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June 1-30, 2006

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Tasting Menu Trend Goes to Sea

MIAMI, June 13 -- Always a pioneer of innovative cruise cuisine, Seabourn Cruise Line has once again successfully translated a tasteful trend popularized by upper-tier shoreside restaurants to its three intimate, yacht-like ships. When the line introduced innovative dinner menus called "Tastings @ 2" to its more casual alternative onboard dining venue, it became the first cruise line to feature a multi-course, small-plate dining experience on board. 

According to Deborah L. Natansohn, Seabourn's president, "Seabourn's guests are very sophisticated diners, who seek out creative and inventive chefs both at home and as they travel around the world. They have experienced the way many of today's chefs are fusing ideas from Spanish tapas and French menus degustation and Asian multi-course traditions to create diverse, interesting meals, and they expect to find the same sort of inventive cuisine on our ships."

Seabourn Corporate Executive Chef Anton "Tony" Egger, who designed the Tastings @ 2 menus, describes the concept as " ... a sort of culinary symphony, like a complex musical composition of tastes and textures." Some dishes are served solo, says Egger, " ... like bold themes or quieter passages." Others are combined to create rich chords in harmony or dissonance. "I am able to mix and match, highlight one dish or serve an assortment of flavors to be tasted together," Egger continued. "By serving more than one dish per course, I create a multitude of flavors and sensations in a single meal of five or six courses."

To accomplish this nightly symphony, the galleys for the ships' Veranda Cafes were expanded to accommodate two chefs working simultaneously to prepare and plate the dozens of dishes that make up each meal. Even though each night's menu is fixed, the mis en place array of ingredients and seasonings is staggeringly complex, and the pace of preparation Olympian. The menus created challenges for the service brigade, as well. Accustomed to serving one dish at a time, the waiters and assistants have had to retool the rhythm and choreography of delivery and clearing to match the varied courses and adjust to the fact that some dishes now consist of only a bite or two. It is a tribute to their professionalism and skill that they are able to make the transition nightly. "When they put on the 2 uniform," says Egger, "they also change their mindset!"

2, which accommodates about 50 of each ship's 208 guests each night by reservation, is located high atop the Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend, in the popular, casual Veranda Cafe indoor/outdoor venue used for buffet breakfasts and luncheons daily. There are six Tastings @ 2 menus, which rotate. Travelers can experience 2, as well as the award-winning cuisine designed by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer and served in the ships' open-seating Restaurants, on cruises of seven to 28 days or more in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia, India and Arabia. Cruise itineraries explore landmark ports and lesser-known gems where larger ships cannot go.

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MSC Musica: The Essence of Design and Elegance

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, June 13, 2006 -- MSC Musica - the newest MSC Cruises flagship, to be launched on June 29, 2006 in Venice by Sophia Loren - is a jewel of design and elegance, never pretentious or ostentatious, but rather discreet and precious, flaunting the quality and good taste typical of Italian style.

MSC Musica offers endless adventures. It is a world to be experienced to the fullest and not simply observed. Boarding the ship, you will instantly pick up on the special atmosphere, arising from a decidedly innovative design; strolling through the ship's halls and lounges that follow one another in a continuous succession of painstaking details, you will delight in the harmonious proportions and spaces designed and created by leading architects in the sector, such as Giuseppe and Marco De Jorio. A glance at the piano suspended on a crystal platform above the waterfall in the foyer will give you an instant preview of the futuristic solutions adopted for the ship's interior design. You may sip a health beverage in the Wellness Bar and Fitness Center, while choosing between a Bali massage and a sea water treatment in the spa measuring over 13,000 square feet. Or, you may lie at the edge of one of the 3 pools or go for a dip in one the 4 Jacuzzis on the upper deck, enjoying the delights offered by the functional and entertaining Pool Area, separated down the middle by a great bar with a mega canvas. Above all, living on the ship day after day, you will come to appreciate the 236,000 square feet of public space in which you are sure to find your own space, your holiday ideal dimension.

However, the elegance of MSC Musica is not merely structural. It may also be admired in the onboard services and those endless attentions to detail that contribute to making every guest feel both special and unique. The onboard cuisine, refined and made to order, may be sampled in 4 restaurants, 2 of which are à la carte - specializing in Japanese (Sushi Bar) and Italian (Il Giardino) food - and in the welcoming Wine Tasting Bar, which offers a vast selection of Italian and international wines.

The service, ever impeccable, zealous and reflecting the quintessential Italian hospitality, combines courtesy with great professionalism. So don't be surprised if on returning to your stateroom at night you find the bed cover folded back for the night, if the waiter calls you by name, or you find a hostess with whom you can chat in your native language, whether that be English, Turkish, Japanese, Portuguese or Greek. All this is MSC Musica: the ship built specifically to meet its guests' needs, offering first-rate levels of hospitability and quality.

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Celebrity Cruises Pairs With Food Network for Wedding Special 

MIAMI, June 13 -- In partnership with Food Network, Celebrity Cruises is preparing to ensure that one lucky couple enjoys a wedding of "infinite" possibilities. Celebrity's Infinity has been selected to serve as the platform for "Food Network Caters Your Hawaiian Wedding," a two-hour special that will premiere during the network's "Wedding Weekend" in June 2007. Giada de Laurentiis, star of Everyday Italian, will host the entire event.

Food Network has launched its third annual contest to select the winning couple, whose all-inclusive wedding will include luxury accommodations onboard Celebrity's Infinity in Hawaii, a sumptuous rehearsal dinner in the ship's dramatic, two-level "Trellis" dining room, a designer wedding cake, a consultation with editors from Brides magazine, a beach-side ceremony, and the ultimate wedding reception with cuisine designed by Food Network stars, held in the elegant "SS United States" specialty restaurant onboard the ship. Couples interested in entering the contest for the lavish wedding should log onto to download the application. The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 24, 2006.

"Celebrity Cruises is thrilled to partner with Food Network for its next wedding special, and we think it's a perfect fit," said Celebrity's President Dan Hanrahan. "Our line is widely recognized for providing an outstanding culinary experience within a romantic atmosphere, so it's the ideal platform for an extraordinary wedding catered by Food Network's star chefs."

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New Star Clippers 2007 Summer Med Itineraries Open for Booking

MIAMI, June 13, 2006 -- For travelers looking to take a cruise that offers the most idyllic ports in the Mediterranean combined with the adventure and romance of sailing on a tall ship, the wait is over. Bookings for Star Clippers' 2007 summer Mediterranean season are open, and guests can select from a variety of itineraries ranging from four to 14 nights. From April to October 2007, the three ships that compose the Star Clippers fleet will journey to 11 countries and enjoy a series of special cruises in addition to the regular itineraries. 

"The ships are hitting all of the Mediterranean countries on every travelers 'must-see' list," said Jack Chatham, vice president of Star Clippers. "By offering new itineraries combined with past favorites, we're ensuring that both our repeat and new guests will see plenty of enticing destinations."

Royal Clipper: A variety of cruises with a return to Croatia
The flagship of the fleet and the largest clipper ship afloat, Royal Clipper sails five different itineraries that journey to the old and the new in the western Mediterranean.

  • The seven-night round-trip Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, sailings showcase the best of Italy and include calls at Ponza, Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi and Lipari, Italy; Taormina, Sicily; and an evening sail past the Stromboli volcano. A special six-night cruise on May 20 eliminates the calls at Ponza and Sorrento.

  • Quickly becoming one of the hottest cruise destinations in the Med, Croatia takes center stage once again on 10- and 11- night journeys between Civitavecchia and Venice, Italy. The 227-passenger ship takes guests to Dubrovnik, Kurcola, Hvar and Rovinj, Croatia; Capri and Ponza, Italy; Taormina; Corfu, Greece; and Kotor, Montenegro.

