cruises PR Team on +44(0)845-456-0523

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Cunard Line Unveils Queen Elizabeth

17 March: Cunard Line revealed itinerary and design plans for its newest ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth, which is scheduled to enter service on 12 October 2010, giving one of the oldest names in shipping the strength of operating the youngest fleet in the industry. Queen Elizabeth will be the third new ocean liner to be introduced by Cunard in six years and the second largest Cunard ship ever built.

Queen Elizabeth will feature the unique Cunard traditions linking her with her sisters Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, and their predecessors. She will also debut some exciting features that will give the vessel her own style and personality, plus all the modern day luxuries Cunard’s guests have come to expect. Likewise, Cunard’s renowned White Star Service will be ever-present, ensuring that travellers who seek a return to tradition will enjoy proper, authentic experiences that reflect the line’s 170-year heritage of formality and civility at sea.

In announcing the first details of the new ship, Cunard President Carol Marlow said “Cunard holds the distinction of sailing the most famous ocean liners in the world and I’m delighted to announce this magnificent addition to our fleet, which marks the return to our operation of three Queens simultaneously. For more than 70 years there has been an ‘Elizabeth’ in the fleet and this beautiful modern-day celebration of our past ‘Elizabeths’ will ensure this proud tradition continues far into this century. Sir Samuel Cunard would be rightly proud.”

A Nod to Cunard’s History and Heritage: Queen Elizabeth is named after Cunard’s first Queen Elizabeth, the famed Cunard ship which was launched in 1938 as the world’s largest liner. The new ship will reference her predecessor in interior grandeur, décor and style, but with a modern twist.

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 adherence to liner decor, with elegant double and triple height public rooms on a grand scale, intricately detailed interiors replete with rich wood panelling, mosaics, gleaming chandeliers, and cool marbles. Art Deco features will pay homage to the original Queen Elizabeth, and will allow the new ship to reflect a more civilized era of travel. And in addition to the extensive Cunard entertainment programmes onboard, Queen Elizabeth will offer some unique strands inspired by the era of the first Queen Elizabeth, including country house parties, lively piano evenings and a variety of dancing from that time – including the jitterbug and jive - all within the setting of this 21st century ship.

As a successor to Queen Elizabeth 2, the ship will also reflect this great liner via artwork and memorabilia and will have its very own ‘Yacht Club,’ named after the lively aft lounge on QE2. Offering guests 270 degree views and the perfect setting for activities and gatherings during the day, it will also double as a dramatic evening venue for cocktails and dancing.

Similarly, through photography, memorabilia and exhibits, the ship will recognize the historic links Cunard has enjoyed with Royalty over the years.

The ship’s distinctive public spaces include:
-- Queens Room: a new take on the traditional Cunard ballroom, with artwork depicting views from royal palaces, and photography of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal family, along with its 1000 square foot dance floor for Grand Balls and Tea Dances at sea.
-- Garden Lounge: with its magnificent vaulted glass ceiling creating a conservatory feel inspired by the glass houses of Kew Gardens, beneath where guests will enjoy Supper Clubs, and mix dining with dancing under the stars.
-- Games Deck: Named after the same deck on the original Queen Elizabeth, the Games Deck will offer paddle tennis, croquet and traditional British bowls. (Interestingly, the ship’s home port of Southampton is home to the oldest surviving bowls green in the world, first used in 1299.)
-- Midships Bar: will pay homage to her namesake liner, the first Queen Elizabeth, with memorabilia displayed from that era.

The ship’s dining venues include:
-- Queens Grill & Princess Grill: The ship will also feature the line’s celebrated five-star Grills accommodation and dining, with its al fresco dining option on a private deck terrace - first introduced on Queen Victoria - beautiful restaurants, Grills Lounge and sunbathing deck.
-- The popular Britannia Club, having first debuted aboard Queen Mary 2, features a private dining room with single seating dining for those guests in the top Balcony staterooms.
-- Britannia Restaurant: Art Deco decorative flourishes create a dramatic backdrop for this two-tiered dining room featuring a sweeping staircase ideal for making a grand entrance.

Queen Elizabeth’s maiden 2010 season will consist of six voyages, calling on 32 distinct ports in 18 countries. Her Maiden Voyage will depart from Cunard’s homeport of Southampton on 12 October 2010, en route to the Atlantic Isles. The 13-night voyage will call at Vigo (for Santiago de Compostela), Lisbon, Seville (Cadiz), Gran Canaria (Las Palmas), Tenerife (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), La Palma (Santa Cruz de La Palma) and Madeira (Funchal).

The ship will then embark on five celebratory inaugural voyages:
-- Mediterranean Premiere: A 14-day voyage departing Southampton on 25 October 2010 with maiden calls to Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples (for Capri and Pompeii), Cartagena and Gibraltar.
-- Aegean Introduction: An 18-day voyage departing Southampton on 8 November 2010 calling on Malaga (for Granada), Malta (Valletta), Venice, Dubrovnik, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Athens (Piraeus) and Alicante.
-- Gallic Debut: A five-day voyage departing Southampton on 26 November 2010 with maiden calls to Rotterdam (for Amsterdam), Brussels/Bruges (for Zeebrugge) and Cherbourg.
-- Iberian Discovery: A 13-day voyage departing Southampton on 1 December 2010 with calls to Vigo (for Santiago de Compostela), Lisbon, Seville (Cadiz), Gran Canaria (Las Palmas), Tenerife (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), La Palma (Santa Cruz de La Palma) and Madeira.
-- Festive Debut: A 22-day holiday voyage departing Southampton on 14 December 2010 with calls in the Caribbean, including Madeira (Funchal), Tortola, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and Azores Islands (Ponta Delgada).

Reservations for Queen Elizabeth’s maiden voyages and inaugural season will be open for booking on April 2. For more information and to book a voyage, consult your Travel Professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Celebrity Cruises’ 2010 Alaska Offerings To Focus On Seven Spectacular Nights

MIAMI, March 17: The number seven holds a certain “lucky” mystique, and Celebrity Cruises’ 2010 Alaska season places the number seven at its very core. From May through September of next year, 7-night itineraries will be offered across three Celebrity ships in Alaska. Paired with a fully escorted land tour, these cruises offer travelers an even greater opportunity to explore one of America’s most majestic landscapes. Celebrity opened its 2010 Alaska cruise and cruisetour bookings for sale today. Guests who purchase a 2010 Celebrity Alaska cruise within a booking window of March 17 and June 17, 2009, are eligible for an onboard credit of $100 per stateroom.

Throughout the 2010 Alaska season, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Mercury and Celebrity Millennium will offer a total of 58 Alaska sailings from six home ports: San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, California; Seattle, Washington; Seward, Alaska; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

After sailing one 11-night “Ultimate Alaska” cruise from San Francisco to Vancouver, departing on May 10, 2010 and offering a port line-up that includes Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Sitka, Alaska, Celebrity Infinity will offer 18 consecutive seven-night “Alaska Tracy Arm Fjord” cruises departing on Fridays and sailing roundtrip from Seattle, Washington. New to Celebrity’s offerings in Alaska, these 7-night voyages are named for the 32-mile-long passage the ship will make through the narrow Tracy Arm Fjord, known for its over-8,000-feet-high walls and breathtaking scenery. At the end of the fjord is Sawyer Glacier, the face of which is a magnificent 200 feet high. Celebrity Infinity’s seven-night itinerary also will include visits to Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia as well as a cruise through the Alaska Inside Passage. Celebrity Infinity’s seven-night Alaska season begins on May 21 and concludes after the cruise departing on September 17.

While cruising on Celebrity Infinity, guests can opt to purchase in-port shore excursions to enhance their Alaska experience. For example, in Skagway, the White Pass Railway and Historic City Highlights excursion gives guests the opportunity to ride the world-famous narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad to the summit, travel by motorcoach down the Klondike Highway, tour the historic town of Skagway and view a lively presentation on the region’s history.

Celebrity Mercury also will sail 7-night roundtrip cruises in Alaska in 2010, but to kick off her season, she will offer the only Alaska cruise offered by any cruise line roundtrip out of Los Angeles: a 12-night “Ultimate Alaska” sailing departing on May 5, 2010. The voyage will feature visits to Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska, a cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier, and a visit to Victoria, British Columbia. Celebrity Mercury will follow this voyage with another “Ultimate Alaska” cruise, a 13-night voyage departing on May 17 from Los Angeles, sailing to Vancouver.

The core of Celebrity Mercury’s 2010 Alaska season begins on May 30, when she offers the first of 16 seven-night roundtrip “Alaska Hubbard Glacier” sailings that will depart on Sundays from Vancouver. These will include calls at Icy Strait Point, Juneau, and Ketchikan. The highlight of these voyages will be a day spent cruising by Hubbard Glacier, the only advancing glacier in Alaska and the largest glacier in North America, with a face six miles wide and 300 feet high. Celebrity Mercury’s last seven-night Hubbard Glacier cruise will sail on September 12, and will be followed by a 12-night “Ultimate Alaska” voyage from Vancouver to San Francisco, departing on September 19.

While cruising on Celebrity Mercury, guests may wish to delve deeper into Alaska’s local flavor by choosing from a wide variety of available shore excursions. In Icy Strait Point, “Wild Alaska Culinary Extravaganza” teaches guests how to prepare and cook local seafood, including salmon, halibut, and Dungeness crab; the experience concludes with a feast. In Juneau, “Whale Quest, Mendenhall Glacier and Orca Point Lodge” combines three classic Juneau highlights: whale watching, one of the region’s most spectacular glaciers, and a meal of fresh Alaska salmon at Orca Point Lodge. Guests can view video footage of most of Celebrity’s Alaska shore excursions at

Guests sailing on Celebrity Mercury will have the opportunity to extend and enhance their Alaska-season vacation by combining their cruise with a fully escorted land tour; this combination is known as a cruisetour. Celebrity will offer four different land tour packages in Canada in 2010. Offerings include a six-night pre-cruise package originating in Calgary and traveling to Vancouver by way of Banff, Kamloops and Jasper. The post-cruise land tour is five nights in length, starting in Vancouver and ending in Calgary. Both tour packages feature a trip to Banff and a visit to the top of Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola, as well as travel to Kamloops via the Rocky Mountaineer® traincar with RedLeaf Service®, and time for independent sightseeing, shopping and dining in Vancouver. A highlight of the pre-tour package is travel by luxury motorcoach to Jasper and a snowcoach ride over the Columbia Icefield. Guests who wish to extend their cruise for three additional nights can take advantage of a pre- or post-cruise Whistler tour out of Vancouver. The package includes a trip on the Whistler Mountaineer® traincar featuring CoastClassic Service®, which affords guests the opportunity to gaze upon unforgettable seascape and mountainview scenes, two nights in Whistler, a night in Vancouver and time there for independent sightseeing, shopping and dining. All cruisetours include hotel accommodations, in-tour transportation and baggage transfers, and some meals.

Celebrity Millennium will start and end her 2010 Alaska season with longer cruises; these include a 14-night “Ultimate Alaska” voyage on April 30 and a 10-night wine cruise from Vancouver to San Diego, California, departing on September 17. The wine cruise will stop in Nanaimo and Victoria, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington before sailing to San Francisco, California for an overnight stay and concluding with calls at Monterey and Catalina Island. Highlights of the wine cruise will include onboard wine-themed activities, tastings and dinners, including the Riedel comparative wine workshop offered on most of Celebrity’s sailings. The wine cruise will offer guests the opportunity to book shore excursions centered around food and wine. For example, in San Francisco, the 10-hour “Napa Valley Wine Enthusiast” excursion takes guests to highly-rated wineries such as Sterling Vineyards (accessible only by a special tram car that takes guests up the mountain to the winery), Opus One, Robert Mondavi and Jarvis, with a stop at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant for a gourmet lunch featuring fresh local ingredients. During this tour, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy activities such as wine tastings, tours and talks by winemakers.

Nine northbound and nine southbound sailings, 7-nights in length and sailing on Fridays between Seward and Vancouver, will comprise Celebrity Millennium’s core season in 2010. These sailings are marked by a lack of pure “at sea” days, instead featuring one day cruising through the Inside Passage and one day cruising by the Hubbard Glacier. Ports of call will include Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Skagway.

A total of 21 land-based packages are available in conjunction with Celebrity Millennium’s 2010 northbound and southbound Alaska sailings. The fully escorted land tour portions range in length from three to seven nights of additional adventure beyond the cruise itself. Highlights of the various packages, offered out of Fairbanks, Anchorage and Seward, include the following:

-- 19 of the 21 packages include a guided tour of Denali National Park, known for its stunning taiga forests, miles of rolling tundra and wildlife sightings
-- 19 of the 21 packages include travel on our glass-domed traincars, Celebrity’s own Wilderness Express®, featuring vistas of cascading waterfalls and glaciers
-- A range of engaging, educational activities that vary by itinerary, including a cruise on the Riverboat Discovery Sternwheeler, a visit to the Alaska Sealife Centermountainview ride on the Alyeska Tramway
-- Overnight stays at properties such as the comfortably rustic Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge or the Hotel Alyeska, ideally set among seven hanging glaciers in the Girdwood Valley

All Alaska cruisetours are fully escorted and include hotel accommodations, in-tour transportation and baggage transfers.

Celebrity’s early booking offer, open to residents of the United States and Canada, applies to all Alaska cruises taking place in 2010. This offer applies to FIT bookings and group space (only group bookings named and deposited between March 17 and June 17, 2009, are eligible). Other terms and conditions may apply. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit

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Windstar Cruises Announces Signature Collection Cruise for Photography Buffs

SEATTLE, March 17: Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, offers photography buffs the opportunity to travel with award-winning travel and fashion photographer Stephanie Pfriender Stylander on a Mediterranean sailing aboard Wind Surf, departing Sept 13, 2009, from Venice, Italy.

Windstar's Signature Collection Host Series features distinguished guests and lecturers throughout the 2009 season, including Pfriender Stylander who will show her travel photography, share her experiences traveling and photographing amazing places around the world, and answer questions on a variety of photography topics including technical issues and artistic expression.

Pfriender Stylander's photographs have appeared in leading national and international magazines including Conde Nast Traveler, on album covers for Sheryl Crow and Keith Richards, and in advertising campaigns including Bollinger Champagne. American Photo Magazine recently honored her photographic approach in a special 2008 issue. For more information on Pfriender Stylander, please visit

Wind Surf's 7-day Venice to Rome itinerary includes ports in Rovinj, Croatia; Split, Croatia; Messina, Italy; Amalfi, Italy; and Ponza, Italy. Wind Surf accommodates 312 guests and offers deluxe, oceanview staterooms that include beds with luxury linens and mattresses, flat-screen TV and DVD player, Bose SoundDock speakers for Apple iPods, waffle-weave robes with slippers and sumptuous L'Occitane products. Suites also include an extra bath, TV and sitting area. Bridge Suites give guests the additional luxury of a spacious private living room and relaxing whirlpool spa. Culinary wonders abound in Wind Surf's The Restaurant, Degrees, Le Marche and Candles. Enjoy live music in the Lounge and cocktails in the Terrace Bar. Water sports enthusiasts will appreciate Windstar's complimentary waterskiing, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking from the ship's water sports platform.

For more information including 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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Royal Caribbean & Universal Orlando Resort Partner To Offer
Ultimate Land & Cruise Vacation

MIAMI, March 17: Two of the world’s most innovative vacation providers, Royal Caribbean International and Universal Orlando Resort, are joining forces to introduce the Way More Than a Cruise ultimate vacation package. With a wide variety of options, families will be able to experience the best of land and sea while enjoying unparalleled savings. Bookings for Way More Than a Cruise are open for travel starting March 31, 2009.

The land and sea vacation packages combine a 3- or 4-night stay at Universal Orlando Resort with a 3- or 4-night Bahamas cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas, or a 7-night Caribbean cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas. Way More Than a Cruise includes hotel and shipboard accommodations, multi-day passes to both Universal theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, complimentary admission to select live entertainment venues at Universal’s CityWalk and ground transfers between airport, hotel, theme parks and the ship at Port Canaveral.

 “Royal Caribbean is delighted to partner with Universal Orlando Resort to create this special package for vacationers seeking a unique and truly memorable experience,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The Way More Than a Cruise package seamlessly combines the best of land and sea to deliver an exciting family vacation. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy these premier Orlando attractions along with two of Port Canaveral’s newest ships, Monarch of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas.”

Home to two world-class theme parks, a nighttime entertainment complex and three magnificently themed on-site hotels, Universal Orlando Resort is a one-of-a-kind family vacation destination that brings blockbusters to life. At Universal Studios, guests can jump into the action with award-winning attractions based on some of pop culture’s best-known movies and TV shows – attractions like The Simpsons Ride, Shrek 4-D and Revenge of the Mummy. Also coming soon to Universal Studios is Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, the most individually unique and customizable coaster in the world. The coaster combines first-ever maneuvers with personalized features allowing riders to choose the soundtrack for their ride and purchase a one-of-a-kind video of their experience. Next door, Universal’s Islands of Adventure features the most cutting-edge rides and attractions on five uniquely themed islands – Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent and Seuss Landing.

For the cruise portion of the vacation, guests will sail roundtrip to the Bahamas aboard Monarch of the Seas and call at Nassau, Bahamas, and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island paradise in the Bahamas. Guests aboard Monarch of the Seas will exclusively enjoy a day at CocoCay, featuring a myriad of water sports options, an Aqua-Park for children, halcyon beaches and shaded hammocks, beachfront barbeque, and a straw market. Onboard, guests will enjoy spectacular Broadway-style musical revues from the award-winning Royal Caribbean Productions; exciting Vegas-style gaming in Casino Royale; and rejuvenating and invigorating rituals in the onboard Day Spa. Younger guests can hang out with their peers in the cruise line’s award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program, where teens have their own dedicated space. New features in the complimentary onboard youth program, such as extended hours in the Adventure Ocean and teen spaces and pre-cruise ordering of baby supplies, will help provide a stress-free experience for parents. Throughout their stay aboard every Royal Caribbean ship, all guests receive the cruise line’s signature friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service from staff and crew.

