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News from the world of cruise travel
August 16-31, 2004

Return to's Cruise News Weekly Index & Archive features thoughts & insights on things seen & heard around the internet & the cruise industry.

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected--updated monthly

Special Early Booking Discounts Available on 
Carnival's 2004 Holiday Cruises
Rates Starting at $85 Per Person Per Day

MIAMI, Aug. 31 -- Now is the time to start thinking about holiday vacation plans. And Carnival's 2004 Christmas/New Year's cruises not only provide a memorable and relaxing venue for spending the holidays but are also more affordable than ever with prices starting at just $85 per person per day. During these special holiday cruises, Carnival's "Fun Ships" feature traditional food, music, decorations, entertainment and activities, including, of course, a visit from Santa, creating lasting vacation memories for adults and kids alike.

"The Christmas/New Year's period can be quite stressful and Carnival's specially priced holiday sailings offer a welcome respite. It's an unforgettable environment for relaxing and reconnecting with loved ones during this special time," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. "Experienced cruisers know that holiday sailings fill quickly so early booking is recommended," he added.

Holiday bargains aboard the "Fun Ships" include:

  • $599 per person for a seven-day southern Caribbean cruise on the 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny departing San Juan Dec. 19

  • $349 per person for a three-day Bahamas cruise aboard the 2,052-passenger Fascination departing Miami Dec. 24

  • $429 per person for a four-day western Caribbean cruise aboard the 2,052-passenger Sensation departing from New Orleans Dec. 23

  • $449 for a four-day western Caribbean voyage on the 2,052-pasenger Ecstasy departing Galveston, Texas, Dec. 23, or on the 1,452-passenger Holiday departing Mobile, Ala., Dec. 30

  • $849 for a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise on the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride departing Long Beach, Calif., Dec. 19

  • $899 for an eight-day Mexican Rivera voyage on the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit departing San Diego Dec. 19

During the holidays, Carnival's "Fun Ships" are adorned with wreaths, lights, mistletoe, Christmas trees and other traditional decorations, setting the perfect mood. Seasonal music is available in guests' cabins and featured in various entertainment venues throughout the fleet. Hanukkah is also celebrated with the lighting of a menorah on board. Highlighting each cruise is a lavish holiday revue with elaborate sets that create a "home away from home" atmosphere, including a faux oversized fireplace, large sofas and a Christmas tree, with decorations provided by children from "Camp Carnival."

The kids also get into the act, performing a dance routine with the ships' entertainers, and Santa makes an appearance to distribute toys to the youngsters on board. The show closes with a parade of crew members representing different nationalities on board and the singing of "Silent Night" by guests and crew. Other featured events include readings of popular holiday stories such as "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by the ship's staff.

In addition to stunning decorations and fun-filled activities, Carnival's holiday sailings feature a special dinner menu on Christmas Day with Roast Tom Turkey and pecan pie. Complimentary champagne is served on embarkation and eggnog is available throughout the day on Lido deck.

Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation, is currently accepting reservations on all of its 2004 holiday voyages, which include three- to eight-day departures to The Bahamas, Caribbean, and the Mexican Riviera from homeports throughout North America. Prices reflect category 1A (interior) accommodations, are based on double occupancy, and subject to change without notice. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom are also available. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit

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Holland America Line Announces 2005 Alaska Cruises
134 Cruises on Seven 5-Star Ships Feature Glaciers, Wildlife, and Native Culture

SEATTLE, Aug. 30 - Holland America Line, the leader in Alaska cruises and CruiseTours, will sail seven ships on 134 cruises in 2005, offering the widest selection of Alaska cruise itineraries and departures in the industry. The company's five-star ships offer unmatched spaciousness, carry fewer passengers than any other major cruise line and offer the most entries into Glacier Bay National Park. Guests will experience the most popular Alaskan ports of call, most extensive shore excursion programs, exclusive enrichment programs and brand-new Signature of Excellence amenities.

"We're proud to be returning for our 57th year of premium cruising in Alaska," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "And the shipboard experience will be better than ever. We offer attention to detail in everything from the caliber of our shore excursions to the traditional split pea soup that we serve on deck during our Alaska cruises. The quality of our cruises is what distinguishes us from the competition."

The Three Kinds of Alaska Cruises
Beginning in May, Glacier Bay Inside Passage cruises will depart on round- trip, 7-day voyages from Vancouver aboard Holland America Line's "twins," the 1,440-passenger ms Zaandam (departing every Saturday) and sister ship, ms Volendam (departing Wednesdays). The voyages will take in the placid, scenic waters of Canada's Inside Passage and tour Tracy Arm before calling at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. Each cruise features a day of cruising Glacier Bay National Park, including the stark vistas of the Johns Hopkins Glacier and the stunning, bright white and blue Margerie Glacier in Tarr Inlet.

Three ships will sail the waters between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska throughout the summer. One-way Glacier Bay Discovery Cruises of seven days depart on alternating Sundays aboard ms Ryndam and ms Veendam and feature both Glacier Bay National Park and the sixteen glaciers of secluded College Fjord. The ms Statendam, embarking on Fridays, visits inspiring Hubbard Glacier. Each ship carries only 1,258 passengers, half the number of guests of other cruise lines on similar itineraries.

The 1,848-passenger ms Oosterdam and the 1,380-passenger ms Amsterdam cruise roundtrip from Seattle on Alaskan Explorer voyages. Together, they will make 37 seven-day journeys between May and mid-September. Port calls include Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria. The Oosterdam sails Saturdays and visits Hubbard Glacier. Holland America's flagship, ms Amsterdam, will sail Sundays from Seattle, visiting Glacier Bay National Park.

Exciting Ports of Call and Unique Enrichment Programs
Holland America Line believes travel means doing, not just seeing. To provide quintessential Alaska experiences to its guests, the company offers a wide array of optional excursions. These activities highlight ports of call in Southeast Alaska -- Juneau, Sitka, Skagway and Ketchikan -- and Victoria in British Columbia, depending on the ship and itinerary. Each port showcases its own unique flavor through a variety of organized optional tours. Adventurous travelers can hike, bike, kayak, climb glaciers, ride horses, and try dogsledding. Flightseeing via helicopter or fixed wing aircraft offers the ultimate adventure.

Aboard every Alaska cruise, a full-time naturalist is on board to discuss and point out wildlife and key natural features. A native artisan, affiliated with the Alaska Native Heritage Center, is aboard to demonstrate traditional crafts. In Glacier Bay, only Holland America Line spotlights the interpretation of a Huna Totem tribal member as well as the more usual Park Service Ranger programs for adults and Junior Ranger program for children and teens.

2005 Alaska Cruises Brochures Are Now Available
For a copy of the new 2005 Alaska Cruises brochure, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit online at

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New Self-Service Digital Photo Printing Kiosks Introduced Aboard Carnival Cruise Ships
New Technology Part of Line’s Fleetwide Multi-Million-Dollar Digital Photo Upgrade

MIAMI (August 30, 2004) – Carnival Cruise Lines has introduced new self-service digital photo printing kiosks providing a convenient and cost-effective way for guests to download and print their digital vacation photos while sailing aboard the “Fun Ships.” The new system, adapted for the shipboard environment by San Marcos, Texas-based Pixel Magic, a leader in digital photo technology, is currently on several ships and expected to be expanded fleetwide by the end of the year. 

