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

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Royal Caribbean Earns First American Culinary Federation Award For Shipboard Cuisine 
Prestigious Dining Award Recognizes Line for Superior Foodservice 

MIAMI, July 15 -- Royal Caribbean International will receive an Achievement of Culinary Excellence Award from the nation's oldest and largest organization of professional chefs, the American Culinary Federation (ACF), Inc. This year is the first in which a cruise line has been recognized by the federation for superior foodservice. ACF launched its culinary excellence awards to recognize establishments that exemplify commitment to excellence in foodservice in their respective markets. The 2004 winners were chosen by a committee of culinary experts.

"We are delighted to be the first cruise line to receive this prestigious award," said Maria Sastre, vice president, Hotel Operations, for Royal Caribbean. "Because our guests have identified food as a key element to their vacation experience, we work hard to provide a variety of menu items that reflect high-quality ingredients, professional preparation and imaginative presentation."

Royal Caribbean's culinary team is headed by Frank Weber, director, Food & Beverage Operations, and Corporate Chef Josef Jungwirth. The line employs more than 3,200 shipboard chefs and cooks, as well as some 12,000 employees in the food and beverage operation on its 19 ships.

Royal Caribbean offers guests a wide variety of dining choices, ranging from elegant, multi-course meals in spectacular dining rooms to diversified offerings in the casual Windjammer venue. Select ships also feature the intimate specialty restaurants Portofino and Chops Grille, as well as more contemporary and fun experiences in Johnny Rockets, a 1950s-style diner, and the Seaview Cafe, a relaxing indoor/outdoor environment.

This year's ACF award categories included: independent fine- and casual- dining establishments; pastry shops and bakeries; full-service restaurants as part of culinary training programs; chain operators and restaurant-concept companies; clubs, hotels and resorts; cruise lines; and noncommercial dining facilities.

For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700.

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For a Record Ninth Year in a Row, Crystal Cruises Wins 
Travel + Leisure's 'World's Best Award'

LOS ANGELES, July 14 -- For an unprecedented ninth-consecutive year, luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises has been voted the "World's Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" in Travel & Leisure magazine's annual readers' survey. At 89.16, Crystal's score topped all cruise lines in the small-ship category as well as the large-ship cruise line poll. Crystal's award-winning fleet consists of the luxurious 940-guest, 50,000-ton Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony, and the 1,080-guest, 68,000-ton Crystal Serenity, which was launched a year ago.

"Each year we are thrilled to win this award from the well-traveled readers of such a prestigious publication like Travel + Leisure magazine," says Gregg L. Michel, president, Crystal Cruises. "This year is perhaps even more gratifying as we launched our new ship within the year, which increased our capacity by more than 50%, and yet we were able to provide our high service standards and renowned product features. This record achievement attests to the dedication, creativity and talent of our shipboard and shore-side staffs, and Crystal's winning formula of delivering the best service, space, quality and choices."

"The winners of our World's Best Awards readers' survey distinguish themselves against others in their highly competitive field because of their consistent level of quality and attention to every detail. They are experts in providing not only a sense of satisfaction and security, but also an element of dazzle, which makes the memory linger and maybe even enrich over time," says Nancy Novogrod, editor-in-chief, Travel + Leisure.

For the "World's Best" awards, thousands of Travel & Leisure readers were asked to rate their recent experiences with cruise lines, hotels, cities, islands, tour operators/safari outfitters, airlines and car rental agencies. Respondents reported where they had traveled and rated only the destinations, properties and companies that were relevant to their recent travel experiences. Overall scores for cruise lines are based on an average of ratings on six characteristics. A complete list of "World's Best" winners will be published in the magazine's August issue.

Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony, and Crystal Serenity provide the ideal environments for seeing the world in contemporary comfort and style. The elegant vessels feature private verandahs on more than half of their exquisitely-appointed staterooms. They also boast expansive decks, a wide variety of entertainment and dining venues, innovative onboard enrichment programs, a lavish spa, salon and fitness facility and Caesars Palace at Sea® casino. In 2004 and 2005, the luxury line's acclaimed ships will cruise world-wide on itineraries of seven to 101 days, including destinations in Alaska, Asia, South America, the Panama Canal and Caribbean, Europe, New England, Mexican Riviera and Antarctica. For additional information, contact a travel agent or call 866.446.6625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Silversea Cruises Recognized as "World's Best" by 
Travel + Leisure Readers

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, July 13, 2004 -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has been named the winner of Travel + Leisure magazine's "World's Best" award for 2004. This is the sixth time the luxury-cruise operator has been honored with the highly coveted award. Achieving an overall score of 89.01, Silversea topped the "Small-Ship Cruise Line" category for the third consecutive year, standing out on a list of companies operating cruising's most elite and intimate ships--those accommodating no more than 400 guests. 

Each year Travel + Leisure asks its subscribers to determine the "World's Best" awards by rating travel companies and properties based on certain characteristics. For the 2004 survey, over 425,000 evaluations were reviewed. Cruise lines are evaluated in the six categories of cabins, food, service, itineraries/destinations, entertainment/activities and value. The complete results of this year's survey appear in the magazine's August 2004 issue.

"It is truly an honor to receive this recognition, which speaks to the continued emphasis we place on creating and delivering a luxury vacation experience that is unrivaled," said Albert Peter, Silversea's Chief Executive Officer. "This achievement is testament to our philosophy of operating ships of outstanding quality, specifically designed for fewer guests, thereby affording each guest more space and the highest degree of personalized service. Travel + Leisure is one of the world's most prestigious travel publications. Its readers are some of the world's most savvy and discerning travelers, and we are especially gratified to know that they believe Silversea is the very best."

Travel + Leisure boasts a readership in the millions and is considered one of the top travel publications in the world. Since 1996, working in association with independent research firms, the magazine has made available to its subscribers a questionnaire that asks respondents to rate travel providers based on their recent travel experiences. For more information about the "World's Best" awards, visit the magazine's Web site at

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. For the seventh consecutive year, Silversea Cruises was named best small-ship line in the 2002 readers' survey conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. For the sixth time, Silversea was selected "Number One" small-ship line in the Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards 2004. 

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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Take a Dazzling Cruise Close to Home on the MS C.Columbus
Discover Wonders of Your Own Country on One of Columbus’ Three Great Lakes Bilingual Trips in September 2004

Hamburg, GERMANY, July 2004 – In 1492, C. Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and this year, Hapag-Lloyd’s namesake cruise ship, C.Columbus, will take more than 1,200 passengers on three special bilingual cruises along the world’s largest body of fresh water– the Great Lakes. Touching on four states as well as two Canadian provinces, a cruise on the Great Lakes offers a diverse itinerary including a trip through the St. Lawrence Waterway system, an engineering wonder that ranks with the Panama and Suez Canals.

Built to navigate narrow areas like the Great Lakes, C.Columbus is one of the few sizeable cruise ships, and the only large ship sailing the Great Lakes, that can steer through the locks, thanks to its “wings” that fold inwards. Spectators on land frequently cheer the 472-foot vessel as it glides through the locks, while passengers watch from the decks and the glass observation area. Though a German ship, C.Columbus is fully bilingual on the Great Lakes stretch of its around the world journey. Everything on the ship is presented in English, including its lectures, sports activities, menus, announcements, and entertainment, and Americans and Germans constitute most of the ship’s population. 

“C.Columbus has sailed the Great Lakes since 1997, with the exception of one year. Many seasoned world travelers consider the Great Lakes the Paradise of North America, and especially appreciate the dramatic colors of fall foliage, and the small and large cities C.Columbus visits,” says Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. 

C.Columbus is the largest of eight ships now sailing the Great Lakes in 2004, and is ISPS certified. Its 205 cabins range from 130 to 320 square feet in size; the largest ones are suites. Providing excellent value for the price, it is the only ship on the Lakes that provides great value plus the exhilarating experience of the ocean liner, which includes international cuisine, lounges, sports, swimming pool, and more. The ship even has its own e-mail center. Other features of the C.Columbus include: 

  • Bilingual English/German speaking crew ensuring genuine bilingual cruises

  • Casual on board atmosphere with all the amenities of a Four-Star vessel

  • Special theme cruise programs -- Golf cruises (Golf & Cruise); Classical music; Edutainment (e.g. computing, digital photography)

  • Range of on board activities -- Fitness and Massage; Library; Boutique

  • Dining in one-seating

Domestic travel patterns have been choppy since 2000, and are now dramatically on the rise. Between 2003 and 2004, the percentage of trips Americans made for pleasure in the U.S. doubled. Since more Americans like cruising and 80% of them have expressed a desire to go on domestic vacations, a cruise ship navigating the Great Lakes with visits to their own turf should hold a great deal of interest.

GREAT LAKES ITINERARY: Enchantment Close to Home
Hapag-Lloyd, a German-based shipping company for more than 150 years, has increased its bilingual (English/German) sailings in 2004. Three Great Lakes trips on the C.Columbus take place from September 1-11; September 11-20; and September 20-29, 2004. 

The Great Lakes itinerary reveals an enchanted, often unknown world close to home that’s one of the most spectacular sights in the U.S. Along the five lakes, which have more than 20% of the world’s fresh water, the large and small cities and towns that C.Columbus visits provide a wide range of possible experiences. Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and Cleveland are popular with C.Columbus cruisers for their historical sights, restaurants, and shopping. Passengers like the Henry Ford Museum, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This year, Milwaukee’s brand new high-speed ferry will be a popular draw. In Ontario, visitors come as close to Paris as they can on this side of the Atlantic, with the region’s fine French food and French-speaking people. Near Buffalo, they have the opportunity to see Niagara Falls.

