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Cruise News
May 1-31, 2008

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“Steps for Charity”: Walking the Atlantic for the Children’s Bereavement Center

May 31 -- What do happy voyagers do on a SeaDream Yacht Club transatlantic passage? Well, recently when the twin mega-yacht cruisers SeaDream I and II both headed eastward from the Caribbean to Europe for their regular summer seasons, guests aboard enjoyed a wide range of pleasures. They wined and dined superbly; slept soundly at night, partook of stimulating conversation with their sailing mates, read best-sellers, snoozed in the afternoon shade--and took long and invigorating walks.

Long walks? Yes, walks as long as 26 miles, or 416 laps around the SeaDream twins’ outdoor Deck Six. Here’s the math: 16 laps around Deck Six equals one mile. What was that all about? The long walks turned out to be the brilliant idea of James Cabello, Club and Activities Director on SeaDream II, and his counterpart Richard Jones on SeaDream I. Over the past few years on previous Atlantic crossings guests asked Cabello and Jones to lead them in walks around the yacht. They recalled other sailings when the activities directors led them on walks ashore to see the local sights and to get some exercise. The difference on the Atlantic crossing was that the local sights would be blue sky, blue water with occasional glimpses of flying fish, porpoises, dolphin and maybe a freighter on the horizon.

The two communicated and agreed that the deck walks were not only a good idea but that they needed some sort of “cause” to round out the idea. Just a few weeks earlier a charity event for the non-profit Children’s Bereavement Center of Miami was held aboard SeaDream II in the Caribbean just prior to her transatlantic deployment. It was at that time that the “Steps for Charity” idea developed “legs” so to speak.

Mindy Cassel, Executive Director of CBC takes up the story: “While we were enjoying ourselves on SeaDream II we showed our guests a short film about a father and daughter who attended CBC following a tragic loss in their family. The crew was so touched by the work we are doing they decided to become our ambassadors and the idea for “Steps for Charity” was born.”

Soon, SeaDream’s Miami office picked up the philanthropic cause. As it happens, CBC is a long favored charity of co-owners of Larry Pimentel, SeaDream President and CEO, and Atle Brynestad, Chairman--both of whom have children who lost a parent. Larry Pimentel serves on the CBC Executive Board.

The idea was that walkers on the Atlantic crossings aboard both yachts were invited to contribute whatever they chose and the resultant funds would go to the CBC. SeaDream management stepped in and said it would match those guest walkers’ donations thereby doubling the figure. To cap it off, it was agreed that for each walker who reached 26 miles circling Deck Six, SeaDream would add another $26--a double incentive; more exercise and more money for CBC.

By the time SeaDream I and II had reached their first European ports recently SeaDream I and II reported that more than 35 guests and crew on both yachts had participated--many of whom had walked the suggested 26 miles for the SeaDream bonus. After the management matching funds the Children’s Bereavement Center received $10,000.00.

Sometimes a great notion--in this case “Steps for Charity” as the walks were called--leads to a good effort for a good cause.

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Royal Caribbean Announces Winter Cruises to Australia, Asia & Europe

MIAMI, May 29 – From boomerangs to chopsticks to maracas, vacationers can match a travel accessory for each of the 59 Royal Caribbean sailings announced today for 2009-10. Vacationers have extensive options for cruises in Australia, Asia, the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean, ranging from three- to 18-night itineraries, aboard one of three Royal Caribbean ships. Brilliance of the Seas will continue its second year-round deployment in Europe in 2010 from Malaga, Spain. Rhapsody of the Seas will embark on its third season in the South Pacific and Australia, and Legend of the Seas will sail Royal Caribbean’s third consecutive winter season in Southeast Asia. Bookings for these cruises open this week.

“From among nearly 1,100 sailings in the 2009-10 season so far, with calls at more than 240 ports in 72 countries, vacationers will continue to have a wide selection of vacation options beyond the Caribbean with Royal Caribbean International,” said Alice Norsworthy, senior vice president, Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “Guests can choose sailings on some of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to some of the most exotic destinations. On the Australia and New Zealand voyages, guests also can enhance their vacations by choosing a cruisetour add-on program.”

Pre- and post-cruise cruisetours enhance guests’ vacations with prearranged itineraries to explore attractions found inland. A five-night Australia cruisetour itinerary begins in Sydney and features the Great Barrier Reef from the seaside town of Port Douglas and the magnificent natural formations at Ayers Rock. On a six-night New Zealand itinerary, guests explore Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown, cruise Milford Sound, and conclude with an evening in Sydney. All Royal Caribbean International cruisetours are escorted by regional specialists, and include deluxe hotel accommodations, activities, air and land transfers, certain meals, and time for individual pursuits.

Rhapsody of the Seas will return to the “Land Down Under” from September 2009 through April 2010, offering 17 voyages to Hawaii, the South Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand. Highlights include:

* Itineraries ranging from eight to 18 nights, calling at a total of 39 ports in six countries.
* An option to combine two cruises into a 35-night Australia odyssey. Rhapsody will circumnavigate the continent in November 2009 and again in late February 2010, each time sailing a 17-night northern coast passage from Sydney to Perth and an 18-night southern coast return passage.
* Two trans-Pacific crossings, each comprising two segments. On the Hawaii and Sydney segment at the beginning and end of the season, guests will call at four French Polynesian ports, including a maiden call at Raiatea.

From January through April 2010, Brilliance of the Seas will continue to offer Europe cruise options for the winter season, offering 16 round-trip sailings from Malaga on alternating seven-night itineraries to the Canary Islands and the Western Mediterranean.

Legend of the Seas returns to Asia in October 2009 for its second season, offering 19 sailings, ranging from three- to 15-night itineraries, calling at a total of 21 ports in 11 countries:

* Of particular interest for North American vacationers, a 15-night Exotic Asia itinerary on January 28, 2010, sailing from Singapore to Hong Kong will feature overnight stays in Singapore; Bangkok (Laemchabang), Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City (Vung Tau) and Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam; and Hong Kong.
* Vacationers also can choose one or both segments of Legend’s repositioning from the Mediterranean: a 12-night itinerary from Rome to Dubai departing October 23, 2009, and a 13-night itinerary from Dubai to Singapore departing November 4, 2009, featuring a transit through the Suez Canal and overnights in Dubai, Bombay (Mumbai), and Singapore.

Royal Caribbean guests enjoy the line’s award-winning Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions, multiple onboard bars, lounges and discos throughout the ship, and Vegas-style gaming in the Casino Royale. The ships’ onboard Day Spa also offers a full range of rejuvenating treatments, and the adults-only Solarium pool provides a more relaxing environment. On international sailings, guests also enjoy select popular food, beverage and entertainment options found in the region of their cruise. Younger cruisers will laugh and learn in the line’s top-rated Adventure Ocean kids program, with teen-only spaces fleetwide. Families also can stay in and order room service – always complimentary 24 hours a day – and catch a popular on-demand movie. Throughout their stay, every guest will enjoy Royal Caribbean’s Gold Anchor standard of friendly and engaging service from staff and crew. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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Dozens of Musicians Jazz Up Crystal's Fall Mexican Riviera Cruise

LOS ANGELES, May 29 -- More than two dozen jazz legends and contemporary jazz artists will dazzle music lovers aboard Crystal Cruises 2008 Jazz voyage this fall. With a complement of talent to rival the hottest shore side festivals, Crystal Symphony will depart roundtrip from Los Angeles November 30, 2008, on a seven-day musical journey to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The acclaimed Harry Allen Quartet, Pieter Meijers Quartet, Bob Wilber Quintet and a variety of solo headliners will fill the ship with the swinging sounds of jazz in the classic styles of the '30s, '40s, and '50s, with more than six jazz pianists, eight brass musicians and seven on drums and strings.

Among the 24 featured performers are Grammy Award-winning instrumentalist Bob Wilbur, noted for arranging Hollywood film scores including Francis Ford Coppola's "The Cotton Club", renowned saxophonist Harry Allen who has performed with Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, and James Taylor, acclaimed vocalist and award-winning bass player Nicki Parrott and jazz pianist Johnny Varro whose music is informed by five decades of playing with the greatest names in the jazz world. Also scheduled is guest lecturer Loren Schoenberg, a fixture in the jazz world for his encyclopedic knowledge of jazz and author of The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Jazz.

"The amount of high-caliber talent and the breadth of Crystal Symphony's intimate performance venues make this an exceptionally rich opportunity for jazz fans," says Bret Bullock, Crystal Cruises' vice president of entertainment.

The jazz programming was created in partnership with respected Jazzdagen Tours and is timed to coincide with the San Diego Jazz Festival.

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Highly Anticipated Celebrity Solstice Extends Inaugural Season

MIAMI, May 29 – Celebrity Solstice, widely heralded as the most exciting ship entering the market even before it launches, has introduced three additional sailings for cruisers to enjoy during its inaugural season this year. Celebrity Solstice now will enter service with a Thanksgiving cruise, Nov 23, 2008, three weeks prior to its previously announced date of Dec 14, followed by two additional 7-night Caribbean cruises. Each new seven-night cruise – Nov 23, Nov 30 and Dec 7, 2008 – will present the same itinerary, departing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, with visits to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and Basseterre, St. Kitts.

Acknowledging that some guests booked on Celebrity Solstice’s original maiden voyage of Dec 14 may wish to switch to the new maiden voyage, Celebrity has established a two-week rebooking window from today through June 12. During that time, guests booked on the Dec 14 sailing will have the opportunity to transition to the Nov 23 cruise without penalty, in the same stateroom or suite as originally booked, at the original fare. Guests encountering air-change fees as a result of opting to switch will be reimbursed for those fees up to $100 per person, provided acceptable proof of fees is presented to Celebrity by Jan 31, 2009. Bookings for the Nov 23 sailing will be open exclusively to guests booked on the Dec 14 cruise until June 12, when the special two-week rebooking period ends. Bookings for the November 30 and December 7 sailings open today.

Guests on every sailing of Celebrity Solstice will experience a series of brand-defining, first-in-the-industry features onboard, including a half-acre Lawn Club with real grass, a glassblowing show and studio developed with The Corning Museum of Glass. Guests also will experience unrivaled dining venues offering trendsetting cuisine and design, and widely varied entertainment, including new theater productions in partnership with Poet Theatricals. The 2,850-guest vessel also will have staterooms 15 percent larger than those on previous Celebrity ships, 90 percent of which will be outside, and 85 percent of all staterooms will have verandas.

Celebrity Cruises' current fleet will be joined by Celebrity Solstice in 2008, Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, and a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111, or visit

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Sydney, Samoa, Surfing & Scenery: Celebrity Cruises Announces Third Season in Australia/New Zealand, Hawaii & the South Pacific

MIAMI, May 28 – Cruise enthusiasts seeking a vacation experience that pairs the delights of a “downunder” vacation with outstanding onboard service need look no further than Celebrity Cruises’ third season of Australia/New Zealand, Hawaii and South Pacific sailings. In the winter of 2009-2010, Celebrity will offer 14 sailings in the region, visiting a total of 33 ports in eight countries. Guests wishing to extend their vacation also may take advantage of a five-night pre- or post-voyage cruisetour in Australia. Celebrity’s 2009-10 Australia/New Zealand/Hawaii/South Pacific sailings opened for sale today.

Departing from Vancouver, British Columbia; Honolulu, Hawaii; Auckland, New Zealand; and Sydney, Australia, all of Celebrity’s 2009-10 Australia/New Zealand sailings are scheduled to take place on the 2,038-guest Celebrity Millennium, the same ship that will sail there later this year. The 2009-10 season also includes the brand’s only Hawaii departures. The season’s highlights include:

--Calls at five ports new to Celebrity Cruises: Vila, Vanuatu; Apia, Samoa; Pago Pago, American Samoa; Noumea, New Caledonia; and Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand
Itineraries ranging from 11 to 19 nights
--Ten Australia/New Zealand cruises ranging from 12 to 16 nights, sailing between Auckland and Sydney
--A special 16-night Christmas and New Year’s sailing from Auckland to Sydney, departing December 20, 2009, which includes Celebrity’s first passage through the Marlborough Sounds
--Overnight, in-port stays in Sydney or Melbourne on most sailings, including a two-night in-port stay at the start of the February 27, 2010 sailing
--A five-night pre- or post-voyage cruisetour option in Australia, including one night in Sydney, two nights in Ayers Rock, including a “Sounds of Silence” dinner and a tour of Olgas, and two nights in Port Douglas, including a Great Barrier Reef Cruise and Hartley’s Croc Adventure; the package includes deluxe hotel accommodations, all transfers, intra-Australia flights, breakfasts and several other meals, and is 100% escorted
--Two South Pacific sailings, both of which spend three days in French Polynesia’s Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora
--A 19-night sailing from Sydney to Honolulu, featuring Celebrity’s first visits to Vila, Apia, Pago Pago and Noumea
--A 15-night repositioning cruise from Honolulu to Vancouver on April 9, 2010, that features visits to six Hawaiian ports, including an overnight, in-port stay in Lahaina, Maui, as well as visits to San Francisco, California, Seattle, Washington, and Victoria, British Columbia.

Guests can make the most of their experience by booking Celebrity’s shore excursions. These in-port experiences include offerings such as the following:

--“Wine, Cheese and Oysters” in Hobart, Tasmania, where guests visit the Coal Valley Vineyard for a tasting and an informative session on oyster farming and tasting before traveling to Meadowbank Wines for a wine and cheese tasting
--“Sydney Bridgeclimb and The Rocks” in Sydney, where guests make a once-in-a-lifetime climb up Sydney Bridge and enjoy the view before visiting “The Rocks,” Sydney’s oldest village known for its pioneering settlers
--"Deluxe Tranz Alpine Tour" in Christchurch, New Zealand, where guests board the Tranz Alpine Express and experience views of mountain peaks, rain forests and gorges where traveling, with tea service, to the alpine village of Arthur's Pass, the highest point on the road in the Southern Alps before enjoying lunch and traveling back through rich farmland and visiting several other attractions
--“Leading Wineries of Hawkes Bay” in Napier, New Zealand, which gives guests a tour through New Zealand’s leading wine-producing region, including visits at three wineries
--“Volcano, Lavender, Wine and Cheese Sensation” in Lahaina, which takes guests on an interactive adventure aboard a limo-van that visits Haleakala rater, Ali’I Kula Lavender Garden, Tedeschi Vineyards and Surfing Goat Dairy
--“Pearl Harbor VIP Military Base Tour” in Honolulu, which takes guests to the USS Arizona Memorial, Wheeler Field, the “Pineapple Pentagon,” Fort Shaffer, and the Home of the Brave Museum.

Celebrity Cruises encourages cruise enthusiasts to visit for more information.

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Azamara Cruises Set to Amaze in Asia in 2009-10

MIAMI, May 28 – A popular song may have touted the allure of “one night in Bangkok,” but cruise enthusiasts who want more than one night in the region will delight in Azamara Cruises’ overnight-rich offerings for 2009-10. Azamara will offer a series of 14- to 18-night Southeast and Northeast Asian voyages and two 24-night repositioning cruises, each featuring two to six in-port overnight stays. Azamara also will offer guests the opportunity to spend seven nights in China on a cruisetour before or after their sailing. Azamara’s Asia bookings are open.

Azamara Quest, the 694-guest ship that underwent a $19-million makeover before its 2007 launch, will stay overnight in 10 ports during its Asia season: Bangkok, Thailand; Danang, Vietnam; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, Vietnam; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Hong Kong, China; Mumbai, India; Shanghai, China; Singapore; and Tianjin, China. Azamara Quest also will make day visits to 11 other ports, bringing the season’s total ports to 21, in a total of 13 countries. Three ports will be new to the brand: Nagasaki, Japan; Phuket, Thailand; and Taipei, Taiwan.

Additional highlights of the season include:
--Cruises from three homeports: Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.
--A special 18-night Christmas and New Year’s voyage from December 22, 2009, to January 9, 2010, which overnights in six different ports, including two nights in Bangkok.
--An alternating pattern of 14-night Southeast Asia sailings between Hong Kong and Singapore in January and February 2010; these feature a day call in Danang and three overnights on every voyage, plus additional overnights in Bangkok and Ha Long Bay on the northbound itinerary, and an additional day call at Sihanoukville, Cambodia and a three-day call at Bangkok on the southbound itinerary.
--A one-time Northeast Asia sailing from Hong Kong to Shanghai on March 6, featuring overnights in Hong kong, Shanghai and Beijing, as well as visits to Taipei and Nagasaki.
--The opportunity to experience Azamara Quest for 24 nights on two repositioning cruises between Athens, Greece, and Singapore, each featuring overnight stays in Dubai and Mumbai as well as a visit to Phuket.
--New dock locations in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Long Bay, bringing guests closer to the cities via docks that are inaccessible to larger ships.