The ultimate way to experience Universal Orlando Resort is by staying at one of three themed, AAA Four Diamond Award-winning on-site hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Hard Rock Hotel. Best of all, on-site hotel guests enjoy a variety of special theme park privileges, including free Universal Express ride access. Just by showing their valid hotel room key card, on-site hotel guests can bypass the regular ride and attraction lines. The on-site hotels are connected to the resort by a scenic waterway. Complimentary water taxis provide quick and convenient access to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and CityWalk. Additional Orlando area hotels located within minutes of Universal Orlando are also available.
Beginning in May, vacationers also will be able to choose a 10- or 11-night extended Universal Orlando Resort and Royal Caribbean vacation by combining a three- or four-night stay at Universal with a seven-night Eastern or Western Caribbean cruise aboard the world-renowned Freedom of the Seas. On the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, guests will enjoy three days at sea and call at St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and CocoCay. On the Western Caribbean itinerary, guests will enjoy two days at sea and call at Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach paradise located on the north coast of Haiti.

At 160,000 gross registered tons (GRT) and a capacity of 3,634 guests, double occupancy, Freedom of the Seas shares the title of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship with sister-ships Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas. Freedom features the cruise line’s exclusive onboard amenities such as the FlowRider surf simulator; the H20 Zone water park; Studio B ice-skating rink; a full-size boxing ring; cantilevered whirlpools suspended 112 ft. above the ocean; and the four-bedroom, four-bath Presidential Family Suite, which accommodates up to 14 guests. Guests also have a choice of eight onboard restaurants, including Royal Caribbean’s signature specialty restaurants Chops Grille steakhouse and Portofino Italian restaurant. For more information or to book a Way More Than a Cruise ultimate vacation and enjoy up to 25 percent savings from the combined rates of the individual land and sea experiences, call your travel agent or visit or call 877-202-5090.

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Holland America Line Adds More to Vacation Stimulus Plan

Seattle, March 17: Holland America Line has added additional savings and incentives to its popular Vacation Stimulus Plan. Guests can now take advantage of free or reduced cruise fares for a third or fourth person in a stateroom plus 25 percent discounts on most pre- and post-cruise hotel packages. Travel sellers also continue to receive reduced tour conductor credits on select cruises. New program elements also include no deposits required on third and fourth guest bookings. These new benefits are in addition to original elements of unprecedented low fares, deposits reduced by 50 percent, a 25 percent savings on standard Cancellation Protection Plan and suspended fuel supplements for cruises. All Vacation Stimulus Plan incentives are available on 2009 sailings departing after May 1 and all 2010 cruises.

“People want to receive the best value for their vacation dollar,” said Richard D. Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guests programs. “And we want to make cruises more attractive than ever to help our travel agent partners.
“These are great cruise values and, as I’ve said before, it’s time to buy low and live high,” stated Meadows. “You can’t afford not to cruise this year.”

Third and Fourth Guest Savings: New benefits feature significantly reduced third and fourth person cruise fares—in some cases free and as low as $99 per person—for select sailings and no deposits required for any third or fourth person booking. For example, a seven-day May 23 or 30 Canada/New England sailing for a family of four starts at $1,398 plus taxes ($699 per person and free for two children). Guests receiving free third and fourth cruise rates must pay applicable taxes.

Savings on Hotel Packages: Holland America Line also will reduce all pre- and post-cruise hotel packages by 25 percent. Packages are available for most cruise destinations and range from one-night up to three-night stays in an upscale hotel, transfers and baggage handling at a cruise gateway city. For example, with new discounts, prices start at $74.25 per person at the Tampa Airport Marriott for hotel, transfers from airport to hotel and hotel to pier, baggage handling at the hotel and tax. Alaska cruisetours are not eligible for this discount.

Reduced Tour Conductor Credits on Select Cruises: Several sailings also offer tour conductor credits at one for 10 guests booked or one for 12 instead of the standard 1 for 15 policy. Almost every cruise destination is represented in these selected departures, including Caribbean, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada/New England, Europe, South America, Asia and Alaska cruises and cruisetours.

Still Unprecedented Low Fares: Lead fares for the View and Verandah promotion start at $449 for 7-day Alaska cruises, $599 for 7-day Caribbean sailing, and $999 for 10-day Europe voyages. There are savings to other exotic destinations, such as $1,199 for 16-day South America cruises, $1,399 for 14-day Australia/New Zealand cruises, and $1,599 for 12-day Southeast Asia sailings. Taxes are additional on all per person cruise fares.

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Chef Nobu Matsuhisa to Sail on Crystal Serenity in July

LOS ANGELES, March 16: Master Chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa is joining Crystal Serenity's July 28 Mediterranean cruise to create a week of menus exclusively for Crystal Cruises guests. Nobu will prepare a week of Omakase dinners - or chef's choice menu - each night in Silk Road, the complimentary shipboard restaurant that has featured his signature cuisine since 2003. Besides cooking, welcoming guests and signing books, the famed restaurateur will demonstrate his culinary techniques, providing a glimpse into the genius--and warmth--behind his dishes. While Nobu distinctively blends traditional Japanese cuisine with Peruvian influences, he is also renowned for creating food that reflects his "kokoro," or heart. Those fortunate to dine in a Nobu or Matsuhisa restaurant while the chef is in the house know that it's common to see him greeting and interacting with his guests.

"Nobu is not only a passionate, creative force, but the consummate host who takes pleasure in connecting with guests," says Toni Neumeister, vice president, food & beverage operations.

Nobu's cuisine, prepared by Nobu-trained chefs, debuted on Crystal Serenity in 2003. With a shared reputation for excellent craftsmanship, creativity and incomparable service, Nobu and Crystal expanded their relationship with the introduction of Silk Road and The Sushi Bar aboard Crystal Symphony in 2008. Both restaurants complete the experience with Nobu's sake and china. "This is what makes fine dining on a ship so special. You can have an intimate contact with guests that you can't have in a big city," says Matsuhisa. By May 2009, the multi-Michelin-Star-awarded Matsuhisa will have 25 restaurants worldwide. Zagat called him "the man who may be the best Japanese chef in the world." The Los Angeles Times named him one of America's 10 Best Chefs.

The 12-day itinerary visits Venice, San Marino, Corfu, Rhodes, Bodrum, Istanbul, Mykonos and Athens. Cruise fares start at $6,055 per person, double occupancy. An All Inclusive - As You Wish promotion provides a $2,000 per couple shipboard credit to customize one's cruise experience. The Crystal Assurance Plan offers reduced deposits and cancellation periods, as well as the assurance that guests will be protected at the reduced fare if a stateroom category is later reduced. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the line's website,

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Holland America Line's New 'Showroom at Sea' Debuts With Innovative Musical Repertory Company

SEATTLE, March 16: Holland America Line will introduce a new concept in shipboard entertainment with its first "Showroom at Sea" in May, 2009. An innovative musical repertory company consisting of seasoned Broadway performers will be the centerpiece of an exciting new entertainment lineup. Created in partnership with Stiletto Entertainment, producers of Emmy award winning TV shows and concert tours, the new programming debuts on the Veendam in May as part of Holland America Line's Signature of Excellence enhancements. The Showroom at Sea, a modern-day take on the classic nightclub, will feature state of the art technology and a different show and themed environment nightly. Comprised of cast members with credits such as Les Miserables and Rent on Broadway, National Tours of Mamma Mia and performances with the Tokyo Philharmonic, the shows include "Street Singin'," "Encore," "Live from the Stardust Lounge," and "Bob Mackie's Broadway."

"We are always seeking to deliver increasingly innovative entertainment for our guests," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Guests will be wowed by this fresh approach to entertainment and the complete transformation of the showroom."

The Showroom at Sea is a completely redesigned main stage that features a seamless transition between the room and the stage, with all new seating and an enlarged dance floor enabling guests to combine cocktails, dancing and a show. A new sound system, enhanced lighting, and state of the art video projections transport guests into diverse environments as scenery and decor leap off the stage and into the seats. Each evening features unique drink menus and table settings. The room showcases non-stop variety as a different combination of the repertory company and musicians perform each night. From four vocalists singing pop/rock on the street corner, to two classical vocalists backed by a lavish 14-piece orchestra, to an evening at a fictitious Vegas nightclub hosted by the resident comedian, each night reveals an exciting new production.

For additional information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Prince Albert II Foundation & Silversea: Expedition to the Land of the Polar Bear

NEW YORK, March 16: This summer environmentally-minded and eco-friendly travelers have a unique opportunity to embark on an exciting 12-day polar exploration to the Svalbard archipelago and islands of the Arctic Ocean aboard the M/V Prince Albert II, Silversea’s luxury expedition ship. While they are experiencing the adventure of a life-time, searching the seldom-visited pack ice north of Spitsbergen for walrus and polar bears while witnessing a multitude of seabirds, from puffins and cormorants to a Guillemot colony of 600,000, and trekking with an expedition team on informative nature hikes, a portion of their fare - up to 30 per cent - will directly benefit the important international work of The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for the environment.

Additional highlights of voyage 7919 will include visits to charming coastal towns, learning Viking legends and toasting the midnight sun. Renowned Scottish author, environmentalist and academic, Professor David M. Munro, OBE, Ph.D., of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences, and a member of the Technical and Scientific Committee of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, will be the guest speaker on the cruise. Professor Munro, who will address the topic of biodiversity, is an Honorary Fellow at the Edinburgh Earth Observatory and has authored several books including Scotland: An Encyclopedia of Places and Landscape, (2006, Harper Collins) and Loch Leven and the River Leven - landscape transformed, (1994, The River Leven Trustees). He compiled and edited, amongst other books, the Cambridge World Gazetteer (1988) and the Oxford Dictionary of the World (1995). In addition to being an Honorary Professor of the University of Dundee, he is currently a geographical consultant to the publishers of the Times Atlas of the World and Chairman of an independent interdepartmental committee advising the British Government on geographical names.

The voyage begins on July 24 from the settlement of Longyearbyen and will visit Svalbard, and other Norwegian territories including Bear Island, Magaroya Island as well as Hornsund, (the Polish research station with a population of just eight). The final days are spent discovering Tromso, Norway. Fares include shore excursions as well as Silversea's all-inclusive amenities. (Port charges, government fees and taxes are additional). Up to 30 per cent of the cruise fare will directly benefit The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and may be tax deductible.

The partnership between The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Silversea
Silversea is dedicated to ensuring the M/V Prince Albert II will reflect the values and philosophy promoted by Prince Albert II and his Foundation in the areas of sustainable development and conservation. In collaboration with the Foundation, a “green policy” is being developed, which may eventually be adopted by all the ships in Silversea’s fleet. Features include:
-- Carbon emission offsets to limit the ship’s carbon footprint. This will be done in accordance with the Foundation’s “Monaco Carbon Offsetting” (MCO2) program which funds projects that cut GHG emissions, promote renewable energies and sequestrate CO2;
-- Observance of international environmental and safety regulations; a coordination committee will be established to ensure compliance;
-- Adherence to navigation regulations within the Arctic and Antarctic regions;
-- Onboard educational and scientific programs featuring knowledgeable guest speakers.
-- Fundraising in support of the mission and activities undertaken by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

The Lloyd's Register A1A ice-rated vessel is purpose-built for expedition cruising and prior to its re-naming and re-fitting in 2008, underwent an extensive multimillion-dollar renovation at the Fincantieri shipyard in Trieste, Italy. The refurbishment included exterior design modifications, technological enhancements and a comprehensive upgrade of guest accommodations and public spaces. The ship was also outfitted with a new fleet of eight Zodiac boats with low-emission engines. The M/V Prince Albert II is equipped with satellite communication systems for bow-to-stern wireless Internet access and cellular phone service with guests' own cell phones. All suites and staterooms feature flat-screen monitors offering interactive TV and video options. In the ship's lounges, the latest audio-visual equipment, complete with high-definition video screens, display lectures by the expedition and lecture staff as well as visiting experts. The ice-class vessel can carry 132 guests in 66 ocean-view accommodations, many featuring private verandas. Staterooms and suites range in size from 180 to more than 600 square feet. Eighteen suites will each be more than 400 square feet. Other features include a single-seating main dining room, a library with computers and Internet access, a boutique, a beauty salon, a fitness center, a full-service spa and two Jacuzzi pools. The ship will also have several lounges, including a cigar lounge like the Humidor on the line's other ships. For more information or to make a reservation, call 877-215-9986.

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Norwegian Cruise Line & R Family Vacations Set Sail For Alaska

MIAMI, March 13: Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is continuing its successful partnership with R Family Vacations, the premier family-friendly vacation specialists catering to the gay and lesbian community led by travel entrepreneurs Gregg Kaminsky and Kelli O’Donnell. This year, R Family Vacations is offering a summer adventure cruise to Alaska aboard the 2,240-passenger Norwegian Star from July 11-18, 2009, roundtrip from Seattle. This Alaska cruise is the seventh time in five years that NCL has hosted R Family Vacations and their guests on board one of its ships.

“NCL is all about offering guests freedom and flexibility on our ships,” said Andy Stuart, NCL’s executive vice president of global sales and passenger services. “With R Family Vacations’ charters, that freedom and flexibility is taken to the next level with their inclusive approach and top-quality entertainment. We are pleased to welcome R Family Vacations on board Norwegian Star and to show their guests the beauty of Alaska with NCL’s Freestyle Cruising.”

The 7-day Sawyer Glacier cruise departs Seattle on July 11, 2009 and sails to Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The cruise is on sale now and can be booked by calling R Family Vacations at 866-732-6822. More information can be found at

NCL’s Freestyle Cruising provides guests flexibility and freedom with no set dining times, dining partners or dress codes. With Freestyle Cruising, R Family Vacations’ guests may create each day to satisfy their personal tastes and vacation goals. Guests will appreciate Norwegian Star’s deluxe range of choices in staterooms, many with ocean views and balconies, in addition to an array of plush and artfully appointed suites and villas. The ship features 12 restaurants, nine bars and lounges, a dynamic casino, a spa and fitness center. Among the many on-board activities are two glimmering pools, a basketball court, golf driving net and jogging/walking track.

R Family Vacations is known for their top-tier entertainment and programming. This year, the entertainment line-up includes:
· Caroline Rhea, stand-up comedian and actress;
· R Family’s Belters Show featuring Broadway cast members from Wicked, Les Miserables, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Chicago, and Xanadu;
· Emmy-award winner Judy Gold’s “Mommy Queerest;”
· Comedians Jessica Kirson (Last Comic Standing) and Seth Rudetsky (Sirius Radio and author);
· Ross Mathews (The Tonight Show, Celebrity Fit Club, and The Insider);
· NYC Piano Bar with Brian Nash;
· “Original Circuit DJ” (and gay father) David Knapp;
· A performance from members of GALA choruses from all over the U.S., including the Seattle Gay Men’s Chorus famous “Captain Smarty Pants.”

The Family Equality Council led by Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler is organizing educational workshops and discussions including seminars on gay adoption, surrogacy, gay marriage and a teen panel. R Family also offers fun-filled themed deck parties, fitness lectures and classes and Rosie’s Broadway Kids, which gives guests the opportunity to learn a Broadway routine and perform it in the ship’s theater.
“As a GLBT parent, our cruises are a perfect way for my kids to spend time with families just like their own. Also, my straight friends and family also sail with us and find that it’s a vacation that they know everyone feels welcome and they can enjoy entertainment only offered on our cruise. Of course, kids are not required and our biggest growth has been our GLBT guests who like the mixed atmosphere and not so focused on all-night parties,” said Kelli O’Donnell, R Family Vacations co-founder.

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SeaDream I To Receive Ship-Shape, Loving Touches & Add The Admiral Suite

When SeaDream I, one of two, luxurious, twin mega yacht cruisers, returns from her scheduled dry docking in Lisbon in June this year she will exhibit a sparkle matched only by a high profile movie star. But in addition, the rakish SeaDream Yacht Club craft will also boast a new and additional passenger accommodation: The Admiral Suite, a sumptuous 375-square foot seagoing hideaway. Her sister yacht, SeaDream II, got those loving touches, and an Admiral Suite, late last year. With the addition of the two Admiral Suites, SeaDream I and II, now feature 56 accommodations including Yacht Club Staterooms at 195-square feet (some of which convert to double Yacht Club Staterooms called Commodore Suites of 390- square feet) and an elegant Owner’s Suite of 450-square feet.
At maximum, the SeaDream twins will now accommodate 112 guests in their 56 accommodations.

The new Admiral Suite features a separate living-dining area, master bedroom and one-and-a-half bathrooms. The open plan living-dining area is perfect for in-suite entertaining of fellow guests. A dining table seats four. There is an entertainment center with wall-mounted flat screen TV, refreshment center and a writing desk. With the adjacent half bathroom, entertaining is easy in the stylish room. The separate master bedroom features a queen-sized bed with an adjustable flat screen TV and a master bathroom with marble walls and floor, multi-jet shower massage, tub and vanity area. Bathed in light, the suite features three panorama windows looking out to sea.
The Admiral Suite features blond woodwork and neutral tone upholstery, curtains and other coverings. Following her dry docking SeaDream I’s first voyage with her new Admiral Suite will be a seven day voyage, June 6, from Malaga to Nice. Ports of call are: Cartagena, Formentina, Ibiza, Mahon (Menorca), St. Tropez (where SeaDream I will overnight to take advantage of the resort’s nightlife) and Monte Carlo for another overnight stop before disembarkation in Nice.

In addition to creating the new Admiral Suites on SeaDream I and II (occupying space that was a boutique now found elsewhere aboard) the dry docking consisted of technical work--behind the scenes upkeep--as well as cleaning and repairing of various public spaces.

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MSC Cruises Takes Customer Service To New Levels

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 12: Fine service is all about listening. No one understands that better than MSC Cruises. That is why the acclaimed cruise leader has added two new pairs of ears to its highly-trained service teams. All guests on the luxury MSC Cruises fleet are now offered the support of a dedicated Guest Relations Manager with a very special role, while guests on ships in the “Fantasia” class also receive their own Concierge.