Pixel Magic’s iStation 150 photo printing kiosks are located near the ships’ photo galleries. To print their photos, guests simply insert the memory card from their digital camera into a card reader located within the stand-alone printing kiosk. After selecting photo size and quantity, the images are then printed in a matter of seconds on high quality digital photo paper using Pixel Magic’s latest MegaPixel III printers. Guests can also customize their photos with colorful borders, backgrounds and other features. To pay for the photos, guests simply swipe their “Sail & Sign” shipboard credit card and the amount is charged to their account. 

“With the growing popularity of digital cameras, we wanted to provide a fast, competitively priced means for guests to download and print their cherished memories from their ‘Fun Ship’ cruise vacation. The new Pixel Magic system offers all this and more, while providing a value-added service to our guests, who enjoy the most convenient and sophisticated photo services at sea,” said Bob Woodry, Carnival’s vice president of photo and communication services. 

The new Pixel Magic self-service photo printing kiosks are the most recent additions to Carnival’s multi-million-dollar fleetwide digital photo conversion. The upgrade includes state-of-the-art professional Olympus E-1 digital cameras – the first such cameras ever employed on cruise ships – and the full line of Olympus retail cameras, as well as the cruise industry’s fastest digital photo labs developed in tandem by Carnival and KonicaMinolta.

Also new is a photo-retrieval kiosk currently being beta-tested on the Carnival Pride’s seven-day cruises from Long Beach, Calif. The new system, the first of its kind in the cruise industry, utilizes ImageWare Systems, Inc.’s innovative “facial recognition technology.” Developed in conjunction with Carnival, the technology matches a guest’s likeness with stored “Fun Ship” vacation photos shot by the ship’s photographers and displays the images on the computer screen for review and purchase. Carnival has also expanded the photo accessories sold on board its ships to include ScanDisk digital memory cards.

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Baseball Cruisin' With the Greats of the Game on MSC Opera
Baseball Cruise Added to Lineup of Theme Cruises 

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 30 - MSC Cruises is hitting a home run with fans who dread "baseball withdrawal" after the last out of the World Series. The cruise line has added a winter Baseball Theme Cruise featuring a lineup of baseball greats to its roster of cruises sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. The Dec. 11 sailing of the new MSC Opera will feature some of the sport's all-time greats, including Hall-of-Famers Bob Feller and Earl Weaver. Also on the roster of baseball heroes sailing with MSC Cruises are Vida Blue, Tommy Davis, Bert Campaneris, Graig Nettles, Darrell Evans, Stan Bahnsen and Dave Campbell.

The baseball greats will share memories of their playing days as the ship sails a seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary that calls at Key West, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Roatan Island. While on board, guests can test their baseball knowledge in a player-hosted trivia game, participate in question-and-answer sessions and obtain player autographs. Players will also host pitching, hitting and defensive strategy clinics. Guests can take a "seventh-inning stretch" from talking baseball to explore Cozumel's Mayan ruins, snorkel in the Grand Cayman's turquoise waters of coral and tropical fish and swim with dolphins off Roatan Island in Honduras.

There will also be time to enjoy the elegance, Italian cuisine, ambiance, and exceptional service of the new MSC Opera in its inaugural Caribbean season of presenting "Premium Class With a True Italian Signature."

Along with the Baseball Greats Cruise, MSC Opera will offer several other theme cruises during its inaugural season:

* Dec. 4, 2004 seven-night Eastern Caribbean: Comedy Cruise
* Dec. 18, 2004 10-night Panama Canal Cruise: Holiday Cruise
* Dec. 28, 2004 11-night Deep Caribbean Cruise: Classic Rock & Comedy New Year Blast
* March 19, 2005 seven-night Western Caribbean: Classical Music Cruise

MSC Lirica will also be hosting a series of theme cruises on its 11-night Deep Caribbean and 11-nigh Panama Canal sailings:

* Jan. 13 and 24, March 31 and April 11, 2005: Big Band
* Feb. 4 and 15, 2005: Good Time Oldies '50s & '60s Festival
* Feb. 26, 2005: Classic Country - Branson Country Festival
* March 9 and 20, 2005: Jazz Festival

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

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Viking River Cruises Announces 2005 Europe and China Schedule
2005 Season Includes 2 New Ships, 6 New Itineraries, and $700 Savings 

LOS ANGELES, Aug 30 - Viking River Cruises, the world's #1 river cruise line, today released its 2005 sailing schedule featuring six new itineraries and two new ships.

"There's a lot to be excited about," said Jeff Dash, President, Viking River Cruises. "We're responding to increased demand from the American market with new ships in Europe and China, and we've designed new itineraries to offer our passengers unparalleled cultural opportunities."

Early Booking Discount Allows Travelers to Save Big on 2005 Vacations
The cruise line also announced its two-tiered Early Booking Discount. Passengers who book their 2005 cruise by October 29, 2004 will save $350 per person ($700 off per cabin maximum); passengers booked prior to December 30, 2004 will save $250 per person ($500 per cabin). To book, passengers should request offer "02River" and clients should pay in full at time of booking to get maximum savings.

Enhanced European Vacations Give Passengers More In-Depth Experiences
Reacting to customer feedback and suggestions, Viking River Cruises expanded its already popular Europe itineraries by adding the following programs in 2005:

* Heart of Germany: A new late-season roundtrip Frankfurt itinerary which allows passengers to explore traditional Christmas Markets along the Rhine River. The 7-night trip includes Heidelberg, Mainz, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Cologne and Eltville.

* Treasures of the Rhine: This popular Antwerp-Basel itinerary has been expanded to 12 nights to include additional time in Amsterdam and Germany's breathtaking Black Forest region. Passengers sail on the 198-passenger Viking Sun, a new-build for 2005

* Viking Seine, a ship previously deployed by the company's European office, will carry American passengers on the 7-night Paris & the Heart of Normandy cruise.

* Exclusive extension: Passengers on either Burgundy & Provence or Paris & the Heart  of Normandy itineraries have a unique opportunity to extend their vacation with a 3-night stay at the 17th century Chateau du Fey that includes private wine tastings, cheese sampling with a master cheesemaker, and a private cooking class with chateau owner and world-renowned chef Anne Willan. The chateau only offers 8 rooms, making the experience ultra-private.