--“Essence of Cambodia” – A three-day shore excursion in Sihanoukville featuring intensive visits to the famed Angkor Wat.
--“Cu Chi Tunnels” – A day visit to Ho Chi Minh City’s extensive underground network of tunnels that were used by Vietnamese soldiers to remain unseen by their enemies.
--“Shanghai Classic Tour” – An in-depth city tour featuring visits to the Jade Buddha Temple, the Bund (Shanghai’s most famous thoroughfare), the Yu Garden and Old Town.
--“Kyoto Experience” – A day tour to the former capital of Japan, featuring stops at shrines and temples preserved through World War II.
--"Morning Refresh in Lumpini Park" – An opportunity to join the locals in Bangkok for some early-morning Tai Chi in a popular park.
--"Asian Cooking Experience" – Multiple excursions offering firsthand instruction and experience in preparing highly intriguing cuisines such as those of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Guests who wish to extend their Azamara experience in Asia can do so by adding a seven-night land-based cruisetour in China, either before or after their cruise. The package includes the following:
--Three nights in Beijing, accompanied by tours of the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City, as well as a Peking Duck dinner.
--Two nights in Xian, featuring visits to the Terracotta Warriors Museum and the Shaanxi Provincial Museum.
--One night in Guilin, including an outing to the Sound and Lights show and a cruise on the River Li.
--One night in Hong Kong, featuring a sightseeing tour.
--Deluxe hotel accommodations in every city.
--Complete accompaniment by a tour guide.
--All transfers and intra-tour flights.
--Daily breakfast and several other meals.

Travel enthusiasts are encouraged to visit for more information.

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See Alaska Through The Eyes of a Native: Holland America Line Ships Feature Travel Guides

Seattle, WA, May 28 -- Cruisers on all Holland America Line ships bound for Alaska in 2008 will see and hear about their surroundings from an expert--an Alaskan Travel Guide. New this year are Alaska Native Travel Guides on Glacier-Bay bound ships. Through a partnership with Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska Native guides will be on board the majority of Alaska cruises on ships cruising in Glacier Bay--114 sailings in 2008.

"We are very pleased at how this program has evolved," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest relations. "Our guests visiting Glacier Bay will enjoy having an Alaska Native guide on board the full cruise to provide another perspective on the land they're visiting."

Alaska Native Travel Guides will bring their knowledge and personal experience of local culture, history, art and flora and fauna to guests on Alaskan cruises. They will give six to seven presentations over the course of the weeklong cruise. Topics include wildlife, gold rush dreams, volcanoes and glaciers, Alaska's early explorers and native
people. They will provide narration throughout the trip, sell artwork by Alaska Natives, be on hand to answer questions and interact with guests one-on-one.

In addition to the Alaska Travel Guides, a Tlingit cultural interpreter from Hoonah will board ships at Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and explain the origins of the Huna people. They will give presentations on native life and culture in the region and be available for discussions with guests. National Park Rangers are also an important part of the Alaska interpretive program and will continue to board all ships in Glacier Bay National Park and Hubbard Glacier for narration and presentations. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Norwegian Majesty Rescues Fishing Boat Crew Off South Carolina Coast

On Saturday, May 24, 2008 at approximately 4 pm, Norwegian Majesty departed from Charleston, South Carolina for its scheduled seven-day cruise to Bermuda, but changed its course approximately two and a half hours into the sailing after receiving a distress call from a fishing boat.

Mark Harold, the captain of the 24-foot fishing boat “Not On Call,” sent out several distress calls with no response for hours. The boat departed from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and was caught in a violent storm about 30 miles from shore. After battling the storm for hours, the boat began to run out of fuel and he feared that the ship would capsize once the fuel ran out and the engine shut down. In addition, it was getting dark.

Hope returned to the crew when Norwegian Majesty answered their distress call and changed its course to assist. At approximately 7:30 pm, Norwegian Majesty arrived alongside the boat and all four men were rescued after they climbed up the pilot ladder on the starboard side. At approximately 8:00 pm., with all four men safe on the ship, Norwegian Majesty continued on its voyage toward St. Georges, Bermuda.

Once on board, Harold and his three crew members Michael Cease, Greg Stevenson and Allan Narowski were given hot coffee and towels. Their clothes were laundered and they have been enjoying the cruise which reached Bermuda today at approximately 2 pm. The men are expected to disembark and return to their homes in South Carolina.

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Outdoor Adventures Highlight New Tours For Crystal's
New England/Canada Fall Season

LOS ANGELES, May 27 - A helicopter adventure over the vast landscape of Gros Morne National Park, nine holes at the Fairmont Algonquin Golf Course and a kayaking expedition that ends with a beach site lobster bake, are a few of 26 brand new Crystal Adventures shore excursions offered for Crystal Cruises' 2008 New England and Canada itineraries. More than 100 tours in all, including many new outdoor options, are available with four 10- and 11-day itineraries aboard Crystal Symphony from Sept 16 through Oct 29. Sailing between New York and Montréal, the cruises include a maiden call at Corner Brook Newfoundland, and visits to such perennial favorite destinations as Newport; Boston, Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia and Quebec City. A golf-themed itinerary sails from Montréal to New York on September 27.

"New England's rich history and the region's stunning fall landscape are major attractions for travelers within the U.S. as well as abroad," said John Stoll, director, land programs. "Adding to the itineraries' diversity are French Canada's flair and the traditions of the maritime provinces. Our outdoor and culturally enriching options are designed to engage guests in the region's charm and beauty."

New excursions run the gamut from culturally fascinating to adventurous, including:

America's Cup Sailing Experience in Newport - Aboard your private vessel, the helpful crew show you the workings of these "greyhounds of the seas." Participate in sailing, or if you prefer, sit back and relax, enjoying picturesque Narragansett Bay.

Riding the Reversing Rapids in Saint John - Jet across the churning water, glimpsing powerful, swirling whirlpools and seeing towering waves along the way.

Picture Perfect Newport: A Photographer's Expedition - A professional photographer will offer tips on taking compelling photos of "America's First Resort" with this photography expedition.

Halifax Schooner Cruise: A Swashbuckling Adventure - During your at-sea adventure on a top sail schooner, and replica of the privateer schooners that once sailed from Halifax for fame and fortune, help fire off one of the four black powder canons, hoist the sails or steer the ship.

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

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Cruise West's Pacific Northwest & British Columbia Cruise Explores Wilderness, Noteworthy Towns & Cities

SEATTLE, May 27 -- Cruise West, the leading small-ship cruise line offering journeys throughout the Pacific Ocean, sails along the coasts of British Columbia and Washington state on the 2008/2009 Pacific Northwest Coastal Escape itinerary. The voyage will visit quaint ports, bustling cities, and remarkable wilderness that have changed little since Captain George Vancouver first set foot in the area. The eight-day, seven-night Pacific Northwest Coastal Escape cruise, with departure dates of Sept 21, 28 and Oct 5, 12, 2008 and April 19, 26 and May 3, 2009 will sail on the 102-guest Spirit of Endeavour. Cruising round trip from Seattle, ports of call will include: Nanaimo, "The Harbour City"; Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park, considered one of the most beautiful cruising areas in British Columbia; Victoria; and historic Port Townsend known for its Victorian architecture.

Guests are offered a variety of adventures, such as walking the paths at renowned Butchart Gardens; exploring the majestic Puget Sound in search of wildlife and sea life; and optional excursions including kayaking and High Tea at the Victoria Empress Hotel. Guests will also enjoy cultural and educational experiences unique to the Pacific Northwest. Highlights include: admiring cultural history and art of the Coast Salish people including totem poles and carving demonstrations at the Capilano Suspension Bridge; an exclusive Aeolian pipe organ recital by renowned Christopher Peacock at Rosario Resort; and viewing the stunning reflection of the more than 3,000 lights off the water from the Parliament Building in Victoria.

The Pacific Northwest Coastal Escape offers the Exploration Leaders Program, unique to the Cruise West experience, in which onboard experts provide guests with a wealth of insider knowledge and a passion for the history of the region. Guests on the itinerary will benefit from the insight of these leaders throughout their journey. For more information visit

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Royal Caribbean Selects Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas as the Names for Its Project Genesis Ships

MIAMI, May 23 -- An oasis is commonly defined as a fertile area in an arid region or a place of refuge, relief, or pleasant contrast. Today, Royal Caribbean International adds another use of the term, defining it as the official name for the cruise line's newest and most awe- inspiring class of cruise ships, until now referred to by the code name "Project Genesis." The name Oasis of the Seas was selected from more than 91,000 entries in Royal Caribbean's "Name that Ship" contest, which the cruise line launched on January 18. Entrants were invited to submit two names ending in "of the Seas" that best encapsulate the universe of experiences a Royal Caribbean cruise provides guests. The contest marks the first time members of the general public, outside of the cruise industry, have been given the opportunity to name a cruise ship.

The winning combination of names, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, was submitted by George Weiser, of Livonia, Michigan. Weiser's well-chosen names scored the highest among all contest entries considered by a panel of judges, and earned him the honor of naming not only the world's next largest and most innovative cruise ships, but the entire class of the new ships, the Oasis-class. Weiser is joined by Jennifer Conley, of Robertsville, Missouri, who suggested Mystique of the Seas and also Allure of the Seas. Conley is also a winner in the naming contest for earning the second-highest score.

"Our customers are remarkably passionate about Royal Caribbean," said Adam Goldstein, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "This naming contest has been a fantastic expression of their interest and commitment. We are thrilled to announce these two names and grateful to USA Today for partnering with us."

The "Name that Ship" contest was judged by a panel of industry experts including Lauren Teton, founding partner of Name One!, which specializes in finding unique names for products and business entities; John Maxtone-Graham, maritime historian, lecturer and author of numerous books, including the latest, "Normandie: France's Legendary Art Deco Ocean Liner"; and Albert Mehrabian, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA and author of more than 14 books, including "Baby Name Report Card: Beneficial and Harmful Baby Names."

"Taking into account the remarkable sea-going destination Oasis of the Seas will be, the name selection evokes an appropriate feeling of verdant comfort and luxury," said John Maxtone-Graham, maritime historian. "I was very pleased with the final selection and for being invited to take part in the contest."

When launched in late 2009, Oasis of the Seas will be the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. An architectural marvel at sea, she will span 16 decks, encompass 220,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,400 guests, and feature 2,700 staterooms. The ship will homeport in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 2010, she will be joined by a sister ship, Allure of the Seas. Additional information is available at

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Princess Cruises Showcases "The Heart of Alaska" with Unique Video Production

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 22 - "We are so lucky that we have Alaska ... everything is different here - it is all so unique." This view from Denali National Park Ranger Patrick Gamman is one of 12 Alaska voices featured in "The Heart of Alaska," a dramatic new video produced by Princess Cruises. This production has already received widespread praise from the film and travel communities, and has been honored with acceptance into two film festivals.

Shot exclusively by Princess in high-definition format to showcase the Princess cruisetour experience, "The Heart of Alaska" beautifully depicts the land, wildlife and people of Alaska, with interviews from some of the people who make the state unique, and who tell a compelling story of life in the untamed wilderness of Alaska's interior.

Available exclusively from Princess, the 26-minute film was photographed and directed by Princess Video Editor Scott Martin. Filmed over nine days last summer in Alaska, the production was coordinated by Becky Buxton, manager of Princess Tours in Alaska. The video will be shown on board Princess ships in Alaska and can be purchased on the ships and at Princess' five Alaska wilderness lodges. "The Heart of Alaska" is the first of a series of Princess videos taking a unique look at many of the company's destinations.

"The Heart of Alaska" has been accepted into the First Take Film Festival and the prestigious New York Independent Film & Video Festival, where it will compete this summer in the best documentary category. "We wanted to create something that really captures the spirit of this extraordinary destination, particularly the diverse people who make the state so unique," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "This is a unique production for us - it not only gives our guests a stunning look at so many aspects of this amazing place, it does so in brilliant high definition. We believe that this new view of the Great Land easily outshines the quality of the traditional Alaska travelogue."

The documentary offers a unique introduction to the wonders of the state as it is seen through the eyes of Alaskans. Viewers will meet rangers from both Denali and Wrangell St. Elias National Parks, Alaska natives, homesteaders and dog mushers who share an insiders' perspective of life in the 49th state. Other voices include a bush pilot, a captain from Fairbanks' iconic riverboat and a mountain climber. The film also brings the audience up close to the wildlife of Denali National Park, including bears, moose, dall sheep, and caribou. Soaring photography takes viewers high above the world's tallest peaks, including 'The Great One,' Mt. McKinley.

"The Heart of Alaska" tells its story through many Alaskan voices, each with a unique perspective on life in the state. Among the observations shared on screen are:

"Being Alaskan to me means being connected to everything around you. My dad had always told me that people live the way the land tells them to - they follow the rhythm of the waters that they're nearest." - Alaska Native Quentin Simeon.
"We have glaciers the size of states - the Malaspina Glacier is the size of Rhode Island" - Wrangell St. Elias National Park Ranger Kelly L. Vandenberg.
"It is quite a humbling place because we quickly realize just how small we are in the scheme of things" - Mountain Climbing Guide Laurent Dick.
"People here do what they do - they don't retire. They have a lifestyle and they live it to their last day" - Homesteader Janel Porterfield.
"They teach me something constantly. No two days are alike when you live with 18 dogs" - Musher John C. Fowler.
"Still today when I see a moose alongside the road, I have to stop and look at it myself as if it's the first one I ever saw" - Wildlife Conservation Center Executive Director Mike Miller.

"The Heart of Alaska" video also includes special features on the Princess cruisetour program, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Inside Denali, and trailers for the Heart of Alaska. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Stars of Screen & Stage Headline Crystal's First "Theatre At Sea" Cruise

LOS ANGELES, May 22 - Some of the finest names in the theater and film worlds are joining forces to star in Crystal Cruises' brand new Theatre at Sea itinerary. Individual artists will perform throughout the 12-day "Italian Treasures" itinerary from Venice to Monte Carlo, departing September 12, 2008, aboard award-winning Crystal Serenity.

The roster of venerable actors, singers and musicians includes:

Lynn Redgrave - The Golden Globe-winning actress performs Nightingale, a captivating ancestral story from her five-generation theatrical family;
Gena Rowlands - The Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning actress presents her latest film, Broken Promises, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival;
Patricia Neal - The Academy Award-winning actress performs her acclaimed play, As I am, chronicling her remarkable life;
Lucy Arnaz and Laurence Luckinbill - Performing together, the theatrical duo presents songs from Arnaz's cabaret show and scenes from Luckinbill's plays;
Florence Henderson - The Brady Bunch star presents An Evening with Florence Henderson, a musical recounting of her stage, screen and television career;
Susannah York - The Academy Award-nominated actress presents her one-woman show, The Loves of Shakespeare's Women; and
Lee Roy Reams - Critically acclaimed for his Broadway role in The Producers, Mr. Reams presents a musical journey through the works of Jerry Herman, one of Broadway's finest composers.

"The slate of stars performing aboard Crystal's first Theatre at Sea cruise exemplifies the caliber of sophisticated cultural experiences that our guests treasure." says Bret Bullock, the line's vice president, entertainment.

Presented in partnership with the Theatre Guild, the Crystal Serenity itinerary calls in Dubrovnik, Croatia; Taormina, Sorrento, Rome, Florence and Elba, Italy, and ends with an overnight stay in Monte Carlo. For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Star Clippers Opens Bookings Through March 2010

MIAMI, May 20 -- Star Clippers has opened the books and is taking reservations on cruises through March 2010 aboard Star Clipper, Star Flyer and its flagship, Royal Clipper. The diverse itineraries take the three authentic clipper ships around the globe, with cruises in Tahiti, the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Far East and trans-Atlantic and Indian Ocean crossings. Schedules and pricing are posted at

"With the weakening dollar, more people are realizing the value of a cruise vacation," said Jack Chatham, president in the Americas for Star Clippers. "This, along with our history of getting solid advanced bookings, prompted us to open the books as soon as possible so our guests have enough time to plan their vacations and get their first choice of itinerary, cabin and date."