The story behind the new Guest Relations Manager is typical of MSC Cruises’ passionately uncompromising approach. In its ongoing program to enhance all aspects of guest experiences, the company’s attentive customer support team noted that traditional service structures only become aware of certain disappointments after the fact, often only when a cruise is over. For example, they discovered in reviewing guest comment cards received at the end of each cruise that a guest traveling on their own would have liked to dine seated with other singles who spoke the same language or that arrangements had not been made for a guest’s special vegetarian menu. MSC Cruises’ dedication to preventing this led it to create the new position of Guest Relations Manager to ensure similar problems could be attended to promptly, even when they have nothing do with MSC Cruises.

The Guest Relations Managers - who speak several languages fluently - are available throughout every cruise, providing a single point of contact and the reassurance of being empowered to handle any issue immediately. What’s more, MSC Cruises has also enhanced the personal service on the magnificent new MSC Fantasia, which will be mirrored on its sister ship MSC Splendida, to be launched in July 2009. Guests on these luxurious ships, the largest to be commissioned by a European ship owner, will now benefit from the services of their own Concierge, who will have all the skills and contacts to cater for even the most exotic requests, from private visits and exclusive bookings on shore to special events at sea. As a result, the most beautiful ship on the seas now offers by far the most beautiful service.

The new Concierges and Guest Relations Managers take MSC Cruises’ outstanding service even further into a class all its own, typical of the company’s passionate insistence that perfection is always achievable, so all guest can enjoy the cruise of their dreams. For more information, visit or a local travel professional.

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Cruise West Rolls Out ‘Spirit of Distinction’

Seattle, WA – Cruise West, one of the world’s leading providers of small-ship exploration cruises to the most fascinating destinations on earth, is revitalizing the overall guest experience this spring with several significant enhancements collectively called ‘Spirit Of Distinction.’ ‘Compass,’ a more robust enrichment program guided by a world class Board of Advisors, will be introduced for the enjoyment of all guests. The launch of ‘Palate’ Wine & Food Program will include an updated, award-winning wine list with food pairings and United States Sommelier Association certification for onboard servers. Several vessels will also offer the option to dine “alfresco,” and all sailings will enjoy new menu items. The well-appointed new Explorer Class cabin category, replete with upscale, eco-friendly amenities, will be added to three of the lines’ nine ships.

“We chose the name Spirit Of Distinction in keeping with the tradition of our ships’ names and to distinguish Cruise West from other lines. While exploration cruising continues to be our core focus and what we are known for, we are striving for continuous improvement by adding more value for our discerning guests,” remarked President and CEO Dietmar Wertanzl.

Designed to enhance the overall guest experience through meaningful and topical presentations, the renewed onboard enrichment program, Compass, will be introduced on all Cruise West itineraries. Four tenants comprise the points of Compass: science, culture, history and immersion. The Board of Advisors that will guide the new program includes world-renowned Oceanographer Dr. Don Walsh and noted Naturalist Brent Nixon. In addition, leading experts in diverse fields will serve as guest lecturers to complement the on-board Exploration Leaders’ provided narratives. Enrichment doesn’t end onboard. Guests will have additional opportunities to be immersed into the natural environment through an increased number of zodiac excursions on select itineraries. A hallmark of the Cruise West experience is engaging and thought-provoking presentations aboard every sailing. The Exploration Academy, a component of Compass, will serve as an enhanced training program for Cruise West Exploration Leaders, further developing their knowledge base and skills. Tools include an e-based Enrichment Program of power point presentation modules that cover such diverse subjects as the culture, history, wildlife and geology of region(s) visited.

Guest won’t whine about the wine list or refreshed menu items! Following the theme of exploration, Cruise West introduces Palate, designed to help diners discover the synergy between wine and food. All Cruise West ships will feature a delectable culinary experience through distinctive food and wine pairings with menu selections that highlight the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest. A tempting wine list featuring bottles selected by Chairman Dick West will include wines from Wine Spectator’s "Top 100 Wines of the World" and Seattle Wine Awards 2008 "Gold Medal Winners." Additionally, in affiliation with the United States Sommelier Association, onboard servers will participate in a certificate course to ensure service delivery is up to the highest standards. Lastly, guests will have a choice of three distinct dining options at lunchtime. Alfresco dining will be offered on the Spirit of Oceanus, Spirit of Yorktown, Spirit of Endeavour and Spirit of ’98, weather permitting, in addition to regularly scheduled lunch in the Dining Room and Light Fare luncheon served in the Lounge. Menu items will include fresh grilled favorites, salads, and a carving or taco bar.

The new Explorer Class cabins, formerly AAA cabins, are intended for guests accustomed to a higher level of creature comforts. The “eco-friendly” amenities, a natural extension of the company’s motto of good environmental stewardship, include ultra soft Bamboo (a sustainable resource), fiber linens and towels, cotton waffle weave bathrobes, water conserving Speakman "Easy Jet" adjustable stream showerheads, and hypoallergenic down duvets. In addition to special amenities, guests traveling on Alaska itineraries will receive a copy of the book Mr. Alaska, written by Cruise West’s founder Chuck West. Explorer Class cabins will be rolled out in spring 2009 onboard the 96-guest Spirit of ’98, 102-guest Spirit of Endeavour, and the-guest Spirit of Yorktown. For more information about Cruise West itineraries or to book a cruise, visit, call 1-800-296-8307 or contact a travel professional.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Treats Baltimoreans To A Full Day of Fun Events To Celebrate the City's First Ever Year-Round Cruise Program

BALTIMORE, March 12: Looking for a fun time? The Inner Harbor is the place to be on April 25th from 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. when Fun City: Baltimore, sails into town. The event is compliments of Carnival Cruise Lines and will raise funds for Maryland Special Olympics. A full schedule of exciting free events, activities and attractions, including a world record giant beach ball, artistic sand sculptures, live hip-hop dance performances, 3-D chalk art and more, will make up nine “Fun Spots” which will be sprinkled around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The event is a celebration to mark the start-up of Baltimore’s first-ever year-round cruise service on the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride. The ship will arrive in Baltimore on Monday, April 27 and depart later that day on its first voyage from Charm City. Other activities during Fun City: Baltimore will include a Carnival Fun Booth, Camp Carnival Kid Zone and an Interactive Aquarium. There will also be biodegradable balloon giveaways, photos opportunities, visits by Carnival’s mascot, “Fun Ship” Freddy and Fun Decoder cards which lead to several chances to win a free cruise, all while raising money for the Maryland Special Olympics.

Following is a rundown of events, all of which are free and open to the public:
· Carnival Fun Booth, located in front of the ESPN Zone near Pratt Street, will be an interactive booth where people can digitally record their own karaoke performance of popular songs and go on-line to obtain a free download.
· Located near the Fun Booth but closer to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, will be a beautifully crafted, detailed Sand Sculpture of the Carnival Pride created by award winning Master Sand Sculptor Chuck Feld.
· In the amphitheater, located between the Pratt and Light Street Pavilions, will be live performances by acrobatic teams, Motown-style singers, cruise directors and dancers from Carnival’s ships.
· Carnival’s huge Guinness Book of World Records Beach Ball will be located in McKeldin square and passers-by will have an opportunity to have their photo taken alongside it.
· 3-D Chalk Art depicting Carnival Pride’s twister waterslide will be located on the corner of Pratt and Charles Streets. Extraordinarily talented chalk artist Michael W. Kirby will spend three to four days creating his fantastic, illusionary masterpiece to the delight of downtown workers who will have an opportunity to watch the transformation first-hand.
· Located in front of the Visitor Center will be free balloon giveaways and they’re biodegradable so they’re fun AND green!
· Kids of all ages will enjoy the Camp Carnival Kid Zone located near The West Shore Park. It will feature face painting, candy art machines, arts & crafts and games in addition to entertainment and fun music. Also, Carnival Water Wars, a game played with giant water balloons, will be available.
· Located at 111 South Calvert Street will be a special Interactive Aquarium where a vibrant, computer animated undersea universe of plant life and fish will react to the motion of passersby. Visitors can also dial a number on their cell phones to create their own, personalized fish and swim them around the tank. The Interactive Aquarium is already on display and will remain in place until April 27.
· An engaging, high-energy hip hop and acrobatic performance group will entertain visitors and those walking to the baseball game with performances in front of the new Hilton and across from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
· Throughout the day, Carnival Cruise Ambassadors will be handing out FREE “Fun Decoder” cards where participants can register on-line for five chances to win a Carnival Cruise. The contest takes place from April 1-May 9 and for every person who registers, a $1 donation will go directly to the Maryland Special Olympics.

The Carnival Pride will operate a mix of 6-, 7- and 8-day cruises from April 27 through Sept 6, 2009 then begin a year-round seven-day cruise program departing every Sunday. The ship will alternate weekly between an Exotic Eastern Caribbean itinerary calling at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands; and Half Moon Cay and Freeport, The Bahamas, and a Bahamas/Florida itinerary which visits Port Canaveral (near Orlando), Fla; and Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas. Each voyage also includes three days at sea. For additional information and reservations on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, call 1-800-327-9501.

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Royal Caribbean Intl Announces 2010 Europe Cruises

MIAMI, March 12: Royal Caribbean International announces the deployment of eight ships in Europe for 2010. Reinforcing the cruise line’s “Nation of Why Not” campaign, promoting guest experiences undreamed of on other vacations, Royal Caribbean is offering guests unparalleled combinations of innovative cruise ships and compelling Europe cruise itineraries, ranging from four to 14 nights, and 3- to 5-night cruisetour vacation extensions, in the Mediterranean, and Northern and Western Europe. In addition to the Freedom-class Independence of the Seas – the largest, most amenity-filled ship to sail in Europe – Royal Caribbean also will position three Voyager-class ships in the region for the very first time, with Adventure of the Seas to make her European debut and join sister-ships Navigator of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. Also sailing European waters in 2010 will be Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas and Vision of the Seas. In all, Royal Caribbean is unveiling 57 unique Europe itineraries, visiting 22 countries and 55 ports. Bookings open immediately for 2010 Europe cruises and cruisetours aboard all ships.

“Royal Caribbean Intl’s 2010 Europe season offers a myriad of spectacular cruise and cruisetour choices for family and adventurous vacationers,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Cruising in Europe is well-known as the best vacation value to see the continent’s historic and cultural destinations. A Royal Caribbean Europe cruise and cruisetour will combine a European vacation with some of world’s most innovative cruise ships, featuring exclusive onboard amenities that will lend to all the ‘why not’ moments guests can experience onboard.”

Although Royal Caribbean will position the same number of ships in 2009 and 2010, the 3,114-guest Adventure of the Seas will replace the 1,804-guest Legend of the Seas and boosts the line’s capacity by 1,310 berths. The 2010 season will debut Adventure of the Seas’ 7-night sailings from Malaga, Spain, and Vision of the Seas’ 12-night Holy Land voyages from Venice, Italy. Also brand new for Royal Caribbean in 2010 will be maiden port calls at Akureyri, Iceland, and Gothenburg, Sweden.

Guests also can combine their Royal Caribbean cruise with 3-, 4- and 5-night escorted land tours to some of Europe’s more inland and culturally rich cities on a Royal Caribbean cruisetour. Four cruisetour options feature packages to Madrid and Barcelona; Venice, Florence and Rome; Italian Lakes featuring Lake Como, Stresa and Venice; and Paris and London. Royal Caribbean will take care of all the details, enabling guests to focus on soaking in the destinations visited – and affording plenty of free time for exploration and independent pursuits. A tour director will escort each group on the cruisetour itineraries, and ground transfers, hotel reservations, city tours and some meals are inclusive.

Shore excursions on 2010 Europe itineraries also will offer a wide array of unforgettable experiences, including, for example, an exclusive after-hours tour of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum; a hike of Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii, beginning at a height of 3,000 feet; and a trek that blends four miles of hiking and walking along Corfu’s magnificent beaches and coastal villages.

Sailing from Southampton, U.K., Independence of Seas will launch a third season in Europe with 14-night alternating Eastern and Western Mediterranean itineraries and 10- and 11-night Canary Island voyages. Independence of the Seas is the only ship in Europe exclusively featuring amenities that have revolutionized the modern cruise industry, with the FlowRider surf simulator, the H20 Zone water park, a boxing ring, cantilevered whirlpools, and the four-bedroom/four-bath Presidential Family Suite. With eight restaurants and more than 15 bars and lounges, Independence of the Seas offers vacationers a unique onboard experience found on no other ship in Europe.

The three Voyager-class ships – each of which offer guests ice-skating rinks, the line’s iconic rock-climbing wall, a nine-hole miniature golf course, and the Royal Promenade boulevard, with shops, restaurants, bars and lounges that run nearly the length of the ship – will ply Mediterranean waters on a wide-ranging slate of voyages next year. Adventure of the Seas’ inaugural season in Europe will kick-off with 4- and 5-night Western Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Barcelona. In late June, the ship will continue with 7-night voyages roundtrip from Malaga, Spain, on a new itinerary with calls at Italy’s Rome (Civitavecchia), Cagliari in Sardinia, and Ajaccio in Corsica; and Spain’s Palma de Mallorca. In late fall, Adventure of the Seas will conclude her Europe season with a series of five-night voyages alternating between the Mediterranean and Canary Islands, roundtrip from Malaga.

Navigator of the Seaswill feature 7-night sailings, alternating between the Eastern and Western Mediterranean roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia) during the summer. From April to May and September to October, she will sail from the “Eternal City” on 12-night Eastern Mediterranean cruises, the highlight of which will be a full two days-stay in Alexandria, Egypt. For its part, Voyager of the Seas will reprise its series of seven-night voyages to Rome, Naples, Florence, and France’s Nice (Villefranche) and Marseilles, from her homeport of Barcelona.

For the first time ever, Royal Caribbean will debut a 12-night voyage roundtrip voyage from Venice to the Holy Land aboard Vision of the Seas. The itinerary will feature an overnight in Venice prior to departure and boasts extended port time – until 10 pm or 11 pm – in Israel’s Ashdod and Haifa and Egypt’s Port Said and Alexandria. Other calls include Split, Croatia; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; and Athens (Piraeus), Greece.

Reprising its 2009 cruise schedule, Splendour of the Seas will sail 7-night voyages roundtrip from Venice, alternating between a “Greek Isles” itinerary calling at Split, Croatia and Greece’s Corfu, Athens, Mykonos, and Katakolon; and a “Greek Isles and Turkey” sailing with calls at Dubrovnik, Croatia, Ephesus, and Greece’s Santorini and Corfu.

For the third consecutive year, Brilliance of the Seas will sail from Barcelona, offering “Greek Isles” and “Mediterranean Venice” cruises, both of which are 12 nights in length. In November and December the ship will sail featuring four 12-night “Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean” voyages, featuring a two-day overnight stay in Alexandria, Egypt.

Jewel of the Seas will venture into Northern European waters, continuing on its 12-night Baltic “Scandinavia and Russia” itinerary roundtrip from London, the highlights of which are an overnight call in St. Petersburg and first time calls at Gothenburg, Sweden.

On every Royal Caribbean ship, guests enjoy the cruise line’s award-winning onboard programming, including Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions, Adventure Ocean youth programming and teen-only spaces fleetwide, and Royal Caribbean’s Gold Anchor standard of friendly and engaging service from every staff and crew. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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MSC Cruises Extends Caribbean Spring Sale

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 12: MSC Cruises has extended the deadline for winter-weary travelers to take advantage of special savings on springtime Caribbean cruises, with rates beginning at $60 per person, per night and kids 17 years of age or younger sailing free on the beautiful MSC Lirica. These special cruise-only, double occupancy rates (government taxes and fees are additional) must be booked by March 31, 2009.

Combining Italian zest for life and outstanding values, a 10-night voyage on MSC Lirica from Fort Lauderdale to the sunny islands of the Caribbean offers a perfect way to say good-bye to winter and celebrate the arrival of spring. The MSC Lirica will cap its spring Caribbean season with two 10-night Deep Caribbean sailings departing March 24 and April 13 that visit six of the Caribbean's most appealing and romantic islands - Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Antigua, Tortola and the Dominican Republic, where guests can enjoy the line's private island experience.

When you combine these special rates with MSC Cruises' "Kids Sail Free" offer (kids ages 17 and younger sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults), a Caribbean sailing on MSC Lirica is a fantastic value and a memorable experience ideal for multi-generational family vacations and reunions. Review more information about MSC Cruises by visting or a local travel professional.

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Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2010 Alaska Voyages To Operate Round-Trip From Seattle

MIAMI, March 11: For the first time ever, Carnival Cruise Lines will operate a schedule of 7-day Alaska cruises round-trip from Seattle beginning in May 2010. In total, 17 week-long Alaska cruises will operate from the Port of Seattle from May 11 to Aug. 31, 2010 departing Tuesdays aboard the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit.

Port calls on these voyages include the popular Alaskan destinations of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, as well as Victoria Island, British Columbia, and cruising Tracy Arm Fjord. Each of these destinations offers a rich history and culture, along with awe-inspiring natural wonders, including calving glaciers, magnificent fjords and native sea and animal life. A wide range of shore excursions – from helicopter flightseeing and rainforest canopy tours to hiking, canoeing and kayaking expeditions – are also available. The Carnival Spirit also features an on-board naturalist who educates guests on the region’s colorful history and points out animal and marine life from the ship’s bridge.

“Nothing compares to Carnival’s Alaska cruises, which showcase the beauty of the Last Frontier with an outstanding combination of charming and historic destinations, breathtaking scenery and our unmistakable brand of fun, all at incredible value,” said Lynn Torrent, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest services. “And Seattle is a terrific addition to Carnival’s industry-leading number of North American departure points. It will provide our guests with a convenient and affordable air transportation option, as well as the opportunity for those in the Western region of the U.S. to drive to Seattle.”

Prior to the start-up of the new program, Carnival Spirit will operate two special voyages – a 6-day Inside Passage voyage from Vancouver to Seattle departing May 5, 2010 and a 7-day Glacier Bay cruise from Seattle to Vancouver Sept. 7, 2010. Both voyages include a cruise through the Inside Passage along with port calls at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan; and the 7-day cruise also includes a day of cruising in spectacular Glacier Bay.