Five New Yangtze River Trips Offer Passengers Wider Range of Choice
Following the success of its inaugural season, Viking River Cruises offers five new China itineraries for 2005, each including a Yangtze River cruise and land tours:

* Imperial Jewels of China (9 or 10 nights): 3 nights in Beijing, 1 night in Xian, 3-/4-night Yangtze cruise from Chongqing to Three Gorges Dam and 1 night in Shanghai

* Imperial Jewels & Shopper's Paradise (13 or 14 nights): All stops on Imperial Jewels, plus 1 night in Guilin and 3 nights in Hong Kong

* China's Cultural Delights (14 nights): 3 nights in Beijing, 1 night in Xian and a 9-night Yangtze cruise from Chongqing to Shanghai

* China's Cultural Delights & Shopper's Paradise (18 nights): Same itinerary as China's Cultural Delights, with an additional night in Guilin and 3 nights in Hong Kong

* Roof of the World (13 nights): 3 nights in Beijing, 1 night each in Xian and Chengdu, 3 nights in Lhasa (Tibet); a 3-night Yangtze cruise from Chongqing to the Three Gorges Dam and 2 nights in Shanghai

New-build Viking Century Sky sails the Roof of the World and both Cultural Delights itineraries.

2005 Brochures for Europe and China Available Now
Dates and prices for all itineraries are available online at Further details about Viking Sun and the new Heart of Germany itinerary, as well as information about classic Viking River Cruises Europe and Russia itineraries are featured in the new 2005 European River Cruise Journeys brochure, available now. Details about Viking Century Sky and all five Yangtze River itineraries are featured in the 2005 China Expeditions brochure.

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MS Europa Sails on Gala Bilingual Fifth Birthday Cruise

HAMBURG, Germany, Aug. 27 -- The MS Europa, the only ship in the world with the "5-Stars-Plus" designation by Berlitz Publishing's Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2004 for four consecutive years, celebrates its fifth birthday with a gala cruise from Hamburg to Montreal September 14 - October 3, 2004. The gala cruise will reveal a refurbished Europa that includes a new bar, a three-level fitness area and an expanded children's playroom. A Gourmet Festival features special guest Michelin Three-Star Chef Jean- Claude Bourgueil, and wine expert Rene Lambert.

On September 15, 1999, the prize of the Hapag-Lloyd fleet was baptized "Europa" in a ceremony in Hamburg. Five years later, this 408-passenger cruise ship has won many hearts with its extraordinary itineraries, and memorable experiences in food, wine, art, enrichment lectures, golf, and music.

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Discovery Again Offers Free Cruises To Florida Military Personnel Serving In Iraq & Afghanistan

MIAMI, Aug. 27 -- Discovery Cruise Line, for the second consecutive year, announced a special program for residents of Florida serving in the military overseas. To thank them for their service, Discovery is offering those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan at any time during 2004, a free cruise to Grand Bahama Island. Hanns J. Hahn, General Manager of Discovery, said "We launched this program last year, and it was extremely popular. Mailing the holiday cards made our team feel good."

The offer, which is valid until December 31, 2006, is for a free roundtrip cruise to Grand Bahama, including the cost of all meals on board, all service charges, taxes, and Bahamian departure fees. There are no additional costs involved. To register a family member or a friend of a loved one for the free cruise, simply register that person's name online, and Discovery will mail a receipt and a holiday card for them to pass on to the serviceman or woman. The receipt will entitle the person to his or her complimentary Discovery cruise. The receipt should be presented at the pier at the time of sailing, together with a Military ID and a letter from their unit confirming the places of service during 2004. Advanced reservations are required.

Discovery sails daily from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island, departing at 7:45 a.m. and arriving back at the pier at 10 p.m. Each year Discovery carries over 200,000 passengers between the two destinations. The cruise features all the amenities of a longer cruise in one fun-filled day, including three lavish buffet meals on board, exciting casino action, live entertainment, outdoor games and activities, contests, spacious sun decks, a swimming pool, duty-free shopping, and more. For more information about this offer please e-mail , and for reservations call 1-800-93-SHIPS or visit Discovery's web site at

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Drive-to Departure Port Cruises Combine Savings and Convenience

NORWALK, Conn., Aug. 25 -- It's never been easier, cheaper or more convenient to "drive-to" your departure port, a trend that continues to grow as it reshapes the cruise industry.

"Since 2001, cruise lines have added more than 400 North American departures along both coasts and the Gulf to their annual schedules," said Travelers Advantage Vice President Julia Ryan. "Cruise lines are finding new ports to sail from, putting more ships in service and creating exciting itineraries to attract 'drive-to' travelers. Now you can often drive to your departure port. That means you don't need to fly in a day before your sail, it is easier to get a large group to the ship and the start of your cruise can be less stressful." 

Here are Travelers Advantage's 5 advantages of drive-to cruising:

  • Affordability. Many cruisers are saving money by driving to their departure port rather than flying. Families, groups and last-minute travelers in particular are enjoying large savings. Some cruisers are pocketing the extra cash, while others are upgrading their staterooms, enjoying longer cruises and adding pre- and post-cruise accommodations to their trip.
  • Last-minute leeway. Cruisers with a little flexibility are snatching up amazing last-minute cruise bargains without the cost of last-minute airfare.
  • No air hassle. Flying in the 21st century can have its share of potential hurdles and hold-ups that can wreak havoc on a cruise vacation. Bypassing airport headaches such as long security lines, lost luggage, cancellations and delays is a plus.
  • Flexible schedule. It's easy for cruisers to manage their travel schedules when they drive. Have plenty of time? Add a few extra nights and tour your departure city. Need a quick get-away? Travel on your schedule, not the airlines.
  • Convenience. This year will see cruise ships depart from more than 30 different North American ports. In addition, cruise lines continue to launch new ships, allowing them to strategically place their ships within drive-to distance of millions of cruisers. Twelve ships will enter service in 2004; three are planned for 2005; and five for 2006.

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Holland America Line Names Master Chef Rudi Sodamin
 Culinary Consultant

SEATTLE, Aug. 25 -- Holland America Line today announced a partnership with well-known Master Chef Rudi Sodamin to serve as culinary consultant for the company's fleet of five-star ships. Sodamin will be a driving force behind the enhancement of Holland America's already superb dining experience and will spearhead the creation and development of a new line of signature menu items as part of the company's unprecedented $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative.

"Chef Sodamin has a long history in the cruise industry and is highly respected as a culinary innovator and leader," said Stein Kruse, president and chief operating officer of Holland America Line. "We are excited to have a person of Rudi's caliber assisting us in further developing and enhancing our dining experience," continued Kruse. "Rudi's passion, expertise and knowledge of both cuisine and the cruise industry will be tremendous assets to Holland America Line."

Through his consulting company, Food Sensation Enterprises, Chef Sodamin will work with Holland America Line's newly created culinary department, headed by Steve Kirsch, director of culinary operations, to help solidify and elevate its renowned dining at sea. Chef Sodamin brings more than 25 years of experience to this role, including an extensive background in the cruise and hospitality industries. In 2002 Chef Sodamin founded Food Sensation Enterprises which offers full-service, end-to-end creativity, logistics, leadership and training for food industry businesses. Prior to founding Food Sensation Enterprises, Sodamin spearheaded and tested the first line of proprietary branded food products and menus for a cruise line, in the cruise industry's first test kitchen.

