Cruise Planner & Industry News from Cruise Diva
Discover the world of cruise travel

Make the most of your cruise vacation with
information from

~ Site Map & Search
~ Cruise Lines
~ Articles & Advice
~ Cruise News
~ Planning Tips
~ Packing & Lists
~ Ports of Call

~ Cruise Reviews

~ HOT Tips Archive
~ About CruiseDiva
~ Cruise Links
~ Cruise Diary
~ CruiseDiva Home

Insure My Trip
Use the automated quote form & compare plans

CLICK HERE for savings--CruiseCompete

Bon Voyage gifts delivered worldwide by Well Wishers

Get cruise gear & more
The Cruise Shop

Cruising by the Book ~ Top Picks in
Cruise Guidebooks

Cruise travelers' favorites:
Cruise Travel Magazine
Cruise Travel

Porthole Cruise Magazine

Have a question or a review to submit?

Copyright © 1995-2004
Linda Coffman

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

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

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

Back to Cruise News Weekly Index & Archive

Royal Caribbean Officially Opens Cape Liberty Cruise Port
 in New Jersey
Bayonne Facility to Serve as Seasonal Homeport to Two Ships

BAYONNE, N.J., May 14, 2004 - Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. officially opened the country's newest cruise port today - Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. Cape Liberty will serve as a seasonal homeport to two of the company's ships, including the 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas, which departs on May 16 for its first cruise from the Northeast. Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain signaled the official opening of the port by ringing an authentic ship bell from one of the famed World War II Victory ships, which sailed from Bayonne's Military Ocean Terminal. 

"This is a momentous occasion for our company, and we could not have asked for better partners in making Cape Liberty Cruise Port a reality than the state of New Jersey and the City of Bayonne," Fain said. "We are proud to be part of the revitalization program for the Bayonne waterfront, and we are pleased to offer our guests a convenient new departure point, which is attractive to both drive-market guests and those arriving by air." 

Cape Liberty Cruise Port is located at the northeast corner of the former Bayonne Military Ocean Terminal, now renamed The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, a 430-acre, man-made peninsula that extends into New York Harbor. Future plans for the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor call for a vibrant mixed-use waterfront development comprised of residential, light industrial and office space, film studios, a riverwalk and extensive recreational and park areas. 

The new cruise port offers guests outstanding views of the harbor, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan. Royal Caribbean has renovated existing structures for use in the immediate future. Long-term plans call for construction of a new cruise terminal and supporting facilities. Royal Caribbean will base two ships at the new port from May through October 2004. Voyager of the Seas offers an alternating schedule of five-night Canada and nine-night Caribbean cruises. Empress of the Seas offers alternating six-night and eight-night Bermuda itineraries. Additional information can be found on or

Back to the top of the news list

Princess' 2005 Europe Season to Feature Three Grand-Class Vessels
Program Marks 63 Percent Capacity Increase; Offers Most Balconies in Europe

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 14, 2004 -– All three of Princess' celebrated Grand-class ships will ply the waters of Europe in 2005, offering more destination choices than ever before for passengers who want to explore the continent in style. The amenity-laden Grand Princess, Golden Princess, and Star Princess headline a season that will feature a 63 percent capacity increase in the region for Princess, several new and enhanced itineraries, and the most balconies of any fleet in Europe. The 2005 European season will also see the return of Sea Princess and the farewell voyage of Royal Princess.

With more than 2,000 balconies, these ships are perfect for sailing into some of Europe's most scenic ports. Grand Princess will return to the Mediterranean, offering an enhanced Grand Mediterranean itinerary with new ports as well as more Greek Isles cruises – all of which feature the drama of sailing into Venice and the beauty of Greek islands. Star Princess will take over Princess' two Baltic routes, with two full days in St. Petersburg, and Golden Princess will break new ground for a ship of her class by offering cruises throughout Northern Europe, including a new Western European Capitals sailing. Sea Princess returns to the Princess fleet for a variety of unique 14- and seven-day sailings from Southampton, while Royal Princess will offer her final Princess voyage with a 14-day European Explorer cruise. Together, these five vessels offer 57 departures between April 16 and November 10, 2005, sailing on 20 itineraries which feature more than 74 different ports of call or destinations. 

"Our Europe program grows stronger ever year as we continue to add our spectacular Grand Class vessels to the region," said Alan Buckelew, president of Princess Cruises. "With all three sister ships sailing there next summer we can offer the luxury of a private balcony to passengers on our most popular itineraries."  

Grand Princess in the Mediterranean 
The ship that made the Grand Mediterranean a favorite Princess itinerary when it launched in 1998 will now debut a new enhanced version of this popular 12-day cruise. In 2005, the Barcelona/Venice route will feature calls atRome, Istanbul, Marseille (for Provence) and Mýkonos on every departure in addition to the established stops at Livorno (for Florence/Pisa), Naples, Athens and Kusadasi. Sailings depart on May 14 and 26, July 1 and 13, August 18 and 30, and October 5 and 17.

Interspersed between the eight Grand Mediterranean sailings, Grand Princess also will offer eight Greek Isles sailings, with two different 12-day itineraries. Both options travel between Rome and Venice, offering visits to Santorini, Mýkonos, Corfu, Athens, Katakolon (for Olympia) and Kusadasi. The Greek Isles option also includes calls at Naples, Rhodes and Dubrovnik, while the Greek Isles/Mediterranean options offers stops at Monte Carlo, Livorno and Naples. Greek Isles sailings depart on May 2, June 7, July 25, September 11, and October 29, while the Greek Isles/Mediterranean options sails on July 19, August 6 and September 25. Grand Princess will also offer two 16-day transatlantic sailings between Galveston and Rome (with an option to embark or disembark also in Ft. Lauderdale) departing April 16 and November 10.

Star Princess in the Baltic 
Star Princess will make her Northern European debut with 13 Scandinavia/Russia sailings on two itineraries that showcase the best of the Baltic seacoast. The 10-day Scandinavia/Russia sailings roundtrip from Copenhagen include calls at Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn (Estonia), Gdansk (Poland), and Oslo, with an overnight stay for two full days in St. Petersburg (departures on May 15, June 4 and 24, July 14, August 3 and 23, and September 12). An alternate Baltic Heritage itinerary replaces Oslo with Warnemünde, Germany, offering visits to the exciting German capital of Berlin and includes an overnight stay in Copenhagen (departures on May 25, June 14, July 4 and 24, August 13 and September 2). Star Princess will also offer two transatlantic crossings – a 14-day crossing between Ft. Lauderdale and Copenhagen on May 1 and a 17-day Copenhagen to Ft. Lauderdale voyage on September 22, featuring visits to Iceland and Greenland (with an option to disembark in New York).

Golden Princess in Northern Europe 
Golden Princess will become the largest and most amenity-filled ship to sail in the British Isles and Western Europe, offering three 10-day itineraries all conveniently sailing roundtrip from London (Southampton). The British Isles itinerary takes passengers on a circuit of Britain, with calls at Dublin, Holyhead (Wales), Belfast, Glasgow, Krikwall, and Edinburgh (three sailings – May 22, June 11 and August 10). The new Western Europe Capitals cruise takes passengers to seven fascinating European capitals – London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Oslo and Copenhagen (three sailings – June 1, July 11 and 31). The third option, the Western Europe/British Isles itinerary, offers a bit of both of the other routes with calls at Dublin, Glasgow, Bergen (Norway), Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre (two departures – June 21 and July 21). Golden Princess will also offer two transatlantic sailings between New York and London on May 8 and August 20.

