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Cruise News
August 1-31, 2007

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In the Grand Cunard Tradition, Entertainment Aboard Queen Victoria Will Strike a Visual High Note

VALENCIA, CA, Aug. 30 -- As Queen Victoria prepares to enter service in December 2007, a team of 16 classically trained singers and dancers is already rehearsing four major theatrical productions that will form the core of the ocean liner's inaugural entertainment schedule. From concept to curtain, Cunard will have spent nearly two years crafting sophisticated shows that engage guests with a striking balance of opulence and innovation.

"What Cunard presents is on a par with the highest calibre of world class productions," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line, referencing the line's legacy of premium onboard entertainment. "From the set decor and talent to the beautiful costumes by renowned theatrical designers, the work reflects a deep understanding of our guests' cultural intellect. Our investment in entertainment is considerable and includes every aspect of the experience, from the sight lines in the theatre to the hand-selected creative team."

To ensure that the theatre venue is as extravagant as the shows themselves, painstaking detail went into designing the Royal Court Theatre, a three-tiered venue unsurpassed in form and function. "We looked at several theatres and were inspired by the spectacular spaces designed by noted English theatrical architect Frank Matcham, whose dramatic multi-tiered spaces made him one of the most prolific theatrical architects of all time," said Coordinating Architect Giacomo Mortola. "In every sense, the Royal Court Theatre captures that same feeling of grandeur and luxury."

Among the theatre's most distinguishing features is the collection of sixteen private boxes -- the first-ever at sea -- that frame the stage and afford 48 lucky guests exclusive seating from which to enjoy the performances. Seating from two to eight guests each depending on the size, the boxes are furnished with graceful armchairs and cocktail tables. Individual-sized Veuve Clicquot bottles and sweet or savory treats (depending on the show time) are served by white-gloved theatre ushers. Following the performance, guests have an opportunity to meet the cast backstage.

The Royal Court Theatre is a visual tribute to Matcham's turn-of-the-century theatrical design works. Known as the foremost theatre designer in the early 20th century, his vast output comprised more than 80 theatres and influenced theatre design throughout several decades. His notable London landmarks include The Coliseum built in 1904 and now the home of the English National Opera, the London Palladium, Victoria Palace and Alhambra Theatre in Leicester Square. "From the moment of arrival, guests will be awed by the sheer magnificence of the space," says Martin Lilly, Cunard's director of creative entertainment. "The ambience is very much that of a 19th century theatre, with rich brocade fabric dressing the walls, a deep red velvet curtain, private boxes featuring an ornate frieze of gold leaf, and murals framing the walls above the stage. It is everything the Cunard guest would expect." According to Lilly, that expectation naturally extends to what's on stage. "Because our guests are among the most sophisticated and well-traveled in the world, we are able to be bolder with our show concepts."

Shows as Spectacular as the Setting
Nowhere will the ship's Victorian era sensibility come more brilliantly to life than in Victoriana, a spectacular show that will take guests back in time to the apex of the British Empire, paying tribute to milestones of the era. Victoriana captures Music Hall memories with splendid character performances, a touch of Victorian Gothic featuring contemporary choreography and period costumes. After each Victoriana performance, guests carry the mood into the Queens Room for a jubilant Royal Victoriana themed ball.

Dance Passion celebrates the exuberant world of dance. Outstanding international dancers execute superb and diverse choreography, capturing the magic of Gene Kelly, the sensual Argentine Tango, Salsa and Samba. The show delivers the grace and elegance of classic dance to the vibrant energy of Swing and Jump Jive. Cunard tapped Dmitri Iliukhin, choreographer and former Riverdance performer, to give Celtic Heartbeat an authentic resonance. Featuring a mix of original and traditional Irish music, song and dance, it tells the story of a young Irishman and his search for fortune, capturing all the joy, conflict, humor, heartbreak and romance of his journey. It features two principle dancers, four singers who take the role of the narrators, and a full dance ensemble.

The final production, A Stroke of Genius, pairs world-famous works of art with popular music. This fresh and eclectic show features a blend of Andy Warhol and the Rolling Stones, Edward Hopper's American Realism and the music of Hoagy Carmichael, and ballerinas coming to life against a backdrop of Edgar Degas' French Impressionist paintings.

The productions are the work of the same team who produce acclaimed shows for sister ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2. UK-based Belinda King Creative Productions works in tandem with Cunard to create "a voyage of light and sound, music and dance, with passion and soul, elegance and style," says King. 

In addition to the production shows, Singers in Concert brings the combined orchestras of the Queens Room and Royal Court Theatre together for a concert-style show combining classic standards, contemporary songs and original musical arrangements. An amusing and poignant musical presentation that light-heartedly explores the intriguing dynamics between men and women, the show features songs by Burt Bacharach, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Gilbert O'Sullivan and others.

About Queen Victoria
The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will offer the very best of the heritage and traditions of Cunard Line, along with all modern day luxuries including some exciting innovations. These will include the first traditional West End-style private boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre, the first Cunardia museum exhibit at sea, housing Cunard artifacts and memorabilia along with the first two-storey library at sea featuring an elegant spiral staircase. The ship will also feature the line's celebrated Queens Grill and Princess Grill accommodations and dining, further enhanced on Queen Victoria with an exclusive deck terrace and an al fresco dining option.

From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at the sophistication that differentiates a Cunard liner. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale, featuring rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory complete with a retractable glass roof. For more information about Cunard or Queen Victoria, contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Carnival Unveils New 'Serenity' Adults-Only Outdoor Retreat

MIAMI, Aug. 29 -- When the Carnival Inspiration emerges from its month long dry dock in early October, it will be the first Carnival ship to feature a brand new adults-only area called "Serenity." Designed as an ocean-going oasis for relaxation, tranquility and comfort, the new "Serenity" areas are part of Carnival's $250 million "Evolutions of Fun" ship enhancement initiative which is resulting in a dramatic transformation of the line's eight "Fantasy-class" vessels.

The "Serenity" areas will be located in a secluded aft section of the ship that provides for spectacular ocean vistas. The stunning new design will feature plush chaise lounges and chairs. Colorful oversized umbrellas and a separate relaxation area will also provide the opportunity for guests to enjoy this new area in shaded comfort. Two whirlpools will be available to offer the ultimate relaxing escape. Complete bar service will be provided by attentive waiters offering a tempting selection of icy cocktails and frozen concoctions. For guests interested in a snack or casual meal, the Lido Restaurant is conveniently located nearby.

"We continually strive to provide a high quality cruise vacation that provides our guests with a wide variety of choices and experiences," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "Our new 'Serenity' retreat will provide another great new option for those seeking a relaxing alternative to the other exciting outdoor activities and entertainment facilities available on board," she added.

The new "Serenity" adults-only areas are just one component of Carnival's wide-ranging "Evolutions of Fun" initiative, cruising's most ambitious ship enhancement program. Other new features to be incorporated into "Fantasy- class" vessels include the Carnival WaterWorks expansive aqua parks featuring 300-foot-long corkscrew water slides, double-lane racing slides and various water-spray apparatus, as well as a new design style and features for the main pool areas. The Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination will be the first two "Fantasy-class" ships to include all of the "Evolutions of Fun" enhancements, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. By 2009, all "Fantasy-class" ships are expected to be completed, including the "Serenity" areas and fabulous new transformation of the open decks. Additional components of the "Evolutions of Fun" program include fully remodeled staterooms and suites including new bathrooms, flat-screen televisions in staterooms and select public areas, atrium lobby bars, updated sound and lighting systems in various lounges and clubs, coffee bars, nine- hole miniature golf courses, new art and photo galleries, New York-style delis in the Lido restaurants, and purpose-built conference facilities.

"Evolutions of Fun" also encompasses a number of family-friendly enhancements for the "Fantasy-class," including new children's play areas -- part of the line's top-rated "Camp Carnival" program -- new facilities for the "Club O2" teen program, custom-designed spaces geared toward 12- to 14-year olds, and 50 interconnecting staterooms - perfect for large families or family gatherings. The program also includes a complete overhaul of the 12,000-square-foot "Spa Carnival" facilities, with new private treatment rooms, state-of-the art exercise equipment and a host of cosmetic enhancements.

Digital renderings of the new "Serenity" adults-only area, along with images of various other "Evolutions of Fun" initiatives, including the "Carnival WaterWorks" aqua parks and redesigned pool areas, can be viewed at Carnival's eight Fantasy-class vessels are part of the line's fleet of 22 "Fun Ships" which operate voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe, the Greek Isles, and South America. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Stars of Stage & Screen Join Regent Seven Seas Cruises for Spring 2008 “Theatre at Sea” Voyage

August 28, Fort Lauderdale, FL – Regent Seven Seas Cruises will host an all-star collection of Broadway, Hollywood and TV greats aboard the all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner during “Theatre at Sea 2008,” a 12-night Amazon River cruise from Manaus, Brazil to Fort Lauderdale. Departing February 21, 2008, the 35th Theatre At Sea, presented by the Theatre Guild, will feature a cast of talented and distinguished actors including TV and Broadway legend Ed Asner; four-time Drama Desk Award-winning actress Tovah Feldshuh; acclaimed film and television actress Anne Jackson; Broadway star Karen Mason; Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal; television star and former Miss America Susan Powell; Helen Hayes Award-winner and director Lee Roy Reams; Broadway leading man Richard White and legendary theatre, film and television icon Eli Wallach. These legends of stage and screen will entertain guests with eight performances throughout the voyage, and will also join passengers at exclusive “Green Room” parties after each show. Guests will also have the opportunity to interact with these sought-after stars at special, “members-only” events.