Tahiti sailings aboard Star Flyer explore tropical paradise
With its maiden season in Tahiti under way to rave reviews, Star Flyer will continue to sail 7-, 10- and 11-night round-trip Papeete, Tahiti, cruises through March 2010 (and beyond). Guests will enjoy breathtaking scenery and numerous opportunities to snorkel and dive in some of the most spectacular sites in the world. And shore excursions are designed to introduce guests to the fascinating culture and history of the Polynesian people. Ports of call on the year-round cruises include Huahine, Raiatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora, Cook Bay and Opunohu Bay (Moorea) in the Society Islands, and Fakarava and Tiputa (Rangiroa) in the Tuamotu Atolls.

Star Clipper sails to the wonders of the Far East and Mediterranean
From November 2008 through March 2009 and November 2009 through March 2010, Star Clipper will cruise in the Far East. The two different seven-night round-trip Phuket, Thailand, itineraries call at island jewels throughout Thailand and Malaysia. The Southern Route includes calls at Batong Group, Penang, Ko Lipe, Ko Khai Nok, Phang Nga/Ko Hong and Similan Islands, while the Northern Route includes Surin and Similan Islands, Hin Daeng/Ko Rok Nok, Ko Kraden, Phang Nga/Ko Khai Nok and Langkawi. The ship also will sail seven-night cruises between Singapore and Phuket.

The Mediterranean continues to be an increasingly popular destination, and Star Clipper will sail Greece and Turkey routes during summer 2009. The ship sails two different seven-night round-trip Athens, Greece, voyages, including stops at passenger favorites such as Rhodes, Mykonos and Santorini, Greece, as well as Bodrum and Kusadasi in Turkey. The 10- and 11-night itineraries sail between Athens and Venice, Italy, and call at ports throughout Greece and Croatia, as well as Kotor, Montenegro.

Royal Clipper sails to Caribbean and Mediterranean favorites
Royal Clipper continues to be the only ship in the fleet to offer Caribbean itineraries through 2010. Carrying just 227 passengers, the size of the ship allows the vessel to visit smaller ports that larger cruise ships cannot reach, making its itineraries some of Star Clippers' most popular.

Royal Clipper sails two different seven-night, round-trip Barbados itineraries from November through March. The Windward Islands itinerary features calls at St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, Iles des Saintes and Martinique. The Grenadine Islands itinerary includes calls at The Grenadines, Grenada, Tobago Cays, St. Vincent, Bequia, Martinique and St. Lucia.

During the summer, Royal Clipper will return to the western Mediterranean with seven-, 10- and 11-night itineraries. The seven-night cruises sail round-trip Civitavecchia (Rome) and highlight the best of Italy, including an evening sail past the still-active Stromboli volcano. The 10- and 11-night journeys that sail between Civitavecchia and Venice call at ports in Italy, Sicily, Montenegro, Greece and Croatia.

Ocean Crossings offer once-in-a-lifetime journey
For those who truly love the sailing experience while also visiting exciting destinations, Star Clippers is offering Ocean Crossings ranging from 16 to 37 nights. Trans-Atlantic journeys take Royal Clipper from Barbados to Malaga, Spain, and on to Rome in April 2009, and from Lisbon, Portugal, to Barbados in October 2009. The 37-night Indian Ocean crossings in March 2009 and October 2010 transit the Suez Canal and take Star Clipper between Phuket and Athens, calling at ports in Greece, Egypt, India and Sri Lanka.

Early bookings are strong for Star Clippers' 2008 sailing season, so guests are encouraged to reserve space early to avoid disappointment and ensure they get the cabin of their choice. To request a brochure, call toll-free (800) 442-0556. To make a reservation, contact a travel professional. For information, call Star Clippers at (800) 442-0551 or visit to view a video about the line or take a virtual tour of the Star Clippers ships.

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Majestic America Line Shows Commitment to Natural Resources and Wilderness

SEATTLE, May 20 -- Majestic America Line, one of the world's premier river cruise lines and the largest river and coastal cruising company in America, is proud to sign the Wilderness Best Management Practices Program for Tracy Arm and Ford Terror Wilderness. Alaska is well-known for being an unforgettable destination for visitors. Majestic America Line is committed to ensuring that the beauty and natural resources of the region are preserved for future generations.

With just 112 staterooms and suites, Empress of the North's intimate, small ship experience provides unique access to the vast wilderness and waterways of Alaska's Inside Passage while adhering to the guidelines set in the Wilderness Best Management Practices Program. A perk of cruising on a small ship with only 223 guests is that it has unique access to remote locations, like Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm.

All 2008 itineraries allow guests to explore up close the spectacular glaciers, natural wonders, the majestic grandeur of Alaska's endless forests, plummeting waterfalls, abundant wildlife, and the rich culture of America's last frontier.

About the Wilderness Best Management Practices Program:
-- Preserving Quiet: Operators recognize the importance of quiet and solitude and will minimize vessel announcements and signals while in Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. Certain signals and announcements are necessary and required by the US Coast Guard for navigational and safety reasons.
-- Maintaining Clean Air: All vessels agree to comply with the Marine Vessel Visible Emissions Standards (18 AAC 50-.070) and will take all available and reasonable steps to minimize visible stack emissions while in Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness.
-- Protecting Wildlife: Operators agree to conduct their business in a manner which, whenever possible avoids changing the natural behavior of wildlife in their vicinity including bears, whales, and nesting birds such as terns and oystercatchers. Harbor seals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act that prohibits activities that could injure or disturb seals by disrupting behavioral patterns.
-- Preserving Solitude: Operators recognize the importance of an authentic Alaskan experience of wilderness and agree to help preserve solitude through the following measures:
-- Endicott Arm: Vessels with more than 250 passengers agree not to schedule operations in Endicott Arm or Fords Terror Wilderness.
-- Fords Terror Wilderness: Operators of motorized vessels agree to minimize their speed and wake around paddlers, maintaining a safe and respectful distance. Paddlers acknowledge that use of the marine radio to announce their presence will assist motorized vessel operators in achieving these goals.
-- Schedules: Operators agree to share their schedules to help avoid crowding any particular destination in the Tracy Arm/Fords Terror Wilderness.
-- Keeping it Alive: Vessel operators agree to include these guidelines in annual training and respective policies and procedures documentation.

Empress of the North was built expressly for exploring the narrow passages and coastal inlets of Alaska. She has a shallow draft to allow exploration of secluded bays and maneuver close to shore. Empress of the North pays homage to the explorers that have traveled these waterways for hundreds of years with the ship's impressive three-story paddlewheel. In the spirit of a boutique hotel, every stateroom features elegant furnishings including rich mahogany wardrobes and luxurious velvet draperies. Guests enjoy five-star comfort, luxurious amenities and award-winning service; including decadent pillow-top mattresses, high thread-count linens and thick cotton towels. Empress of the North also offers exceptional live entertainment and elegant fine dining. For more information, contact a travel agent, call 1-800-434-1232 or visit

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Holland America Line's Culinary Arts Center Program Flourishes With More Than 70 Culinary Experts

SEATTLE, May 16 -- Taking chefs from kitchens and restaurants all around the country and placing them aboard Holland America Line ships, the line's Culinary Arts Center program continues to flourish. Since its inception four years ago, the program has nearly doubled with more than 70 culinary experts participating in the ongoing 2008 season including cookbook authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, on Holland America Line's new ms Eurodam.

"The Culinary Arts Center is a guest favorite," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "We will continue to expand the program and provide our guests with the culinary experiences that have made it such a success."

Holland America Line launched its innovative culinary program in 2005 with the installation of state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Centers aboard each of its premium ships offering culinary demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes. The line expanded the program by partnering with Food & Wine magazine to provide guests on select cruises the opportunity to experience demonstrations and seminars conducted by a wide diversity of culinary experts.

A new addition to the 2008 season is Eric Villegas, host of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series, Fork in the Road, who is scheduled to sail aboard the ms Veendam June 13-20th.

The Culinary Arts Program includes cookbook authors as well as wine and spirits experts such as master mixologists Christy Pope and Chad Solomon. Other participating chefs and experts in the continuing 2008 season include:

-- Sally Bernstein, Restaurant Critic and Culinary Educator (San Francisco) sailing on ms Zaandam June 8 -15.
-- Chef Gustav Mauler from Amsterdam-Dover sailing on ms Prinsendam July 3 -17.
-- Pichet Ongvasit of Copenhagen sailing on ms Rotterdam July 16 -28.
-- Johnny Iuzzini, Executive Pastry Chef, Jean Georges (NY) aboard ms Noordam July 26 - August 5.
-- Max McCalman of Artisanal Cheese (NY) sailing on ms Noordam August 5 -15.
-- Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of the "Ultimate" cookbook series sailing on ms Eurodam August 14 - 29.
-- Mark Frasier and Clark Gaier from Mediterranean (Venice) sail on ms Zuiderdam September 17 - 29.
-- James Mazzio, Executive Chef, Via (Denver, CO) and Food and Wine's Best New Chef 1999 sailing on ms Amsterdam September 19 - October 22.
-- Harold Dieterle, Perilla (NY) and Top Chef Season 1 Winner will be aboard ms Amsterdam October 22 - November 4.

In addition to partnering with Food & Wine to secure top experts, Holland America Line showcases its own culinary stars on more than 500 annual cruises with demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes given by the ships' executive chefs and culinary staff. The line's cookbook A Taste of Excellence, written by Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, offers guests preparation techniques for some of Holland America's most delectable dishes and lavish libations as part of the Culinary Arts Center experience.

A state-of-the-art "show kitchen at sea," the Culinary Arts Centers resemble the elaborate show kitchens used by celebrity chefs on television cooking programs. Each facility features a theater-style venue, with two large video screens to display overhead and close-up video views of food preparation, and a large cooking display counter where guests can learn from the masters. Culinary demonstrations also are filmed and aired on in-stateroom televisions. Holland America Line invested more than $13 million to create and install the Culinary Arts Center facilities on each of its ships as part of the Signature of Excellence initiative and has invested more than $425 million to date in product and service enhancements.

The newest ship to join the fleet, the 2,104-guest ms Eurodam, launches in July 2008 and will feature three new dining venues: Tamarind, the Asian restaurant; Canaletto, the Italian restaurant and Slice, an all-day pizza outlet.

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

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Carnival Expands Alaska Shore Excursions With New Tours
To Explore The ‘Last Frontier’

MIAMI, May 16 — Alaska is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations and Carnival Cruise Lines has expanded its shore excursion offerings in the “Last Frontier” with 10 exciting new tours that cater to adventure lovers and history buffs alike. Carnival’s summer 2008 lineup of new shore excursions includes everything from fascinating historical and cultural tours to glass-blowing demonstrations and a trip on one of the Bering Sea fishing boats from the reality program, “Deadliest Catch.” Carnival will offer more than 120 different shore excursion choices in total on its seven-day itineraries aboard the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit. Voyages depart northbound from Vancouver or southbound from Whittier/Anchorage, with each itinerary introducing guests to Alaska’s stunning beauty through scenic cruising opportunities.

“Alaska is an incredibly diverse and naturally beautiful region where we can offer a wide variety of excursions that are unique to only that part of the world, “ said Mico Cascais, Carnival’s vice president of tour operations. “Today’s cruisers want more hands-on, eco-friendly shore excursions, and our tour program is continuously evolving to meet the demands of our guests.”

Guests have the option of sailing one of three seven-day itineraries: Southbound, Northbound or Glacier Bay. Each itinerary provides incredible views with scenic cruising through the Inside Passage, Lynn Canal, Prince William Sound, College Fjord and Glacier Bay as Carnival Spirit makes its way to Alaska’s most popular port towns including Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.

In Skagway, the Gateway to the Klondike, cruisers can now take part in the new “Golden Glassblowing Experience.” This hands-on outing allows guests to sculpt their own work of art complete with 24-karat gold and have the finished product packed and shipped home as the ultimate souvenir. Also making a debut this season is the “Takshanuk Mountain Trail by 4x4.” This journey begins with a scenic cruise aboard a high-speed catamaran down North America’s longest and deepest fjord. A four-wheel drive “mule,” or heavy-duty golf cart, continues the journey, taking guests to beautiful waterfalls and crystal clear creeks before reaching sub-alpine meadows, followed by a gourmet lunch and fast-ferry return to the ship.

Skagway, located in the upper Lynn Canal, is considered the northernmost point in Southeast Alaska and features wooden sidewalks, old-fashioned saloons and horse-drawn carriages serving as reminders of the Alaska gold rush days. Those seeking a golden treasure can opt for the “Gold Fever Adventure,” which allows guests to pan for gold on an active claim.

Joining Ketichkan’s array of excursions are four new experiences, including the “Bear Creek Zip Line and Challenge Course.” This eco-rainforest adventure begins with an all-terrain vehicle ride, suitable for beginners and experts, and features zip lines, tree platforms, a skywalk, a rainforest swing, rope-bridge and a spruce slide. Those seeking a more relaxing day can explore Revillagigedo Island, which boasts the world’s largest collection of totem poles, or opt for the “Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary, Eagles & Totems,” an eco-exploration with a guided nature hike, bald eagle viewing and interaction with reindeer.

Foodies also are in for a treat with Carnival’s latest culinary offering in Ketchikan — “The Alaskan Chef’s Table, A Cultural Affair.” This culinary tour allows guests to see how local produce is caught and then crafted into a sumptuous Alaskan dinner party. This excursion keeps on giving once guests return home, as they receive a unique keepsake box featuring recipes for the dishes served so they, too, can re-create the fun for friends and family.

Those wanting to get a little more up-close and personal with their Alaskan fare may want to board the Aleutian Ballard for the “Bering Sea Crab Fisherman” experience. The Aleutian Ballard, the king crab fishing vessel made famous by the Discovery Channel’s original series “Deadliest Catch,” invites guests calling at Ketchikan to sail and learn how these boats operate and to hear first-hand accounts of the crews’ Bering Sea exploits.

Juneau, America’s largest capital city geographically, also presents an incredible opportunity for cruisers. Here guests can board their own private custom-built catamaran, complete with captain and naturalist, to explore the region’s ice-carved fjords and rugged coast. This “Wild Coast Exploration by Private Boat” accommodates up to six guests and lets them set a course for watching whales, bears and eagles, or hauling in their own catch of the day.

While calling at Sitka, history enthusiasts who take “Sitka's Cultural & Colonial Russian Tour” will gain an appreciation for the island community. Participants will delve into the region’s history at the Sheldon Jackson museum, the oldest exhibit of Indian and Eskimo artifacts in Alaska; view a former World War II PBY Aircraft Base, and visit St. Michael’s Cathedral — home to priceless religious artwork dating back to the late 15th century.

Back on board, Carnival Spirit’s activities cater to the whole family with relaxing spa experiences or dining options such as the elegant reservations-only Nouveau Supper Club, and children’s programs for three different age groups — Camp Carnival for kids, Circle C for ’tweens and Club O2 for teens.

Carnival Spirit also offers indoor and outdoor promenades, a variety of entertainment options and a diversity of nightclubs, lounges and live music venues. Additionally, 80 percent of the staterooms aboard the Carnival Spirit offer either an ocean view or balcony – ideal for scenic Alaska cruising. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Royal Caribbean Announces Return to South America

MIAMI, May 15 – Dust off those tango shoes, and head to the South American summer in winter 2009-10. Royal Caribbean International today announced nine South America cruises, ranging from 11- to 15-night itineraries, aboard Radiance of the Seas for the ship’s second consecutive winter season in the region. As one of the Royal Caribbean ships that offer the highest percentage of oceanview staterooms, Radiance features glass elevators in a 10-story glass atrium for spectacular vistas of the unfolding South American coastline. Bookings for these cruises open today.

“South America is such a fascinating destination and we are pleased to bring Radiance of the Seas back to the region,” said Alice Norsworthy, senior vice president, Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “On any of these Radiance cruises, guests will have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of South American cultures and celebrations during the region’s prime season. Guests also can extend their vacations with a Royal Caribbean cruisetour to visit more inland attractions.”

Four-night pre- or post-cruise cruisetour programs give guests the opportunity to explore the metropolitan charms of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls along the Argentina and Brazil border. Cruisetour guests enjoy fully escorted itineraries, which include deluxe hotel accommodations, air and ground transfers, certain meals, and time for individual pursuits.

For the 2009-10 winter season, vacationers can choose among six cruises which ‘round the horn’ of South America and journey through the Straits of Magellan. These 12- to 14-night itineraries alternate departures from Valparaiso, Chile, and Buenos Aires, featuring a cruise through the glacier-filled Chilean fjordlands, and a call at Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. On three particular sailings, guests enjoy an in-port overnight stay aboard Radiance in Buenos Aires at the beginning or end of the cruise.