  • A special 12-night journey from Civitavecchia to Lisbon, Portugal, departing Oct. 20 visits five different countries and ports of call that exude mystery, culture and romance. Guests will have time ashore in Corsica, France; Menorca, Ibiza, Motril and Cadiz, Spain; Safi, Casablanca and Tangier, Morocco; and Portimao, Portugal.

Star Clipper: New four- & five-night escapes and a Greek maiden call
Round-trip Cannes, France, itineraries make up the majority of Star Clipper's Mediterranean season, with additional cruises departing from a variety of ports, enhancing the cruise options.

  • The two different seven-night round-trip Cannes itineraries call at ports throughout France, Corsica and Italy, including the popular St. Tropez and the less-visited Elba, Italy, where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled. 

  • A special 12-night Lisbon to Barcelona, Spain, cruise aboard the 170-passenger ship departs April 23 and calls at Portimao; Motril, Ibiza, Cadiz and Valencia, Spain; Tangier, Casablanca, Mallorca and Menorca. Following that cruise is a seven-night round-trip Barcelona sailing that immerses guests in Spanish culture, calling at Valencia, Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca. 

  • The ouzo flows on a 12-night Cannes to Athens, Greece, journey departing Sept. 29 that features a maiden call at the ancient city of Katakalon in Greece. The itinerary also includes Calvi and Bonifacio, Corsica; Ponza, Sorrento and Lipari; evening cruising past Stromboli; Taormina and Yithion, Santorini and Mykonos, Greece. 

  • Guests looking for a quick getaway can take advantage of a series of new four- and five-night round-trip Cannes cruises. From July 7 to 21 and August 11 to 25, the ship calls at Portifino and Portoferraio, Italy and Calvi. The five-night trip adds the port of Bonifacio.

Star Flyer: Farewell Med season features Greece and Turkey
Sailing its final season in the Mediterranean before repositioning to French Polynesia in December 2007, Star Flyer offers seven-night round-trip Athens cruises and 10- and 11-night cruises between Athens and Venice. 

  • White-washed churches and golden beaches abound in this ancient region, and two different seven-night itineraries venture into the hidden harbors of Greece and Turkey. The northern route calls at Kusadasi, Turkey; Pythagoria, Samos; and Patmos, Delos, Mykonos and Sifnos, Greece. The southern route takes guests to Rhodes, Santorini and Hydra, Greece; and Bodrum and the Dalyan River, Turkey.

  • Four special cruises in June and August take Star Flyer between Athens and Venice on 10- or 11-night journeys. The Athens to Venice cruise calls at Mykonos, Santorini, Yithion and Corfu; Kotor, Montenegro; and Dubrovnik, Kurcola, Hvar and Lusinj, Croatia. The Venice to Athens cruise reverses the itinerary and skips the call at Kurcola. 

  • Marking Star Clippers' longest cruise of the Mediterranean season, the 170-passenger Star Flyer sails a 14-day voyage from Athens to Malaga, Spain, departing September 29. Along the way, the ship calls at Mykonos, Santorini, Yithion and Katakalon; Taormina and Palermo, Sicily; Mallorca, Ibiza and Motril.

  • A five-night round-trip Athens cruise that sets sail on April 30 highlights the best of Greece with a stop in Turkey. The voyage calls at Bodrum, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini and Sifnos.

Book early and guarantee the desired cruise and cabin 
Early bookings were strong for Star Clippers' 2006 summer Mediterranean season, so guests are encouraged to reserve space early to avoid disappointment.

Star Clippers combines the pampered luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the exhilarating thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship. Guests rediscover what sailing was like during the glorious age of the tall ships while visiting intimate ports of call untouched by larger cruise ships. The four- and five-masted clipper ships feature a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. Passengers dress in resort-casual attire and dine in one unhurried, open seating. Whether unwinding in the bowsprit net while gazing at the sea below or climbing the mast for a panoramic view of the horizon, a unique sailing adventure awaits.

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Four Guests Sail For the Price of Two With Costa in Europe

HOLLYWOOD, FL, June 13, 2006 – Guests can now pack their bags—and two more friends—with Costa’s incredible “Europe Sale,” available through June 30. Beginning today, third and fourth passengers sail free when accompanied by two guests in the same stateroom on select categories and sailing dates. 

Eastern Mediterranean itineraries featuring the savings include the Costa Mediterranea (7 nights: Greece/Turkey/Croatia; Jul 30, Aug 20); Costa Victoria (7 nights: Greek Isles/Croatia; Jul 31, Aug 21); Costa Romantica (7 nights: Greece/Turkey; Jul 10, 17, 31, Aug 21, 28, Sep.11); Costa Marina (7 nights:Greek Isles/Croatia; Jul 9, 16, 23, 30, Aug 6, 13, 20, 27, Sep 3, 10) Costa Europa (10 nights: Egypt/Cyprus/Greece; Jul 1 and 11 nights: Black Sea; Jul 11). 

In the Western Mediterranean, itineraries include the new Costa Concordia (7 nights: Spain/Tunisia/Malta; Jul 9, 30 and Aug. 21 from Rome; Jul 31 and Aug 21 from Savona) and the Costa Fortuna (7 nights: Tunisia/Spain/France; Jul. 30, Aug. 20). 

In Northern Europe, the savings are available on the Costa Magica (6/7 nights: Fjords; Jun. 25, Jul. 2, 9, 16, 23, Aug 20) and also through the Baltic & Russia (7 nights: Jul 2, 16, 30).

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Seadream Yacht Club Joins Earl Klugh in a Hip & Cool Theme Voyage

Hip and cool, award-winning SeaDream Yacht Club is getting together with hip and cool, Grammy award-winning acoustic guitar legend Earl Klugh to present SeaDream’s first theme cruise. To be called “Midnight in San Juan” after the popular guitarist’s Warner Bros. album and his hit tune of that name, the four-day voyage aboard elegant SeaDream I, during which the artist and his special guests will perform several times, will embark from San Juan, Puerto Rico and return there for disembarkation. Dates are April 12-16, 2007. The sailing will commence the afternoon of the 12th and at midnight feature a sail-away party with Earl Klugh. Ports of call are sophisticated Gustavia at St. Barts in the French West Indies and Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands where guests will join Earl Klugh for a sumptuous beach barbecue.

For the “Midnight in San Juan” voyage SeaDream I has been chartered by an Atlanta organization called Sixthman that organizes and produces upscale traveling programs with major rock, pop and jazz recording artists including Earl Klugh, Lynrd Skynyrd and Barenaked Ladies. Additional information is available from Sixthman at a toll-free number 1 877 SIXTHMAN.

SeaDream has not presented theme cruises to date since the yacht-like atmosphere aboard its twin mega-cruisers SeaDream I and II provides an open and unstructured ambience, much like sailing aboard your own yacht. The rakish twin SeaDream I and II, have only 55 staterooms and accommodate no more than 110 travelers. “But,” says SeaDream President and CEO Larry Pimentel, “an opportunity presented itself and we jumped at it. SeaDream and its upscale clientele and Earl Klugh are an ideal mix for an exceptional holiday experience.” He added, “SeaDream has more theme cruises in its future. The Earl Klugh voyage and our ability and success in chartering SeaDream I and II, lays the foundation for a bright theme-cruise future.”

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Pacific Princess to Sail on World Cruise in 2008

SANTA CLARITA, CA, June 12, 2006 - Princess Cruises returns to world cruising in 2008 with a full 102-day adventure aboard the intimate Pacific Princess. Traveling across six continents, visiting 31 countries, this journey of a lifetime offers passengers the opportunity to experience such iconic destinations as Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat and the Pyramids of Egypt. Departing January 10, 2008, the 670-passenger Pacific Princess' first round-the-world voyage sails from Ft. Lauderdale to Southampton, visiting 42 destinations along the way. Featuring a unique small-ship atmosphere, Pacific Princess takes passengers on a westbound trek from North America that encompasses South America, the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

"Princess passengers tend to be globetrotters by nature, so we are very happy to once again offer them the chance to explore on an extended voyage," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "And this unique mix of a small, intimate shipboard experience combined with such a wide-reaching and diverse itinerary makes for the ultimate 'round-the-world adventure."