Americans will be delighted with what the smaller towns along the Lakes have in store for them – the largest bridge between Canada and the U.S is at Port Huron and underneath the bridge is a riverside casino. The ship also stops at America’s first oil town, which had its first well and gusher (Sarnia), recreated Indian villages, and refreshingly clean cities.

Following these trips, C.Columbus will remain on the Great Lakes for two German-language cruises, and then will travel around the East Coast of the U.S., with stops at Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, Baltimore, Charleston, South Carolina, and Port Canaveral, Florida. 

“In the past, a number of Floridians have enjoyed the latter part of this itinerary since there is rare opportunity to travel from the north of the U.S. to Florida on a great cruise ship,” says Mr. Ahrens.

For ticket information contact

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Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas & Grandeur of the Seas are Cruising to Bermuda in 2005
Line's Two New Bermuda Offerings Now Open for Bookings

MIAMI, July 13 -- Royal Caribbean International is offering cruisers two new ways to experience Bermuda in 2005. Bookings now are open on five-night Bermuda cruises aboard Voyager of the Seas from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., and five-night sailings on Grandeur of the Seas from Baltimore, M.D., available May through November 2005.

"Bermuda is an ideal cruise destination, offering both history and charm, as well as a variety of experiences to appeal to travelers with different interests," said Dan Hanrahan, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales, for Royal Caribbean International. "We are extremely pleased to offer our guests two convenient departure points as well as two outstanding ships for their Bermuda vacations. Voyager of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas both offer an extensive array of activities and amenities to ensure guests' time onboard is as enjoyable as time spent exploring the island."

The 3,114-guest Voyager of the Seas remains one of the most innovative ships at sea. Introduced in 1999, Voyager was the first cruise ship to feature a rock-climbing wall, an ice skating rink, an in-line skating track and a horizontal atrium -- The Royal Promenade shopping, dining and entertainment boulevard. Guests have six restaurants and more than a dozen lounges and bars to choose from, as well as a state-of-the-art theater and the Las Vegas-style Casino Royale.

Voyager's new five-night Bermuda sailings will begin on May 15, 2005, and will depart every other Sunday from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. The new cruises alternate with a nine-night Caribbean itinerary first introduced in May 2004, which takes guests to Labadee, Hispaniola; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.

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

Grandeur of the Seas' five-night Bermuda cruises will start on May 22, 2005, departing on opposite Sundays from Baltimore. Grandeur's Bermuda sailings will alternate with a new, nine-night Caribbean itinerary, with calls in Key West and Port Canaveral, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; Freeport, Grand Bahama Island; and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island paradise in the Bahamas Berry Island chain.

In Bermuda, both ships will dock overnight in King's Wharf, amid the majesty and history of the Royal Naval Dockyard, giving guests two full days to experience the abundant beauty and charm of the island. High-speed ferries also will be available to take guests to points of interest throughout the country. In addition, through Royal Caribbean's Explorations! shore excursion program, guests will be able to explore the Bermuda Triangle from beneath the waves; kayak the island's sheltered waterways; cast for blue marlin, wahoo and tuna on a deep-sea fishing trip; or stroll back in time in historic St. George's, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All shore excursions can be booked in advance through

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand currently with 19 ships in service and one more under construction. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700.

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Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises Announce 
Environmental Ship of the Year Awards

MIAMI -- July 9, 2004 -- Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises announced their Environmental Ship Of The Year awards, with Radiance of the Seas being honored by Royal Caribbean and Millennium being honored by Celebrity. The annual awards are designed to encourage the two brands' long-standing commitment to environmental innovation and improvement. Competition for the awards assists the cruise lines in progressively advancing their environmental performance in manners that go above and beyond regulatory compliance. Judging for the awards was conducted by the independent external auditing firm of Haley and Aldrich, which audits all 19 Royal Caribbean and 10 Celebrity ships for adherence to their Environmental Compliance Plans. This is the fifth annual presentation of the award to a Royal Caribbean ship and the second annual presentation to a Celebrity ship. 

The announcement was made during a conference call with both fleets, by Jack Williams, President and Chief Operating Officer of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, and Capt. William Wright, Senior Vice President for Safety and Environment. 

"I congratulate the crew members of both Radiance of the Seas and Millennium for their outstanding achievements," Williams said. "I also thank all of our employees on all of our ships for the tremendous job they do to continually improve our environmental performance. They are truly dedicated to environmental excellence."

The selection of the Environmental Ship Of The Year awards was based on seven criteria established by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and their independent external auditors, and covered all of 2003. The criteria evaluated includes audit findings related to environmental performance, timeliness and effectiveness of corrective actions, reports of near incidents and non-conformities, the submission of monthly environmental status reports, and performance of pollution prevention equipment. 

The Radiance of the Seas crew was praised for embarking on an aggressive campaign to dramatically conserve fuel and reduce gray water generation. Both of these initiatives were successful, with the ship realizing a 55 percent reduction in fuel usage and the generation of 30 percent less gray water. Additionally, the ship's crew was credited for its outstanding external and internal audit results regarding the company's Environmental Compliance Plan and its Safety and Quality Management system. Additionally, the ship's crew was recognized for its enthusiasm and dedication to continuous improvement in their environmental program and demonstrating this throughout the year. 

Millennium's management team was praised for aggressively educating all new crew members about their responsibilities for further environmental conservation and the ship's environmental compliance goals. The crew was cited for its hard work put forth in its continuous improvement efforts and in accomplishing its environmental program objectives. The crew also was credited for its outstanding external and internal audit results regarding the company's Environmental Compliance Plan and its Safety and Quality Management system. 

"I appreciate the many efforts our employees make to improve the environmental performance of our ships," Wright said. "Every undertaking, whether large or small, helps us move forward in our process of continuous improvement." 

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, with a combined total of 29 ships in service and one under construction. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. Additional information can be found on and

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New P&O World Cruise Itineraries Debut for 2005
Passengers can choose to go "Around the World in 80 Days" or take the 103-day "Grand Voyage"

SANTA CLARITA, CA, July 9, 2004 -- North American passengers looking for an around-the-world adventure have an opportunity to enjoy P&O Cruises' unique British-style cruise experience with two new two new world cruise itineraries for 2005. Potential world cruisers may choose to travel "Around the World in 80 Days" aboard Oriana, or take a 103-day "Grand Voyage" aboard Aurora. 

Both vessels will sail roundtrip from Southampton, England giving travelers the opportunity to explore exotic ports of call in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North America and South America while crossing six of Earth's eight oceans. Oriana's "Around the World in 80 Days" adventure, encompassing 29 ports in 20 different countries, departs January 7, 2005, returning March 29. Passengers with fewer than 80 vacation days to space can choose from shorter segments ranging from 13 to 61 days. Aurora's "Grand Voyage" will depart January 9, 2005 and return April 22, taking in 40 ports of call in 23 countries. Segments of 13 to 83 days are also available to passengers who want to book a shorter trip. 

"Around the World in 80 Days" 
Following in the footsteps of Jules Verne's Phileas Fogg, the 1,800-passenger Oriana manages to cover the globe in just 80 days. The ship sets a westward course from Southampton to her first port of call Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, continuing to Barbados and Curacao. Oriana will then pass through the Panama Canal reaching Acapulco and San Francisco, before arriving at Honolulu. Next passengers will travel to the South Pacific, stopping at island destinations including; Pago Pago, American Samoa; Nuku 'Alofa, Tonga and Aukland, New Zealand. In Australia, the vessel calls at Sydney, Brisbane and Whitsunday Islands. Following the Australian ports of call, Oriana will take her passengers to Southeast Asia stopping in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Hong Kong; Da Nang, Vietnam; Singapore; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Phuket, Thailand. Next up is Colombo, Sri Lanka; and two ports of call in India--Cochin and Mumbai--before continuing to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Oriana will then sail through the famous Suez Canal, before reaching her next ports of call--Port Said, Egypt; Athens, Barcelona and back to her homeport, Southampton where the voyage ends. 

"The Grand Voyage" 
P&O's 1,870-passenger Aurora offers travelers on an even more extensive journey with the "Grand Voyage." This new itinerary starts by sailing west to Madeira from Southampton and continuing to St. Vincent, Cape Verde. Aurora will then cross the Atlantic making two calls in Brazil--Recife and Rio de Janeiro--before reaching Montevideo in Uruguay. Continuing her voyage along the coast of South America, Oriana will stop at Buenos Aires and Puerto Madryn in Argentina, the Falkland Islands and around Cape Horn to Ushuaia, Argentina. Next, the ship visits three ports of call in Chile--Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt and Santiago--before off across the Pacific to Easter Island. 

In the South Pacific, Aurora passengers will enjoy stopping at Papeete, Bora Bora, Nuku 'Alofa and Auckland. The ship then travels to three ports of call in Australia--Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin--before heading to the port of Singapore. Next up is a call at Nha Trang, Vietnam, followed by Hong Kong and two stops in Japan--Osaka and Tokyo. Aurora will then circle back across the Pacific Ocean stopping along the way at Midway Islands, Honolulu and Hilo, Hawaii followed by San Francisco. Heading south, the ship makes two stops in Mexico--Acapulco and Huatulco--before a transit through the Panama Canal. Aurora then carries passengers on a trans-Atlantic journey to Southampton, stopping at Aruba, Dutch Antilles; Barbados and Ponta Delgada, before returning home. 

Fares booking early for Oriana's "World Cruise" and Aurora's "Grand Voyage" start at $2,350 for 13-day segments. Full world cruise rates begin at $12,200 for Oriana and $15,400 for Aurora. Bookings for these adventures can be made at or through one's local travel agent. Further information and reservations for P&O's 2005 world cruises can be obtained by calling the line's toll free travel agent number at 1-800-340-POSH (7674).