Sea Princess From Southampton 
Sea Princess returns to the Princess fleet with 12 European voyages sailing from Southampton on a variety of itineraries that range from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the glacial fjords of Greenland. Included in the lineup are three 14-day Mediterranean Adventure sailings, which stop at Vigo (Spain), Lisbon, Barcelona, Cannes, Rome, Naples, Corsica and Gibraltar (April 28, June 4 and August 6). Alternately, three Mediterranean Medley sailings offer calls at Cadiz, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Sardinia, Mallorca and Gibraltar (May 12, June 23 and August 20). The ship also offers a 14-day North Cape/Norwegian Fjords voyage on June 18 and a sailing to Iceland/Norway/British Isles on July 9. 

The ship's new shorter seven-day voyages offer a convenient week-long getaway from London sailing to Iberia (Vigo, Lisbon, La Rochelle and Guernsey) on May 28 and September 3, and Scandinavia (Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Helsingborg and Oslo) on July 12. Sea Princess will also offer a 14-day Transatlantic cruise on September 10 between London and New York.

Royal Princess European Explorer 
Royal Princess' final cruise as a Princess vessel will take passengers on a Rome to London adventure that includes 11 ports of call and eight countries in just 14 days. The May 12 sailing features an itinerary that includes visits to Florence/Pisa, Cannes, Barcelona, Gibraltar, Casablanca, Cadiz, Lisbon, Vigo, Le Havre, Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. 

Passengers many also expand their European vacation with a series of Princess cruisetour options, combining a cruise with a number of tour choices that take guests to many of the area's favorite inland destinations. These comprehensive land/sea vacations include travel to places such as Tuscany, London, Paris, Provence, the Swiss Alps, the Danube region, and other world-renowned spots. 

Early booking fares for Princess' Europe season begin at $1,590 per person, based on double occupancy. Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting

Back to the top of the news list

NCL America Hosts Pride of Aloha Art Contest for Island Keiki

HONOLULU - NCL America (Norwegian Cruise Line) invites Hawaii's Keiki to participate in an art contest celebrating the launch of Pride of Aloha, the U.S.-flagged cruise ship scheduled to arrive in Hawaii this summer. Grand prize winners will win a seven-day inter-island cruise for four aboard Pride of Aloha. The ship sails on its inaugural inter-island cruise on July 4.

"We're asking students what aloha means to them," said Robert Kritzman, NCL America's executive vice president and managing director. "This is a wonderful opportunity to share the excitement of Pride of Aloha's arrival with our keiki and our community."

Participants are being asked to submit a crayon or colored pen drawing, reflecting the theme "What Aloha Means to Me." Entries will be judged in three categories: kindergarten through 4th grade, grades 5-8, and grades 9-12. The first-place winners in each category receive a seven-day inter-island cruise. Entry forms will be available on NCL America's Web site,, and will also be available at local schools. Entries must be submitted by June 1. They will be judged on originality, creativity, artistic ability based on the entrant's age, and how well the art relates to the theme.

Back to the top of the news list

New Low-Carb Menus Offer Choice Aboard Crystal Cruises
Luxury Cruise Line Provides Low-Carbohydrate Selections 
Fleetwide in All Dining Venues

LOS ANGELES, May 13 -- From tuna sashimi salad with Matsuhisa dressing to porcini dusted filet mignon with grilled asparagus, Crystal Cruises is serving up delicious low-carbohydrate menu selections in every restaurant aboard its fleet of award-winning ships. Beginning this month, the new menus will roll out fleetwide on Crystal Symphony, Crystal Harmony and Crystal Serenity, allowing guests to maintain their preferred dining regimens regardless of where in the world they may travel.

Low-carbohydrate offerings, including special pastas, ice creams and breakfast selections, will appear on Crystal's daily menus in addition to the line's Light & Healthy cuisine featuring selections low in fat, sodium and cholesterol. The three-course menus are based on recipes with carefully calculated carbohydrate counts and include an appetizer, entree and dessert.

"Crystal's low-carb offerings support travelers' growing demand to maintain their chosen dietary routines while traveling, providing more choice without sacrificing flavor and style," says Toni Neumeister, Crystal's vice president, food and beverage operations. "Together with our extensive fitness programs and wellness education, the lighter fare and low-carb culinary options offer our guests choice of a more healthy vacation environment."

Recognizing that low-carb consciousness has become more of a lifestyle change than a passing trend, the luxury line created low-carb selections tailored to a variety of culinary styles including regionally inspired cuisine served in The Crystal Dining Room, Italian at Prego, and Asian at Silk Road, Kyoto, and Jade Garden. Menu selections include:

  • Plum Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella with Balsamic Tossed Mixed Greens (20.5g total carbs); Sauteed Veal Scaloppini on low-carb Spaghetti with Broccoli and Lemon Sauce (18.5g total carbs); Decaffeinated Coffee Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries (18.5g total carbs) -- served in Prego.

  • Tuna Sashimi Salad with Matsuhisa Dressing (7.4g total carbs); Sauteed Chicken Breast with Balsamic-Teriyaki Sauce on Stir Fried Vegetables (20.1g total carbs); Trio of Cremes Brulees (15.3g total carbs) -- served in Silk Road.

  • Chinese Chicken Salad (19.68g total carbs); Steamed White Fish with Scallions, Ginger and Soy Sauce (11.5g total carbs); Lemon Custard with low-carb Vanilla Ice Cream (22.6g total carbs) -- served in Jade Garden.

  • Tartar of Smoked Salmon with Dill Cucumbers (8.5g total carbs); Porcini-dusted Filet Mignon with Grilled Asparagus, Cauliflower and Mustard Hollandaise (25.8g total carbs); Flourless Cheesecake with Sugar Free Strawberry Sauce (23.5g total carbs) -- served in The Crystal Dining Room.

The special selections will not be limited to formal dining areas, but in fact will be available throughout every ship in all venues including special ice creams served at the Scoops Ice Cream Bar, low-carb fare at Palm Court for afternoon tea, and special selections on the poolside Trident Bar & Grill menu as well. Crystal's Corporate Executive Chef Gunter Lorenz adds: "We want to make healthy dining as easy and enjoyable as possible. By providing the choices, counting the carbs, calories and fat, and preparing the cuisine to meet the particular standards of various dietary regimens, we believe that it may well be easier to maintain a lifestyle routine on Crystal than it is at home."

Crystal is renowned for its excellence and innovation in the culinary arts. In addition to its progressive consumer-driven menu selections and alliances with some of the best names in food, the line's annual Wine & Food Festival--currently in its eighth year--continues to receive international attention and acclaim. Adding balance to the cuisine-health equation is the Crystal Spa and Fitness Center, recently awarded with its second "world's best" distinction among cruise lines in the April 2004 issue of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. For additional information, contact a travel agent or call 866.446.6625. Visit the luxury line's website at

Back to the top of the news list

Protect Your Cruise Vacation With Travel Insurance
11% Growth in Cruise Industry Expected in 2004

RICHMOND, Va., May 13 -- An expected 10 million people will cruise this year, an 11.5% growth over last year, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. As more Americans hit the high seas, they may want to protect their vacation investment, especially since cruises generally cost about $100 to $500 per person per day.

"Cruise vacations are extremely popular and represent a significant investment for many Americans," said Beth Godlin, Senior Vice President for Access America, a leading travel insurance and assistance company. "Unpredictable events, such as health problems, bad weather, traffic accidents and natural disasters, might spoil a cruise vacation that could be protected with the right travel insurance, which is usually only five to seven percent of the cruise cost."

Choosing the Right Insurance
"While travel insurance is a safe and economical way to protect your trip, make sure you find the right coverage at the right price," Godlin noted. "Look for insurance that protects your specific needs and gives cash back rather than cruise credits. Our website, has a new recommendation tool that helps travelers find the right insurance plan."