Carnival Spirit is the ideal ship for Alaska, with 80 percent of staterooms featuring an ocean view or balcony – perfect for viewing the passing scenery -- along with indoor and outdoor promenades, a 14,500-square-foot health and wellness center and 16 themed lounges, bars and nightspots. Dining venues include the two-level Empire Restaurant with specially prepared “Just For Alaska” menu items featuring local fish, game and other ingredients, as well as the La Playa Grille, a casual eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, and the Nouveau Supper Club, an intimate reservations-only restaurant offering prime steaks and other gourmet cuisine. Kids sailing on Carnival Spirit can enjoy three different children’s programs – Camp Carnival for ages 2-11, Circle “C” for ages 12 to 14, and Club O2 for 15- to 17-year-olds – with facilities and counselors dedicated to each group. Many activities in these programs feature fun, educational activities with an Alaska theme.

Reservations are currently being accepted for Carnival’s 2010 Alaska cruises from Seattle. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501.

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Baseball, Big Bands, Polka Theme Cruises On MSC Poesia’s 2009-10 Caribbean Sailings

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 11: As if a Caribbean sailing with MSC Cruises isn’t special enough, the line is offering a lineup of eight theme cruises on MSC Poesia during the 2009-10 Caribbean season.

“The complimentary theme cruise activities give guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in a favorite subject or introduce themselves to something new,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc.

Plus, cruise-only rates beginning at $549 per person, double occupancy (government fees and taxes additional) make theme cruises an extra-special value.

MSC Poesia’s 2009-10 Caribbean season of roundtrip sailings from Fort Lauderdale will feature the ever-popular Baseball Greats, Big Band, and Polka theme cruises. Here is a review of what these theme cruises feature:

Baseball Greats
During the sailing, guests gain insight into the world of Major League Baseball as seen through the eyes of some of the greats of the game. The Baseball Greats theme cruise includes free interactive guest/player activities, including a player-hosted trivia game in which guests can test their baseball knowledge, question-and-answer sessions with the players, a guest pitching contest and a lively story-telling session in which the players share some candid revelations about some of the “characters” of the game. Players will also host pitching, hitting, fielding and base running clinics. Perhaps the most popular activity is the free autograph session at the end of the cruise.

The following itineraries will be Baseball Greats theme cruises:
-- Nov. 20, 2009: 10-night Southern Caribbean featuring Panama, calling at Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba;; Cartagena, Colombia; Cristobal, Panama; and Playa del Carmen, Mexico
-- Jan. 16, 2010: 7-night Western Caribbean, calling at Key West, Florida; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Nassau, Bahamas.
-- Feb. 6, 2010: 7-night Western Caribbean
-- March 6, 2010: 7-night Eastern Caribbean, calling at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philippsburg, St. Maarten; Road Town, Tortola; and Nassau, Bahamas
-- April 3, 2010: 7-night Eastern Caribbean

Special guests on these itineraries will be announced at a later date.

Big Band
The 15-piece Les DeMerle Big Band, with vocalist Bonnie Eisele, will be featured on two MSC Poesia sailings. Dynamic drummer Les DeMerle has toured and recorded with the Harry James Big Band and Wayne Newton; the band has also accompanied many top singers, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., The Manhattan Transfer, Mel Torme and Al Jarreau. The Les DeMerle Big Band is sure to have toes tapping, bodies swaying and guests singing along to the sounds of Ellington, Basie, James and Miller, plus the biggest Broadway hits, rock 'n' roll classics, hot Latin grooves and show-stoppers from the ‘40s through today. In addition to their performances, the band will present a Big Band Jazz Concert and conduct a lecture on the Big Band Era.

The following itineraries will feature the Big Band theme:
-- Dec. 10, 2009: 10-night Caribbean featuring Panama, calling at Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cartagena, Colombia; Cristobal, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; and Playa del Carmen, Mexico
-- Feb. 27, 2010 – 7-night Western Caribbean

Polka Time
MSC Poesia will host a Polka Cruise on its Jan. 9, 2010 7-night Eastern Caribbean sailing. Two well-known polka bands will keep guests dancing and swaying:
-- John Stevens Double Shot is a popular Pennsylvania-based group that plays its contemporary polka rhythms at numerous festivals throughout the country. The group’s most popular songs are “Everyone’s Having Fun,” “Gonna Have a Party,” and “Back to the Sea.”
-- Joe Stanky and the Cadets have been performing classic polka sounds for more than 25 years. The group also features a range of styles, including honky, country, Slovenian and both English and Polish vocals. The group’s newest CD is “Sing Me Back Home.”

To review more information about MSC Cruises and its theme cruises in the Caribbean, visit or a local travel professional.

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Disney Announces Names for New Cruise Ships: Disney Dream & Disney Fantasy

CELEBRATION, FL, March 10: At the 2009 Annual Meeting of Shareholders of The Walt Disney Company, Disney announced the names of the company’s two new cruise ships.

“Last week, steel cutting began on our next two Disney cruise ships. Today I’m pleased to announce their names,” said Robert A. Iger, Disney president and CEO. “The Disney Dream will set sail in 2011, while the Disney Fantasy will hit the high seas in 2012.”

Similar to the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the names were chosen to celebrate Disney’s unique heritage of creating enchanting places and stories where dreams really do come true.

“The names are very telling of our brand and are part of our history,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. “Disney is known for making dreams come true, and for creating worlds of fantasy that go beyond the imagination. The names are a natural choice for our ships.”

As noted, Disney Cruise Line began construction on the new ships with a steel cutting ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The first piece of steel cut was part of the art deco inspired scrollwork that will grace the bow of the ships. Similar to the scrollwork on the existing Disney Cruise Line ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the intricate pattern is reminiscent of the classic ocean liners of the 1930s, with added touches of Disney whimsy.

Since finalizing a contract with the Meyer Werft shipyard to build the two new ships, Disney Cruise Line and Walt Disney Imagineering have created a truly distinctive design. Over the next few years, construction will continue, bringing the design to reality, with the Disney Dream scheduled for delivery in 2011 and the Disney Fantasy in 2012. The new ships will be purpose built with families in mind, and specially designed areas and activities for each member of the family to allow for both quality time together and wonderful individual experiences. The focus is to provide a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and kids can immerse themselves in worlds only Disney can create. The expansion will more than double the passenger capacity for Disney Cruise Line. Each ship will have 1,250 staterooms and will each be 128,000 tons.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit or call Disney Cruise Line at (888) DCL-2500.

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James Taylor to Present Cunard Command Performances Aboard Queen Mary 2

SOUTHAMPTON, England, March 10: Cunard Line is proud to announce that Grammy(R) Award-winning singer-songwriter James Taylor and his band will perform during Queen Mary 2's June 19 eastbound Transatlantic Crossing. Sailing from New York to Southampton, England, Taylor will headline two Cunard Command Performances in the ship's Royal Court Theatre during the six-day journey. (Space is still available to book this very special voyage!)

"We are honoured to welcome James Taylor aboard our flagship Queen Mary 2 and into a lineage of luminaries who have sailed with Cunard during our 170-year history," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. "Our guests will most certainly enjoy this intimate concert experience with an American music icon."

Over the course of his celebrated career, Taylor has earned 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards and five Grammy Awards for works ranging from Sweet Baby James in 1970 to Covers, his most recent album featuring his own interpretation of tunes from the 50s, 60s and 70s, for which he was nominated for two 2009 Grammy Awards. In 2000, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

"I've always wanted to take an ocean liner back to Europe. It's such a civilized way to go, and the Queen Mary 2 is the last word in first class travel. It was a dream to use the passage to transport and rehearse our summer tour: band, crew and family; kit and caboodle. I'm looking forward to the pair of concerts at the end of the trip and, hallelujah, no jet lag," Taylor said.

Queen Mary 2 offers an array of accommodation combining classic Cunard touches with a stylish, refined elegance. The ship's legendary Queens Grill and Princess Grill Suites afford guests spacious five-star accommodation and dedicated single-seating dining in the famed Grills Restaurants, along with a private sun terrace, cocktail and concierge lounges. Guests sailing in Britannia category accommodation enjoy gourmet dining prepared by world-class chefs in the Britannia Restaurant, the ship's grand three-tier dining venue. As an added bonus, guests can experience the culinary creativity of celebrity chef Todd English in the first restaurant at sea bearing his name. Nights are filled with themed Royal Balls and Galas where guests can dance the night away to a live orchestra in the Queens Room, the largest ballroom at sea. Days are filled with such activities as perusing a vast selection of 8,000 books in the largest library at sea, enjoying traditional afternoon English tea or exploring the Cosmos in the only planetarium at sea.

Queen Mary 2's Transatlantic Crossings reflect the pinnacle of civility in ocean travel and refinement. The only company offering regularly scheduled Transatlantic liner service, Cunard offers 25 crossings in 2009, singularly offering the New Golden Age of Ocean Travel through such unique Cunard experiences as Cunard Insights, the line's award-winning enrichment programme. The six-day Crossings afford guests opportunities for leisurely pursuits, ranging from wellness in the only Canyon Ranch SpaClub(R) at sea to wine tastings with a world-class sommelier.

James Taylor will become part of Cunard's illustrious history of hosting famed entertainers with peerless cachet. Notables such as Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant and Clark Gable frequently crossed the Atlantic on Cunard's earlier Queens, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth; and since Queen Mary 2's debut five years ago, the ship has welcomed musical notables such as Rod Stewart, Shirley Bassey, Harry Connick, Jr. and Lenny Kravitz. In addition, actors Uma Thurman, Angela Bassett, John Cleese, Richard Dreyfuss and Terence Howard have sailed aboard the grand liner. To book passage on this very special voyage aboard Queen Mary 2, consult your Travel Professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go online to

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New-Ship Style To Meet Old-World Tradition In Celebrity Cruises’ 2010 Europe Season

MIAMI, March 10: They say that opposites attract, so Celebrity Cruises is balancing new with old in its 2010 Europe itinerary lineup. The stunning design of Celebrity’s newest ships will meet the history-rich cities of the Old World next year, when all three ships in the brand-new Solstice class sail the region. The 2,850-guest Celebrity Solstice, which set sail for the first time in November 2008, Celebrity Equinox, launching in 2009, and Celebrity Eclipse, setting sail in 2010 as Celebrity’s first primarily-UK-sourced vessel, will be joined by the ever-popular, 2,039-guest Celebrity Constellation, offering a celestial line-up of compelling European cruise itineraries. Cruisetours featuring a pre-cruise escorted land tour and shore excursions during the sailings round out these offerings. Celebrity opened its 2010 Europe and transatlantic cruise and cruisetour season for bookings today. Guests who purchase a 2010 Celebrity Europe or transatlantic cruise during the booking window from March 10 to June 10, 2009, aboard Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Equinox or Celebrity Solstice are eligible for an onboard credit of $100 per stateroom, if their cruise is on. Guests who purchase a 2010 Celebrity Europe or transatlantic cruise on Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Equinox, or Celebrity Solstice, within a booking window of March 10 and June 10, 2009, are eligible for an onboard credit of $100 per stateroom.

The season will offer something for every cruise enthusiast, with a variety of cruise itineraries and cruisetours being offered throughout Europe. Celebrity Constellation will sail 12-night Scandinavia and Russia and seven-night Mediterranean sailings. Celebrity Eclipse, the first Celebrity ship to be homeported in England and sourced primarily from the UK market when she makes her debut next year, will offer a varied lineup of new 11-night and longer cruises to the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea, and the Canary Islands. Celebrity Equinox will sail a series of 12-night voyages throughout the Mediterranean, and Celebrity Solstice will offer 10- and 11-night Eastern Mediterranean as well as 13-night Holy Land cruises. Pre-cruise escorted land tours ranging from three to five nights in length are available with each of these cruises.

In addition to Celebrity Eclipse joining the fleet next year and offering British travelers an array of new itineraries out of Southampton, Celebrity’s 2010 Europe cruise lineup reflects several differences from the line’s offerings in that region in 2009. The most notable of these are Celebrity Constellation taking over Celebrity Century’s 2009 itineraries, and Celebrity Equinox sailing the 12-night open-jaw voyages from Barcelona to Venice being offered on Celebrity Summit this year.

Together, the four ships will merge the value of a cruise vacation with the opportunity to experience nearly every major part of Europe. The season will include a total of 76 transatlantic and Europe sailings visiting a total of 22 countries and calling at 65 different ports. Four of these ports are new to Celebrity: Alicante, Spain; Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; La Spezia, Italy; and Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. Three ports that Celebrity will visit in 2010 have not been in the cruise line’s itineraries for several years: Genoa, Italy, last visited in 2005; Hamburg, Germany, last visited in 2002; and Toulon, France, last visited in 2000.

Each of the four Celebrity ships sailing in Europe next year offer interesting options for cruisers. On May 9, 2010, Celebrity Constellation will sail a new, one-time, 7-night Norwegian Fjords voyage roundtrip out of Amsterdam, Holland. Ports of call include Oslo, Stavanger, Alesund and Bergen, Norway. She will also offer a one-time, 12-night cruise to the Arctic Circle on June 21, roundtrip out of Amsterdam. The voyage will take guests through the spectacularly lined waterways of Norway’s northernmost areas, stopping at Alesund, Tromso, Honningsvag, Molde, Geiranger, Olden and Bergen, and cruising by the Arctic Circle.

Celebrity Constellation’s 7-night Mediterranean sailings will call on Genoa, Italy, which is a change from 2009’s Celebrity Century sailings that will call on Portofino. The Mediterranean cruises will also feature visits to Nice (Villefranche), France and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), and Naples/Capri, Italy. During their cruise, guests can choose from numerous available shore excursions such as the “Florence and Pisa” excursion in Florence/Pisa (Livorno), which includes a visit to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa and highlights of Florence that include the Piazza del Duomo, a copy of Michaelangelo's "David" in the Piazza del Signoria and the Church of Santa Croce. Guests who wish to extend their Celebrity Constellation vacation can choose from two pre-cruise escorted land tours, which vary by sailing: a four-night Madrid and Barcelona tour or a three-night Paris and Amsterdam tour.

Celebrity Eclipse, which offered Celebrity’s Captain’s Club members the opportunity to be the first guests to book its inaugural season voyages earlier this month, will offer 16 different sailings ranging from four to 16 nights in length, all departing from Southampton. A 4-night “short break,” offered on April 29 and May 3, will feature an overnight stop in Cork, Ireland. Celebrity Eclipse’s 14-night Scandinavia and Russia cruises, sailing on May 7, June 12, June 26 and July 10, will include an overnight in St. Petersburg. All but the July 10 voyage will also include an overnight in Copenhagen, Denmark. All four of these sailings will visit Brugges, Belgium, which was the setting for the recent award-winning film, “In Bruges.” Guests can enhance their experience during these cruises by adding shore excursions such as “Grand St. Petersburg with Hermitage” in St. Petersburg, where guests will explore the former capital of Imperial Russia. Highlights of this excursion include St. Isaac's Cathedral and the famous Hermitage Museum. Other excursions offered during these sailings include the "Behind the Scenes of the Hermitage" tour, also in St. Petersburg, where guests will learn how art is stored, view parts of the Repository and tour popular exhibits in the famous Hermitage Museum, and an excursion in Stockholm, Sweden called "The Ice Bar & Old Town." During this tour, guests will visit Stockholm's oldest and coziest quarters in the Old Town as well as the world's first permanent ice bar, where all interior items – including drinking glasses – are made of pure, clear ice. Guests can sip vodka while exploring the bar and learning about its construction. Celebrity Eclipse’s 11-night Canary Islands sailings, taking place on May 21, June 1, and October 20, each include visits to three Canary Islands ports as well as stops in Portugal and Spain. The 16-night Mediterranean voyages taking place on September 18 and October 4 feature visits to Spain, Italy and Croatia. Guests can make the most of their Celebrity Eclipse getaway by booking a four-night pre-cruise escorted land tour of Paris and London.

Celebrity Equinox will offer 13 open-jaw, 12-night sailings between Barcelona and Venice from May into Oct 2010, with an overnight stay in Venice on all of these. These cruises offer the best of the Eastern and Western Mediterranean regions, visiting Athens and Santorini in Greece; Florence, Naples, Rome and Venice in Italy; either Dubrovnik or Split in Croatia; and either Nice (Villefranche) or Toulon in France. Shore excursions can enhance cruisers’ experience; a range of options is available, featuring experiences such as “Nice, Eze and Moncaco,” where guests will travel along the Lower and Middle Corniche Roads, taking in their spectacular views, stroll the streets of Nice, visit the charming medieval village of Eze and explore famous Monte Carlo. A three-night escorted land tour now featuring a visit to Lake Como and an overnight in Venice is available as an extension of cruises departing from Venice. Guests embarking in Barcelona can enhance their vacation with a four-night pre-cruise escorted land tour of Madrid and Barcelona.

The deep blue waters of the Mediterranean will also host Celebrity Solstice for the second consecutive year, as she is set to sail 10- and 11-night Mediterranean voyages out of Rome (Civitavecchia), similar to those that she will offer in 2009. The 10-night voyages in 2010 will feature a call to Rhodes, Greece, known as the “Island of the Sun,” and the 11-night cruises will include an overnight stay in Istanbul, giving guests the opportunity to take advantage of a two-day shore excursion visiting numerous landmarks in the city. Known as "Istanbul Classical Tour with Lunch over Two Days,” this excursion gives guests the opportunity to explore Istanbul over the course of two days; highlights include the ancient Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia Museum (formerly known as the Church of Hagia Sophia), the exotic Grand Bazaar, and Topkapi Palace, where Ottoman Sultans once resided.

Celebrity Solstice’s five13-night Holy Land sailings, sailing roundtrip out of Rome from the end of August through mid-October, will include overnight stays in Alexandria, Egypt, and call on ports throughout Italy, Greece, Turkey and Israel. Shore excursions such as “Luxor and Valley of the Kings” in Alexandria add additional depth to these cruises. In “Luxor and Valley of the Kings,” guests will visit Luxor, home to one third of the world's Egyptian antiquities. Highlights include visits to Karnak Temple with its unique Hypostyle Hall, sacred lake and avenue of the Sphinxes, Valley of the Kings with tombs of the Kings of the New Kingdom and Luxor Temple, and more. In Rome, before their cruise, guests have the opportunity to add a five-night pre-cruise escorted land tour focusing on Italy’s stars: Venice, Florence and Rome.

