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News from the world of cruise travel ~
July 1-15, 2003

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

SARS Updates from the cruise industry

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

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Holland America Line Accepts Delivery of Second Vista Class Ship ms Oosterdam
Delivery Ceremony Held at Fincantieri Shipyard in Venice

SEATTLE, July 11 -- Holland America Line welcomed the line's newest addition to the fleet today when Carnival Corporation and Holland America Line officials formally accepted delivery of the Vista-class ship ms Oosterdam in a handover ceremony in Venice, Italy. The 1,848-passenger Oosterdam is the second Vista-class ship for Holland America, joining sister ship ms Zuiderdam which debuted in December 2002.

"The delivery of the Oosterdam is another important milestone in Holland America's history as the undisputed premium cruise leader," said A. Kirk Lanterman, chairman and CEO, Holland America Line. "As a Vista-class ship, she represents the fullest expression of our brand, and I know our guests will be tremendously satisfied sailing aboard her."

The Oosterdam will sail to Southampton, England on July 17, arriving on July 24th for two days of introductory events. She then sails for Rotterdam, arriving on July 27th in time for a three-day celebration in Holland America's founding city. The Oosterdam will be bow to bow with the 1,316-passenger ms Rotterdam, which will join the Oosterdam on July 28 for a ceremony with the Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, who will be godmother to the Oosterdam. Holland America Line employees and dignitaries from Holland and throughout Europe, along with hundreds of travel agents and past guests, will commemorate the company's 130th anniversary and attend the Oosterdam dedication during events from July 28-30th. Introductory festivities follow at Hamburg and Harwich before her sold-out maiden voyage.

The Oosterdam's maiden voyage will depart London (Harwich) on August 3, 2003, beginning a series of four Baltic cruises between London and Copenhagen with departures through Sept. 8. The 12-day itinerary includes Oslo, Norway; Arhus, Denmark; Warnemunde, Germany; Visby, Sweden; Estonia; St. Petersburg; Helsinki; and Stockholm. On Sept. 20, the Oosterdam offers a 12-day "European Capitals" cruise from London to Rome, followed by four Western Mediterranean sailings between Rome-Lisbon or Venice-Lisbon on Oct. 2, 14, 26 and Nov. 7. The remarkable "European Capitals" cruise highlights the history-steeped cities of Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Lisbon, Seville and Monte Carlo. The Oosterdam concludes its Europe cruise season with a 14-day transatlantic sailing Nov. 19 from Lisbon to Ft. Lauderdale.

ms Oosterdam Latest in Series of Exclusive Vista-class Premium Vessels
With the delivery of its first 1,848-passenger Vista-class ship in December 2002, Holland America Line immediately expanded its premium appeal to a broader range of guests. While many additions to the ships are newly evident -- exterior elevators, two promenade decks, multi-tiered show lounge, varied dining options -- the Vista class ships look and feel like others in Holland America's fleet, delivering the traditional on-board "HAL-marks" that made the company the undisputed leader in premium cruising.

Like its sister, ms Zuiderdam, the new ms Oosterdam boasts a spacious design for public areas and staterooms with a high passenger space ratio of 46. And 85 percent of its staterooms have ocean views, with 67 percent of all staterooms sporting verandahs, including the new value-priced stateroom category -- Deluxe Verandah Outside -- the best verandah value at sea. Penthouse and Deluxe Verandah Suite guests also enjoy the use of a private concierge lounge.

The Oosterdam serves up varied dining options, from elegant meals in the formal dining room to Pacific Northwest-styled steak and seafood in the dramatic alternative restaurant. Guests also enjoy full complimentary room service and casual breakfast, lunch and dinner served from multi-stations in the popular Lido Restaurant, Terrace Grill, and Pizza Bar. And at the new Windstar Cafe one can relax in Holland America's own coffee house with espresso drinks, smoothies, and baked goods throughout the day.

Polishing off the Oosterdam's appeal is TheGreenhouse Spa and Salon, a renowned full-treatment spa, exercise facility and hair and nail salon; the multi-level Vista Show Lounge; and a second "cabaret-style" theater for late- night entertainment and daytime first-run movies. Two interior promenade decks, an exterior covered promenade deck, Lido pool with a retractable dome, the Club HAL children and teens areas, and the signature Explorer's Lounge and "Crow's Nest" observation lounge are also featured.

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Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands to Name ms Oosterdam

SEATTLE, July 11 -- Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands will be godmother to Holland America Line's new Vista-class ship, the ms Oosterdam, in a ceremony dedicating the ship in the company's founding city of Rotterdam on July 29.

"We are very honored to have Princess Margriet name the Oosterdam," said A. Kirk Lanterman, chairman and CEO, Holland America Line. "It will be a very special occasion when we introduce our newest ship in the city where this company was founded in 1873."

The third daughter of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and sister to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet was born in Ottawa, Canada, during World War II. She is named for the marguerite, the flower worn during the war as a symbol of Dutch resistance. At her christening, the Dutch merchant navy was her sponsor, beginning a long and close relationship with this important industry in the Netherlands. She attended the University of Montpellier and Leiden University, where she met her husband, Mr. Pieter van Vollenhoven.

As a member of the Royal House, Princess Margriet represents The Netherlands at official functions and devotes much of her time to the areas of health care and the arts both in the Netherlands and internationally. The mother of four boys is very active in health care and social work and is the chair of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and vice-chair of the Netherlands Red Cross. She also serves as an advisor to the National Union of Volunteers, an organization that promotes volunteerism for social causes.

She shares these pursuits with a passion for the arts, serving on the Supervisory Board of the palace museum, Het Loo, and as chair of the Foundation Europeenne de la Culture, which promotes continental cooperation in the areas of education, arts, environment and social issues. She is a patron of the Netherlands-America Foundation in New York and the Netherlands American Amity Trust in Washington, D.C., in which she continues to build strong relations between the two countries.

The 1,848-passenger Oosterdam will arrive in Rotterdam July 27 to be a part of a three-day celebration. The ship will be bow to bow with the 1,316- passenger ms Rotterdam, which will join the Oosterdam on July 28 for the naming ceremony with the Princess on the original company pier. Princess Margriet also dedicated Holland America's flagship ms Rotterdam in 1997 in a ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Holland America Line employees, dignitaries from Holland and throughout Europe, and hundreds of travel agents and past guests will commemorate the company's 130th anniversary and attend the Oosterdam dedication during events from July 28-30th.

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MARGHERA, Italy, July 11, 2003 - Cunard Line celebrates a milestone tomorrow when a prefabricated section of the keel will be lowered into the building dock of Queen Victoria at the Fincantieri shipyard here. The second largest ship ever built by the line is scheduled to enter service in April 2005, 15 months after Queen Mary 2. The keel is the lower part of the outer hull and is the base of the ship upon which everything else is built. Both Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 will join the most famous ship in the world, Queen Elizabeth 2, as part of the Cunard fleet.

The first ship for Cunard built in Italy, Queen Victoria is being constructed at Fincantieri's Marghera yard near Venice. One of the most technically advanced shipbuilders in the world, the company has built more than 7,000 vessels, including many for Cunard's parent Carnival Corp.

"Today is a great day for Cunard Line as we enter a new phase of expansion with more capacity than we've had in 40 years," according to Pamela Conover, the line's president and chief operating officer. "We're laying the keel of Queen Victoria just a little over a year after the keel was laid for Queen Mary 2. These two great ships will join QE2 in forming the new Cunard fleet, the greatest and most famous ocean liners in the world."

Giuseppe Bono, chief executive officer of Fincantieri, said: "This is an extremely important occasion for Fincantieri as we officially celebrate the Keel Laying of our first Cunarder. We are delighted to be working with Cunard Line, a well-established and prestigious name in the world of international ship owners.

Queen Victoria will enter service in Cunard's 165th anniversary year and will operate cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South America. The vessel will feature a covered wrap-around promenade deck, a forward-facing observation lounge, and a large Lido pool with a retractable roof. Innovative "exterior elevators" with glass walls will uniquely tower 10 decks high on both sides of the vessel. Like QE2 and QM2, the liner will have a Queens Grill offering single-seating gourmet dining, in addition to the grand Aquitania Restaurant. There will also be a unique Colonial Restaurant on Deck 11 with spectacular panoramic views.