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Fall Foliage Cruises a Popular Vacation Choice

NEW YORK, July 8 -- Cruisers have more opportunities than ever to experience New England and Canada's fall foliage, historic sites and vibrant cultures in 2004, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). "The popularity of close-to-home vacationing coupled with the CLIA cruise lines' expanded roster of Northeastern departure ports make fall foliage cruises an attractive choice for travelers," says Terry L. Dale, president and chief executive officer of CLIA, the non-profit marketing and training association representing the North American cruise industry and nearly 16,000 travel agencies.

A fall cruise along the eastern seaboard enables guests to take in the magnificent colors of Mother Nature's fall finery from the deck of a luxurious ship on cruises of five to 12 nights and ships of every size and style. This fall, ships depart from several East Coast ports, including New York, Boston, Baltimore, Montreal, Quebec City and Bayonne, N.J. Land programs and shore excursions enable travelers to explore historic and cultural attractions along the way. "The cooler fall weather makes autumn an ideal time to relax and explore the wonders of Canada and New England," says Dale.

Following is a sampling of fall foliage cruises offered by the CLIA lines:

  • Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Victory offers four week-long roundtrip "fall foliage" cruises from New York, departing Sept. 11, 18 and 25 and Oct. 2. Ports of call include Boston; Portland, Maine; and Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

  • Celebrity Cruises' Constellation's first Canada/New England cruise departs New York Sept. 20 and Oct. 1 on 11-night roundtrip sailings and Oct. 11 on a 13-night itinerary. Port calls include Newport, R.I.; Bar Harbor, Maine; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Quebec City, Quebec.

  • Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony presents an 11-day "Autumn Spectacular" Wine & Food Festival-themed cruise from New York to Montreal departing Sept. 20.

  • Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 visits New England and Canada on a 12-day "Splendours of the Fall" itinerary that calls at Newport, R.I.; Portland, Maine; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Quebec City; and Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

  • Holland America Line's Rotterdam departs New York Sept. 30 on a 10-day cruise to Montreal, begins its return Oct. 10, then sails for New York Oct. 20 on a 10-day round-trip. Maasdam departs Montreal Sept. 25 and Oct. 9 on seven-day journeys to Boston.

  • Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Crown offers fall foliage itineraries Sept. 13-Oct. 17. The 11-day roundtrip voyages depart Baltimore and travel the Cape Cod Canal before calling at Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; Quebec City, Quebec; and Boston.

  • Princess Cruises' Canada/New England season runs Sept. 11-Oct. 31, with the return of Regal Princess and the debut in the region for Grand Princess. Grand Princess offers seven-day sailings roundtrip from New York. Regal Princess sails 10-day cruises between New York and Montreal.

  • Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Navigator sails four seven-night and two nine-night cruises this September-October between New York and Montreal. The Oct. 1 sailing is a "Spotlight Cruise," with appraisers from the BBC's Antiques Roadshow antiquing with guests.

  • Royal Caribbean International's Canada/New England cruises include Jewel of the Seas' 10-night cruises from Boston; Voyager of the Seas' five-night itineraries roundtrip from Cape Liberty Cruise Port (N.J.); and Grandeur of the Seas' two roundtrip sailings from Baltimore.

  • Seabourn Cruise Line's Seabourn Pride sails a series of one-week cruises between New York and Quebec City. The cruises may be booked back-to-back for two weeks from either New York or Quebec.

  • Silversea Cruises' Silver Whisper sails an eight-day "New England Medley" roundtrip cruise from New York Sept. 30, with calls at Oak Bluffs, Halifax, Saint John, Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport. A nine-day "Autumn in the Maritimes" cruise leaves New York Oct. 8 for Montreal.

For information on cruising, visit CLIA's Web site at and then visit a cruise expert at a CLIA member travel agency. To find a member agency with Accredited Cruise Counsellors (ACCs), Master Cruise Counsellors (MCCs) and Elite Cruise Counsellors (ECCs), agents who have extensive cruise experience and have completed advanced levels of CLIA's intensive training program, click on "Find a Cruise Travel Agent" on CLIA's Web site. 

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New Walking, Hiking & Biking Tours Provide Intimate Portrait of
 New England & Canada Aboard Crystal Cruises 

Luxury Line Adds 18 New Crystal Adventures to Five Cruises This Fall

LOS ANGELES, July 8 -- Kayaking through the Porcupine Islands. Biking the famous carriage trails of Acadia National Park. Walking the historic Freedom Trail and the legendary Brooklyn Bridge. Soaring high above the Bay of Fundy, Cape Split and Peggy's Cove. These are but a few of the active and enriching Crystal Adventures that luxury line Crystal Cruises is offering aboard its five New England & Canada cruises this fall.

In all, 18 new Crystal Adventures, many featuring an active component, have been added to the more than 50 excursions offered on Crystal Symphony's seven- and 11-day cruises to New York, New York; Newport, Rhode Island; Boston and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts; Bar Harbor, Maine; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Quebec City and Montreal, Canada; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Ft. Lauderdale. Three 11-day cruises between New York and Montreal depart on Sept. 20, Oct. 1 and 19. A seven-day cruise round-trip from New York sails on Oct. 12. An 11-day cruise departing from Montreal on Oct. 30 features New England, eastern Canada and the southeastern coast of the U.S., concluding in Fort Lauderdale.

"From walking, hiking and biking, we have a variety of tours for all guests who desire to stay active and more uniquely explore a destination," says John Stoll, Crystal's director of land programs. "Organized tours in port with a guide can be more than sitting on a bus -- an active excursion allows for more intimate involvement with the particular cultures and scenery of each destination."

With a walking tour offered in nearly every port of call, guests are afforded guided up-close and personal explorations, including a:

  • New one-mile journey along the celebrated Cliff Walk of Newport showcasing the magnificent "cottage" estates and a visit to the Vanderbilt mansion at The Breakers;

  • New exploration into Montreal's famed Botanical Gardens;

  • New leisurely, guided stroll through Bar Harbor's Victorian historic town;

  • 250-year walking history lesson through historical Boston;

  • Countryside excursion into Halifax's land of the Evangeline, the inspiration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem; or

  • Journey through three centuries of history amidst Old Quebec's narrow cobblestone streets.

Choice is at the core of all Crystal's programming, both on board and ashore, and the line's team of shore excursion professionals has created a collection of new culinary adventures for the 2004 season as well:

  • Revisit the 19th century with a French-inspired four-course meal with perfectly paired wines at Quebec's best-known landmark, Chateau Frontenac;

  • Enjoy the hospitality and flavors of the Island of Orleans with an exclusive visit to the private estate of Domaine Steinbach, and dine upon delectable mustards, duck pate, onion preserves and cider wine from the family's secret recipes -- from Quebec City; or,

  • Savor an authentic lobster dinner in the quaint fishing village of Halls Harbor in the beautiful Bay of Fundy -- from Halifax.

Depending on the itinerary selected, per person, double occupancy fares begin at $2,495. Pre- and post-cruise hotel stays are available at two of the finest hotels in their respective cities, The St. Regis in New York and The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal. For additional information, contact a travel agent or call 866.446.6625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Athletic Appearance Inks 'Notre Dame Legends' Cruise
 With Carnival Cruise Lines

Cruise Will Let Fighting Irish Alumni and Fans Set Sail With Famous Athletes

SAN DIEGO, July 8 -- Athletic Appearance, a speaker's bureau that specializes in securing professional athletes for a variety of events and occasions, has assembled an exclusive deal with Carnival Cruise Lines that caters to the fiercely loyal fans of the Fighting Irish, according to Andrew Kline, CEO of Athletic Appearance. The Notre Dame Legends Cruise, which sets sail next February from Miami, will give alumni and fans the unprecedented opportunity to spend an entire week at sea with renowned Notre Dame athletes and coaches aboard the Carnival Triumph. Derrick Mayes, Tony Rice, Raghib "Rocket" Ismael, Bob Chmiel (Former Coach), and Bob Golic will be among the many personalities who will rub elbows with their fellow passengers in a series of private events and activities throughout the cruise.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any Notre Dame fan," said Kline, who is also a former NFL center. "Our plan is to make the Legends of Notre Dame Cruise an annual event, and we are in discussions with other organizations to develop similar cruises. For sports fans, there's no better way to spend a vacation than with friends, family and some of your favorite athletes. We see this cruise as the start of a real growth opportunity and we'll continue to work with our athletes and contacts in the business to expand our offering."

According to Kline, when his company first developed the idea of cruising with athletes, they wanted to reach out to an extremely dedicated fan base for the inaugural cruise. Jim Sanson, the company's vice president of athlete marketing and a former Notre Dame kicker (1996-2000), immediately nominated his alma mater. "Notre Dame fans rank near or at the top of the list when it comes to team loyalty," said Sanson. "To spend a week at sea talking about great games of the past with the actual players and making predictions for the next season is a dream come true for many Golden Domers."

The Legends of Notre Dame Cruise will depart Miami on February 26, 2005, and make stops in San Juan, St. Thomas-St. John and St. Maarten before returning on March 5. Cruise fares range from $999 for an inside cabin, $1,119 for ocean view and $1,299 for a balcony. Airfare to Miami is not included. For additional information, please visit or call The Cruise Place at 800-869-8321.

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Seabourn Canada and New England Fall Cruises Not Just for 'Leaf-Peepers'
Everything from Tall-Ship Sailing to Balloon Flights -- Plus 50 Percent Savings

MIAMI, July 7 -- Every autumn, the forests of the Northeast blaze with vivid reds and golds, attracting the visually-oriented visitors that locals have dubbed "leaf-peepers." While the colors are reason enough to plan a fall eastern seaboard cruise, the ultra-luxury Seabourn Pride's series of 7-day cruises between New York and Quebec offer an amazing variety of experiences to satisfy travelers with diverse interests. And the cruises are now being offered at savings of 50 percent off the published fares.