Highlights of the cruisetours offered in conjunction with Celebrity’s 2010 Europe season include:
-- A 4-night tour of Madrid and Barcelona, Spain, offered with sailings on Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Equinox: The package includes panoramic tours of Madrid, Toledo and Barcelona, highlighted by stops at key landmarks such as Madrid’s Plaza de España, Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, and Toledo’s cathedral. Two overnights in Madrid will be followed by two overnights in Barcelona.
-- A 5-night tour of Venice, Florence, and Rome, Italy, offered in conjunction with sailings on Celebrity Solstice: The package includes walking tours in each city, two nights in Venice, one night in Florence, two nights in Rome, and visits to numerous can’t-miss landmarks. These include St. Mark’s Square and Cathedral in Venice, the Duomo and Santa Croce Cathedral in Florence, and in Rome, the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Colosseum and the Vatican.
-- A 3-night “Italian Lakes and Venice” package, offered in tandem with sailings on Celebrity Equinox: The package includes two overnights in Stresa on the banks of Lago Maggiore, a private cruise on Lake Como, and an overnight in Venice. In Venice, guests will visit to St. Mark’s Square and the Doges’ Palace.
-- A 4-night “Paris and London” package, offered in conjunction with sailings on Celebrity Eclipse: The package includes two overnights in Paris plus visits to the Champs-Elysees, Palace de la Concorde and Eiffel Tower, and travel through the Chunnel to London. There, guests will enjoy sights such as Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and more, as well as two nights in the city.
-- A new, 3-night tour of Paris and Amsterdam, offered in tandem with sailings on Celebrity Constellation: This package features two nights in Paris and one in Amsterdam. In Paris, guests will enjoy a sightseeing tour that includes a visit to Notre Dame and more. In Amsterdam, a private canal cruise will feature sights such as the Anne Frank house, the River Amstel with the famous Skinny Bridge, the Twin Houses, and more.

All cruisetours are fully escorted and include hotel accommodations, in-tour transportation and baggage transfers, and some meals. All cruisetours include ample time for independent sightseeing, shopping and dining.

Celebrity’s early booking offer, open to residents of the United States and Canada, applies to all Europe or transatlantic cruises taking place in 2010 on Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity Solstice. This applies to FIT bookings and group space (only group bookings named and deposited between March 10 and June 10, 2009, are eligible). For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit

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New All Inclusive - As You Wish and Bonus Savings Extend to New Crystal South America Cruises

LOS ANGELES, March 10: Due to the overwhelming response to the introduction of its recent "Celebration" savings and shipboard credit promotions for Europe, luxury specialist Crystal Cruises is expanding the offers to its Amazon and South America itineraries later this year. On three Crystal Symphony voyages ranging from 13 to 15 days, guests can save up to $1,500 per couple, and customize their vacation with a $2,000 per couple All Inclusive - As You Wish spending credit. The Amazon cruises mark the first time Crystal has cruised that region since 2006.

"Since its recent introduction, luxury travelers have welcomed the exceptional value and freedom of choice that Crystal's All Inclusive - As You Wish spending credit offers," says Bill Smith, senior vice president, sales & marketing. "We're not just including a few pre-determined amenities with our cruise fares. Besides the inherent value of a Crystal Cruise, guests can spend the bonus dollars on experiences that are meaningful to them."

Per couple, the savings add up to $1,500 for penthouse accommodations, $1,000 for verandah staterooms and $750 for deluxe staterooms.

The line's All Inclusive - As You Wish spending credit can be used toward:

-- Any Crystal Adventure shore excursion,
-- Any spa treatment,
-- Any wine,
-- Any cocktail,
-- Any boutique or lifestyle photography purchase,
-- Any gratuities,
-- Any Vintage Room experience,
-- And anything else on board except cruise deposits and Casino gaming.

Eligible cruises are:

-- November 22, 2009 - From Miami to Grand Turk, Antigua, Barbados, Devil's Island, Alter do Chao, Parintins and Manaus, Brazil, as well as cruising the Amazon River.
-- December 5, 2009 - From Manaus to Boca de Valeria, Santerem, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo and Buenos Aires, as well as cruising the Amazon River.
-- January 8, 2010 - From Valparaiso to Coquimbo, Lima, Guayaquil, Cartagena, Colombia; Key West and Miami, plus daylight Panama Canal transit.

Reduced cruise fares begin at $3,615 per person, double occupancy. Celebration Savings fares vary per cruise and stateroom accommodations. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the line's website,

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Windstar Cruises Signature Collection Host Series Welcomes
Award-Winning Pacific Northwest Winemaker Greg Lill

SEATTLE, March 10: Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, offers guests a unique opportunity to travel with award-winning winemaker Greg Lill on a Mediterranean sailing aboard Wind Surf, departing September 27, 2009, from Nice, France. Windstar's Signature Collection Host Series features distinguished guests and lecturers throughout the 2009 season, including Greg Lill who will host wine tastings, presentations and informal lectures on regional wines.

Lill is one of the founding members of Washington state's acclaimed DeLille Cellars. Known for its luscious Bordeaux-styled wines, DeLille's traditional French winemaking methods have led to wines celebrated for their opulence, elegance and beauty. Recently, DeLille Cellars was named one of the Top 100 Wineries of the World by the prestigious Robb Report. The cellar's 2004 D2 was selected as one of the Top 100 Wines of the World by Wine Spectator, while Wine Enthusiast named the 2005 Chaleur Estate Blanc one of the Top Rated 100 Wines of 2007. For more information on DeLille Cellars, please visit

Wind Surf's 7-day Nice to Rome itinerary includes ports in Calvi, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Portoferraio, Italy and Porto-Vecchio, France. To complement this sailing, an exclusive shore excursion with Lill is offered with wine tasting at the famous Hotel De Paris and walking tour of Monaco's Old City. The guided walking tour takes guests past the Oceanographic Museum, the Cathedral containing the tomb of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier and the interior of the Prince's Palace. Guests will then visit the Hotel de Paris wine cellar -- the largest and most expansive hotel wine cellar in the world containing 500,000 bottles including Lafite, Dom Perignon, Pommard, Christal, Roederer and Clos du Mesnil. The 4-hour excursion is $139 per person and can be purchased online at

Wind Surf accommodates 312 guests and offers deluxe, oceanview staterooms that include beds with luxury linens and mattresses, flat-screen TV and DVD player, Bose SoundDock speakers for Apple iPods, waffle-weave robes with slippers and sumptuous L'Occitane products. Suites also include an extra bath, TV and sitting area. Bridge Suites give guests the additional luxury of a spacious private living room and relaxing whirlpool spa. Culinary wonders abound in Wind Surf's The Restaurant, Degrees, Le Marche and Candles. Enjoy live music in the Lounge and cocktails in the Terrace Bar. Water sports enthusiasts will appreciate Windstar's complimentary waterskiing, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking from the ship's water sports platform. For more information including 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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New Costa Luminosa & Costa Pacifica Inspire Senses Through Sight and Sound

MIAMI, March 10: On June 5, Costa, Europe's Number One Cruise Line, will give a glamorous "benvenuto" to its two newest ships on one historic night. During this special celebration, the Italian cruise line will host the first ever dual inaugural as it christens the Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica. Both ships offer incredible innovations, all of which invigorate sight and sound senses to create a completely unique experience at sea. Full details regarding both ships are now available on dedicated ship web sites at

Costa Luminosa - The Ship of Light
Stylish and one-of-a-kind, the Costa Luminosa (92,700 tons; 2,260 dbl occ) is the first in a new class of ships for Costa, complete with 68% of accommodations featuring verandas -the most for a Costa ship. Decor will be highlighted by trendsetting contemporary design marked by iridescent colors, fine marbles, warm woods, mother-of-pearl details and world-class art. This includes a sculpture commissioned by renowned artist Fernando Botero, entitled "Reclining Woman 2004," which will be on display in the ship's Supernova atrium. An unpublished series of photographs of the Colombian artist at work in his studios in Paris and Pietrasanta will also be exhibited. Beyond Botero, guests will find 200 original paintings and 3,000 serigraphs and prints throughout the ship. Decadent design accents include 120 Murano glass chandeliers, 1,100 decorative tiles, 20 types of marble, granite and mosaics and 500 square meters of mother-of-pearl in the ship's specialty restaurant, the Club Luminosa.

4D Cinema, Sony PlayStation, Golf Simulator, Kineseis, Roller Skating Track: Theatre productions truly take center stage with the ship's new 20-seat 4D cinema, where sight, sound, touch and scent come together to form a multisensory experience for guests. This Costa "first" also features seats that roll in tandem with action as it unfolds onscreen. The ship's Phoenix theatre will seat 800 guests and feature 14,000 lights, all working together to create incredible special effects while iridescent precious materials layered with gold create stunning visual surroundings. Costa is also bringing Sony PlayStation onboard with exclusive dedicated areas equipped with PS3 consoles and the latest-generation videogames.

Themed evenings and challenges on a mega-screen overlooking the pool deck will also be planned and guests may enjoy PS3 games from the comfort of their cabin with on-demand games. A roller skating track on one of the ship's top decks will allow guests to try roller skating with strap-and-go "Skorpion" skates that attach to one's shoes.

For sports aficionados, an 18-hole golf simulator let guests "hit the links at sea" on 37 virtual courses, while a putting green on one of the ship's top decks offers a real-life golf experience--both are Costa firsts. For race car fans, the ship features a Grand Prix race car driving simulator, one of the most accurate representations of Formula One racing available. Spa-goers will enjoy Costa's renowned Samsara Spa which features special spa cabins (52 cabins and 4 Suites), with direct access to the spa via private elevator and stairway. This spectacular wellness haven will also feature a new Kinesis circuit by Technogym, a unique system based on natural movements through a patented system of pulleys for resistance training.

Costa Pacifica - The Ship of Sound
Inspired by music, the Costa Pacifica (114,500-tons, 3,000 dbl occ) is a sister ship to the Costa Serena and Costa Concordia and will feature a complete musical experience that may be felt throughout the ship. Interior design elements are inspired by music, including the atrium with its musical symbols and instruments as decor, while a soundtrack created especially for the ship by the famed Italian composer Mauro Pagani will offer a musical treat for guests during their cruise. A recording studio gives guests the opportunity to create their own hit records while lounges will feature live singers covering the best music from the past and present.

Exclusive Compilation Soundtrack by Mauro Pagani: Italian composer Mauro Pagani arranged an orchestra of 43 top-notch musicians to perform music for the exclusive Costa Pacifica musical compilation. This orchestra features 12 first violins, 12 second violins, 4 violas, 4 cellos, 1 double bass, 2 French horns, 2 bassoons, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 1 organ and 1 soloist oboe. He also formed a 14-piece Big Band composed of 5 saxophones, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, as well as drums, a double bass, piano and guitar. The resulting product: 29 incredible musical pieces from the past and present including classics by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Puccini and modern "classic" songs such as New York, New York, My Way and Girl from Ipanema as well as eight original tracks by Pagani. All tracks are featured on a double CD, which will also be available for purchase. A recording studio in the Stardust Theatre will delight musical novices and professionals alike by allowing them to record their very own CD in a state-of-the-art studio. Featuring the latest, most sophisticated equipment, guests can record their favorite songs on a CD with the assistance of a special engineer, creating a fantastic souvenir.

Each corridor on the ship will feature its own music by masters from Chopin to Beethoven while each lounge will feature its own international music, chosen by Pagani. 22 musicians aboard the ship will be divided into orchestras, trios, duos and pianists who will play from eight grand pianos and one baby grand piano. More than 10 singers will perform live in the lounges.

Similar to the Costa Luminosa, the Costa Pacifica will also feature the Samsara Spa (91 cabins, 12 suites), Sony PlayStation areas, a Grand Prix race car driving simulator and expansive lido pool area with a retractable magrodome extending over two decks.

Superb Culinary Offerings on Both Ships
Both new ships will feature specialty restaurants with menus created by the revered Ettore Bocchia, Executive Chef at the Michelin-star restaurant Mistral at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Italy. His exceptional creations explore the relationship of how temperature and the molecular structure of food and taste come together, creating rich cuisine that feels light. The two ships will also feature exclusive selections of Amarone Aneri Stella 2003, a decadent red wine reserved especially for Costa (only 133 bottles are available on each ship).

Costa Cruises is Italy and Europe's number one cruise line. For the past 60 years its ships have sailed the world, offering the best in Italian style, hospitality and cuisine and providing dream vacations with the best in fun and relaxation. In 2007 over 1.1 million guests chose to cruise with Costa, a record for the European cruise industry. The company's 12 fleet members, each with her own distinctive characteristics and unique style, all fly the Italian flag and sail each year to 250 destinations in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, South America, the United Arab Emirates, the Far East and the Indian Ocean.

The Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica are due for delivery at the end of April and the end of May 2009 respectively, and will be christened together in Genoa, Italy on June 5 this year. For complete information regarding reservations or more information, guests may contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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Fly Free to Europe & Cruise In Luxury In MSC Yacht Club Onboard MSC Fantasia or MSC Splendida

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 10: MSC Cruises is getting its exclusive MSC Yacht Club accommodations off to a flying start by offering US and Canadian guests free roundtrip flights from designated gateway cities when they book MSC Yacht Club accommodations by April 30, 2009, on select 7-night Mediterranean sailings of the MSC Fantasia or MSC Splendida. MSC Yacht Club is an exclusive realm of sumptuous private suites and luxurious facilities introduced on the line's new flagship, MSC Fantasia, and also featured on sister-ship MSC Splendida, which debuts this summer. The 88 suites of the MSC Yacht Club are located on the prestigious upper foredecks, offering guests superb views from their own private balconies or full-height panoramic windows.

A review of MSC Yacht Club accommodations reveals all the comfort, service and privacy of a personal yacht with full and privileged access to the incredible variety of superior sports facilities, shopping, dining, gaming and entertainment found on MSC Cruises' magnificent new flagships. Designed and furnished to the highest standards, the MSC Yacht Club suites all boast beautiful marble bathrooms, double or single beds with ergonomic mattresses, the finest Egyptian cotton sheets and a choice of pillows. Two of the Deluxe Suites are fully equipped for the comfort of people with disabilities. The suite facilities also include sophisticated climate control, Samsung interactive TV, Wi-Fi Internet access and Nintendo Wii consoles. Each suite is served by a highly trained butler, offering guests everything from the morning paper to room and valet services, priority bookings for shore excursions, spa packages, front-row seats for evening performances at the ship's spectacular theater, restaurant reservations and private shopping visits. MSC Yacht Club guests also enjoy their own Concierge service, private swimming pool, bar and lounge and library as well as special access to the superb Aurea Spa center.

MSC Yacht Club also offers its guests private dining with an extensive choice from MSC Fantasia's immensely varied restaurants, either through 24-hour room service or in the Yacht Club's own Top Sail Lounge, where a traditional English afternoon tea is served daily, as well as complimentary beverages in the MSC Yacht Club area.

The MSC Yacht Club Free Air promotion is available on flights from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago O'Hare, Miami, JFK, Newark, Tampa and Orlando. Rates (including cruise, air, air taxes and airport transfers) on select sailings begin at $3,870 per person, double occupancy for select 7-night Europe 2009 sailings; government fees and taxes are additional. For more information, visit or a local travel professional.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Unveils Giant, Interactive Aquariums in Six U.S. Cities

MIAMI, March 10: Carnival Cruise Lines is introducing huge interactive computer-animated aquariums in six different U.S. cities this week, including Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. The aquariums, which are located in vacant storefront spaces in high traffic pedestrian areas, are designed to engage passersby in a fun, spontaneous and highly entertaining interactive experience courtesy of the world’s most popular cruise line. The Carnival-branded aquariums were created using computer vision technology, flash animation and mobile gaming software. They feature a variety of highly-stylized fish and plant life. Consumers can interact with the aquariums both via motion reactivity and mobile phone interactivity.

As pedestrians walk by, the vibrant undersea universe reacts with plant life swaying, water and bubbles moving and fish darting around in response to the human motion. Signage invites passersby to dial a number on their cell phones to create their own, personalized fish. By making various sounds into their phones, consumers can customize their fish and then, using their keypad, swim them around the tank. By steering the fish to food, the custom creatures continue to morph in shape and size and do a variety of other fun and surprising things.

The aquariums also feature a mechanism that enables people to come back later and, using the same cell phone, retrieve their customized fish. Once finished with the interaction, consumers receive a text message inviting them to visit for additional fun activities and information.

“The interactive aquariums mirror the essence of the Carnival vacation experience in that they are designed to provide people with highly memorable and spontaneous fun,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s senior vice president of marketing.

The interactive aquariums will be in place in each city through the end of April. Exact locations by city are listed below:

Baltimore – 111 S. Calvert St.
Dallas – 1933 Elm St.
Houston – 312 Main St.
Los Angeles – 7901 Melrose Ave.
New York – 100 Park Ave.
Washington D.C. – 908 F St. NW

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Holland America Line's Second Cookbook, 'A Taste of Elegance,' Available for Purchase Now

SEATTLE, March 9: Holland America Line's new cookbook, "A Taste of Elegance," written by the cruise line's Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, is now available in bookstores. A sequel to "A Taste of Excellence," it contains recipes from the ships' dining room and alternative dining venues, including recipes from Tamarind, the new pan-Asian restaurant aboard ms Eurodam. The new book's theme of elegance is reflected not only in the recipes themselves, but also in their presentation, which is superbly captured in beautiful photographs of finished dishes. The 10 chapters of "A Taste of Elegance" contain recipes for everything from appetizers through dessert.

"The new cookbook will inspire guests to recreate fine dining moments from their cruise in their own homes," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "The recipes capture flavors from all over the world and present them in a straightforward manner for any cook--expert or novice."

Sodamin passes on his "kitchen wisdom" in helpful hints throughout the cookbook, from purchasing ingredients to preparing the dishes. They cover such subjects as buying zucchini, toasting nuts, peeling tomatoes or cooking shrimp. The recipes, of course, are the heart of the cookbook. To name but a few:

Entrees - a Land and Sea combination of Filet Mignon and Shrimp from the Pinnacle Grill restaurant; Vietnamese-Style Lamb with Mint from ms Eurodam 's Tamarind Asian restaurant; Rigatoni with Cauliflower, Parley and Hazelnuts from Eurodam's Canaletto restaurant (soon to be on ms Oosterdam, ms Veendam, ms Noordam and ms Amsterdam).