Seven Seas Mariner’s Amazon journey will depart Manaus to call at Parintins and Santarem, Brazil; Devil’s Island in French Guiana; plus Barbados, Dominica, San Juan and Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos, before concluding in Fort Lauderdale. Highlights include a trip to Manaus’ Opera House, shopping excursions, a reception with the Governor of Barbados and a call at Brazil’s Boi Bumba Festival. The itinerary also features three luxurious days spent at sea.

Seven Seas Mariner is the world’s first all-suite, all-balcony vessel, as well as the first to offer dining by the famed Le Cordon Bleu® of Paris in Signatures, one of four single, open-seating restaurants. Accommodating only 700 guests, she is one of the most spacious cruise ships afloat, and her staff-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.6 provides the highest level of personal service in the six-star tradition of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Rates for the Theatre at Sea 2008 voyage range from $5,295 to $20,395 per person, double occupancy. Chartered economy airfare is available for $700 per person. Contact Theatre at Sea, 135 Central Park West, Suite 4 South, New York, N.Y., 10023. Telephone: 800 752 9732.

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Study Details Cruise Industry's $35.7 Billion Contribution to U.S. Economy

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Aug. 29 -- The North American cruise industry last year generated $35.7 billion in gross U.S. economic output and supported 348,000 American jobs paying $14.7 billion in wages, according to a new report prepared for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The report shows total cruise industry spending increased by 10 percent in 2006 and finds that the overall spending had an impact in all 50 states. Direct purchases by the cruise lines for goods and services such as food and beverage, fuel, equipment, business services, port services, vessel maintenance and repair as well as purchases by crew and passengers of goods and services related to cruising, including pre- and post-cruise stays, airfare and lodging, totaled $17.6 billion in 2006. Adding the indirect economic impacts, such as transportation services to deliver finished products to the cruise lines and utilities needed to run manufacturing equipment, the total economic impact generated by the cruise industry was $35.7 billion.

The economic impact of the cruise industry reached into every state, with 79 percent of direct purchases and 83 percent of total employment and income concentrated in 10 states: Florida, California, Texas, Alaska, New York, Hawaii, Georgia, Washington, Illinois and Massachusetts. U.S. ports also saw the benefits from a growing cruise industry. Embarkations at U.S. ports increased by over 4 percent, totaling 9 million, and accounted for 75 percent of total global embarkations.

"Given North America's importance in the global cruise market, it is gratifying to report that it is also hits the mark on such critical economic factors as spending output and employment," said Terry L. Dale, CLIA's president and CEO. "The U.S. economic benefits for 2006 reflect what we believe is a healthy rate of growth that supports an expanding industry."

Among the factors behind the 2006 economic impact:

  • In 2006, 12 million people worldwide took a cruise vacation, an increase of 7 percent over 2005.

  • U.S. residents accounted for 78 percent of the industry's total passengers.

  • The top 10 U.S. cruise ports by cruise embarkations in 2006 were: Miami, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, Galveston, Los Angeles, New York, Tampa, Long Beach, Seattle and Honolulu.

  • Based on passenger survey data, approximately 40 percent of embarking passengers stayed one or more nights in a port city and averaged $289 per visit.

  • Global industry revenues increased 7 percent to $20.6 billion.

  • The $17.6 billion in direct spending created over 153,800 direct jobs paying $5.7 billion in wages. 

  • By year-end 2006, the cruise industry's fleet had increased to 151 vessels with a combined capacity of 249,691 lower berths.

  • The cruise industry operated in 2006 at an occupancy rate of 104 percent.

The "Contribution of the North American Cruise Industry to the U.S. Economy in 2006" study was conducted by Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) in Exton, PA, and analyzes the economic benefits to the U.S. economy from five principal sources: spending by cruise passengers and crew; shoreside staffing by cruise lines in U.S. cities; expenditures by cruise lines for goods and services; cruise line spending for U.S. port services; and expenditures in U.S. shipyards for maintenance and repair.

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Holland America Line's 2008 CruiseTours to Alaska & the Yukon Feature In-depth Experiences from Glacier Bay to the Arctic 

SEATTLE, Aug. 28 -- From Alaska's incomparable Glacier Bay and Denali National Parks to the Kenai Peninsula, Arctic and Yukon Territory, Holland America Line's 2008 Alaska CruiseTours will explore natural wonders and provide guests with in-depth wilderness experiences. With 29 CruiseTours ranging from 10 to 20 days in length, Holland America Line combines an exceptional Inside Passage cruise with land tours designed to show guests the best of the North's wilderness, wildlife, native culture and eventful history.

Holland America's comprehensive CruiseTours indulge guests with a relaxing north or southbound cruise aboard five-star ships and exciting land travel via the luxury, domed McKinley Explorer(R) railcars and custom-built, highway Explorer Coaches™. Introduced in 2007, the Explorer Coaches(TM) with just 45 seats, provide 50 percent additional leg room over the 54-seat version. The new coaches feature first-class amenities: leather seats, battery-charging stations for guests traveling with electronic equipment, LCD monitors and a mini-galley serving beverages and snacks. Every seat is equipped with a headset and eight-channel audio.

"Holland America's CruiseTour itineraries let guests take their time to have a personal wilderness experience in the areas of Alaska and the Yukon that most intrigue them," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales, and guest programs. "We take guests to scenic national parks and recognized wilderness areas, and we design optional excursions to let them fully experience the adventure while they are here. "Guests can do a self-drive jeep tour, wilderness jet boat safari or helicopter flight-seeing with a glacier landing in Denali National Park. They can enjoy hiking in Tombstone Park, dog-sledding in Skagway, sport-fishing in Ketchikan and river-rafting in Kluane National Park, a pristine UNESCO World heritage site. Between our 29 CruiseTour itineraries and many optional excursions, guests are sure to have memory-making experiences of a lifetime." Meadows noted that the 2008 itineraries and optional excursions encompass 14 national parks and wilderness areas. In addition to Denali, Glacier Bay, Kluane and Tombstone, they include the Kenai Fjords, Gates of the Arctic, Klondike (Skagway), Wrangell-St. Elias and Sitka national parks, plus the Klondike Historic Site (Dawson City), Yukon Charley National Preserve, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Misty Fjords National Monument and Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.

Most Holland America Line itineraries feature Denali National Park stays that offer more time to experience this untamed wilderness. A total of 18 Holland America CruiseTours feature "Double Denali" -- two nights at a classic wilderness lodge near the gates of Denali National Park to provide more time there -- plus a guided Tundra Wilderness Tour offering the best wildlife and Mt. McKinley viewpoints. Ten other CruiseTours include a one-night Denali stay and either the Tundra Wilderness Tour or Denali Natural History Tour. All Double Denali tours include tour directors to ensure excellent guest satisfaction.

Great Land Klondike CruiseTours
In 2008 Holland America Line offers six Great Land Klondike CruiseTours highlighting Klondike heritage and wilderness. All include three- or four-day Inside Passage cruises between Vancouver and Juneau or Skagway with southbound cruisetours featuring Glacier Bay National Park. The Great Land Klondike CruiseTours offer 11- to 15-day adventures that let guests experience Denali National Park; Dawson City with optional excursions to Tombstone Territorial Park; Fairbanks; an exciting Yukon River cruise aboard the mv Yukon Queen II; and Whitehorse, capital of the Yukon Territory. Some cruisetours also include Kluane National Park and the White Pass & Yukon Railroad with Lake Bennett excursion. All departures have tour directors.

Great Land Wilderness CruiseTours
The Great Land Wilderness CruiseTours range from 10 to 13 days and provide a more affordable wilderness experience. They feature Denali, Whitehorse, Kluane, the White Pass & Yukon Railroad, Beaver Creek and Fairbanks, with travel along the most scenic stretch of the Alaska Highway. These CruiseTours feature three new attractions: Uncommon Journeys, where sled dogs demonstrate their skills during summer training near Whitehorse; a tour of the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks; and a natural history presentation at the entrance to Kluane National Park. All four itineraries feature tour directors.

Glacier Discovery CruiseTours
In 2008, all 19 Glacier Discovery CruiseTours treat guests to the stunning icescape of Glacier Bay National Park or mammoth Hubbard Glaciers on a seven-day cruise. Glacier Bay departures also include scenic cruising in College Fjord. These CruiseTours range from 11- to 20-days. In addition, most offer the two-night "Double Denali" stays, the Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour and tour directors. Guests who wish to travel above the Arctic Circle or cruise the Kenai Fjords National Monument can do so on several of these CruiseTours. Another tour explores the Kenai Peninsula--a favorite vacation spot for Alaskans--to visit Homer on Kachemak Bay and Cooper Landing on the Kenai River. Guests also can opt for a luxurious, two-night stay at the Alyeska Resort near Anchorage, plus the Portage Glacier tour aboard the mv Ptarmigan.

The leader in Alaska Cruises and CruiseTours
This fall, Holland America Line celebrates its 60th anniversary as the leader in Alaska travel with eight premium ships offering a total of 156 cruises in 2008. These include 59 sailings on three ships home-ported in Seattle and 97 cruises on five ships based in Vancouver, BC. For more information about booking an Alaska cruise or CruiseTour, contact a travel agent or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Cunard Line Appoints Queen Victoria's Senior Officers

VALENCIA, CA, Aug. 28 -- Cunard Line has announced the appointment of three senior officers who will serve aboard its newest ocean liner, Queen Victoria, when she enters service in December 2007. The veteran trio joins Captain Paul Wright, whose appointment as Master of Queen Victoria was announced in October 2006. Together, they boast more than 85 years of seagoing experience, gleaned most recently aboard Queen Victoria's majestic sister ships, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2.