A survey of the optional shore excursions offered in ports of call to guests of the all-suite ship reveals a number of intriguing possibilities that might not spring immediately to mind:

  • Hauling on the bowline as you help hoist the sails of an authentic tall ship in Halifax harbor.

  • Creating a reproduction of an 18th century weapon under the guidance of a master artisan at Louisbourg Fortress near Sydney, Nova Scotia.

  • Helping to launch, and then floating in a hot-air balloon over the picturesque walled city of Quebec and the St. Lawrence River.

  • Riding John D. Rockefeller's scenic gravel roads on Mt. Desert Island, Maine in a horse-drawn carriage.

In addition, all guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary Exclusively Seabourn shoreside experience in one port of call. On Seabourn Pride Canada/New England cruises, these comprise:

  • Experiencing a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a Victorian era regimental soldier in Halifax's hilltop Citadel.

  • Attending an exclusive festival of traditional Scottish Highland Games at Cape Breton Island's Gaelic College.

Dozens of other optional excursions explore all aspects of the region, from art, architecture and culture to history and natural scenic beauty. The cruises also offer bountiful attractive opportunities for shopping ashore.

With savings of up to 50 percent, fares start from $2,998 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean-view suite. One-week voyages northbound from New York to Quebec depart September 19 and October 3. Southbound voyages depart Quebec on September 26 and October 10. The voyages may be combined for a 14-day voyage visiting different ports from either New York or Quebec. For more information, contact a professional travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Third U.S. Flagged and U.S. crewed ship for NCL America, Pride of Hawai`i to launch in summer of 2006

Honolulu, July 6, 2004 – On Independence Day, NCL America announced the addition of a third U.S. Flagged ship to Hawai`i to be delivered in the summer of 2006. The Pride of Hawai`i is the second ship in the original Project America program and the third ship of the brand’s U.S.-Flagged fleet, joining Pride of Aloha and Pride of America.

“This announcement completes our plan of bringing three ships to Hawai`i by 2006 and creating more than 3,000 U.S. seafarer jobs,” said Colin Veitch, NCL America’s president and CEO. “Pride of Aloha is already a clear commercial success and we are keen to get all three ships into service as quickly as possible. We are proud to be the company to revive modern U.S. Flagged passenger shipping and developing a new and exciting cruise destination for consumers and travel agents alike. Consumers will now have the choice to sail inter island Freestyle cruises on three different NCL America ships, all sharing one important element – a U.S. crew hailing mainly from Hawai`i.”

On July 4, Pride of Aloha, the first of the three ships, began sailing her seven-day inter island cruises roundtrip from Honolulu. Two days prior to that, on July 2, the company announced that the second ship, Pride of America, would be delivered on June 6, 2005. Construction work on Pride of America had been set back by an accident in the shipyard in January but has now been recommenced. Details on both Pride of America’s and Pride of Hawai`i's deployments will be announced soon.

Pride of Hawai`i will be the twin sister of the recently announced Bahamas-flagged Norwegian Jewel. She will be a 92,000-ton vessel and the seventh new Freestyle Cruising ship to be added to the NCL fleet in a five-year period. Like Norwegian Jewel, Pride of Hawai`i will feature 10 restaurants, dynamic public rooms, two Garden Villas and 10 courtyard villas with a private courtyard and sundeck. 

Her 10-restaurant lineup will include Cagney’s Steak House, Blue Lagoon and NCL’s signature restaurant, Le Bistro as well as an Asian complex featuring a sushi bar, a teppaynaki table and a Pacific Fusion restaurant. The ship will feature NCL’s new concept--a “Bar Central”-- featuring a martini bar, a champagne and wine bar, and a beer and whisky pub all connected but with three distinct personalities. 

The interior design scheme will highlight many of the key aspects of Hawai`i's history and culture. Pride of Hawai`i will have 1188 staterooms and accommodate just under 2,400 guests (double occupancy). She will also feature NCL’s latest standards in cabins, with rich cherry wood finishing, refrigerators, tea and coffee makers in every room, and a much larger bathroom unit than other competing ships, containing separate WC, shower, and washstand compartments separated by sliding doors in the outside, balcony and suite cabins. 

The ship will also be family friendly with a large number of cabins (including suites and junior-suites) that can interconnect to create a two, three, four or five bedroom area suitable for small or large families and an expansive kids and teen center. Other amenities include a spa and state-of-the-art fitness center, an Internet café and a 1,000-seat theater. For more information on NCL and NCL America, agents in the U.S. and Canada may contact NCL at (800) 327-7030; visit NCL’s website at 

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Pride of America to be Delivered in June 2005

HONOLULU -- NCL America announced today that it had concluded negotiations with Lloyd Werft in Germany, its insurers and banks, and agreed a new delivery date for the Pride of America on June 6, 2005.

“We are pleased and relieved that this long period of uncertainty has now ended and we can plan with confidence for the introduction of our second U.S. flagged vessel in Hawai`i,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL America. “Pride of America will be the first new-built U.S. flagged cruise ship in 50 years and is going to be a fantastic addition to our fleet.”

Pride of America was originally scheduled for delivery at the end of April 2004 but work was halted after an accident in the yard in January during which the ship took on water in a storm and sank up to deck three. The yard subsequently filed for receivership as a result of the accident and has been operating under the protection of a receiver since then. 

Since January, the ship has been raised and salvage work on the damaged areas has been completed. Extensive discussions among NCL, Lloyd Werft, the underwriting syndicate that insured the casualty, NCL’s banks and Lloyd Werft’s banks have resulted in a detailed repair specification and a new work plan for completion of the vessel.

The repairs will be extensive and will be fully covered by the settlement reached with the insurers. The completion works represent a continuation of the contractual arrangements already in place between NCL and Lloyd Werft. NCL will fund the completion works as they are carried out and the total cost of the ship to NCL once delivered will not be materially different than if the January incident had not occurred.

Pride of America’s inaugural deployment and regular seven-day inter-island Hawai`i schedule will be announced next week and go on sale shortly thereafter.

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History Made as NCL America Christened U.S. Flagged, U.S. Crewed Pride of Aloha

HONOLULU -- July 4, 2004 – A milestone in U.S. maritime history was marked as NCL America christened the first modern U.S.-flagged cruise ship in nearly half a century. The inaugural celebration of Pride of Aloha represents a new beginning for the U.S. Flagged cruise industry that has been dormant since 2001. A leader in the Hawai`i community who embodies the islands’ charm, warmth and character, Mrs. Daniel K. Inouye christened the vessel during the ceremony.

“We are proud to celebrate the inauguration and christening of the first modern U.S.-flagged ship in almost 50 years, the spectacular new Pride of Aloha,” said Star Cruises Chairman Tan Sri KT Lim. “With today’s christening of our first U.S.-flagged ship, travelers cruising in Hawai`i will have an unparalleled experience on a ship that celebrates the best of Hawai`i with a crew hailing mostly from the islands offering the famous ‘Aloha Spirit’ onboard.” 

The entirely U.S.-crewed Pride of Aloha will sail seven-day, round-trip Hawai’i itineraries, visiting all four main islands and giving passengers up to 96 hours in port. Ports of call include: Honolulu, O`ahu; an overnight in Nawiliwili, Kaua`i; Hilo, Hawai`i; Kona, Hawai`i; and an overnight in Kahului, Maui.

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Carnival Valor Interior Design Explores Themes of Heroism
Newest Carnival ‘Fun Ship’ To Launch Year-Round Seven-Day Caribbean Service from Miami Dec. 19, 2004

MIAMI (July 6, 2004) — In a convergence of name and theme, Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest ship, Carnival Valor, will feature an interior design that explores the subject of heroes and heroism. When the 110,000-ton “Fun Ship” debuts in Miami this December, it will sport public rooms that celebrate heroes real and imagined, as well as heroic eras and feats from the past. From famous U.S. presidents Washington and Lincoln to legendary aviator Charles Lindberg and Neil Armstrong’s famous walk on the moon, Carnival Valor’s interior design encompasses a broad spectrum of heroism with a special focus on American history. 

“The Valor’s design explores a wide variety of what can be defined as heroic,” said Joe Farcus, Carnival’s ship architect. “There is a certain American feel to the décor overall, and the icons featured within many of the public rooms represent the best of what America is all about.”

Touches of Americana are readily identified in the lobby, promenade and elevator bays. Elevator entrances evoke Colonial America with brass doors with wood inlay, stained-glass lamps and half-pillars on the wall in polished stainless steel. Some of the pillars are adorned with gold-leaf eagles and over the elevator doors is an arch of marble-like bronze molding.

The dome over the lobby features bas-relief panels depicting 10 famous U.S. destinations — including Miami Beach, Chicago, San Francisco, the Grand Canyon, the Sonoran Desert, and New Orleans — illuminated from underneath by red, white and blue lights. On the main wall of the atrium is a mural of these locations painted by Alaskan artist Devita Writer. 

Along the Valor Promenade, there are also numerous arches decorated with famous American heroes. The Americana theme is evident in the Eagles Show Lounge. Inspired by the United States’ national bird, the room features woodwork along walls with images of eagles made of wood marquetry inlaid with four varieties of wood. Vitrines throughout room contain realistic models of life-size eagles in their natural habitat. The ceiling features aluminum cassettes painted to look like wood, with light fixtures of polished stainless steel that have a design of cutouts of an eagle in flight with color-changing lights behind. 

One of the more unusual takes on the Americana theme is the One Small Step Dance Club, which celebrates Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. Around the room are moon craters combining LED lights in them that create a multicolored volcano effect. The walls are black with tiny twinkling lights to resemble a starlit night, while the ceiling features images of all the planets taken from the Hubble telescope. Special lights on the ceiling also produce an effect that appears to be shooting stars. The floor is made of white marble with inlays of white granite, creating an appearance similar to the lunar surface, and also features footprints inspired by man’s first moon walk.