Travelers should also talk to their travel agents about what type of insurance is best for them. When purchasing travel insurance for a cruise, ask about coverage for:

--Terrorism, military duty, bad weather and natural disasters that prevent traveling
--Traffic accidents before or during your vacation
--Cruise line bankruptcy
--Sickness or injuries that prevent traveling
--Missed connections
--Travel and/or baggage delays

For more information on travel insurance, consult your travel agent.

Back to the top of the news list

Sultry South Pacific Savings...
Business Class Air Upgrades Available for $1,895; Annual Festival of Arts "Heiva I Tahiti" Celebration in Tahiti & Her Islands June & July

Ft. Lauderdale, FL., May 10, 2004 - With a tiare flower, a glass of champagne and enchanting Polynesian hymns, guests are welcomed to Tahiti and aboard the elegant 320-guest m/s Paul Gauguin. Tha acclaimed vessel, which sails on seven-night luxury cruises in the "earthly paradise" of French Polynesia - and was named the #1 cruise ship in Conde Nast Traveler's 2003 "Best in the World" Readers' Choice Awards - combines the voyage of a lifetime with exceptional values:

Eight June, July and August cruises offer guests free roundtrip economy airfare from 86 North American gateways plus Extended Early Booking  Savings  Business class air upgrades from Los Angeles are available for only $1,895 Sailing roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti, on June 5, 12, 26, July 3, 10, 17, 31 and August 7, the week-long voyages visit Raiatea (the cultural heart of Polynesia), Tahaa (for a call at the ship's private islet of Motu Mahana), Bora Bora (for two full days on the island James Michener used as the model of his idyllic "Bali Hai") and two days in Moorea (the inspiration for Herman Melville's novel Omoo).

Arts & Culture
Guests sailing between June 18 and July 22 may have the opportunity to be spectators at the islands "Heiva I Tahiti" celebration, a South Pacific festival of arts, taking place at beautiful To'ata Square in Papeete, Tahiti. This year's Heiva will feature dance competitions, traditional sporting events, cultural demonstrations, cuisine and art.

On the vessel's year-round voyages, Polynesian culture pervades guests' shipboard experiences with low-key nightly entertainment showcasing the talents of an all-female troupe of Polynesian singers and dancers aptly named "Les Gauguines." 

Guests also enjoy a growing acquaintance with Tahiti's rich history and customs through shore excursions as well as the vessel's "Fare Tahiti," a shipboard gallery displaying an array of Polynesian art and artifacts.

Luxury Amenities
Cruise guests will enjoy dramatic scenery above and below the waves from their only spacious ocean-view accommodations (50 percent with private balconies, or as participants in a shipboard scuba program and use of the ship's retractable water sports platform. The scuba dive curriculum caters to all levels of expertise, even beginners, with a one-week PADI certification course. Complimentary kayaking, water skiing and windsurfing round out one of the best water sport programs at sea. Shore excursions range from island and lagoon explorations to parasailing and helicopter flight-seeing.

Elegant living and impeccable service are evident aboard the vessel with dinner menus inspired by two-star Michelin chef Jean-Pierre Vigato (owner of the exclusive Apicius restaurant in Paris) and luxurious spa treatments available at the exclusive Carita Spa. The relaxed island atmosphere is further enhanced aboard the ship with a "country club casual" evening dress code.

Guests aboard the Paul Gauguin's June 5, 12, 26, July 3, 10, 17, 31 and August 7 cruises will benefit from extraordinary savings. Prices from $3,145 per person include free roundtrip economy airfare from 86 North American gateways, Extended Early Booking Savings, all shipboard gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner and an in-stateroom bar set-up. Business class air upgrades from Los Angeles are available for only $1,895.

In addition to naming the Paul Gauguin the world's #1 cruise ship in 2003, readers of Conde Nast Traveler also voted Radisson Seven Seas "Best Small-Ship Line."

Back to the top of the news list

Disney Cruise Line Announces First-Ever West Coast Cruises In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For the first time, Disney Cruise Line is repositioning its flagship Disney Magic for the summer of 2005, offering seven-night cruise vacations from the Port of Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera. Just in time to celebrate one of Disney's biggest milestones, Disneyland's big 5-0, the highly distinctive 2,600-passenger ship is scheduled to sail 12 consecutive seven-night cruise vacations each Saturday from the Port of Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas between May 28 and August 19, 2005.

"The Disney Cruise Line experience is better than ever," said Karl Holz, Disney Cruise Line president. "By taking the Disney Magic to southern California next summer, west coast residents will find that it has never been more convenient to sail with us." 

The leading family cruise line will offer guests the opportunity to combine the fun and excitement of the Disneyland Resort with the enchantment of a Disney Cruise Line voyage by booking two-night pre- or post-cruise stays in one of Disney's three Anaheim resort hotels.

"Disneyland's 50th anniversary will mark the first time that all theme parks have joined together in a truly global celebration," said Matt Ouimet, Disneyland Resort president. "We're thrilled to have Disney Cruise Line be a part of the magic that began here almost 50 years ago."

The repositioning of the Disney Magic also includes two 14-night Panama Canal cruises, nicely blending exotic ports of call with leisurely days at sea. The Disney Magic is scheduled to return to Florida Sept. 3, 2005. Sister-ship Disney Wonder will continue sailing three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas out of Port Canaveral, Fla., and offering land/sea packages with the Walt Disney World Resort. 

Disney Cruise Line specifically designed its ships with areas and activities that appeal to the unique vacation needs of every member of the family. As a result, its vacations offer guests an unbelievable cruise experience not found anywhere else. Stretching nearly an entire deck of the ship, children's programming spaces feature supervised activities for five age-specific groups of children and teens. Additionally, infants and toddlers are cared for at Flounder's Reef Nursery allowing parents the opportunity to explore adult areas on their own. 

The Walt Disney Theatre provides a magnificent 977-seat showplace of state-of-the-art sound, lighting, staging and set design. The curtain is lifted after the sun drops and original Disney musicals, family-friendly variety acts and first-run films entertain all ages. Adults have more late-night entertainment to choose from than ever before along Beat Street, a nighttime entertainment district - featuring a high-energy dance club, stylish jazz piano bar and traditional sports pub -- reserved exclusively for them. 

Novel in its approach and inventive in its execution, the dining experience rotates guests through three different themed restaurants throughout the cruise. Accompanied by their familiar wait staff and tablemates, guests travel from the casual elegance of Lumiere's to the colorful, island-inspired Parrot Cay and Animator's Palate, where Disney animation springs to life throughout their meal. Adults may also opt to dine at Palo, an exquisite restaurant featuring sweeping views and northern Italian cuisine. Unique new dining experiences created specifically for sea days aboard Disney's seven-night cruise vacations include champagne brunch and afternoon high tea for adults and Disney character breakfast and tea with Wendy for families, plus a casual evening dining alternative at Topsider Buffet. 

The 877 family-friendly staterooms aboard each Disney ship were designed to offer maximum comfort. Most feature an industry first - a bath-and-a-half with two separate areas; one offering a shower and sink, the other a sink and toilet. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a Disney Cruise Line vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit or call Disney Cruise Line at (888) DCL-2500.

Back to the top of the news list

Discovery World Cruises Sails to Darkness on 
South Pacific Eclipse Cruise

FORT LAUDERDALE - Discovery World Cruises, specialists in exploring faraway places in comfort and style, has added a new location to its roster of exotic destinations for the 2004/2005 cruise season: 23º 42´ south latitude, 130º 40´ west longitude. It will be at these coordinates in the South Pacific on April 8, 2005, that passengers will have the best vantage point to witness a rare hybrid (annular-total) solar eclipse occurring for the first time this century.

