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News from the world of cruising ~
May 14-20, 2001

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Celebrity's Newest, Gas Turbine Sister Ships
 To Sail Through The Great Land

MIAMI - May 18, 2001 - Celebrity Cruises has opened bookings for its 2002 season in Alaska, where the premium cruise line again will deploy two luxurious ships: Infinity and Summit, the line's newest, gas turbine-powered vessels. 

Infinity will sail seven-night voyages round-trip from Vancouver from May through September, 2002, while Summit will offer seven-night open-jaw cruises from Vancouver and Seward during those same months.

An expanded series of Royal Celebrity Tours' enticing Alaska Cruisetour packages, featuring the world's largest and most luxurious double-decker, glass-domed train cars, will take guests deep into Alaska's wild and dramatic Interior. New Cruisetour packages also will be offered to the  Canadian Rockies and will include a variety of activities in Kamloops, Lake Louise, Jasper, Banff and Calgary. 

"Alaska offers so much for our guests to explore, from the tallest mountain in North America, to charming, small towns, to the endlessly incredible wilderness," said Celebrity Cruises President Rick Sasso. "There's no better way to experience Alaska than on a Celebrity cruise, which combines the region's stunning beauty with our fabulous service and accommodations, and the best viewing areas in the industry."

Both Infinity and Summit feature enormous glass-walled spaces, ranging from quiet Conservatories, to the active AquaSpa(SM) fitness facilities, to spacious observation lounges and exterior glass elevators. In addition, both ships offer 80 percent ocean-view staterooms, 74 percent of which have verandas.

Every Celebrity cruise through Alaska offers guests unique insight into the rich history, wildlife and culture of The Great Land, with onboard enrichment lectures by Native Alaskans and a variety of materials and presentations produced in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. When not exploring Alaska, Celebrity's guests can explore both Infinity's and Summit's luxurious, 25,000-square-foot AquaSpa
(SM) facilities; the intimate atmosphere and hand-rolled cigars of Michael's Club; the Martini Bar, with 26 varieties of the trendy beverage; the Champagne Bar, complete with caviar and other delights; and Cova Café Milano, Celebrity's seagoing version of the stylish coffeehouse in Milan, Italy.

Celebrity's Alaska 2002 Itineraries

Celebrity's Infinity will sail round-trip from Vancouver, British Columbia, on Fridays from May 31 through September 20, 2002, with ports of call in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska, and including cruises through the Inside Passage and beside  Hubbard Glacier.  Rates begin at $1,099.

Celebrity's Summit will sail both Northbound and Southbound Glacier open-jaw cruises originating in Vancouver and Seward on alternating Fridays from May 24 through September 6. Rates begin at $999. Summit's Northbound Glacier cruises depart Vancouver May 24, June 7 and 21, July 5 and 19, and August 2, 16 and 30, with ports of call in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Valdez, Alaska, and including cruises through the Inside Passage and around Hubbard Glacier and College Fjord, concluding in Seward. Summit's Southbound Glacier cruises depart Seward May 31, June 14 and 28, July 12 and 26, August 9 and 23, and September 6, with ports of call in Juneau, Skagway, Sitka and Ketchikan, including a cruise through the Inside Passage and around Hubbard Glacier, ending in Vancouver.

Celebrity Cruises is the highest-rated premium cruise line in the industry, with the youngest fleet of any major cruise line. Summit enters service in October, and Constellation will make its maiden voyage in 2002, bringing the Celebrity fleet to nine ships. For more information, visit the Celebrity web site at

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LOS ANGELES, May 17 2001 - With water as its playground, Crystal Cruises has developed an alternative to the traditional cruise ship shore excursion: "water excursions."  The luxury line is offering a variety of aquatic adventures, such as submarine expeditions, jungle river kayaking, dolphin swims, catamaran cruises and even swamp tours, with its fall 2001 Panama Canal/Caribbean and Mexican Riviera season.  

Depending on the itinerary, the Six-Star rated Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony will call in 22 ports throughout the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Key West, New Orleans and Mexico.  Departures for the 9- to 17-day voyages are available on Sept. 1, Oct. 21, Nov. 1, 12 and 23, and Dec. 3, 6, 13, 21 and 22.   

"One of the attractions of a tropical warm-weather getaway is the water. Some appreciate the colorful underwater spectacle.  Others find the water a means to become more intimate with the environment, either by being in it, through snorkeling or swimming, or traveling along it, such as by navigating a narrow waterway to reach a remote destination," says Craig Laforest, Crystal Cruises' director, land programs.  "Even if one has taken these cruise itineraries before, Crystal's water activities offer compelling reasons to return."

Snorkeling Excursions:

* For an intimate look at underwater sea life, spectacular sponge gardens and the beauty of live coral reefs, snorkeling is a key attraction in St. John, Aruba, Antigua, St. Thomas, Tortola, St. Maarten, Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas

* Snorkelers can hand-feed stingrays with local divers in Grand Cayman Island's sandbar

Submarine Expeditions:

* Abundant marine life is observed from submarines in Aruba, Barbados, Grand Cayman and St. Thomas; and the Submarine Expedition to Chankanaab illustrates why Cozumel's protected marine park is one of the top five dive destinations in the world.  Thirty-foot coral heads and an unusual spectacle of underwater sea life are usually only seen by experienced divers


* Kayaking through Aruba's Spanish Lagoon, once used as a safe haven by Spanish sailing vessels fleeing from pirates, reveals an ecosystem of exotic plant life, tropical birds and a barrier reef 

* Adventure enthusiasts explore the fresh-water river jungle surrounding Playa de Carmen to the Tres Rios Natural Reserve, rich with history and exotic foliage -- kayakers travel through the Mangrove channels to see the sinkhole points where the underground rivers of the Yucatan Peninsula break for the sea