William Robinson, Chief Engineer
With Cunard for nearly 20 years, William Robinson currently serves as Chief Engineer aboard Queen Elizabeth 2. Joining Queen Victoria in the same position, he will be responsible for all aspects of the operation and maintenance of the ship's technical equipment, which is considered among the most advanced in the industry. Robinson joined Cunard's "grande dame of the seas" as a Junior Engineer and quickly earned his Combined 1st Class Certificate, working his way up the engineering ranks. His first seafaring experience, over 30 years ago, was sailing oil tankers and gas carriers for Shell. Robinson is a graduate of Sunderland University in Sunderland, England, where he earned his Bachelor of Education degree in Technology. Following graduation, he taught Craft Design and Technology for three years. Accepting the post as Chief Engineer aboard Queen Victoria, he says, is the realization of a lifelong ambition.

Robert Howie, Hotel Manager
Robert Howie brings more than 21 years of experience -- on land and at sea -- to his new post as Hotel Manager aboard Queen Victoria. Howie held the position of Food & Beverage Manager aboard Queen Mary 2 in the ocean liner's inaugural year and was then promoted to the prestigious position of Hotel Manager to Cunard's flagship in 2005. In charge of all onboard operations re housekeeping, food and beverage, entertainment and personnel, he was at the helm during some of the ship's most iconic voyages including her 2006 inaugural South America voyages, first World Cruise earlier this year including the ship's phenomenally successful Royal Rendezvous(TM) with QE2 in Sydney and maiden call into San Francisco, as well as Carly Simon's DVD concert special in 2005. Prior to joining Cunard, Howie served in senior managerial Food & Beverage positions and new build projects for Princess Cruises, both shoreside and onboard, since 1990.

Alastair Greener, Entertainment Director
Alastair Greener combines his love of stage and sea, characteristics that will serve him well as he prepares to join Queen Victoria as Entertainment Director. The quintessential English gentleman has served as Cruise Director on both Queen Mary 2 and QE2, and in addition to being a vivacious host for the onboard production shows, he is an enthusiastic thespian himself, having been a presenter for training videos for Cunard's famous White Star Service(SM). He was also asked to represent CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as a media tour spokesperson. Greener is a member of the British Actors Union and has appeared in a wide range of film, theater and television productions, including the BBC's "House of Cards" and Warner Brothers' "Black Beauty." Prior to Cunard, Greener joined Princess Cruises in 1997 and has served on eight ships within the fleet.

"Our guests will be delighted to find 'old friends' aboard Cunard's newest ship," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. "One of our distinguishing characteristics is the number and frequency of our repeat guests and they will truly appreciate 'coming home' to these familiar faces."

The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will offer the very best of Cunard's heritage and traditions, along with all modern day luxuries including some exciting innovations. These will include the first traditional West End-style private viewing boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre, the first Cunardia museum exhibit at sea, housing Cunard artifacts and memorabilia and the first two-storey library at sea featuring an elegant spiral staircase. The ship will also feature the line's celebrated Queens Grill and Princess Grill accommodations and dining, further enhanced on Queen Victoria with an exclusive deck terrace and al fresco dining in The Courtyard. From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at the sophistication that differentiates a Cunard liner. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale, featuring rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory complete with a retractable glass roof. 

As well as being the second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Victoria's arrival is particularly noteworthy as it will mark the first time that three Cunard Queens have been in service together in the company's 168-year history (she joins the world's grandest liner, Queen Mary 2 and the world's most famous and best-loved liner, QE2). For more information about Queen Victoria or Cunard, contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit

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Ring in 2008 in the Caribbean With MSC Cruises' Family Plan

FORT LAUDERDALE, FA, Aug. 28 -- Ring in the new year with the entire family on MSC Lirica in the Caribbean. MSC Cruises is offering a special Family Plan promotion on its Dec. 28 New Year's sailing of MSC Lirica. Family Plan prices start at $499.50 per person, quad occupancy, for an inside stateroom (government fees and taxes are additional for all passengers). Oceanview staterooms begin at only $75 more per person ($574.50), quad occupancy. On the 7-night Dec. 28 Western Caribbean itinerary, MSC Lirica sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale and calls at Key West, Georgetown, Cozumel and Nassau, and includes two days at sea.

Rates include onboard dining and international entertainment appropriate for the entire family. Onboard MSC Lirica, guests will be surrounded by the line's "Beautiful. Passionate. Italian." cruise experience, including the elegant decor, authentic Italian cuisine, European ambiance, and exceptional service. As an added bonus, North American residents who place a reservation need only place a $100 deposit per person, based on double occupancy. To qualify for the Family Plan, reservations must be made by Sept. 30.

Rates quoted are USD, cruise only. Offers are capacity controlled; restrictions apply and subject to availability. Offers maybe withdrawn at anytime without notice. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or a local travel professional.

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More Carnival Ships Get 'On Deck for the Cure' Fundraising Initiative

MIAMI, Aug. 27-- Following a highly successful pilot program aboard the Carnival Valor and Carnival Fascination, Carnival Cruise Lines will dramatically expand its involvement with the "On Deck for the Cure" breast cancer fundraising initiative, adding one-kilometer walks and other activities to the majority of its fleet. Modeled after a program introduced by Holland America Line and launched earlier this year aboard five Carnival Corporation & plc brands, the innovative fundraising initiative benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the global leader of the breast cancer movement. "On Deck for the Cure" has a goal of generating $1 million toward breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment. 

Carnival's expansion of the program will encompass 14 ships and will include all vessels operating cruises of seven days or longer, including Alaska and Europe sailings, as well as four- and five-day voyages aboard the Carnival Elation from San Diego. Guests participating in Carnival's "On Deck for the Cure" activities are encouraged to make a minimum $10 donation and partake in a one-kilometer walk around the ships' jogging tracks while wearing their custom-designed T-shirts and wristbands included with each donation. Additionally, pink lemonade, signifying the color associated with breast cancer awareness, will be served after the walk to all participants.

"Through the tremendous generosity of our guests, the pilot program launched on Carnival Valor and Carnival Fascination has been an overwhelming success," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "We're sure this success will continue as we roll out this innovative initiative to other ships in our fleet and raise much-needed funds for this truly worthwhile cause," she added.

"On Deck for the Cure" activities are promoted via the line's daily shipboard newsletter, "Carnival Capers," as well as on in-cabin television programming. In addition to the "On Deck for the Cure" initiative aboard Carnival Cruise Lines' ships, other Carnival Corporation brands participating in the program include Holland America, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn.

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Cruise West to Refurbish Spirit of Yorktown With New Suites & Upgrades

SEATTLE, WA, August 27, 2007 – Cruise West, the leader in small-ship cruising, will refurbish and upgrade the 138-guest Spirit of Yorktown in fall 2007. Four Balcony category cabins will be created that will include private teak-floored balconies with enough room for a café table and chairs for two. Numerous additional upgrades will be completed throughout the ship, including redecoration and renovation of public corridors, lobby areas, and the panoramic Observation Lounge, the ship’s Living Room. Updates will be completed in November and December, just in time for the first Sea of Cortés Holiday cruise departing December 22, 2007. The combined cost of all renovations is approximately $2 million.

“The Spirit of Yorktown is a beautiful ship that will look better than ever,” said Dick West, chairman and managing director. “We are particularly pleased with the new art program, which gives us the opportunity to share some of our cherished family memories. One such piece is the beautifully hand-embroidered fur coat worn by my mother during her coronation as Alaska’s first Miss Alaska in 1936!” Cruise West strives to support local communities and create meaningful cultural experiences for our guests, so it is fitting to include art from Alaska, where our company has such deep roots. In addition to art from my family collection, we have commissioned pieces from local Alaskan communities that we visit,” said West. “The community of Metlakatla has been commissioned to recreate a healing blanket that adorns a wall in their Long House. This blanket represents the healing of families from all tribes who have been affected by drugs or alcohol. It’s a very special piece which incorporates the tribal symbols of the Alaska Native clans, and we will be honored to have it onboard one of our ships.” 

The four Balcony cabins located on the sun deck will undergo an extensive remodel that includes a new layout and the addition of queen beds, mini refrigerators and private balconies, which will provide sweeping views. New cabinetry, fixtures, carpet, and lighting will be installed in the cabins as well. Discerning guests will enjoy the added comfort and privacy. 

Several upgrades were implemented spring 2007 to guest areas aboard the Spirit of Yorktown, including new mattresses, carpeting, soft goods and deck furniture. Additional upgrades to the lounge, where guests enjoy lectures, beverages and congregating with fellow travelers, will be completed in conjunction with the Balcony cabin remodel. The Lounge will receive new and reupholstered furniture, and new carpeting, bookcase, ceiling and lighting. All cabins will also receive new bedspreads and window treatments, and the beautiful original watercolor paintings by renowned artist Marilynne Bradley will be reframed to better display each piece. Bradley’s work has been recognized in museum exhibitions, accepted in major national juried competitions, and included in many major corporate collections. 