In design terms Queen Victoria will have a contemporary British feel with two British design teams being responsible for her interiors. Queen Victoria will offer a wide range of accommodations including large standard outside cabins (170 sq ft) and a high percentage of balcony cabins (67%). Cunard fully expects Queen Victoria to have worldwide appeal, especially in the American market. Cunard guests value the superior White Star Servicesmand amenities the line has always offered. Queen Victoria will be a ship that's both modern and sophisticated, extending the Cunard lineage into the 21st century, and providing a full complement of comforts for vacationers with high expectations.

For more information contact a travel agent, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit the website

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MSC Italian Cruises offers "Fun & Fitness Cruise-ercise" for Seniors aboard new ship Lirica

Moonachie, NJ -- MSC Italian Cruises announces a new "Fun & Fitness Cruise-ercise" for seniors aboard its brand new flagship, the MSC Lirica, on an 11-night Panama Canal (partial transit) cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 10, 2004. Fares start as low as $995 per person for this special themed cruise, with AARP members eligible for further discount with valid I.D. The "Fun & Fitness Cruise-ercise" cruise itinerary features Montego Bay, Cartagena, San Blas, the Panama Canal, Puerto Limon and Key West before returning to Fort Lauderdale.

Five hours of exercise classes for seniors will be offered each day at sea, and 2 ½ hours each day in port. Classes include: Water Aerobics, Water Exercise for Arthritis, Aerobics and Chair Aerobics; Tai Chi (seated and standing); Strength Training with Weights; and Nutrition Seminars. Experienced fitness instructors, certified and insured, teach all courses offered.

The MSC Lirica is the pride of the MSC Italian Cruises fleet, representing the highest standards of safety, style and sophistication. With an atmosphere and service comparable to the best of Italian hotels, the Lirica surrounds each guest with Italian style service and amenities that are the true hallmark of MSC Italian Cruises.

MSC Italian Cruises, based in Naples, Italy, is a subsidiary of Mediterranean Shipping Company, a privately owned Swiss shipping group founded in 1970 and headquartered in Geneva. Specializing in ocean and intermodal transportation worldwide, MSC is the 2nd largest container carrier in the world, operating 214 container ships, 36 fast ferries as well as four cruise vessels.

For further information and brochures, call 1-800-666-9333 or visit the company's website at

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Royal Caribbean Ships Avoid Tropical Storm Claudette

July 9, 2003 -- Royal Caribbean International has been closely monitoring the path and progress of Tropical Storm Claudette to ensure our guests enjoy a safe and comfortable cruise and our ships steer clear of the storm. The safety and comfort of our cruise guests is always the foremost concern of Royal Caribbean International.

Given Tropical Storm Claudette’s current and projected path, we are changing the itineraries of three Royal Caribbean International ships:

  • Voyager of the Seas will sail the following itinerary:
    • Ocho Rios, Jamaica on Wednesday
    • At sea on Thursday
    • Nassau, Bahamas on Friday
    • Nassau, Bahamas on Saturday
  • Rhapsody of the Seas will sail the following itinerary:
    • Miami, Florida on Wednesday
    • Nassau, Bahamas on Thursday
    • At sea on Friday
    • At sea on Saturday
  • Enchantment of the Seas will sail the following itinerary:
    • Cozumel, Mexico on Wednesday
    • At sea on Thursday
    • CocoCay, Bahamas on Friday
    • Port Everglades, Florida on Saturday
Royal Caribbean International will continue to closely monitor Tropical Storm Claudette and update this information as modifications to sailings are made.

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Canadian Coast Guard to Thank Royal Caribbean Ship for Rescue Of Three Fishermen

MIAMI, July 10--The Canadian Coast Guard's Marine Search and Rescue Unit will present a certificate of appreciation to Royal Caribbean International's Radiance of the Seas in recognition of the ship's recent rescue of three Canadian fishermen. The presentation will be made in a brief ceremony this Saturday, while the cruise ship is docked in Vancouver, by Captain John Palliser, superintendent of Marine Search and Rescue, with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria, British Columbia. Captain Kent Ringborn, Master of Radiance of the Seas, will accept the certificate on behalf of his ship.

The event will commemorate the June 13 rescue of three Canadian fishermen who were clinging to the side of their nearly sunken boat. Radiance of the Seas was sailing south on Canada's west coast toward Vancouver, British Columbia. At 5 a.m., it received an emergency radio call from the Canadian Coast Guard. The 67-foot Canadian fishing vessel, Silver Bounty, was sinking, having been overwhelmed by 40-knot winds and 12-foot seas. Silver Bounty was located in the Hecate Strait, 40 miles southeast of Queen Charlotte Islands - and 15 miles ahead of Radiance of the Seas.

Captain Ringborn ordered his ship to full speed and reached the nearly submerged fishing vessel at 6 a.m. By that time, the three fishermen had spent some 90 minutes in the 50-degree water. Fortunately, the fishermen had an opportunity to put on rescue suits that allowed them to survive that long in the frigid waters. After negotiating the high wind and seas, the ship lowered a rescue boat into the treacherous waters. The rescue boat pulled the fishermen onboard and transported them to Radiance of the Seas by 6:30 a.m. The fishermen were dried, clothed, and treated by the ship's medical staff for hypothermia and the ingestion of saltwater and diesel fuel. That afternoon, they were transferred to a Canadian Coast Guard vessel and returned to land at the Canadian Coast Guard station at Port Hardy, British Columbia.

"I congratulate the Radiance of the Seas crew for their heroic rescue efforts," said Jack Williams, president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean International. "It is an honor to have those efforts recognized by the Canadian Coast Guard. This rescue serves as an excellent example of the masterful seamanship behind all the ships in our fleet. Because of the bravery and skill of our personnel, three lives were saved. I join all our employees in saluting the outstanding seamanship shown in the face of extremely adverse conditions by our Radiance of the Seas crew."

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand currently with 16 ships in service and three more under construction. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700.

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First Building Block Laid for Carnival Valor
New 2,974-Passenger 'Fun Ship' Scheduled to Enter Service December 2004 

MIAMI (07/10/03) - Just two weeks after delivering Carnival Cruise Lines' new 110,000-ton Carnival Glory, Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri today laid the first in a series of approximately 50 building blocks for a sister ship, Carnival Valor. The new 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor, which is being constructed at Fincantieri's Monfalcone shipyard, is expected to enter service in December 2004. Carnival Glory arrives in Port Canaveral, FL July 11, and will make its maiden voyage Monday, July 14, becoming the largest "Fun Ship" ever to operate from that port. 

"With its dramatic interiors and outstanding on-board facilities and features, Carnival Glory is a stunning expression of the 'Fun Ship' vacation experience and a testament to Fincantieri's exceptional craftsmanship and shipbuilding expertise. We're certain that this tradition of excellence will continue with the launch of the new Carnival Valor," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

Today's massive cruise ships are constructed using a modular method in which giant blocks of the hull and superstructure, some of which measure four decks high and can weigh upwards of 600 tons, are assembled via crane piece by piece, much like a jigsaw puzzle. The 952-foot-long Carnival Valor will feature 22 lounges and bars, and four restaurants, including two two-deck-high formal restaurants, a two-level casual poolside eatery and an upscale supper club. Its 13 decks will also house four swimming pools, one with a 214-foot-long waterslide, along with a 13,300-square-foot health club, an on-board duty-free shopping mall, an 11-deck-high glass-covered atrium, and expansive children's and teen facilities. 

The laying of Carnival Valor's first "maxi-block" represents the latest chapter of Carnival Cruise Lines' ongoing relationship with Fincantieri, which has delivered or is under contract for seven 100,000-plus-ton Carnival "Fun Ships" dating back to Carnival Destiny in 1996. The itinerary for Carnival Valor will be announced at a later date.

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Royal Caribbean International Announces New Maiden Voyage Date for Mariner of the Seas
Largest Ship to Sail from Port Canaveral Starts Caribbean Sailings Earlier

MIAMI, July 9 -- Royal Caribbean International announced that its 3,114-passenger Mariner of the Seas now will debut in Port Canaveral on November 16, 2003, a week earlier than originally scheduled. The new maiden voyage will be a special, one-time-only Eastern Caribbean itinerary calling in Nassau, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

The new, 142,000-ton Mariner of the Seas will be the fifth ship in the company's Voyager class and will be the largest ship to sail from Port Canaveral. Mariner features the line's signature rock-climbing wall, an inline skating track, full-size basketball court, and Royal Promenade -- a shopping, dining and entertainment street running through the center of the ship. Mariner of the Seas also features a 900-seat ice skating and entertainment venue known as Studio B, a 1,350-seat Broadway-style theater, a miniature golf course, and one of the largest fitness and spa complexes at sea.