* Kayak and snorkel in the Virgin Islands Marine Sanctuary 

* An Outriggers Canoe adventure at the Agujas River and Leona Bay is available from Puntarenas

Jet Boating on the Rio Papagayo:

* In Acapulco, the Rio Papagayo is a tropical jungle river where jet boaters see white-tailed deer, armadillos, and native turtles, along with wild flowers and cacti

Swamp Adventures:

* In Louisiana's bayou country, a private, canopied swamp boat forges through the dense Aux Carpes swamp, alive with alligators, Spanish moss and the lore of "Gentleman Pirate," Jean Lafitte - rumored to be buried there

* While in New Orleans, guests can also sail on the Creole Queen Mississippi River Cruise and take Creole cooking classes in the French Quarter 
Catamaran Sailing:

* On a comfortable, 62-foot catamaran called Spirit, this Crystal Cruises' Signature Collection activity is a relaxing cruise along the Barbados' clear water coastline.  Also available is a Catamaran Coral Exploration off the Florida Keys, and to Playa Manzanillo from Zihuatanejo, Mexico 

Other "Water Excursions" include:

* The Baths at Virgin Gorda invite swimmers to discover sea caves and the tranquil pools in this natural phenomenon of the Sir Frances Drake Channel 

* Tulum and the Xel-Ha Lagoon looks at this Mayan-walled settlement on the Mexican coast, with well-preserved structures, impressive cliffs, a castle watchtower overlooking the Caribbean seas, and one of the world's largest natural aquariums

* Swimming with dolphins in Acapulco

* Deep-sea fishing in Puerto Vallarta with a private villa lunch

* Mangrove bird-watching cruise through the tropical forests of Puntarena's Tarcoles River

Of course, Crystal Cruises is still offering land excursions ranging from traditional island tours to a nature hike through the Carara Rain Forest. The luxury line has even devised excursions where little time is spent on land or water:

* Chichen Itza by aircraft showcases the mysterious ruins of this great Mayan Empire. A chartered aircraft soars to this archeological site, where a walking tour explores ancient temples and pyramids of this lost civilization 

* Grand Cayman from the air, a low-level flight and extra-large aircraft windows allow a bird's eye view of offshore reefs, Georgetown, the Seven Mile Beach and the 375-foot ship, the Balboa

Crystal Cruises offers its Panama Canal Value Collection fares with savings up to 50% off published rates on selected itineraries.  Fares for a 10-day cruise start at $1,970 per person, double occupancy, or as little as $197 per day.       

The 50,000-ton, 940-guest luxurious sister ships Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony are two of the most spacious vessels cruising the world.  Their unique size in the luxury market allows for smooth sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, generous amenities and elegant accommodations. The Six-Star rated liners feature grand lounges and intimate clubs for lavish entertainment, a full-service fitness facility, Computer , the only Caesars Palace at Sea casino, a spa adhering to the principles of Feng Shui, expansive decks, two pools, award-winning cuisine and exquisitely appointed staterooms, more than half of which offer private verandahs. 

Crystal Symphony and Crystal Harmony are operated by Crystal Cruises, winners of the travel industry's most distinguished hospitality awards and guidebook ratings.  For  the fifth consecutive year, Crystal Cruises was named best large-ship line in the 2000 readers' surveys conducted by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary Panama Canal/Caribbean/Mexican Riviera Shore Excursion brochure and itinerary, please call 800.820.6663.  Visit the luxury line's website at

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MIAMI, FL - May 17, 2001 - Cruise vacations are the fastest-growing
vacation segment of the leisure travel industry and nowhere is that more
obvious than in the innovation, opulence, and sheer size of today's cruise
liners.  VOYAGER: BEYOND THE CRUISE is the first non-fiction TV special to
go behind-the-scenes of the world's largest cruise ship afloat, Royal
Caribbean International's Voyager of the Seas.  The world premiere special
debuts on Travel Channel as part of the Travel Channel Secrets strand on
Monday, June 4, 9-10 PM ET/PT.

VOYAGER: BEYOND THE CRUISE takes an in-depth look at the engineering,
design, and day-to-day operations of the 142,000-ton ship.  During a
seven-day, behind-the-scenes voyage onboard, Travel Channel speaks to
guests about their experiences, interviews onboard staff about satisfying
the needs of more than 3,000 guests, and talks to industry experts about
the ship's innovations.  The special explores Voyager's ice-skating rink,
rock-climbing wall standing 200 feet above sea level, shopping and
entertainment boulevard a football field in length, inline-skating track
and full-size basketball court.   Voyager is the first cruise ship ever to
feature these entertainment elements.

The special also looks at the sheer size of the ship:  she is wide enough
to accommodate an eight-lane freeway and, at 1,020 feet in length, is long
enough that a 17-car freight train could stretch along her decks.  She
weighs 142,000 tons and can hold 3,100 passengers and 1,176 crew members.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 14 ships in
service and six under construction or on firm order.  For additional
information about the cruise line, please visit the company's Internet web
site at

Travel Channel is the only television network devoted to the world's most
popular destinations.  It is available in more than 55 million homes and is
a service of Discovery Networks, a unit of Discovery Communications, Inc.,
which owns and operates Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery
Health Channel, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Science Channel,
Discovery Home & Leisure, Discovery Civilization Channel, Discovery Wings
Channel, and Discovery en Español.  The unit also markets and distributes
BBC America.

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Costa Cruises to Operate Exclusive German Cruise Program Beginning in Spring 2002

MIAMI, May 17 - Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corporation, today announced that it will launch a new cruise product aimed exclusively at the German market beginning in spring 2002. 

The new product, which will consist of year-round European and Caribbean sailings aboard the 760-passenger Costa Marina, will be specifically tailored to German passengers and designed to build upon Costa's leadership position in the fast-growing European marketplace. 