Pacific Princess begins her journey from Ft. Lauderdale and makes Caribbean stops at Grand Cayman and Panama's San Blas Islands before making the dramatic transit of the Panama Canal. The ship then travels to South America with calls at Quito (Manta, Ecuador), and an overnight stay in Lima (Callao, Peru) which together offer a base for an overland journey to explore the famed Machu Picchu.

The vessel then heads across the Pacific to Easter Island and cruises by Pitcairn Island, before stops in Tahiti and Rarotonga. After the ship crosses the International Dateline, it continues on to Auckland, Sydney, and then Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef. Next up is Rabaul in Papua/New Guinea, Chuuk (Truk) in Micronesia, Guam, and scenic cruising by WWII icon Iwo Jima. Pacific Princess' Asia leg includes Kagoshima in Japan, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), and Sihanoukville in Cambodia for an overland tour to the dramatic temples of Angkor Wat. Passengers will also enjoy calls at Bangkok and Ko Samui in Thailand plus Singapore, and then go back to Thailand to visit the island of Phuket.

The voyage then turns for Colombo in Sri Lanka, Mumbai in India and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. An Egyptian adventure awaits with a visit to Safaga (for Luxor/Karnak), a Suez Canal transit and call in Port Said for Cairo and the pyramids of Giza. In Europe, the ship sails to Athens (Piraeus), Sorrento/Capri, Rome (Civitavecchia), Cannes (for Monte Carlo), Barcelona, Gibraltar and Lisbon. Travelers can kiss the Blarney Stone during a visit to Cork (Cobh) in Ireland and take in Paris or Normandy before ending their great adventure in London (Southampton). However, passengers who wish to extend their world-cruise experience have the unique opportunity to add an additional six-day transatlantic crossing aboard the legendary Queen Mary 2 for a 108-day adventure ending in New York.

World cruise passengers will travel in style aboard the intimate Pacific Princess, one of the line's three smallest vessels. Featuring many of the onboard options that have become Princess trademarks, the ship offers a wide variety of dining experiences including alternative dining options,including Princess' renowned Sabatini's trattoria and the premium Sterling Steakhouse. And, with 92 percent outside staterooms (with over two-thirds of these including a private balcony), the vessel provides the perfect venues for enjoying a wealth of world-wide views, including the locks of the Panama Canal, the tropical paradises of the South Pacific, or the glamour of the French Riviera. Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Carnival Corp Orders New Ships for Costa Crociere and AIDA Cruises 

MIAMI, June 12 -- Carnival Corporation & plc announced that it has ordered two cruise ships for its European brands with an option for a third. Included in the order are a 92,700-ton vessel for Genoa, Italy-based Costa Crociere, as well as an option for a sister ship, both to be built by Italy's Fincantieri shipyard, and a 68,500-ton ship for its Rostock, Germany-based AIDA Cruises to be built by Germany's Meyer Werft yard. The new vessels will add more than 6,500 total lower berths to Carnival Corporation & plc's fleet and build upon its leadership position within the rapidly expanding European cruise market, with six million passengers expected to set sail by 2015.

The new Costa ships will be built at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard and have a basis-two capacity of 2,260 each. The first ship is scheduled to enter service in spring 2009. If the option is exercised, the second ship is slated to debut in fall 2010. The all-in cost for each vessel will be approximately 420 million euro. Including the new ship and option, Costa currently has five new vessels on order from Fincantieri representing 13,520 total lower berths.

The new AIDA ship will have a basis-two capacity of 2,050. Scheduled delivery is spring 2010. The vessel's all-in cost will be approximately 330 million euro and marks the fourth 68,500-ton vessel ordered for the brand in just the past 19 months. Three other vessels, also being built at Meyer Werft, are slated to debut in 2007, 2008 and 2009. All four vessels will operate under AIDA Cruises' informal "club resort" cruise concept which is marketed exclusively to German-speaking clientele and offers a product aimed at younger, more active passengers who enjoy a host of on-board amenities and facilities.

According to Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison, today's announcement continues the company's aggressive expansion strategy in the European market. "We have invested a great deal of time and money expanding and diversifying the European cruise market which possesses incredible potential for growth. Costa is already the clear leader in the southern European market and AIDA holds the same distinction in Germany. These new state-of-the-art ships for Costa and AIDA will further bolster their positions in the respective markets and ensure that we have adequate capacity available to meet growing demand for European cruises," Arison said.

Commented Costa Crociere Chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, "We've demonstrated that the European market is seeking new itinerary alternatives and that requires a balanced mix of ships, especially for the more experienced cruiser. Costa's new programs, including voyages featuring Dubai in winter/spring 2006/2007 and a series of 13 cruises to the Far East scheduled for spring 2006 to spring 2007, have received tremendous response from our European customers, including a number of sailings selling out in a matter of days. New ships will allow us to continue to diversify our cruise offerings for European vacationers," he said.

The German-speaking market is one of the fastest growing in Europe with one million passengers expected to set sail by 2010. "To keep pace with this dramatic growth, we must continue to build ships and develop unique cruise products such as AIDA that can cater specifically to the preferences of German-speaking clientele," Foschi said.

Including the three new ships announced today, Costa and AIDA together have nine new ships on order representing a collective 21,720 total lower berths - more than any other European cruise line.

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Cruise West Enhances Value on Alaska Voyages for a 
More Distinct Passenger Experience

Seattle, WA, June 13, 2006 – As the leading cruise line traveling Alaska, Cruise West has once again set new standards for guest experiences in the “Great Land.” All of their trademark land-based Exploration Leaders and land-tour drivers in Alaska recently completed the National Association of Interpretation’s Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) course, making Cruise West the first cruising company to receive this certification. 

The program gives these guides the tools to improve the interpretive education and experience obtained on the land tours, providing added value and a more meaningful connection to the region for those guests who travel with Cruise West on any Alaska adventure. The 32-hour course trains guides in the basics of theme-based presentations, improving skills to tailor lectures to different audiences and respond to questions. Guides learn to construct tours to make the excursion enjoyable, relevant, organized and thematic. This certification enables Cruise West guides to emotionally and intellectually connect guests to the area that they are visiting within Alaska, while continuing to respect the biodiversity and cultural diversity of the regions. Guests can trust that they will gain a thorough understanding and background of the area with a skilled guide, whether on a city tour of Ketchikan or exploring the backcountry of Denali National Park, adding greater value to traveling with Cruise West.

“Cruise West strives to provide guests with meaningful and inspiring journeys,” said John Kreilkamp, VP Alaska Land. “We believe that the CIG certification is necessary to truly educate and connect guests with the vast regions of Alaska.”

Cruise West continues to invest in tour enhancement and interpretation. The Exploration Leaders and managers have trained with the National Association of Interpretation (NAI) for five years. Cruise West’s Southeast Regional Manager Larry Johansen completed CIG training and the “Train the Trainer” course. Special guest speakers are also integrated in Cruise West land tours in various communities throughout Alaska. At Denali National Park and Preserve, through the Denali Foundation, Cruise West guests hear an exclusive presentation by a park naturalist, resulting in a better understanding of the second largest national park in the country.

The following voyage enhancement land tours are available with Alaska cruises during May through September 2006: 

  • Denali National Park & Preserve, a six million acre wonderland comprised of 650 species of flowering plants; 39 species of mammals, including grizzly bears, ptarmigan, moose and caribou; 167 species of birds; and 10 species of fish. 

  • Extraordinary Wilderness Lodges, a visit to one of five secluded lodges either deep in Denali Park or at the foothills of the Alaska Range.