Mariner of the Seas will begin her regularly scheduled, year-round itineraries on Nov. 23, sailing alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. The Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes stops in Nassau; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg. The Western Caribbean sailings include port calls in Labadee, Hispanola; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico. Pricing starts at $699 per person, double occupancy. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site at

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One- to Six-Day Voyages Offer Short Getaways on Line's Most Popular Ships

Princess is offering the perfect escape for passengers looking for a quick vacation. The line's sampler voyages -- one- to six-night sailings -- are designed specifically for passengers who are new to cruising or just don't have the time to take one of Princess' traditional seven-night or longer adventures. Between spring 2004 and spring 2005, Princess is offering 14 coastal voyages on six ships, including the line's newest and most amenity-filled vessels. Highlights include a six-day "Best of the West" itinerary aboard the new Diamond Princess, which features calls at favorite ports along the west coast, a four-night Alaska sampler to Ketchikan, as well as a full selection of three-, two- and one-day sailings.

"Our coastal voyages and other sampler cruises have always been a popular option for those looking for a shorter vacation," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "For this season, we're offering an outstanding selection of different options, perfect for sampling our trademark Personal Choice Cruising, and enjoying the pampering of Princess' award-winning service, on some of our most spectacular ships."

Sampler cruise options include:

Six-Day -- "Best of the West"
Leading the variety of getaway options is a unique, six-day, "Best of the West" itinerary aboard the new Diamond Princess. The Vancouver to Los Angeles sailing departs on September 19, 2004, and features calls all along the west coast, with visits to Victoria, Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Barbara.

Four-Day -- Alaska Sampler
On May 4, 2004 and again on May 3, 2005, Diamond Princess will offer a four-day Alaska Sampler from Vancouver to Seattle, with a call at one of the Southeast's favorite ports, Ketchikan.

Three-Day -- Getaway Options
In fall, passengers have a choice of several relaxing three-day sailings between Vancouver and Los Angeles, offered aboard Island Princess on Sept. 18 and Sapphire Princess Sept. 20.

The reverse itinerary is offered in spring, with Los Angeles to Vancouver sailings aboard Diamond Princess on May 1, 2004 and April 30, 2005, Island Princess on May 4, 2005 and Sun Princess on May 3, 2005.

In addition, Sun Princess will offer a roundtrip three-day getaway before starting her Alaska season, departing from Vancouver May 6, 2005, and featuring port calls in Victoria and Seattle.

Two-Day -- Relaxing Weekends
For a quick weekend trip, Coral Princess and Dawn Princess each offer a San Francisco to Vancouver cruise on, respectively, May 12 and 14, 2005.

One-Day -- Overnight Escapes
For those with little time to get away, Princess even offers overnight sailings on its two largest vessels, Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess. These one-day cruises between Seattle and Vancouver are offered on September 18 and 19, 2004, respectively.

Beginning pricing for sampler cruises ranges from $199 for overnight voyages to $599 for the six-day sailing. Fares are per person, based on double occupancy.

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Princess Introduces New Itinerary Including Belize with its 180-mile Ocean Reef and Mayan Ruins

A 51-mile marvel that can save a ship more than 7,000 transit miles, the Panama Canal never fails to impress cruise passengers. In 2004-05, Princess will once again offer vacationers the opportunity for a front-row view as the canal's locks lift and lower their home-away-from-home up to a total of 170 feet, with a variety of cruises to choose from during the Canal's 90th anniversary year.

Four Princess ships, Coral Princess, Regal Princess, Sun Princess and Dawn Princess, will offer 37 Panama Canal sailings on 11 unique itineraries. Among the total of 23 different ports, the lineup includes Belize, a brand new call for Princess featured on Coral Princess' roundtrip sailings.

"Princess continues to be the leader in Panama Canal cruising, and we offer our passengers an exceptional way to experience this wonder of engineering," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "What better way to enjoy watching the transit process than from your own private balcony -- and our ships certainly have more affordable balconies than anyone else sailing the canal."

Roundtrip Panama Canal
Specifically built for Panama Canal sailings, Coral Princess returns to offer 19 departures on its popular 10-day roundtrip voyages from Ft. Lauderdale. In addition to the new port of Belize City -- famed for its 180-mile barrier reef, popular resort areas and Mayan ruins -- the ship will call at Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Limon in Costa Rica, as well as the partial transit of the Panama Canal followed by an afternoon visit to Colón. Sailings depart between October 11, 2004 and April 17, 2005.

Grand Panama Canal
For those who want to experience the full canal from ocean to ocean, Regal Princess will offer a series of 15-day Grand Canal sailings between Ft. Lauderdale and either Los Angeles or San Diego. Ports of call include Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Puntarenas, Cartagena, Aruba, and Ocho Rios in addition to a full transit of the Panama Canal. Sailings depart between November 24, 2004 and April 8, 2005. (San Diego itineraries are featured on the November 24, December 9, March 24 and April 8 sailings).

Princess will also offer Grand Panama Canal sailings in spring and fall before and after the summer Alaska season. These repositioning voyages offer the opportunity to sail on a variety of ships, including Sun Princess and Dawn Princess as well as Coral Princess and Regal Princess. The 15-day itineraries include not only the full transit through the Panama Canal, but also calls at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Puntarenas, Cartagena and Aruba.

Fall 2004 options include San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale sailings on Coral Princess and Sun Princess on September 26 and 28. Dawn Princess will feature a sailing between Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale on September 19, with the added port of Ocho Rios. In addition, Regal Princess will debut a new itinerary for Princess, sailing between San Francisco and New York. This 18-day journey departs on August 24, and includes a call at Huatulco (in place of Puntarenas) and adds the popular Caribbean ports of St. Kitts and St. Thomas.

In spring 2005, Regal Princess, Coral Princess and Dawn Princess will offer sailings between Ft. Lauderdale and San Francisco, on April 23, 27 and 29 respectively, while Sun Princess sails on the Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles route on April 18. Passengers on Coral Princess, Dawn Princess and Sun Princess also have the option of extending their voyage by several days to end in Vancouver. No matter which itinerary they choose, Princess passengers will enjoy their Panama Canal adventure in style, with the best of Princess' Personal Choice Cruising program to enable them to personalize their cruise experience. Most vessels offer the line's signature Personal Choice Dining, the industry's only program to feature both Traditional or Anytime Dining options, multiple entertainment venues, activities such as ScholarShip@Sea, hundreds of affordable balconies, and the line's impeccable Princess service.

Early booking fares for Princess' Panama Canal voyages begin at $1,149 per person, based on double occupancy. Third and fourth berth fares begin at $599.

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Guest Chefs Explore Regional Cuisine, Culinary Events on the Eastern Seaboard

MIAMI, July 1, 2003 - The all-suite, 208-guest Seabourn Pride will host a Great American Food & Wine Festival on a 13-day cruise from New York to Nassau, departing October 25, 2003. During the cruise, guests will enjoy onboard cooking demonstrations by guest chefs including Charlie Palmer of Aureole in New York and Las Vegas, kitchen 22 and other restaurants nationwide. Chef Todd Gray of Equinox in Washington, D.C., also will participate. Signature dishes created by the guest chefs will be featured on menus in the ship's open-seating Restaurant and the casual alternative Veranda Café, and the ship will host wine tastings featuring vintages from some of America's most prestigious vineyards.

Palmer, whose active advocacy of American-grown and produced ingredients has evolved into a distinctive style called Progressive American Cuisine, is the ideal host for this culinary exploration of the Eastern Seaboard. His amiable, down-to-earth discussions impart a tremendous depth of knowledge in a highly palatable and satisfying style that has made him a popular guest on national television, with appearances on the "Today Show," the Food Channel and others.

Todd Gray trained at the Culinary Institute of America and served his stages with many of America's most celebrated chefs including Christian Renult; Robert Grault, Roberto Donna, Jean Louis Palladin at the Watergate, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and others. He also staged at classic restaurants in Northern Italy. Gray has been nominated as Best Chef Mid Atlantic by the James Beard Foundation for the last three years. Equinox has won numerous awards including "Town & Country" magazine's Best Restaurant in Washington DC, and is included in top tables lists of "Esquire," "Gourmet," "Bon Appetit," "Condé Nast Traveler," "Wine Spectator" and the "Washington Post" since its opening in 1999.

The harvest-time cruise itinerary includes visits to a number of cities that enjoy rich culinary traditions and vibrant contemporary cooking scenes. In ports that include Newport, R.I.; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Alexandria, Va. (for Washington, D.C.); Yorktown (for Williamsburg); Charleston; Savannah and Port Canaveral, Fla.; guests will explore these regional cuisines on optional tours and visits to local growers and purveyors, green markets, historical sites and other culinary attractions.