The hero commemorated in the Lindy Hop Piano Bar is Charles Lindberg, the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a solo airplane flight. Lindberg’s flight took him from New York to Paris, so the room features the Empire State Building done in polished stainless steel on one side and the Eiffel Tower done in brass on the other, along with murals of the two cities. The walls are dark with starlights, while the ceiling is a map of the North Atlantic Ocean with lights showing the actual flight path of Lindberg’s plane, Spirit of St. Louis. Models of the famous plane hang over the bar. 

Scarlett’s, Carnival Valor’s reservations-only steakhouse-style supper club, is named for Scarlett O’Hara from the legendary novel and film “Gone with the Wind.” The décor of this stunning room is contemporary, with wood paneling, white columns and pink shutters in the windows. Opposite the dance floor, the walls resemble a colonnade with arches. And between each column is a mural of the classic scene from Gone with the Wind showing Scarlett O’Hara dancing with Rhett Butler. Paintings of various southern plantations decorate walls around the room.

In a tribute to the women who worked in factories during World War II, the casual poolside restaurant is called Rosie’s Restaurant, after “Rosie the Riveter.” A famous 1940s poster illustration of “Rosie” is featured as a big mural done in ceramic tile. Banquette separators are tile and stainless steel. Other tile murals around the room depict women working in various jobs in the style of that era.

Carnival Valor’s formal dining rooms honor two of America’s most-beloved presidents—George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Both restaurants have the same décor with the exception of bas relief images of Washington or Lincoln along the walls. Lighting is provided by dark-wood chandeliers that have a candle-like design. The ceiling’s gold-leaf main dome has larger versions of the chandeliers. The color scheme and atmosphere of both dining rooms has a colonial feel that incorporates the design style of that era in a contemporary way.

The restaurant annexes are named for U.S. Navy officer John Paul Jones and seamstress of the continental flag, Betsy Ross. The style of the rooms is contemporary, with Tiffany-stained glass panels. Paintings on the wall tell Jones’ and Ross’ stories. Walls are paneled in American cherry wood with tiny knots and the ceiling cassettes are red with brass borders.

The Bronx Sports Bar celebrates one of America’s most famous sports teams, the New York Yankees. The décor re-creates fabled Yankee stadium with white arches and grillwork, and red, white and blue bunting often found at baseball games. Each table in the bar has a piece of a number-four uniform, like that of Baseball Hall of Fame member Lou Gehrig, encased in resin on the tabletop. Banquettes resemble baseballs with white leather and red stitches, while bar stools and table bases resemble sawed off baseball bats. The carpet is designed to resemble the green grass of a baseball field. 

The Caboose—a combination video game room/teen club—has a railroad theme that celebrates Casey Jones of American literary lore. The room features cabooses in various colors, crossing gates with flashing red lights and a floor with simulated railroad tracks made of polished stainless steel. Tables and bar stools are old train wheels and a large locomotive model dominates the middle of the bar. Completing the railroad theme is an electric train that continuously runs around the bar encased in a clear plexi-glass tunnel. 

Heroes from other countries throughout the world are represented, as well. The 1,400-seat Ivanhoe Show Lounge recalls the classic tale by Sir Walter Scott, with the walls featuring a figure of a knight in full armor backed by a Medieval-style tapestry, and a faux wood-beamed ceiling with ornate inscriptions. 

Flanking the stage are large castle towers with stained-glass windows and shields bearing coats of arms. The walls beside the towers look like large tapestries, while trim work is done in stainless steel to heighten the knight in shining armor motif. Chandeliers made of wrought iron hang from the beamed ceiling and tabletops are in the shape of shields with coats of arms. 

Winston’s is a cigar bar named after British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Reminiscent of an English gentleman’s club, the room has marble-like columns and faux wood panels around the room, as well as brass tacked padded leather panels on the lower section of walls with wood wainscoating. The artwork reflects Churchill’s maritime interests, with paintings of World War I–era naval ships and a half model of an old battleship behind the bar. Large wood tables and big, comfortable leather sofas and chairs add to the clubby atmosphere.

The Shogun Club casino evokes a distinctive Japanese flavor. Japanese murals and suits of samurai armor give the room the look of a medieval palace in Kyoto. Wood columns throughout the room have large wood-like brackets affixed to the ceiling. Slot machine bases are decorated with emblems that look like Japanese coats of arms.

The Paris Hot Jazz Club pays homage to chanteuse Josephine Baker, the famous singer during the 1920s and ’30s. An expatriate American living in France, Baker, who was black, found fame and fortune in Europe and fought tirelessly against racial bias in the United States. The jazz club has a distinctive French cabaret atmosphere, with walls done in glass tiles that resemble pearls. A statue of Baker dancing in her famous banana costume rests on a base that resembles a giant pearl. Bar stools and table bases look like stacks of pearls, and the floor is done in white granite with inlaid bananas in a contrasting yellow stone.

For guests whose interest in ancient Greece has been rekindled by the hit movie “Troy,” the Iliad Library will transport them back to Homer’s Ilium. The predominance of wood in the room is complemented by murals themed from Greek vases that tell this heroic story, while characters from the Iliad and models of Greek ships are used as artwork throughout the room.

Other public areas include Jeanne’s Wine Bar which recalls Joan of Arc, the Togo Sushi Bar, named after the famous Japanese admiral, and the Java Café that celebrates the simple pleasure of a “good cup of joe.”

Carnival Valor is slated to enter service from Miami Dec. 15, 2004 with a special two-day introductory voyage to Nassau, The Bahamas. The ship is scheduled to begin year-round seven-day service from Miami Dec. 19, operating alternating week-long voyages to the eastern and western Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean cruises call at Nassau, The Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; and St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, while western Caribbean cruises visit Belize City, Belize; Isla Roatan, Honduras; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. 

For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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The Inn at Oak Street Introduces Signature 
Getaway Packages in Jacksonville

RIVERSIDE, JACKSONVILLE, FL. (July 5, 2004) – The Inn at Oak Street introduces newly designed getaway packages to meet every interest. Whether you’re planning a honeymoon, anniversary, romantic escape or a girl’s weekend, the Inn’s staff will arrange every detail to make your getaway carefree and memorable. Visit The Inn at Oak Street website at and click on "Specials and Packages" to view all getaway packages and ideas. A sampling of the Inn’s signature packages:

Romancing the Stone – Unwind with Hot Stone massage in our tranquil spa room, relax and take in the serenity of Memorial Park and the St. John’s River while enjoying a gourmet picnic basket our chef will create for you. Reconnect with your partner over a candle lit dinner with our private chef dining experience you won’t forget. $335

Thelma & Louise Spa Getaway – Bring six of your best girlfriends and be prepared for all the pampering your inner-goddess rightfully deserves! Take over the Inn for 3 days and 2 nights each with your own guestroom. Your weekend includes Swedish massage, spa facials and catered hor d’oeuvres with wine. Relax, reminisce and enjoy a movie of your choice on the 53" TV in the library. Brad Pitt not included! $375 per person includes two night accommodations and all services above.

Private Chef Dining Experience – Enjoy an elegant 4-course candlelit dinner for two created and served by your personal chef in the private dining room. Your table for two is draped in linens and dressed with crystal and china… a very intimate and romantic experience! $125

Cultural Retreat – Begin your day with a trip to the Cummer Museum where you will explore vast art collections and riverfront gardens. For lunch, stroll to Memorial Park and delight in a gourmet picnic basket our chef will create for you. Or journey over to Fort George Island and picnic at your next stop, Kingsley Plantation, to visit the oldest remaining plantation house in Florida. $55

Olde Time Romance – Take a romantic ride through the streets of historic Riverside and Avondale with your very own coachman in a Horse & Buggy drawn carriage. We’ll provide you with a delicious dessert coffee to enjoy in your vintage transportation. $150 and up.

The Inn at Oak Street was recognized in Travel + Leisure magazine as the "Inn of the Month" in the February 2004 issue, calling the Inn "A Jewel in Jacksonville." The Inn at Oak Street is a luxury Bed & Breakfast located in the historic Riverside area of Jacksonville, FL. The Inn offers spacious accommodations in a luxurious upscale atmosphere providing an impressive stay for pre-cruise romance and relaxation.

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Cunard Publishes 2005 Cruise Atlas
Famous Royal sister ships cross the world in high style

MIAMI, July 2, 2004 - Cunard Line has introduced a new catalogue promoting its 2005 itineraries aboard the celebrated new Queen Mary 2 and legendary Queen Elizabeth 2, the most famous ocean liners in the world. The extensive line-up features 64 departures, ranging in length from 3 to 102 days, including 26 transatlantic crossings from April to November. Since 1840, when it launched the very first regularly scheduled passenger service between England and North America, Atlantic crossings have been the cornerstone of Cunard's success. For 2005, the line has doubled the number of transatlantic voyages in response to unprecedented demand generated by the launch of Queen Mary 2. 

Over the years Cunard has defined and continually redefined the ocean liner experience, carrying guests in degrees of comfort and style ranging from pampered elegance to almost unimaginable luxury. Today's Royal sisters Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 are no exception. And what other ships in the world have been named by Queen Elizabeth II, possess sea-keeping abilities that are the envy of the shipping industry and are greeted with fanfare at virtually every port along their route.

Queen Mary 2 - Crossings, Caribbean and more
A series of nine Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, FL, will start the winter schedule for Queen Mary 2 (QM2), followed by four March departures from New York. Her swift service speed enables Cunard to offer a true Caribbean voyage from New York in just eight days.

From April through November 2005, the line's new flagship resumes her role as Cunard's transatlantic carrier just as her forebears, operating regularly scheduled crossings between Southampton, England, and New York. The popular, six-night voyages are priced from $1,499 per person, double, and include shipboard meals, activities, entertainment, and Economy Class air to or from London. 