Marketed exclusively for German speaking clientele by Costa's German subsidiary, Frankfurt-based Costa Kreuzfahrten, Costa Marina's new schedule will consist of voyages of seven to 16 days in length to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Black Sea from Venice or Savona in the spring and fall, and from Hamburg and Kiel to the Baltics, Russia, Scandinavia and British Isles in the summer. In the winter, the 24,441-ton vessel will reposition to the Caribbean to offer weeklong voyages from the Dominican Republic. 

"Germany has historically been an important market for Costa and this new cruise product is consistent with our strategy to expand Costa's strong European presence while solidifying the line's role as the region's number one cruise operator," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation chairman and CEO. 

Costa CEO Pier Luigi Foschi added that the creation of this new cruise product follows several years of highly successful voyages targeted solely at the rapidly expanding German cruise market, which grew by approximately 25 percent last year. "Aside from cruise operators catering exclusively to the German population, Costa carries more Germans than any other cruise line. Marketing the Costa Marina in Germany will build upon our previous successes while providing Germans with a truly unique product specifically tailored to their vacation preferences," Foschi said. 

While the Costa Marina will maintain its Mediterranean-style decor and Italian dining experiences, the ship will have a German-speaking crew with German the vessel's official language. Entertainment and on-board activities will also be geared toward German audiences. 

The creation of the new German cruise operation is Costa's latest effort in expanding its wide-ranging European vacation offerings. In addition to three new cruise ships on order, including a sister to the highly successful Costa Atlantica and two 105,000-ton vessels, Costa will expand its fleet with the transfer of two ships from sister companies Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line. The Costa Tropicale, formerly Carnival's Tropicale, will begin sailing from Venice in June, while Holland America's Westerdam will launch a new European program under the Costa banner next spring.

Additional information can be obtained via Costa Cruises' Web site at

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Honeymooning '180 Degrees From Ordinary'

SEATTLE, May 17 - Looking for a honeymoon "180 Degrees from Ordinary?'' 

Come and sail with exclusive Windstar Cruises. Whether star-gazing on teak decks or sun-bathing under billowing white sails, Windstar's sleek sailing yachts offer romance and intimacy found only at sea.

A variety of exotic itineraries take you wherever you and your sweetheart most desire.

This summer choose from the spectacular shores of the Costa del Sol and Cote D'Azur, the glamorous French and Italian Rivieras, the dramatic Amalfi and Dalmatian coasts, or the idyllic Greek and Turkish Isles.

This winter try out Windstar's newest cruises down-under to New Zealand and Australia, or stay closer to home with Bahamas and Florida Keys cruises that leave from Fort Lauderdale. In true yachting fashion honeymooners can also opt for sailing the colorful Caribbean, or exploring the Mayan Riviera, Belize, or Costa Rica on an eco-adventure cruise.

Exotic romance reaches the ultimate next summer when the up-market cruise line introduces new Far East adventures to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.

Windstar pioneered casual luxury cruising where guests live in "casual elegance'' in an adult-oriented environment. Get away from it all and do as much or as little as you like. There is no need to pack a jacket, tie, or gown, attire is always resort-style casual.

Couples can dine when and with whom they like, even request a table for two every night. Cuisine and wine selections match the five-star service. The friendly crew caters to your every whim or lets the two of you all alone to be with each other exclusively.

Industry experts agree that Windstar is the perfect getaway for couples. Windstar ships have been recommended as an excellent honeymoon destination by Bride's,, Elegant Bride, National Geographic Traveler,, Redbook and Porthole Magazine.

Cruise in stylish comfort in staterooms that are amply appointed. All offer ocean views, TV, VCR, CD players, plush terry robes, bathroom with amenities, a spacious and innovative design, plenty of closets, and 24-hour room service.

Windstar ships are renowned for their romance and intimacy factors.

The Wind Star, Wind Spirit, and Wind Song carry no more than 74 couples on each cruise. The Wind Surf hosts just 154 couples and boasts the indulgent WindSpa. Sign up for a "couples massage'' while aboard; dine in the exquisite Bistro; or book one of 31 exclusive suites with and "his and hers'' bathrooms.

Honeymooners can escape with Windstar to the private yacht of their dreams, sailing in and out of secluded ports and hidden harbors. Shore excursions offered daily, truly afford a taste of local flavors immersing guests in the rich history and culture of each new port of call.

Cruising offers an exceptional vacation value that includes accommodations, all meals onboard, superb service, and the opportunity to visit many different and captivating places without having to pack and unpack each day or worry about train, plane or bus schedules.

Windstar offers excellent savings up to 50% off brochure fares for those that book early. [Prices start at $5,126 per couple for a 7-day cruise.]

Windstar finished in the top three for small ship cruising in both Travel and Leisure's World's Best Awards and Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards for 2000, and was recently named to the Conde Nast Traveler 2001 Gold List of ``Best Places to Stay in the World.''

A honeymoon on Windstar makes memories that last a lifetime. Enter a world of casual elegance, pampering service, exquisite cuisine, and fascinating port calls -- unlike any other. Leave the world behind and discover each other all over again on a romantic cruise for two.

For reservations, a brochure, or more information contact your travel agent, call Windstar Reservations at 800-258-SAIL (7245), or visit

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Seattle, May 15, 2001 - Holland America Line announced that it will rename its recently acquired Seabourn Sun to the ms Prinsendam next June during introduction festivities. In addition, the premium line released early plans for the 38,000-gross-ton ship's exotic itineraries during its inaugural year of operation.

"One of the most cherished ship names in our 127-year history is the Prinsendam," said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "In a survey of our top selling travel agencies Prinsendam was selected as the favorite name for our next ship. We totally agree."

Built in 1973, the former Prinsendam sailed Far East and Alaska itineraries through 1980. The regal name translates to "princes" ship, with "dam" being the familiar Holland America passenger ship name suffix. Holland America receives the Seabourn Sun on April 23, 2002, and will take it into a drydock for planned modifications to the Holland America brand. The newly refurbished ship will be introduced in June to travel agents and consumers along the East Coast of the United States. It then will embark on its maiden voyage from New York to Europe in early June 2002.