  • From Newport, an optional excursion will allow guests to visit Johnson & Wales University's renowned College of Culinary Arts in Providence, where they will be treated to a demonstration and tasting of traditional and modern creations utilizing local ingredients.
  • An overnight stay in Philadelphia provides an opportunity to experience a comparative tasting of the city's iconic Philly Cheese Steaks on site at the rival landmarks Geno's and Pat's.
  • In Baltimore, guests can explore the variety of fish and shellfish harvested from the Chesapeake Bay region, ending with a luncheon feast of blue crabs at Bo Brooks' classic crab shack.
  • From Alexandria, Va., all guests will be invited to a complimentary Exclusively Seabourn shoreside experience comprising a private tour of Mount Vernon, the historic plantation estate of George and Martha Washington, followed by cocktails in a restored 18th-century Alexandria inn.
  • From Yorktown, a historical culinary excursion will carry guests to the Williamsburg Inn in nearby Colonial Williamsburg, where they will enjoy a luncheon of typical colonial-era Virginia cooking using local ingredients and authentic methods.
  • A tour of Charleston, South Carolina's rich heritage will include details about Carolina Gold rice and the influence of African cultures - two of the key elements of the distinctive "low country" cooking. Then enjoy a cooking demonstration and luncheon prepared by renowned Charleston chef Donald Barickman of Magnolias Uptown/Down South
  • A walking tour of the gracious squares and private gardens of Savannah, Ga., will culminate in a traditional family-style luncheon of Southern specialties at Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House, a renowned Savannah institution.
  • From Port Canaveral, an airboat excursion takes guests to a 100-year-old fishing camp in the Everglades, for a "Florida Cracker" style luncheon including catfish, grouper, alligator, trout and frog legs from the surrounding waters.

With special savings of 50 percent off the published rates, fares for the 13-night cruise start from just $5,132 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean view Seabourn Suite.

For details, or to reserve a suite for Seabourn Pride's Great American Food & Wine Festival, call your travel agent or Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit 

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Holland America offers free Verandah Upgrade on Winter/Spring 2004 Caribbean Cruises

Seattle, July 8, 2003 – Holland America is offering free upgrades to Deluxe Verandah Outside staterooms or Superior Verandah Suites on winter and spring 2004 Caribbean cruises aboard the line’s two Vista-class ships, ms Zuiderdam and ms Oosterdam. Guests must book their cruise by August 31, 2003 to take advantage of this special-value promotion. For example, guests who book an outside stateroom will be upgraded to a Deluxe Verandah Outside stateroom at no additional cost, and guests reserving a Category A Deluxe Verandah Outside stateroom will be upgraded to a Superior Verandah Suite. The verandahs are true balconies with plenty of space for guests to lounge, sunbathe, have breakfast or enjoy the passing scene in complete privacy.

“Holland America is offering the perfect opportunity for guests to enjoy the enhanced experience of cruising in a stateroom with a verandah,” said Joseph Slattery, vice president of marketing, North America, Holland America Line.

The verandah promotion applies to the Zuiderdam’s Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises departing Jan. 3 through May 29 and the Oosterdam’s Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings January 4 through April 11, 2004. All are seven-day cruises sailing roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. Aboard the two 1,848-passenger Vista-class ships, 67 percent of each ship’s 924 staterooms feature the popular verandahs. The greatest number of staterooms – 461 – is in the Deluxe Verandah Outside category, representing the cruise industry's best value in verandah staterooms.

The Zuiderdam, currently Holland America’s year-round ship in the Caribbean, will offer 13 eastern Caribbean cruises on which the verandah upgrade applies. It also applies to 4 Western Caribbean sailings (Apr 17-May 29). Departing Saturdays from Ft. Lauderdale, the ship’s eastern Caribbean ports of call include Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s award-winning private island paradise; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands, a new port for Holland America in 2004. Western Caribbean sailings’ ports of call include Key West, Fla.; Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman and Half Moon Cay.

The Oosterdam will alternate eastern and western Caribbean itineraries with 15 Sunday departures from Ft. Lauderdale. Eastern ports of call include Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Half Moon Cay; Western ports are Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico and Half Moon Cay.

Cruise-only fares for an outside stateroom, upgradeable to a Deluxe Verandah Outside stateroom on the promotion, start at just US$ $969[CAN $1,272] per person, double occupancy. Offer applies to new bookings made under Holland America’s Early Savings rate. Upgrades based on available space at time of booking.

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SeaDream Yacht Club had kicked off the promotion of its 2003-2004 Caribbean season with travel agent and consumer e-mails for its November-December St. Thomas and Barbados sailings. Five-day itineraries start from $1,499 per person. Fares increase to $3,540 for prime-seven-day voyages. The upcoming Caribbean season runs from November 2003 through April 2004. Sailings are aboard SeaDream I and II, twin, ultra-luxury mega yachts with only 55 accommodations. Both SeaDream yachts are presently sailing in European waters.

Fares include all meals, wine with lunch and dinner, open bar, use of water sports equipment and gratuities. Government fees, handling and service charges, air transportation and transfers (plus any optional hotel arrangements) are not included. These fares are based on SeaDream’s “Buy Now and Save” program which may be withdrawn at any time. Prices are per person, double occupancy. Some conditions apply.

Ports of call for 2003 Caribbean sailings sited above include various combinations of the following: St Barts, St. Martin, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke, Antigua, Anguilla, Road Town (Tortola), St. Croix, Nevis, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, Tobago, Grenada, Carriacou, St Vincent, Dominica, Bequia, Mayreau and St. Lucia. Later in the Caribbean season, in 2004, SeaDream will have several sailings using San Juan, Puerto Rico as a home port.

Commenting on SeaDream’s Caribbean season, Larry Pimentel, CTC, President and CEO, said “Our Caribbean pricing at this time is a splendid value. When you add in our No Stress, No Strings policy that specifies no cancellation penalty, these fares become truly extraordinary. Besides calling at some of the most exotic and romantic yachting ports in the world, we will overnight in Jost van Dyke and Gustavia. Our guests tell us they appreciate this opportunity to spend some late evening time ashore.” He also pointed out that the shorter, five-day sailings are ideal for clients who have time constraints and for the incentive market.

In the Americas the SeaDream Yacht Club reservations number is 1 800 707-4911. In Europe it is +47 23 28 96 60. The website is

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Alaska's first purpose-built cruise destination set to open May 2004.

MIAMI -- Icy Strait Point, Alaska's first purpose-built cruise destination, has been added to the itineraries of Royal Caribbean International's Vision of the Seas and Celebrity Cruise Line's Summit and Mercury for the Alaska cruise season beginning in May 2004. The destination currently has 33 ship calls slated. Designed to accommodate only one cruise ship per day, Icy Strait Point provides a unique Alaska cruise experience focused on history, culture, wildlife tours and native Indian experiences.

"Only one cruise ship at a time will dock at Icy Strait Point, allowing passengers to avoid the crowds that often greet them at other Alaskan ports," said Michael Greve, president of Global Destinations Development, the company that is marketing Icy Strait. "Further, Icy Strait Point has the outdoor Alaska guests dream about--right on our doorstep."

"Port Icy Strait will provide cruise guests with the ultimate Alaskan wilderness experience," stated a spokesman for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "The Native American history and involvement in the area, as well as the breathtaking natural beauty, will clearly be of interest to anyone visiting Alaska."

Icy Strait Point is located 50 miles west of Juneau and just 22 miles from Glacier Bay National Park. About a mile from Icy Strait Point is the village of Hoonah, the largest native Tlingit Indian settlement in Alaska. The port's center of activity is the Icy Strait Packing Company Cannery, a 1930s-era fish cannery that has been refurbished on its original site. The cannery is designed to be a living museum displaying artifacts that re-create the industrious spirit of Alaska's early pioneers with employees in period dress. The facility also will house food and beverage areas, excursion lounges and a retail section showcasing native and regional crafts.

Cruise passengers can learn about the native culture at the Native Heritage Center, an interpretive facility where the stories and culture of the Hoonah people are highlighted, and at the "Journey through Time" show which will share the history and folklore of the Hoonah Tlingit through live performances. Land, water and air excursions will be offered. Icy Strait Point and  its environs are home to a wide variety of animals, including humpback whale, orca, porpoise, seal, sea otter, eagle and coastal brown bear, the largest brown bears in the world. Many of the excursions and attractions offered at the destination incorporate an opportunity to see these animals in their natural surroundings, such as whale and marine mammal viewing by boat, brown bear and wildlife searches, rain forest and nature walks, and flight-seeing tours of Glacier Bay. Active guests can also choose fly-in fishing by helicopter at a remote location, mountain biking, ocean kayaking and other recreational activities.