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Crown Princess Arrives in New York

SANTA CLARITA, CA, June 8, 2006 - Crown Princess, the newest ship in Princess Cruises fleet, sailed into New York today to begin its schedule of inaugural festivities, which will celebrate the "crowning achievements" of several notable guests, specifically a triumvirate of accomplished women. The ship's godmother will be Martha Stewart, who has created a domestic dynasty of truly royal proportions. Also in attendance will be America's newest pop princess, Katharine McPhee, who will sing the National Anthem and perform during the christening ceremony. And the "queen of the spelling bee," 13-year-old Katharine Close, the recent winner of the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee Tournament and the first female winner in seven years, will compete in the very first "Bee At Sea," Princess' new spelling bee tournament which debuts on Crown Princess.

The ship festivities begin on June 11 when Crown Princess departs on a two-day "cruise to nowhere" for special guests. When it returns on June 13, Scripps Spelling Bee National Champion Katharine Close will come onboard to test the spelling prowess of former "Love Boat" Captain Gavin MacLeod, Crown Princess Captain Andrew Proctor and other ship officers. The "Bee at Sea" will officially debut on Crown Princess' inaugural sailing.

On June 14, the queen of domesticity, Martha Stewart, will officially christen the ship during its naming ceremony at 10:30 a.m. ET. The country's newest singing sensation and pop idol Katharine McPhee will also join the festivities with a special performance that morning. With Princess' long-time spokesman Gavin MacLeod as master of ceremonies, the celebration will also include remarks by Princess Cruises Chairman Peter Ratcliffe before Ms. Stewart pulls the lever that will release the traditional champagne bottle against the ship. That afternoon, Crown Princess will depart on its first Caribbean cruise with stops in Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Port Canaveral, Florida. 

The 113,000-ton Crown Princess will introduce a number of new design innovations to the Princess fleet, including a dramatic new piazza-style atrium and new casual dining venues. Within the new street café environment of the atrium, passengers will find an International Café serving up fresh pastries and baked goods in the morning and assorted other offerings throughout the day, as well as a wine and seafood bar. Several signature Princess venues have been further enhanced, including an expanded Sabatini's Italian trattoria with a new piano lounge, and the Crown Grill, a new steak and seafood restaurant with an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs will custom-prepare steamed shellfish and cooked-to-order steaks and chops.

The ship will also feature the many hallmark features that define the Princess experience, including the dramatic Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, multiple dining and entertainment options, a Lotus Spa fitness center, an extensive children and teen's center, a wedding chapel and nearly 900 staterooms with private balconies. The inaugural 2006 summer season for Crown Princess will feature nine-day roundtrip voyages to both the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and will mark the return of Princess visits to Bermuda, as well as the line's first-ever regular calls to Grand Turk. In the fall the ship will reposition to San Juan for winter Caribbean sailings. Additional information about Crown Princess is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Silversea Rolls out Exclusive Collection of Overland Tours to Complement World Cruise 2007

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, June 8, 2006 -- Silversea's first World Cruise to completely circle the globe will feature an exclusive collection of 22 optional overland excursions of one to six nights, carefully tailored to showcase some of the world's most intriguing destinations. Departing January 15, 2007 from Fort Lauderdale, Silver Shadow's World Cruise will cross three oceans, seven seas and six continents, visiting 61 different ports, and conclude on the originating coast, in New York City, on May 22. Throughout this epic journey, guests will enjoy not only the award-winning service, accommodations and amenities this elegant, all-suite ship has to offer, but will have the opportunity to participate in a range of optional overland programs designed to reveal the culture, flavors and excitement of some of the world's most alluring and exotic lands.

"Our in-house destination experts have specially designed a selection of overland tours to enhance our guests' World Cruise experience," said Joseph Proto, Silversea's director of World Cruise and business development. "These unique programs blend together the luxury of the world's finest hotels, restaurants, and spas with exciting adventures in must-see destinations to provide our guests with a deeper understanding of the cultures and customs of the lands they are visiting." 

World Cruise guests will have the privilege to join a select group of globe-trekking adventurers who have walked in the footsteps of Charles Darwin to discover the wonders of the Galapagos Islands; taken a scenic rail journey through the Andes to mystical Machu Picchu; soared over the Australian Outback in a balloon; visited Bali's ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples; or crossed the Nile to explore Egypt's ancient Valley of the Kings. Each of the unique overland extensions includes deluxe accommodations, porterage, all transfers, sightseeing and some meals. For guests with a preference for shorter tours, the line is also offering over 200 additional optional shore excursions ranging from just a few hours to a full day, all designed to enhance the World Cruise experience. 

For more information on World Cruise 2007 and its optional overland programs and shore excursions, visit

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Royal Caribbean Offers Enticing New Homeport & Ports of Call in Winter 2007

MIAMI, June 7, 2006 – New ports of call, a new homeport, and a new Cape Horn itinerary are just a few of the unexpected and exciting vacation options awaiting guests on Royal Caribbean International’s Legend of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas in winter 2007.

“We are always looking for new ways to enhance the cruising experience, whether that is with new ships, onboard enhancements or new ports of call and itineraries,” said Adam Goldstein, president, Royal Caribbean International. “The industry firsts found in the new itineraries for both Legend and Splendour are certainly exemplary of that effort and our commitment to provide memorable vacations for all of our guests.” 

A Legend calls Dominican Republic "Home"
Beginning Dec. 16, 2007, Royal Caribbean will have a homeport in the Dominican Republic for the first time. Legend of the Seas will sail out of Santo Domingo, through spring 2008, offering two alternating seven-night itineraries that can be combined for a 14-night vacation. Ports of call for the two Southern Caribbean sailings include Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Roseau, Dominica; St. George’s, Grenada; Margarita Island, Venezuela; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Basseterre, St. Kitts; Point A Pitre, Guadaloupe; Fort De France, Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados and Castries, St. Lucia. As neither Legend itinerary includes a U.S. port of call, they are likely to be popular with international guests. 

Finding Splendour in South America 
Royal Caribbean guests will have the opportunity to experience the vivid colors, rich history and diverse landscapes of South America when Splendour of the Seas visits the destination’s cultural and romantic hotspots beginning Dec. 20, 2007 through mid-February 2008. She will sail alternating, eight-night and six-night round trip itineraries from Santos (Sao Paulo), Brazil calling on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Punta Del Este, Uruguay; Portobelo, Brazil; and four other destinations in Brazil: Buzios, Cabo Frio, Angra Dos Reis, and Ilhabela. Marking yet another industry-first for Royal Caribbean, beginning in mid-February 2008, Splendour will be the only ship to sail “around the horn” of the curved southern tip of South America from Santos. These 13-night and 15-night special itineraries will sail from Santos to Valparaiso, Chile (15-night); from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires (13-night), from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso (13-night) and finally from Valparaiso to Santos (15-night). Ports of call include: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn and Ushuaia in Argentina; Cape Horn, Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt and La Serena (Coquimbo) in Chile; and Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

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Princess Cruises Celebrates its New Home Port in NYC
 with the "Brooklyn Balcony Nosh"

SANTA CLARITA, CA, June 7, 2006 - As a complement to its popular "Ultimate Balcony Breakfast" and "Ultimate Balcony Dinner," Princess Cruises is introducing a new room service meal that many New Yorkers will call the "ultimate balcony lunch." The new Brooklyn Balcony Nosh features an authentic Nathan's Hot Dog with all the trimmings, an ice cold bottle of Brooklyn Brewery's Premium Lager Beer, and a generous slice of Junior's Cheesecake, a Brooklyn institution since 1950. Priced at $7, the Brooklyn Balcony Nosh will be available beginning with the new Crown Princess when she debuts on June 14 out of New York.

"We wanted to pay tribute to our new home port of Brooklyn in a way that would make New Yorkers feel right at home on board our ships," says Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "Since we couldn't recreate the famed Coney Island Cyclone on board, the Brooklyn Balcony Nosh seemed like the next best thing!"