The line’s MV Discovery will take 650 passengers on a voyage that will bring them directly under the 15-mile wide path of the eclipse in a remote region of the South Pacific near Polynesia. Nowhere else in the world will eclipse chasers be able to see totality, during which the Sun’s ghostly white corona becomes visible around the silhouette of the Moon. Farther east and west along the eclipse track, viewers will instead see a thin ring of sunlight in an annular, or ring, eclipse. The advantage of an eclipse expedition by sea is the mobility of the ship, which allows for skirting inclement weather and finding clear skies to view the event. To view the next total solar eclipse one will have to travel to Africa, Turkey or Russia on March 29, 2006; the next one viewable from the continental U.S. will not occur until August 21, 2017.

Discovery World Cruises’ South Pacific Eclipse cruise-tour next spring has been designed to appeal to both veteran eclipse chasers and novice adventurers alike. The 19-night cruise vacation departs April 2, 2005, and uniquely combines this astronomical event with visits to Polynesian islands and South America. Destinations include Papeete, Moorea, Pitcairn Island, Easter Island, Pisco and Lima in Peru.

“We have received an overwhelming response for bookings of this new itinerary, including requests from couples who wish to get married or renew their wedding vows onboard at the exact moment of the eclipse,” said Tim Davey, vice president of sales, marketing and passenger services. “This exciting itinerary appeals to people who are interested in traveling to unusual destinations without compromising comfort.”

Priced from $3,795 per person, double occupancy, the cruise-tour includes 15 days aboard ship and a two-night hotel stay in Lima at the end of the voyage. Passengers who book by December 2 can save up to $400 per person. Round-trip air “add-ons” are available from $745.

As with all Discovery’s cruise vacations, the South Pacific Eclipse will feature a team of well-respected guest lecturers that specialize in solar eclipses and scientific travel, providing passengers with invaluable insight and enriching illustrated workshops and presentations. Discovery World Cruises’ eclipse lecturer team is lead by Dr. Richard Tresch Fienberg, editor-in-chief of Sky & Telescope, the world’s premier astronomy magazine, who has earned degrees in physics and astronomy at Rice and Harvard universities. Fienberg has won awards for his incisive coverage of the Hubble Space Telescope, and asteroid 9983 Rickfienberg is named in his honor.

Joining Fienberg will be a distinguished panel of experts including Dr. E. C. Krupp, director of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Krupp earned his masters and doctorate in the Department of Astronomy at UCLA and is recognized as an expert on ancient, prehistoric and traditional astronomy. For nearly three decades he has been active in the study of archaeoastronomy and has authored several books on the subject. He also contributes a monthly column, “Rambling Through the Skies,” for Sky & Telescope. Krupp has also authored several award-winning children’s books, including The Comet and You to celebrate the return of Halley’s Comet in 1986.

George Keene, a former Kodak executive and internationally recognized for his outstanding photographs of total eclipses, also joins the South Pacific Eclipse panel of experts. Keene is an accomplished author of many articles on astronomy and photography. His photographs of total eclipses of the Sun have appeared in national magazines including on the cover of Life magazine. 

Discovery World Cruises’ MV Discovery is fresh from a multimillion-dollar refit. The vessel features a classic exterior profile and has every modern safety feature and amenity. Facilities include 351 cabins and suites, three restaurants; five lounges; casino; modern health club and beauty center; two swimming pools, including one with a retractable dome; two Jacuzzis; a well-stocked library; and a duty-free boutique.

In addition to the eclipse cruise-tour, MV Discovery will sail throughout the Southern Hemisphere during the 2004/2005 season, visiting interesting locales including Antarctica, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Tahiti, Rio de Janeiro, Lisbon, Panama, Buenos Aires and a transatlantic journey to Europe. Itineraries include extended stays and sightseeing before and after the cruise; detailed briefings for each port of call; enlightening presentations by noted experts; and performances to help guests better integrate with the local culture. Low airfare add-ons are available from 25 U.S. gateway cities, as well as Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. 

Discovery also offers exciting combination cruise-tours for the traveler that would like more time to explore some of the most exotic destinations in the world. Itineraries from 25 to 47 nights include Grand South Pacific, Santiago to Auckland; South Pacific & New Zealand; New Zealand to Tahiti, Auckland to Papeete; South Pacific & the Eclipse, Auckland to Lima; New Zealand to the USA, Auckland to Fort Lauderdale; South Pacific to Florida, Papeete to Fort Lauderdale.

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

Back to the top of the news list

Upgraded Princess Denali Lodge Opens
$26 Million Enhancement Features 15,000-Square-Foot Lodge at the Gateway
to Alaska's Top Landside Attraction

SANTA CLARITA, CA (May 12, 2004) – The newly expanded Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge will open their doors to receive guests today, showing off between them a welcoming new main lodge, new dining venues, more guest rooms, extra shopping, and a new campus layout and landscaping. The $26-million enhancement project significantly increases the opportunity for passengers to visit Denali National Park, the top interior attraction in Alaska. The expansion enables Princess to offer a 75 percent expansion in Denali visits and allows more guests to enjoy Princess’ popular multiple night “Maximum McKinley” tours, in which they spend extra time in the land of “The Great One,” Mt. McKinley – North America’s tallest peak.

“This Denali lodge project is a great example of how committed we are to continuing to invest in Alaska to make the wilderness experience the best possible for our passengers,” said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. “Both lodges now offer even more facilities and space so that we can offer our guests even more reasons to enjoy their visit to this stunning area.”

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge
Passengers arriving at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, located near the park entrance, will welcome the property’s new 16,000-square-foot built main lodge building and its “great room.” Similar to other Princess wilderness lodges, the new main lodge structure gives guests a true wilderness feel, mirroring the size and grandeur of the nearby park, featuring vaulted ceilings with exposed timbers and 30-foot-high glass windows framing a view of Denali National Park and Mt. Healy. This welcoming new lobby area offers significant open space with intimate seating areas that double the seating capacity of current main lodge area. A majestic double-sided stone fireplace towers two stories, while local art, such as a Mt. McKinley art mural behind front desk and wildlife sculptures, decorate the lobby. A new “River Run” deli and espresso bar serves up coffee, ice cream and specially baked pastries.
In addition, the lodge “campus” has been transformed with the addition of walking paths and more than 500 trees and 50 large flower boxes to add to the relaxing feel. Shoppers will love the addition of five new shops to create a Main Street walking village, brimming with unique Alaskan souvenirs.

The lodge expansion also added 80 new guest rooms and additional seating in the lodge’s premier fine dining venue -- Summit Restaurant. Set on a bluff overlooking the Nenana River this restaurant serves Princess’ Signature Alaskan Cuisine in the Denali area’s finest establishment.

Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge
At Princess’ other prime Denali property, the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, the expansion enables more guests to enjoy the lodge’s spectacular views of the mountain and also offers a new dining option. The project added 96 guest rooms, the second room addition since the popular lodge debuted in 1997. The expanded facility now features a total of 334 rooms, giving more guests the opportunity to experience the stunning views of Mt. McKinley -- the closest view of the mountain of any other cruisetour lodge. In addition, the lodge now offers a new dining option – Expedition Pizza. This additional mealtime choice will feature a casual atmosphere with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating offering stunning views of Mt. McKinley.

Both properties are featured as part of Princess’ 42 cruisetour options that combine the best of Alaska on land and sea. Not only does Princess offer the greatest number of land tours to Mt. McKinley this year, but it is the only company that offers Alaska’s two most popular attractions – Denali National Park and Glacier Bay – on every cruisetour.