Miami-based Global Destinations Development LLC specializes in the development and marketing of new cruise ports of call and leisure-travel destinations. Besides Alaska, the company currently has projects under way in Mexico, the Bahamas Belize and other Caribbean destinations.

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MIAMI, July 8, 2003 - Cunard's world famous Queen Elizabeth 2 will welcome puppet performers and a producer from the Emmy Award-winning television series The Muppet Show™ during its July 16-22, 2003, transatlantic crossing from Southampton, England, to New York. Among the featured Muppets™ will be The Great Gonzo™, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew™, Kermit's nephew Robin™, Zoot and Floyd Pepper™ from the Electric Mayhem Band™, Beauregard™, Lew Zealand™ and Dr. Julius Strangepork™.

"The Muppets may not be the most famous guests to have cruised on QE2, but they'll certainly be the most fun," said Deborah Natansohn, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Cunard Line. "We've seen multiple generations of families book this voyage, including parents, grandparents and great-grandparents."

The 6-night voyage, which is nearly sold-out, was marketed to families and offered rates starting from $1,799 per person, double, including one-way air to London. In addition to being entertained by principal Muppet Performers Dave Goelz and Jerry Nelson, Martin Baker, a producer for The Jim Henson Company, will talk about his experience working on The Muppet Show and introduce a documentary on Jim Henson. Designer/Builder Jane Gootnick, who will talk about how the puppets are initially designed, created and ultimately brought to life, will join them.

Oscar-winning creators of Chicken Run also aboard
As an extra bonus, Peter Lord, co-founder of Ardman Animation, creators of the Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit animated short films, will be on board for the crossing. In addition to introducing their box office smash Chicken Run, they will showcase some of the miniature sets with which they work and demonstrate how claymation is done.

Passengers who are not fans of puppets and animated films or who are not traveling with their children need not worry; additional "grown up" entertainers and guest lecturers will be on board to ensure that passengers of all ages enjoy their QE2 voyage.

2003 marks Farewell Transatlantic Season for QE2
Cunard's feted QE2 is presently celebrating her Farewell Transatlantic Season. After this July 16 departure there will be 10 gala crossings through December 2003. In 2004, the line's transatlantic route will be assumed by the grand, new Queen Mary 2, which is currently being built in France at a cost of $780 million.

While 2003 marks the final season of transatlantic crossings for QE2, in May 2004 - after a major refurbishment - QE2 will be deployed on cruises to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Scandinavia and Northern Europe, sailing round-trip from Southampton. QE2 will also continue to be the ship of choice for Cunard's annual World Cruise.

Cross the Atlantic Ocean in total comfort
Often called a "City at Sea," QE2 offers every five-star comfort, including six dining venues, several elegant bars and lounges, a European-style spa, a computer learning centre with both Internet and e-mail access, and an award-winning library, staffed by qualified librarians. Other facilities include a cinema, showroom, casino, fitness centre, indoor and outdoor pools, golf driving and putting area, formal wear shop and duty-free boutiques, including Harrods. QE2 uniquely features a florist, synagogue, a pet kennel and a nursery with British nannies. For women traveling alone, gallant Gentlemen Hosts assure that they don't miss a dance.

Most recently, the ship's five-star Grill accommodations won a prestigious maritime Oscar from the respected Berlitz guide to Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2003. The author states, "If you occupy one of the top-level suites, with butler service and all the trimmings of finery, your experience should be nothing short of superb."

To make a reservation contact a travel agent, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit the website

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Windjammer Barefoot Cruises Ltd. announced today the marketing of its new timeshare product, sea-Cabin™ Timeshares. The 53 year old Miami based cruise line will refit the former NOAA vessel M.V. Discoverer for this unique venture. S.V. La Mer, as the new tall ship will be named, will be 485 l.o.a.. The ship will have a displacement of 4,000 gross tons. Discoverer presently has ten decks, much of it used for research equipment. La Mer will be refit with 6 decks and 77 luxurious cabins, 3 lounges, dinning area, library and game room, spa, pool. Internet café, the latest navigational equipment will meet all international safety requirements.

During refitting, timeshare purchasers will be able to use one of the company's other six ships including the company's supply ship M.V. Amazing Grace, cruising the Caribbean on varied itineraries. Destinations are varied on Windjammer, from the adventure of sailing to a sparsely populated picturesque islands to the more traveled tourist destinations such as the U.S. Virgin Islands and St Maarten. Occasional the itinerary becomes more exotic with a trip to Tahiti or other imaginative destination. 

As Captain Burke said of the timeshare concept, "This is a new venture for us. When proven successful we can expand it other ships. If we have the demand we will refit other vessels all in the Windjammer tradition of tall ships, and all work will be done in our own ship yard. For our passengers the program will provide more vacationers then ever before with the opportunity to actually touch the water--something unique in the cruise business--also the timeshare program is a great deal for our passengers".

The "deal" provides the buyers of the right to use deeds with other amenities making the offer to good to refuse. Not only will timeshare purchasers have a once in a life time opportunity to obtain cruises at a fraction of the normal cost but other perks, not normally offered to cruise line passengers will be included. The registration in a timeshare exchange program, the right (for a modest fee) to change itineraries using any other of the line's ships, and even a year round storage locker are just some of the many items being offered to the timeshare family of passengers.

Timeshare purchasers will also have their name inscribed on a brass place on the new ship, use the same designated cabin for each cruise, receive the famous night before sailing Windjammer Stow-away dinner and party, a free copy of the new coffee table book (Barefoot Pirate The Tall Ships and Tales of Windjammer), a Caribbean music CD (to get in the mood) and lots of other gifts, all free of charge. 

The sea-Cabin™ Timeshare product will be sold exclusive by Cruiseshares 300 Inc. Since the 70's the Cruiseshares management team has been involved in the creation and has been instrumental in the development of retail travel concepts, resort timeshares and the timesharing of cruise ships. Cruiseshares will field a large and professional sales force to help make the Windjammer timeshare program a success. A special reservation system and website, available only to purchasers of timeshares will facilitate cruise exchanges and trades.

Built by Aero-Jet general and lunched in 1964, Discoverer's birth was an outcome of President Reagan's 1983 proclamation claiming sovereignty over 200 miles of coastal waters for the United States known as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The EEZ contains vital natural resources. It was Discoverer's mission to study those resources. 

Discoverer's new mission will be to provide fun filled vacations in the Caribbean, reincarnated as a four masted sailing vessel filled with happy go lucky passengers enjoying the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and the allure of exotic destinations, all with a famous Windjammer rum swizzle in hand. Itineraries will vary from year to year giving passengers the best of the Caribbean to enjoy.

For additional information on sales and availability of sea-Cabin™ Timeshares contact: Barry Jones at: Cruiseshares 300, Inc, Rt 4 Box 3698, Trinity, TX, 75862, 936-594-3190 or: email: . The website is For more information on La Mer or on Windjammer Barefoot Cruises Ltd. contact Robert W. Schachner at Windjammer Barefoot Cruises Ltd. at 305-672-6453 or .

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MSC Italian Cruises Adds More Capacity for South America Cruises this Winter

New York, NY -- MSC Italian Cruises adds 42% more capacity this year for its popular South America cruises in 2003-2004 season by placing its award winning ship, the MSC Melody, into service there. Two 17-night transatlantic cruises will bookend the series of 7-day cruises out of Rio de Janeiro that commence December 13, 2003. The 1076-passenger capacity Melody has served as the flagship of the MSC Italian Cruises fleet for the past five years, and has received an award for combined value and quality based on comments from cruise passengers. The ship continues to represent the highest standards of safety and style with an ambiance that reflects MSC’s attention to detail and service.

“We anticipate even more people will take advantage of this unique opportunity this coming season, not only to visit South America, but to experience the Italian hospitality and service on board the Melody that have become synonymous with MSC,” said Nicola Arena, President of MSC Italian Cruises.