At the age of 23, Chef Sodamin was appointed as Chef de Cuisine on the Norwegian America Cruise Line's luxury liner Vistafjord, becoming the youngest chef in the cruise industry to attain that level of responsibility. He also spent 12 years at Cunard Line as vice president of food and beverage, as well as serving as that company's corporate executive chef. Over his career Sodamin has published eight cookbooks internationally and with international affiliations such as Academy Culinair de France, Master Chef Society and Club de Chefs des Chefs, Sodamin is widely regarded as the leading chef on the seven seas.

About Holland America Line
As a part of its Tradition of Excellence, Holland America Line is investing $225 million in the Signature of Excellence initiative providing unparalleled product and service enhancements to its fleet. The comprehensive enhancements focus on five areas vital to Holland America's guest experience: spacious, elegant ships and accommodations; sophisticated five-star dining; gracious, unobtrusive service; extensive enrichment programs and activities; and compelling worldwide itineraries. Enhancements have been started on all ships and will be completed by the end of 2006. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Jewel of the Seas Receives Stockholm Environmental Certificate

Stockholm, SWEDEN (Aug. 25, 2004) -- The Ports of Stockholm awarded Royal Caribbean International's Jewel of the Seas the Environmental Life-Buoy Certificate at a ceremony today in Stockholm during the ship's final call of the 2004 season. The cruise line was acknowledged for its maritime environmental initiatives, and the Jewel of the Seas was recognized as the first international cruise vessel calling at the port to use low-sulphur-content fuel, which reduces atmospheric emissions. The Jewel of the Seas is the first international cruise vessel to receive the Sjöfartsverket's (the Swedish Maritime Administration) certificate, which qualifies the ship for reduced harbour fees when it calls at Stockholm.

Since the mid-1980s, Ports of Stockholm has implemented measures aimed at reducing emissions of sulphur and nitrogen oxide, and improving vessel waste handling. However, international cruise traffic has lagged behind regular ferry and cruise traffic in implementing measures to reduce atmospheric emissions.

"It is a small but promising indication that Ports of Stockholm's long-term environmental work is now also beginning to show results in international cruise traffic," said Malte Sigemalm, board chairman of Ports of Stockholm. "We hope that this signals the beginning of a new trend."

As many as 93 percent of all calls to Stockholm by regular ferry and cruise traffic are made by vessels that satisfy one or more of Ports of Stockholm's conditions for reduced emissions. "We implement differentiated harbour dues as a financial incentive to support and encourage shipping companies to take action to reduce their impact on the environment," said Gun Rudeberg, Ports of Stockholm environment manager.

Cruise traffic this season has been comparable to 2003, with some 60 international cruise ships making 204 calls in the ports of Stockholm, more than 200,000 passengers. With the growing popularity of Baltic cruise itineraries, Ports of Stockholm experiences an annual average 5 percent increase in cruise passengers. 

Introduced in 2004, the Jewel of the Seas is owned by Royal Caribbean International and is registered in Nassau, Bahamas. The vessel is 962 feet (293 meters) long, has a draft of 26.7 feet (8.50 meters) and carries 2,501 passengers and 859 crew. Jewel of the Seas visited Stockholm five times this summer, the last call on Aug. 25, and is expected to return in 2005, making seven calls between May and September.

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Cruise Industry Economic Impact Topped $25 Billion in 2003

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 24 -- Despite a war in Iraq and a weak economy at home, the North American cruise industry continued to be a vibrant, growing business in 2003, generating a total U.S. economic impact of $25.4 billion and more than 295,000 jobs. According to the annual study by Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA) commissioned by the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), the cruise industry increased its total economic impact on the U.S. economy by 11.4 percent over 2002, while making significant contributions to the economies of individual states.

"The cruise industry's total contribution to the U.S. economy has risen, on average, 12 percent each year for the past three years," said ICCL President J. Michael Crye. "And that impact is felt in virtually every economic sector, from agriculture to durable goods, transportation, employment and taxes."

Since 2000, North American cruise lines have added more than 20 ships and over 50,000 lower berths to their fleets. Passenger traffic increased over that period by 1.8 million to 9.8 million global passengers, while industry and passenger spending in the United States rose from $10.3 billion in 2000 to $12.9 billion in 2003 -- a 25 percent gain. The cruise lines' growth into smaller markets also spurred increased economic growth. The cruise lines offered more cruises in ports in major coastal cities close to large population centers, known as "drive-to" markets. Ports such as Galveston, New Orleans and Seattle experienced significant growth, becoming major homeports and among the nation's top ten cruise ports.

The report noted that though the past several years have been challenging for leisure travel businesses, in 2003, demand and supply imbalances in the North American cruise industry appeared to experience a correction. Demand growth was spurred by the rebound in global economic activity during the second half of 2003 and lower cruise fares. On the supply side, the decade-long increase in vessel capacity began a slowdown that is expected to continue for the next few years. Capacity growth slowed from 13 percent in 2002 to 9.5 percent in 2003, and at year-end North American cruise lines operated a total of 184 ships with 215,405 lower berths.

Increased supply and lower fares combined in 2003 to produce a record number of global passengers carried by the North American cruise industry -- 9.8 million, a 6.6 percent increase over 2002. Approximately 7.5 million U.S. residents took cruise vacations throughout the world.

Other major findings of the study include:

Direct Spending
Cruise line and passenger direct spending totaled $12.9 billion in 2003, a 25 percent increase over 2000. Economic benefits of direct spending arose from:

  • Spending by cruise passengers and crew for goods and services, including travel and pre- and post-cruise vacation spending

  • Employment of shore-side staff by cruise lines for headquarters, marketing and tour operations

  • Cruise line expenditures for goods and services such as food and beverages, fuel, hotel supplies and equipment, navigation and communications equipment, etc.

  • Cruise line expenditures for services at U.S. ports of embarkation and ports of call

  • Cruise line expenditures for maintenance and repair of vessels, and capital spending for passenger terminals, office facilities and equipment

Estimated passenger and crew spending for 2003 actually was 34 percent higher than had been estimated, due primarily to increased numbers of passengers and higher per-passenger spending.

The cruise lines directly employed more than 29,000 U.S. residents and paid wage income of $850 million. Including the indirect economic impacts, the spending of the cruise lines and their crew and passengers was responsible for the generation of 295,077 full and part-time jobs throughout the country paying a total of $11.6 billion in wages and salaries.

U.S. Ports
An estimated 7.1 million cruise embarkations were handled by U.S. ports during 2003, accounting for 72 percent of global embarkations and representing a 9.4 percent increase over 2002. Florida's ports accounted for two-thirds of all U.S. embarkations with 4.7 million.

The industry's economic impact extended to all 50 states. However, 80 percent of the total U.S. impacts were concentrated in 10 states including Florida, California, New York, Alaska, Texas and Washington.