To learn more about visiting Alaska with Princess, log on to the line’s comprehensive resource, Destination Alaska, at: One of the best-known names in North American cruising, Princess Cruises is a global cruise and tour company. Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company’s website at

Back to the top of the news list

Princess’ 2005 Gulf of Alaska Program Debuts “Direct to the Wilderness” Rail Travel
Exclusive New Service Enables Passengers to Board Trains Directly from
Whittier Dock For Faster Travel to Wilderness, More Time in Denali

SANTA CLARITA, CA (May 12, 2004) – Passengers on Princess’ Gulf of Alaska cruisetours in 2005 will be able to get to the wilderness faster than ever with the debut of the line’s “Direct to the Wilderness” rail program that will have trains ready and waiting right at the Whittier dock. This exclusive rail service represents an industry first and will take passengers to the company’s own Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge via private direct-rail links. As a result, Princess’ cruisetours not only offer the fastest way to the Denali area, but now every tour offers at least two nights in the park area.

This new service is offered in conjunction with Princess’ 2005 Gulf of Alaska program, which features four ships sailing on 72 voyages between Vancouver and Whittier. These cruises, aboard Coral Princess, Island Princess, Dawn Princess and Sun Princess can be combined with one of 35 land tour options for a complete land and sea vacation. All cruises also offer Alaska’s other most popular attraction, the spectacular Glacier Bay National Park.

“No one else offers passengers this combination of features in Alaska,” said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. “Our Direct to the Wilderness program is completely unique and will cut down on passenger travel time exponentially, giving them what they really want, more time to spot wildlife and enjoy the beauty of Denali National Park.”

Direct to the Wilderness
Passengers will be whisked directly to the Princess’ two Denali National Park-area lodges via private rail services, significantly reducing travel time, cutting down on the number of transfers needed and eliminating the need for passengers to overnight in Anchorage on the way to the park. Guests will arrive in the Denali area in the afternoon of the same day they disembark their ship.

“This service is especially beneficial for passengers on short tours who want to make the most of their three days on land,” noted Ball. “Every one of our tours now offers at least two nights at the park, some three.”

Princess also offers Direct to the Wilderness transfers for passengers going to the line’s Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge and Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge. Kenai guests will arrive at their lodge just an hour after disembarkation, while Copper River guests can board their catermaran for Valdez right at the Whittier dock.

Voyage of the Glaciers
Land tours are combined with seven-day sailings on Princess’ signature “Voyage of the Glaciers” itinerary between Vancouver and Whittier. Princess’ 2005 Alaska cruise season once again feature new sister ships Coral Princess and Island Princess on alternating Saturday departures. They will be joined by Sun Princess and Dawn Princess, which set sail each Monday on either a northbound or southbound cruise. Sailing between May 7 and September 12, the ships offers passengers the opportunity to explore the ports of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, plus cruising through the spectacular scenery of College Fjord, the Inside Passage and Alaska’s number one attraction, Glacier Bay National Park. 

Gulf of Alaska cruises and cruisetours for 2005 are available for reservations on May 14, 2004, with special early-booking fares beginning at $649 for a seven-day voyage, and $1,399 for cruisetours. To learn more about visiting Alaska with Princess, log on to the line’s comprehensive resource, Destination Alaska, at: Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company’s website at

Back to the top of the news list

Silversea Cruises Extends Silver Savings Program
Guests Can Save Up to 50% on Selected Sailings

Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises announced today that it has extended its highly successful Silver Sailing savings program to select voyages scheduled between June 25 and December 28, 2004. The Silver Sailing incentive is an exceptional savings program that enables guests to save up to 50% off the line's cruise-only fares. Silversea's 2004 cruises that are now available for this special savings program include some of the most sought-after destinations in Alaska, the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South America, and the Far East. 

"For a limited time, we're offering an extraordinary opportunity for guests to experience the award-winning, all-inclusive shipboard luxury of Silversea at substantial savings," said David Morris, Silversea's Senior Vice President, North America Sales. "With our Silver Sailing incentive extended to 45 voyages, guests can now visit many of the world's most popular destinations at a considerably reduced rate, still taking advantage of the added value of Silversea's all-inclusive shipboard ambiance - the most comprehensive in the industry. In places like Europe, where the dollar is weak, as compared to the euro, a Silver Sailing cruise offers tremendous value." Added Morris, "Guests who are celebrating their 10th Wedding Anniversary this year are also eligible to receive a bottle of Dom Pérignon Champagne and a $250 (per suite) shipboard credit on any 2004 voyage booked by July 31. This year also marks Silversea's 10th Anniversary, and the perfect time to take advantage of great deals and superior value." 

Listed below is a small sampling of the 2004 voyages featuring Silver Sailing savings: 

Silver Whisper's "Passage to Antiquity" 7-day cruise from Rome to Venice, calling in Sorrento (Italy), Taormina (Sicily), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Pula (Croatia), July 28 - August 4, 2004 (Voyage 4422). A Wine Series cruise hosted by Heitz Wine Cellars (California). Silver Sailing fares start at $3,127 per person (40% savings). 

Silver Shadow's "Alaska Reflections" 7-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver, cruising the scenic Inside Passage with calls in Skagway, Haines, Juneau and Wrangell; September 1 - 8, 2004 (Voyage 3422). A Wine Series cruise hosted by Duckhorn and Spottswoode (California). Silver Sailing fares start at $2,457 per person (40% savings). 

Silver Wind's "Legendary Empires" 9-day cruise from Venice to Athens, calling in Split (Croatia), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Kotor (Yugoslavia), Corfu (Greece), Itea (Greece), and Katakolon (Greece), September 2 - 11, 2004 (Voyage 2424). Silver Sailing fares start at $3,210 per person (50% savings). 

Silver Shadow's "The Magic of Mexico" 11-day cruise from San Francisco to Puerto Caldera (Costa Rica), calling in Santa Barbara (California), Cabo San Lucas (Mexico), Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Acapulco (Mexico) and Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), September 26 - October 7, 2004 (Voyage 3426). A Relais & Châteaux Culinary Cruise hosted by Guest Chef Fernando Lagunas Gonzales, Las Mañanitas, Cuernavaca, Mexico. Silver Sailing fares start at $2,560 per person (50% savings). 

Silver Shadow's "Gems of the Caribbean" 6-day cruise from Barbados to Barbados, calling in Fort de France (Martinique), Roseau (Dominica), Castries (St. Lucia) and Bequia (The Grenadines), November 8 - 14, 2004 (Voyage 3431). Silver Sailing fares start at $1,548 per person (50% savings). 

Silver Whisper's "Caribbean Celebrations" 9-day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Colon (Panama), calling in Georgetown (Grand Cayman), Port Antonio (Jamaica), Oranjestad (Aruba), Santa Marta (Colombia), Cartagena (Colombia) and San Blas Island (Panama), November 20 - 29, 2004 (Voyage 4434). A Relais & Châteaux Culinary Cruise hosted by Guest Chef Christopher Freeman, Topper's at The Wauwinet, Nantucket, Massachusetts. Silver Sailing fares start at $2,273 per person (50% savings). 

Silver Whisper's "Tropical Tradewinds" 7-day cruise from Aruba to Aruba, calling in Castries (St. Lucia), Bridgetown (Barbados), St. Georges (Grenada), Los Roques (Venezuela) and Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles), December 6 - 13, 2004 (Voyage 4436). Silver Sailing fares start at $1,748 per person (50% savings). 

Silver Cloud's "Indochine Sojourn" 13-day cruise from Singapore to Singapore, calling in Bangkok (Thailand), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Nha Trang (Vietnam), and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), December 9 - 22, 2004 (Voyage 1438). Silver Sailing fares start at $4,048 per person (50% savings). 