The snack derives its name from the fact that Princess Cruises offers more balcony staterooms than any other cruise line, with more than 50 percent of the fleet's total outside cabins featuring these private but affordable luxuries (more than 8,000 cabins). In fact, when Crown Princess sets sail out of Brooklyn on June 14, she'll feature nearly 900 private balcony cabins, the most balconies on any ship except Queen Mary 2.

Nathan's began as a nickel hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1916 and grew to become a much-loved New York institution, now available throughout the United States and overseas. The Brooklyn Brewery was founded in 1987 by entrepreneurs Steve Hindy and Tom Potter. It produces lagers and ales in a variety of styles, including a brown ale, a stout, an India pale ale and an unfiltered wheat beer. Junior's was founded by Harry Rosen in 1950, and quickly became a landmark restaurant known as the home of New York's best cheesecake. For decades Brooklynites (and other New Yorkers) have propelled Junior's to become a "must have" treat for visitors to New York, and loyal followers include Supreme Court justices, Hall of Fame athletes, celebrities, authors, politicians, and other pop culture influencers around the nation and the globe.

The inaugural 2006 summer season for Crown Princess will feature nine-day roundtrip voyages to both the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and will mark the return of Princess visits to Bermuda, as well as the line's first-ever regular calls to Grand Turk. In the fall the ship will reposition to San Juan for winter Caribbean sailings. Additional information about Crown Princess is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Seabourn Publishes 2007-08 Cruise Catalogue

MIAMI, June 7, 2006 -- Ultra luxury small ship specialist Seabourn Cruise Line has published a 104-page, full color catalogue featuring cruise vacations aboard its three yacht-like, all-suite ships through the first quarter of 2008. The 15-month schedule includes 125 cruises aboard Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend, calling at more than 225 ports in 64 countries between January 2007 and April 2008. The catalogue is available at many luxury travel agencies, or it may be ordered by calling Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or by visiting Titled “Seabourn yachting life,” the lustrous catalogue opens with a series of two-page spreads highlighting Seabourn’s award-winning “Signature Delights” -- thoughtful enhancements and indulgent extras that add value and enjoyment to every Seabourn vacation. Each spread is introduced by testimonial quotations describing the experience.

Richly illustrated destination sections contain full details of cruise vacations offered worldwide, including day-by-day itineraries, maps and descriptions of the “Exclusively Seabourn” complimentary shore experiences featured on every cruise. Fares are published with available Early Booking Savings of up to 50%. Also noted are Club Signature Value Savings of 50%, available on select cruises for past guests of Seabourn or any of the World’s Leading Cruise Lines, which includes Cunard, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Windstar Cruises.

New for 2007 are several “Sail & Stay” packages combining cruises with luxury pre- and post-cruise extensions in Hong Kong, Singapore, Istanbul and Athens. The three ships’ day-by-day itineraries contain a wealth of new ports of call, and returns to others which have not been visited recently. 

  • In the first quarter of 2007, Seabourn Spirit returns to China after an extended absence, with a 9-day voyage round trip from Hong Kong including a generous three-day stay in fascinating Shanghai. 

  • Seabourn Legend will cruise northward from Caldera, Costa Rica to Los Angeles, on a pair of 10-day voyages exploring Guatemala and the Mexican Riviera.

  • The Mediterranean provides a myriad of intriguing ports accessible to the yacht-sized Seabourn Spirit and Legend, and in 2007 notable additions or revisits include a bevy of beauties along the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic, such as Split and Zadar in Croatia and Kotor Fjord in Montenegro. These are added to Dubrovnik, Korcula and Rovinj in this increasingly popular cruising region. Monopoli, in Italy’s southern Puglia region, and the volcanic Aeolian island of Lipari are new in 2007, as is Tarragona in Spain. More ports along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast include Fethiye and Alanya, with a return to the popular seaside resort Marmaris. Also new in Europe is lovely Belle-Ile-en-Mer off the coast of Brittany.

  • Seabourn Pride’s fall foliage cruises sail 10 days between Gloucester, Massachusetts and Montreal in 2007, adding more ports such as Summerside on Prince Edward Island, St. Pierre & Miquelon and Saint John, New Brunswick. 

  • Most cruises in the Caribbean and Mediterranean for Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend are available as seven-day cruises, designed to be easily combined for longer voyages of up to five weeks with different port content.

Travelers can enjoy the award-winning, all-inclusive style of Seabourn yachting life for fares from $1,595 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean-view suite. For more information, consult your travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Windstar’s Intimate Ships Beckon Couples Seeking Romance

Seattle, WA, June 6, 2006—Windstar Cruises’ three motor sailing yachts—the 148-guest Wind Star and Wind Spirit and the 308-guest Wind Surf—have consistently drawn couples looking for a romantic vacation over the years. Honeymoons, weddings and vow renewals are all popular aboard the lines’ romantic and elegant sailing ships. Windstar provides the ultimate escape for couples.

A luxurious cruise on an intimate Windstar ship is often a top choice for honeymooners. Sailing in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Panama Canal, Mediterranean and Greek Isles, Windstar itineraries are naturally romantic visiting more secluded ports and hidden bays than other lines. Honeymooners receive special treatment. Upon embarkation, a personal letter signed by the Captain and Hotel Manager welcomes them to their honeymoon cruise. Mid-way through the cruise, the couple will receive a plate of delectable chocolate-covered strawberries and romantic rose petals strewn across the bed at turndown. On the last night, a honeymoon certificate signed by the Captain and Hotel Manager will be delivered to the room as a memento.

A honeymoon celebration package is available to purchase for $148 and includes a bottle of Taittinger Cuvée Prestige Rosé, two Windstar champagne glasses, chocolate-dipped strawberries, breakfast in bed, and a Windstar keepsake picture frame. On board, luxurious staterooms await with new, plush beds outfitted with luxury linens and duvets; flatscreen TVs and DVD players; and spa bathroom amenities by L’Occitane. A romance playlist has been added to the Apple iPod Nanos available at reception. Drop the Nano into the Bose SoundDock speaker installed in every stateroom and love songs create a romantic atmosphere.

On the Wind Spirit and Wind Star, guests may enjoy a romantic dinner for two in their stateroom. Called “Cuisine de l’Amour,” the menu offers mood-enhancing food such as spicy grilled shrimp on a pillow of avocado, tango of green asparagus spears velouté flirting with Crispy Prosciutto Confettis, Rack of Lamb under a Blanket of Sun-Dried Love Apples, Fantasy of Fresh Strawberries Caressed by Decadent Chocolate Ganache with Kisses of Chantilly Cream Aroused with Pernod. The menu will be available on the Wind Surf at a later date.

Destination Weddings
The luxurious Windstar ships provide an ideal backdrop for weddings. Couples getting married on a Windstar ship enjoy the ease of a combination wedding and romantic honeymoon. Whether desiring a shoreside wedding in a port of call or a wedding on board the ship, Windstar’s professional and friendly crew work to ensure every detail is perfectly executed. 

Wedding arrangements are coordinated through Windstar’s professional wedding planners at The Wedding Experience. After booking the cruise, guests may call (877) 580-3556 or visit A personal wedding planner will assist with all the details for the big day including wedding rehearsal and dinner, reception, flowers, special activities for the wedding party, ordering a cake and other requests. Windstar has worked with The Wedding Experience on both small and elaborate weddings in locations as varied as beach weddings in the Virgin Islands to on board the ship in Venice, Italy. Wedding guests may either sail with the couple or meet the ship in port and join the festivities for the day. 

Vow Renewals
Whether married one year or fifty, more couples are now requesting vow renewal ceremonies. Couples seeking a romantic location find a ceremony officiated on board by the ship’s captain a perfect fit. Windstar’s sociable captains are happy to oblige. Usually set on the top deck of the ship, either in port or under sail, panoramic views, blue seas and an elegant sailing ship combine to create a romantic location for the renewal of a lifelong commitment.