The five-week wetdock begins on October 23, 2007 in Alameda, CA. The ship will welcome guests back on its December 22, 2007 Sea of Cortés Whales & Wildlife cruise round trip from Cabo San Lucas. The Spirit of Yorktown is the first ship to receive new art and upgrades, and others in the Cruise West fleet will follow in the next two years. For additional information regarding the Spirit of Yorktown cruise itineraries to Alaska, California Wine Country and Mexico’s Sea of Cortés or any of Cruise West’s other destinations and ships, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit

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Carnival Victory to Launch Year-Round Seven-Day Southern Caribbean Cruises From San Juan In Nov. 2008

MIAMI, Aug. 24 -- Carnival Cruise Lines will deploy the 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory on year-round seven-day southern Caribbean departures from San Juan beginning in November 2008. Carnival Victory replaces the Carnival Destiny on this popular itinerary and provides a newer, slightly larger ship, as well as a fresh new choice for consumers. 

A truly spectacular "Fun Ship," Carnival Victory offers a dramatic decor inspired by the world's great oceans and seas designed by Carnival's ship architect Joe Farcus. The dramatic Seven Seas atrium spans nine decks and is an instant "wow" as guests board the ship. From the elegant Atlantic and Pacific dining rooms, to the exciting South China Sea Club casino, to the unique Adriatic Lounge, there are 17 different themed venues for guests to enjoy. In addition, the Carnival Victory will feature Carnival's Seaside Theatre with a huge outdoor LED screen showing movies, concerts and other programming. A full range of daytime and evening features will be available including everything from kids movies to major sporting events. The ship also offers elaborate stage shows from the beautiful 1,500-seat Caribbean Lounge that spans three decks, with elaborate production shows "Livin' in America" and "Vroom" offering a truly dazzling entertainment experience.

"The Carnival Victory will provide a great new option for us in the Southern Caribbean, including the opportunity to visit five magnificent ports of call, all in a one-week cruise," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Carnival Victory's Week-Long Voyages from San Juan
The Carnival Victory's new five-port, seven-day schedule from San Juan kicks off Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008, and includes an overnight call in the elegant resort area of La Romana/Casa De Campo, along with extended visits to the tropical destinations of St. Kitts, Barbados, Dominica and St. Thomas.

Casa de Campo is one of the Caribbean's premier resorts and features extensive resort amenities including Altos de Chavon, a 16th century Mediterranean village replica; world-class golf and a wide variety of beach and watersports, to name just a few. In addition to breathtaking beaches ranging in color from black to golden, St. Kitts offers a landscape of rugged mountains and dense rainforest. Barbados is a friendly British isle boasting beautiful aqua-blue waters and white-sand beaches, along with numerous shopping, dining and watersports opportunities. A 289-square-mile island dominated by hot springs and volcanoes, Dominica offers gorgeous white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters teeming with tropical fish, while St. Thomas is one of the Caribbean's most popular islands, with excellent duty-free shopping bargains and world-famous beaches.

A Spectacular 'Fun Ship'
The 102,000-ton Carnival Victory offers a multitude of dining, entertainment and activity options, along with such high-tech features as an Internet Cafe, Wi-Fi access, and cell phone service. The ship features four swimming pools - one with a 214-foot-long corkscrew waterslide - a state-of-the-art 14,500-square-foot spa and gymnasium, an on- board duty-free shopping mall and a jogging track. Family-friendly amenities include "Camp Carnival" and "Club O2," with supervised activities and expansive facilities for children and teens, respectively.

Dining options include twin two-level dining rooms with expanded menus and wine lists, a 1,200-seat poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, a patisserie serving specialty coffees and sweets, and complimentary 24-hour room service. Carnival Victory also offers a wide range of spacious accommodations, including a wide selection of affordable balcony staterooms - perfect for scenic Caribbean cruising. Every stateroom features the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system, with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high-quality linens and pillows.

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for the Carnival Victory's seven-day cruises from San Juan. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Carnival Corp Finalizes Agreement with St. Maarten for New 
Two-Berth Cruise Ship Pier

MIAMI, Aug. 22 -- Carnival Corp & plc has finalized an agreement with the government of St. Maarten and the Port of St. Maarten to provide funding to support the construction of a new two-berth cruise ship pier on the island of St. Maarten. The new docking facility, combined with the island's existing four-berth pier, will make St. Maarten one of the largest cruise ports in the Caribbean, with six dedicated cruise berths.

"St. Maarten is truly a preeminent island destination in the Caribbean," said Howard Frank, Carnival Corporation & plc vice chairman. "Further enhancing the island's cruise ship facilities is a winning proposition for everyone with the end result being greater economic benefit for St. Maarten and an expanded number of consumers introduced to the exceptional beauty and charm of this superb location. St. Maarten offers exceptional opportunities for our cruise guests, given its unique history and culture, myriad sightseeing opportunities and stunning beaches," added Frank. "We are truly pleased to be playing a role in the expansion of the island's cruise ship facilities."

Under the agreement, Carnival Corp. has provided financing of $34.5 million for construction of a new pier and has guaranteed a certain number of passengers to the island. The new pier will be able to accommodate two post- Panamax cruise ships. Carnival will enjoy preferential berthing rights at the new facility for the 20-year period of the agreement. Eight of Carnival Corporation & plc's 10 cruise brands, including three of its European brands, will call on St. Maarten. Construction on the new pier is scheduled to begin in December and completed by 2009.

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Experience Autumn in the Mediterranean with MSC Cruises

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, AUG. 21 – This autumn, let yourself become part of the vibrant Ramblas in Barcelona, transport yourself to the exotic bazaars in Tunisia, and admire the elegance of timeless St. Tropez or cruise along the Turkish coastline and the Greek Islands under the mild autumn sun, as MSC Cruises offers seven different itineraries with a rich selection of ports on board MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Melody, MSC Lirica and MSC Opera. Choose one of MSC Cruises’ fabulous autumn voyages and be better prepared to face the winter months. North American residents who place a reservation need only place a $100 deposit per person, based on double occupancy. 

The following are a sampling of MSC Cruises’ autumn Mediterranean itineraries; additional departure dates are available. Shore excursions are optional and available for purchase. 

MSC Orchestra departs from Venice Saturday Oct. 27 (Sunday, Oct. 28 from Bari) with the following itinerary: 
Italy, Greece, Turkey, Croatia (7 nights). Ports of call include Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul and Dubrovnik before returning to Venice. 
Optional excursions include: 
Matera (from Bari): Visit the famous Rocks of Matera, real caves inhabited up to a few decades ago and where Mel Gibson recently filmed his film, “The Passion”. 
Ephesus (from Izmir): Tour of the prestigious Hellenic –Roman city, with the Odeon Theatre that hosted up to 1,400 spectators, the Library of Celso and Adrian’s Temple with its well preserved bas-relief. 

MSC Musica departs from Barcelona Friday, Oct. 26 (Sunday, Oct. 28 from Genoa and Monday, Oct. 29 from Naples) with the following itinerary: 
Spain, France, Italy, Tunisia, Balearic Islands (7 nights). Ports of call include Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Palermo, Tunis, and Palma de Majorca, before returning to Barcelona.
Optional excursions include: 
Palermo and Monreale:Transfer to Monreale to visit the Duomo, famous for its splendid mosaics. Then onto Palermo to view the Cathedral at the church of Martorana, Piazza Pretoria and the Massimo Theatre. 
Palma of Majorca: Tour to discover the capital of Balearics stopping off at the Bellever Castle, visit the majestic Cathedral and Plaza de Toros, free time at the Gothic Barrio. 

MSC Sinfonia departs from Rome Sunday, Oct. 28 (Monday, Oct. 29 from Genoa) with the following itinerary: 
Italy, Principality of Monaco, Spain, Malta, Tunisia (7 nights). Ports of call include Genoa, Monte Carlo, Valencia, Valletta, and Tunis, returning to Rome.
Optional excursions include: 
Valencia: City coach tour to include walking tour of the ancient alleyways and piazzas. Stop off at the Cathedral for a guided tour. 
Tunis: Visit Medina of Tunis, typical Arab market with lively streets and shops, offering artisans’ wares. 

MSC Armonia departs from Venice Sunday, Oct. 28 (Monday, Oct. 29 from Bari) with the following itinerary: 
Italy, Greece, Croatia (7 nights). Ports of call include Bari, Santorini, Mykonos, Piraeus, Corfu, Dubrovnik and return to Venice. 
Optional excursions include: 
Santorini: Tour of Oia, traditional island village with its lattice streets and blue tiled roofs typical of the Cycladic Isles. Time to enjoy the spectacular views. 
Corfu: Visit the Palace of the Achilleion, summer home to the Empress Sissi, beautifully decorated surrounded by splendid gardens. 

MSC Melody departs from Livorno Saturday, Oct. 27 with the following itinerary: 
Italy, France, Spain, Balearic Isles, Tunisia (7 nights). Ports of call include St. Tropez, Barcelona, Ibiza, Tunis, Messina and Naples before returning to Livorno. Optional excursions include: 
Ibiza: Tour of this typical Mediterranean island, stopping off in the Saline and the white church of San Josè. Free time at St Anthony’s for a stroll along the streets of this old city. 
Naples: Tour on foot to discover this amazing city, stopping off at Saint Gregory Armeno, to the Church of the New Christ, the Basilica and the cloister of Saint Chiara. 

MSC Opera will depart from Trieste Monday, Oct. 29 with the following itinerary: 
Italy, Greece, Croatia (7 nights). Ports of call include Ancona, Gythion, Sparta, Piraeus, Corfu and Split, returning to Trieste.
Optional excursions include: 
Gythion and Sparta: Panoramic tour, visiting Monemvasia, city on the edge of the sea, with its Byzantine Church of Christ and the Church of Santa Sofia. >From here travel on to Sparta, one of the most important Greek cities with views to ancient Acropolis and the Sanctuary of Athens. 
Split: Visit this ancient city, constructed around the Palace of Diocletian during the Roman era. 