"More and more people are intrigued by the civility and relaxed pace of a transatlantic crossing," said Deborah L. Natansohn, Cunard Line's senior vice president, sales and marketing, "It is after all one of the great traditions of international travel, a 'must-do' on any serious traveler's wish list."

According to Cunard, the vast publicity surrounding the introduction of QM2 has fuelled a surge in bookings for transatlantic crossings. Research also points to the lasting appeal of the glamour and romance of the golden age of ocean travel. A handful of cruises to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the eastern seaboard of North America are interspersed with the QM2's transatlantic series. QM2 will end 2005 with three sailings to the Caribbean from New York, including Cunard's annual holiday cruise.

Queen Elizabeth 2 - An icon cruises the world
Queen Elizabeth 2, or QE2 as she is best known, will begin 2005 with her annual World Cruise, which Cunard was first to introduce back in 1922. The ship visits 38 ports in 24 nations over 102 days, departing New York on January 3, 2005. A series of black-tie galas, themed balls and specialty parties make it one of the liveliest and longest-running soirees of the social season. Segments of 12 to 26 days let travelers share in all the glamour without taking a sabbatical.

From April through early November, QE2 offers a host of new cruises from Southampton to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Her speed allows QE2 to offer more ports of call in less time than most every other ship. She finishes the year with a circumnavigation of South America and a holiday voyage to the Canary Islands.

Enjoy five-star cruising aboard Cunard's Royal Fleet
QM2 and QE2 are surely two of the grandest and best-known ships afloat today. Their unique ocean liner capabilities allow for smooth worldwide sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, elegant public rooms, generous amenities and luxurious accommodations.

  • Queen Mary 2 is the largest (151,400 tons), longest (1,132 feet), tallest (236 feet), widest (135 feet) and most expensive ($800 million) passenger ship ever built. Among her notable facilities are 10 dining venues, including a Mediterranean specialty restaurant run by star chef Todd English, the world's first planetarium at sea, the only spa at sea operated by Canyon Ranch, the largest ballroom at sea, the largest library at sea, the largest wine collection at sea, and a Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar. On transatlantic crossings guest lecturers are provided by the University of Oxford and performers from London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art complement the entertainment offerings.

  • Queen Elizabeth 2 is a classic liner known intimately by royalty, rock stars and the jet set. Since her launch in 1969, the ship has called at 275 ports, carried some three million guests and sailed over five million nautical miles. She offers award-winning cuisine and service and is resplendent with formal dining rooms, a casual alternative venue, grand bars and lounges, a well-stocked library, fully equipped health spa, casino, modern Internet centre and two swimming pools. Notable guest lecturers from the fields of journalism, literature, academia, the military and the diplomatic corps enrich most voyages; cultural arts and entertainment complement their on-board presentations.

To receive a copy of the new Cunard 2005 brochure, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit the website at

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Princess Offers Unprecedented Mexican Riviera Choices for 2005-06
Three Ships to Offer "South of the Border" Sailings from Three Different Departure Cities

SANTA CLARITA, CA, July 2, 2004 - Princess Cruises will offer a Mexican Riviera escape for nearly every taste in 2005-06, with three different vessels - Sapphire Princess, Dawn Princess and Regal Princess -- offering south of the border sailings from three different port cities -- Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. The most diverse set of choices for Mexican Riviera vacationers yet, Princess' program will feature the new Sapphire Princess with 30 departures on a seven-day itinerary from Los Angeles, Dawn Princess on a significantly expanded lineup of 26 sailings of 10-day cruises from San Francisco, and Regal Princess based in San Diego for six departures on a new 10-day itinerary.

"With three homeports next season, we are clearly offering a new level of choice in 'south of the border' vacations," said Alan Buckelew, president of Princess Cruises. "In fact, since Princess got its start with Mexican Rivera cruising nearly four decades ago, what more fitting way to celebrate our company's 40th anniversary than to introduce the industry's most diverse cruise program there?"

Sapphire Princess from Los Angeles
Sapphire Princess sails on the line's classic seven-day itinerary roundtrip from Los Angeles , featuring calls at Puerto Vallarta , Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, every Saturday between October 1, 2005 and April 22, 2006. The line's newest vessel, the 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess represents the next generation of cruising, with its unique dining arrangement of five main dining rooms - four with themed menus. The vessel also offers Princess' own in-house Lotus Spa program and Princess' trademark balcony staterooms, perfect for enjoying the warm breezes and spectacular sunsets of the Mexican Riviera.

Dawn Princess from San Francisco
Dawn Princess will be based in San Francisco on a 10-day roundtrip itinerary to Catalina, Puerto Vallarta , Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas and San Diego . Following in the wake of Sapphire Princess, which offered only a few departures on this itinerary the season before, Dawn Princess expands this new program with sailings departing between September 21, 2005 and May 9, 2006. The 1,950-passenger Dawn Princess, one of the ships that originally introduced Princess' Personal Choice Cruising concept, will offer San Francisco passengers an array of at-sea options, including two main dining rooms and main entertainment lounges, a dramatic four-story atrium and hundreds of Princess' trademark balcony staterooms.

Regal Princess from San Diego
Regal Princess' new 10-day San Diego program includes calls at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco , Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan . The roundtrip voyages sail between September 26 and November 5, 2005, during which time the 1,590-passenger Regal Princess is sure to be a distinctive sight in San Diego's harbor. A revolutionary ship design when it was launched, Regal Princess' sleek, curved exterior profile was designed to resemble a dolphin moving through the water according to its creator, renowned architect Renzo Piano, best known for his daring design of Paris' Pompidou Center. 

Early booking fares for Princess' Mexican Riviera sailings begin at $599 for seven-night sailings and at $899 for 10-night sailings. All fares are per person based on double occupancy. 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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Norwegian Cruise Line to Expand New York Market With Second Year-Round Ship
Norwegian Spirit to Be Deployed Year Round Featuring 10- and 11-day Itineraries

MIAMI, July 1 -- In January 2003, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced an industry first--the deployment of Norwegian Dawn out of New York year round. Since that announcement, the city has seen a revival of cruising out of the Big Apple and NCL has announced it would further strengthen its commitment to New York and solidify its position as New York's leading cruise line by adding a second year round ship, Norwegian Spirit, for a total of two ships sailing year round and a summer ship, Norwegian Crown, sailing to Bermuda.

"NCL's deployment of Norwegian Dawn year round out of New York has proven to be extremely successful," said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL. "Our travel partners have been clamoring for an expansion of our cruises to the Caribbean out of New York. With Norwegian Spirit taking over Norwegian Dawn's 10- and 11-day Exotic Southern Caribbean itinerary, Norwegian Dawn can now offer another first for the city, winter itineraries out of the Big Apple to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. And with three ships in the summer of 2006 we will be offering a variety of Bermuda, Bahamas and Caribbean cruising all just a short cab ride away for New Yorkers."

After her summer season in Alaska and a month-long dry dock in October 2005, Norwegian Spirit will sail to New York where on November 17, 2005 she will begin a series of 10- and 11-day Exotic Southern Caribbean itineraries taking over the Norwegian Dawn's extremely popular existing winter season. Norwegian Spirit's 10-day itinerary from New York features St. Thomas, USVI; St. John's, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Tortola, BVI. The 11-day features St. Thomas, USVI; St. John's, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. George's, Grenada; Roseau, Dominica; and Tortola, BVI.

Norwegian Dawn will now be deployed on a series of 10- and 11-day itineraries out of New York in the winter to the Eastern and Exotic Western Caribbean and will continue her popular seven-day itinerary to Florida and the Bahamas the rest of the year. Norwegian Dawn's unique 11-day Western Caribbean itinerary from New York features calls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Cozumel, Mexico; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. On Norwegian Dawn's 10-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary, she will call at St. Thomas, USVI; Tortola, BVI; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

Norwegian Crown will sail every Sunday from May 22 through September 18, 2005 out of New York offering her unique three-port seven-day Bermuda itinerary, calling in St. George's, Hamilton, and King's Wharf. On September 18th, she will sail on a special six-day cruise to Bermuda, calling in St. George's and Hamilton, Bermuda to conclude her summer New York deployment.

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SeaDream Yacht Club Modifies 2004-2005 Caribbean Itineraries With Sailings in New Dramatic Region; Adds Mayan Riviera, Yucatan Peninsula & Belize

SeaDream Yacht Club will introduce a series of seven-day, Mexican Yucatan Peninsula and Belize sailings, with three unique itineraries. They are: The Yachtsman’s Mayan Riviera, The Yucatan Explorer and The Mexico-Belize Eco-Adventure. The new sailings are a modification of SeaDream’s 2004-2005 Caribbean itineraries. Instead of having both ultra-luxury, mega yachts, SeaDream I and II, sailing in the Caribbean SeaDream II will reposition to the new region between December 2004 and April 2005. SeaDream I will continue to operate the Caribbean itineraries during that period. 

Commenting on the new sailings Larry Pimentel, CTC, SeaDream’s President and CEO, said “We are always searching for new regions in which to sail and we had received a lot of good comments about this Yucatan area, but frankly, I was skeptical. I knew the area only a big ship destination and we are not a big ship operator but I decided to take a look. While the area obviously had great appeal for our clientele, the problem was how to develop itineraries in the region that provided a true SeaDream experience: small and intimate yachting ports, away from the crowds and large cruise ships, and in a private and sheltered environment. We found what we were looking for in these three new itineraries that obviously have much to offer SeaDream guests.” 

