Make the most of your cruise vacation with
 information from 

Discover the world of cruising

~ Articles & Advice
~ Cruise News
~ Planning Tips
~ Packing & Lists
~ Ports of Call

~ Cruise Reviews

~ HOT Tips Archive
~ About CruiseDiva
~ Cruise Links
~ CruiseDiva Home

Get ready to cruise with Cruise Wear, Accessories, Luggage & More from
The Cruise Shop

 Cruising by the Book ~ Top Picks in 
Cruise Guidebooks

The favorite of serious cruise travelers:

 Cruise Travel
Cruise Travel

Have a question or a review to submit?

Copyright © 1995-2001 
Linda Coffman

News from the world of cruising ~
August 27-31, 2001

Back to Cruise News Weekly Index & Archive

Disney Cruise Line Celebrates Millionth Guest

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla., Aug. 30 -- To bells and whistles and a blizzard of multi-colored confetti and streamers, a stunned Steven Hitzel of Hopewell, N.J., boarded the Disney Wonder cruise ship and was chosen, along with his family (wife Teri, daughter Nicolette, eight-year-old son Steven and four-year-old son Jeremy) to help Disney Cruise Line celebrate having hosted a million guests since its launch just three years ago.

The Hitzel family, who was embarking on their first Disney Cruise Line sailing, crossed the gangway and entered the ship's lobby at 2:02 p.m. Disney Wonder cruise director Rick Spath greeted the Hitzels and presented them with a complimentary upgrade to a suite with a verandah and a family reunion for 20 on board a future four-night Disney Wonder sailing. 

"It's almost as if it's magic," said Hitzel, pulling confetti and streamers from his hair. "I can't believe this is really happening." In true Disney fashion, Captain Mickey Mouse, First Mate Minnie Mouse, Admiral Goofy, Donald Duck and Pluto were on hand to greet the family, along with dozens of Disney Wonder crew members who lined the upper decks of the atrium lobby and joined in the celebration.

"There are a million reasons for me to be proud of how far we've come in just three years," said Disney Cruise Line president Matt Ouimet. "Today is a perfect example of how our cast and crew can create magical moments for our guests that last a lifetime." For the Hitzel family, it was on to their complimentary suite with a verandah and a three-night Bahamian cruise with port calls at Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney's private island. Thursday marked the midway point of their seven-night land/sea vacation that included four nights at the Walt Disney World Resort. 

"I think I'm going to be sick," said an excited four-year-old Jeremy. Since the launch of the Disney Magic in mid-1998 and the Disney Wonder in mid- 1999, Port Canaveral has grown into one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. The 2,400-guest Disney ships were the largest to sail out of the port at that time, and today Port Canaveral--located about an hour east of Orlando and the Walt Disney World Resort--is a leader in the three- and four-night cruise market. 

Disney Cruise Line offers guests an exciting new way to vacation with Disney. In addition to a new alternating seven-night eastern/western Caribbean cruise vacation aboard the Disney Magic, the Disney Wonder offers one-of-a-kind land and sea vacations that combine the fun and excitement of the Walt Disney World Resort with the enchantment of a Disney Cruise Line voyage to the Bahamas. Three- and four-night cruise-only bookings are also available. 

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a Disney Cruise Line vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit or call (888) DCL-2500. SOURCE: Disney Cruise Line

Back to the top of the news list


LOS ANGELES, August 30, 2001 - Crystal Cruises has reserved prime grandstand seating at Rio's Sambodromo to experience an evening of Brazil's annual cultural phenomenon, Carnaval. The optional package is available in conjunction with Crystal Harmony's 17-day South American Sojourn, sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Buenos Aires, Argentina on Jan. 29, 2002. During the cruise, Crystal Harmony docks in Rio for three days.  

On Feb. 11, Crystal's excursion begins in early evening and lasts well past midnight. Accompanied by scores of percussionists, individual samba schools parade thousands of dancers clad in intricate, elaborate costumes to perform numerous inspired versions of the samba. Laser cannons, fireworks, and the latest sound, light and art direction transform the exhibition into a dazzling production show. To further guests' appreciation of the experience, Crystal provides information on the religious, historical and cultural significance of the various samba schools. 

The Rio Carnaval package may be booked prior to sailing. While pricing is not yet finalized at press time, Crystal's Land Programs department is expecting the program to cost approximately $350 per person. In addition to the three-day stay in Rio, the Six-Star rated vessel will visit St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Fortaleza, Brazil, known for pristine beaches; as well as the country's colonial city of Salvador. 