A Vow Renewal package is available for $148 and may be purchased on board. The package includes a renewal of vows ceremony by ship’s captain, a cake, Iron Horse Wedding Cuvée, two keepsake Windstar champagne glasses and a certificate signed by the captain. Other romance packages available for purchase include Anniversary, Just for Us and Pure Pampering. Details are online at

Windstar’s elegant motor sailing yachts have recently received a multi-million dollar investment in luxury amenities including new Signature Cuisine menus by acclaimed Chef Joachim Splichal of L.A.’s Patina Group. Complimentary water sports from the water sports platform include kayaking, wind surfing, boat rides, sailing, water skiing and ski tubing. Water sports activities are itinerary dependent. Snorkeling gear may be checked out for the week. Scuba diving excursions for novice and experienced divers are available for a fee. Spa and salon services are available on all three ships including a couples massage lesson on the Wind Surf. Couples will also enjoy the new hammocks built for two on the top deck of the ships, a cozy place to cuddle with spectacular views.

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Crystal Cruises Returns to Asia in 2007 for First Time in Two Years

LOS ANGELES, June 6 -- Crystal Cruises returns to Asia in 2007 for the first time in two years with a collection of four destination rich itineraries, including its first-ever cruise from Singapore to Dubai. Savvy travelers eager to explore the allure of the East in greater depth will appreciate the luxury line's increased offering of overnight stays in renowned destinations. An expanded collection of extended land programs also includes a new six-night adventure to Tibet.

From March through May, 2007, the award-winning Crystal Symphony offers two 14-day journeys exploring China, an 11-day cruise spotlighting Vietnam, and the new 16-day Singapore to Dubai itinerary that features three days in Myanmar. During the line's 10th season in Asia, Crystal Symphony will visit 17 cities in nine different countries, including a maiden call at Chan May, Vietnam. Overnight stays in some of the world's most intriguing cities -- Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; Osaka, Japan; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore; Yangon, Myanmar; and Dubai, UAE -- afford travelers the luxury of time to immerse themselves in the cultural nuances of each destination.

"Crystal's 2007 Asia season offers travelers the enviable combination of a distinctively rich onboard experience aboard Crystal Symphony, fascinating itineraries with time to explore the exotic destinations, and the seamless luxury of visiting as many as five different countries and only having to unpack once," says Bill Smith, Crystal's senior vice president, marketing and sales.

With an emphasis on destination enrichment, Crystal incorporates a complimentary three-night land program to Beijing as a pre- or post-cruise component of the season's first two cruises. Showcasing the Forbidden City, Tian An Men Square, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, Sacred Alley, and concluding with a private dinner at the Great Hall of the People, the all- inclusive "Adventures in Beijing" features accommodations, sightseeing and transportation, porterage, gratuities, and tour escort.

Crystal Symphony's 2007 Asia series includes:

  • Ancient Dynasties: March 29-April 12; 14 days; Hong Kong (overnight) to Beijing, China. Visiting Taipei, Taiwan; Kagoshima, Japan; Shanghai (overnight) and Dalian, China. Complimentary "Adventures in Beijing" land program included post-cruise.

  • Mysteries of Asia: April 6-20; 14 days; Beijing to Hong Kong (overnight), China. Visiting Shanghai (overnight), China; Nagasaki and Osaka (overnight), Japan. Complimentary "Adventures in Beijing" land program included pre-cruise.

  • Kingdoms of Jade & Gold: April 20-May 1; 11 days; Hong Kong to Singapore (overnight). Visiting Chan May (maiden call) and Ho Chi Minh City (overnight), Vietnam; and Bangkok (overnight), Thailand.

  • Exotic Asian Odyssey: May 1-17; 16 days; Singapore to Dubai (overnight), UAE. Visiting Phuket, Thailand; Yangon (two nights), Myanmar; Cochin and Mumbai, India.

Guests wishing to extend their Asia odyssey may also consider a new six-night "Journey to Tibet" excursion offering extreme enrichment and an opportunity to travel to the top of the world. Offered as an optional pre- or post-cruise extended land program on select itineraries, the new program is added to a roster of established favorites including a five-night "Yangtze Splendor" program exploring the riverfront city of Chongquing and a Yangtze River cruise through the dramatic Three Gorges (from Beijing); and the "Xi'an and the Terra Cotta Warriors" excursion, a comprehensive five-night program to Xi'an and Guilin from Hong Kong featuring the famed sculptures and the enduring magic of the River Li. In conjunction with the cruises, Crystal is developing more than 100 optional shoreside Crystal Adventures. Guests also have the opportunity to tailor their own Asian experience through the luxury line's Crystal Private Adventures program. For reservations and additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Norwegian Spirit to Homeport in New Orleans
 & Sail Western Caribbean in 2007

MIAMI, June 6, 2006 - NCL Corporation (“NCL”) announced that Norwegian Spirit will drop anchor in the Big Easy beginning in November 2007 sailing seven-day exotic Western Caribbean cruises through April 2008. Norwegian Spirit’s itinerary will feature calls into Belize City, Santo Tomas, Guatemala and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

“We are the first cruise line back in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina this fall with Norwegian Sun and our commitment to this historic and beautiful city continues in 2007,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. “Freestyle Cruising out of the Big Easy has proven to be very popular and we are pleased to be returning there next year.”

After the 2007 summer deployment out of New York, Norwegian Spirit repositions to New Orleans beginning November 18 replacing Norwegian Sun, which moves to Hawai`i for the winter season. Norwegian Spirit’s summer season out of New York features an 8-day itinerary with a day-long call into Bermuda, an overnight in St. Thomas, USVI, and a call into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Norwegian Spirit alternates this itinerary with 6-day Bahamas and Florida itinerary calling in Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. 

NCL has three ships based in New York for the 2006 and 2007 summer season including Norwegian Spirit; Norwegian Crown with seven-day cruises to Bermuda; and Norwegian Dawn, featuring seven-day cruises to Bermuda and Bahamas. In the winter of 2006, Norwegian Dawn sails alternating 10- and 11-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises out of New York.

In November 2007, Norwegian Gem will be homeported in New York as NCL places its newest ship year round in the Big Apple sailing a short series of seven-day Florida and Bahamas cruises and four 10- and 11-day cruises to the Southern Caribbean in the winter; and seven-day cruises to Bermuda and the Bahamas in the summer. In November 2007, Norwegian Dawn will move to Miami, where she will sail seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises for the winter.

Norwegian Spirit features NCL’s signature Freestyle Cruising with eight restaurants, 12 bars and lounges, a state of the art spa and fitness facility, a pirate-themed activity complex for kids, a teen center, basketball court, golf driving net, casino and conference center among other amenities. Norwegian Spirit accommodates 1,966 passengers and features 18 spacious suites and nearly 600 oceanview staterooms, of which nearly 65 percent offer private balconies. Suites feature private bedrooms, bathrooms with separate shower and whirlpool bathtubs, living rooms with dining areas, stereos with CD/DVD library, computer access with internet connection and butler and concierge services. All staterooms feature NCL’s high-quality finishes, with rich cherry wood, tea and coffee makers in every room, and a much larger bathroom unit than other ships, containing WC, shower, and washstand compartments separated by sliding doors. 

NCL is currently building two ships, Norwegian Pearl scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2006 and Norwegian Gem scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2007. For further information, visit NCL’s website at

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Star Clippers' Tahiti Cruises to Feature 7-, 10- & 11-Night Itineraries

MIAMI, June 5, 2006 -- Star Clippers is to enter the French Polynesia cruise market for the first time when it deploys Star Flyer to Tahiti in December 2007. The three distinct products, seven-night round-trip Papeete cruises, 10- and 11-night round-trip Papeete cruises and 10- and 11-night cruises between Papeete and Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, are packed with several overnight calls and breathtaking scenery from the lush hills to the azure sea. The 11 ports of call that compose the destination-intense itineraries take the ship to the Society, Marquesas and Tuamotus Islands. Along the way, sunset departures, cruising in crystalline lagoons and opportunities to dive and snorkel in some of the most spectacular sites in the world enhance every itinerary. And shore excursions are designed to introduce guests to the fascinating culture and history of the Polynesian people.