A very special 11-night itinerary, sailing on February 10, 2010, features three days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which coincides with the city’s annual Carnival festivities. Guests sail round-trip from Buenos Aires, enjoying an in-port overnight stay aboard Radiance to kick off the cruise.

Cruisers also can select from among two Pacific equatorial crossings aboard Radiance, sailing from San Diego to Valparaiso on November 21, 2009, and returning on March 7, 2010.

Guests aboard Radiance enjoy the line’s award-winning Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions, multiple onboard bars, lounges and discos throughout the ship, and Vegas-style gaming in the Casino Royale. The ships’ onboard Day Spa also offers a full range of rejuvenating treatments, and the adults-only Solarium pool provides a more sedate and relaxing environment. Younger cruisers will laugh and learn in the line’s top-rated Adventure Ocean kids program, with teen-only spaces fleetwide. Families also can stay in and order room service – always complimentary 24 hours a day – and catch a popular on-demand movie. Throughout, every guest will enjoy Royal Caribbean’s Gold Anchor standard of friendly and engaging service from staff and crew. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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MSC Poesia: A New Star in the Eastern Mediterranean

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, May 15 – MSC Poesia, MSC Cruises’ new flagship, will be cruising to Greece, Turkey and Croatia, offering 8-day/7-night cruises to discover the treasures in the eastern Mediterranean. Refinement and class are but a few of the outstanding elements of this latest addition to the fleet. Designed by Studio De Jorio International with sophisticated color schemes, attention to detail and service, this ship will ensure guests enjoy a truly special cruise. Coming in at 92,400 tons, the ship has a total of 1,275 staterooms, of which 80% are outside staterooms and 65% have a balcony. There are 16 decks, with 13 accessible to the public. She has a maximum cruising speed of 23 knots. There are more than 236,800 square feet of public space, 2 pools and 4 hot tubs, plus the Aurea Spa™, which covers 16,000 square feet.

MSC Poesia’s weekly cruises depart from Venice every Saturday through Nov. 8, arriving every Sunday into Bari and then onto Katakolon to discover the archaeological treasures of Olympia. The ship will then call into Izmir, “the beautiful” Turkish resort situated at the end of a long and slim gulf. This will be followed with a stop in a city that straddles east and west, where centuries have added to the ‘must see’ quarters of magical Istanbul. Crossing the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, the ship will arrive in Dubrovnik, the “pearl of the Adriatic,” before returning to Venice.

Shore excursions offered include:

Olympia (from Katakolon) -- The ancient city at the foot of Mount Kronos, home to the Olympic games of ancient times. Today the archaeological site showcases beautiful temples, the stadium and buildings used by the Greek athletes of the past.

Ephesus and Mary’s House (from Izmir) -- Join a guided tour of the ruins of a famous ancient city, stopping at the Odeon theater and the library of Celso. Then visit Mary’s House, where the mother of Jesus is said to have lived her last years.

Deluxe Istanbul -- Discover some of the gems of this amazing metropolis – from the Blue Mosque to the ancient Hippodrome, to Saint Sofia and the Topkapi Palace. Also included is a visit to the colorful Grand Bazaar, the main covered market in the city.

For more information, visit or a local travel professional.

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Passenger Overboard: NCL Shares Video Timeline

May 15 -- While their hurt and confusion is understandable, there was no apparent reason for the family of missing passenger Mindy Jordan to point the finger of blame on her companion Jorge Caputo or Norwegian Cruise Line. As related yesterday, the woman apparently fell overboard from Norwegian Dawn on Sunday evening and recovery efforts by the ship and US Coast Guard failed to rescue her. Get the details in Cruise Diva's Blog.

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La Dolce 'Value' on Europe's Number One Cruise Line: Select Sailings Aboard Costa Serena

MIAMI, May 15 -- From "la dolce vita" to "la dolce value," Costa, Europe's Number One Cruise Line, brings the best value and experience in the Mediterranean to travelers this summer with low fares aboard the Costa Serena on select sailings. Ports of call on the seven-night voyages aboard the ship, which departs every Sunday from Venice include Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul and Dubrovnik. The Costa Serena, the fleet's newest ship, was inaugurated in May 2007 and boasts some of the most innovative features at sea, including the revolutionary 23,000 square-foot Samsara Spa -- complete with exclusive spa cabins offering direct access to the wellness center and a private restaurant with health-conscious cuisine. The ship also features the largest enclosable pool deck on a ship and a Grand Prix race car driving simulator -- the most accurate representation of Formula One driving available.

Costa offers the biggest and best selection of Mediterranean cruises with nearly 200 in the region throughout the summer, including more seven-night routes than any other cruise line. With 60 years of cruising experience in Europe, Costa knows the ports of call inside and out, giving travelers a unique glimpse into a "true European experience" both on and off the ship. North American guests are just as likely to meet new friends from Naples, Italy as they are from Naples, Florida with Costa's international ambience, highlighted by its cosmopolitan guests from around the world.

"Italy is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and at Costa we give guests a veritable floating Italian villa they can take with them to see not only Italy, but other exciting locales as well," said Maurice M. Zarmati, President & CEO of Costa Cruise Lines-North America. "This summer, there simply isn't a better way to visit the Mediterranean than with Costa and our extensive selection of itineraries, particularly the special values we're offering on the Costa Serena."

Costa provides guests a unique experience of "love, laughter and la dolce vita" in the Mediterranean, and everywhere they sail. For 60 years, Costa has brought its special brand of Italian warmth and European sophistication to travelers around the world. "Cruising Italian Style" with Costa is much more than a voyage to a new and exciting destination -- it's an experience that creates lifetime memories that linger and make guests smile at unexpected moments. From delectable fresh pastas, warm cappuccinos, international guests who become friends from around the world, and charming Italian greetings travelers hear such as "buon giorno" and "buona sera," sailing with Costa brings the passion and vitality of Italy to sea. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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Celebrate European Music & Cuisine During Regent Seven Seas Fall Grand Mediterranean Voyage

FORT LAUDERDALE, May 15 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises will offer its guests an extended celebration of the food, wine and music that have made the Mediterranean one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations during a 28-night Autumn Sojourn in The Mediterranean voyage slated to depart this fall aboard the 700-guest Seven Seas Voyager®. Sailing from Istanbul on October 18, 2008, guests will enjoy the utmost in cruise luxury as Seven Seas Voyager journeys across the entire Mediterranean, across the French and Italian Rivieras and Cote d’Azur to the cobalt blue waters of the Greek Isles.

“For guests who love to cruise, these longer voyages evoke the romance of ocean travel,” said Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “At the same time, they provide a rare opportunity to explore an extraordinary number of exciting Mediterranean ports,” he added.

The 28-night voyage is available as a single journey or in three individual segments. Each segment is its own special event, offering a compelling combination of classical music and gourmet cuisine, highlighted by special guests and exclusive concerts and museum tours ashore. Guests will even have opportunities to purchase Euros at a 1:1 exchange rate against the U.S. dollar, and experience complimentary events on board and ashore.

The individual segments are as follows:

October 18 to 25: Executive Vice President’s Cruise, Istanbul to Piraeus – Kenneth Watson, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Regent Seven Seas, hosts a luxurious seven-night Greek Isles journey beginning with an overnight stay in exotic Istanbul and proceeding to Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini and Nafplio in Greece and Kusadasi, Turkey. At Ephesus, the ancient Anatolian city that is today one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, guests will enjoy a concert by the Izmir Chamber Orchestra featuring Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart and Brahms.

October 25 to November 5: Three Song of Flower Captains’ Cruise, Piraeus to Monte Carlo – In addition to being Regent Seven Seas captains, Dag Dvergastein, Knut Hanssen and Jarle Jensen have another thing in common – all three were previously masters of the iconic luxury ship Song of Flower, once part of the fleet of Regent Seven Seas predecessor Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. Sailing across the Mediterranean from the Greek Isles to the French and Italian Rivieras, the voyage will call at Kusadasi and Marmaris in Turkey; Iraklio, Greece; Valletta, Malta; Ajaccio, Corsica; and Naxos, Sorrento, Civitavecchia and Livorno in Italy before concluding in Monte Carlo. The three captains will host a series of special events for guests and will be joined by former Song of Flower staff members including cruise director J.J., shore excursion manager Helen Harrison and maitre d’hotel Patrick Lescoute. Another highlight of the voyage is an exclusive concert at Valletta’s Manoel Theater. 

November 5 to 15: President’s Cruise, Monte Carlo to Civitavecchia – Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, will host this 10-night voyage into antiquity, accompanying guests as they travel from Monte Carlo to Portofino and Livorno, Italy; Marseilles, France; Barcelona, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca and Menorca, Spain; and Ajaccio, Corsica. Guests are invited to an after-hours private tour of the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. Other highlights include a complimentary organ concert at Palma de Mallorca’s Cathedral.

Guests who purchase individual segments will enjoy one complimentary special event and benefits including free Economy or Business Class air (or $1,000/$3,000 cruise credit, respectively), depending on suite category purchased, plus the option to purchase up to 200 Euros per suite at a 1:1 exchange rate.

Guests who opt for the full 28-night voyage receive two-for-one pricing, free Business Class air (or $3,000 cruise credit), special shipboard events, and a commemorative gift. These guests will also have the option to purchase up to 800 Euros per suite from Regent Seven Seas at a 1:1 exchange rate.

Those guests wishing to extend their 28-night voyage even further may do so by remaining aboard Seven Seas Voyager for the 16-night Grand Crossing from Civitavecchia to Fort Lauderdale (November 15 to December 1), visiting select ports in North Africa and Spain and a mid-Atlantic stop in Madeira.

Full details of all 2008 and 2009 Europe and Mediterranean programs, including special offers on select departures, can be found at

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Encore! Encore! MSC Cruises Adds Second Big Band Theme Cruise to Winter Caribbean Sailings

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, MAY 14 -- Because interest in its previously announced Big Band theme cruise has been so high, MSC Cruises is bringing the theme cruise back for an encore with special oceanview stateroom rates. The line will host a second Big Band theme cruise on MSC Lirica's 10-night Caribbean featuring Panama roundtrip sailing from Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 22, 2009. The first Big Band cruise is scheduled for MSC Lirica's 10-night Dec. 3, 2008 Deep Caribbean itinerary.

Both sailings will feature the 15-piece Les DeMerle Big Band, with vocalist Bonnie Eisele. Drummer Les DeMerle has toured and recorded with the Harry James Big Band and Wayne Newton and has accompanied many top singers. The Les DeMerle Big Band is sure to have toes tapping, bodies swaying and guests singing along to the sounds of Ellington, Basie, James and Miller, plus Broadway hits, rock classics, hot Latin grooves and show-stoppers from the '40s through today. The band will also present a jazz concert and lecture on the Big Band Era.

The Dec. 3 sailing visits San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Port Castries, St. Lucia; St. John's, Antigua; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic.

The Feb. 22 itinerary calls at Costa Maya, Mexico; Puerto Limon, Costa Rico; Cristobal, Panama; Cartagena, Colombia; and Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic.

Both itineraries feature a call at Cayo Levantado, the line's private paradise experience. There, guests have the option to explore pristine beaches, enjoy turquoise waters and natural rainforest or view humpback whales as they arrive in the warmer Caribbean waters to mate and enjoy their newborns.

On all MSC Cruises' sailings, kids 17 or younger sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit your local travel professional.

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Celebrity Cruises to Celebrate a “Perfect 10” With First Antarctica Sailings

MIAMI, May 13 – When Celebrity Cruises sails its tenth consecutive season in South America next year, the line will celebrate by offering its first-ever Antarctica sailings. The 2,050-guest Celebrity Infinity will sail a total of eight South America sailings in late 2009 and early 2010, calling at 26 ports in 13 countries. Sales for these cruises opened today.

Celebrity Infinity’s South America sailings will depart from Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Valparaiso, Chile; and Buenos Aires, Argentina, the latter being the home port for both 14-night Antarctica sailings. One of these will depart on January 31, 2010, and the other will set sail on February 14. While in the region, guests aboard Celebrity Infinity will have the opportunity to gaze upon glaciers, rare wildlife and other wonders of nature during three days of leisurely cruising past Elephant Island, Paradise Bay, and Gerlache Strait. Celebrity’s Antarctica sailings also will cruise through Cape Horn and feature calls at Port Stanley, Falkland Islands; Ushuaia and Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay.

Celebrity also is offering four 14-night sailings between Valparaiso and Buenos Aires, on December 20, January 3, January 17 and February 28, 2010. Each of these includes an overnight stay in Buenos Aires. The December 20 sailing also includes an overnight in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, as well as calls at Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas and Cape Horn, Chile; Ushuaia and Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay. The voyage also includes a pass through the Straits of Magellan and a cruise by the Chilean fjords.

Celebrity Infinity also will sail a 15-night Panama Canal and South America voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Valparaiso on December 5, 2009, and a 14-night return voyage from Valparaiso to Fort Lauderdale on March 14, 2010. These include calls at Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Lima, Peru; Arica, Chile and other fascinating cities. During these sailings, Celebrity offers a three-day, two-night overland tour of Peru’s Machu Picchu, between Lima, Peru and Arica, Chile. Guests depart by plane, tour the city of Cuzco and its archaeological relics and overnight in Cuzco for two nights. The second day includes a train trip to “Lost City of the Incas,” Machu Picchu. On day three, guests rejoin the ship in the next port of call.

Celebrity Cruises’ 2009-10 South America sailings also offer guests the opportunity to choose from a range of shore and land excursions throughout each sailing, which can greatly enhance the cruise-vacation experience. Examples include:

* “Estancia San Lorenzo, Private Penguin Reserve and Punta Norte” in Puerto Madryn, Argentina, where guests can visit Punta Norte, home to the world's southern sea elephant breeding colony, before continuing to Estancia San Lorenzo for an Argentinian barbeque and a visit to the Magellan penguin rookery.
* “Traditional Peruvian Cuisine” in Lima, Peru, where, accompanied by a chef, guests visit local markets to select ingredients that will be used in the preparation of two typical Peruvian dishes. At a selected restaurant, the chef will demonstrate how to prepare ceviche and causa as well as a pisco sour, and guests will have the opportunity to taste each dish as well as a piqueo of fish and seafood and dessert made with fresh local fruits.
* “Juanico Winery” in Montevideo, Uruguay, where guests discover Uruguay's region of Juanicó, Uruguay's leading vineyard area, by tasting the local wines.

Celebrity Cruises encourages cruise enthusiasts to visit for more details.

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Mind, Body & Spirit Voyages Take Holistic Approach to Wellness

LOS ANGELES, May 13 -- "Wellness, wellness, wellness" is one of the top trends for 2008, reports SpaFinder magazine. In keeping with this global trend, Crystal Cruises is introducing two "Mind, Body & Spirit" cruises this December. Holistic, comprehensive programming incorporates lectures, classes and workshops given by leading experts and instructors from The Cleveland Clinic, Tai Chi Cultural Institute and the line's exclusive Walk on Water program. The Mind, Body & Spirit focus is set for Crystal Symphony's December 7 South America voyage from Los Angeles to Valparaiso, Chile and Crystal Serenity's December 12 Panama Canal cruise from Caldera, Costa Rica to Miami.

"Our guests are active and inquisitive individuals looking to continue their healthy lifestyles while on vacation," says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal's vice president, hotel operations. "The sophisticated programming on the Mind, Body & Spirit cruises allows them to learn about the latest developments in health, fitness and well-being from top experts."

The guest experts will cover topics from medical treatment and prevention, to spiritual healing and growth through tai chi and yoga, to the physical and mental fulfillment of strenuous exercise. They include:

Crystal Symphony -- "South American Sojourn":
-- Donald Malone, M.D., The Cleveland Clinic instructor and staff psychiatrist will speak about wellness in relation to mind, body and spirit;

-- John McMichan, M.D., Mayo Clinic staff physician specializing in Critical Care Medicine, Anesthesiology and Medical Education;

-- Dr. Martin Lee & Emily Lee, Dr. Lee, a Stanford University physicist and his wife founded the Tai Chi Cultural Center in 1974, utilizing a pioneering approach to understand Tai Chi, health and the self;

-- Debbie Rocker, Founder of Crystal's exclusive Walk on Water program featuring the WALKVEST® Training System, revolutionizing walking by adding weight resistance;

-- Richard Deutsch, Author of One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome, Deutsch has inhabited every continent, hiking his way through some of the most challenging areas of the world; and

-- Cathy L. Greenberg, PhD, Dr. Greenberg delivers time-tested "happiness tips" and is the author of What Happy Women Know; What Happy Companies Know; What Happy Parents Know and What Happy Leaders Know.

