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News from the world of cruising ~
July 16-22, 2001

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Renaissance Cruises One of the Top Three Large Cruise Lines,
 Says Travel + Leisure Magazine 

Receives High Ranking from Readers for Second Consecutive Year  

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, July 17, 2001 – For the second consecutive year, Renaissance Cruises was named one of the top three large cruise lines in the world, according to the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. The complete list of awards will appear in the magazine's August 2001 issue.

The “World’s Best” rankings are determined annually by thousands of Travel + Leisure subscribers who rate cruise lines for food and accommodations, activities and destinations, and value. The survey, developed for the magazine by the research firm of Yankelovich Partners, also asks readers to judge resorts, hotels, spas, airlines, cities, islands, rental-car companies, and tour organizers worldwide.

“This year’s Travel + Leisure rankings confirm that Renaissance Cruises’ unique cruise product is recognized by discerning travelers as one of the best vacation experiences available,” said Manfred Urpsrunger, President & Chief Executive Officer for Renaissance Cruises.  “Renaissance Cruises is honored by the support shown by the readers of Travel + Leisure  and looks forward to achieving even higher rankings in the future by taking an already excellent product to the next level.”

Ursprunger added, “As part of our commitment to continually enhance the cruise experience available to our guests, Renaissance Cruises plans to offer expanded shore excursions, a new VIP lecture series, and upgraded stateroom services and guest amenities. Renaissance Cruises will also continue to upgrade and diversify its onboard dining.”

Travel + Leisure magazine is published monthly and has a circulation of over 1,000,000 subscribers. Its readers are sophisticated, active travelers who look to Travel + Leisure for planning both pleasure and business trips.

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

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

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MIAMI (07/17/01) -- New state-of-the-art infrared listening devices,
which dramatically enhance the audio-receiving capabilities for
hearing-impaired guests, are now available aboard Carnival Cruise Lines' new 88,500-ton Carnival Spirit.

The new system, which is currently available in the ship's main show lounge, Pharaoh's Palace, is comprised of headphones connected to a high-tech audio receiving device that utilizes infrared technology to amplify sounds throughout the theater.  

"Carnival is well-known for its diverse entertainment and activity options and we're very pleased to offer these sophisticated listening devices to allow our hearing-impaired guests an opportunity to fully enjoy our shows and activities," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president. He added that the line is considering installing similar listening devices in the main show lounges on other ships within the Carnival fleet. 

The expansive, three-deck-high Pharaoh's Palace serves as the venue for three different Las Vegas-style revues--"Singing with the Big Band," "Standing Room Only" and "High Spirits"--as well as variety shows, bingo, big band music, game shows and ballroom dancing.  Other events taking place in Pharaoh's Palace include orientation sessions, debarkation briefings and "travel talks" on shore excursions and various ports of call. 

Headphones are available for use throughout the voyage at no charge through the ship's pursers office.  The system also works for guests who prefer to bring their own headphones. 

The 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit will operate seven-day Alaska sailings through Sept. 19 followed by two 12-day Hawaii cruises and a 14-day Panama Canal voyage from San Diego to Miami Oct. 20, which will position the vessel for an eight-day "exotic" Caribbean program from that port beginning Nov. 3. Source: Carnival Cruise Lines

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LOS ANGELES -- This December, Crystal Cruises' Six-Star rated luxury ship, Crystal Symphony, will call in Costa Rica for optimum viewing of the Dec. 14 solar eclipse.  While scientists and astronomy buffs alike will journey to the shores of Costa Rica, an ideal site for viewing the eclipse, Crystal Symphony will lie in a rare perfect alignment with the sun and moon, where guests and crew will experience a dramatic annular or "ring" eclipse of the sun.  To maximize the cosmic experience, the line is expanding programming on its Panama Canal/Caribbean cruise with a visiting astronomer and viewing tools.

The luxury ship will sail a 15-day itinerary from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles on Dec. 6, 2001, and in addition to the call in Costa Rica, she will visit Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and Acapulco, Mexico; Cartagena  Colombia, and transit the Panama Canal. 

An eclipse of the sun occurs when the moon, in its monthly orbit around the Earth, passes in front of the sun and blocks its light from view.  Most frequently this results in a partial solar eclipse, since only part of the sun's disk is eclipsed.  At times-about every 18 months or so (on the average)-the moon passes directly in front of the sun and blocks its light completely.  This is a total solar eclipse, and is one of the most magnificent sights nature has to offer.  On those occasions when the moon lies farther (and/or the sun closer) than normal, the moon appears too small to cover the sun's disk completely-much like a dime trying to hide a quarter.  In these cases, such as on Dec. 14, 2001, observers in direct line with the moon and sun see a ring or "annulus" of sunlight around the silhouetted edge of the moon: an annular solar eclipse.

About two dozen solar eclipses are visible from somewhere on Earth each decade.  The most possible per year is five; the fewest is two. The next solar eclipse (after December) will not occur until June 2002.  As the Dec. 14 solar eclipse occurs before sunset, guests and crew aboard Crystal Symphony will experience dusk twice. In addition, coincidentally one of the best meteor showers of the year will reach its peak the night before the eclipse.  During a typical Geminid meteor shower, a single observer may see as many as 100 bright and multi-colored meteors per hour, some of which are classified as fireballs which leave smoke trails behind them. 

Astronomer Dennis Mammana, from San Diego's renowned Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, will be aboard to guide guests through the eclipse and meteor shower, and lecture on many different aspects of the solar system's phenomena.  At maximum eclipse, Crystal Symphony will provide a prime vantage point for the "ring of fire" only a few degrees above the ocean horizon.  "As the annular phase ends and the eclipsed sun sets, its thin crescent will appear as an eerie reddish-orange Cheshire cat dipping into the ocean," says Mammana. Crystal Cruises will provide eclipse shades, special solar filters, for guests to enjoy the cosmic show safely. 

With Value Collection pricing of up to 50% off, cruise fares start at $3,635 per person, double occupancy. The 50,000-ton, 940-guest Crystal Symphony is one of the most spacious and luxurious vessels cruising the world.  Her 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 liner features grand lounges, a full-service fitness facility, Computer , Caesars Palace at Sea casino, a lavish spa adhering to the principles of Feng Shui, expansive decks, two pools, award-winning cuisine and entertainment, and exquisitely-appointed staterooms, more than half of which offer private verandahs.

Crystal Symphony and her sister ship Crystal Harmony are operated by Crystal Cruises, winners of the travel industry's most distinguished hospitality awards and guidebook ratings, including the just announced sixth consecutive designation as "World's Best Large-Ship Line" in the 2001 readers' survey conducted by Travel + Leisure magazine. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure on cruises through the Panama Canal, Caribbean, or any worldwide destination, call 800.820.6663.  Visit the luxury line's website at SOURCE: Crystal Cruises

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