"The itineraries we've planned for the new Prinsendam are fantastic for the passengers we expect aboard," said Giersdorf. "They mix the exotic and adventurous with enough time in port so our guests will definitely return home with many personal discoveries and a sense that they've made a monumental journey in their well-traveled lives." Plans call for 25 itineraries ranging from 10 to 18 days during the first 12 months. Guests also may choose to combine unique itineraries for a longer voyage of 26 to 57 days. For example, Prinsendam guests could sail from Copenhagen, Denmark, across several seas to Mumbai, India, on a 57-day adventure.

Following its 10-day maiden transatlantic voyage from New York to Southhampton in early June 2002, the Prinsendam will sail the British Isles, coast of Spain, Norwegian fjords, Baltic port cities, Russia, and the coast of France on six itineraries through September. She then sails through the Mediterranean visiting southern Europe before heading to Mumbai, India. From India, the globetrotting Prinsendam will cruise to Asia and the Pacific to offer several cruises exploring Australia, New Zealand, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Japan. Retracing her steps, the ship returns to Europe in late spring 2003.

One of the most spacious ships in the cruise industry, the future Prinsendam offers eight passenger decks plus 15 public rooms and boutiques. Ninety-three percent of the 383 staterooms have an ocean view and 40 % of those offer private verandahs. Aboard ship, public rooms will be renamed to reflect the Holland America tradition and cabin categories will be defined in accordance with the company's current approach fleetwide. Among Holland America's classic Dutch art and ambiance, passengers will discover an Explorer's Lounge, Crow's Nest, Java Café, Rotterdam Dining Room, an Italian alternative restaurant, and other familiar features known to the Holland America guest. The ship carries a full spa and fitness center, Internet center, outside pools, wrap-around promenade deck, theater, show lounge, library, Lido restaurant, and several public lounges.

About Holland America Line
Holland America Line is the highest-rated premium cruise line in the world in both the 2000 "Travel & Leisure" magazine "World's Best" Awards and the "Conde Nast Traveler" Readers' Choice Awards. For more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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MIAMI - Celebrity Cruises will continue its distinctive tradition of paying tribute to grand, historic ocean liners with the new Celebrity Summit, which enters service this October. The specialty restaurant onboard Summit, the third of four ships in Celebrity's Millennium-class fleet, will feature original paneling and a variety of artifacts from the Normandie, considered the foremost ocean liner of the 1930s.

The famed Normandie was the industry's first 1,000-foot liner, the first French Line vessel to win the coveted Blue Riband, the North Atlantic's prize for speed, and the first to take the chic "arts decoratifs" - now known as art deco - design style to sea. Onboard Celebrity's Summit, the 134-guest specialty restaurant, aptly named "The Normandie," will recall the art deco design of the original Normandie's scheme, with Summit's dining venue divided by a circular colonnade which will proudly display two sets of four large, gold-lacquered panels from the stylish smoking room on the original Normandie.  Celebrity obtained the panels at auction at Christie's.

Summit's Normandie restaurant - like the specialty restaurants onboard sister ships, Millennium, which features the "Olympic" restaurant, and Infinity, which presents the "SS United States" restaurant - will provide guests with an elegant, alternative dining experience created by Celebrity's longtime culinary consultant, Master Chef Michel Roux. Under Chef Roux's direction, The Normandie restaurant will follow the lead established by Millennium and Infinity, which currently present the only tableside cooking, carving and flambé at sea, along with a dine-in wine cellar featuring more than 175 of the finest vintages  from around the world.

As he has with the specialty restaurants onboard both Millennium and Infinity, Chef Roux will introduce within Summit's Normandie restaurant a recreation of an entrée first served in the dining room onboard the restaurant's namesake, in addition to selections inspired by the Normandy region of France, created exclusively for Celebrity's Normandie restaurant.

Celebrity's approximately $350-million Summit is under construction at Chantiers de l'Atlantique in St. Nazaire, France, the same shipyard that built the original Normandie. Like its sister ships, Millennium and Infinity, which entered service in July, 2000, and March, 2001, respectively, Summit will present the industry's largest luxury suites and a wealth of ocean views: 80 percent of the staterooms will have an ocean view, and 74 percent of those will have verandas.

Summit also will feature Celebrity's highly-acclaimed signature elements, including the line's museum-quality contemporary art collections; the 25,000-square-foot AquaSpaSM, the largest and most sophisticated spa facilities at sea; COVA Café Milano, Celebrity's seagoing version of the stylish coffee house in Milan, Italy; the cozy Michael's Club cigar lounge; 14,000 square feet of designer-label, boutique shopping space, and Celebrity's impeccable service, in addition to Chef Roux's award-winning

Like Millennium and Infinity, Summit will be powered by gas turbine propulsion and will feature an exterior glass elevator, a two-level music library, an 18-workstation Internet café, a book library, and a conservatory, an unique botanical environment inspired by award-winning floral designer Emilio Robba of Paris.  The ship also will feature , offering Internet accessibility in all staterooms.

Each of Celebrity's Millennium-class ships is built to Panamax standards to enable Panama and Suez Canal transits for international deployment. Summit will celebrate its inaugural season sailing 10- and 11-night "Ultimate Caribbean" cruises from Fort Lauderdale.  Its maiden voyage is scheduled for October 1, 2001.

Summit's Inaugural Season:

Summit's 11-night Ultimate Caribbean cruise departs round-trip from Fort Lauderdale on the following Fridays: Oct. 1 and 22; Nov. 12, and Dec. 3 and 24, 2001, and Jan. 14; Feb. 4 and 25; March 18 and April 8, 2002, with
ports of call in Key West, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Colon, Panama; Cartagena, Colombia; Oranjestad, Aruba, and Georgetown, Grand Cayman. 