Crystal Serenity -- "Caribbean Jewels":
-- Jim Karras, Author of the bestseller The Business Plan for the Body. Karras is also a fitness contributor on ABC's Good Morning America;

-- Leslie Cho, M.D., Director of The Cleveland Clinic's Women's cardiovascular center, Cho specializes in heart disease in women;

-- Sandra Shaner, Certified by the Yoga Institute and a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance, Shaner has been teaching yoga for more than 10 years;

-- Mollie Epstein, Epstein oversees Crystal's exclusive Walk on Water program featuring The WALKVEST® Training System; and

-- Jeff Corbett, Corbett, a member of the Tai Chi Cultural Center will conduct workshops utilizing Dr. Lee and Emily Lee's unique approach to the art.

Shoreside, Crystal is offering several opportunities for guests to expand their healthful horizons with Crystal Adventures shore excursions catering to its wellness-minded guests. A kayaking Eco-Adventure in Cabo San Lucas, a hike through Caldera's tropical rainforest and "power" snorkeling in Grand Turk all challenge the body and mind, while a day's retreat to a tranquil resort and spa in St. Barts soothes the soul.

The Crystal Spa is the first floating spa to implement the principles of Feng Shui (in accordance with another of SpaFinder's top trends, "Feng Shui'd" gyms). The luxury line also recently launched "Tour de Spin," a complimentary indoor cycling program that mirrors stages of the Tour de France. Crystal ships boast 360-degree promenade decks, ideal for walking and jogging, as well as paddle tennis courts. Guests can choose from a bounty of fresh fruit and fish, creative and healthful salads, low-calorie and low-carb meals and trans fat-free dining experiences. Even the cocktail menus include only the freshest fruit purees and juices.

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

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Windstar Cruises Invites Guests to Choose A Distinctive Summer Sailing
In Europe

SEATTLE, May 13 -- Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, offers guests the best of Europe's captivating shores with its summer 2008 schedule. Travelers planning to visit Europe this summer will find impressive benefits when traveling with Windstar Cruises. A strong euro makes cruising a significantly better value than land-based vacations.

Cruises through the shores of Europe offer guests the chance to experience the legends and romance of some of the most sought after settings in the world. Golden beaches, towering castles, breathtaking art and legendary riches are available to guests on 7-day cruises aboard all of Windstar's luxury yachts. European itineraries include: Lisbon, Cadiz, Tangier, Cartagena, Motril, Malaga, Gibraltar, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Tarragona, Barcelona, Port-Vendres, Mahon, Oran, Palamos, Sete, Monte Carlo, Portofino, Livorno, Rome, Portimao, Valencia, Alghero, Amalfi, Sorrento, Capri, Porquerolles, Ajaccio, Portoferraio, Nice, St. Tropez, Cannes, St. Florent, Monte Carlo, Marseille, Portovenere, Porto Vecchio, Porto Cervo, Taormina, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Venice, Koper, Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Korcula, Kotor, Ploce, Sibenik, Rab, Trieste, Corfu, Messina and Almeria.

The Greek Isles are renowned for brilliant blue water, dazzling white beaches and the romance of ancient gods. With its 7-day cruises on Wind Spirit and Wind Star, Windstar offers the most extensive season of Greek Isles itineraries in the cruise industry. Ports in Greek Isles itineraries include; Athens, Gythion, Navplion, Ermoupolis, Rome, Messina, Capri, Sorrento, Katakolon, Mykonos, Rhodes, Bodrum, Kusadasi, Monemvasia, Corfu, Sarande, Cephalonia and Kythira.

A leader in defining the small ship luxury cruise experience for the last 20 years, Windstar has won the allegiance of a new generation of contemporary travelers who appreciate the line's casual attire, alternative dining venues, rich mix of shore excursions, complimentary water sports program, deluxe spa facilities and luxurious accommodations. Carrying just 148 to 312 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. For more information including brochures, rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online at

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Silversea Announces Guest Lecturers to Highlight Four
Prince Albert II Expeditions

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, May 13 -- Recognizing an expedition cruise to the world's most remote and fascinating realms is as much a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience as it is an adventure, Silversea has tapped two special guest lecturers, Jon Vidar Sigurdsson and Jon Bowermaster, to each host two of four extraordinary expeditions during the inaugural season of its newest ship, the Prince Albert II.

"All of our expedition cruises feature a distinguished team of four or five experts ranging from biologists and ornithologists to historians and naturalists, carefully chosen to present a multifaceted view of the natural wildlife, scenery and cultures that we will visit," said Conrad Combrink, Silversea's director of expeditions. "We're delighted Mr. Sigurdsson and Mr. Bowermaster will be able to join us on select voyages to share their expertise and valuable insights to further enhance the learning experience for our guests."

Jon Vidar Sigurdsson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, and holds a degree in geology. Since first visiting Greenland, the world's largest island, in 1982, he has led 20 summer and winter expeditions and field tours to this fascinating Arctic nation. He has also organized an open-university course about the island for the University of Iceland. An enthusiastic photographer, in 2000, Sigurdsson's Greenland photo collection was featured in a solo exhibition at the Nordic House Gallery in Reykjavik. His zeal for the outdoors also fuels his mountain climbing hobby. He has reached the highest peaks on two continents including Russia's Mt. Elbrus and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Sigurdsson will headline the enrichment program aboard the "Svalbard and Iceland" expedition, departing July 12 for 18 days from Tromso to Reykjavik (#7809). He will also host the "Greenland Exploration," departing Reykjavik July 30 on a 16-day journey to St. John's, Newfoundland (#7810).

Adventurer extraordinaire, author and filmmaker, Jon Bowermaster seems to find the most remote and exotic areas to descend upon, many in South America. An ardent kayaker, Bowermaster has spent more than 20 years exploring, researching and documenting regions all over the world. His Oceans 8 project, designed to explore the world by kayak, has taken him to the Aleutian Islands, Vietnam, French Polynesia, South America's Altiplano, the Antarctic Peninsula and the wild coasts of Gabon, Croatia and Tasmania. He has written of his adventures for a variety of publications, ranging from National Geographic to The New York Times. Bowermaster is slated to host Prince Albert II's "Journey to South America," departing October 12 on a 22-day expedition from Acapulco to Santiago (#7819). He will also host the already-sold-out "Chilean Fjords Highlights" voyage, sailing November 3 from Santiago to Ushuaia (#7820).

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

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Princess Announces Schedules for 2009-10 Cruises
to Caribbean & Mexican Riviera

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 13 -- Princess Cruises has announced a new season of cruises to the sun swept Caribbean and Mexican Riviera. These relaxing, 7- to 14-day voyages offer passengers the opportunity to experience these colorful ports filled with dramatic scenery, diverse cultures, white-sand beaches and ancient ruins, while enjoying the youngest fleet in the Caribbean and some of the largest and most amenity-filled vessels sailing the Mexican Riviera.

In the Caribbean, Princess will sail six ships on 13 itineraries with 129 departures visiting more than 25 ports in these fabled islands. Ruby Princess will take over the line's 10-day Eastern and Southern Caribbean itineraries, offering some of the less-visited ports in the region. Emerald Princess sails on the line's Eastern Caribbean itinerary and Crown Princess will feature the Western Caribbean with an enhanced itinerary now featuring the lovely island of Roatan, Honduras. Caribbean Princess continues to sail on alternating seven-day Southern Caribbean sailings from San Juan. Grand Princess returns with an extensive 14-day Caribbean Collection route and Sea Princess will again sail on 14-day voyages from Barbados.

On the Pacific side, Princess again returns to its "south of the border" cruising roots with two ships - Sapphire Princess sailing on the classic seven-day Mexican Riviera route from Los Angeles and Star Princess cruising on 10-day voyages from San Francisco.

"The Caribbean and Mexican Riviera both offer the delightful sense of fun and make for a wonderful warm weather escape," said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president. "And passengers will also be able to enjoy an array of fantastic ships on these routes, including Caribbean Princess and Star Princess with brand new piazza-style atriums and a number of new features."

Princess' Caribbean and Mexican Riviera itineraries for 2009-10 include:


Emerald Princess - Emerald Princess sails to the Eastern Caribbean, with roundtrip cruises from Ft. Lauderdale on Sundays. The itinerary features calls in line's own Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. Emerald Princess offers 28 sailings between October 11, 2009 and May 2, 2010.

Crown Princess - Crown Princess takes over the line's roundtrip seven-day sailings to the Western Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale with an enhanced itinerary that now offers calls in Roatan. The ship will sail on 27 Saturday departures with stops at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and Princess Cays. Crown Princess' season will run from November 7, 2009 through May 8, 2010.

Caribbean Princess - Caribbean Princess sails from San Juan on two alternating seven-day itineraries. The Classic Southern Caribbean route features 14 sailings to the ports of St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua, Barbados and St. Lucia, while 14 Southern Caribbean Explorer sailings travel to St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. Cruises depart between November 1, 2009 and May 9, 2010. Caribbean Princess will also offer one eight-day Bermuda & Eastern Caribbean sailing from New York to San Juan calling at Bermuda, St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Thomas, departing October 24, 2009.

Ruby Princess - Ruby Princess offers a set of alternating 10-day sailings roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale - one to the Southern Caribbean and the other to the Eastern Caribbean. The Southern Caribbean Medley itinerary, offered on 10 sailings, includes calls at Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. The Eastern Caribbean Voyager itinerary, featured on nine sailings, offers calls at Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. Emerald Princess' Caribbean season runs between October 25, 2009 and April 29, 2010.

Grand Princess - Grand Princess offers more time to explore the islands with a 14-day Caribbean Collection itinerary roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. The ship sails to Grand Turk, La Romana, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Barbados, Trinidad, Curaçao and Aruba. Grand Princess offers nine departures between December 21, 2009 and April 23, 2010. The ship also offers a new 11-day Grand Southern Caribbean sailing on January 4, 2010, calling at Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba.

Sea Princess - Sea Princess will offer a series of alternating 14-day Caribbean voyages from Barbados. Seven sailings of the Grand Caribbean Islander route feature calls at St. Lucia, Trinidad, Grenada, Bonaire, Curaçao, Montego Bay, Samaná, Tortola, St. Maarten, Antigua and Dominica. The ship will also offer seven sailings on a Grand Caribbean Adventurer itinerary that features stops at St. Vincent, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Samaná, Tortola, St. Kitts, Antigua and Dominica. To begin her season, Sea Princess offers a seven-day Southern Caribbean sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Barbados featuring calls at Princess Cays, Tortola, St. Maarten, Antigua and St. Lucia. In spring the ship sails back to Ft. Lauderdale from Barbados with a six-day sailing to Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. Sea Princess sails between October 10, 2009 and May 1, 2010.

Mexican Riviera

Sapphire Princess - Sapphire Princess will again set sail from the Port of Los Angeles on 32 departures to the sunny Mexican Riviera. This favorite seven-day roundtrip route takes in the prime ports of call of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas. Sapphire Princess will depart on Saturdays between September 26, 2009 and May 1, 2010.

Star Princess - Star Princess will a offer a longer, 10-day roundrip Mexican Riviera voyage from San Francisco featuring calls at Acapulco, Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. The ship will sail on two cruises on April 16 and 26, 2010.

Caribbean and Mexican Riviera cruises are available for booking on June 5, 2008. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Holland America Line Features New Quebec Ports on
2009 Canada/New England Cruises

SEATTLE, May 12 -- Holland America Line will debut three new ports in Quebec on its 13-, 14- and 15-day cruises to Canada and New England between May and October 2009. The longer cruises of the Signature-class ms Eurodam and popular ms Maasdam will call at Gaspe, Baie-Comeau and/or Sept-iles, creating new opportunities for guests to enjoy extraordinary scenic, cultural and wildlife watching experiences in Quebec. Together, the five-star Eurodam and Maasdam will offer 21 Canada and New England cruises ranging from seven to 15 days in 2009. Guests will have the choice of sailing from five convenient home ports: Boston, Montreal, Quebec City, New York and Fort Lauderdale.

"Gaspe, Baie-Comeau and Sept-iles are fantastic new ports that feature outstanding attractions," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Our goal is to introduce guests to a wide range of new outdoor activities and cultural experiences on these cruises, whether on a fall foliage cruise or enjoying a summer family vacation."

From Gaspe, guests can experience dramatic sea cliffs of Forillon National Park, Bonaventure Island with North America's largest colony of gannets, and Perce Rock National Park, known for excellent opportunities to see blue, humpback, fin and rorqual whales. Baie-Comeau features the Borealis Center, a maritime adventure park with spectacular landscapes and activities such as hiking, sea kayaking and interpretive cruises.

Sept-iles introduces guests to a native Innu community, providing a unique cultural experience through its historic trading post and Innu museum. The Rail and River Tour takes guests by train along the majestic Moisie River, known for its salmon and unforgettable scenery, to an Innu summer camp where guests enjoy reenactments of tribal customs and a salmon bake.

Maasdam Offers 15 Seven-Day Sailings for Easy Family Cruises

The Maasdam kicks off the 2009 season May 8 with a 15-day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Montreal. The 1,258-guest ship calls at Charleston, S.C.; Newport, R.I.; Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island before spending a day each at new ports Gaspe and Sept-iles. The Maasdam then cruises the scenic Saguenay Fjord, calls at Port Saguenay and visits Quebec City for two full days before reaching Montreal.

In the fall, the Maasdam departs Oct. 10 on a similar 13-day cruise from Montreal to Ft. Lauderdale that features Gaspe and Baie-Comeau. Most ports of call are the same with the addition of Saint John (Bay of Fundy), New Brunswick and several days at sea from Bar Harbor to Ft. Lauderdale.

From May 23 to Oct. 3, the Maasdam sails 14 seven-day cruises between Montreal and Boston, featuring scenic cruising of the St. Lawrence River and calling at Quebec City, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax and Bar Harbor. Guests can opt for excursions such as touring Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor by bike, exploring the Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Route near Halifax and joining the popular Anne of Green Gables tour in Charlottetown.

The ship also offers a seven-day, roundtrip cruise from Boston Aug. 29 that calls at Portland, Maine, Saint John, Halifax, Sydney and Bar Harbor.

Eurodam Offers 10-day Cruises, plus 14-day Sailing Featuring Gaspe

Signature-class Eurodam features three 10-day cruises between New York and Quebec City departing Aug. 27, Sept. 6 and 16. The 2,104-guest ship calls at Newport, Rhode Island, Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown and Quebec City for a full day and overnight stay.

On Sept. 26, the Eurodam sails a special 14-day cruise from Quebec City to Ft. Lauderdale that features the new port of Gaspe during the peak of fall color. The ship continues to Corner Brook, Newfoundland, cruises the scenic Bay of Islands and calls at Charlottetown, Saint John, Portland, Boston, Newport and New York before sailing for Ft. Lauderdale.

On all of Holland America Line's Canada and New England cruises, a wide variety of shore excursions offer hundreds of optional tours ranging from soft adventure to culinary experiences. Medallion excursions provide unparalleled access to events and sights not otherwise available. For example, guests can experience a day in the life of a British redcoat at the Halifax Citadel, sail Nova Scotia's Bras d'Or Lake or enjoy a private luncheon at one of Bar Harbor's most elegant Victorian summer homes. Holland America Line offers pre- and post-cruise hotel reservations in Boston, New York, Montreal, Quebec City and Fort Lauderdale. It also features a three-night Montreal/Montebello/Ottawa package. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Princess Tours Kicks Off National Tourism Week With New Motorcoach Designs

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, May 13 -- Princess Tours is kicking off National Tourism Week in Alaska this week with the unveiling of new exterior artwork on its motorcoaches. The coaches are the first in the industry to feature specific designs themed for the communities they serve. This is the 25th year the Travel Industry Association (TIA) has sponsored National Tourism Week to highlight the positive impact tourism has across the country.

Princess Tours' new motorcoach designs feature three different scenes showcasing the unique activities, events and visitor attractions in Anchorage, Denali Park and Fairbanks. The Anchorage coach (photo provided) includes images of urban wildlife, backpacking, flightseeing and biking. Eight of the Princess motorcoaches serving Alaska visitors this summer were refurbished with a laminate overlay designed by Porcaro Communications of Anchorage and installed by Auto Trim Design of Fairbanks.