Silver Sailing fares are capacity-controlled and based on double occupancy. For more detailed information on Silversea ships, pricing and worldwide itineraries, visit the line's Web site at 

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

Back to the top of the news list

Special Discounted Rates Available on New Four- and Five-Day 'Fun Ship' Cruises From Jacksonville

MIAMI, May 11 -- With the launch today of four- and five-day cruises on the "Fun Ship" Jubilee from Jacksonville, Fla., Carnival Cruise Lines is offering special discounted rates starting at $329 per person for four-day sailings and $399 per person for five-day voyages. These low fares kick off the Jubilee's summer cruise program from Jacksonville May 11 - Aug. 26, 2004, and provide consumers with an exciting and value-packed summer vacation option.

"The Jubilee's four- and five-day cruises from Jacksonville provide consumers with a convenient and affordable 'Fun Ship' summer cruise getaway that is easily accessible to thousands of southeastern U.S. residents," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

On the Jubilee's new program from Jacksonville, four-day cruises depart on Thursdays to Freeport and Nassau, The Bahamas, and return on Mondays, creating the ideal long weekend getaway. Five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays and feature Nassau and Key West, FL--two locations rich in charm and history--in less than a week's time. (An exception to the departure pattern is the four-day cruise on May 11, which departs on a Tuesday.) Following the Jubilee's summer program, the 1,486-passenger Celebration will assume the Jubilee's four- and five-day itineraries and launch Jacksonville's first year-round sailings beginning Oct. 12, 2004.

The 47,262-ton Jubilee offers a wide range of "resort-style" amenities and facilities, including 10 themed lounges and bars, three swimming pools, an Internet cafe, a full gambling casino, a Spa Carnival health and fitness center, and a 1,000-seat theater showcasing lavish Vegas-style productions. Dining options include two full-service formal restaurants with extensive menus and wine lists, complimentary 24-hour stateroom service, and a poolside eatery offering casual alternatives for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a 24-hour pizzeria. Also included is a comprehensive golf program featuring professional instruction aboard ship, along with excursions to beautiful and challenging courses in The Bahamas and Key West.

Carnival is currently accepting reservations on the Jubilee's departures from Jacksonville. Prices for the four- and five-day cruises are based on double occupancy, valid for select sailings and subject to change without notice. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom are also available.

Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc, is the world's most popular cruise line with 20 "Fun Ships" operating voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada and New England from homeports throughout North America. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean's Grandeur Of The Seas Arrives In Baltimore 
Line's First Ship to Sail from Baltimore Kicks Off Summer Season and is Set to Return in 2005 With New Itineraries

MIAMI, May 10 -- Royal Caribbean International's elegant Grandeur of the Seas arrived today in the Port of Baltimore. The cruise line's first ship to sail from Maryland's scenic and historic port, Grandeur of the Seas will offer a series of Caribbean, Bahamas/Orlando and Canada/New England cruises until Oct. 25, 2004.

"Baltimore is a very exciting new port of departure for Royal Caribbean," said Dan Hanrahan, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales, for Royal Caribbean International. "We are able to offer another convenient departure point to the Caribbean for many on the East Coast, and travelers from other parts of the country can enjoy pre- or post-cruise time exploring the extensive attractions in Baltimore and nearby Washington, D.C."

The 1,950-passenger Grandeur of the Seas features the graceful profile and open design that make her a sightseer's dream. Glass is used to dramatic effect, opening interior spaces to the sea and sky. The sunny, plant-filled Solarium features a swimming pool below a retractable glass canopy. The circular, glass-enclosed Observatory on Deck 10 is ideal for evening stargazing. Higher still, on Grandeur's uppermost Deck 11, Royal Caribbean's signature Viking Crown Lounge offers spectacular, panoramic views through floor-to-ceiling windows. Grandeur of the Seas boasts many of the same sophisticated features of her larger sister ships, such as the line's signature rock-climbing wall; the ShipShape Fitness Center and Day Spa; the Casino Royale; the Adventure Ocean Youth Program; and a multitude of lounges, bars and shops.

Grandeur of the Seas begins her Baltimore sailings with a month of nine-, 10- and 11-night roundtrip Caribbean adventures. The cruises take guests to a range of exotic ports of call, varying by itinerary, including Port Canaveral and Key West, Florida; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I; Oranjestad, Aruba; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Freeport, Grand Bahama Island; Cozumel, Mexico; and Belize City, Belize.

Starting June 20, Grandeur will sail a weekly Bahamas/Orlando itinerary stopping at Port Canaveral and Key West, Florida; Freeport, Grand Bahama Island; and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island paradise in the Bahamas Berry Island chain. Grandeur of the Seas will conclude her time in Baltimore by alternating a 10-night Caribbean escape with an 11-night Canada/New England cruise, visiting the picturesque ports of Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Quebec City, Quebec. In November, Grandeur repositions to New Orleans for the winter where she will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries, including several special holiday sailings, through spring 2005.

New Itineraries in 2005
Grandeur of the Seas will return to Baltimore in May 2005 to offer two exciting new itineraries. Grandeur will sail alternating nine-night Caribbean and five-night Bermuda cruises through November 2005.

The nine-night Caribbean cruises will call in Key West and Port Canaveral, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; Freeport, Grand Bahama Island; and CocoCay. The exciting new five-night Bermuda itineraries will provide guests two full days and an overnight to experience the abundant beauty and charm of the Island. Grandeur will dock amid the majesty and history of the Royal Naval Dockyard (King's Wharf), the perfect gateway from which to explore Bermuda. For additional information, please visit the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700.

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean Announces Extensive 
Sovereign Of The Seas Enhancements

Third Ship in Fleet to Undergo Major Renovations: Receiving New Dining & Entertainment Venues, Expanded Fitness Facilities, Dedicated Teen Areas

MIAMI, May 7 -- Royal Caribbean is kicking the onboard experience into overdrive for Bahamas-bound guests on Sovereign of the Seas. The company today announced that the 73,192-ton ship is slated for an extreme makeover this November, including the addition of the line's hot Latin lounge, Boleros, a sit-down coffee and ice cream scoop shop, and three teen-only areas. Sovereign of the Seas, which will go into drydock this November, will be the third Royal Caribbean ship to undergo extensive renovations. Monarch of the Seas, which cruises year-round from Los Angeles, was renovated in June 2003, and the newly revitalized Empress of the Seas makes her debut this weekend at Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J.

"Royal Caribbean has led the industry in introducing innovative and exciting features on our newest ships in the past few years," said Adam Goldstein, executive vice president, Brand Operations, for Royal Caribbean International. "Now we are bringing many of those same outstanding experiences to guests sailing on ships that debuted before a rock wall at sea was even imagined. We are particularly pleased to expand and enhance the onboard experience for guests on our popular short Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral on Sovereign of the Seas."

Renovations will touch nearly every square foot of Sovereign, with the most visible addition being new balconies for 62 suites on Deck 10, creating the first balcony staterooms for the ship. In addition, each stateroom and suite onboard the ship will be refurbished, including entirely new bathrooms.

On the dining scene, Sovereign will be serving up several new options including a pizza parlor, Sorrento's, as well as another new restaurant concept still under development. The Windjammer Cafe will be updated, as will the two main dining rooms, which will be completely refurbished and renamed. In between meals, guests can enjoy specialty espresso drinks from Seattle's Best Coffee®, as well as their favorite flavors from Ben & Jerry's® at the new sit-down Latte'tudes coffee shop and ice cream parlor.

Each night, Sovereign will offer entertainment options from bow to stern, with the main attraction being the mid-ship Boleros Latin lounge. Boleros bar menu includes favorites from Brazil, Cuba and Central America, such as caipirinhas, mojitos and specialty tequilas. Dueling piano players and live Latin jazz performances will offer high-octane evenings. The main showroom, the disco, the Viking Crown Lounge and Casino Royale also will be renovated and refurbished.