MSC Lirica will depart from Genoa Saturday, Oct. 27 with the following itinerary: 
Italy, France, Spain, Morocco (7 nights). Ports of call include Marseille, Valencia, Tangiers, Malaga and Civitavecchia before returning to Genoa.
Optional excursions include: 
Avignon (from Marseille): Visit the Palace of Popes and enjoy a stroll in the historic city. In the afternoon visit Les Baux de Provence, typical provincial town sculptured from a limestone spur. 
Tangiers: Tour of the city that spans Europe and Africa, with its sensational souks and fragrant markets. 

For more information about MSC Cruises and its fall Mediterranean itineraries, visit or a local travel professional.

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Queen Victoria's Queen & Princess Grills Capture the Spirit & Sophistication of the Golden Age of Ocean Travel 

Valencia, CA, August 21 - A butler to unpack luggage, champagne served in Waterford glasses, fresh orchids and personalized stationery - these are among the hallmarks of the Cunard Grills. An exclusive world virtually unknown to all but the most seasoned and sophisticated travelers, the Cunard Grills represent the pinnacle of seagoing service, luxurious accommodations and comfort. Now, in the grand Cunard tradition, Queen Victoria is poised to put her own stamp on the Cunard Grills, affording travelers the opportunity to experience the storied Golden Age of Ocean Travel in the same memorable way that royalty, heads of state and celebrities have done for generations. When she enters service in December 2007, Queen Victoria will usher in a new era of Cunard innovation while showcasing the distinctive features that make a Cunard vessel the world standard-bearer. Nowhere is this more evident than in the renowned Queens Grill and Princess Grill, the pair of exclusive dining rooms and their corresponding Grill-category accommodations. Located on Deck 11, the Grills share the concierge-staffed private Grills Lounge, as well as the exquisite Grills Courtyard for al fresco dining and afternoon tea, and exclusive Grills Upper Terrace (on Deck 12), where White StarSM staff will provide cool towels, Evian spritzes, fresh fruit, sorbets and tea sandwiches to sun-seeking guests. Among the Grills' most distinguishing features is its more private location. Access is by private elevator and the Grills themselves are enclosed by gently curving panoramic glass walls on the seaboard side and cantilevered above Deck 10 over the side of the ship.

"Aboard our newest ship, we are taking our historic Cunard Grills experience to the next level," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. "Whether a traveler seeks a once-in-a-lifetime adventure steeped in luxury or is a longtime guest who has become accustomed to our Cunard ways, the experience aboard Queen Victoria will 'wow' them with its range of services, amenities and anticipatory White StarSM Service."

Distinguished Grill Dining
Within the Queens Grill and Princess Grill, guests enjoy plush ambiance and single-seating dining that rival the finest restaurants in the world. Cunard has long been regarded as a culinary leader and nowhere is its supremacy more apparent than in the Grills. A combination of art deco and classic design distinguish the exclusive 132-seat Princess Grill and142-seat Queens Grill restaurants. With a color palette of cream, gold and blue in the Queens Grill and gold, green and coral in the Princess Grill, the overall Grills aesthetic is an exquisite balance of rich wood-paneled walls in muted shades of cream and brown, bronze mirrors, and pale cream-colored ceilings, accented with faux gold paneled moldings around backlit coves. During the day, the entire length of the dining rooms is illuminated with natural light emanating from floor-to-ceiling windows, creating spectacular views of the seas below. At night, the rooms take on a dramatic ethereal quality bathed with soft lighting from decorative glass up-lights creating a golden glow around the room. The finest Wedgwood bone china, Waterford crystal, sterling silverware and Fili d'Oro Italian premium linens complete the scene, creating an elegant and timeless atmosphere.

The Grills offer extensive menus dedicated to the day's diverse specialties and much loved a la carte favorites such as Lobster Thermidor, Dover sole, and Chateaubriand. In the Queens Grill, the menu functions merely as a guide because, in grand Cunard tradition, the staff takes pleasure in accommodating any request, on or off the menu, if available. There is a special atmosphere every evening within the Grills, where nights begin in the exclusive Grills Lounge with pre-dinner cocktails and canapés striking just the right relaxing note. Overseeing everything from tableside flambé to the smooth operation of each Grill is a dedicated senior maitre d'hotel and sommelier who offers expertise and access to the ship's wine cellar. Grill guests who prefer to dine in the fresh sea air may book a table in the Grills Courtyard, an intimate Tuscan-inspired space featuring seating for 40 on a first-come, first-served basis. The Courtyard also offers pre- and post-dinner cocktails and afternoon tea. In addition, Grill guests may arrange private cocktail parties and special occasion dinners for small groups in the Courtyard. In the Grills Lounge, guests enjoy traditional afternoon tea, full bar service, pre- and post-dinner cocktails and drinks with petite after-dessert offerings accompanied by live entertainment.

Luxe Accommodations Blend Innovation and Tradition
Nothing at sea compares to Queens Grill accommodations. The ultimate in luxury, these Q1 - Q7 stateroom suites aboard Queen Victoria feature butler service with butlers who have been trained to the exacting standards of the International Guild of Professional Butlers. These ever-efficient butlers stand ready to assist with unpacking and packing (using tissue paper between folds to ensure a flawless finish), uncork the requisite bottle of French Champagne on departure and serve en-suite canapés every evening, among their myriad duties. Beautifully decorated in light woods and neutral shades of beige accented by nautically-inspired artwork, the Queens Grill accommodations include Grand and Master Suites, Penthouses and Queens Suites. They range in size from 508- to 2,121-square feet and each features a sofa and a generously-sized balcony. In addition, Grand Suites include a large dining table.

Other singular services and amenities of Queens Grill suites include fresh flower arrangements, fruit baskets and bottled water replenished daily, personalized Cunard stationery, turndown service with Sweet Dreams chocolate surprise on formal nights, bath salts, a manicure kit, umbrella and binoculars. The grandest Queens Grill accommodations (Q1 - Q4) take luxury to the next level with in-room DVD players and library of films, and priority disembarkation. 

Likewise, Princess Grill accommodations promise a peerless experience. The P1 - P4 stateroom suites aboard Queen Victoria range in size from 335- to 513-square feet and feature spacious private balconies, beautifully decorated living areas, two beds that can covert to a Queen bed and a bath with shower. Upon embarkation, Princess Grill guests enjoy a bon voyage bottle of sparkling wine and sugar-iced strawberries, as well as a fresh fruit basket and fresh orchid in stateroom.

Queens or Princess Grill accommodations provide a range of perks and privileges, including single-seating dining in their respective dining room or en-suite; access to the private Grills concierge and Queens Grill Lounge and Terrace; priority embarkation and luggage delivery with separate Grill check-in, Fili d'Oro fine linens, duvet and pillow concierge, flat screen TVs, whirlpool bathtubs, daily abridged newspaper, shoe shine service, terry cloth bathroom and slippers, and selection of fine bath amenities.

The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will offer the very best of Cunard's heritage and traditions, along with all modern day luxuries including some exciting innovations. These will include the first private viewing boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre, the first Cunardia museum exhibit at sea, housing Cunard artifacts and memorabilia along with the first two-storey, library at sea featuring an elegant spiral staircase. 

From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at the sophistication that differentiates a Cunard liner. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale, featuring rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory complete with a retractable glass roof. As well as being the second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Victoria's arrival is particularly noteworthy as it will mark the first time that three Cunard Queens have been in service together in the company's 168-year history (she joins the world's grandest liner, Queen Mary 2 and the world's most famous liner, QE2). For more information and to reserve your Cunard Grills experience, consult your travel professional or call 1.800.7CUNARD. Learn more online at

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Carnival Cruise Lines to Offer New 'Fun Ship' Cruise Vacation Options
 from Miami

MIAMI, Aug. 20 -- Carnival Cruise Lines will expand its short cruise offerings from Miami with the 2,052-passenger Carnival Imagination and 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny operating new itineraries beginning next fall. The 70,000-ton Carnival Imagination - which will become the first Carnival ship to be completely remodeled under the line's "Evolutions of Fun" enhancement program this fall - will sail on year-round three- and four-day cruises from Miami beginning Sept. 22, 2008. Additionally, the Carnival Destiny will be the industry's only 100,000- plus-ton-cruise ship to offer year-round four- and five-day cruises when it launches this program from Miami Sept. 27, 2008. This 101,000-ton "Fun Ship" will offer a one-of-a-kind vacation experience that will include four-day weekend cruises and five-day trips to exciting destinations. Plus, the Carnival Destiny will offer a wide selection of affordable balcony staterooms--a feature not widely available on other ships in the short cruise market.

These new deployments represent the latest enhancements to Carnival's highly popular three- to five-day cruise programs which comprise roughly half of the line's departures. Carnival is the industry leader in three- to five- day vacations, with 25 different itineraries departing from 10 different U.S. homeports.

"With an unmatched combination of convenience, value and affordability - and more departure points than ever before - our three- to five-day cruises continue to be in high demand," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "'Fun Ship' cruising is all about choice and Carnival Destiny and Carnival Imagination - each of which offers unique on- board facilities and features - provides today's busy consumers with exciting new cruise getaways on two popular Miami-based cruise programs," she added.

Carnival Imagination's New Itinerary, 'Evolutions of Fun' Upgrades
Carnival Imagination's new program begins Sept. 22, 2008, and encompasses three-day cruises departing Fridays and overnighting in Nassau, The Bahamas, and four-day cruises departing Mondays and calling at Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. In addition to a variety of all-inclusive dining, entertainment and activity options, Carnival Imagination will undergo an extensive renovation this fall, with the addition of the new Carnival WaterWorks aqua park featuring a massive 300-foot-long cascading waterslide and double-lane racing waterslide, along with a redesigned resort-style pool area and a new Serenity adults-only deck area.