"Alaska is one of five states receiving the most economic impact from the cruise industry, hosting roughly 1 million of the state's 1.6 million visitors last year," said Bruce Bustamante, vice president for community and public affairs for Princess Tours. "Nationally the industry generates nearly 340,000 jobs in the U.S. and the cruise lines' direct spending on U.S. goods and services totals more than $17 billion."

Princess Tours is the largest cruise and tour operator in Alaska, employing more than 2,000 people during the busy summer season. In addition to its fleet of deluxe motorcoaches, the company owns and operates five riverside lodge properties, ten luxury rail cars and will operate eight cruise ships in Alaska waters in 2008. Princess Tours also provides turnaround services and shore excursions for Princess ships in Alaska and offers land packages for western Canada and the Canadian Rockies that can be combined with Alaska cruises. For information, call 1-800-PRINCESS or visit

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Celebrity Cruises Entices Travelers With Late-2008 Mediterranean Sale

MIAMI, May 12 – For cruise enthusiasts who long to enjoy the vibrant colors of the Mediterranean from onboard one of the world’s top-rated cruise lines, their dream vacation is now within reach. Celebrity Cruises is offering travelers the opportunity to “Fall…for Celebrity’s Mediterranean” by taking advantage of a sales promotion offering discounts on select sailings in the region.

Guests who book certain Mediterranean cruises are eligible to receive a $300 per person air or cruise credit for the first two guests in a stateroom and a $100 air or cruise credit for each additional guest in that stateroom. If guests book their airfare and cruise fare with Celebrity, the credits will apply to their airfare. If guests book only their cruise fare with Celebrity, the credits will apply to their cruise fare. The promotion is valid for all Mediterranean cruises on Celebrity Century, Celebrity Galaxy, and Celebrity Summit with a departure date in October or November of this year, when booked between May 19 and June 1, 2008. Itineraries include 10- and 11-night eastern and western Mediterranean cruises and 14-night “Classical Mediterranean” and “Mediterranean Legacies” itineraries.

Celebrity Cruises encourages guests to visit for more details.

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Carnival Experiencing Dramatic Increase on On-Line Shore Excursion Sales

MIAMI, May 12 -- Reaffirming the ease, convenience and sophistication of its comprehensive Web-based shore excursion reservations system, Carnival Cruise Lines is experiencing a 16 percent year-over-year increase in on-line shore excursion sales and expects that a record one million shore excursion tickets will be purchased via in 2008. And with the debut of the Carnival Splendor from Europe in July, Carnival will offer an unprecedented 1,982 shore excursion choices in 114 ports visited by its 22-vessel fleet.

According to Carnival's Vice President of Tour Operations Mico Cascais, on-line shore excursion sales have increased for all "Fun Ship" sailing regions, primarily in conjunction with Caribbean cruises, where Carnival is the industry leader, with 18 of its 22 ships deployed within the region on a year-round or seasonal basis. Europe is popular as well, particularly with tours that visit historic attractions and museums. Other growth areas include the Mexican Rivera, Alaska, and Hawaii.

"Booking shore excursions on-line prior to sailing is not only incredibly convenient, it also offers guests a better chance of securing their tour of choice while providing peace of mind knowing their shore excursions are already reserved and paid for," Cascais noted.

Cascais indicated a trend toward more immersive landside experiences that allow guests to get an in-depth look at the destinations they are visiting. "Consumers are looking for unique shore excursion choices that allow them to get an 'up close and personal' look at fascinating cultures and attractions and participate in activities they normally can't do at home, all with the goal of creating a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories," said Cascais. He added that with Carnival's variety of organized shoreside options, guests not only can explore exciting destinations but also maximize their time in port and be assured that their excursion has been personally researched and evaluated by the line's highly trained professionals.

Carnival's shore excursions can be purchased on-line from 120 days up to three days prior to departure date. Guests can also purchase shore excursions via the shore excursion office located adjacent to the purser's information desk on board, as well as via interactive television systems on some ships. For additional information and reservations on Carnival's "Fun Ship" cruises, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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New Flexible Dining Option To Be Tested On Carnival Legend Beginning June 29

Miami, May 9 -- Carnival Cruise Lines will begin testing a new flexible dining option with the Carnival Legend’s June 29, 2008, departure that will enable guests to choose an open seating option for dinner. Guests who opt for flexible dining can dine at whatever time they wish between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. nightly in the ship’s main restaurant.

The new flexible dining pilot program aboard Carnival Legend will in no way replace Carnival’s popular classic dining system which provides a choice of either main or late seating. Under classic dining, guests dine at the same table with service from the same wait staff throughout the full voyage. Guests will be asked to designate either flexible/open seating or classic, assigned seating prior to departure and their choice will be in effect for the full cruise.

The new open seating dining initiative is the latest addition to Carnival’s Total Choice Dining and designed to provide guests with additional flexibility in their dinnertime options. Carnival will begin contacting guests sailing on the Carnival Legend’s June 29 departure and beyond to advise of the new dining initiative beginning later this month.

Carnival Legend sails year-round seven-day western Caribbean cruises from Tampa.

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Celebrity Cruises Bartender Shakes Up Success With New Bacardi Recipe

MIAMI, May 8 – When Celebrity Cruises bar manager Jesus Gomez calls out “Eureka!”, those around him know that their taste buds are about to be delighted. “Eureka” is the name of the original cocktail that Gomez invented in the bars aboard Celebrity Summit, and it recently won him the coveted “BACARDI Bartender of the Year” honor in the third annual BACARDI Cruise Competition.

Gomez found inspiration for “Eureka” in the unexpected combination of white cranberry juice, fresh basil leaves, and cucumber. After muddling the cucumber and basil in the bottom of a shaker, Gomez adds the cranberry juice, along with BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin, Triple Sec, and ice before shaking the drink and pouring it into a highball glass.

“We strive to offer outstanding dining and beverage choices to our guests,” said Jacques Van Staden, Celebrity’s Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations. “We know our guests love to experience the unexpected, and Jesus’ recipe does just that.”

Gomez, who is a native of Pampanga, Philippines, has worked for Celebrity Cruises for 12 years. Within the next several months, his “Eureka” recipe will be available fleetwide. The cocktail also will be the signature drink at The Lawn Club on Celebrity Solstice, the first in a new class of ships debuting later this year.

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

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New Seabourn Catalogue Features 2009-2010 'Yachting Collection'

MIAMI, May 8 -- The Yachts of Seabourn has published a 140-page catalogue of ultra luxury voyages aboard its intimate cruising yachts throughout 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. Titled "The Yachting Collection," the lavishly illustrated catalogue includes complete details of 143 voyages, visiting over 220 ports in 66 countries on five continents during the 15-month period.

"2009 will be a landmark year for The Yachts of Seabourn," according to the line's president and CEO, Pamela C. Conover. "Seabourn Odyssey's debut in June will expand the ultra luxury segment of the cruise industry for the first time in six years," she continued, "and it will do so in a way that underscores Seabourn's commitment to continuing to provide the highly personalized, relaxed and sociable style of travel that has built our reputation, and that is only possible on our yachts."

Ports which are new for Seabourn, or which the Seabourn yachts have not visited in several years, include St. Raphael, Bandol and Antibes on the French Riviera; Opatija and Split in Croatia; Brindisi, Bari, and Trieste, Italy and Lundy Island and the Isles of Scilly in the United Kingdom. Seabourn Odyssey's World Cruise, in early 2010, will also add areas in the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand that have been missing from Seabourn's itineraries in recent years. Returns to Bali, Borneo and a maiden visit to Sihanoukville, Cambodia will add novelty in the Asian portion of the voyage. Late-night stays and overnights in 30 key ports have also been added to the itineraries including cities such as Marseille, Amsterdam and Trieste as well as ports with active nightlife, such as Mykonos, St. Tropez, St. Barts, Portofino and Rhodes.

An intensive program of research, on-site inspections and detailed planning was conducted to ensure that Seabourn's yachts would call at the most desirable places in their peak seasons, and that Seabourn's guests would have insider's access to the best the place has to offer. The destinations of Seabourn Pride, Spirit, Legend and Odyssey include Europe, the Far East, South and Central America and the Caribbean. Seabourn Journeys, which are pre- and post-cruise land extensions, are also highlighted for each regional section. Another section outlines Grand Voyages, which are extended combinations of voyages totaling between 18 and 74 days that are offered at substantial savings, as well as Seabourn Odyssey's 108-day Inaugural World Cruise in 2010.

Among the improvements that make the catalogue more user-friendly are improved, three-dimensional renderings of the suite layouts, with detailed illustrations of the furnishings and amenities for all categories of accommodation, which are located at the back of the book along with the deck plans for easy accessibility. For a copy of Seabourn's 2009-2010 Yachting Collection, or for more information on 2009-10 cruises aboard The Yachts of Seabourn, call your travel agent or Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Carnival Rolls Out Extensive Redesign of Popular Web Site

MIAMI, May 8 --, the cruise industry's most visited Web site, has undergone an extensive redesign and emerged with a host of new features, including enhanced navigation and layout, a variety of images and content, and numerous technical advancements, all designed to make users' on-line experience easier and more informative than ever. Highlighting the next generation of are dozens of entertaining new videos and virtual tours, along with upgraded images and content showcasing all 22 of the line's "Fun Ships." Also included are upgrades to special sections focusing on various aspects of the Carnival vacation experience such as dining, spa, youth programs, destinations and shore excursions.

The "new and improved" features an enriched Gifts and Services section that allows visitors to purchase a variety of items that can be delivered to guests' staterooms prior to their cruise. The section also includes detailed product descriptions for gifts ranging from special occasion cakes, fine wines and flowers to stateroom decorations and wedding/romance-themed gift packages. There's also an updated section where first-time cruisers and visitors can sign up for Carnival news and information via both email and RSS feeds.

The new site has a strong focus on enhancing end-user support, with a more detailed FAQ section, an enhanced site search engine, and live feeds featuring Carnival news headlines on virtually every page. The site also includes a number of technological advancements, with a higher site resolution that provides a better platform for multi-media components, greater compatibility across all Web browsers and optimized Web pages for visitors who access the site via hand-held phones and other communication devices. See for yourself at

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It's Slime Time on the High Seas as Nickelodeon Announces Activity Schedule for Nickelodeon Family Cruise With Royal Caribbean

NEW YORK, May 7 -- Nickelodeon has assembled seven days of non-stop fun and activities for its first-ever Nickelodeon Family Cruise with Royal Caribbean, which sets sail August 10-17, on Royal Caribbean International's Freedom of the Seas. Vacationers will be able to participate in a variety of activities, including: a kick-off sail away party; evening shows, a Nick Live Poolside! interactive game show; special screenings of The Naked Brothers Band and SpongeBob SquarePants; Nick Karaoke; and character meet-and-greets with Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob, among others. Additionally, guests will have the opportunity to attend autograph signings and meet-and-greets with Nick celebrities including SpongeBob SquarePant's Tom Kenny and iCarly stars Jennette McCurdy and Nathan Kress.

"It's only natural that SpongeBob would headline this cruise since he's most at home at sea," said Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants. "What better place for SpongeBob to meet his fans than cruising the beautiful blue ocean waters. He'll feel right at home!"

Families setting sail on the Nickelodeon Family Cruise by Royal Caribbean will kick off their experience with an evening of live music and dancing at the sail away party, followed by the evening "big show" with live performances and an aerial act that will have kids on the edge of their seats. The Nickelodeon cruise will offer family-friendly amenities and a packed schedule of fun-filled branded activities like:

* Nickelodeon character breakfasts: Families can start off their day with a hearty breakfast and a special visit with their favorite Nick characters like: SpongeBob SquarePants; Dora the Explorer; The Backyardigans; Jimmy Neutron; and Diego.
* Slime Time Live!: Both kids and parents can experience Nickelodeon's trademark green slime at Studio Nick during this interactive game show, with the ultimate goal of getting slimed.
* Nick screenings: Each day families can catch a special screening of kids' favorite Nickelodeon shows like: SpongeBob SquarePants; The Fairly OddParents; The Naked Brothers Band; and more.
* Nick Live Poolside!: At the pool each day there will be a Nick-themed interactive game show providing family enjoyment in the sun.
* Let's Just Play Family Beach Day: On the sixth day of the cruise, families will have the option to disembark on the private island of Labadee where they can enjoy a day on the shore as part of Nick's Let's Just Play Family Beach Day, featuring freestyle beach games with a Nickelodeon twist.

Throughout the week, cruisers will have the opportunity to interact with Nickelodeon personalities. Kenny will host a screening of a brand new SpongeBob SquarePants episode as well as a voiceover workshop to teach kids how to sound just like their favorite porous pal: SpongeBob. McCurdy and Kress will host a special screening of a never-before-seen episode of iCarly and will serve as judges for an iCarly-themed Nick Karaoke contest.

The Nickelodeon Family Cruise on Freedom of the Seas also includes a full range of onboard activities and amenities appealing to adults and children of all ages. During the day, guests can rejuvenate with a session in the Freedom Day Spa and state-of-the-art fitness center, and relax in the cantilevered whirlpools in the adults-only Solarium. In the evenings, guests can enjoy live music and entertainment in several bars and lounges, a Broadway-style performance in the Arcadia Theater, or try their luck in the Casino Royale. In addition, Freedom of the Seas provides its award-winning Adventure Ocean kids programming to entertain toddlers to teens while parents enjoy the on-board activities.

Vacationers on the Nickelodeon Family Cruise by Royal Caribbean will visit four tropical Western Caribbean destinations including: Cozumel; Mexico; George Town; Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios; Jamaica; and a special stop at Royal Caribbean's private beach destination, Labadee. Vacation packages for the cruise are currently on-sale. Visit for more information. For more information about Freedom of the Seas, visit or

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Celebrity Cruises “Locks” In Record Number of Panama Canal Itineraries

MIAMI, May 7 – Next year, Celebrity Cruises will offer its guests more variety than ever before for sailings through the Panama Canal’s famed Gatun Locks. The line’s 2009-10 Panama Canal sailings opened for sale today. In its late-2009-to-early-2010 season, Celebrity Cruises will offer 18 “open-jaw,” or non-roundtrip, sailings through the Canal – more than it has offered during any previous single season. Highlights include a varied range of 13- to 16-night cruises; the first Panama Canal cruise Celebrity has offered that will depart from Seattle, Washington; and a list of five home ports from which the Canal cruises will depart (Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida; San Diego, California; Seattle; and Valparaiso, Chile).

Celebrity Infinity will sail a total of 10 open-jaw Panama Canal voyages between September 2009 and April 2010. After a 16-night Eastbound Panama Canal voyage from Seattle, to Fort Lauderdale, Celebrity Infinity will sail a series of 13- and 14-night voyages between San Diego and Fort Lauderdale before a 15-night Westbound Panama Canal voyage from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco. Celebrity Infinity also will sail a 15-night voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Valparaiso on December 5, 2009, and a 14-night voyage from Valparaiso to Fort Lauderdale on March 14, 2010; these two sailings will open for sale in a few weeks.

From November 2009 through May 2010, Celebrity Constellation will alternate 13- and 14-night Panama Canal sailings between Miami and San Diego with the long Caribbean sailings it announced in April of this year. Celebrity is offering a 14-night Westbound Panama Canal voyage from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego on Celebrity Mercury in April 2009. Celebrity Mercury also will sail a 14-night Eastbound Panama Canal in October 2009, from San Diego to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Celebrity Cruises’ 2009-10 Panama Canal sailings offers calls at ports in countries such as Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico. While in port, guests can choose from a range of shore and land excursions. Examples include:

* “Best of Cartagena” in Colombia, which includes a visit to the Fort of San Felipe de Barajas, one of the greatest Spanish military engineering constructions in South America.
* “Pacific Train, Boat and Bus Adventure” in Costa Rica, where guests board a historical train for a scenic tour and take a boat ride through the regions wildlife-rich mangroves.
* “America’s Cup Challenge” in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which allows guests to be “part of” the racing team or sit back and relax.

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

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Private Cabanas Offered on Holland America Line's ms Eurodam

SEATTLE, May 7 -- Guests on Holland America Line's new ms Eurodam who want to enjoy the outdoors in the comfort of their own private haven will delight in the cabanas on the Observation and Lido decks of the company's first Signature-class ship. The airy, tented cabanas are located on Observation Deck in an area called the Retreat and around the mid-ship pool on Lido Deck. Furnished with modern woven chaises, ottomans and upholstered settees, all cabanas come stocked with bathrobes and plush towels, handheld fans, an Evian spray mister and iPods™ preloaded with great music. Chilled waters are available and guests can look forward to iced fruit skewers in mid-morning and frozen grapes, chocolate-covered strawberries and a glass of champagne in the afternoon.