MSC Italian Cruises has planned a 2003-2004 South America cruise experience that originates in Rio de Janeiro and includes stops in Porto Seguro, Salvador, Arraial Beach (a private beach) and Buzios before returning to Rio. The 7-night cruise lets you visit and enjoy destinations selected especially for this cruise, or just relax and enjoy the host of amenities onboard ship. Those selecting Carnival week departing February 21 will have the added bonus of experiencing the Brazilian Carnival celebrations unique to this region. Departure dates from Rio de Janeiro are December 13, 20, and 27 in 2003, as well as January 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 and February 7, 14, 21 and 28 in 2004.

“MSC Italian Cruises features ports and itineraries that appeal to veteran and first-time cruisers alike, and this South American cruise is one example of how the company varies its offerings during the year,” said Steve Hirshan, Vice President of MSC Italian Cruises. “By bringing the Melody to South America, MSC shows its responsiveness to the market’s interest in more exotic destinations”.

Fares for the 7-night South America cruises start at as little as $640 per person (including port charges), making it an exceptional vacation value.

The Melody will also make two 17-night transatlantic voyages, the first coming southbound from Genoa, Italy, departing November 26, 2003. The itinerary includes stops in Gibraltar, Agadir, Dakar, Recife, Salvador Buzios and Rio de Janerio. Returning on March 6, the itinerary includes stops in Porto Seguro, Salvador, Maceio, Recife, Mindelo (Cabo Verde), Arrecife, Agadir, Valencia and Barcelona before arriving in Genoa. Fares for the transatlantic cruises begin at $1260 per person.

MSC Italian Cruises, based in Naples, Italy, is a subsidiary of Mediterranean Shipping Company, a privately owned Swiss shipping group founded in 1970 and headquartered in Geneva. Specializing in ocean and intermodal transportation worldwide, MSC is the 2nd largest container carrier in the world, operating 214 container ships, 36 fast ferries as well as four cruise vessels. For further information and brochures, call 1-800-666-9333 or visit the company's website at

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Dame Julie Andrews Christens Crystal Serenity 
Amid a Flurry of Color

More Than 400 Guests From Around the Globe Traveled to Southampton to Celebrate Crystal Cruises' Newest Addition to its Six-Star Fleet

Legendary entertainer Dame Julie Andrews sets a custom-made six liter bottle of Cristal champagne in motion to christen the world's newest luxury liner, Crystal Serenity, with the ship's captain, Reidulf Maalen (right), and Crystal Cruises President Gregg L. Michel at her side.

SOUTHAMPTON, England, July 3 -- It was a Six-Star style day when legendary entertainer Dame Julie Andrews released the cord that sent a custom-made six liter bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal champagne crashing against the hull of Crystal Cruises' newest luxury ship, Crystal Serenity. In doing so, she triggered a flurry of colored streamers and confetti upon the 400 guests all dressed in the day's themed attire of black and white.

"This is a moment all of us at Crystal Cruises have been working toward for more than three years," said Crystal Cruises President Gregg L. Michel. "It is such an honor for us to have someone as elegant, talented and well- respected as Dame Julie Andrews christen our new ship into service. She is the embodiment of the style and sophistication that is Crystal Serenity."

Just prior to the ceremonial breaking of the bottle, a tradition that can be traced to 17th century England, Reverend Michael Williams, chaplain for the Port of Southampton, conferred the official blessing of the new ship. This was preceded by a series of speeches given by several dignitaries:

  • Mr. Jiro Nemoto, Chairman of NYK Line (Crystal Cruises' parent company);
  • Captain Reidulf Maalen, Master of Crystal Serenity; and
  • Councillor Parvin Damani, Mayor of Southampton.

Also in attendance was special guest of honor, Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mrs. Mary Fagan. Following the quay-side ceremony, guests were escorted into Crystal Serenity's Crystal Dining Room, where they enjoyed a formal luncheon honoring Dame Julie. The ship was then available to all guests for guided tours.

Crystal Serenity, the newest addition to Crystal Cruises' Six-Star fleet, officially enters into service on July 7th when she sets sail for her Grand Inaugural Voyage, a 14-day round-trip from London's port of Southampton that will take the new ship to several Northern European capitals.

"Our past guests have been anxiously awaiting this new ship," adds Michel. "They are among the most loyal repeat cruisers in the industry. In fact, on this inaugural cruise, we have guests who have sailed with us more than 50 times. The ship will be literally flowing with our best guests."

Following her maiden voyage, Crystal Serenity continues her inaugural season with summer cruises in Europe, and the Mediterranean, followed by a trans-Atlantic crossing, two Caribbean/Panama Canal voyages, and a combined Christmas/New Year's Mexican Riviera sailing, round-trip from Los Angeles. Additionally, on January 19, 2004, Crystal Serenity will depart on Crystal Cruises' celebrated 106-day World Cruise, which departs from Los Angeles and concludes, for the first time, in New York City (on May 5, 2004).

With the launch of Crystal Serenity, Crystal Cruises expanded on its own award-winning formula for mid-sized luxury ship cruising. While similar in style and elegance to her two sister ships, Crystal Serenity offers more dining venues, more penthouse accommodations, more staterooms with verandahs, more entertainment lounges, and more fitness options (among other features), than Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony. At 1,080 guests and 68,000 tons, she is the largest ship in the Crystal fleet and boasts one of the highest space-per-guest ratios (63.0) in the industry offering 93,500 square feet of public space and 14 decks. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure, call 800.820.6663. Visit the web site at

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Carnival Confirms Plans That Carnival Conquest Will Return to New Orleans July 13
Last Voyage from Gulfport, Mississippi on July 6 

MIAMI (07/03/03) - Carnival Cruise Lines has confirmed that, based on current Mississippi River levels, the company will proceed with its previously announced plan to return the Carnival Conquest to New Orleans for year-round seven-day departures beginning July 13, 2003. The 2,974-passenger vessel, which was deployed to Gulfport, Miss., March 9, will make its final voyage from that port July 6. During the 18 weeks that Carnival Conquest was homeported in Gulfport, the ship carried some 60,000 guests. The deployment to Gulfport was necessitated due to rising water levels in the Mississippi River, which combined with low hanging power lines down river from the Port of New Orleans, posed a potential safety issue. Water levels on the Mississippi River have since receded, enabling the vessel to safely return to New Orleans. Carnival Conquest will re-join the 1,452-passenger Holiday, which operates four- and five-day Mexico cruises from New Orleans. 

"We are very pleased that Carnival Conquest will return to the Port of New Orleans, a favorite among our guests and one of Carnival's fastest growing homeports," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

Including Carnival Conquest and Holiday departures, Carnival carries some 300,000 passengers annually from New Orleans. Carnival Conquest launched year-round seven-day western Caribbean cruises Dec. 1, 2002. Ports of call on this program include Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. For additional information regarding the Carnival Conquest and other vessels within the "Fun Ship" fleet, call 1-800-327-9501 (individual) or 1-800-327-5782 (groups) or visit the line's travel agent Internet portal,

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Miami, July 3 – NCL America will hold a job fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9 and Thursday, July 10 at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort to search for Hawaii’s best candidates for the line’s new year-round U.S. Flagged ships, Pride of America and Pride of Aloha. NCL America’s goal in the job fair is to recruit qualified candidates for shipboard jobs, particularly entry-level crew, management positions, cruise staff, food and beverage operations, entertainers and medical staff positions.

“We are beginning as early as possible to seek out the most qualified candidates from Hawaii to deliver the best possible service to our guests,” said Robert Kritzman, NCL America’s senior vice president overseeing Human Resources. “The people of Hawaii are particularly known for their superior service and warm hospitality. We want to ensure our ships have ‘The Aloha Spirit’ on board.”

According to Kritzman, NCL America will train new hires in dedicated training programs and on the line’s other Freestyle Cruising ships within the fleet and learn the product as well as the industry. “After undergoing an intensive training program they will be prepared for our U.S. Flagged ships,” he said. “The company will also be holding job fairs on neighbor islands in the near future.”

The vessels will be U.S.-flagged, and 100 percent U.S. crewed, generating more than $800 million in economic benefits for Hawaii and the U.S., and 20,000 jobs including 10,000 plus jobs for Hawaii residents of which some will be 3,000 U.S. seafaring jobs, according to a recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers report. For further information on Norwegian Cruise Line, contact a travel agent or NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030; in Miami-Dade County, Fla., (305) 436-0866; visit NCL’s website

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Seattle, July 2, 2003 – For the first time in company history, Holland America will utilize Virginia’s historic seaport at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay as a home port for 16 cruises in 2004, including a full slate of Caribbean cruises on board the ms Maasdam. By offering 10- and 11-day sailings to the Caribbean from Norfolk’s Nauticus International Pier, HAL leads the industry in expanding the scope of cruise travel available to its mid-Atlantic guests.