Summit's 10-night Ultimate Caribbean cruise departs round-trip from Fort Lauderdale on the following Mondays:  Oct. 12; Nov. 2 and 23, and Dec. 14, 2001, and Jan. 4 and 25; Feb. 15; March 8 and 29, and April 29, 2002. Ports of call include Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Basseterre, St. Kitts, and St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. Fares for Summit's Ultimate Caribbean cruises begin at $1,899.  For more information or to book a cruise, call your travel agent, visit the Celebrity web site, or dial 1-800-437-3111. 

Celebrity Cruises is the highest-rated and fastest-growing premium cruise line in the industry, with the youngest fleet of any major cruise line. Summit enters service in October, and Constellation will make its maiden voyage in 2002, bringing the Celebrity fleet to nine ships.  For more information, visit the Celebrity web site at

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Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 Adds Soul to the Sea Featured Entertainment Announced for 6th Annual Blues Cruise

MIAMI, May 15 - Cunard's legendary liner, Queen Elizabeth 2, will play host to the "6th Annual Blues Cruise" during a spectacular 11-day crossing celebrating the best this musical genre has to offer. The Southampton, England, to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, voyage allows guests to sail to warmer climates from December 11 - 22, 2001, and includes calls at Cherbourg, France; Funchal, Madeira; and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. 

The Blues Cruise will feature an impressive lineup of blues artists, including:

* Charlie Musselwhite -- This Mississippi-born artist first came to prominence in Memphis in the late 1950s. It was in Chicago a few years later where he gained fame. Regarded by many as one of the finest harmonica players on the blues scene, Charlie Musselwhite rocks the house when he's on the stand.

* Gatemouth Brown and Gate's Express -- Across Texas, Louisiana, but bypassing the Mississippi Delta, Clarence Gatemouth Brown has performed, listened and learned all over the world. For nearly half-a-century, this incredible blues singer/multi-instrumentalist has astounded audiences.

* Big Walter Smith and the Groove Merchants -- The silky smooth voice of Big Walter Smith, combined with his soulful eight-piece band, has produced an exciting mix of rhythm and blues for more than 40 years.

* Billy Branch -- One of the hottest harmonica players on the contemporary blues scene, Billy Branch began his professional career with Willie Dixon in 1973. He is seen as the bridge between the older legendary players and the younger up-and-coming artists of today.

* Grana'Louise -- A performer since the age of two, Grana'Louise is one of the hottest young female vocalists on the Chicago blues scene. She has written and performed her own one-woman show, a tribute to the great blues singers of the past.

* The Persuasions -- One of the finest a cappella vocal groups in America, The Persuasions can do it all: doo-wop, gospel, rhythm & blues, and heart-rendering soul. The four-member group is ready to electrify another QE2 Blues Cruise.

* Shemekia Copeland -- From the softest soul whisper to a growling, full-throated blues roar, Shemekia Copeland sings soul from deep within. Her dynamic voice and vibrant personality shine through every song she undertakes. Shemekia's been called a diva in the making, and she'll turn up the heat with hip shakers and slow burners.

During the "6th Annual Blues Cruise," guests will be delighted with workshops and special events on afternoons at sea, passenger jam sessions, autograph signings with the artists, and in-cabin blues videos. A "Meet the Stars" program will allow guests to get to know the artists up close and personal. Blues will be played on board in the afternoon and throughout the evening, often lasting until dawn. However, those guests who like variety need not worry. Additional entertainers and lecturers also will be on board to enhance the crossing.

Now is an excellent time to experience QE2's Blues Cruise. Fares for the 11-day classic ocean voyage can be reserved at a two-for-one rate as low as $1,480 per person, double occupancy, and including one-way airfare. Certain restrictions apply. For more information or to reserve a voyage, contact a professional travel agent, call Cunard at 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit the website Cunard Line, one of the world's most recognized brand names with a classic British heritage, has been in the business of providing luxury ocean travel for more than 160 years.

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MIAMI, May 15 - Celebrity Cruises is pleased to announce the introduction of an online shore excursion booking tool via the Celebrity Cruises web site, at By simply clicking on the "shore excursions" tab on the Celebrity site, prospective guests can review the premium cruise line's vast array of shore excursions, including exhilarating flights over the icy Antarctic, and Nature Conservancy-led hikes at St. Thomas' top-rated Magen's Bay, before selecting the itinerary or ship on which they wish to sail.

After booking a cruise with Celebrity, guests can use their booking number to purchase their preferred shore excursions up to 10 days prior to their departure.

"Our new booking tool removes the guesswork from selecting the right shore excursion for each individual, and provides answers to questions that previously required calling representatives," said David Llewellyn, director of Shore Excursions.  "Now, our guests can book from the comfort of their homes, and can avoid the rush to the Shore Excursions desk onboard once embarkation begins."

Celebrity's new system provides complete descriptions and pricing for every shore excursion, by destination.  The program is continuously updated to reflect any changes, as well as to inform guests in real-time whether or not there is space remaining on each shore excursion they select. 

Once an excursion is booked, guests receive immediate confirmation by e-mail.   International guests can select their preferred language and can be charged the booking fee in their local currencies.  The secured system also allows guests to charge the cost to a credit card. "This booking process is a very easy and efficient way to review the variety of shore excursions Celebrity offers, and to select excursions that suit any individual's or group's tastes," Llewellyn said. "No one else in the industry offers this level of simplicity for such a wide array of excursions."

In addition to online booking, Celebrity Cruises will reserve a percentage of space on every excursion to allow guests who wish to book onboard the option to do so.

Celebrity Cruises is the highest-rated premium cruise line in the industry and has the youngest fleet of any major cruise line.  Celebrity's eighth ship, Summit, launches this Fall, and Constellation will make its maiden voyage in 2002.  For more information, visit the Celebrity web site at

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For the first quarter ended March 31, 2001, Star Cruises Group including NCL Holding ASA ("NCL"), the Group recorded a net income of US$4.4 million compared to US$1.2 million for the same period in 2000. 