Appetizers - Tomato and Goat Cheese Tartlets; Escargots Baked in Oyster Shells; Smoked Salmon Rosette on Pumpernickel Bread, to name a few. Soups - Chilled Cucumber; Chilled Banana and Coconut; Tamarind's Chicken with Wild Lime and Rice Stick Noodles. And Desserts - Peach and Raspberry Trifle; Chocolate Zabaglione Sauce with Ice Cream and Raspberries.

These are but a sampling of the recipes contained in nearly 200 pages. One entire chapter is devoted to sauces and dressings to enhance the flavor of dishes. In an introduction to that chapter, Sodamin notes that the recipes he shares "are ways to make even the simplest salad, meat or poultry presentation into something exciting and memorable."

Sodamin introduces each book chapter with a narrative explaining more about the recipes that follow, suggestions to those who would make them, and how they are used on the ships. Sodamin also writes a forward to the book, his tenth cookbook, about the life of a master chef. He recounts how he discovered a love for cooking at an early age and wrote his first cookbook at the age of 23. He says a prime responsibility as Holland America's master chef is to "cook up ideas."

Sodamin's ideas have been instrumental in the development of Holland America Line's popular culinary program on board the ships. Guest flock to the Culinary Art Center to watch cooking demonstrations by guest chefs and the ships' own outstanding chefs and sign up for small-group cooking lessons. The centers are equipped with state-of-the art cooking facilities set in a theater with audio-video systems to provide intimate viewing of the demonstrations. The culinary experience extends throughout the ships' many dining venues with their innovative menus. "A Taste of Elegance" and its forerunner, "A Taste of Excellence" are further extensions of the experience.

"A Taste of Elegance" is available on the ships and through major retail bookstores.

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Fly Free to Europe When You Sail on Select MSC Cruises' 7-Night Itineraries

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 9: For a limited time, MSC Cruises is offering free roundtrip airfare from select gateways in conjunction with its 2009 7-night Europe itineraries this summer. The 2009 Europe Free Air promotion is available on flights from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago O'Hare, Miami, JFK, Newark, Tampa and Orlando. Rates (including cruise, roundtrip air, air taxes and airport transfers) on select sailings begin at $1,199 per person, double occupancy.

The offer includes select Eastern Mediterranean sailings on MSC Poesia, MSC Musica, MSC Opera and MSC Armonia sailing roundtrip from Venice; MSC Orchestra's Northern Europe itineraries sailing roundtrip from Copenhagen; and Western Mediterranean itineraries of the new MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida (which debuts this summer) sailing from Barcelona.

Bookings must be made by April 30, 2009. A $250 per person non-refundable deposit is due at time of booking. To review more information, visit or a local travel professional.

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Run With Bulls - Crystal Style

LOS ANGELES, March 9: With a stylish twist, luxury specialist Crystal Cruises is offering guests the thrilling opportunity to participate in the annual Fiesta of San Fermin in Pamplona - known familiarly as the Running of the Bulls festival. From an exclusively reserved balcony directly above the action, Crystal guests will enjoy a prime location to cheer the legions of runners in the fast-paced, centuries-old event. Crystal is the only cruise line to offer the adventure-part of a four-day program including the sights and sounds of Madrid and Barcelona. The optional land package precedes Crystal Serenity's July 16 voyage from Barcelona to Monte Carlo, Portofino, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Dubrovnik and Venice.

"The 'Running of the Bulls' program is another example of how Crystal enables its guests to completely immerse themselves in high adventure with a world-famous event that is singularly distinct," said John Stoll, director, land programs. "It's designed to provide travelers with the ultimate adrenaline rush, involving guests in the excitement of the chase and festivities."

The festival, honoring Pamplona's Patron Saint, San Fermin, runs from July 7 to 14 annually, with thousands of people awaiting a rocket launch signaling the beginning of the bull run.

In addition to five-star accommodations, program highlights include a flamenco show in Madrid and walking tours of Barcelona, showcasing the works of Gaudi and the Gothic Quarter. The Running of the Bulls pre-cruise package starts $4,959 per person, double occupancy.

Cruise fares start at $6,055 per person, double occupancy, and feature an All Inclusive - As You Wish $1,000 per person shipboard spending credit to customize one's cruise experience. The line's Save Now, Save Later program allows guests booking their 2009 vacation by March 31 to save 20 percent on most 2010 cruises. Additionally, the Crystal Assurance Plan offers reduced deposits and cancellation periods, as well as the assurance that guests will be protected at the reduced fare if a stateroom category is later reduced. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the line's website,

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New Carnival Promotion Provides Cash Back of Up to $240 Per Stateroom on Variety of Fun Ship Cruises This Summer

MIAMI, March 9: Carnival Cruise Lines is launching a new promotion offering “cash back” of up to $240 per stateroom for a wide range of “Fun Ship” departures this summer. The new promotion is available in conjunction with virtually all 3- to 8-day summer departures, including voyages to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexico from 14 convenient North American homeports. Bookings must be made between March 9 – May 10, 2009, to qualify for the promotion, which is valid with the line’s “Fun Select” advance purchase discount fares.

The cash back option is provided in the form of a shipboard credit that can be redeemed once on board. Guests will receive a $100 per stateroom shipboard credit on three- and four-day cruises; $150 per stateroom shipboard credit on five-day voyages; and $240 per stateroom shipboard credit for six-, seven- and eight-day sailings. The shipboard credit is automatically applied on guests’ Sail & Sign accounts when they board their cruise and can be redeemed toward shore excursions, spa treatments, supper club reservations, gift shop items and a variety of other shipboard purchases. Any unused funds at the end of the cruise will be returned to guests on debarkation day in the form of a check.

“A ‘Fun Ship’ cruise is already an affordable vacation option for today’s value-conscious consumers and this new promotion – which provides guests with cash back that can be used toward any shipboard purchase -- makes the value of a Carnival cruise even more outstanding,” said Lynn Torrent, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest services.

The new promotion is capacity controlled and applies to new individual bookings for stateroom categories 4A to 11. Guests must request fare code OCB when making the reservation. For additional information and reservations on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, call 1-800-327-9501.

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Royal Caribbean Enhances Family & Youth Offerings For Stress-free Family Vacations

MIAMI, March 9: Royal Caribbean Intl announced new fleetwide programming for cruise vacationers, expanding services and activities that cater to families with children as young as six months old. The new program includes enhancements to Royal Caribbean’s award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program, which will help families traveling with children enjoy a fulfilling and stress-free vacation. As a leader in innovative family vacations, Royal Caribbean provides enriching and entertaining programs that appeal to children of all ages, while providing options for parents and grandparents that contribute to a more carefree family vacation.

“Royal Caribbean’s new family programming will offer greater convenience for parents and give family members more opportunities to connect with each other on a cruise vacation,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “We have conducted extensive research and sought the feedback of our guests to identify ways to enhance the family cruise vacation. By keeping up with the evolving vacation needs of parents and children, we are delivering what guests want and at a value not found elsewhere.”

New Dining Options for Kids
Royal Caribbean International has enhanced the cruise line’s dining experience to further cater to parents and children for a more enjoyable cruise vacation all around. My Family Time Dining aims to help kids complete dinner within 45 minutes, freeing parents to enjoy coffee and desert at their leisure. Once seated, kids will enjoy expedited service and be immediately served. Available only during the first seating in the main dining room, kids registered in the complimentary Adventure Ocean youth program and My Family Time Dining will be met by Adventure Ocean counselors at the main dining room entrances at 6:45 p.m. and be escorted back to the Adventure Ocean spaces for ongoing evening activities, while parents can continue to enjoy their dinner. Expanding on the cruise line’s focus to provide healthier onboard dining experiences, Royal Caribbean’s new children’s menu will include Vitality options and be presented on playful, brain-teasing placemats designed by Fisher-Price for kids up to age seven, and a more mature interactive menu for kids age 8 -13. Similar to adult menus in the main dining room, the new children’s menu will include selections that focus on healthful cooking and wholesome ingredients, and can help families begin and continue practices for a healthier lifestyle. My Family Time Dining and children’s menu options will be available fleetwide in July 2009.

Lunchtime, also, no longer means a break from the fun for kids. Available immediately, Royal Caribbean’s Lunch and Play option provides children, ages 3 – 11, a nutritious meal with their new friends in the middle of the day on days at sea. For a service charge of $7.95 per child, Lunch and Play provides Adventure Ocean kids with lunch, movies, cartoons and play time between noon and 2 p.m. under the supervision of Adventure Ocean counselors. Parents registering their kids for Lunch and Play will pre-select items for their kid’s lunchbox, from options such as a salad or ham and/or cheese sandwich; a fruit salad, banana or apple; a cookie, serving of potato chips, granola bar, or vegetable sticks; and a beverage of fruit punch, milk, or water.

New Royal Babies & Royal Tots Programming
New programs for Royal Babies (ages 6 – 18 months) and Royal Tots (ages 18 – 36 months) will provide a wider breadth of activities and services to guests sailing with young children, adding to the already popular Fisher-Price playgroup program. Parents traveling with infants and toddlers can now pack lighter for their cruise with Royal Caribbean’s Babies 2 Go program, where parents can order organic baby food and diapers, wipes and creams by Huggies – the world’s leading diaper brand – for delivery to their staterooms upon their arrival. These baby essentials can be ordered online through Royal Caribbean’s Gifts & Gear section at starting March 23.
In the mornings, Stroll & Roll will dedicate the jogging track to guests with infants in strollers, where parents and infants can continue their exercise regimen together. During the day, Royal Tots can create early childhood memories at four new Crayola Beginnings workshops. During each 45-minute session, parents and their children enjoy story-time with an Adventure Ocean counselor, and use Crayola Beginnings products to create the toddler’s first works of art. Themed sessions include My Colorful World (introducing the concept of colors); Families Have Fun (introducing the world of coloring); Let’s Explore the Sea; and Our Big, Big Ship.
A treasure chest of Fisher-Price toys is available to families during their stay in the Fisher-Price Toy Lending Program, comprising a collection of developmental toys specifically created for infants and toddlers, ages 6 – 36 months. Parents can borrow and exchange toys for a new activity every day to help growing minds learn through play.
Parents can enjoy a little time away from their children with complete peace of mind through Royal Caribbean’s Sitters at Sea, created by Fisher-Price – an in-stateroom babysitting service for guests with infants, one year old and above. A Royal Caribbean staff-member will arrive equipped with Fisher-Price toys and Mattel games, and engage and entertain the young cruisers until their parents return. Parents will need to reserve a sitter at least 24 hours in advance and complete a checklist that includes information on where they will be, when they expect to return, bedtime routines and particular preferences for each child. Upon their return, parents will be presented a log of the child’s activities with the babysitter, including books read, games enjoyed, food consumed, and when the child was put to bed. Service charges for Sitters at Sea are $10 per hour for up to two children; and $15 per hour for 3 or more children.
Children also can create a personalized plush toy souvenir with their parents in a fun activity with Royal Caribbean’s new Pets at Sea. Guests can choose from a collection of animals and more than 20 outfits and accessories to create and bring home a new pet from their cruise vacation, no quarantine required! Pets at Sea will be available fleetwide in May 2009.

Where Kids Want to Be
Kids and teens can enjoy activities into the late evening with newly extended hours in the Adventure Ocean and teen-only spaces. Scheduled programming will now run everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. (extended from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.) Young cruises also have their own book nook aboard every Royal Caribbean ship. The Adventure Family Library is a section within the onboard library, which offers classic and popular family titles in a variety of languages (based on the ship’s itinerary) and a comfortable reading area for kids to relax and delve into a book, individually or with a parent. In the evenings, Royal Bedtime Stories invites the whole family to the Adventure Family Library to enjoy a bedtime story and lullabies. Children are encouraged to dress in their pajamas and enjoy a cookie or two with milk, while an Adventure Ocean counselor reads from one among a variety of popular storybooks.

Family Time with Mattel Board Games
Through a partnership with Mattel, Royal Caribbean International offers guests a wide array of popular games for the whole family. Younger cruisers in Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Ocean program can enjoy a variety of Mattel games, including titles such as 20Q; Apples to Apples; Piranha Panic; Rhino Rampage; Scene It? Nickelodeon Edition; and UNO. Family play sessions led by activities staff include games such as Skip-Bo Get Together; Scrabble Scramble; and UNO H2O (held poolside). These live versions of popular Mattel games provide an opportunity for anyone in the family to compete with other families in active and fun games. Mattel board games also are stocked in the card room, where guests can accept an impromptu family challenge. Additionally, guests in suite category staterooms may request Mattel board games off a menu in their suite, for enjoyment in the privacy of their stateroom. Titles include Balderdash, Pictionary Man Game, Snorta, UNO Flash, and games featured in Adventure Ocean.

As a consistent innovator, Royal Caribbean is currently the only cruise line with dedicated teen spaces aboard every ship across the fleet. Onboard areas such as The Living Room teen hangout, Fuel or Optix teen discos, and The Back Deck sun-deck for teens give young cruisers ages 12 – 17 their own space to create new friendships and relax with their peers. Younger cruisers, ages 3 – 11, have scheduled and supervised activities all day long in three age-tiered curricula: Aquanauts, ages 3 – 5; Explorers, ages 6 – 8; and Voyagers, ages 9 – 11. All Adventure Ocean counselors are college graduates, with a degree in education, recreation or a related field.

For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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Holland America Line & Port of San Diego Partner to Help Locals In Need

Seattle, WA, Mar 6: Holland America Line and the Port of San Diego are debuting Ship to Shelter, an innovative community charitable program designed to donate valuable and reusable goods from the line’s cruise ships to local people in need. Holland America Line first launched Ship to Shelter in April 2008 in partnership with the Port of Seattle in Washington and expanded the program to Port Everglades, Florida, this past January. Partnering with Alpha Project, the Port of San Diego will work with the Seattle-based cruise line to donate items from its ships that regularly sail from San Diego. The goods will be distributed to individuals and families in need by Alpha Project. In addition to the weekly donations of individual-sized toiletries, Holland America Line periodically will provide other items such as dishes, cookware, silverware, televisions and more. The program kicks off in San Diego with ms Statendam, ms Ryndam and ms Oosterdam providing hundreds of items that would otherwise have been discarded.

“Giving back is part of the corporate culture at Holland America Line and it is part of our corporate social responsibility,” said Richard D. Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Over the years Holland America has worked with nonprofits around the world to donate reusable goods in a socially conscious, environmentally friendly method. These items are periodically replaced on our ships and can be put to good use for a worthy cause.”

The Ship to Shelter program incorporates strategic partnerships between the Port of San Diego, Alpha Project and Holland America Line to provide partially used stateroom amenities that are no longer needed on cruise ships for re-use by the needy, while providing an environmentally friendly solid waste disposal solution. Holland America Line will continue to donate other items from various San Diego–based ships from January through April and October through December each year.

The Port of San Diego has been instrumental in implementing the program. “We all know that the cruise industry provides great economic benefit to our region, and now they also are providing an important charitable benefit,” said Stephen P. Cushman, chair of the Board of Port Commissioners. “The Ship to Shelter program exemplifies the port’s commitment to social responsibility – finding a way for us and our partners to give back to the community and ensure that everyone benefits from the business of the Port.”

Alpha Project for the Homeless is a nonprofit human services organization that serves over 2,000 men, women, and children each day and 12,000 annually. Services offered include affordable housing, residential substance abuse treatment, supportive housing for people with special needs, basic and emergency services for the homeless, employment training and other community services. “There is an incredible shortage of basic toiletry items in the needy community,” said Bob McElroy, president and chief executive officer, Alpha Project. “We often take the availability of these items for granted, and with the generosity of the Ship to Shelter program, we will be able to help fulfill this need for so many people.”

From flowers to fuel and milk to wine, Holland America Line’s cruise operations have a significant economic impact on San Diego with 56 turns a year. Yearly, that impact totals nearly US$83.5 million and nearly 80,000 guests embarked or debarked in San Diego, the premium line’s major port in Southern California. Holland America Line’s economic impact includes staffing at the cruise terminal, provisioning ships, refueling, passenger spending, crew spending, port fees and taxes, and marketing and sales expenditures in the region. In addition, the company has supported several local organizations such as San Diego Opera, San Diego Zoo, Rady Children’s Hospital, North Coast Repertory Theatre, UCSD Moore’s Cancer Center, Las Patronas and San Diego Girl Scouts through cash donations and in-kind support.

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Seabourn Adds New Private Arrangement Options For Pre- & Post-Cruise Hotel Extensions

MIAMI, Mar 6: The Yachts of Seabourn Destination Services Department has created over a hundred exceptional local activities and excursions, specifically designed to accommodate couples or small groups who opt for bundled “Sail & Stay” packages or stays at luxury hotels in cities where the intimate vessels begin or end their cruises. From a bicycle tour of Copenhagen’s vibrant art and design scene to a day spent cruising the islands of the Venice Lagoon on a private speedboat, Seabourn’s menu of private arrangements will provide participants with laughter, learning and thrilling memories to last a lifetime. Among the exceptional arrangements available are:

-- View ancient masterpieces of Chinese brush calligraphy in a Hong Kong museum, then learn from a master how to make your own.
-- Visit La Posta Vecchia, the beautiful villa of the late J. Paul Getty near Rome, for a hands-on cooking class from the resort chef and a sumptuous lunch.
-- In tony St. Jean-Cap Ferrat near Monte Carlo, visit Baroness Rothschild’s palatial Florentine “folly” and the Belle Époque, Grecian-style villa of Kerylos.
-- Spend an unforgettable day at a luxury lodge in the Central Andes above Valparaiso, either trekking or horseback riding among the spectacular peaks.
-- Traverse rolling desert dunes outside Dubai to a secluded encampment, for a Champagne feast fit for a sheikh, and a display of traditional Bedouin falconry.
-- In Rome, do as the Romans do and enjoy the masterpieces in the Villa Borghese gallery, followed by a delicious picnic lunch in a pleasant corner of its gardens.