“Along with doing it the unstructured SeaDream way, there are many highly appealing attractions in the area. On the Mayan Riviera there is a well-developed, upscale resort infrastructure, with world-class resort hotels, fine international shopping and Mexican handicrafts, excellent beaches, sun, surf, all kinds of water sports activity including world-class diving and snorkeling. Elsewhere on the Yucatan Peninsula unique cultural experiences are offered; jungle-shrouded Mayan ruins, tropical rain forests, volcanoes, the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. Recently the opportunity to offer these unique itineraries became available when Mexican officials presented us with approval to operate in the area now. We jumped at the chance. SeaDream is ideal for sailing in the area just as it is for sailing in the Caribbean and in the European region. Now our guests will have the best of these opportunities. Our clientele is highly discriminating. This is part of our continuing mission to find new and exciting sailing areas for them,” Pimentel stated. He also pointed out that there was excellent air service to the region with many non-stop flights from U.S. cities as well as globally.

The three new itineraries feature continuing, back-to-back sailing opportunities for those looking for voyages longer than seven days. Special introductory fares for these new seven-day voyages are from $1,999 per person. “These low prices will be withdrawn and increases will take place as bookings progress,” Pimentel said. Prices are based on double occupancy. Air travel and ground transfers to and from the vessel are not included, nor are government and port and other fees. Introductory prices for year-end holiday sailings are from $3,599 per person. pricing. As with all SeaDream sailings meals are included as is wine with lunch and dinner, gratuities and use of water sports equipment. There is an open bar policy on both the yachts. 

Guests booked on SeaDream II’s previously-scheduled sailings in the Caribbean, now being changed to The Yachtsman’s Mayan Riviera, The Yucatan Explorer and the Mexico-Belize Eco-Adventure, are being offered a 25 percent reduction on any published SeaDream sailing for 2004-2005, including the new sailings, or a complete refund.

The three new itineraries are:
The Yachtsman’s Mayan Riviera: Play and relax on tranquil private beaches with emphasis on water sports including extraordinary snorkeling and diving. Ports are Puerto Morelos (for Cancun), Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Laguna Campechen, Puerto Aventuras, Punta Venado, Puerto Morelos. 
The Yucatan Explorer: Explore classic Spanish colonial cities and haciendas, rich natural history and secluded private beaches. Ports are Puerto Morelos, San Felipe, Progresso, Celestun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Punta Venado, Puerto Morelos. 
The Mexico-Belize Eco-Adventure: Adventures on the Mayan Riviera and Belize focusing on eco-tourism in the biosphere and water sports on isolated private beaches. This itinerary includes an optional visit to Tikal, the Mayan ruins in Guatemala. Ports are Puerto Morelos, Puerto Aventuras, Punta Herradura, Belize City, Ambergris Cay, Punta Venado, Puerto Morelos. 

SeaDream said it would announce soon a series of optional Land Adventures which will include visits to the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum, all in Mexico, and Tikal in Guatemala. Other SeaDream Land Adventures will feature snorkeling, diving and deep sea fishing and visits to spectacular nature preserves. Pimentel added: “Our philosophy is to offer discerning and curious travelers a holiday experience far beyond passive sightseeing. Based on my personal experience, the Yucatan delivers this. Our guests are involved whether it is in sporting activities or becoming immersed in the history, culture and natural splendor of the areas in which we sail. The SeaDream Yucatan experience is not a big ship experience,” he said.

Details on these new itineraries may be found on SeaDream’s website

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Sophia Loren Christens MSC Opera
New Flagship Joins MSC Cruises Fleet

GENOA, Italy, July 1 -- With the traditional smashing of a champagne bottle on its bow, MSC Opera has officially joined the fleet of MSC Cruises. International superstar Sophia Loren christened the line's new flagship June 26 in Genoa, Italy. MSC Opera is the sixth cruise ship of the MSC fleet, joining MSC Melody, MSC Monterey, MSC Rhapsody, MSC Lirica and MSC Armonia.

As the ship's godmother, Ms. Loren was escorted to the podium by the ship's captain, Capt. Giuseppe Cocurullo. There, she was joined by Capt. Gianluigi Aponte, chairman and owner of Mediterranean Shipping Company, parent company for MSC Cruises, as she cut the ribbon to officially name the line's new addition. MSC Opera is the second MSC Cruises' ship for which Ms. Loren is serving as godmother; she also is godmother of MSC Lirica, which debuted last year.

"Both Ms. Loren and MSC Opera represent the beauty, elegance and style that is distinctively Italian and distinctively MSC Cruises," said Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA.

The ship departed Genoa the following day on its inaugural season of Mediterranean sailings. On Nov. 15, she begins her inaugural transatlantic crossing, a 17-night voyage to Fort Lauderdale, its North American homeport, from which it will be sailing Caribbean itineraries beginning in December.

"With the early December arrival of MSC Opera in Fort Lauderdale and the return of MSC Lirica a few weeks later, North Americans will have a wonderful opportunity for a premium cruise experience with a true Italian signature," Sasso added.

The 58,600-ton MSC Opera will host as many as 1,756 guests and has two restaurants, a grill and pizzeria, two pools, two hydro-massages, beauty center, Internet café with virtual reality terminals, pub and piano bar, casino and disco, theater and Children's Club. For further information and brochures, call 1-800-666-9333 or visit the company's website at

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Norwegian Jewel to Become Newest Gem in NCL Fleet

MIAMI, FL, June 30, 2004 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced the name of its new ship, Norwegian Jewel, and details of her deployment. The ship will sail in two of the industry’s biggest cruise markets – the Caribbean out of Miami and Alaska out of Seattle. The 92,000-ton Norwegian Jewel will be the company’s fourth purpose-built ship for Freestyle Cruising and will feature 10 restaurants, dynamic public rooms, two Garden Villas and a brand new style of accommodations – the addition of 10 courtyard villas with a private courtyard and sundeck on deck 14. Both courtyard and garden villa guests will have a concierge lounge available to them. Dedicated butlers will offer continental breakfast, refreshments all day and canapés and drinks before dinner. 

“As the next generation of Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Jewel represents the new NCL and the next stage in NCL’s rejuvenation,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL. “NCL will be sailing a fleet of seven new ships in 2005, out of a total fleet of 11 ships, with 70 percent of NCL’s passengers sailing on new state-of-the-art mega ships.” 

Launching in August 2005, Norwegian Jewel will feature all the great attributes of her sisters including their speed, number of restaurants and family-friendly accommodations. She will commence cruising from Miami in the late summer of 2005, offering a season of seven-day Eastern and Exotic Western Caribbean itineraries before heading west to Alaska in the spring of 2006. This Caribbean season will commence following a series of inaugural events and a 14-night Mediterranean cruise primarily for the European market and a transatlantic crossing out of London. Details of Norwegian Jewel’s Caribbean and Alaska itineraries will be announced shortly as well as beginning sale dates and pricing.

A Dazzling Lineup of Dining Options
Like her sisters, Norwegian Jewel will feature 10 restaurants including passenger favorites such as Cagney’s Steak House, Blue Lagoon and NCL’s signature restaurant, Le Bistro. In addition, Norwegian Jewel will also feature:

Tango’s – Tango’s will be a contemporary, brightly colored restaurant to compliment the hot and spicy Latin/Tapas fare. The interior will be decorated with colorful ceramics and mosaics and the carpet will be inspired by the steps of the Tango; 
Chin Chin – The décor of this Asian restaurant is inspired by the traditional female costumes and dances of the Far East. Tibetan flags will flutter along the railing next to the traditionally carved entrance; 
Tsar’s Palace – This main restaurant is inspired by the grandeur of the palaces of St. Petersburg and the era of Russian Tsars. White and gold ceilings, green marbled pillars and 24-carat gold-coated chandeliers will adorn this very detailed room. The balustrades around the restaurant are inspired by Faberge eggs; 
Azura – This main restaurant is inspired by today’s modern boutique hotel designs. The clean-lined, rich timber room will combine blues and purples with orange accents. The signature of this room will be the interpretations of pop art rendered in backlit glass that glow and set the mood for intimate dining; 
Mama’s Italian Kitchen - This dedicated Italian restaurant will resemble a village Trattoria with a long wooden table running through the center of the room to create the feel of a traditional farmhouse kitchen. 

The ship will also include a new concept for NCL – a “Bar Central” featuring a martini bar, a champagne and wine bar, and a beer and whisky pub all connected but with three distinct personalities. Shakers Martini and Cocktail Bar will be a ‘60’s inspired lounge decorated with silhouettes and artwork reflecting the jet set dressed for the cocktail hour. Magnum’s Champagne and Wine Bar, a French art deco inspired bar, will replicate the feel of 1920’s Paris and the grand old cruise liner, the Normandie, while the back bar will have a champagne-like bubbling, backlit water display. The third venue in Bar Central will be Maltings Beer and Whiskey Pub, a contemporary bar with low seating and tables along with mood lighting that compliments the backlit artwork themed around whiskey and beer production. 

In addition to Bar Central, Norwegian Jewel will feature the Sky High Bar, a beer garden designed to resemble a hot air balloon with sandbags, ropes and a rattan front, and “Fyzz” Cabaret Lounge, inspired by all things spherical and out of space, featuring three private Karaoke rooms. 

Gold-Standard Accommodations
Norwegian Jewel will offer an extensive choice of cabins. In fact, while Norwegian Jewel is modeled after Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn, NCL has increased the number of cabins from 1112 on Norwegian Dawn to 1188 on Norwegian Jewel, including the addition of 10 penthouse suites sharing a private courtyard, complete with swimming pool, Jacuzzi and a small gym. These suites also share a private sundeck with large two-person sun beds and hammocks. Positioned high atop the vessel, these suites tout sweeping views of the ocean and an impressive assortment of amenities usually found only at five-star land-based resorts. 

Norwegian Jewel will also feature NCL’s latest standards in cabins, with rich cherry wood finishing, refrigerators, tea and coffee makers in every room, and a much larger bathroom unit than other ships, containing separate WC, shower, and washstand compartments separated by sliding doors in the outside, balcony and suite cabins. 