The complete economic study can be found on ICCL's Web site at

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FORE! Golf Program on New Carnival Valor Features 
Top Caribbean Courses

New 110,000-ton ‘Fun Ship’ Slated to Launch Year-Round Seven-Day Caribbean Service from Miami Dec. 19

MIAMI (August 24, 2004) – Golfers sailing on Carnival Cruise Lines’ new 110,000-ton Carnival Valor will have the opportunity to play a variety of beautiful and challenging courses throughout the eastern and western Caribbean and receive professional instruction from an on-board golf professional. The new 2,974-passenger “Fun Ship” is set to launch year-round seven-day Caribbean service from Miami Dec. 19, 2004. Carnival Valor’s all-inclusive golf packages are part of Carnival’s fleetwide golf program managed by Elite Golf Cruises LLC of Sunrise, Fla. Like every Carnival “Fun Ship,” Carnival Valor will feature a certified golf professional who conducts private lessons, specialty golf clinics, putting contests, accompanies golfers on golf excursions, and organizes golf tournaments as needed.

Carnival’s comprehensive program also includes priority tee times and equipment rental, including top-of-the-line clubs and “soft-spike” golf shoes. Each ship also features a “pro shop” where golfers can purchase golf apparel and accessories such as golf balls, gloves and caps. “Golf is a popular diversion for ‘Fun Ship’ guests and for the Carnival Valor we’ve assembled some of the Caribbean’s top courses which, when combined with the ship’s many on-board facilities and features, adds up to the ultimate cruise/golf getaway,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

Featured courses on Carnival Valor’s week-long Caribbean itineraries include:

Eastern Caribbean:
  • Mahogany Run (St. Thomas, U.S.V.I) – Designed by world-renowned course architects Tom and George Fazio, this spectacular par-70 course features a creative lay-out with well-manicured greens, tight fairways, strategically placed bunkers and breathtaking sea vistas.  Highlighting this course is the aptly named “Devil's Triangle,” encompassing three of the toughest holes in the Caribbean.
  • Cable Beach Golf Course (Nassau, Bahamas) – Although a relatively short 6,400 yards, the newly redesigned Cable Beach is a Bahamian treasure, with spacious fairways guarded by a beautiful network of lakes, and small greens protected by a series of mounds. Ponds and other water hazards are tucked picturesquely throughout the par-72 course and the length encourages strong hitters to shave strokes with long, well-placed drives.

Western Caribbean:
  • Caye Chapel Golf Resort (Belize City, Belize) – This breathtaking 6,843-yard championship course offers ocean views at virtually every turn and has received international acclaim for its creative yet challenging lay-out, beautifully manicured greens and fairways, and Caribbean Sea vistas.  Adding to the day’s fun is an exhilarating plane transfer, which is included in the price.  Simply an unforgettable golfing experience.
  • Sunrise Family Golf Center (George Town, Grand Cayman) – This par-3 course features many beautiful holes ranging from 60 to 160 yards in length – perfect for beginners or those wishing to practice their short game.  Sunrise Family Golf Center is an excellent value and offers couples and families the opportunity to experience the beauty of island golf.

  • The Links at Safe Haven (Georgetown, Grand Cayman) – With its undulating greens, tricky trade winds and spectacular setting reminiscent of Scottish coastal “links-style” courses, The Links at Safe Haven attracts golfers the world over.  Considered one of the Caribbean’s best, this world-class, par-71 course is a five-time recipient of the Best Golf Course award by Caribbean World magazine.

  • Cozumel Country Club (Cozumel, Mexico) – Created by the renowned Nicklaus design team, this is the island’s first and only championship-caliber course. Incorporating the natural habitat of the island, the 6,724-yard course was built around native trees and foliage, mangroves and wetlands, creating a truly spectacular Caribbean golf venue.  An excellent option for the vacationing golfer.

  • Playacar Club de Golf (Playa del Carmen, Mexico) – Carved out of the dense Mayan jungle, this world-class course features tight fairways, numerous doglegs and a rugged, hilly terrain.  Designed by Robert Van Hagge, Playacar plays a long, 7,200 yards with many challenging holes, including several that utilize large depressions as a unique design feature. Price includes on-course food and a complimentary beverage, making this an incredible value.

These seven courses are among the 45 different golf options available within Carnival’s fleetwide program, which is available on all of the line’s “Fun Ships” and features courses throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, New England and Mexico. Lessons are conducted within a netted and lighted “practice range” which protects golfers from the elements which allows for both day and evening instruction.

State-of-the-art “V1” teaching computers providing split-screen, side-by-side comparisons to golf legends and the top players on tour help golfers improve their swing and ultimately lower their handicap. A home version of the “V1” software can also be purchased for use on golfers’ home computers.

Prices for Carnival Valor’s golf excursions begin at $49 per person.  Professional shipboard lessons range in price from $25 for a “swing check” to $80 for a complete one-hour lesson. All golf excursions include the following: early debarkation on the excursion day, golf pro escort, round-trip transportation between ship and course, priority tee times, and all cart and green fees. Itinerary, golf course and pricing information, as well as advanced reservations, are available on-line at, or by calling 1-800-324-1106.  Requests can also be faxed to 1-954-382-5398. Guests can also stop by the shore excursion desk once on board.

Carnival Valor is slated to enter service from Miami Dec. 15, 2004, with a special two-day introductory voyage to Nassau. The ship is scheduled to begin year-round seven-day service from Miami Dec. 19, operating alternating weeklong voyages to the eastern and western Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean cruises call at Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten, while western Caribbean cruises visit Belize, Isla Roatan (Honduras), Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Carnival Corporation & plc Donating $1 Million to 
Hurricane Charley Relief Efforts

Funds to be Split Between the Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund Established by the Volunteer Florida Foundation and American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund

MIAMI (August 23, 2004) – Carnival Corporation & plc, the Miami-based multi-brand cruise company, is making a $1 million donation to aid victims of Hurricane Charley. Half the monies will be directed to the disaster relief fund recently announced by Florida Governor Jeb Bush that has been established by the Volunteer Florida Foundation and the other half to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

“Those of us who live and work in South Florida feel a particularly strong level of compassion for the victims of Hurricane Charley as many members of our own community recall the difficulties faced following Hurricane Andrew,” said Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison. He added, “Among those who have been affected are fellow travel industry partners and customers and it is our privilege to lend support to them and the many citizens within these communities in their time of need.”

Arison is also managing general partner of the Miami HEAT basketball team, which last week sent a group, including HEAT players, Burnie the HEAT mascot, the HEAT Dancers, and the Xtreme Team, to visit several locations on Florida’s West Coast to lift the spirits of hurricane victims.

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Royal Caribbean Receives Extension on Option
 for 2nd Ultra Voyager Ship

MIAMI - August 18, 2004 - Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced it has received an extension regarding its option to purchase a second Ultra Voyager ship. The option involves a ship scheduled for delivery in 2007. Royal Caribbean and Kvaerner Masa-Yards, of Finland, builder of the first Ultra Voyager ship, agreed to extend the option to September 30, 2004. The option was to have expired on August 31, 2004. 

The first Ultra Voyager ship, ordered on September 19, 2003, for delivery in May 2006, will be operated by the Royal Caribbean International brand. Roughly 15 percent larger than its Voyager-class ships, the Ultra Voyager will stand 18 stories high and cruise at approximately 22 knots. At 100 percent occupancy, it will carry 3,600 guests and 1,400 crew. 