Carnival Imagination's "extreme makeover" will also include fully remodeled staterooms and suites including new bathrooms, flat-screen televisions in staterooms and select public areas, an atrium lobby bar, updated sound and lighting systems in various lounges and clubs, coffee bar, nine-hole miniature golf course, new art and photo galleries, New York-style deli in the Lido restaurant and purpose-built conference facilities. These upgrades are part of Carnival's $250 million "Evolutions of Fun" program, cruising's most ambitious ship refurbishment and product enhancement initiative that is resulting in a dramatic transformation of Carnival's eight Fantasy-class vessels.

Carnival Destiny's New Four- & Five-Day Program
On its new four- and five-day schedule beginning Sept. 27, 2008, the 101,353-ton Carnival Destiny will depart Thursdays on four-day "long weekend" cruises to Key West, Fla., and Cozumel, Mexico. Five-day cruises departing Mondays visit Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau, The Bahamas. Five-day cruises departing Saturdays visit George Town, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Carnival Destiny will also offer a special one-time six-day cruise from Miami on Sept. 21, 2008, calling at Key West, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios.

Carnival Destiny will feature four swimming pools, Carnival's signature "Twister Waterslide," a duty-free shopping mall, a 15,000-square-foot health club, and 18 lounges and bars, including a three-deck-high theater showcasing lavish revues. Expansive facilities and activities for children and teens -- part of the line's "Camp Carnival" and "Club O2" programs, respectively, along with a variety of dining options, including two formal restaurants, a casual poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, a patisserie and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service, are also available.

Carnival will begin accepting reservations for the new Carnival Destiny and Carnival Imagination itineraries on August 24, 2007. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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NCL Named Official Cruise Line of the PGA Tour

MIAMI & PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL, Aug 20 – NCL Corporation and the PGA TOUR today announced an official marketing partnership naming Norwegian Cruise Line as the “Official Cruise Line of the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour.” The three-year agreement also provides NCL the right to use the TOUR marks in advertising, as well as promotional and tournament hospitality opportunities built around both Tours. The PGA TOUR and NCL will work together on promoting the line’s current Golf Hawai`i and Golf Bermuda programs, as well as on expanding the golf experience, exploring executions that include tournaments and TOUR members.

“The PGA TOUR is a very well respected organization with more than 105 million fans and the demographic of these fans aligns well with NCL’s target audience,” said Scott Rogers, NCL’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “In our continuing effort to embrace new and innovative marketing programs, we expect that this partnership with the PGA TOUR will let golfers around the world know that you can combine a great cruise vacation with top golf experiences at the best courses in the world on NCL.”

In 2007, the PGA TOUR kicked off the FedExCup, a compelling new season-long points competition, culminating this fall with the first-ever PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, during which the champion will be determined. The Champions Tour, for professionals 50 and over, showcases the most accomplished and revered players in golf.

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Cunard Line Adds New Voyage to QE2's Farewell Season

Valencia, CA, Aug 20 - Cunard Line has announced an additional voyage to QE2's 2008 Farewell Season. The company announced in June that the vessel would leave the fleet in November 2008 and begin a new life as a first-class hotel and entertainment destination in Dubai. The new eight-day Iberia in Bloom voyage will depart Southampton on April 27, 2008 and call in France at La Rochelle (for Cognac) and Le Verdon (for Bordeaux), in Spain at Bilbao and La Coruna (for Santiago de Compostela) and in Lisbon, Portugal.

"The demand for QE2's 2008 voyages has been phenomenal since we announced she was leaving the fleet," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. "While we still have space on some sailings next year, the introduction of this new voyage means we can give people a further opportunity to experience the most famous ship in the world before she ceases her role as an ocean-going passenger vessel." For more information and reservations, contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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NCL Welcomes New Billion Dollar Shareholder

MIAMI, August 17 -- NCL Corporation Ltd ("NCL"), parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line and NCL America, announced today that private equity group, Apollo Management, LP ("Apollo"), has agreed to make a $1 billion cash equity investment in NCL. The new investment, in the form of common stock alongside NCL's existing sole shareholder, Star Cruises ("Star"), is designed to strengthen NCL's balance sheet and its ability to continue to expand what is fast-becoming the youngest fleet in the industry, and to evolve further the company's successful Freestyle Cruising concept first introduced in 2000. 

"To have an investment on this scale by one of the very top names in the private equity world is a huge vote of confidence in the new NCL we have created since Star Cruises became the owner in 2000," said NCL Corporation's President and CEO Colin Veitch.

Steve Martinez, Partner at Apollo Management, added, "We are very excited to be forming this partnership with Star Cruises and the existing management team of NCL. Our investment will help NCL complete its transition into the youngest fleet in the cruise industry, with a truly original next generation product with its F3 concept ships. We believe the NCL brand has significant growth potential over many years to come." 

Under the terms of the proposed investment, which includes an agreement for additional future distributions to be made directly by NCL to Star, Apollo will become 50 percent owner of NCL and will name a majority of the NCL board with certain consent rights retained by Star. Star will retain all of its existing stock in NCL and will, like Apollo, be 50 percent owner of the recapitalized company. Star Cruises Chairman and CEO Tan Sri KT Lim, welcomed the new partner and remarked on the opportunities that lie ahead: "Apollo's significant financial commitment in NCL's common stock means we have an equal partner who believes in the business as much as we do. This is a powerful validation of what we have achieved so far and of our vision for the future. It is also truly the start of the next - and most exciting - chapter for this great company."

The proceeds of the Apollo investment will be used to repay existing NCL indebtedness, greatly increasing the liquidity available to fund a continuation of the dramatic new building program that has seen the introduction of eight purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships to the fleet in just six years. The NCL-owned fleet today (excluding four chartered ships) stands at 19,740 berths, with another 15,000 berths under construction and under option, including the new Norwegian Gem due for delivery at the start of October this year. 

As part of Apollo's investment in NCL, Apollo and Star have entered into a sub-agreement relating to NCL's U.S. flagged Hawai`i operations under the NCL America brand ("NCLA") providing for deferred consideration to be paid to Star by NCL in the future. The sub-agreement is designed to support the business of NCLA in the near term and permit NCLA time to realize the benefits of various measures recently implemented to raise revenue yields and to lower crew turnover and payroll costs. Taken together with the pre-money valuation implied by Apollo's $1 billion payment for 50 percent of the expanded equity, this added element of the transaction implies a total enterprise valuation of NCL of approximately $4 billion. Completion of the transaction is expected early in Q4 2007 and is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approval, Star Cruises shareholder approval, and Star and NCL lender consents.

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Holland America Line Announces Free Parking in San Diego

SEATTLE, Aug. 17 -- Holland America Line has just added one more reason to take a sun-drenched cruise from San Diego to Mexico, Hawaii or Tahiti this fall or winter. Guests who book any ocean-view stateroom will enjoy free parking in San Diego near the cruise terminal during their cruise. For example, guests booking an outside or verandah stateroom on a 15-day Circle Hawaii cruise roundtrip from San Diego will receive free parking--a $145 value--while sailing to Hilo and Kona on the big island of Hawaii; Lahaina, Maui; Honolulu, Oahu; and Nawiliwili, Kauai. The ms Zaandam offers Circle Hawaii cruise departures from Oct. 11, 2007 to Apr. 3, 2008.

Those seeking a roundtrip Mexican Riviera cruise from San Diego can indulge in a seven-day sailing and enjoy free parking valued at $70. On a 10-day cruise, free parking is valued at $95. Guests can choose from many sailing dates on the ms Oosterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Zaandam from Oct. 11, 2007, to Jan. 19, 2008, to take advantage of this free parking offer.

Also, Holland America Line's 30-day, roundtrip cruise from San Diego to Hawaii, Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands also now includes free parking valued at $290. This extraordinary sailing departs Jan. 6, 2008, on the ms Ryndam and includes all the Hawaiian ports before continuing on to the French Polynesian islands of Raiatea, Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti (Papeete), and Nuku Hiva.

Guests taking advantage of the free parking offer should book soon for best stateroom availability. For more information, contact a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Follow The Sun To The Western Mediterranean on MSC Cruises

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Aug. 15 – Let yourself be transported to the exotic and fascinating bazaars of Tunis. Discover the hidden treasures of Sicily, symbolic meeting place between east and west. Lose yourself in Barcelona’s Gothic inspiration, with authentic tapas and exciting flamenco. MSC Cruises offers five different Western Mediterranean itineraries and a rich choice of excursions on board MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Melody and MSC Lirica. Guests can take advantage of MSC Cruises’ “Best Fare, Best Room” promotion, which provides them with the best stateroom available within their desired category at the time of booking. As an added bonus, North American residents who place a reservation need only place a $100 deposit per person, based on double occupancy. Prices vary by sail date and category. In addition, kids sail free when staying in a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults.

MSC Musica departs each Friday from Barcelona through Oct. 26 to cruise Italy, Tunisia, the Balearic Islands, Spain and France (7 nights). Ports of call include Genoa, Naples, Palermo, Tunis, Palma, Genoa and Marseille, returning to Genoa.

Excursion offerings include:
• Palma: Excursion to the city to visit the Bellever Castle, the gothic Barrio, the majestic Cathedram and Toros Square.
• Barcelona: Tour of Gaudi’s city, stopping off at Casa Batio, Mija, Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia, the undisputed masterpiece of the Catalan architect.