“While many cruises originating from Norfolk head to the Bahamas, we’ll go even deeper into the Caribbean with unique voyages that visit nine different Caribbean islands,” said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales. “By offering more days and exploring less-visited islands such as Tortola, Barbados and Guadeloupe, we are able to bring more value to guests cruising in the Caribbean. Norfolk is conveniently situated within a few hours’ drive of millions of people who will be able to drive to the Maasdam and spend more time cruising and less time traveling to and from a port.”

In total, the Maasdam will have eight departures in 2004 from Norfolk for 11-day cruises of the southern Caribbean and seven departures for 10-day tours of the eastern Caribbean islands. In addition, Norfolk will be the final stop on the ship’s 14-day eastern Canada sailing that originates in Montreal on October 16th.

Southern Caribbean Itineraries
The Maasdam’s 11-day cruises of the southern Caribbean islands will depart Norfolk at 5 p.m. and spend a day at sea before arriving at Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s award-winning private Bahamian island, for a day of tropical island fun. Following another day at sea, the ship calls on successive days at Road Town on Tortola of the British Virgin Islands; Dominica (where guests who enjoy shore excursions can depart the ship at 8 a.m. in Cabrits and reboard in the afternoon at Roseau); Bridgetown on Barbados; Pointe-a-Pitre on Guadeloupe; and St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The ship spends two final days at sea before returning to Norfolk on the morning of the 11th day.

Departures for the southern Caribbean are scheduled for January 20, February 10, March 2, March 23, November 9, November 30, December 11 and a holiday sailing that departs on December 22nd.

Eastern Caribbean Itineraries
For 10-day tours of the eastern islands of the Caribbean, the Maasdam will depart Norfolk at 5 p.m. and spend a day at sea before stopping for a day at Half Moon Cay. Following another day at sea, the ship will call on successive days at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; St. John’s, Antigua; and St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands before spending two days at sea on the return to Norfolk.

Sailing dates for 2004 for this itinerary are January 31, February 21, March 13, April 3, April 13, October 30, and November 20.

Early Savings discount fares for Holland America’s new Norfolk-based itineraries start at US$1,099 [C$1,469] per person, double occupancy. Taxes are additional.

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Luxury Line Offers 10, Seven-Day Caribbean, Mexico, Mediterranean and New England Sailings in 2004

LOS ANGELES, July 1, 2003 - To appeal to meetings and incentives groups beginning in 2004 award-winning 940-guest sister-ships, Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, and the luxurious 1,080-guest Crystal Serenity, set to debut this week, will offer a series of seven-day cruises in the Caribbean, Mexico, Mediterranean and New England. All three Crystal vessels offer spacious meeting rooms, state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, elegantly appointed staterooms (most with private verandahs), up to five evening dining options plus outdoor grill, and Italian and Asian specialty restaurants to meetings and incentives groups. Crystal Cruise's new Meeting & Incentive package offers guests complimentary bottled water, soft drinks and specialty coffees, in-stateroom bar, wine served with dinner and onboard gratuities.

"Crystal Cruises is always favorably compared to the best land-based resorts in the world,'' says Michael von Wittenau, Crystal's director of groups, charters and incentives sales. "By tailoring our itineraries to meet the needs of meeting and incentive planners, Crystal can now offer them exceptional value, Six-Star luxury, world-class ports of call and a host of on-board amenities second to none at a fraction of what it costs to host a similar program on land.''

On their free time, meetings and incentives guests may enjoy the Feng Shui-designed Crystal spa, fitness center featuring yoga, Pilates instruction and personal training, lap pool, paddle tennis courts, golf driving ranges and putting greens, renowned Computer University@Sea facility, Crystal Visions Enrichment lecture series, and a Caesar's Palace at Sea casino. E-mail is also available from every stateroom and suite. "Aboard all of our ships, guests will find an array of fine dining choices, elegant accommodations and Broadway-style production shows,'' says von Wittenau. "Each presented with the gracious service and refinement that have earned Crystal the highest accolades from the world's most discerning travelers.''

From the sun-drenched Caribbean and Mexico, to the Mediterranean, or New England and Canada, meetings and incentives planners can choose from among 10 of Crystal's seven-day voyages, including:

Crystal Serenity

  • June 29, Mediterranean - Venice to Athens, Corfu, Rhodes/Lindos, Kusadasi and Santorini/Thira.
  • July 6, Mediterranean - Athens to Rome, Mykonos, Dubrovnik, Sicily/Taormina and Sorrento.
  • Nov. 20, Caribbean - roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Freeport, Nassau, Cozumel and Key West.

Crystal Symphony

  • Feb. 19, Caribbean - roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Cozumel, Nassau and Freeport.
  • Feb. 26, Caribbean - roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Cozumel, Nassau and Freeport.
  • April 5, Caribbean - roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Cozumel, Nassau and Freeport.
  • Oct. 12, New England/Canada - roundtrip New York, Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax and Martha's Vineyard.
  • Dec. 15, Caribbean - roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Cozumel, Nassau and Freeport.

Crystal Harmony

  • Oct. 24, Caribbean - roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Cozumel, Nassau and Freeport.
  • Oct. 31, Caribbean - roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Cozumel, Nassau and Freeport.

About Crystal
To learn more about Crystal Cruises, and its meetings and incentives program, please contact von Wittenau at 310-203-4366. Visit the web site at

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New Video Showcases the Luxurious Ships and Personalized Service Repeatedly Ranked World's Best 

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, June 30, 2003 -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has just released a new video that offers a look at the defining elements of the elite luxury cruise experience. Focusing on the line's spacious and luxurious suites, inspired cuisine, intriguing destinations and personalized service, the 12-minute video, titled "Above and Beyond All Expectations", offers a comprehensive view of Silversea's uncompromising mission to exceed guests' expectations.

"Our new video gives viewers a chance to briefly experience the all-suite luxury, elegance and gracious hospitality that are the hallmarks of Silversea," said Bill Leiber, Silversea's Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. "It's a stunning visual presentation of the key elements that continue to make Silversea a leader in ultra-luxury cruising." 

With the highest space-to-guest ratio of any fleet, Silversea's spacious, ocean-view, all-suite accommodations are an important focus of the new video. The film provides an in-depth look at the interiors of the line's highly popular Veranda and Silver Suites, as well as the most spacious accommodations, like the Royal, Grand and Owner's Suites. Viewers will glimpse breathtaking ocean views from private verandas, as well as the subtler touches of in-suite luxury, such as exquisite Bvlgari bath amenities and Godiva chocolates.

Silversea's comprehensive selection of enriching shipboard activities, entertainment and fitness options is featured throughout the video. Guests can relax in a whirlpool spa, take a yoga class to revitalize mind and body, attend a classical music performance, or join other guests out on deck to enjoy a feature film under the stars. Also highlighting the Silversea video are images of the line's acclaimed Mandara Spa, recently voted the top "Spa at Sea" by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Viewers of the video are treated to a demonstration of the spa's famed Hot Lava Rock Massage, one of the many rejuvenating treatments that await Silversea guests.

The video offers glimpses of the line's award-winning cuisine, including the signature culinary creations of La Collection du Monde, inspired dishes created in collaboration with the renowned international chefs of Relais & Châteaux - Relais Gourmands. Viewers can preview events like a master chef's cooking demonstration, gala dinner and wine tasting, which are features of the line's popular Culinary Arts and Wine Series cruises. 

Silversea's intimate ships, none of which accommodates more than 382 guests, can easily navigate narrow waterways and channels in pursuit of travel's best hidden treasures, offering guests access to the world's most beautiful and interesting ports. Many stunning destination scenes are incorporated in Silversea's new video, giving viewers a sampling of the amazing destinations and land adventures that await guests of the ultra-luxury line. From a concert staged exclusively for Silversea guests in a famed opera house, to an unforgettable gourmet feast served amid majestic sand dunes in the Namib desert, the cruise line offers an array of opportunities for cultural exploration and discovery, making Silversea a truly unparalleled vacation experience.

Travel agents can request a complimentary copy of Silversea's new video (also available in DVD format) by calling Sales Support at (800) 722-9955. Consumers may purchase a copy for $9.95 by calling toll-free (877) 267-1897. 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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Following is an overview of news, cultural activities and special events in Stockholm, Sweden, from July through September.