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

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'Movies Under The Stars' Invites Princess Passengers to Follow the Yellow Brick Road
'Sing-a-Long Wizard of Oz' Becomes Unique Hit Aboard Caribbean Princess

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., Aug. 19 -- Once each week, the Calypso Pool area of Caribbean Princess is filled with the joyous sound of voices singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "We're Off the See the Wizard." And not all of the singers are up on the ship's "Movies Under the Stars" screen. Passengers, young and old alike, have made Princess' showings of the "Sing-a-Long Wizard of Oz" one of the groundbreaking movie screen's most popular features. 

A unique entertainment event for the cruise industry, the "Sing-a-Long Wizard of Oz" is a fully interactive film experience that lets audiences not only view a fully restored big-screen version of the classic film, but also join in as they celebrate the story of Dorothy and her fantastical journey through the land of Oz. Cruise staff members, cleverly disguised as Dorothy, the Scarecrow and other denizens of Oz, host the event, leading the crowd through a full audience participation routine, including singing along with Dorothy and hissing at the Wicked Witch. Song lyrics are included on the screen so everyone can join in the fun. Plus all audience members get a "Perform-A-Long Fun Pack" with props to use at the appropriate part of the film, such as blowing bubbles to help Glinda the good witch on her way, or a noisemaker to simulate the creaking of the Tin Woodsman.

"Passengers really seem to love this sing-a-long," said Martin Hall, Princess' vice president of entertainment. "The event seems to have captured the imagination--and voices--of our passengers, and it's quite something to walk out to the pool area to see everyone singing along, blowing bubbles and waving their magic wands." Hall added that Dorothy's journey to Oz has been so successful that the line is offering the sing-a-long on the indoor screens of several other vessels as well, prompted by the initial response aboard Caribbean Princess.

The "Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz" is one of many features shown daily on Caribbean Princess' giant Times Square-style LED screen. One of the new ship's most notable features, this unique, 300-square-foot screen has garnered rave reviews, screening up to seven movies or events daily, including family films and first run hits -- such as "Shrek 2," which debuts this month -- as well as concert footage and other special programming. In the evenings, lounge chairs are covered with special cushions and blankets and Princess' hallmark poolside service is available to enhance the viewing experience with free popcorn plus a variety of drink specials and movie nibbles.

"Movies Under the Stars" screens are scheduled to be added to additional Princess vessels sailing the Caribbean. First up will be Grand Princess when the ship makes her debut Galveston sailing in November. 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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Royal Caribbean's New Boston Ad Campaign is Designed to a 'T'
Innovative New Ads Take Subway Commuters to the Caribbean

MIAMI, Aug. 18 -- This week, Royal Caribbean International is going underground to spotlight its Caribbean vacations for Boston commuters. Using a cutting-edge new technology that puts a twist on the concept of "motion pictures," the line is debuting a commercial designed for passengers on Boston's underground transit system, the "T." The ad, created by the line's agency of record Arnold Worldwide, showcases guests on a Royal Caribbean cruise at play in the Caribbean, cutting through the water on Wave Runners, exploring beneath the waves while scuba diving, racing in two-person inflatable boats and climbing the line's signature rock- climbing wall. These adventures are presented to subway passengers in full action, thanks to an innovative new technology developed by SideTrack Technologies Inc. The ad is printed frame by frame and laid out sequentially along the subway tunnel walls like a section of movie film. However, instead of moving the film, passengers are moved past the images. The motion of the train takes the place of a projector, bringing the still photos to life.

The placement and lighting of the photos have been synchronized with the cruising speed of the train to tap into the scientific marvel of persistence of vision, a phenomenon in which the brain pieces together multiple images to form a single, fluid picture. To the passengers, the ad appears as a movie. The photos have been positioned to be in view of anyone aboard the train who can see the window. Royal Caribbean's ad will appear for six weeks, starting Aug. 18, between the Harvard and Central stops on the inbound Red Line.

"Royal Caribbean has a tradition of innovation and providing excitement and the unexpected aboard our ships," said Daniel Hanrahan, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales, for Royal Caribbean International. "This new advertising medium is a strong fit for our brand, providing a unique and entertaining way for us to share what a Royal Caribbean cruise has to offer in one of our top key markets."

Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Jewel of the Seas, makes her U.S. debut in Boston on Sept. 11, 2004. The ship will offer a series of Canada/New England cruises from Boston this fall. 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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Single at Sea: 5 Tips for the Solo Cruiser

NORWALK, Conn., Aug. 18 -- Whether the aim is adventure, camaraderie or romance, sailing solo continues to grow in popularity. According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), as many as 15 percent more singles are sailing this year over last.

"Independent cruisers get to meet fellow travelers from around the world," said Travelers Advantage Vice President Julia Ryan. "Many single cruisers become lifelong friends, some become more. Some solo cruisers even make such fast friends, they begin to plan their next cruise together, before they even disembark." Here are five tips for solo cruiser:

1. Almost every line offers organized singles events throughout the cruise: cocktail gatherings, games and other social activities. Check with the crew once you're onboard to see what the ship has planned.

2. At your first meal, ask the maitre d' to seat you with other single travelers. (Some lines make an effort to do this automatically.) Likewise, ask to be seated with other solo travelers at events, shows, etc. This should be done with the maitre d' upon boarding, as most lines review seating on the first day.

3. Several lines set sail with an onboard social host or hostess. Their sole purpose is to offer conversation at dinner, fill in as a fourth at bridge and dance the night away with singles.

4. Take advantage of cruise lines' "guaranteed share" programs. To avoid paying more for a singles room, consider sharing a room with another solo traveler of the same sex and pay only the per person cabin rate. 
This can amount to great savings for independent travelers. Most lines try to match singles, taking into account such factors as age and smoking preference. (Typically, under most guaranteed share programs, if cruise lines are unable to find you a partner, most will allow you to cruise solo without charging an additional fare.)

5. Prefer your own cabin? Supplemental singles rates can vary widely by line, ship, cabin class, itinerary, and travel dates. These rates usually tack on an additional 25% to 100% surcharge. Shop around.

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Luxury Liner Queen Mary 2 Raises the Bar for 
Caribbean Cruising in 2004-05

MIAMI – RMS Queen Mary 2 ushers in an elegance in Caribbean cruising not seen since HMY Britannia made her last official visit to the region in 1994. While Cunard’s 151,400-ton flagship is a vastly different vessel than Her Majesty’s former Royal Yacht, both represent the best of all things British, including refined dining and service, reverence for tradition and exemplary hospitality. Indeed, the presence of Queen Mary 2 in the Caribbean has elevated the popular vacation destination to a new level of sophistication. Without question she is the most luxurious Cunard liner to regularly call in these waters since Cunard first ventured to the West Indies some 83 years ago.

All hail Cunard’s new, award-winning Queen 
From November 2004 through April 2005, travellers can choose from 18 cruises departing from either New York or Fort Lauderdale. The world’s largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive – $800 million – liner offers accommodations for 2,620 passengers in degrees of style and comfort ranging from pampered elegance to almost unimaginable luxury. 