This is the first quarter Star Cruises Group is consolidating NCL as a wholly owned subsidiary. In line with the format of the announcement of the other major cruise lines, we will be announcing our results as a whole group.

The results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001 is not comparable to 2000 as the acquisition of a majority interest in NCL occurred only in February 2000. On a proforma basis, including January and February 2000 in the comparable numbers, the Group recorded a net income of US$4.4 million compared to a proforma net income of US$2.3 million in the same period in 2000.

Revenue for the Group increased by 0.1% from US$334.9 million to US$335.4 million as a result of an increase in occupancy of 2% on an increase of 1% in available capacity days. Revenue for Star Cruises Asia Pacific operations increased 17% due to an increase of 10% in available capacity days and yields, as defined as net revenue per capacity day increased 6.8% quarter on quarter. The increase was attributed to continued good performance in the developed markets and also the improvement in the Thailand market which was partially offset by the reduction in the Taiwan market and the start up losses in Japan market. Revenue for NCL decreased 7.1% due to a 4.4% decrease in available capacity days. Yields decreased 4.1% partially due to Millennium event which had a positive effect on 2000 revenue. Excluding the impact of the Millennium event, yields decreased by 2.1% quarter on quarter.

Operating, selling and administrative expenses increased by 8.7% from US$251.4 million to US$273.2 million. The Group incurred additional expenses to improve on safety levels as well as additional cost to improve on quality of service onboard the ships to maintain competitiveness.

Non-operating expenses decreased by 52% from US$45.1 million to US$21.7 million as a result of lower interest expenses, higher interest income and the gains on foreign exchange contracts for the period. The Group continues to amortize goodwill, trade names and trademarks as a result of the acquisition.

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Anchors e-Way

Royal Caribbean And IBM Give Crews Instant Access To The Web 
In a cruise line industry first, IBM and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the parent company of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruise Lines, are putting Internet access in the employee cabins of Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, "Radiance of the Seas." Using IBM technology and the new IBM NetVista Internet Appliance, Royal Caribbean is giving its crew members, who are at sea for months at a time, on-board access to e-mail, Internet and productivity applications. In the initial phase of this "CrewNection" service, IBM installed 500 new NetVista Internet Appliances, with IBM embedded software, in crew cabins aboard the "Radiance of the Seas." Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines also plans to equip two additional ships with the CrewNection service before the end of the year, as part of a long-term strategy to equip all new additions to its fleet. Last year Royal Caribbean International teamed with IBM to become the first cruise line to outfit its entire fleet with Internet Cafes giving Internet access to all passengers.

"Providing Internet connectivity for what is probably one of the most mobile workforces in the world is a significant challenge," said Michael Hulley, vice president, IBM Global Travel and Transportation Industry. "To develop the CrewNection service Royal Caribbean tapped into IBM's breadth of hardware, software and service capabilities to create a 'seaworthy e-business infrastructure' that will enable it to help keep crew productivity  and morale up. The new IBM NetVista Internet Appliances are great for this application because they're easy to use and manage, reliable, and take up a relatively small space in the cabin." 

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines currently has 22,000 employees servicing its fleet of 19 ships under its Royal Caribbean and Celebrity brands. The company projects that the number of onboard employees will grow to as much as 40,000 by 2005 as it adds an additional eight ships to its fleet over the next three years.

"Hiring and retaining a stellar staff is crucial in the cruise line industry where the crew is our face to our customers," said Jack Williams, president of Royal Caribbean International. "Providing the cabin crew, many of whom spend up to six months at a time at sea, with the ability to e-mail home, take supplemental training courses and use basic office software in the comfort and privacy of their cabin, will enable them to stay connected, both personally and professionally." 

"We see the CrewNection service becoming an essential tool, not just for employees that want to stay in touch with family back home, but also for Royal Caribbean management to stay in touch with its family of employees," said Williams. For example, Royal Caribbean is developing plans to use the CrewNection service to provide training and orientation to employees, deliver real-time communications on a regular basis from corporate headquarters, and offer other additional services such as personal banking.

The IBM NetVista Internet Appliance is a compact device designed to provide web-based computing in customized solutions for specific businesses and industries. It builds on IBM experience in networked, managed environments of Thin Clients and other devices. IBM's WebSphere Everyplace Suite Embedded Edition software, which resides in the NetVista Internet Appliance, allows Royal Caribbean International to deliver virtually instant access to the Internet, Intranet, and business applications, without first requiring its crews to be trained on the use of PCs. It also allows for the smaller form factor of the device, which is an important consideration in crew cabins where extra space is limited, and it enables RCI to manage all the devices from a central point, helping minimize the IT expertise and expense required to support the onboard devices. 

Additional IBM software used in the application includes: Tivoli Personalized Services Manager, which provides subscriber and device management across the ship's e-business infrastructure, VisualAge Micro Edition embedded Java(1) application development tools and IBM's J9 Virtual Machine. the hardware side, Royal Caribbean has installed a Unix-based IBM server onboard the ship to run all the backend computing behind the CrewNection applications and handle upgrade and maintenance chores. IBM NetVista personal computers are also used by ship officers to perform managerial duties and connect to the network. IBM Global Services assisted Newbuild Solutions IT, Royal Caribbean's IT division focused on new ships under construction, in the integration of the project. 