Crystal Cruises is offering two other South America voyages in winter 2002, each traveling a different route. The 14-day Patagonian Passage departs Buenos Aires for Valparaíso on Feb. 25, and calls in Montevideo, Uruguay; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; Port Stanley, Falkland Islands; cruising Cape Horn; Ushuaia, Argentina; and Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt, Chile. During the 13-day Shadow of the Andes cruise from Valparaíso to Acapulco on March 11, Crystal Harmony will sail the west coast of the continent and call in Lima, Peru; Guayaquil, Ecuador; and Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Crystal Cruises offers South American Value and Value Collection fares with up to 49% savings, starting at $2,700 per person, double occupancy for the 13-day voyage. For guests who wish to spend additional time in Buenos Aires, Valparaíso and Santiago, optional pre- and post-cruise hotel stays are available.   

At 50,000 tons carrying 940 guests, the elegant Crystal Harmony is a spacious floating resort. The award-winning ship offers expansive decks, exquisitely-appointed staterooms (more than half with private verandahs), a variety of entertainment lounges for acclaimed, Broadway-style shows, gourmet dining including Japanese and Italian specialty restaurants and "Valentino at Prego" selections from the renowned restaurants (Los Angeles and Las Vegas), a full-service spa, and the only Caesars Palace at Sea casino. 

Crystal Cruises not only earned an unprecedented sixth consecutive designation as "World's Best" large-ship cruise line in the 2001 readers' survey conducted by Travel + Leisure magazine, but also outscored all other cruise lines, large- and small-ship, for the fifth time. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure on South America or any other worldwide destination, call 800.820.6663. Visit Crystal Cruises' web site at

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Celebrity Tours to manage Europe tour operations

MIAMI, August 28, 2001 - Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International today unveiled details about expanded vacation opportunities for guests in 2002, with the introduction of European cruise-tours. Royal Celebrity Tours, through an agreement with Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, will manage the tour operations.

"Following a spectacular inaugural season of cruise-tours in Alaska, we are very pleased to introduce this incredible series of land-tours in Europe," said Royal Celebrity Tours President Craig Milan. "Partnering with a division of the world's top-rated tour operator, Abercrombie and Kent, we believe these cruise-tours represent an extraordinary, seamless European vacation experience."

Royal Celebrity Tours, the land-tour company launched by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in 2000, invites guests to select from a series of captivating three- to six-night land-tours offered in conjunction with European sailings on Celebrity Cruises' Constellation, Mercury and Millennium, and Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, and Rhapsody of the Seas. Both brands' European season runs from April through November 2002.

(Available with Celebrity Cruises' Constellation, Mercury, and Millennium, and Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas)

"Barcelona, Girona and Carcassonne:" This four-night program focuses on northeast Spain and southwest France, with tours of Barcelona, Figueres (including the Salvador Dali Museum), Carcassonne (a medieval walled village) and Girona, with overnight stays in each city.

"Madrid & Barcelona:" Included in this four-night program are tours of Madrid, Toledo and Barcelona, with visits to the Montserrat Monastery and Cathedral, and overnight stays in Madrid and Barcelona. 

"Paris, Provence and Barcelona:" This six-night tour incorporates the high-speed TGV train between Paris and Avignon (Provence) and Barcelona, and includes overnight stays in each city, along with tours of Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Barcelona, and a wine tasting in a provençal winery.

(Available with Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas and Celebrity's Constellation)

"Eternal Rome and the Vatican City:" This three-night tour focuses on the history and religion of Rome, and includes tours of Vatican City and ancient Rome.

"Rome, Florence and Siena:" This four-night program focuses on the history, art and architecture of Rome and the Renaissance, featuring overnight stays in Rome and Florence, and tours of Rome, Siena and Florence.

"Venice & Rome:" Incorporating a train transfer between Rome and Venice, this four-night tour features overnight stays in both cities, as well as tours through Venice, Ancient Rome, and Vatican City.

(Available with Celebrity Cruises' Mercury)

"London & Copenhagen:" With overnight stays in Copenhagen and London, and a flight between the two cities, this four-night program features extensive tours of both spectacular cities.

"Paris & Copenhagen:" This four-night tour includes three nights in Paris and one in Copenhagen, with a flight between the cities and full tours of Paris and Copenhagen.

(Available with Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas)

"London, Stonehenge & Bath:" Focusing on the history of London and the English countryside, this three-night tour includes city tours of London and Bath, including Abbey Church, Royal Crescent, and the ruins of Roman baths, a visit to Stonehenge, and a tour of Windsor Castle.