In fact, passengers who occupy the liner’s Grill-level suites and junior suites, with butler service and all the other requisite trimmings of finery, will enjoy the consummate Caribbean cruise. What other ship in the history of ocean travel has offered the option of a 9,000-square foot, bi-level living space with five bedrooms, 10 marble bathrooms, private balconies and exercise rooms? What other ship, since the heyday of the French Line a half century ago, has offered a bar devoted to the finest Champagne? And the world’s first planetarium at sea with virtual-reality rides through the galaxies, not to mention the exquisite pleasures of America’s best-known spa? 

The cost of all this luxury ranges as one might expect. Depending on the sailing date, prices for a seven-day Caribbean cruise go from $15,449 per person, double occupancy, for one of the ship’s 2,249-square foot Grand Duplex apartments to $3,249 per person, double, for junior suites measuring 381 square feet. Fear not, more modest inside accommodations for seven-day sailings start from just $1,199 per person, double. 

The line-up includes cruises from five to 14 days calling at ports in St. Maarten, Martinique, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, San Juan, Curacao, Bonaire, Dominica and St. Kitts.

Choose from 18 sailings to sun-drenched shores
In November 2004, three 10-day New Yorker’s Caribbean cruises sail round-trip from New York to St. Maarten, Martinique, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Thomas. Prices start from $1,379 per person, double. A two-week Escapist’s Caribbean voyage, departing December 6, repositions Queen Mary 2 from New York to Fort Lauderdale to begin her winter series. Ports include San Juan, Curacao, Bonaire, Barbados, Martinique, St. Maarten and St. Thomas and prices start from $1,749 per person, double.

Come holiday time, there will be no more distinctive chimney than the magnificent red funnel of the world’s most famous ocean liner and Santa’s coming down it this year. Cunard’s 14-day Yuletide in the Caribbean cruise, departing December 20, will be the first-ever aboard Queen Mary 2 with staterooms priced from $2,499, per person, double. Ports include San Juan, St. Kitts, Martinique, Bonaire, Curacao, Barbados, Dominica, St. Thomas and Grand Bahama.

The 2005 Caribbean season kicks off with a unique, five-day sailing from Fort Lauderdale to San Juan and St. Thomas, January 3-8, 2005. Prices for the apt-named Sampler’s Caribbean cruise start at $899 per person, double. 

Throughout January and February Queen Mary 2 will offer seven, weeklong Dreamer’s Caribbean sailings, departing January 8, 15, 22 and 29; and February 5, 12 and 19. Ports include San Juan, St. Maarten and St. Thomas and prices start from $1,199 per person, double. An 11-day voyage to New York – Adventurer’s Caribbean – visits Curacao, Bonaire, Barbados, Martinique and Fort Lauderdale, departing February 26; prices start at $1,899 per person, double. 

Cunard concludes its Caribbean season with three, eight-day Mariner’s Caribbean cruises, round-trip from New York. Due to her impressive speed, Queen Mary 2 can visit San Juan, 
St. Kitts and St. Maarten, whereas other ships operating from the metropolitan New York area can only visit Florida and The Bahamas in the same time period. Prices for this popular itinerary, which was introduced in 2004, start from $1,449 per person, double. 

Relish refined British service second to none
Among the notable facilities on board Queen Mary 2 are 10 dining venues, including a Mediterranean speciality restaurant run by star chef Todd English, the only spa at sea operated by the award-winning Canyon Ranch, the largest ballroom at sea, the largest library at sea, the largest wine collection at sea, a Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar, a two-story theatre, a casino, five indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs and children’s facilities with British nannies. 

For guests in pursuit of international bargains, the Queen Mary 2 boutiques complement the multitude of duty-free ports in the Caribbean. Hermes, Chopard, Dunhill, Harrod’s and H. Stern can all be found on board – and, like the Caribbean, all purchases are duty free.

When not cruising the Caribbean, Queen Mary 2 resumes her role operating regularly scheduled crossings between New York and Southampton, England, as Cunard liners have since 1840. The six-night voyages are priced from $1,499 per person, double, and include Economy Class air to or from London. A handful of cruises to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the eastern seaboard of North America are interspersed with the transatlantic series. For more information about Cunard’s 2004-05 Caribbean cruises aboard Queen Mary 2 or to receive a brochure, contact your professional travel counsellor, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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NCV Antarctic Expeditions Adds New Ports in 2005 – South Georgia, Falkland Islands, Buenos Aires

NEW YORK – A 21-day NCV Expedition Voyage of the MS Nordnorge to Antarctica will call at South Georgia Island, the Falkland Islands and Buenos Aires for the first time on a special departure scheduled February 23, 2005. The soft-adventure cruise in the austral summer showcases the spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife of the White Continent and the South Atlantic islands. Icebergs, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, rugged cliffs, beaches and bays are the setting for viewing gentoo and five other penguin species, humpback and killer whales, and large colonies of elephant and fur seals, and wandering and black-browed albatrosses. The isolated islands are breeding grounds for millions of migrating seabirds.

The 464-berth Nordnorge, limited to 350 passengers and rated Ice Class C, sails on the 18-day expedition from Ushuaia, Argentina, across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula, through the narrow Lemaire and Neumayer Channels, stopping at Cuverville and Half Moon islands, and then continues northward to South Georgia, the Falkland Islands and finally Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina. Sights include the historic whaling  station of Grytviken and grave of explorer Sir Earnest Shackleton in South Georgia and Stanley, the world’s smallest, most remote capital, in the Falklands. Naturalist guides lead shore excursions with Zodiac landings. Aboard ship noted guest lecturers discuss the regions’ history, wildlife and botany. Four days are spent exploring Antarctica and two each at South Georgia and the Falklands.

Cruise rates of $5,010 to $6,225 per person, double occupancy, for cabins and $7,410 to $7,965 for suites include round-trip Lan Chile flights from New York to Buenos Aires, an intra-regional flight, five-star hotel with breakfast in Buenos Aires, three meals daily and selected cabin category aboard ship, services of naturalist guides, some shore excursions, port charges and transfers. AARP members save $150 per cabin. Air taxes of $100 and add-on air from other gateways are not included. Extra hotel nights are available in Buenos Aires.

A contemporary ship built in 1997 the Nordnorge has works by leading Norwegian artists in the public areas and adds a distinctive Latin flavor with South American cuisine, Chilean wines and drinks like pisco sours. Top officers are Norwegian and the crew is Chilean; the primary languages spoken on board are English and Spanish. NCV Expedition Voyages, introduced in 2002, are scheduled to Antarctica and the Chilean fjords from November 3 to February 9 at a cost of $4,445 to $5,875 per person, double for cabins and $6,385 to $7,445 for suites. Two ships sail on Arctic expeditions in Spitsbergen in the summer. Reservations can be obtained from Norwegian Coastal Voyage at (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300; for Antarctica brochures, (800) 666-2374, 24 hours a day; for detailed itineraries,

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MS Europa Cruises the East Coast on a Fully Bilingual Trip in October and Salutes “Dolphin Aid”

Hamburg, GERMANY, July 2004 – From October 12 through 23, 2004, MS Europa, known as “the most beautiful cruise ship” in the world, will sail down the East Coast of the U.S, from Philadelphia to Nassau. While visiting some of America’s most appealing cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, Port Canaveral, Miami, Key West, and then Nassau, passengers will also be learning about some of the important contributions of dolphins.