MSC Sinfonia sails weekly roundtrip cruises from Rome through Nov. 18, departing on Sundays and cruising to Italy, Monaco, Spain, Malta, Tunisia (7 nights). Ports of call include Genoa, Monte Carlo, Valencia, Valletta, Tunis and Genoa.

Excursion offerings include:
• Valencia: Travel the roads and piazzas of this Spanish city tour by coach and on foot, including a guided tour of the Cathedral.
• Tunis: Visit the Medina of Tunis, a typical Arab market with vibrant streets flanked by shops selling a host of artisans’ wares.

MSC Melody departs each Monday from Barcelona through Oct. 22 on 7-night roundtrip cruises to Italy, France, Spain, the Balearic Islands and Tunisia. Ports of call include Livorno, St. Tropez, Ibiza, Tunis, Messina and Naples before returning to Livorno.

Excursion offerings include:
• Ibiza: Tour of this typical Mediterranean island, stopping off at the salt lake and the white church of San Jose. Free time at Saint Anthony’s for a stroll across the old town.
• Naples: Walking tour stopping off at Saint Gregorio Armeno, the Church of the New Christ, the Basilica and the Cloister of Saint Chiara.

MSC Lirica offers two itineraries. The 7-night roundtrip itinerary sails on Fridays from Civitavecchia and calls in Italy, France, Spain, Morocco Sept. 21-Nov. 9. Ports of call include Genoa, Marseille, Valencia, Tangiers, and Malaga. The second itinerary is a 3-night cruise Sept. 12 visiting Italian ports – Genoa, Civitavecchia and Olbia.

Excursion offerings include:
• Avignone (from Marseille): Visit the evocative Popes Palace and walk through the historic city center. In the afternoon visit Les Baux de Provence, a typical provincial town perched on a barren rock face.
• Tangiers: Tour the city that straddles Europe and Africa, with its mixture of languages, especially evident in the colorful souk and the fragrant markets.
• Rome: Grand tour of the eternal city to discover the ancient civilization and the roots of Christianity: from the Coliseum and Piazza Navona to the Imperial Gateway and Fontana di Trevi, plus Saint Peter’s Basilica.

For more information about MSC Cruises and its Western Mediterranean itineraries, visit or a local travel professional.

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Princess Announces Series of West Coast Sampler Sailings in 2008-09

SANTA CLARITA, CA, August 15 - One of the seasonal cruise opportunities on Princess' worldwide calendar each year is the chance to experience the Princess product with a short West Coast sailing. Ranging from overnight to as long as a week, these "coastal" sailings offer a great way for travelers to sample Princess' amenity-filled vessels and renowned service while exploring the Pacific coastline of North America. For the 2008-09 season, passengers can choose from one-, two-, three- and four-night escapes in the spring and fall. Two special week-long coastal sailings on Sapphire Princess include a Coastal Wine Region cruise with special wine-related tours, programs and special guests; and a British Columbia and West Coast cruise.

"Coastal voyages are a great way to sample what Princess offers from shipboard amenities, dining and entertainment, to our acclaimed service," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "And next season our longer sampler sailings also offer the opportunity to explore the West Coast and many of the area's wonderful wine regions."

Princess Coastal Sailings for 2008-09 include:

  • British Columbia and West Coast Coastal: A seven-day tour of the west coast from Vancouver to Los Angeles with calls at Victoria, San Francisco, Catalina Island and San Diego. Sapphire Princess sets sail on this journey on September 20, 2008.

  • Wine Country Coastal: A week-long exploration featuring the California wine regions of Santa Barbara and the San Francisco area as well as the microbreweries of Astoria, Oregon. Passengers can expand their knowledge of food and wine with shore excursion options to wineries in port, as well as enjoy presentations from a guest wine expert and guest chef who will offer demonstrations, wine tastings and special meals. The cruise aboard Sapphire Princess departs from Los Angeles on May 9, 2009, sailing to Vancouver with calls at Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Astoria, Seattle and Victoria. 

  • San Francisco/Vancouver: A two-day journey between the "City by the Bay" and British Columbia's largest city. Offered on Star Princess on May 7, 2009. 

  • Los Angeles/Vancouver: Several ships offer a choice of three-night getaways between Los Angeles and Vancouver, including Coral Princess on September 15, 2008 and May 15, 2009, Golden Princess on September 28, 2008, and Island Princess on September 22, 2008. Island Princess also offers a four-day voyage on May 7, 2009 offering a call in Victoria.

  • Seattle/Vancouver: These overnight sailings between Seattle and Vancouver give passengers a taste of life aboard, with departures on Golden Princess on September 27, 2008 and Star Princess on May 9, 2009. Golden Princess also offers a four-day Alaskan Sampler cruise between Vancouver and Seattle featuring a call in Ketchikan, departing on May 5, 2009.

Early booking fares for Princess Coastal sailing starts at $99 per person for an overnight sailing, based on double occupancy. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Holland America Line Features Three Distinctive Alaska Itineraries in 2008

SEATTLE, Aug. 14 -- A leader in Alaska cruising and touring, Holland America Line presents a trio of unique and exclusive cruise options to the Great Land in 2008. The premium line's three major cruising itineraries - - Glacier Bay Inside Passage Cruises, Glacier Discovery, and Alaskan Explorer Cruise -- showcase the highlights of Alaska with distinctive options to suit the various wishes of Alaskan-bound travelers.

"Next summer in Alaska, Holland America Line will offer the most entries into Glacier Bay National Park and extraordinary scenic cruising past Alaska's immense Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay, as well as the 15 glaciers of College Fjord and the twin Sawyer Glaciers in Tracy Arm," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales, and guest programs. "Of course, we also feature a full line of excursions in Alaska's most popular ports. The breadth of our experience in this region translates into an award-winning and up-close experience in Alaska."

Holland America Line will offer 156 premium cruises to Alaska on a total of eight ships in 2008, including 59 sailings on three ships home-ported in Seattle and 97 cruises on five ships based in Vancouver, BC.

Alaskan Explorer Cruises from Seattle
Quickly becoming an Alaskan favorite, The Alaskan Explorer offers the glaciers, wildlife and history of Alaska from the popular Seattle departure port. From May 3 through Sept. 21, Holland America Line features two Vista-class ships, the 1,848-guest ms Oosterdam (Saturdays) and 1,916-guest ms Westerdam (Sundays), on its roundtrip, seven-day Inside Passage cruises from that city, joined by the 1,380-guest flagship ms Amsterdam (Fridays).

The Amsterdam highlights Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glaciers, the Oosterdam showcases the Hubbard Glacier and Yakutat Bay, and the Westerdam cruises spectacular Glacier Bay. All Alaskan Explorer cruises call at the historic ports of Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, plus Victoria, BC, and feature scenic cruising of the Inside Passage and Vancouver Island. With two larger Vista-class ships--Oosterdam and Westerdam--plenty of options exist for verandah staterooms. Popular among today's cruisers, verandahs allow guests to step outside to view Alaska's glaciers, wilderness and wildlife from the privacy of their own verandah.

Vancouver Sailings Roundtrip & One-way
Five Holland America Line ships will offer a total of 97 Alaska cruises from Vancouver, BC -- a combination of roundtrip Inside Passage sailings and one-way cruises between Vancouver and Seward for those who wish to cruise beyond the Inside Passage and also possibly combine the cruise with a land vacation in Alaska. Ships depart in 2008 from May 2 to Sept. 19, offering guests a wide choice of shoulder and peak season Alaska cruising.

Four Holland America Line ships will feature 43 seven-day Glacier Bay Inside Passage cruises roundtrip from Vancouver with departures from May 2 through Sept. 19 on Wednesdays and Saturdays, as well as selected Friday and Sunday departures. The 1,258-passenger sister ships Ryndam, Statendam and Veendam, plus the 1,432-passenger Zaandam, will all feature a full day of scenic cruising through Glacier Bay National Park and call at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.

Two ships, Zaandam and sister ship Volendam, will offer 36 seven-day, one-way cruises between Vancouver and Seward departing on Sundays May 11 through Sept. 14. The northbound Glacier Bay Discovery cruises leave Vancouver to call at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway and include scenic cruising of both Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord before arriving in Seward, home of the stunning scenery and wildlife of Kenai Fjords National Park. Southbound, the itinerary is similar with a port call at Haines instead of Skagway. Also for those guests looking to sail further afield and sample additional glaciers, the Veendam also features seven-day, one-way Hubbard Glacier Discovery cruises between Vancouver and Seward departing Fridays May 16 through Sept. 12. These sailings combine calls at Ketchikan, Haines (northbound) or Skagway (southbound), Juneau and Sitka with scenic cruising past the colossal Hubbard Glacier.

Shore Excursions & CruiseTours Broaden the Experience
Shore excursions allow guests to further their Alaskan experience with the ever-popular flight-seeing over the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau and helicopter glacier tours of Skagway. Guests can enjoy active excursions ranging from sea kayaking and fly or sport fishing to dog sledding and wildlife watching for eagles, sea otters and whales. Other exciting excursions feature such attractions as the White Pass Summit Scenic Railway from Skagway, Saxman Native Village in Ketchikan and Russian heritage of Sitka.

Holland America Line also features an extensive selection of 29 CruiseTours, which combine one of the above cruises with further exploration of "The Great Land." Guests can opt for 11- to 20-day CruiseTours that add highlights of Alaska and the Yukon such as Denali, Kenai Fjords and Kluane National Parks, Tombstone Park, Fairbanks, Dawson City and Whitehorse, Arctic Circle adventures and a Yukon River cruise. Many CruiseTours feature "Double Denali" -- two full days in Denali National Park to maximize wildlife and Mt. McKinley viewing.