“Seabourn’s guests prefer more personalized, unique experiences in our ports of call,” noted Pamela Conover, Seabourn’s president & CEO, “and they want to have authentic, insider experiences when they stay in Istanbul or Buenos Aires or Venice before or after their cruises, too. Guests can either choose from these exceptional experiences or dream up their own perfect day and our staff can arrange it.”

The Yachts of Seabourn, the world’s most celebrated small cruising vessels, offer voyages from seven days to full world cruises of up to 110 days. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, they will carry between 208 and 450 guests each to over 250 ports in 68 countries worldwide. Seabourn’s yachts are consistently ranked among the world’s finest travel experiences for their unparalleled levels of personalized service, generous all-suite accommodation and truly gourmet onboard dining. In June of 2009, the line will debut the beautiful, 450-guest Seabourn Odyssey, the first luxury vessel launched in six years. Seabourn Odyssey will sail its Maiden Voyage on June 24, 2009 from Venice. For information or reservations, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Royal Caribbean Challenges Adventurers To Think ‘Why Not’ With
“Clues to the Cruise”

MIAMI, March 5: With spring just a few weeks away and the summer travel season on the horizon, Royal Caribbean International is offering vacationers the opportunity to discover the cruise line’s unparalleled experience without leaving shore. Starting today, Royal Caribbean’s “Clues to the Cruise” promotion is challenging adventurers of all ages to explore the new Nation of Why Not and the many ‘why not’ moments guests can enjoy on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Throughout, participants will earn prizes, ranging from sea monkeys to Royal Caribbean vacations, by solving puzzles and answering trivia online; visiting marketing partner websites; or satisfying a curiosity about options one would think impossible on a vacation.

Throughout Clues to the Cruise, players will learn more about Royal Caribbean’s legacy of innovation, some of the cruise line’s partners, and the Nation of Why Not--the world’s first floating nation consisting of 20 Royal Caribbean “states” (a.k.a. ships) and its citizens. Players who have never cruised before may even realize that they already have most of the qualifications to become a citizen of the Nation of Why Not – people who long to expand their horizons with unprecedented vacation choices and experiences they might never have considered on dry land.

To play, consumers should register at, an interactive online environment with an electronic game board consisting of 25 squares. The goal is to earn the squares by playing and winning various puzzles throughout a virtual cruise ship. When four adjacent squares are claimed, players have the opportunity to spin the Cruise Wheel to win exciting prizes, such as kayaks, boogie boards, digital cameras, and one of two Nickelodeon Family Cruises in the summer of 2009. For following the Clues to the Cruise, players also earn an entry for a chance to win one of 22 seven-night cruises to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera or the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean is spreading the word about Clues to the Cruise through a variety of media in order to encourage consumers to explore the Nation of Why Not. A campaign of online banner ads, email invitations, and local market promotions will offer the first clues to help draw players to the online game.

Bringing the game to life, a not-to-be-missed Clues to the Cruise mobile tour--the centerpiece of which is a ball pit--will hit the road for a nationwide tour visiting popular family attractions, sporting events and festivals in select cities. At each stop, participants will have the opportunity to learn about and participate in Clues to the Cruise through a variety of activities, including the main attraction--a clue search challenge in the ball pit, where participants, either solo or with a teammate, attempt to collect as many lettered balls as possible in 45 seconds. Once the time is up, contestants will be tasked with unscrambling the letters to spell vacation-related words. Those that successfully match words to a master list will win prizes ranging from gear and products from a variety of partners, to coveted Royal Caribbean cruise vacations. Additionally, internet-ready laptops will be available for everyone who wishes to register instantly on and play without delay.

The cross-country Clues to the Cruise tour will kick off in Los Angeles, CA on March 14 and end its tour in New York, NY on May 9. The Clues to the Cruise tour is scheduled to make the following stops, with surprise visits along the way:

- March 14: Hollywood and Highland, Los Angeles, CA
- March 15: Six Flags Magic Mountain, Los Angeles, CA
- March 21 – 22: Six Flags Over Texas, Dallas, TX
- March 27 – 29: Sony Ericsson Open, Miami, FL
- April 11 – 12: World of Coke, Atlanta, GA
- April 17 – 19: Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Atlanta, GA
- April 24 – 26: Fiesta San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
- May 2 – 3: Pecan Street Festival, Austin, TX

For more information on Clues to the Cruise, please visit
For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. To learn more or join The Nation of Why Not, visit

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Celebrity Cruises To Offer Additional Drive Market Options
 For Northeast In 2010

MIAMI, March 5: In 2010, Celebrity Cruises is bringing out some of its “Sunday best.” Celebrity’s 2010 cruises to Bermuda, Canada and New England opened for sale today, making available a new array of seven-night voyages departing on Sundays from Cape Liberty (Bayonne), New Jersey, all featuring the value of outstanding service, gourmet cuisine and spectacular destinations. Several longer voyages are available at the end of the season. The cruises will be offered on the 2,038-guest Celebrity Summit. Since 2005, Celebrity Summit’s sister ship, Celebrity Constellation, sailed the line’s Canada/New England voyages.

From April to mid-June, Celebrity Summit will sail 7-night Bermuda and Bermuda/New England voyages. The Bermuda sailings feature three days and two nights in King’s Wharf. Though the Bermuda/New England sailings vary by sailing date, they include two days and one night in King’s Wharf, as well as visits to Newport, Rhode Island, and Boston, Massachusetts. The season marks the first time Celebrity Cruises has visited Bermuda since 2006.

Celebrity’s first-ever 7-night Canada/New England sailings will take place throughout July and August. The itinerary includes stops in Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine. In September and October, Celebrity also will offer its standard 14-night cruises in the region, offering an overnight stay in Quebec City, Quebec, as well as visits to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

During these cruises, guests can explore the destinations that they visit through a variety of engaging shore excursions. Highlights of these offerings include the following:

King’s Wharf, Bermuda:
-- “Bermuda Triangle Shipwreck Snorkel,” where guests can get acquainted with the undersea world through a boat’s glass bottom panels before experiencing Bermuda’s wreck and reef snorkeling
-- “Restless Native Catamaran Cruise,” which includes a cruise on a sailing catamaran to a shallow snorkeling spot, onboard sunbathing with refreshments, and information about Bermuda’s history, culture, geology and undersea ecology

Canada/New England:
-- “The Best of Portland and Kennebunkport” in Maine, where guests can enjoy the highlights of Portland and Portland Head Light, which has been at the harbor’s entrance since 1791, as well as the charm of Kennebunkport, known for its stunning mansions built by wealthy sea captains and merchants in the 1700s and 1800s
-- “Acadia National Park and Lobster Bake” in Bar Harbor, Maine, where guests can enjoy the highlights of Acadia National Park and the spectacular scenery of the Park Loop Road, as well as a traditional “downeast” lobster bake
-- “Famous Peggy’s Cove Fishing Village” in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where guests journey along coastal roads to a rustic working fishing village where 60 people live year-round before continuing on to experiences at Peggy’s Cove and a lobster fishery
-- “St.-Anne-de-Beaupre and Montmorency Falls” in Quebec City, where guests visit one of North America’s most important sites for Catholicism, the world-renowned shrine of St.-Anne-de-Beaupre, and visit the spectacular Montmorency Falls, which are 1.5 times higher than Niagara Falls.

For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit

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Azamara Cruises’ 2010 Europe Offers Focus on Breadth & Depth of Port Calls

MIAMI, March 4: The deluxe smaller-ship, exotic-destination cruise line known as Azamara Cruises will send its entire fleet to Europe for the third consecutive summer when the 694-guest Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest sail in the region in 2010. Azamara’s Europe and transatlantic itineraries for 2010, which opened for sale today, will focus on additional time spent in ports of call–including overnight stays–and will offer a slate of port visits new to the brand. The line also will offer numerous land excursions and a total of four cruisetour packages.

Azamara Cruises specifically selected the line-up of ports that the two ships will collectively visit throughout the season to give travelers the opportunity to more thoroughly explore cities and towns rich with culture, history and tradition. With a total of 93 different ports visited throughout 39 sailings, travelers will have numerous opportunities to get to know Europe while being treated to a luxurious yet relaxed onboard experience.

Expanding its destination offerings, Azamara will visit nine European ports for the first time in 2010. These include the following:

-- Bastia, one of the two largest cities on the mountainous Mediterranean island of Corsica
-- Chania, one of Crete’s most appealing cities, marked by stately neo-classical mansions and massive Venetian fortifications
-- Korcula, Croatia, an island rife with small, uninhabited beaches, breathtaking views of nature and medieval architecture
-- Katakolon, the Greek seaside town offering a gateway to Olympia, the birthplace of the competitive athletic games
-- Skiathos, one of Greece’s most environmentally protected islands, known for its pine tree forests as well as its long, shining beaches
-- Zakynthos, Greece (also known as Zante), part of the Ionian Islands and home to the endangered caretta caretta species of sea turtle
-- Trieste, the historic Italian port and capital of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, nestled in the northeast corner of the Adriatic Sea against the backdrop of a limestone plateau
-- Gijón, located on the Catabrian Sea on Spain’s Costa Verde, halfway between eastern and western Asturias
-- Liverpool, England’s centuries-old port made just as famous by its one-time musical residents, The Beatles, as by the landmarks designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The line hopes to give its guests a richer Europe experience by offering a total of 53 overnight stays in 13 ports across 33 of its 39 sailings. Fourteen sailings include more than one overnight stay. Overnight stays will be offered in Florence (Livorno), Sorrento, and Venice, Italy; St. Petersburg, Russia; Barcelona, Spain; Stockholm, Sweden; Istanbul, Turkey; Edinburgh (Leith), Scotland; and London (Greenwich), England. Additionally, the line will stay overnight in four European ports for the first time in 2010; these include Bordeaux, France; Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; and Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Late-night stays departing at 10 pm or later will be offered in 21 ports: Dubrovnik, Croatia; Alexandria and Port Said, Egypt; and St. Tropez, France; Volos, Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini, Greece; Dublin, Ireland; Ashdod and Haifa, Israel; Ravenna and Trieste, Italy; Valetta, Malta; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Kotor, Montenegro; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Lisbon, Portugal; Gijón, Spain; and Bodrum and Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey.

In 2010, Azamara will once again offer several series of four back-to-back, unique 7-night cruises. These will be offered in the spring and the fall. Guests can sail seven nights on Azamara Journey, or combine several consecutive itineraries to create 14-, 21- or 28-night voyages. The first series will be offered April 25, May 2, May 9 and May 16; the second series on September 12, September 19, September 26 and October 23. Ports of call that will be visited during the series of sailings include Barcelona, Spain; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Portofino, Sorrento and Venice, Italy; Taormina, Sicily; Athens, Corfu, Katakolon, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, and Nauplion, Greece; Dubrovnik, Korcula, Split and Zadar, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Bastia, Corsica; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Bodrum, Ephesus (Kusadasi) and Istanbul, Turkey; Koper, Slovenia; and St. Tropez, France. The May 2 voyage features an overnight stay in Venice; the May 16 voyage features an overnight stay in Barcelona. In the fall, each voyage in the series includes at least one overnight stay. The September 12 voyage includes an overnight in Monte Carlo, the September 19 cruise includes overnights in both Sorrento and Venice, and the September 26 and October 3 sailings include an overnight in Istanbul.

The line also has made a point of adding more 10- and 12-night sailings during its 2010 Europe season, appealing to travelers who seek an extended getaway that fits within a two-week timeframe. The shorter itineraries include 12-night “Holy Land” voyages sailing from Athens to Rome; 12-night “Eastern Mediterranean” voyages from Rome to Athens; 12-night “Black Sea” cruise from Athens to Istanbul, and 10-night “Greek Isles and Turkey” voyages sailing from Istanbul to Athens. The 2010 season will once again feature a 12-night Norwegian Fjords cruise; this voyage received some of the line’s guests’ highest ratings in 2008.

Azamara’s Europe sailings will be based out of six turnaround ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Athens, Greece; Rome and Venice, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; and, for the first time, Istanbul, Turkey.

One of the simplest ways for travelers to make the most of their Azamara Europe vacation is to combine their cruise with a fully escorted land-based tour package; this combined journey is known as a cruisetour. Azamara features four different cruisetours in Europe in 2010:

-- A 5-night pre-cruise tour of Florence and Rome, available in tandem with various seven-, 12- and 14-night voyages departing from Rome. Highlights include a half-day walking tour of Florence; an in-depth visit to the Tuscany and Chianti regions, featuring a tour of the quaint walled city of San Gimignano and Castello Verazzano, where an authentic Italian wine tasting awaits; a first-class train transfer to Rome; a half-day walking tour of the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona and the Colosseum; and a tour of the Vatican City.
-- A 3-night pre-cruise tour of Athens and Delphi, available in combination with numerous seven-, ten-, 12- and 14-night sailings departing from Athens. Highlights include a half-day tour of Athens’ famed sites, including Hadrian’s Arch, the temple of Olympian Zeus and the Theater of Dionysssos, as well as a visit to the interior of the Acropolis; a motorcoach ride via Theves,l Levadia and Arachova to Delphi, the ancient Sanctuary of Apollo; a visit to the seaside village of Itea; and a crossing of the Gulf of Corinth with travel along the scenic Peloponnese peninsula.
-- An 8-night pre-cruise tour of Eastern Europe, available in combination with various 12- and 14-night voyages departing from Copenhagen. Highlights include a tour of Budapest’s landmarks, including Gellert Hill, Fisherman’s Bastion, Mathias Church, and Hero’s Square; a deluxe motorcoach ride to Vienna; a tour of Vienna’s Schoebrunn Palace, including its extraordinary gardens; travel to Prague, where guests will visit Rosenburg Castle to experience a falconry show; a visit to Prague Castle and the sights of St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, Old Town Square and Tyn Church; travel to Berlin, including a stop in Dresden; a half-day tour of Berlin, featuring visits to the Reichstag, Charlottenburg Palace, Victory Column and Checkpoint Charlie; and travel to Gedser, Denmark.
-- A 4-night Cappadocia and Istanbul pre-cruise voyage available in tandem with four different cruises departing from Istanbul. Highlights include a stay in Ankara; a half-day tour of Ankara, including visits to the Augustus Temple and the Mausoleum of Ataturk; travel to Cappadocia with signtseeing opportunities at Zelve, Pasabag Valleys and the Gorome Religious Center; a full-day journey to the Kaymakli underground city and the picturesque villages of Uchissar, Ortahisar and Cavusin; and a stay in Istanbul featuring a tour of the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace and the opportunity to shop at the Grand Bazaar.

All cruisetours are fully escorted and include hotel accommodations, in-tour transportation and baggage transfers, as well as some meals. All four cruisetours include ample time for independent sightseeing, shopping and dining.

During their cruise, guests can further enhance their experience by selecting from a variety of fascinating shore excursions available in the ports that the line visits. Highlights include the following:

-- St. Petersburg, Russia’s “Moscow and the Mysterious Kremlin” excursion, where guests can see the highlights of the Russian capital in one day, and “Hermitage Splendour – Exclusive Evening” excursion, where guests enjoy an evening tour of the Hermitage Museum and a gala ballet performance.
-- Sorrento, Italy’s “Pompeii and Capri” excursion, which gives guests the opportunity to explore the famous island of Capri before visiting the ruins of Pompeii.
Venice, Italy’s “Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Cathedral and Glasswork” excursion, where guests will explore these renowned sites during a walking tour and observe a demonstration of artisans creating beautiful pieces of glass.
-- Ashdod, Israel’s “Jerusalem and Bethlehem” excursion, which allows cruisers to experience some of the most sacred sites in the Holy Land, including the Western Wall, Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Church of the Nativity.
Alexandria, Egypt’s “The Pyramids and The River Nile” excursion, where cruise guests will experience a voyage on the River Nile and the mysteries of the pyramids and the Sphinx.

Azamara plans to continue its “Alpha/Omega” shore excursion package program and will announce details of the 2010 Europe packages later this year. Travel enthusiasts are encouraged to visit, call 1-877-999-9553, or contact their travel agent for more information.

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Lucky Travelers Booking A European Costa Cruise In March Get Bonus Getaway At Las Vegas Planet Hollywood

MIAMI, March 4: There’s never been a luckier time to book with Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise. Throughout March 2009, guests who book a European cruise with Costa will automatically receive a 2-night complimentary stay at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, based on availability from Sunday through Thursday. The offer is valid on all FIT sailings booked in March 2009 on 7- to 14-night Europe sailings that depart in 2009.

Travelers may choose from 12 of Costa’s 14 ships in Europe, including the new Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica which will be jointly inaugurated on June 5 of this year. With 502 sailings, 135 itineraries and more seven-night sailings in Europe than any other cruise line, Costa offers the best of the Mediterranean and Northern Europe to guests, all at an incredible value. Fares for seven-night sailings begin at just $449 per person.

The hottest new property on the Las Vegas Strip, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino features Hollywood Hip rooms and suites, over 100,000 square feet of gaming, fine dining restaurants, an award-winning buffet, casual dining options, lounges, nightclubs, a full service spa, the Tony ’n Tina Wedding Show and is the future home of PEEPSHOW. The property is encircled by Miracle Mile Shops with over 170 specialty stores and restaurants. The resort is also part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc and is a member of the Starwood Preferred Guest program. For more information log onto

For complete information regarding reservations or more information about Costa Cruises, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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Princess Cruises Wave Season Booking Volume Surpasses Previous Year

SANTA CLARITA, CA, March 4: Booking volume during the current wave season has surpassed the same period last year by nearly six percent, according Princess Cruises, who credits both lower prices and travel agents who have utilized the line's sales support tools to generate business in the current economic climate. Princess is congratulating agents who have been working diligently to sell the company's value proposition during this time period, and who have taken advantage of the line's key programs designed to support agents' business.

"Travel agents gave us a record-breaking reservations day in January, and this further result shows that they continued to sell Princess cruises at an extraordinary rate throughout the first two months of the year," said Jan Swartz, Princess' executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service. "Agents understand that the best strategy at this time is to promote what's selling--and Princess is selling. We want to thank, and congratulate, our travel partners for their exceptional efforts. Despite the headlines we see every day, now is a great time for agents to build their cruise business. And we're there to help agents do this not only with attractive fares, but also with great tools."