Kirsten Kuhnert, the founder of Dolphin Aid will be aboard this cruise, accompanied by the prominent ambassadors of her aid organization, Prince Leopold of Bavaria, Hans-Joachim Stuck, and Rolf Milser. Dolphin Aid is an organization that helps special needs children and their families experience Dolphin Human Therapy, a program that enables children with mental, physical or psychological disabilities to find, with the help of dolphins, new directions in convalescence. The route of the cruise was carefully mapped to incorporate the interests of Dolphin Aid, since Key Largo is home to one of the centers where handicapped children undergo dolphin therapy.

Ms. Kuhnert will talk to Europa passengers about her experiences and successes since the founding of Dolphin Aid. Europa passengers will have the opportunity to visit the therapy center with Ms. Kuhnert and her prominent company. At the end of the cruise, the cruise chart will be lovingly decorated by the crew, and auctioned off to the guests for the benefit of Dolphin Aid.

In addition to the proceeds from the chart auction, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises business manager Wolfgang Coym will present a check of €10,000 (Euro) on behalf of Hapag-Lloyd to Dolphin Aid. Under the motto “Dolphins accompany our ship, we accompany Dolphin Aid,” Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has supported this German aid group for more than three years. Information and photo material can be downloaded from the Internet at, or may be obtained at a travel office, including the following agents.


  • Julia Ann Liantonio or Regina Higgins, Euro Lloyd Travel Group, 1640 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow, NY 11554; Tel: 516-228-4970, 800-334-0284; Fax: 516-228-8258; Website:; E-mail: .

  • Annemarie Victory, Annemarie Victory Organization, Inc., 136 East 64th Street, New York, N.Y. 10021; Tel.: (212) 486-0353 / Fax: (212) 751-3149

  • Mary Dailey, Dailey-Thorp Travel, P.O. Box 670, Big Horn, WY 82833; Tel.: (307) 673-1555 / FAX: (307) 674-7474

  • Chuck Cross, Expeditions, Inc., 20525 SE Dorchester Rd., Bend, OR 97702; Tel.: (541) 330-2454

  • Greg Nacco, Golden Bear Travel, Inc., 16 Digital Drive, Novato, CA 94948-6115; Tel.: (415) 382-8900

  • Lisa Wilson-Schmitt, Nonstop Travel, Alpine Village, 833 W. Torrance Blvd., Suite 111, Torrance, CA 90502, Tel. (310) 324-5500 / Fax: (310) 324-7623

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MV Discovery to Celebrate 2nd Year Cruising Antarctica
Shore landings let passengers see wildlife up-close

FORT LAUDERDALE, August 19, 2004 - The south polar seas are home to an abundance of whales, sea lions, seals and penguins, at home amidst dramatic ice floes and shimmering, prism-like icebergs. A journey to Antarctica is an adventure that many dream about, but select few experience. Discovery World Cruises, specialists in exploring faraway places in comfort and style, helps take the guesswork out of this awe-inspiring voyage, with three departures beginning December 28, 2004. 

Discovery’s Antarctic itineraries are designed to not only appeal to soft-adventure seekers and eco-travelers, but novice and veteran cruisers alike. Each cruise expedition masterfully blends superb Continental cuisine, comfortable accommodations, four-star amenities and affordable prices with escorted visits to major penguin rookeries and sights of interest. Complimentary house wines are served with dinner nightly aboard ship. 

Reinforced against the natural elements, the line’s 20,186-ton MV Discovery is uniquely suited for cruising this frozen frontier. “Large, mass-market cruise ships occasionally include Antarctica on their South America schedules, but they do not permit passengers to go ashore. While ice breakers and expedition-type vessels offer a good educational experience, they are small, expensive and don’t offer the facilities or seafaring stability of a larger vessel,” according to Tim Davey, Discovery’s vice president of sales, marketing and passenger services. “MV Discovery is just the right size.” 

Discovery World Cruises’ expedition team is regarded among the best known in the region. The vessel’s captain, Eric Bjurstedt, first visited Antarctica in 1993, and has been back 27 times since then. He is joined by Dr. Peter Carey - director of the Sub Antarctic Foundation for Ecosystems Research - an Antarctic expert who has logged more than 50 trips to the continent. Dr. Carey heads a top-notch team of explorers, naturalists, geologists, ornithologists and biologists who bring to life Antarctica’s incredible sights, both on board and ashore. With a 20-to-1 ratio, passengers are sure to enjoy, understand and learn about the behavior and habitat of the wildlife.

As an integral part of the voyage, passengers explore the Antarctic Peninsula via small powerboats and go ashore by inflatable landing crafts, which are sturdy boats specifically designed for exploration use. Landing spots may vary from published itineraries subject to ice conditions, weather and wildlife sightings. These determinations are made by Captain Bjurstedt and Dr. Carey in consultation with the ship’s ice master. 

Choose from three Antarctica itineraries
A 16-night “Antarctica & the Falklands” expedition, departing December 28, begins with an overnight aboard MV Discovery in Buenos Aires before heading for West Point and Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Passengers enjoy New Year’s Eve at sea en route to Antarctica. Among the planned highlights: Deception Island; Half Moon and Cuverville islands, home to abundant wildlife; and landings onto Antarctica proper are scheduled for Lemaire Channel, Port Lockroy and Paradise Harbor. Passengers disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost town. A two-night hotel stay in Buenos Aires completes the package. Rates begin at $3,995 per person, double.

A 13-night “Antarctica” expedition, departing January 7, puts all the emphasis on visits to Deception, Cuverville and Half Moon islands, as well as the Lemaire Channel, Paradise Harbor and Port Lockroy. The package includes two-nights in Buenos Aires before boarding the ship in Ushuaia and a one-night stay before flying home. Rates begin at $3,595 per person, double.

A 20-night “Antarctica & Chilean Fjords” expedition, departing January 15, combines the Lemaire Channel, Port Lockroy, Paradise Harbor, and Deception, Cuverville and Half Moon islands with ports along Chile’s coast, including historic Punta Arenas, the fjordlands of Puerto Chacabuco and verdant Puerto Montt. The package begins with a two-night hotel stay in Buenos Aires. Upon disembarkation in Valparaiso, passengers travel inland to Santiago, for a two-night hotel stay. Rates begin at $4,495 per person, double.

A hallmark of all Antarctica cruise-tours is an included hotel stay in Buenos Aires before or after the expedition so that passengers have the opportunity to enjoy the local flavor and culture. Highlights include a half-day city sightseeing tour and Argentine dinner and tango show at a local restaurant. Low airfare add-ons are available from 25 U.S. gateway cities, as well as Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. 

MV Discovery is the flagship of Discovery World Cruises, founded in 2002 by Gerry Herrod, a noted travel industry entrepreneur and adventure cruise specialist. For more information or to make a reservation, see a travel professional, contact Discovery World Cruises toll-free at 866-623-2689 or visit their website:

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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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