"The French Polynesia cruises are among the most beautiful and romantic itineraries we've ever offered," said Anjie McFarlane, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Star Clippers. "Star Flyer's size enables us to sail inside the atolls and circumnavigate the islands, allowing our guests to become totally immersed in the region, both on land and in the water."

The Society Islands: The land of mythical tales and Paul Gauguin
Considered a paradise on Earth, the Society Islands were given their name by Captain James Cook in 1769 when he named them after England's Royal Society, the United Kingdom's preeminent scientific academy. Most of these rugged islands are volcanic in origin, and six of Star Flyer's calls will be at the Society Islands, including the turnaround port of Papeete. 

  • Tahiti is the capital of French Polynesia and the largest tropical island in the region. The town of Papeete, meaning "basket of water," is spread along the coastline of Tahiti's north coast and adorned with double rainbows, countless waterfalls and deep green valleys covered with rainforests. Star Flyer arrives in Papeete the evening before disembarkation, giving guests an extra night to explore the beauty of the island and walk in the steps of French expatriate painter Paul Gauguin.

  • Geologists report that Moorea, which means "yellow lizard," is twice as old as Tahiti and once contained a volcano that reached 11,000 feet into the sky. The triangular-shaped island is decorated with rocky volcanic peaks and mountain slopes. Encircled by a lagoon of translucent green brimming with exotic sea creatures, both white and volcanic black sand beaches adorn Moorea's coastline.

  • Bora Bora is known as the most mythical of the Pacific islands, and it has been described as an emerald set is a sea of turquoise surrounded by a smattering of pearls. The island itself is rather small, with a lagoon three times the size of the landmass, and the scenery offers an amazing range of blue and green hues. Guests will have the chance to see the island by sea or air on a variety of shore excursions, from a flightseeing tour by helicopter to the adventurous shark and ray feeding experience. A romantic sunset sail on select itineraries provides a golden spectacle as Star Flyer makes its way to the next paradise.

  • Once the heart of royalty, religion, culture and history of the region, Raiatea, or "clear sky," is the administrative and trading center of the Leeward Islands. The island is filled with pearl farms and vanilla and pineapple plantations, and because of it's surrounding lagoon and ocean, Raiatea offers ideal sailing, scuba diving and deep sea fishing. 

  • Sharing the same lagoon with Raiatea, sister island Tahaa is accessible only by boat. It is the only island in the Society Islands that can be completely circled by boat inside the protected lagoon, and due to the ship's size Star Flyer will circle the island inside the lagoon on the way to Bora Bora. With inside cruising, guests are privy to this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Often called the "Vanilla Island," Tahaa produces about 80 percent of all French Polynesian vanilla. 

  • Known as the "Garden Island" for its abundance of lush tropical foliage, wild jungle-like scenery and steep mountains descending into protected bays, Huahine is composed of two islands joined by a bridge. Legend has it that the two islands were once united and the isthmus was formed when Hiro, a god of thieves in Polynesian mythology, sliced his canoe through the island, dividing it in two. Huahine's lagoon, bordered by white sand beaches, is rich with sea life, and there are archaeological sites that go back a thousand years.

The Marquesas Islands: Tropical haven with exotic adventures
Farther from a continental landfall than any other group of islands on Earth, the Marquesas include 12 islands, only six of which are inhabited. Shrouded in an almost constant cloud cover, the islands' volcanic pinnacles jut out from the landscape and the vegetation overflows with the sweet smell of orchids, ginger, ylang-ylang, jasmine and tiare flowers.

  • Nuku Hiva gained popularity after it served as the location for the popular U.S. television show "Survivor" in 2002. The largest island in the Marquesas archipelago, Nuku Hiva also serves as the administrative and economic center of the island group. Star Flyer guests can view one of the world's tallest waterfalls, the Ahuii Waterfall that is 1,148 feet (350 meters) tall, on a flightseeing tour or journey through the interior of the island to Taipavai Valley, made famous by author Herman Melville.

  • The final resting place of Paul Gauguin and Belgian singer Jacques Brel, the island of Hiva Oa is shaped like a seahorse and has a glorious mountain range that forms a wall around the port of Atuona. Best known for Tahuata, the visible remains of a huge sunken volcano, Hiva Oa is the largest and most fertile island in the southern group of the Marquesas. 

  • On Fatu Hiva, the jungle greenery begins at the water's edge and sheer cliffs plunge into the surf. The Bay of Virgins, one of the most striking sites in the South Pacific, is shrouded in rock curtains that Catholic missionaries said resembled veiled virgins. Because it is the wettest and greenest of the Marquesas, the picturesque landscape is shrouded in fern- and moss-covered mountains. 

The Tuamotus Islands: Crystalline lagoons and black pearl paradise
Tuamotu is an archipelago comprising 78 low islands or coral atolls scattered over several hundred miles of the eastern Pacific. The remote location of the islands conjures up images of the traditional tropical haven. Abundant sea life, more than 400 varieties of rainbow-hued fish shimmer in the sheltered lagoons, provides underwater entertainment for snorkelers and divers.

  • Tiputa, on the island of Rangiroa, the largest atoll in the Southern Hemisphere and the second largest in the world. Rangiroa's lagoon is world renowned for scuba diving in the clear warm water, and the ship will spend a day and a half alternating between visiting the port and scenic cruising in the lagoon.

  • Fakarava is a virtually untouched paradise where nesting birds and marine life live in harmony. In the fantastic purple water, visibility of 150 feet is the norm, and the immense lagoon has several black pearl farms and idyllic white sand beaches. 

Five different itineraries: 7-, 10- or 11 nights

  • Star Flyer sails a seven-night, round-trip Papeete itinerary that is port intensive with almost all overnight calls. Along the way, the ship visits Huahine (overnight), Raiatea, Tahaa (overnight), Bora Bora (overnight), and Cook Bay and Opunohu Bay (overnight), Moorea, with an overnight in Papeete before disembarkation.

  • The 10-night round-trip Papeete cruise takes Star Flyer to the Society and Tuamotus Islands, with special cruising in the Rangiroa Lagoon. The ship calls at Fakarava, Rangiroa (overnight with lagoon anchorage), Bora Bora (overnight), Raiatea, Tahaa (overnight), Huahine and Moorea. The 11-night voyage adds an overnight call at Huahine.

  • For guests wishing to visit all three island groups, Star Flyer is sailing 10- and 11-night cruises between Papeete and Nuku Hiva. The 10-night sailing journeys from Nuku Hiva to Papeete and calls at Hiva Oa, Fatu Niva, Rangiroa (overnight with lagoon anchorage), Bora Bora and Moorea, ending with an overnight call at Papeete before disembarkation. The 11-night itinerary reverses the schedule and journeys from Papeete to Nuku Hiva, adding overnight calls at Niva Oa and Nuku Hiva before disembarkation. Passengers fly round-trip Papeete for these cruises, and the flight between Papeete, Tahiti, and Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, is included in the fare.

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Star Flyer Offers Intimate Experience of French Polynesia

MIAMI, June 5, 2006 -- Starting in December 2007, Star Clippers will offer guests a new way to discover the exotic beauty of French Polynesia when the line's 170-passenger Star Flyer repositions to the South Pacific. Cruising round-trip Papeete or between Papeete and Nuku Hiva on seven-, 10- or 11-night itineraries, guests will be able to immerse themselves in the journey as they sail along the islands' sandy beaches and green-hued landscapes.