Summer City Cruise, Summer Season
Every Thursday and Friday throughout the summer, explore Stockholm on a Summer City Cruise. In collaboration with Radio City, the 100-year-old ms Prins Carl Philip will glide between the city's bridges. Enjoy dinner, music and the view onboard or dine in Nacka or Gåshaga and take the boat back to town. For SEK80, you can get on and off the boat as many times as you want during the same evening. The boat leaves from the Strand Hotel, Nybrokajen, at 7 p.m. and returns at 1a.m. For more information, visit 

Opera at Drottningholm Slottsteater, July-August
In July and August, the magnificent Drottningholm slottsteater will present Handel's opera "Alcina," starring Christine Schäfer, Anne Sofie von Otter, and Patricia Bardon. The opera is filled with eroticism, rivalry, atrocities and the lust for power. Please visit for more information. 

The Rolling Stones, July 18, 20 and 22
The Rolling Stones celebrate 40 years as a band with a major world tour. The double album "Forty Licks" is the first collection encompassing the band's entire career from the early 1960s to today. Concerts will be held at three different Stockholm locations: July 18 at Stockholm Stadion, July 20 at the Globen and July 22 at the Cirkus. More information is available at or 

Skokloster Pageant, Medieval Festival, July 25-29
Take a journey to the Middle Ages for a medieval tournament and festival at the Skokloster Palace. The highlight of the event is the jousting tournament complete with knights in traditional costume. Visit for more information. 

Stockholm Jazz Festival, July 25-Aug. 2 
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the festival that draws in jazz, blues, soul, funk and Latin artists from around the world. The nine-day outdoor music festival takes place on three stages on the island of Skeppsholmen, in the heart of Stockholm, considered one of the most beautiful festival venues in Europe. Some of the artists expected at this year's event include Common, Chic, Bobby McFerrin, Roy Hargrove, Randy Brecker, Herbie Hancock, Louise Hoffsten, Eliane Elias, Gladys del Pilar, Maceo Parker, the Blues Brothers Band, and Lucky Peterson. To check out more of this year's line-up, visit 

Stockholm Pride, July 30-Aug. 3
This five-day event celebrates the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people. Scheduled activities include daily lectures, a carnival at the festival grounds in Tantolunden and a parade that will march through the streets of Stockholm on August 2. More information is available at 

DN Gala, August 5
The DN Gala, Sweden's foremost track and field event, brings together some of the greatest athletes in the world. The competition takes place at Stockholm Stadion, which was constructed for the 1912 Olympics. In the ensuing years, 83 world records have been set there - more than in any other arena in the world. Not only is the DN Gala an annual track and field festival; it's become a popular summer festival for the general public as well. Information is available at 

Midnight Race, Aug. 16
The island of Sodermalm becomes the treading ground for the 11,500 runners participating in this popular 10 km nighttime race. But this is more than just a race, it's a potpourri of samba, partying and asphalt-pounding enthusiasm. For more information, visit 

Archipelago Market in Idyllic Waxholm, August 16
Visit this festive archipelago market in Waxholm, located right outside of Stockholm, on August 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and enjoy music, folk dancing and shopping for handicrafts or products from the archipelago. Be at the finish line of the traditional Strömmingsrodden Rowboat Race and then return for torchlit rowing and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Find out more about the market by visiting 

Baltic Sea Festival 2003, Aug. 21-24
Orchestras, conductors, soloists, and choirs from the countries bordering the Baltic Sea perform an unusual musical program. Events will take place in the Berwald Concert Hall, Vasa Museum, the Royal Opera, and an outdoor concert in Haga Park for the grand finale. Visit for more information. 

Skeppsholmen Day, Sept. 13
Learn to dance, view art, explore the aft of a Chapman ship, shop at the archipelago market and so much more on this jam-packed day of activities held on the island of Skeppsholmen. Several museums offer free or discounted entry, as well as special exhibitions. More information is available at 

Ice Gallery, Permanent
The "coolest" meeting place in town is the world's first Ice Gallery. The same team who opened the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi in Northern Sweden have opened the Ice Gallery in Old Town. The gallery and its sculptures are completely built out of ice. For more information, visit

National Museum of Fine Arts, Permanent
The collections of the National Museum are composed of paintings and sculptures, decorative arts, drawings and prints. Artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Renoir, Degas and Gauguin are among those represented. The decorative arts gallery has Scandinavia's largest collection of china, glass, Swedish silver and furniture. Visit for more information.

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Miami, June 30 - Norwegian Cruise Line's (NCL) Norwegian Dawn boasts the most expensive art collection at sea featuring original works by the world's greatest Impressionists masters as well as contemporary master, Andy Warhol. Beginning mid-July, guests on Norwegian Dawn will enjoy a new series of Warhol's - the "Marilyn" collection, which features the image of one of America's most well known celebrities, Marilyn Monroe.

NCL will install 10 photo silk-screens of Warhol's "Marilyn," in the landings of the midship staircase on the ship. Like the Impressionist paintings by 20th Century masters Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh that adorn Norwegian Dawn's signature Le Bistro restaurant, the "Marilyn" series is on loan from the personal collection of Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman of NCL's parent company, Star Cruises.

"We will continue to rotate pieces from our chairman's collection to provide variety as well as an opportunity for more of our guests to enjoy his vast array of artwork," said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL.

Among the pieces currently on display aboard Norwegian Dawn are images from Warhol's "Flowers," "Sunsets" and "Mao" series. The art from Warhol's "Marilyn" will replace Norwegian Dawn's "Mao" series, acquired just prior to Norwegian Dawn's delivery. The "Mao" series will move to Star Cruises' Asian markets, where it has yet to be viewed.

Andy Warhol is widely considered a founder of the "Pop Art" movement and began his Marilyn series in 1962 following the star's death in August of the same year. The inspiration for his haunting image of Monroe was a cropped publicity photo for the 1952 film "Niagara." The "Marilyn" series is an example of Warhol's shift from oil painting to photo silkscreen, a mechanical process associated with commercial production. Art critics described the shift as a dismissal of the personal expression that previously characterized contemporary painting.

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line is an international cruise company and industry innovator. NCL is the leader in round-trip seven-day cruising from US and Canadian ports, offering its popular Homeland Cruising program seasonally from Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Orlando (Port Canaveral), San Juan, Seattle and Vancouver, and year round from New York, Miami, Houston and Honolulu. For further information on NCL, agents in the US and Canada may contact NCL at (800) 327-7030; visit NCL's website at

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New Dock Facilities will Provide a Convenient Northern Terminus for Gulf of Alaska Passengers

Princess' famed Gulf of Alaska cruises will have a new northern home port in Whittier beginning in May 2004. The cruise line recently reached an agreement with Whittier Dock Enterprises to use a new dock facility in the Alaska city, which will be constructed especially for passenger ships. The Whittier call will replace Seward in the company's current itinerary.

"We are very excited that this agreement enables us to bring our ships back to Whittier, the place where Gulf of Alaska cruising started," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "Thanks to several new developments--the opening of the Anton Anderson tunnel in 2000 and now the construction of this new facility--Whittier has again become an attractive option for cruise ship operations. Combined with Whittier's close proximity to the gateway of Anchorage, these new factors convinced us the time was right for a move."

The new Whittier terminal, located near the mouth of Whittier Creek, features a new 20,000-square foot passenger terminal and a floating dock for ease of access. The facility includes significant facilities for staging and parking of motorcoaches, plus a wide turnaround area with parking for up to 10 buses in the arrival/departure area, making ship transfers convenient. Passengers will also enjoy picture-window views of the canal and surrounding areas from the terminal while they embark or disembark.

Whittier's proximity to Anchorage, just 65 miles away, will allow Princess passengers greater flexibility with arrival and departure flights and will make connections quicker and more convenient. Transfers between Whittier and Anchorage will take passengers through the Anton Anderson tunnel, North America's longest highway tunnel. The formerly rail-only tunnel was constructed during WWII, but the tunnel's new highway, which opened just three years ago, will now allow motorcoach transfers as well rail travel for convenient passenger access. The scenic drive includes sights such as Portage Glacier and Lake, Turnagain Arm and the Chugach Mountains.

The new Whittier terminal will be used for all of Princess' Gulf sailings during the 2004 Alaska cruise season. The line is scheduled to offer 72 sailings of the seven-night "Voyage of the Glaciers" Vancouver/Whittier itinerary between May 8 and September 13, 2004. Four vessels will sail this favorite route including new sister ships Coral Princess and Island Princess, returning for their second Alaska season, and Sun Princess and Dawn Princess. Together these four ships form the most modern fleet sailing the Gulf of Alaska.

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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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