The ship also offers a large number of cabins (including suites and junior-suites) that can interconnect to create a two, three, four or five bedroom area suitable for small or large families.

Amenities That Sparkle
Norwegian Jewel will feature the latest in relaxation and fitness at the contemporary South Pacific-themed Bora Bora Health Spa and Beauty Salon. Mandara Spa, the world’s leading operator of landside resort spas, will operate the spa, pampering NCL guests with an exotic menu of spa and beauty treatments combining the best of East and West. 

Norwegian Jewel will offer a new, advanced Internet Café and Photo Gallery with kiosks to print photos from digital cameras as well as the latest laptops, which guests can rent to use around the ship. The ship will also feature NCL’s signature WiFi.

The Sports Deck will contain a basketball, volleyball and tennis court, while the Body Waves Fitness Center will boast state-of-the-art cardiovascular workout equipment, each with its own TV, aerobic and yoga area with a sprung wooden floor, steam and sauna rooms, a jet-current exercise pool, an indoor lap pool, whirlpool and hydrotherapy pool. 

The ship will be particularly family-friendly and feature the Splashdown Kid’s Club and Sapphire Kid’s Pool, a brightly colored facility for children designed with a cute and friendly tropical sea creature theme as well as the Underground Teen’s Club.

Like Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Jewel will be one of NCL’s largest ships, accommodating 2,400 guests (double capacity) and more than 1,000 crew. The ship will be fitted with pod drives, which substantially improve maneuverability, and will cruise at a maximum speed of 25 knots.

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NCL Introduces Customer Service Center in Honolulu 
for Hawaii Cruise Passengers
Local expert staff at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa Enhance cruise and Hawai`i experience

Miami – June 30, 2004 - In conjunction with the inaugural voyage of Pride of Aloha, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today announced the official opening of the NCL Customer Service Center at the newly renovated Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa in Honolulu. A full-service concierge service exclusively available for NCL and NCL America guests, the service center provides an array of offerings for NCL’s Hawai`i travelers including pre-cruise check-in, land and shore excursion coordination, advance spa and dining reservations and cabin upgrade requests.

“We want to do everything we can to ensure our guests’ Hawai`i experience is the trip of a lifetime and that they return home with fond memories of their time in paradise,” said Colin Murphy, NCL’s vice president of land & air services. “Our team of local experts will answer questions, recommend activities and restaurants, and share the islands’ renowned ‘Aloha Spirit’ with travelers from the moment they set foot in Hawai`i.”

NCL guests who purchase a land package at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa will be able to check-in at the service center for their cruise up to six days in advance of sailing. The service center will coordinate expedited transit into the terminal upon arrival at the pier and, once passengers pick up their stateroom card keys at a dedicated key pick-up podium, they are able to immediately embark the ship.

For NCL guests who purchase a land package at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa or at another hotel in Honolulu, the customer service center representatives are able to:

  • Accept reservations for the onboard Mandara Spa for anytime during the cruise; 
    Make dinner reservations at any onboard alternative restaurant (night of embarkation only)

  • Accept guest requests for cabin upgrades. These upgrade requests will be given priority consideration

For all NCL Hawai`i cruise travelers, the customer service center representatives are also able to:

  • Arrange a multitude of Honolulu land excursions ranging from the traditional Pearl Harbor and Polynesian Cultural Center tours to parasailing, surfing lessons and helicopter rides

  • Pre-reserve shore excursions for any port on the itinerary

  • Arrange for any onboard amenities

Since the soft opening of the service center, with the arrival of Norwegian Wind in May, NCL has been surveying embarking guests. With regard to travelers’ pre-cruise experiences, surveys revealed an exceptional overall satisfaction rating indicating the delivery of services truly exceeds guests’ expectations. Additionally, customer testimonials have been unwaveringly positive.

For example, recent passengers Jean and David from Tallahassee, Florida wrote, “The staff at the NCL Service Center went above and beyond the call of duty to help us get our trip in order. We have been cruising for more than 30 years, and have never witnessed finer service. The caliber of these individuals is outstanding. It’s folks like these who will keep us coming back to NCL.”

Following the July 4th christening of NCL America’s first US-flagged vessel, the 77,104-ton, 2,002-passenger Pride of Aloha will begin her regular seven-day, inter-island schedule. Her itinerary is unique in that it features two overnight stays in Kaua`i and Maui while also making full day calls in Kona and Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai`i. Offering up to 96 hours in port, the ship will sail year-round each Sunday from Honolulu. 

Guests on either Norwegian Wind or NCL America’s Pride of Aloha are welcome to take advantage of NCL’s Customer Service Center and the expertise of its knowledgeable local representatives. NCL offers pre- and post-cruise land packages at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa and other fine Honolulu hotels for any length of stay. Rates at the Marriott start at $99 per person for a one-night package based on double occupancy. Package rates include room, tax, porterage and one transfer between the hotel and pier.

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Fashion, Photography, Fitness and Food: Theme Cruises Add Enriching Dimension to World Travel Aboard Crystal Cruises in 2005
Luxury Line Features 17 Different Themes on 64 Itineraries

LOS ANGELES, June 30 -- Recognized internationally for its progressive enrichment programming, Crystal Cruises is raising the bar with its expanded collection of 2005 theme cruises. Contemporary lifestyle topics were chosen to complement a particular cruise's destination or its additional days at sea. Think Garden Design sailings through the British Isles; a Fashion & Style sojourn in Italy; a Nature & Wildlife program along the coast of Baja California; a Trans-Atlantic Big Band party; and Photography cruises perfectly framing glaciers in Alaska, penguins in Antarctica, the skyline of Hong Kong, and the majesty of Athens and Rome.

With more than two-thirds of its 95 worldwide itineraries in 2005 featuring dedicated enrichment programming, these new programs join a roster of proven favorites including Crystal's Health & Fitness series; cruises hosted by The Smithsonian Associates and Sotheby's Institute; and the renowned Crystal Wine & Food Festival, which will celebrate its ninth year in 2005. In all, Crystal's fleet of three award-winning ships--Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony, and Crystal Serenity--will offer 64 theme cruises representing 17 different topics to all corners of the globe.

"A theme cruise is differentiated by the enhanced attention we pay to specialized topics above and beyond our normal enrichment and entertainment programming," says Bret Bullock, Crystal's vice president, entertainment. "The uniqueness of Crystal is the range of choice available to all of our guests on every itinerary, regardless of a special theme."

Careful consideration is given to the development and timing of each theme cruise, pairing the enrichment topic to the itinerary to allow for greater immersion and appreciation of the topic. By bridging the onboard lectures and interactive presentations with shore excursions, guests are able to more fully experience the nuances of each destination. Consider, for example, the line's two new Art & Architecture cruises with overnight stays allowing ample time for exploration of some of the world's most prominent architectural capitals including London, St. Petersburg, Venice, Istanbul and Athens. Crystal's theme cruises are a vital component of the Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program of renowned speakers and celebrity guest lecturers offered on every Crystal cruise.

The easy-going rhythms of the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera provide a soothing backdrop for nine Health & Fitness cruises in 2005. Each of these cruises will offer specialized instruction in either yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi and are complemented by Crystal's state-of-the-art spa facilities, wide jogging and walking decks, and healthful menus, including low-carb and low-fat selections.

Destination-specific lectures from the cultural and educational arm of the Smithsonian Institute are featured on eight itineraries dedicated to The Smithsonian Associates, showcasing the Panama Canal, the Far East & Asia, South America, and New England & Canada. Experts from the world-renowned Sotheby's Institute continue the cultural enrichment by illuminating the secrets of art history on seven voyages to the Far East, Russia, and the Mediterranean. On longer itineraries, including two Trans-Pacific cruises and a Panama Canal transit, the line takes advantage of additional sea days to offer its Comprehensive Creative Learning Institute, featuring extensive studies with progressive curriculums in music through Yamaha, language through Berlitz, wellness instruction through The Cleveland Clinic, and other quality alliances.

Golf enthusiasts will revel in the attention from PGA pros and golf celebrities aboard two Golf cruises, affording exclusive opportunities to tee- off at some of the world's legendary courses in the British Isles and Canary Islands.

The diversity of Crystal's theme cruise programming continues with voyages dedicated to the art of music, with Big Band and Jazz cruises featuring marquee names and hot new talent; the art of comedy, with the Crystal Comedy Club at Sea featuring a selection of gifted comedians from some of the nation's top comedy clubs; and the art of film, with a Film Festival spotlighting lectures and film authorities saluting American films.

The cornerstone of Crystal's theme programming, the highly regarded Crystal Wine & Food Festival, will celebrate its ninth year on 14 different sailings in 2005. Some of the most established names in cuisine and wine share the spotlight with the cutting-edge stars of the culinary world, providing guests with an experience that is both enriching to the mind and pleasing to the palate.

Crystal's three sister ships--the 940-guest, 50,000-ton Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony and the 1,080-guest, 68,000-ton Crystal Serenity--are among the most luxurious and contemporary vessels cruising the world. Their unique size in the luxury market allows for smooth sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, generous amenities and elegant accommodations. The Six-Star rated liners feature attentive European-style service, grand lounges, a lavish spa outfitted in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui, extensive exercise facilities, complimentary golf, yoga and Pilates instruction, the only Caesars Palace at Sea Casino afloat, and the innovative Creative Learning Institute. The spacious ships feature expansive decks, two pools, and exquisitely appointed staterooms, more than half of which offer private verandahs.

Crystal's new 2005 Cruise Atlas spotlights the themes in an "explore" section and again notes the specific themes on the individual itinerary pages. For additional information please contact a travel agent or call 866-446-6625, or visit the luxury line'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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