"London & Paris:" This four-night tour includes two overnight stays in London and Paris, and features a train transfer in the underground Chunnel.

"Ireland: The Emerald Isle:" With overnight stays in Limerick, Killarney,  Blarney, Waterford and Dublin, this six-night program includes a flight from London to Shannon Airport.


All European cruise-tours are operated in partnership with a division of the world's top-rated tour operator, Abercrombie & Kent, are escorted throughout, and include four-star hotel accommodations, pertinent transfers, flights and train tickets, where applicable.

Cruise-tour guests will also have a dedicated concierge service to assist in booking optional tours, offering information on tourist attractions, and booking dinner or theater reservations. Cruise-tours are offered in conjunction with the cruise and are commissionable to travel agents at the cruise booking level.

For information or to book a Europe cruise-tour in conjunction with a Celebrity cruise, call 1-888-307-8401, or visit the Celebrity web site at

For cruise-tours linked with a Royal Caribbean cruise, call 1-888-307-8401, or visit the Royal Caribbean International web site at

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Celebrity Tours. Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have a combined total of 21 ships in service and eight under construction or on firm order. Royal Celebrity Tours operates land-tour vacations in Europe, the Canadian Rockies and Alaska, utilizing the world's largest glass-domed train cars. SOURCE: Royal Caribbean International/Celebrity Cruises

Back to the top of the news list


Star Cruises Group, including NCL ("the Group") recorded a net income of  US$4.8 million on revenue of US$327.2 million for its second quarter ended June 30, 2001, compared to net income of US$2.5 million on revenue of US$361.8 million for the same quarter in 2000.

Net income for the six months ended June 30, 2001 was US$9.2 million on revenue of US$662.6 million, compared to a net income of US$3.7 million on revenue of US$552.5 million for the same period in 2000. The results for the first half of 2001 are not comparable to last year as the acquisition of the majority interest in NCL occurred only in February 2000. On a proforma basis, including January and February 2000 on a like for like comparison, the Group recorded a net income of US$9.2 million on revenue of US$662.6 million, compared to a proforma net income of US$6.7 million on revenue of US$696.7 million in the same period in 2000.

Year on year revenue for the Group for the second quarter ended June 30, 2001 decreased 9.6% from US$361.8 million to US$327.2 million as a result of a decrease of 5.3% in capacity days and a 4.5% decrease in yields, defined as net revenue per capacity day. Revenue for Star Cruises Asia Pacific operations decreased 5.9% due to a decrease of 5.8% in capacity days while yield was maintained at the same level. The decrease in capacity days in the Star Cruises Asia Pacific operations was due to the disposal of m.v. Star Aquarius, m.v. MegaStar Capricorn and m.v. MegaStar Sagittarius, partially offset by the introduction of m.v. Norwegian Star 1 into the Star  fleet in November 2000. Revenue for NCL decreased 10.7% quarter on quarter due to a 4.9% decrease in capacity days and a decrease of 9.9% in yields. (The year on year comparison includes Norwegian Capricorn Line in 2000.) The decrease in capacity days in the NCL's fleet was mainly due to a more extensive dry dock schedule than in 2000 plus cancellation of a 7 day Caribbean cruise on s/s Norway and the transfer of m.v. Norwegian Star 1 into the Star Cruises Asia Pacific operations.

Total costs and expenses, excluding non-operating expenses for the quarter decreased 3.7% from US$309.1 million to US$297.8 million. However on a per capacity day basis, total costs and expenses increased 1.7% compared with the same quarter last year as the Group continued its program to improve on service quality and safety levels for its fleet.

Operating income for the quarter decreased 44% from US$52.7 million to US$29.4 million. The main contributor to the reduced operating income for this quarter was due to price deterioration in the North American market.

Non-operating expenses decreased 50.9% from US$50.1 million to US$24.6 million as a result of lower interest expenses, higher interest income and gains on foreign exchange contracts for the period.

Star Cruises is the fourth largest cruise line in the world operating a combined fleet of 17 ships with over 20,000 lower berths, with cruises to destinations and islands in Asia-Pacific, North and South America, Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Mediterranean, Bermuda and Antarctica. By end 2002, with the three ships currently on order, Star Cruises with NCL will have about 28,000 lower berths. Star Cruises is represented in more than 20 locations worldwide with offices in Australia, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

For more information on Star Cruises and NCL, please contact your
travel professional.

Back to the top of the news list