The Retreat
The 14 cabanas in the Retreat offer guests a spa-like private area where they can relax and recharge surrounded by healthy refreshments and luxurious leisure amenities. Fresh fruit, salads, wraps and juices are available at the Retreat, with light breakfast options offered as well.

Lido Cabanas
Eight cabanas around the Lido pool offer a private respite in a lively area of the ship. Lunch at the Lido cabanas will be served upon request from a menu of poolside favorites from the Terrace Grill or Lido Restaurant.

Discounted select services from the Greenhouse Spa and Salon are available on port days to guests who book the cabanas. The cabanas may be rented for the day or for an entire cruise. The Retreat cabanas are $45 on port days and $75 on sea days, while the Lido cabanas are $30 and $50 respectively.

The 2,104-guest Eurodam debuts this summer with European inaugural festivities, including a July 1 naming ceremony in Rotterdam with Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, followed by a maiden voyage in the Baltic region. The ship will offer its first trans-Atlantic cruise and sail Canada/New England in the fall, followed by Caribbean itineraries the remainder of 2008.

About Holland America Line
Holland America Line's fleet of 13 ships offers nearly 500 cruises to 314 ports of call in 97 countries, territories or dependencies. A 14th ship, ms Eurodam, will launch in July 2008. Fleetwide, the company features Signature of Excellence enhancements, totaling more than $425 million, that showcase the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine--a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchen where more than 60 celebrated guest chefs and culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes--Explorations Cafe powered by The New York Times, teens-only activity areas and all new stateroom amenities highlighted by flat-panel TVs and plush Euro-top Mariner's Dream Beds.

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Princess Expands Canal Experience in 2009-10 with Extra Day in Panama

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 6 - Panama Canal passengers marvel at this dramatic transit through the Canal's locks, but often wish they could also explore the country's natural beauty and culture. To give travelers more time in Panama, Princess Cruises is introducing a new "Two-day Canal Experience" on all 2009-10 Canal transits of 15 days or longer, featuring a second day in port so passengers can enjoy both the engineering wonder of the Canal and further discover the country.

This new double dose of Panama will be offered on 23 sailings on four ships. In addition, Princess will also offer two other favorite itineraries, with a shorter 10-day full-transit option and the convenient 10-day roundtrip voyage from Ft. Lauderdale featuring a partial transit to Gatun Lake - giving passengers three distinct options for visiting the Panama Canal. In total, the season will feature 44 Canal sailings, with calls at 20 ports in 10 countries.

The Two-day Canal Experience will feature the full Canal transit plus a day with the ship at anchor at Fuerte Amador, on the Canal's Pacific side. Passengers can take advantage of this day to enjoy a variety of shore excursion options including the Panama Canal Railway, Panama City, Soberania National Park Rainforest or a visit to an authentic Embera Indian Village. The intimate Royal Princess' 20-day sailing will also introduce a new port for Princess, Puerto Chiapas in Mexico, the gateway to the rich culture of the Mayan region featuring opportunities to explore coffee plantations and architectural landmarks.

"Panama is such a rich country with so much to see, and many passengers don't get the opportunity to experience it because they naturally want to savor the marvel of engineering that is the Panama Canal," said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president. "So we're now offering the opportunity to do both - spend one day on the ship as it is lifted and lowered through all three sets of locks, plus have a day in port to venture further into Panama."

Panama Canal Two-Day Experience: Coral Princess and Island Princess will feature 15 sailings on this 15-day Los Angeles/Ft. Lauderdale route, with the two-day Canal experience plus calls at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Costa Rica (Puntarenas), Cartagena, and Aruba. In addition, Island Princess and Sea Princess will offer three similar sailings between San Francisco and Ft. Lauderdale. Royal Princess will offer one 20-day itinerary from Ft. Lauderdale to Seattle, offering the two-day Canal experience, plus calls at Aruba, Costa Rica (Puntarenas), new port Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, and San Francisco. Coral Princess and Island Princess also offer longer 17-, 18- and 19-day options, sailing to and from Vancouver. Coral Princess sailings depart between September 21, 2009 and April 21, 2010. Island Princess sailings depart on September 14, 2009 and April 29, 2010; and Sea Princess sailings depart September 25, 2009 and May 7, 2010. Royal Princess sails on April 30, 2010.

Full Transit Sailings: The 10-day Panama Canal Adventurer route between Ft. Lauderdale and Acapulco offers a full Canal transit plus a focus on Central America with visits to Costa Rica (Puntarenas), Nicaragua (San Juan del Sur) and Guatemala (Puerto Quetzal), as well as Ocho Rios and Huatulco. Island Princess offers eight sailings on this route, with departures between December 10, 2009 and March 20, 2010.

Roundtrip Panama Canal: Island Princess will sail on this classic 10-day itinerary from Ft. Lauderdale, which offers a partial Panama Canal transit to Gatun Lake followed by a call in Cristobal, plus calls in the Caribbean ports of Aruba, Cartagena, Limon (Costa Rica), and Ocho Rios. The ship offers 13 departures between October 1, 2009 and April 19, 2010.

Panama Canal cruises are available for booking on May 22, 2008. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Princess 2009-10 West Coast Sailings Offer
Perfect Opportunity for Short Getaways

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 6 - Each year Princess offers passengers the opportunity to sample the line's product with short "coastal" sailings. These West Coast cruises range from overnight to a week in length, offering a great way for travelers to explore North America's Pacific coastline while enjoying a taste of Princess' amenity-filled vessels and renowned service. For the 2009-10 season, passengers can choose from short escapes of one to four nights in the spring and fall, plus three longer sailings. These special cruises include a weeklong Coastal Wine Region sailing with special wine-related tours, programs and special guests; a seven-day British Columbia and West Coast cruise showcasing a variety of ports along the coast; and a five-day West Coast Escape.

"We enjoy giving passengers these yearly opportunities to add a short getaway to their schedule," said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president. "And many new passengers use these sailings to get a taste of what Princess is all about - whether they choose to sail overnight or spend a week exploring the West Coast's fabulous wine regions."

Princess Coastal Sailings for 2009-10 include:

Wine Country Coastal - A seven-day opportunity for passengers to steep themselves in the California wine regions of Santa Barbara and the San Francisco area as well as the microbreweries of Astoria, Oregon. Passengers can explore the world of food and wine with themed excursions as well as special onboard presentations from a guest wine expert and guest chef who will offer demonstrations, wine tastings and special meals. The cruise aboard Sapphire Princess departs from Los Angeles on May 8, 2010, sailing to Vancouver with calls at Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Astoria, Seattle and Victoria.

British Columbia and West Coast Coastal - This weeklong voyage explores the west coast from the fall foliage of British Columbia to the shores of Southern California. The Vancouver to Los Angeles cruise calls at Nanaimo, Victoria, San Francisco, Catalina Island and San Diego. Golden Princess sets sail on September 20, 2009.

West Coast Escape - A five-day escape from Los Angeles to Vancouver, this Golden Princess sailing offers the opportunity to visit Catalina Island, San Francisco and Victoria. Golden Princess sets sail on May 9, 2010.

San Francisco/Vancouver - These two-day journeys sail between the "City by the Bay" and British Columbia's largest city. Offered on Star Princess on September 21, 2009 and May 6, 2010, as well as on Island Princess on September 14, 2009.

Los Angeles/Vancouver - A choice of three-night getaways between Los Angeles and Vancouver, are offered on Coral Princess on September 21, 2009 and Island Princess on May 14, 2010. Coral Princess also offers a four-day voyage on May 6, 2010 offering a call in Victoria.

Seattle/Vancouver - These overnight escapes between Seattle and Vancouver give passengers a taste of life aboard, with departures on Golden Princess on September 19, 2009 and May 14, 2010; Star Princess on September 20, 2009 and May 8, 2010; and Pacific Princess on September 17, 2009.

Costal sailings are available for booking on May 22, 2008. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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NCL Welcomes Return of Norwegian Sky to Miami

MIAMI, May 6 – NCL Corp (NCL) announced today that it will reflag and rename Pride of Aloha and launch the ship as Norwegian Sky, offering 3- and 4-day Bahamas cruises from Miami commencing this summer. The 2,002-passenger ship, built in 1999, will return to the NCL international fleet, and will be outfitted with NCL’s Freestyle 2.0 enhancements. It will be the youngest and highest quality ship sailing 3- and 4-day Bahamas cruises from Miami beginning July 14, 2008. The new itineraries go on sale today.

To welcome the ship to Miami, NCL is offering a “Kids Sail Free Summer Vacation” promotion for reservations on Norwegian Sky made from May 6, 2008 to May 31, 2008 for sailings taking place July 14, 2008 to September 26, 2008. Children ages six months to 17 are eligible to sail free (government taxes and fees and fuel supplement apply).

“NCL pioneered the first Bahamas cruise from Miami more than 41 years ago and last had a ship in the three and four-day cruise market from Miami in 2003. By reintroducing Norwegian Sky and positioning the ship in Miami sailing short cruises to the Bahamas, we are returning to our roots. At the same time, we are raising the bar by offering a modern Freestyle Cruising ship that features a variety of accommodations, including balconies and suites, a multitude of on-board amenities and a choice of six restaurants,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. “In addition, we will outfit Norwegian Sky with the Freestyle 2.0 enhancements currently being introduced across our fleet. This, coupled with the port-intensive itineraries, offers guests seeking a quick getaway an unmatched cruise experience. There is no doubt that NCL’s three and four-day Freestyle product on the industry’s newest ship offers the highest quality and best value for money in the market.”

Norwegian Sky will depart Miami on Mondays sailing 4-day Bahamas cruises with full-day stops in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL’s private island in the Bahamas. On Fridays, the ship will sail a weekend getaway 3-day Bahamas itinerary, departing Miami at 5 p.m. with all-day stops in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, returning to Miami at 7 a.m. on Monday mornings. These sailings are scheduled through April 17, 2009.

Norwegian Sky will enter a wet dock in Miami during which a casino will be added. In addition, the ship will receive the significant product and hardware upgrades that are part of the company’s major fleetwide initiative, Freestyle 2.0. These enhancements include: a major investment in the total dining experience such as all new menus and Lobster Galore; upgrading the stateroom experience; new wide ranging on-board activities for all guests; and additional recognition, service and amenities for balcony and suite guests.

Originally launched in 1999, Norwegian Sky has more than 240 balcony staterooms, a choice of six different restaurants, 10 bars and lounges, multiple entertainment venues, two pools, extensive children’s facilities, a sports deck and a variety of spacious public rooms. Norwegian Sky had been reflagged and renamed Pride of Aloha in 2004 and sailed Hawai`i inter-island cruises until May 2008. For more information or to book a sailing on Norwegian Sky, call your travel professional, go to or contact NCL at 866-234-0292.

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Cause for Celebration: Azamara Cruises Marks First Anniversary

MIAMI, May 6 -- The traditional symbol for a first anniversary is paper, and Azamara Cruises today is tempted to paper the walls of its Miami offices with the accolades the deluxe brand has received since setting sail for the first time just one year ago today.

"We're thrilled with how far we've come in just one year, and honored by the recognition our deluxe brand has received from our guests, our travel agent partners, and the press," said Azamara Cruises President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. "The extraordinary staff on both Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest has worked tirelessly to ensure that every guest receives the vacation experience we've promised since the brand's launch."

That launch officially began when Azamara Journey set sail last year, promising a more intimate onboard experience, with a capacity of just 694 guests, and access to the less-traveled ports of call experienced travelers want to visit. Azamara also inspired a new category in the cruise business--the deluxe category--serving a niche market between premium and luxury.

"Azamara Cruises was expressly designed for travel enthusiasts who appreciate what a cruise vacation has to offer, but are looking for something a little different, and a little more special," said Hanrahan. "And what's special about Azamara is its distinctive combination of impeccable service, exceptional cuisine, and off-the-beaten-path destinations, with immersive shore excursions."

Azamara expanded to a two-ship fleet just five months after the brand's launch, when Azamara Quest entered service in October 2007. Both ships previously sailed with Madrid-based cruise and tour operator Pullmantur S.A., and were acquired when Azamara's parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., purchased the company in 2006. Prior to both ships' launch, the line invested nearly $40 million between the two to incorporate two specialty restaurants and 32 new suites on each ship, and entirely new bedding, decking, flooring, carpeting, art collection and design schemes, within a variety of updated, stylish lounges, including a Martini Bar, Mosaic Cafe, Sushi Cafe, Drawing Room jazz/piano bar, casino, Boutique C, AstralSpa by Elemis, Acupuncture at Sea and an Internet café.

The guest experience on both ships is decidedly more exclusive, with Azamara butler service in every stateroom and suite, as well as concierge- style amenities, including fresh-cut flowers, fresh fruit, Elemis toiletries, complimentary use of Frette cotton robes, two complimentary pairs of slippers, plasma TVs and plush European bedding.

The two specialty restaurants, the Mediterranean-influenced "Aqualina" and the steak and seafood restaurant, "Prime C," each complimentary for guests, were created to rival some of the finest restaurants on land, and guest response indicates the line is meeting that goal, with ratings steadily rising from the brand's launch to all-time highs that remain today. The main dining room, "Discoveries," is open seating, as is the casual dining area, comprised of "Breeza" and "Windows Cafe." There are no formal nights; instead, country-club casual apparel is welcome day and night.

Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest are currently plying the waters of the Mediterranean, on exotic itineraries such as a 16-night Western Europe cruise featuring four destinations in Spain, the Channel Islands, a cruise through Germany's Kiel Canal, and a two-night stay in London near the Tower Bridge, a vivid illustration of Azamara cruise ships' ability to visit locations larger ships can't reach. Azamara Journey also sails in the Baltic this summer, with several overnight stays in captivating ports of call.

Beginning this fall, following its first European season, Azamara Journey will present two new, 16-night Panama Canal sailings, followed by a series of 12-night exotic Caribbean cruises through March 2009, when the ship will relocate to Europe.

Meanwhile, Azamara Quest will set sail in exotic Asia with a 24-night voyage from Athens (Lavrion), Greece to Singapore departing November 22, 2008, followed by an 18-night Southeast Asia voyage from Singapore to Hong Kong, China; two 14-night Southeast Asia cruises between Hong Kong and Singapore, and four 14-night Northeast Asia cruises between Hong Kong and Beijing (Tianjin), China. Seven-night escorted cruisetour packages are available for guests interested in optimizing their Asian experience, through in-depth land- based tours in Hong Kong, Beijing, Xian and Guilin, and visits to the Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors. Azamara Quest will return to Europe on April 7, 2009, from Singapore to Athens (Lavrion), Greece, for its second season in Europe. All sailings on both ships, including those in 2009, are open for booking.

Azamara Cruises is marking its anniversary with a complimentary champagne toast at sailaway today for all guests on both ships, capped with a special sweet treat with turndown service, and an internal celebration at the company's Miami, Miramar, and Wichita locations. For more information, call 1-877-999-9553, or visit

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Seabourn Expansion Includes Its Website

MIAMI, May 6 -- The Yachts of Seabourn announced that, in keeping with the impending expansion of its fleet, the company has completed a major overhaul of its award-winning website at The expansion created multiple new functionalities allowing guests and travel agents to research destinations, explore options and customize Seabourn vacations on line, as well as enhancing its design.

Pamela C. Conover, the line's president and CEO, noted that "A Seabourn yachting vacation is all about service and style, and the website is first and foremost a tool for our booked guests and agents to use, so we wanted to ensure that the newly launched website would be easier to use, and more varied in its functions, but we also want it to welcome newcomers and introduce them to the lifestyle aboard our yachts, so we also made it richer in content, as well as more attractive than ever before."

The site contains more port descriptions, more details and more in-depth information than was previously available. Visitors can now research select ports of call to explore their cultural highlights, learn fun facts and get up-to-date insider tips about what's new and exciting in a port and its vicinity. There are even recipes for some of celebrity chef Charlie Palmer's signature dishes served on board the Seabourn yachts.