IBM's Travel and Transportation Industry group provides a broad range of products, services and integrated solutions to all travel-related service areas including hotels, gaming, car rental companies, travel agents and tour operators, as well as cruise lines. For additional information, visit:

"Radiance of the Seas," Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, represents an evolution of the cruise line's signature elements. The ship features the first billiards tables at sea, Internet ports in every stateroom, a yacht-like   design, glass elevators facing the sea, and the cruise industry's newest technology for protecting the environment. For more information about Royal Caribbean, please visit the company's Internet web site at

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Seabourn Pride Inaugurates New Pier at Cannes

Yacht-Like Ship Debuts Facility During Glamorous
 International Film Fete

CANNES, France, May 14 - Amid the limelight of hosting a star-studded annual international film festival, proud local authorities in this French Riviera town today debuted a different sort of ingénue as they welcomed the ultra-luxury, yacht-like cruise ship Seabourn Pride to a berth at the town's virgin cruise ship pier. Long a popular watering hole for international yachtsmen, the town up to now has had to welcome cruise passengers ferried ashore by tenders from their ships at anchor outside the harbor. A ceremony was performed on the quay, followed by a reception on board the elegant ship for 70 local authorities and dignitaries.

At just 10,000 GRT, with a guest capacity of only 104 couples, Seabourn Pride fits the model of the sort of sleek super-yachts visitors might expect to see in the glamorous harbor.

"The intimate yachts of Seabourn are right at home on the French Riviera,'' noted Rick Meadows, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Seabourn. "Our ships have called at Cannes for years, and now the harbor is not only more secure and convenient as a port of call, but it may also be useful for turnaround operations involving baggage handling and provisions.''

Seabourn's intimate ships frequent the French Riviera throughout the spring, summer and autumn season, calling at celebrated ports such as Cannes, Monte Carlo and Nice, as well as lesser-known gems like Le Lavandou, Cassis and Sanary-Sur-Mer. With guests capacities of 104 couples and unique, fold- out watersports marinas, Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend and the smaller, 58-couple Seabourn Goddess I & II are able to take advantage of secluded beaches, unspoiled villages and yacht harbors to provide exceptional itineraries and activities for their guests. In addition, Seabourn guests can take advantage of exclusive shoreside experiences such as helicopter flights to Michelin-starred restaurants and explorations of the medieval towns in the Maritime Alps and Provence. Cruises of seven to 14 days are currently being offered at savings of up to 30% off published fares and with free roundtrip airfare included. For more information, consult a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or click on

Seabourn is an ultra luxury cruise line with stylish, yacht-like vessels. The Seabourn fleet includes Seabourn Sun; Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend and the Seabourn Goddess I & II. 

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Olympic Voyager Wins New Cruise Ship Award

PIRAEUS, Greece, May 14 - Royal Olympic Cruise Lines Inc. was the focus of attention last night when their new 28 knot Olympic Voyager was singled out at the prestigious Cruise and Ferry Awards 2001 as the most significant cruise ship newbuilding in the past two years. The event, which was hosted at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, saw the Olympic Voyager take the top prize amongst fierce competition for pioneering the fast cruise concept. Major competition for the award came from Royal Caribbean and Star Clippers. In total 41 finalists were short-listed for the 11 awards presented.

The panel of judges, who were chosen from such organizations as the International Maritime Organization, the Maritime Hotel Academy and the Royal Institute of Naval Architects, were industry professionals recognizing initiatives in design work, safety, environmental protection, technology and shipboard services.

The Olympic Voyager was built by the German shipyard Blohm+Voss and delivered to the company in June 2000.

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New Chief Executive Appointed at Royal Olympic Cruises

PIRAEUS, Greece, May 14 - Royal Olympic Cruise Lines Inc. announced today the appointment of John Pantazis as Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Pantazis holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, with special emphasis on marketing and finance and a BSc. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University, where he graduated with honors.

Mr. Pantazis' career has been almost exclusively in the hotel and cruise industries. In 1989 he was appointed Vice President Development for Meridien Hotels in the Paris head office, before becoming Vice President Sales and Marketing in Abu Dhabi, responsible for the marketing and sales of ten Meridien hotels throughout the Middle East. He moved to the Amathus Group in Cyprus in 1994, where he was General Manager of the Aviation Division, before being promoted to Chief Executive Officer of the Group, which includes three luxury hotels, as well as Aviation, Shipping and Tourism Divisions. Since May 2000, Mr. Pantazis has worked for the Louis Group in Cyprus, where he was General Manager Development of Louis Hotels, before being appointed Chief Executive Officer of Louis Cruise Lines in November 2000, a position he left to join Royal Olympic Cruises.

In announcing the new appointment, Harry Haralambopoulos, Chairman of the Board, stated: "We are extremely pleased that Mr. Pantazis will be joining the Company as Chief Executive, as he brings with him a wealth of experience in the hotel and cruise businesses and, having graduated so successfully from both Harvard and Cornell, will also bring management practices that will greatly assist the Company in achieving its stated commitment to continuously improve the cruise product offered to its passengers and to increase future profitability.''

Royal Olympic Cruises is the largest cruise operator in the Eastern Mediterranean, owning and operating a fleet of eight overnight cruise ships.

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Cruise ship discharges gray water at Juneau dock

ANCHORAGE, May 14, 2001 -- Gray water, the wastewater that comes from sinks and showers, was discharged from a cruise ship in Juneau when a valve malfunctioned, the Coast Guard said yesterday. 

The discharge occurred Saturday evening after passengers returned to the ship and were freshening up and taking showers. It was caused by a portside valve that failed to close all the way, said Petty Officer Christopher Grisafe. 

A person walking by the Westerdam noticed that water near the ship had an odd color and odor and called the Coast Guard and the ship at about 6:30 p.m. The crew used a strong bar to close the valve. The Coast Guard said it was impossible to know how much gray water was discharged. Holland America Line, owner of the ship, estimated the discharge at 30 to 100 gallons. 

The ship notified the Coast Guard about the problem. Investigators boarded the 757-foot ship at about 9 p.m. The Westerdam, which has a capacity of 1,494 passengers, was allowed to continue on to Skagway.  

The discharge was the second to occur near the start of Alaska's cruise-ship season, which underscores the need for a state law to regulate the industry, said Michele Brown, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Both incidents were reported by the ships. 