Star Flyer's size enables the four-masted vessel to easily circle the islands for scenic cruising and glide inside the atolls that larger ships are unable to visit, giving passengers exclusive access to some of the most spectacular landscapes and marine environments in the world. Guests will be treated to cruising in the Rangiroa Lagoon, a 47-mile-long, 16-mile-wide natural aquarium where 150-foot visibility is common, as well as circumnavigating Tahaa's protected lagoon.

"Star Flyer is uniquely suited to exploring the beautiful islands of French Polynesia," said Anjie McFarlane, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Star Clippers. "Immersed in the sea, the sun and the exotic culture of the South Pacific, our guests will create memories to last a lifetime."

Feeling more like a private yacht than a passenger vessel, Star Flyer moves smoothly from one island to the next mainly under sail, making the ship the most environmentally friendly cruise vessel in the region. Water sports are a highlight of the Star Clippers experience, and the French Polynesia itineraries allow for plenty of time to take advantage of the complimentary snorkeling, sunfish sailing, waterskiing and windsurfing. (Scuba diving is available for a fee and certification is required.) And some of the most picturesque beaches in the world provide venues for Star Clippers' popular beach parties.

French Polynesia Cruising -- Honeymooners' Paradise
Combining the romance of the islands with the adventure of sailing on a tall ship, Star Flyer's intimate atmosphere creates the perfect environment for a honeymoon. Couples can cuddle in the widow's net under the bowsprit with only the ocean below or take a nighttime romantic stroll on deck under a blanket of stars. Newlyweds are greeted with a bottle of champagne in their stateroom, as well as a host of other surprises. Sunday departures make it convenient for couples celebrating a Saturday wedding to escape to their French Polynesian honeymoon.

Star Clippers combines the pampered luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the exhilarating thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship. Guests rediscover what sailing was like during the glorious age of the tall ships while visiting intimate ports of call untouched by larger cruise ships. The four- and five-masted clipper ships feature a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. Passengers dress in resort-casual attire and dine in one unhurried, open seating. Whether unwinding in the bowsprit net while gazing at the sea below or climbing the mast for a panoramic view of the horizon, a unique sailing adventure awaits. For more information or to make a reservation, contact a travel professional, call Star Clippers at 800-442-0551 or visit To request a brochure, call 800-442-0556.

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Speed Racing at Sea: Costa Introduces First & Only Grand Prix Driving Simulator on a Cruise Ship

HOLLYWOOD, FL, June 5, 2006 – Guests sailing aboard the new Costa Concordia can learn how to race like the pros on the ship’s state-of-the-art Grand Prix driving simulator—the first and only of its kind on a cruise ship. Recently installed on the ship, the simulator features real-time vehicle modeling, the same technology used by Grand Prix champion drivers in training. The Costa Concordia, which weighs 112,000 tons and has a total guest capacity of 3,780, is the newest and largest ship in the Costa fleet and will sail the Mediterranean in her first season beginning this summer.

Located on one of the top decks of the Costa Concordia, guests can “virtually” compete in a Grand Prix race at speeds of over 200 miles per hour on the simulator. In addition, they can record their performance throughout the week to compete with themselves as well as other guests. The Grand Prix simulator is reserved for guests 16 years of age and older. 

“The Costa Concordia offers some of the most incredible innovations ever seen on a cruise ship—from the Samsara Spa, which is the largest spa at sea, to the Grand Prix simulator, the ship is truly revolutionary,” said Lynn Torrent, President and CEO of Costa Cruise Lines-North America. “As an Italian company, the Grand Prix driving simulator is especially exciting as it gives us an opportunity to share the country’s great enthusiasm for racing with our international clientele.” 

Finishing touches on the Costa Concordia are currently being completed at the Fincantieri shipyards in Genoa, Italy. The official delivery of the ship is scheduled for June 30 and inaugural festivities will take place in Rome on July 7. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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Emerald Princess Floats For First Time

SANTA CLARITA, CA, June 1, 2006 - Princess Cruises' next new ship, Emerald Princess, reached a significant construction milestone today when the vessel was "floated out" of her building dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. The two-day float-out process involves slowly letting water into the building dock to set the vessel afloat for the first time. The ship is then moved to the outfitting dock where final construction and interior outfitting will take place. Emerald Princess, sister ship to Crown Princess, which debuts this month, will enter service in April 2007 with a series of European itineraries.

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NCL Announces 2007 Alaska Deployment

MIAMI, FL – NCL Corporation (NCL) announced that Norwegian Pearl, its newest Freestyle Cruising vessel to be delivered in November, will join Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Star in Alaska for the 2007 season. Norwegian Star and Norwegian Pearl will sail seven-day roundtrip cruises from Seattle, and Norwegian Sun will return to Vancouver for seven-day round-trip cruises. NCL has the youngest fleet sailing Inside Passage cruises and all of its itineraries will feature either Glacier Bay or Sawyer Glacier giving NCL guests plenty of time to enjoy the natural majesty of Alaska.

“Alaska is one of the most compelling destinations in the world, and its unique combination of beauty and nature make it one of our most desirable destinations," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. “By dedicating three new ships to this market, including Norwegian Pearl, we are giving our guests ships rich with balconies and suites that are perfectly suited for viewing Alaska’s inspiring natural beauty.”

NCL offers the following Alaska itineraries from May through September 2007:

Norwegian Pearl

  • Seven-day Alaska Glacier Bay, roundtrip from Seattle

  • Ports of call include Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia

  • Norwegian Pearl sails May 13, 20 and 27; June 3, 10, 17 and 24; July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; August 5, 12, 19 and 26; and September 2, 9 and 16.

Norwegian Star

  • Seven-day Sawyer Glacier itinerary, roundtrip from Seattle 

  • Ports of call include Ketchikan , Juneau and Skagway, Alaska and Prince Rupert, British Columbia

  • Norwegian Star sails May 5, 12, 19 and 26; June 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; July 7, 14, 21 and 28; August 4, 11, 18 and 25; and September 1, 8 and 15.

Norwegian Sun

  • Seven-day Sawyer Glacier itinerary, roundtrip from Vancouver

  • Ports of call include Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska

  • Norwegian Sun sails May 6, 13, 20 and 27; June 3, 10, 17 and 24; July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; August 5, 12, 19 and 26; and September 2 and 9.

NCL’s Alaska voyages all feature Freestyle Cruising with passengers enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle, with a resort-style experience offering up to 10 restaurants to choose from, family-friendly accommodations, dynamic public rooms, resort casual attire and more than 80 adventurous shore excursions including:

  • Four Glacier Helicopter and Dogsled Adventure. This tour in Juneau gives guests the opportunity to experience some of the Iditarod’s top dog mushing teams, as well as soar over glacial landscapes where they will see four unique glaciers – Hole-in-the-Wall Glacier, Taku Glacier, Norris Glacier and a unique, floating glacier. 

  • Rainforest Canopy and Zip Line Adventure. This tour in Juneau combines a once-in-a-lifetime thrill of flying across a series of zip lines in the rich rainforest, traversing a suspended “sky-bridge”, crossing the channel aboard an expedition craft, ascending a mountain in a 6 x 6 off-road vehicle, and exploring hidden relics of a world-famous historical gold mine. 

  • Whales and Marine Life Encounter. This tour by Zodiac in Prince Rupert takes passengers on an exciting ride to the whale viewing grounds. While whales are the tour’s focal point, it is a complete nature experience with an array of other marine wildlife residing in these waters.

  • Haines Wilderness Kayak. This tour in Skagway provides unrivaled mountain scenery, making it one of Alaska’s most interesting destinations for kayaking. Depending upon the time of the season, explorers may see eagles, humpback whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions, otters, numerous sea birds, spawning sockeye or pink salmon, brown bear or moose.

For further information, please contact NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030; visit NCL’s website at

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

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