Enhanced interactivity allows booked guests to purchase pre- and post-cruise hotel stays and Seabourn Journeys land extensions, as well as certain mid-cruise overland options and shore excursions several months before departure, by adding them to the master cruise booking with simple point-and-click menus. The optional excursions for all ports of call on the cruise itinerary are thoroughly described, and guests can make or change reservations for optional excursions to be purchased once they embark. For those who seek a more customized experience, the site also offers an easy message link to Seabourn's Signature Service Desk, with which the guests can request personalized arrangements in any of their ports of call, from a simple car and driver to local dining reservations or elaborate special events or celebrations.

Visitors who have not yet sailed with Seabourn can explore the vessels in great detail, research itineraries and departure dates, order brochures and sign up to receive Seabourn's periodic SeaMail
SM newsletters alerting them to special offers. The entire site has been redesigned to match the company's new visual motif, which was introduced with the publication of a brochure highlighting Seabourn's 2009-10 collection of yachting vacations and Sail & Stay yacht-land combinations. Another popular feature that remains in service is Seabourn's unique Virtual Theater section, which houses a library of informational and promotional videos and virtual ship tours. For information about the Yachts of Seabourn or its website, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-93921 or visit

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Jewish Heritage Focus Set for New European Crystal Adventures

LOS ANGELES, May -- For summer 2008, Crystal Cruises has expanded its Jewish Heritage programs in Northern Europe. The luxury line has set five excursions, including a new tour in Berlin that transports guests on a heartrending excursion to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Orianenburg, which served as a prototype for all the camps that followed. These thought-provoking and eye-opening excursions -- which will prove fascinating to Jews and non-Jews alike -- are also available in Dublin, St. Petersburg and Stockholm aboard virtually all of Crystal Symphony's Northern Europe itineraries from June through August.

"Our experience is that these Crystal Adventures sate guests' interests in their roots and culture, as well as prove captivating to many of our intellectually curious travelers who want to delve more deeply into Jewish history and the Holocaust," said John Stoll, director, land programs. "This is just one of the many special interest areas we've explored and expanded with niche excursions. In 2008, we're even offering a Jewish heritage tour in Mumbai, which showcases an array of Indian synagogues and other important Judaic cultural sites. For many, this kind of experience provides a common bond among global travelers."

The tours, which feature in-depth visits to Jewish Old Towns, museums, synagogues and Jewish families, include:

Berlin (from the port of Warnemunde):
NEW Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp & Berlin Highlights -- Visit Sachsenhausen, the camp that housed political prisoners and dissidents beginning in the 1930s, where thousands of prisoners perished from starvation.

Echoes of the Past: Berlin's Jewish History -- Explore Berlin's Jewish heritage, visiting the Jewish Old Quarter and the New Synagogue, whose stone was laid in 1988, exactly 50 years after the "Night of Broken Glass."

St. Petersburg
The Jewish Highlights of St. Petersburg -- Travel to the Great Choral Synagogue, the second largest in Europe, listening to a concert performed by the synagogue's cantor, and visit a local family active in the Jewish community.

Jewish Stockholm -- Pass through the walls of the 19th-century, 1,000-seat Great Synagogue, with a memorial wall to 8,500 victims of Jewish relatives residing in Sweden, continuing on to one of the few the Jewish museums in Scandinavia.

Historic Jewish Dublin -- Browse through the Irish Jewish Museum, formerly an old synagogue, officially opened by President Chaim Herzog of Israel, who was raised in Dublin, and travel on to President Herzog's former home and site of the first Jewish Day School.

The Jewish Heritage Crystal Adventures are available aboard Crystal Symphony's seven Northern Europe itineraries. For additional information and Crystal reservations, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Exciting New Silversea Shore Adventures Range from Cosmonaut Training to Cooking with a Swedish Celebrity Chef

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, May 5 -- This summer ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is offering 19 diverse itineraries of 6 to 15 days, designed to reveal the quaint harbor towns, romantic countryside and grand historic ports of Northern Europe and the Baltic in the up-close, personal style only small ships can provide. Accommodating just 296 guests, the all-suite, intimate Silver Cloud and Silver Wind are specifically designed to navigate narrow waterways and channels, offering an irresistible Northern Europe program that includes the possibility to journey up the Gironde River to uncork the fine wines of Bordeaux; sail under the Tower Bridge into the heart of London; travel up the Neva River to call in the center of St. Petersburg; or cruise into Norway's narrowest nooks.

"These itineraries will appeal to the sophisticated luxury traveler seeking a more intimate, in-depth exploration of Northern Europe," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "Guests on these voyages will enjoy mind-enriching presentations complemented by shore adventures that are carefully designed to create a meaningful connection to the people, places and cultures visited."

Silversea's Northern Europe voyages showcase nearly 60 different destinations with more than 245 optional shore excursions designed to appeal to a variety of interests. Following is a sampling of new optional tours:

** From St. Petersburg, journey to Star City (outside of Moscow) to be a "Cosmonaut for a Day" at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. Get hands-on training with the rendezvous and docking simulator for the Soyuz-TM space vehicle. View a reconstructed copy of the Russian Mir Space Station and the fully functional hydro-laboratory at the space center still used for the training of future cosmonauts. Witness the massive space centrifuge, incorporated into daily cosmonaut exercises. (A more leisurely tour is also available that omits simulator training.)

** From Helsingborg, learn how to cook the Swedish way with celebrity television chef Tina Nordström "on location" at Nordström's studio kitchen. Her name is a household word in Sweden thanks to her popular TV series Mat (Food). And she is well known to a U.S. audience through her program New Scandinavian Cooking on PBS. Enjoy a lecture and hands-on cooking class followed by a delicious lunch featuring your own culinary creations -- and the chance to chat and sip wine with the chef.

** From London, enjoy exclusive, after-hours access to two rare and unusual exhibitions at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace: "Amazing Rare Things," a collection of scientific drawings and watercolors of nature from the Age of Discovery co-curated by distinguished naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, and "Treasures from the Royal Collection," shaped by the personal tastes of kings and queens over more than 500 years. Guests will have a chance to view works by such masters as Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Canaletto, and Winterhalter, among others.

These voyages will also showcase a diverse enrichment program of noted scholars, writers, and other experts selected from a variety of fields to share their passion, knowledge and insider views for the entertainment and edification of Silversea's guests. A small sampling includes:

-- Silver Wind departs May 22 on a 10-day voyage (#2816) from London to Stockholm with calls in Honfleur, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Rostock and Ronne. Enrichment Host: Richard Tallboys, former British ambassador twice decorated by Queen Elizabeth. His planned lectures will explore the creation of a single Europe, Scandinavia's place in history, and Russia's relationship with western Europe.

-- Silver Wind departs July 2 on a 12-day, roundtrip voyage (#2819) from Stockholm with calls in Ornskoldsvik, Lulea, Kokkola, Vaasa, Copenhagen (overnight), Helsingborg, Rostock, Ronne, Gdansk and Visby. Enrichment Host: Dr. Lawrence Herson, an Ohio State University professor emeritus and former election analyst for CBS. In 1995 Mikhail Gorbachev invited him to deliver a series of lectures in Russia on the American democratic experience. For Silver Wind's guests, his presentations will cover Scandinavian history and culture, touching on the role of the Vikings as well as traders, crusaders and war in the Baltic lands.

-- Silver Wind departs July 21 on a 15-day, roundtrip voyage (#2821) from Copenhagen with calls in Alesund, Gravdal, Honningsvag, Longyearbyen, Tromso, Geiranger and Bergen. Enrichment Hosts: Former U.S. Ambassador Andrew L. Steigman, now associate dean at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He will present in-depth lectures on the history and culture of Norway and the Vikings. Also on hand will be Corey Sandler, author of Henry Hudson: Dreams and Obsession, to share insights on Hudson's adventurous travels. And offering guests an authentic taste of Norway will be Relais & Châteaux guest chef Eyvind Hellstrøm, owner and chef of Bagatelle, Oslo's famous Michelin two-star restaurant.

-- Silver Cloud departs August 5 on a 15-day, roundtrip voyage (#1823) from Copenhagen visiting Kirkwall, Lerwick, Thorshavn, Reykjavick, Isafjordur, Akureyri, Alesund, and Bergen, plus an inaugural call to Sylt. Enrichment Hosts: Dr. Peter Crimes, former University of Liverpool paleontologist, will illustrate the culture and history of these northernmost regions with his original photography. Additionally, Dr. Louis René Beres, professor of political science at Purdue University, will delve into world affairs and the perspectives of artists and writers from Denmark, Norway and Germany. And for culinary enthusiasts, the Viking Cooking School will be hosted by Kathleen Bruno, curriculum development manager for Viking Cooking Schools.

-- Silver Wind departs August 19 on a 10-day, Copenhagen-to-London cruise (#2824), featuring a 3-day, 2-night stopover in historic St. Petersburg and calls in Helsinki and Tallinn. Enrichment Hosts: Alastair Bruce, a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce, will be on hand to discuss modern monarchies from Russia to Britain. And slated to host a special musical enrichment program is Michael Law, musical director of London's Piccadilly Dance Orchestra. His engaging musical lectures, combining stories, piano and song, will explore the works of Noel Coward, Cole Porter and others.

-- Silver Wind departs August 29 on a 12-day roundtrip voyage (#2825) from London visiting Guernsey, Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Stornoway, Kirkwall, Invergordon and Edinburgh. Enrichment Hosts: Brian Hoey, royal biographer and television commentator, will present an illustrated history of the Royal Yacht Britannia, provide an overview of Buckingham Palace and discuss the legacy of Princess Diana. And for epicures, Gordon Bell, brand ambassador and master of Scotch whisky, will share his insights on the art of blending malt whiskies.

Detailed information and complete itineraries are available at A colorful self-mailer describing the Northern Europe voyage collection is available to travel agents and can be ordered online at Silversea's website. For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent. For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

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Royal Caribbean Announces 2009-10 Mexico Cruises
From Los Angeles & San Diego

MIAMI, May 05 – Royal Caribbean International, the industry leader in exciting cruises for families and active vacationers, today announced its 2009-10 Mexican Riviera cruise season. Vacationers can choose from 55 departures, ranging from four- to seven-night Mexico cruises, from the homeports of Los Angeles and San Diego. Guests will sail aboard the Voyager-class Mariner of the Seas, the largest cruise ship to be homeported in the Pacific Ocean, and Radiance of the Seas, the newest and largest ship to offer short cruises on the West Coast. In addition, vacationers can choose from four Panama Canal crossings aboard Serenade of the Seas. Bookings for 2009-10 Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal cruises open Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

“For the first time, Royal Caribbean is offering a second choice for cruisers to embark on a Mexico cruise from the Southern California port of San Diego,” said Alice Norsworthy, senior vice president, Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “Vacationers, as well as groups and incentives travelers will now have more choices for the best cruise offerings from the West Coast to visit the timeless colonial charms of the Mexican Riviera aboard the industry’s most innovative cruise ships.”

Mariner of the Seas’ seven-night Mexican Riviera itinerary sails round-trip from Los Angeles with ports of call at Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. One of the largest cruise ships in the world, Mariner offers guests revolutionary amenities, such as an onboard ice-skating rink, full-size basketball court, inline skating track, iconic rock-climbing wall, and the Royal Promenade, a boulevard of shops, restaurants, bars and lounges that runs nearly the length of the ship.

For the 2009 autumn season, Radiance of the Seas will feature a four-night itinerary with a call at Cabo San Lucas, and a five-night itinerary which also calls at Ensenada. Radiance is one of Royal Caribbean’s Radiance family of ships, which features the highest percentage of oceanview staterooms in the line’s fleet, and a 10-story atrium with glass elevators offering spectacular vistas of the sea.

Vacationers also can choose four distinct Panama Canal crossing itineraries, ranging from 13 to 15 nights, with departures from Miami, San Diego and San Juan, Puerto Rico aboard Serenade of the Seas, another Radiance-class ship.

On every Royal Caribbean ship, guests enjoy the line’s award-winning Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions, multiple onboard bars, lounges and discos throughout the ship, and Vegas-style gaming in the Casino Royale. The ships’ onboard Day Spa also offers a full range of rejuvenating treatments, and the adults-only Solarium pool provides a more sedate and relaxing environment.

Younger cruisers will laugh and learn in the line’s top-rated Adventure Ocean kids programming with teen-only spaces fleetwide. Or, the whole family can stay in, order room service – always complimentary 24 hours a day – and catch a popular on-demand movie.

Throughout, every guest will enjoy Royal Caribbean’s Gold Anchor standard of friendly and engaging service from staff and crew. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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Loyal Princess Passengers Receive New Launch Discounts

SANTA CLARITA, CA, May 5 - Loyal Princess passengers who book early to reserve their favorite destination and accommodations can now receive extra savings with the line's new Princess Captain's Circle Launch Savings benefit. This new discount offers Circle Members up to $300 off when they make their cruise reservations shortly after new cruise schedules are announced. The program offers one of the industry's best past passenger values, as it can be combined with other promotional fares.

Debuting with summer 2009 itineraries, the savings vary by destination and apply to all cabin categories. The program is offered to Circle Members at all membership levels - Gold, Platinum and Elite. For 2009-2010 departures, Europe and Alaska cruises must be booked by September 30, 2008 and all other destinations must be booked by December 31, 2008.

"We have many loyal past passengers who routinely book their sailings soon after we announce our new schedules," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "So we created this new discount to offer them extra rewards for their loyalty and for booking their cruises early. And unlike many other cruise industry discounts, these savings apply even if the passenger qualifies for other offers - whether a special group rate or subsequent fare specials."

Once booked, Launch Savings remain in effect, and can be applied to most other subsequent promotions, allowing past passengers to always have the best fares for which they qualify. The savings can be combined with Escape Fares, group rates, regional promotions, and other past passenger discounts.

The Princess Captain's Circle has received acclaim for offering some of the richest loyalty benefits in the cruise industry. Among the many perks available to the most loyal past Princess cruisers are a free mini-bar set up, free Internet packages, free laundry services, priority tender embarkation, complimentary wine tasting, a boutiques discount, and preferred embarkation and disembarkation.

For more information about the Princess Captain's Circle and additional information about Princess Cruises, call 1-800-PRINCESS, or visit the company's website at

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Still Plenty of Opportunities To Take Mom On A Mother’s Day Cruise

MIAMI, May 1 — Although Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away, there are still plenty of opportunities to show your appreciation for mom this year by whisking her away with a “Fun Ship” getaway aboard Carnival Cruise Lines. With six departures ranging from three to five days available over the May 11, 2008, Mother’s Day holiday, Carnival’s “Fun Ships” will offer moms of all ages an opportunity to visit a variety of warm, tropical destinations in Mexico, The Bahamas, or Caribbean. And with an array of shipboard amenities designed to appeal to the entire family, mom won’t be the only one having fun.

“An estimated 82 million mothers reside in the U.S., according to the latest U.S. Census numbers, and Carnival as the number-one cruise line catering to families, is poised to provide mothers with a special and memorable day,” said Lynn C. Torrent, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest services. “Carnival’s ‘Fun Ships’ offer the ideal setting to celebrate each of mom’s many roles in a family-oriented atmosphere while enjoying a fun and relaxing time together.”

Carnival’s 3- to 5-day cruises departing over Mother’s Day weekend include:

-- Carnival Fantasy departs on a 4-day cruise from New Orleans on May 8
-- Carnival Paradise, departs on a 3-day cruise from Long Beach, CA on May 9
-- Carnival Fascination departs on a 3-day cruise from Miami on May 9
-- Carnival Imagination departs on a 5-day cruise from Miami on May 10
-- Carnival Inspiration departs on a 5-day cruise from Tampa on May 10
-- Carnival Sensation departs on a 4-day cruise from Port Canaveral, FL on May 11

Mom and the entire family can enjoy white-sand beaches and azure waters while creating a lifetime of wonderful memories as they cruise around the Caribbean and Mexico. Treat mom to unforgettable experiences such as swimming with stingrays, climbing Ocho Rios’ famous Dunn’s River Falls or exploring ancient Mayan ruins. Shop-aholics also can experience incredible duty-free bargains at the various ports.

Aboard ship, moms can indulge at Spa Carnival with a pampering massage or facial or relax in the sauna or steam room. Dining options abound, with delicious full-service meals in elegant main dining rooms, a variety of casual choices in expansive poolside eateries, or even breakfast in bed, compliments of Carnival’s 24-hour stateroom service.

Carnival ships offer numerous shipboard amenities including a variety of entertainment options, multiple nightclubs and lounges and, on the Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration, the new Serenity adults-only retreat. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Cruise News Archive - Past cruise news items listed by month

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

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