"I think that this industry needs to come to grips with improving its management practices to prevent problems," Brown said. "We have no idea what is going on on the other vessels."  

Legislation giving the state authority to establish its own standards and monitoring program for cruise-ship pollution did not make it through the Legislature this session. It had passed the House but was stalled in a Senate committee when the Legislature adjourned last week. Gov. Tony Knowles has called a special session next Monday to address the issue. 

A law brokered by U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, and passed by Congress last year bans the discharge of raw sewage in Alaskan waters and sets numerical standards for treated sewage. It also creates the possibility of such standards for gray water. It bars discharge of gray water and sewage less than a mile from shore or at a speed of less than 6 knots. 

Earlier this month, the Coast Guard investigated the dumping of treated sewage from the cruise ship Norwegian Sky, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. 

The Coast Guard is pursuing civil penalties in both cases. Lt. Cmdr. Joe Paitl said Seattle-based Holland America could be fined $25,000 for Saturday's discharge. 

Holland America spokesman Erik Elvejord said the company was sorry that the discharge occurred. 

Before the start of this season, ship captains and staff were briefed about changes in Alaska operations because of the Murkowski bill, Elvejord said.  

Two of Holland America's six ships operating in Alaska waters have new treatment systems that produce wastewater with quality comparable to drinking water. The goal is to have all six ships outfitted by next year. 

"I do think there are things being done to improve operations in Alaska," Elvejord said. 

By Mary Pemberton
The Associated Press

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Renaissance Cruises Offers Once-in-a-Lifetime Tour of
 St. Petersburg’s “The Hermitage”

Experience The World Famous Collection of the Czars Without the Crowds

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 14, 2001 – Renaissance Cruises announced today that passengers traveling this summer on its Northern Europe and Scandinavia sailings with stops in St. Petersburg, Russia will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour “The Hermitage” museum on a special Renaissance Cruises shore excursion.

By special arrangement, Renaissance Cruises guests will be allowed into The Hermitage prior to the official opening to the general public. They will have an opportunity to explore the collections without the crowds normally associated with this world-renowned museum.

“It is a particular pleasure for us to be able to offer our cruise guests the opportunity to tour The Hermitage museum, a traditional highlight for visitors to St. Petersburg,” said Charlie Dunwoody, Renaissance Cruises’ Vice-President of Sales. “We are committed to offering outstanding shore excursions and exotic destinations to today’s sophisticated travelers. This summer, Renaissance Cruises guests will have the special privilege of viewing some of the world’s most impressive works of art without braving the usual crowds.”

Housed in the Winter Place, The Hermitage contains more than 2.7 million remarkable artistic masterpieces and fascinating artifacts in over 400 halls, including Peter the Great’s Throne Room and room after room of art treasures by great masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyck.

There are also rooms of classical antiquities and exhibits too numerous to name. Passengers on Renaissance Cruises’ “The Hermitage Tour” can join in a special guided tour to view some of the museum’s highlights, or leave the group to explore at their own pace.

Renaissance Cruises’ exclusive “The Hermitage Tour” is a half-day excursion and is available for purchase onboard select summer sailings.

Renaissance Cruises’ recently announced “The Great Gift Sail,” which for a limited time allows two to sail for the price of one, makes this the best time ever to see The Hermitage or experience one of Renaissance Cruises’ remarkable itineraries to Northern Europe or Scandinavia.

Renaissance Cruises’ Northern Europe and Scandinavia itineraries include a variety of 12 to 15-day sailings on the brand-new R6, R7, and R8. The ships will visit fascinating port cities that include St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; Oslo, Norway; Dublin, Ireland; and Amsterdam, Netherlands. Prices begin from $2,299 per person (port charges included) and low rates on international air are available upon request.

Renaissance Cruises distinguishes itself from other cruise lines with its extraordinary destinations and Five Star service, on the youngest fleet in the cruise industry. The readers of Travel + Leisure magazine named Renaissance Cruises one of the top three large cruise lines in the world. The Company’s R-Class ships have also received top marks in CruiseReports’ annual “Top of the Class” rankings. Renaissance Cruises offers year-round itineraries to the Greek Isles, Tahiti and her Islands, Africa, Asia, Northern Europe and Scandinavia, South America, New Zealand and Australia, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean on eight brand new 684/698-passenger R-Class ships and two 114-passenger Renaissance-Class ships. The recent launch of the latest R-Class ship, R8, brings Renaissance Cruises’ total capacity to 5,742 berths and secures the company's place as the fifth largest cruise line company in the world.

To book a Renaissance Cruises’ vacation, travelers should see their Professional Travel Agent or call 1-800-525-5350.

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MIAMI, May 14, 2001 - Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today it has commenced marketing a proposed offering of 20-year zero-coupon convertible senior notes for gross proceeds of $300 million. In connection with the offering, Royal Caribbean has granted to the underwriter an over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional $45 million in aggregate principle amount of notes.  The notes would be convertible into Royal Caribbean common stock if the market price of the shares reached specified thresholds.  This issue is being underwritten by Banc of America Securities LLC.  The Company expects the transaction to be accretive to earnings for the near-term future.

Net proceeds from the offering will be used by the Company for general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures.  The security is being offered as part of a shelf registration statement previously filed and declared effective with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Copies of the prospectus relating to the offering can be obtained from Banc of America Securities LLC, 9 West 57th Street, 40th Floor, New York, New York 10019.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Celebrity Tours.  Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have a combined total of 21 ships in service and 8 under construction or on firm order.  Royal Celebrity Tours operates cruise-tour vacations in Alaska utilizing the world's largest glass-domed railcars.  Additional information can be found on, or

Certain statements in this news release are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results, performances or achievements to differ materially from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements.  Such factors include the company's stock price, interest rates, and other factors described in further detail in Royal Caribbean's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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