Teen guests out for the evening will have a choice of three exclusive areas designed just for them--the ultra-hip Fuel nightclub; a cool hangout lounge called The Living Room; and The Back Deck, a sun deck with an outdoor dance floor.

During the day, fitness-focused guests will find everything they need for a full workout at the relocated and expanded ShipShape Fitness Center and Sovereign Day Spa. Moving to Deck 9, the new facilities will feature a bigger gym with additional cardio equipment. The full-service spa will have a hair and nails salon, as well as 11 treatment rooms, including a two-person room for couples.

Finally, for guests interested in combining work and play, Royal Caribbean is expanding the ship's conference capabilities. The former card room, library and champagne bar on Deck 7 are being converted into an expansive, sophisticated business facility, with a large, multi-purpose Conference Center and a Business Services office to meet any organization's meeting or communications needs.

Sovereign of the Seas offers three- and four-night Bahamas itineraries year-round from Port Canaveral, calling at Nassau and CocoCay. Through Royal Caribbean's Explorations! shore excursions program, guests can spend their time ashore snorkeling with stingrays or following in the footsteps of pirates in Nassau, or participating in one of many watersports in CocoCay--from parasailing, kayaking and snorkeling to a sun-filled day at Caylana's Castle Cove Aqua Park. For additional information, please visit or call 800-327-6700.

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas Named In Southampton
Line's Newest Ship Will Take Guests to Explore Northern Europe,
 Canada and the Caribbean

MIAMI, May 7 -- Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, Jewel of the Seas, was named today in Southampton, England, by godmother Kathy Mellor, the 2004 National Teacher of the Year. Jewel of the Seas will sail a special seven-night Western Europe cruise before beginning her regular itineraries. In her first year of service, Jewel of the Seas will take guests on adventures in three very different regions of the world. She sails 12-night Scandinavia/Russia and British Isles/Norwegian Fjords itineraries from Harwich, England, until Sept. 1, when she crosses the Atlantic Ocean to Boston to offer seven and 10-night Canada/New England cruises. In November, she repositions to Ft. Lauderdale to cruise six-night Western Caribbean and eight- night Eastern Caribbean itineraries.

"Royal Caribbean guests are explorers. They want to experience the people, landscape, history and culture of different countries, which is why we are so pleased to have the National Teacher of the Year serve as godmother for Jewel of the Seas," said Adam Goldstein, executive vice president, Brand Operations, for Royal Caribbean International. "Teachers are instrumental in developing our desire to learn and explore the world around us. They inspire us from childhood to open our minds to new ideas and experiences."

Guests on Jewel of the Seas will have plenty to explore onboard. Jewel features 12 decks packed with dining, entertainment and fitness options, including six restaurants; 10 bars and lounges; the ShipShape Fitness Center and Day Spa; and a sports deck with a basketball court, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a golf simulator and the line's signature rock-climbing wall.

Adventures Ashore
Royal Caribbean also makes it easy for guests to explore ashore. The Explorations! shore excursions program offers cruisers a chance to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and even tastes of each country visited with a wide range of activities to meet any interest or ability level. Guests on Scandinavia/Russia cruises can take in an exclusive ballet performance in St. Petersburg, Russia; cycle the Finnish countryside outside of Helsinki; or wander through some of Denmark's grandest castles. The British Isles/Norwegian Fjords itineraries offer a chance to learn the art of cheese making in Edam, Netherlands; kayak Norway's majestic fjords; or sit back and savor a pint during a tour of Scotland's pubs.

Jewel of the Seas' Canada/New England guests will discover the local history is even richer than the colors of the fall foliage. They can explore St. John, New Brunswick, by horse-drawn trolley; feast at a traditional lobster boil in Halifax, Nova Scotia; or stroll the streets of Quebec's Historic District, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Caribbean excursions offer up-close-and-personal encounters with animals guests won't typically find at home, such as swimming with the dolphins in the Bahamas, snorkeling with stingrays in Grand Cayman, or spotting tree-dwelling iguanas in Puerto Rico's El Yunque Rainforest.

The complete lineup of Royal Caribbean's Explorations! shore excursions is available at, where guests can browse photos and descriptions of the packages and even book online, long before they head for the port.

Encouraging Young Cruisers to Explore
Royal Caribbean's younger guests also will return home with plenty of new experiences to share, thanks to the Adventure Ocean Youth Program. Designed to combine learning with fun, Adventure Ocean offers age-appropriate "edu-tainment" activities, including some specifically designed to teach them about the regions they visit on vacation. Adventure Art by Crayola(R) offers children the opportunity to exercise their creativity with crafts such as cultural masks and pottery, while learning about the art, history and culture of the countries on their cruise itinerary. The projects vary according to cruise destination, sharing information on the history, traditions, aquatic habitats and animals indigenous to the region.

Back to the top of the news list

Introducing... Empress of the Seas
Newly Renovated and Renamed Nordic Empress to Arrive at Cape Liberty with a Dramatic Facelift and a New Port to Call Home

MIAMI, May 6 -- Royal Caribbean International's Empress of the Seas, formerly Nordic Empress, returns to the Northeast this weekend with a new look, a new name, and a brand new berth to call home. The newly revitalized Empress of the Seas will be the first cruise ship to sail out of Cape Liberty Cruise Port, in Bayonne, N.J. On May 9, Empress of the Seas will depart on a six-night cruise to Bermuda from the new port, which will be officially opened in a ceremony on May 14, when Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas makes her Northeast debut. Empress of the Seas offers alternating six- and eight-night Bermuda vacations from May through October. The popular 1,602-passenger ship underwent extensive renovations from top to bottom, bow to stern. To reflect the magnitude of the revitalization, the line officially renamed the ship Empress of the Seas, bringing her in line with the remainder of Royal Caribbean's fleet, which all feature "of the Seas" names.

"Empress is a classic beauty and a longtime favorite of Royal Caribbean guests," said Adam Goldstein, executive vice president, Brand Operations, for Royal Caribbean International. "This fresh look and the addition of exciting new dining, entertainment and fitness areas are sure to please both returning cruisers and passengers experiencing Empress for the first time."

Increased dining options are in high demand among cruisers, and Empress of the Seas features an elegant new specialty restaurant, Portofino, in addition to an upgraded Windjammer Cafe and refurbished main dining room. Guests also can enjoy specialty espresso drinks from Seattle's Best Coffee(R) or 16 different flavors from Ben & Jerry's(R) at the combined Latte'tudes coffee bar and ice cream scoop shop.

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

Vacationers looking for high-quality entertainment will find plenty to choose from. The former High Society Lounge on Deck 6 is now Royal Caribbean's Latin-themed bar, Boleros, offering specialty tequilas and cocktail favorites like mojitos, as well as outstanding live entertainment. Empress of the Seas also now features the line's popular Schooner Bar, a nautical-themed lounge with sing-along piano entertainment. Guests will enjoy a variety of entertainers and Broadway-caliber productions in the refurbished main theater, the Strike Up the Band Showroom, while those in a gaming mood can head to the Casino Royale or the newly created Card Room just off the Centrum.

Guest staterooms in all categories have new and upgraded bathrooms. In addition, some staterooms, including the Royal Suite and Superior Ocean View staterooms, feature new decor. Empress of the Seas' Owner's Suites have been completely redesigned, with new furniture and finishings. Other refurbishments include general facelifts to the lobbies, elevators, landings, corridors and restrooms, and enhancements to the shopping areas and Pool Deck.

Unique Itineraries to Bermuda and the Southern Caribbean
Empress of the Seas is offering alternating six- and eight-night Bermuda itineraries from May through October from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey. The six-night Bermuda itineraries depart on Sundays and include stops in King's Wharf and Hamilton, Bermuda. The eight-night cruises depart Saturdays and visit King's Wharf, Hamilton and St. George's, Bermuda. 