Swartz said that agents are enthusiastically sharing their success stories about how Princess tools have supported their selling efforts. Among the promotional offers used by travel agents during this key booking period have been Princess' Balcony Bonanza, which enabled agents to provide a free upgrade to a balcony stateroom for the price of a standard oceanview stateroom, and the Alaska Wilderness Sale featuring four new Seattle-based cruisetour options including air and bus transfers and a free stateroom upgrade.

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Expands Scope of Voyages
 with Unprecedented Savings

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, March 4: Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) announced a dramatic expansion to its current menu of special offers for the balance of 2009 cruises, thanks to the phenomenal response to existing offers. Free Air, 2-for-1 Savings and Free Unlimited Shore Excursions, having been previously offered on select voyages, are now widely available on prime departure dates through the end of the year.

“What we are announcing is unprecedented for us,” said Mark Conroy, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Whatever cruise destination luxury travelers are interested in visiting in 2009 – whether it is Alaska, Europe, Africa, Asia or Mexico and the Caribbean – we now have some truly compelling offers for them. Due to the tremendous demand generated by our previously-announced savings, we have decided to roll these out over a larger selection of departures. In terms of value, there has never been a better time to take a Regent cruise,” he added.

Cruise fares on 38 voyages in 2009 have been lowered, while the number of cruises now featuring Free Unlimited Shore Excursions has increased from 35 to 58. There are now 36 departures that feature a combination of all three special offers: 2-for-1 Savings, Free Air, and Free Unlimited Shore Excursions. A recap by destination is as follows:

Cruises to the 49th state on the 700-guest all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner from May to September are now all priced at 2-for-1 Savings, with Free Economy Class Air. In addition, all dates with the exception of May 20 now feature Free Unlimited Shore Excursions. A Kids Sail Free offer is also available on all departures June 17 through August 5.

Europe (Baltic, Scandinavia & Mediterranean)
The 700-guest all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager and the 490-guest, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator both offer full seasons of cruising in Europe. In addition to the standard offer of Free Air on most departures (Business Class in Butler suite accommodations, and Economy Class in all other suites), cruise fares on twelve sailings have been adjusted to reflect 2-for-1 Savings, and Free Unlimited Shore Excursions have been added on five dates. Twelve Europe voyages now feature all three offers. A Kids Sail Free offer is also available on four sailings.

India, Africa & South America
The Free Unlimited Shore Excursion offer has now been added to four of the five segments of Seven Seas Voyager’s Discovery Collection in the fall – a 70-night odyssey from the Mediterranean to the Arabian Gulf, India, Africa and South America. The two final segments (Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, and Rio de Janeiro to Fort Lauderdale) now feature 2-for-1 Savings, Free Economy Class Air and Free Unlimited Shore Excursions.

All seven segments of Seven Seas Mariner’s Grand Asia Pacific cruise in the fall – a 102-night Grand Voyage from Vancouver to Los Angeles – now feature 2-for-1 Savings, Free Economy Class Air (or one-way international Business Class Air for $999 supplement), and Free Unlimited Shore Excursions.

The Tropics (Caribbean, Mexico & the Panama Canal)
All seven cruises to/from Fort Lauderdale over the holidays in 2009 (November 23 through December 28) of Seven Seas Voyager, Mariner and Navigator to Mexico, the Caribbean and Panama Canal, now feature 2-for-1 Savings and Free Unlimited Shore Excursions.

Bookings must be made and deposited by May 31, 2009 in order to be eligible for these special savings. For more information, and for terms and conditions of these special offers, visit

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The Wave Rolls On; Carnival Cruise Lines Reports Record Booking Week

MIAMI, March 3: Despite the challenging economy, Carnival Cruise Lines is reporting strong booking volumes as prospective vacationers take advantage of some of the best vacation values in years. For the one-week period ended March 1, 2009, Carnival recorded the highest number of net weekly bookings in its history. Additionally, on a cumulative basis since mid-January, net bookings are up 10 percent compared to the same period in 2008, although pricing is at lower levels. Wave season typically runs from about mid-January through early spring and is traditionally the busiest, most important booking period in the cruise industry.

Last week’s record reservations activity encompassed all of the line’s 22-vessel fleet, which depart from a variety of convenient, drive-to homeports throughout the U.S. Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO, attributed the increase in bookings to the line’s travel agent partners and consumers’ appreciation for the inherent value and affordability of a “Fun Ship” vacation, as well as aggressive marketing efforts. Among the marketing channels being utilized are broadcast, e-mail and on-line, along with targeted sales promotions, including a one-day sale.

“This record booking activity, while at lower pricing, is certainly encouraging. It tells us that despite the uncertain economic climate, consumers clearly need more fun in their lives and view their vacations as a valuable and necessary part of that,” Cahill said. “And Carnival’s unmatched combination of quality, affordability and fun along with multiple close-to-home departure points and the greatest choice of short cruise options in the industry, make a ‘Fun Ship’ cruise the ideal getaway for today’s consumers,” he added.

For additional information and reservations on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, call 1-800-327-9501.

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Star Clippers to Position Three Ships in Mediterranean for 2010 Summer Season

MIAMI: Star Clippers will position its entire fleet of three tall ships in the Mediterranean for the 2010 summer season. It will be the first time since 2007 that all three ships have sailed the Med at the same time. In the spring Royal Clipper, Star Clipper and Star Flyer will reposition from their winter homes in the Caribbean, Far East and Tahiti, respectively, to begin the Mediterranean sailings. Star Clipper will continue round-trip Athens routes, while Royal Clipper will maintain the popular itineraries round-trip Civitavecchia (Rome) and between Rome and Venice. Star Flyer is scheduled to sail seven-day round-trip Monaco itineraries, as well as eastern Mediterranean and Turkey cruises from Rhodes, Greece.

“In this challenging economy, we thought it prudent to bring all three ships closer to where our guests reside and have them sail itineraries with proven success,” said Mikael Krafft, owner and president of Star Clippers. “While Star Flyer’s Tahiti itineraries have been popular, redeploying Flyer to the Mediterranean with the other two ships ultimately will make taking a Star Clippers vacation more affordable for our guests.”
Star Flyer will continue its Tahiti itineraries until Feb. 21, 2010, after which it will make a “Grand Pacific Crossing” from Papeete, Tahiti, to Panama City, Panama. The ship will then sail a Panama Canal cruise that ends in St. Maarten, followed by a trans-Atlantic crossing to Lisbon, Portugal.

Specific ports of call on the Mediterranean itineraries as well as the cruise schedule for the remainder of 2010 will be available in March 2009. Reservations through spring 2010 are open to book, and sailings for the remainder of 2010 will open for booking by April 15, 2009. 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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Celebrity Cruises Offers Loyalty Program Members Opportunity To Be Among First To Preview Celebrity Eclipse

MIAMI, March 3: Hot on the heels of the successful launch of its new flagship, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Cruises today opened an early booking window for its loyalty program members to be the first to book cruises on sister ship Celebrity Eclipse, which will set sail for the first time in April 2010.

Celebrity wishes to reward frequent cruisers with the opportunity to have the best selection of staterooms. Members of its loyalty program, “Captain’s Club,” can take advantage of an exclusive booking window through March 9. Sailings on the currently-under-construction vessel will open to the general public on March 10.
Interested members of Celebrity’s Captain’s Club can contact their travel agent or call the dedicated Captain’s Club desk at 1-800-670-0654.

When Celebrity Eclipse sets sail next year, she will sail in Europe, then transition to the Caribbean for winter 2010-11. Guests on every Celebrity Eclipse sailing will experience the series of brand-defining, industry-first attributes that guests, travel agents and press have praised about Celebrity Solstice, including a half-acre Lawn Club with real grass, a glassblowing show and studio developed with The Corning Museum of Glass, unrivaled dining venues offering trendsetting cuisine and design, and widely varied entertainment, including spectacular new shows in partnership with Poet Theatricals. The 2,850-guest vessel also will have spacious staterooms and bathrooms, and several categories of accommodations, including Celebrity’s new, spa-inspired AquaClass staterooms.

Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and South America. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit

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Holland America Line Launches New Electronic Cruise Documents

Seattle, March 3: To make vacation planning easier, Holland America Line will now provide its guests with quick, convenient and “green” cruise documentation through its new Express Docs program that begins with cruises departing May 9, 2009. The premium line’s eco-friendly cruise documents, Express Docs provide guests with clear, concise and easily accessible cruise and air travel details. Guests have 24/7 access and can print boarding passes at their leisure before a cruise.

"Express Docs provide all the same information our guests expect and will also help them finalize vacation plans much quicker and they provide greater flexibility in providing copies for family and friends,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Guests who still prefer paper documents can request full cruise documentation and tickets to be mailed.”

Beginning on March 10, 2009, guests sailing on all cruises departing after May 9, 2009, can now request Holland America Line’s Express Docs and receive a comprehensive, personalized travel summary including cruise and flight information, itinerary, special request information, shore excursion reservation information, transfer vouchers, important notices and a boarding pass to be printed out and brought to the ship for check-in. While online confirming voyage details, guest can easily navigate to a shore excursion page to view and book available shore tours.

Once final payment is received and the immigration questionnaire is completed, guests will be able to access their boarding pass approximately 50 days prior to the voyage date. Suite guests will receive a special boarding pass to use at the Suite Check-in Desk at the pier.

Guests with Holland America Line transfers will not need vouchers as transfer information is included in the Express Docs forms. Luggage tags will be available from Holland America Line staff at the pier or airport at which guests arrive before boarding the ship.

The Grand World Voyage, Grand Voyages and Alaska CruiseTours will continue to receive traditional documentation packets due to the extensive detail provided for these types of extended vacations. Guests sailing on these departures still may register their immigration information online at and issue their “Signature Boarding Pass” for boarding.

For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Windstar Cruises Launches New Dining Experience On Wind Star & Wind Spirit

SEATTLE, March 3: Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, will launch a new dining experience on 148-guest Wind Star and Wind Spirit. Romance is under sail as guests enjoy water views, exquisite sunsets and star-filled skies while dining alfresco on 5-star cuisine at poolside grill Candles.

"Wind Star and Wind Spirit guests now have the option of dining in two evening venues--The Restaurant or Candles--allowing our guests more choice and value," said Diane Moore, president, Windstar Cruises. "In summer 2008 Wind Surf launched Candles, serving the finest steaks and skewers, and it has received such great reviews that we decided to introduce the concept on Wind Star and Wind Spirit."

At Candles, guests start with insalate caprese, followed by a main course selection of tender rib eye, New York steaks, fresh Swordfish skewers or assorted vegetable skewers all grilled to perfection on deck. The course is served with a choice of sauces: black peppercorn, creamy mushroom, Cafe de Paris butter or red wine sauce. At the end of the evening, guests savor delicious Tiramisu made of savoiardi dipped in coffee and mascarpone cream. Candles accommodates approximately 30 guests per night and is subject to weather conditions. While there is no additional charge, reservations are recommended.

For more information including 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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SeaDream Yacht Club Offers Exceptional Caribbean & Trans Atlantic Savings

SeaDream Yacht Club, the ultra-luxury operator of the twin SeaDream mega yachts, is offering exceptional savings on Caribbean and transatlantic 5-, 7-, 9-, 11- and 12-day voyages in March, April and May this year. Sailings are San Juan-San Juan or San Juan-St. Thomas roundtrips and one is transatlantic from Miami to Lisbon.

On both SeaDream I and II, savings for travelers range from 45 to 63 percent off published brochure rates. These exceptional savings fares are from $1,799 to $3,399 per person based on double occupancy of a stateroom. SeaDream fares include all meals, wine with lunch and dinner, open bar with selected premium brands, plus use of “water toys” from the vessel’s Marina and gratuities. Some conditions apply. Contact your travel professional or SeaDream Yacht Club 1 800 707-4911.

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Disney Cruise Line Begins New Ship Construction

PAPENBURG, GERMANY, March 2: Disney Cruise Line began construction on two new ships today with a steel cutting ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Scheduled for completion in 2011 and 2012, the new ocean liners will further advance the company’s one-of-a-kind guest experience and create more family cruise options with a brand guests know and trust.

“When we launched our business in 1998, we recognized a need in the marketplace for a cruise experience created just for families,” said Karl L. Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. “With these new ships, we are continuing to build upon that vision of providing more families with an unforgettable cruise vacation and the chance to explore new destinations with Disney.”

The first piece of steel cut for the new ships was part of the art deco inspired scrollwork that will grace the bow of the ships. Similar to the scrollwork on the Disney Cruise Line ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the intricate pattern is reminiscent of the classic ocean liners of the 1930s, designed to reflect the glamour of the golden age of cruising with added touches of Disney whimsy, such as the Mickey Mouse medallion in the center of the design. Since finalizing a contract with the Meyer Werft shipyard to build the two new ships, Disney Cruise Line and Walt Disney Imagineering have created a truly distinctive design for the new ships. Over the next few years, construction will continue, bringing the design to reality. The design details will be unveiled at a later date.

Holz noted that the fleet expansion will more than double the passenger capacity for Disney Cruise Line. Each ship will have 1,250 staterooms and will weigh 128,000 tons. Similar to the existing ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the new ships will be purpose built with families in mind, with specially designed areas and activities for each member of the family to allow for both quality time together and wonderful individual experiences. The focus is to provide a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and kids can immerse themselves in worlds of fantasy only Disney can create.

Known for bringing family travel to the cruise market, Disney continues to be a leader in the industry. The Disney Wonder, sails 3- and 4-night cruises to The Bahamas and Disney Magic, which primarily sails 7-night cruises to the eastern and western Caribbean will embark on a season of limited itineraries exploring Northern Europe and the Mediterranean beginning in the spring of 2010. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit or call Disney Cruise Line at (888) DCL-2500.

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Culinary Excursions Spice Up Crystal's Europe Cruises

LOS ANGELES, March 2: Designed to sate virtually any palate or lifestyle, Crystal Cruises' Baltic, Mediterranean and Northern Europe excursions for 2009 run the culinary gamut. An expanded selection of savory options includes cooking lessons of regional specialties in Portugal and Monte Carlo, private wine tastings in Italy, and tapas tasting in Spain. Europe itineraries of seven to 14 days are available from May to November.

Brand new Crystal Adventures incorporating culinary activities include:
-- Exclusive chateau dinner with a family active for centuries in the Bordeaux wine trade,
-- Wine tasting with four-course lunch at Sorrento farmhouse, and
-- Cooking lesson and lunch at Lisbon's Albatroz Palace boutique hotel.

Crystal Adventures also include, by special arrangement, a lunch at France's Chateau Mouton Rothschild; an excursion to Medoc Chateau and lunch at Relais Chateau Saint-James' chef's table; a visit to an Andalusian olive mill for a paella-making lesson; an outing to Ston, Croatia, to sample wine and its famous oysters; and a Norwegian crabbing expedition whereby guests can sample their catches.

"Europe is a veritable playground for food lovers," said John Stoll, director, land programs. "Complementing incomparable cuisine for on board are Crystal culinary Adventures, which enable guests to sample authentic cuisines of the different regions of Europe."

On board, impeccable cuisine is served in a number of elegant venues, including specialty restaurants featuring the signature dishes of master chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio. Vintage Room experiences showcase Crystal's impressive wine cellar. Wine & Food itineraries feature top guest chefs, wine experts and mixologists for demonstrations, tastings and classes. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the line's website,

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Costa Cruises Offers Exclusive Selection of Amarone Wine From Renowned Italian Winemaker Aneri

MIAMI, March 2: Costa, Europe's Number One Cruise Line, has teamed up with another venerable Italian brand, Aneri Wines, to bring one of its most exclusive wines to sea. Aneri has allocated a selection of one of its best wines, an Amarone 2003, which was a top year of production for this red, full-bodied wine. A select number of 133 bottles are available on each Costa ship, including the new Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica, which will be jointly inaugurated on June 5, 2009. Each 750 ml bottle of Aneri Amarone 2003 is numbered and identified by a personalized label with the name of the ship, as well as a special certificate. Costa is the first and only cruise line to offer a selection of this exquisite wine on its wine list and the company's ships are one of the only places wine aficionados will be able to purchase the limited edition vintage. Specialized labels bearing the name of the corresponding ship is sealed on each bottle.

Aneri is a leader in the world of winemaking, having made selectivity and quality the strength of its production internationally. The company is based in the Verona region of Italy. Its famed Aneri Prosecco has been featured in exclusive toasts around the world, including the G8 summit of 2001, the signing of the European Constitution in 2004, and state dinners with Vladimir Putin at the White House.

Aneri Amarone 2003
Amarone is a wine of noble descent with origins from the period of ancient Rome. This red wine has developed over the years to become an exclusive, full-bodied wine with an elegant and refined aroma. Defined as modern and traditional at the same time, the wine is produced from a selection of the best Valpolicella grapes in the province of Verona. These grapes are picked during the first week of October and clusters are left to ripen further for 100 days on wooden racks. The wine is made in mid-January using the traditional cold-pressing system, followed by 30-40 days of fermentation and 48 months of ageing in small/medium capacity oak barrels. Once bottled, the wine is left to rest for 10-12 months before becoming the best possible expression of Valpolicella grapes. 2003 was a particularly favorable year for this grape harvest. The wine has already displayed excellent characteristics, which will grow even more enjoyable in the next 15 to 20 years. Each bottle is priced at around 200 Euros and is available in many top restaurants. On Costa's ships, each bottle will be priced at 150 Euros. All bottles are packaged in an elegant black box with a product description certificate and an accompanying parchment.

Costa Cruises is Italy and Europe's number one cruise line. For the past 60 years its ships have sailed the world, offering the best in Italian style, hospitality and cuisine and providing dream vacations with the best in fun and relaxation. In 2007 over 1.1 million guests chose to cruise with Costa, a record for the European cruise industry. The company's 12 fleet members, each with her own distinctive characteristics and unique style, all fly the Italian flag and sail each year to 250 destinations in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, South America, the United Arab Emirates, the Far East and the Indian Ocean. Two more new ships - the Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica - are due for delivery at the end of April and the end of May 2009, and will be christened together in Genoa, Italy on June 5 this year. Three additional ships are on order. For complete information regarding reservations or more information, guests may contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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