In late October, Empress of the Seas will reposition to San Juan, where she will offer guests a choice of four Southern Caribbean adventures. The highlight is the 11-night Exotic Caribbean itinerary that takes guests to St. Maarten, St. Barts, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Margarita Island, Aruba and Curacao. Empress of the Seas also will sail three-night St. Thomas/St. Maarten and St. Kitts/St. Maarten sailings, as well as four special, four-night Dominican Republic cruises, with stops in Santo Domingo and Catalina Island, on Oct. 25, Nov. 1, 8 and 15. Additional information can be found on the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700.

Back to the top of the news list

California Dreamin'—Holland America's Oosterdam to 
Homeport in San Diego has learned that Holland America Line's Oosterdam will call San Diego "homeport" on January 22, 2005. That's when the Vista-class ship will begin a series of twenty-five 7-night cruises to the Mexican Riviera and Sea of Cortez during winter, spring, and fall months, taking time out in the summer to reposition north to Alaska. Oosterdam joins fleetmate, the S-class Ryndam, to sail all itineraries round-trip from the port of San Diego. 

"With 46 sailings, Holland America offers the most departures and ports of call of any premium cruise line," according to David A. Giersdorf, executive vice president, marketing and sales."We are the only premium line to sail the Sea of Cortez, offering it on our new seven- and 10-day sailings and on a new five-day cruise."

All sailings call at Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, Puerto Vallarta with its colonial charm and superb shopping, and Mazatlan, renowned for its "Gold Zone" beaches. Some itineraries then sail to Pichilingue (La Paz) while others provide scenic cruising past the dramatic Sierra de la Giganta mountain range to Topolobampo, where guests can enjoy an exclusive Copper Canyon tour. 

Other shore excursions are offered in each port, such as sport-fishing for tuna, marlin and billfish in Cabo San Lucas, petting dolphins at the aquatic museum in Puerto Vallarta, visiting an artisan-run pottery factory in Pichilingue, and snorkeling among sea lions at Los Islotes Sea Lion Colony.

Oosterdam also offers a special five-day itinerary Dec. 17-22 a perfect pre-holiday getaway. The ship cruises the  Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula, calls at Cabo San Lucas, and then sails the Sea of Cortez to Pichilingue (La Paz) before returning to San Diego. Two special eight-day holiday cruises sail round-trip from San  Diego on Dec. 22 and Dec. 30 and visit Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Topolobampo. 

Back to the top of the news list


MIAMI, May 4, 2004 – The first stowaway was discovered on board Queen Mary 2 as she crossed the Atlantic on her Maiden eastbound crossing from New York to Southampton. Queen Mary 2 arrived in Southampton on Saturday, May 1, with her elder sister Queen Elizabeth 2.

The stowaway, an adolescent tern, not yet in full adult plumage, made the mistake of landing on the balcony of Cunard’s president, Pamela Conover, who reported its presence to on board authorities. At the time Queen Mary 2 was 485 miles due east of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

The Principal Medical Officer, Dr. Martin Carroll, examined the bird in the ship's medical centre under the supervision of Commodore R.W. Warwick. While in custody, the stowaway bird fed on a diet of smoked salmon and caviar, and was released on Friday as Queen Mary 2 neared the UK.

Peter Shanks, Cunard’s senior vice president Europe, said: “I can’t believe the audacity of this tern trying to hitch a free ride but I suppose it has shown great taste by deciding to stowaway on Queen Mary 2 – the most luxurious liner in the world!”

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean Names America's Top Teacher Kathy Mellor as Godmother Of Jewel of the Seas
Rhode Island Educator Will Serve at May 7 Ceremony in England

MIAMI, May 3 -- Kathy Mellor, the National Teacher of the Year for 2004, has been named godmother of Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, Jewel of the Seas. Mellor will officially name the ship May 7 in Southampton, England, before the ship's maiden voyage. Mellor is believed to be the first educator ever to serve in the role of godmother. More than 100 cruise ships have been launched in the last decade. Jewel of the Seas, the fourth and final entry in Royal Caribbean's 90,090-ton Radiance class, will embark on a series of 12-night cruises from Harwich, England, to Scandinavia/Russia and the British Isles/Norwegian Fjords.

"Each of us remembers a favorite, special teacher from our school days who had a great impact on our lives and opened our minds to new experiences," said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., "so it is a great privilege for us to have an extraordinary teacher like Kathy Mellor serve as godmother. She has been a tireless advocate not only for teaching the English language to students of all backgrounds but also for helping those students successfully move into the mainstream of education."

Mellor, who has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for 19 years at Davisville Middle School in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, received America's highest teaching honor last week at a White House ceremony. She was chosen from among 55 state and territorial winners and is the first Rhode Island teacher ever to capture the award from the Council of Chief State School Officers. As godmother to Jewel of the Seas, she will mark the culmination of National PTA Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-8.

Mellor holds a Masters of Art in Teaching degree, with an emphasis on ESL and cross-cultural studies, from Brown University. She has developed one of the most effective ESL programs in the country. It provides each student with one to three periods of instruction per day, according to the child's proficiency level in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Through these multi-age, multi-grade groupings, the instructor is better able to address differences in age, educational background, learning style and rate. Yet, ESL students aren't isolated from their American peers so that natural language acquisition also occurs. Mellor has nurtured parental involvement by forming a parents group to improve their ability to help their children.

"The success of our schools depends on our essential partnership with families and the community," Mellor told National Teacher of the Year judges. "This partnership must be aware of educational and social issues, and share a vision and act upon what can be accomplished together."

Mellor joins a distinguished list of Royal Caribbean godmothers, including champion athletes Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Katarina Witt and Steffi Graf, and performers Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Estefan and Lauren Bacall.

Jewel of the Seas will be the fourth ship in the company's Radiance class and one of three Royal Caribbean ships sailing in Europe this summer to 16 countries. The ship repositions to Boston in September for a series of five cruises in Canada and New England, and on November 6, begins six- and eight- night winter itineraries to the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale. Additional information can be found on the company's web site at or by calling 800-327-6700.

Back to the top of the news list

Seabourn Rated Best in Departures Magazine Poll 
Survey Tallies 51,000 American Express Platinum and Centurion Card Holders

MIAMI, May 3 -- In a survey conducted by the luxury lifestyle publication Departures, the magazine's readers, who are American Express Platinum and Centurion Card holders, scored Seabourn Cruise Line tops among all cruise lines. The online survey separated cruise lines into categories of Large Cruise Lines and Small Cruise Lines. The Yachts of Seabourn scored 97.85, the best result achieved by any line in either category.

"We are especially gratified by the phenomenal score given us by Departures' readers," said Richard D. Meadows, Seabourn's senior vice president of sales and marketing, "because they comprise precisely the type of discerning, affluent travelers that we welcome aboard our yachts week after week, year after year. Readers of Departures have very high expectations of luxury," he continued. "It's great to get acknowledgement from them that we are satisfying or exceeding those expectations."

The survey was posted on the magazine's password-protected website for three months. Over 1,040 global nominees in every category of travel, hospitality and accommodation were available for review. Scores in 23 categories were tabulated by American Express from over 51,000 responses and the results were published in the magazine's May/June 2004 issue.

The intimate, all-suite Yachts of Seabourn: Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend, carry just 208 guests each to the most desirable destinations on earth. For more information on Seabourn vacations of seven to 18 or more days in 2004 and 2005 at Early Booking Savings of up to 50 percent, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

    Back to the top of the news list

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

    Cruise Diva Home | Site Map & Search