2008 Alaska Cruises & CruiseTours Brochure Is Now Available
For a copy of the new 2008 Alaska Cruises & CruiseTours brochure, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Celebrating Romance Week, Princess Cruises Reminds Couples to Make Time to Re-Connect with Loved Ones

SANTA CLARITA, CA, August 14 - According to a recent survey, one quarter of respondents are not able to make time for romance in their daily lives and, not surprisingly, it appears as though work is the culprit. Forty-five percent of those questioned report that their jobs are the main obstacle to romance, though roughly half do make time to regularly say "I love you" to their partner. The survey was conducted by Princess Cruises' Department of Romance in honor of Romance Week (August 13-17). To help inspire passengers to put romance back into their lives on a daily basis, Princess has also debuted its "Certified Romantic" course on Crown Princess this week. Hundreds of passengers have already been certified as romantics aboard sister ship Emerald Princess, which debuted the unique course this past spring. The light-hearted presentation offers a history of romance, humorous stories and practical tips from the company's Department of Romance experts - Trish McDermott, former vice president of Romance at and a founder of; couples therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer; and former Love Boat captain, Gavin MacLeod. 

Romance expert McDermott concurs with the survey findings, saying that most couples leave romance mostly for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine's Day. "People need to make time every day for romance," she says. "It takes a conscious effort to do this, but the results are well worth it." Some of the suggestions McDermott offers couples are to agree upon a time of day when TV, cell phones and computers are turned off, as well as setting a date night each week. "Couples need to remember why they fell in love, to disconnect to reconnect," says McDermott. "Romance Week is a great time to remember just that. Not to think about gifts or cards, flowers or chocolate, but to remember what they love about each other and to incorporate ways to express that into their everyday lives."

"Who else but Princess is uniquely qualified to help inspire passengers to re-discover romance," says Jan Swartz, the company's senior vice president of customer service, alluding to the 30-plus years the company has been known as "The Love Boat" line. "We celebrate romance 365 days a year onboard our ships, so celebrating Romance Week is just an extension of our efforts to help passengers escape from their everyday routines and re-invigorate their relationships with loved ones."

Princess Cruises unveiled its Department of Romance this past Valentine's Day, along with several romantic initiatives including a Romance-By-Room-Service menu that includes a special presentation of champagne and chocolate, scattered fresh rose petals and candlelight, all set to a background of romantic music. A special section of the line's website,, which will be launched this fall, will focus solely on romance and offer tips and trends from the Department experts. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website.

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Norwegian Gem Leaves Shipyard Drydock

MIAMI, Aug. 14 – The world got its first glimpse of Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) newest “It” Girl—Norwegian Gem—as she left drydock at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany on Sunday, August 12. Prior to leaving drydock, the 93,500-ton ship underwent a series of tests and engine trials, all of which went smoothly. She will be berthed at the outfitting pier in Papenburg while outstanding work is completed. The ship is scheduled to make the River Ems passage to Eemshaven/Netherlands for sea trials in mid-September.

“The introduction of Norwegian Gem not only marks the completion of our Jewel-class series of ships, but also solidifies NCL’s status as the youngest and most modern fleet in the industry,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. 

Custom built for Freestyle Cruising, Norwegian Gem defines what it is to be an ‘It’ Girl: from her extravagant suites and villas, to her 10 A-list dining options. With a crew of more than 1,000, Norwegian Gem can accommodate 2,400 guests (double occupancy) and has all the top-of-the-line amenities guests have come to expect from NCL, including a four-lane ten-pin bowling alley, rock climbing wall, two top-of-the-ship Deluxe Owner’s Suites and the ultra-hot Wii™ video game system by Nintendo.

NCL is on target to have the youngest fleet in the industry by the end of 2007 with the introduction of Norwegian Gem, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea. NCL plans to build up to three new third generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery between 2009 and 2011. For further information on NCL, contact a travel agent or NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030.

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Carnival Announces Significant Expansion of Cruise Operations
 From Jacksonville

MIAMI, Aug. 14 -- Carnival Cruise Lines and the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) today announced a significant increase in capacity for Jacksonville's cruise operations when the 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination replaces the 1,486-passenger Celebration on four- and five-day cruises year-round from Jacksonville beginning Sept. 20, 2008. Carnival is the only cruise operator to sail year-round from Jacksonville and the Carnival Fascination represents a 38 percent increase in capacity over the Celebration. With the deployment of the Carnival Fascination - the newest and largest ship ever homeported in Jacksonville on a year-round basis - Carnival is expected to carry 170,000 guests annually from JAXPORT.

"Jacksonville has proven to be a very successful homeport based on the convenient and affordable cruise options that it offers to consumers from across the Southeastern U.S.," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "These voyages are especially attractive to first-time cruisers, providing them with an opportunity to experience Carnival's unique vacation environment and wide-ranging product upgrades, all at an outstanding value. Our Jacksonville-based cruises generate some of the highest guest satisfaction ratings in our fleet and we believe that this will only be enhanced when the Carnival Fascination starts service next fall" she added.

In conjunction with the redeployment of the Carnival Fascination to Jacksonville, the ship will offer a new five-day itinerary departing Saturdays and featuring daylong calls to award-winning Half Moon Cay, a private Bahamian island, and Nassau, The Bahamas. The five-day cruises departing Mondays will visit Key West and Nassau and the four-day weekend voyages departing Thursdays will call at Freeport and Nassau.

Carnival Fascination currently operates three- and four-day cruises from Miami and will continue that program through Sept. 15, 2008. The Celebration will remain in Jacksonville through its departure date of April 14, 2008. Future deployment plans for that vessel will be announced at a later date.

Pricing and Reservations
Reservations will be accepted for the Carnival Fascination's new four- and five-day schedule from Jacksonville beginning August 22, 2007. Carnival Fascination cruises can also be combined with a pre- or post-cruise land stay in Jacksonville. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Silversea Serves Up a New Dish: The Viking Cooking School

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, August 14 - Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is expanding its enrichment palette this month with the official launch of the Viking Cooking School Aboard Silversea. Developed through the company's unique partnership with Viking Range Corporation, whose ultra-premium appliances grace the luxury kitchens of those who truly enjoy the finer things in life, the Viking Cooking School on each Silversea ship features a custom-designed demonstration culinary theater equipped with state-of-the-art induction stove, sophisticated convection-microwave oven and Viking professional-caliber cookware, cutlery and countertop appliances, plus a large rear projection screen so guests can easily view different cooking techniques and utensils. 

A cornerstone of the alliance between the two luxury brands is the exclusive Viking Cooking School culinary curriculum presented to Silversea guests on select voyages hosted by Viking chefs. The curriculum for each cruise is carefully designed to echo the cultural flavor of the ship's itinerary. Highlights include cooking demonstrations with wine pairings and interactive Q&A sessions; a "Lunch and Learn" event giving groups of 12-16 guests a chance to sample a delicious meal of specially prepared dishes; and a "Market to the Plate" experience (offered on certain voyages when the itinerary permits) that provides an escorted tour of a local market followed by a cooking class. 

"This alliance was a natural one for us and we are thrilled to be the only cruise line to partner with this renowned luxury company," said Erling Frydenberg, Silversea's chief operations officer. "There are land-based Viking Cooking Schools in select cities, but our ships are the first in the cruise industry to present the exclusive Viking curriculum in custom-designed culinary theaters at sea." Added Frydenberg, "Many of our guests have Viking appliances at home, so the interactive cooking demonstrations not only entertain and educate, but are a great opportunity for guests to ask questions and learn more about how to get the most benefits from their own high-performance culinary equipment." 

All Viking instructors are accomplished chefs and culinary industry leaders who bring many years of expertise and knowledge to the classroom. When Viking chefs are not on board, the culinary theaters serve as venues for the international guest chefs of Relais & Chateaux to show off their extraordinary talents on select Culinary Arts cruises. On all other voyages, Silversea's own master chefs take the stage to host cooking demonstrations and dynamic competitions. 

A preliminary sampling of upcoming Viking Cooking Schools Aboard Silversea: 

  • Silver Shadow departs August 25, 2007 on a 9-day voyage (#3722) from Copenhagen to Hamburg with calls in Gothenborg, Sweden, Rostock, Germany and the Norwegian ports of Ulvik, Bergen and Oslo. Hosted by Viking Chef Christopher Green, a gifted chef who honed his French culinary skills at L'Academie de Cuisine in Washington, D.C ., and has taught more than 1,700 cooking classes for a range of companies.

  • Silver Cloud departs August 26, 2007 on a 12-day voyage (#1723) from Athens to Istanbul with calls in Batumi, Georgia; Constanta, Romania; Nesebur, Bulgaria; Odessa, Sevastopol and Yalta in Ukraine; and the Turkish cities of Sinop and Trabzon. Hosted by Viking Chef Lynn Gorfinkle, a certified nutrition counselor who manages training and operations for all Viking Cooking Schools.

  • Silver Whisper departs August 31, 2007 on a 7-day voyage (#4731) from Barcelona to Lisbon with calls in Oporto, Portugal and the Spanish ports of Malaga, Cadiz and Vigo. Hosted by Viking Chef Elizabeth Heiskell, who owns her own successful catering company and has prepared dishes for recognizable names such as Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, and former Vice President Al Gore.

  • Silver Shadow departs September 12, 2007 on an 11-day voyage (#3724) from London to Lisbon with calls in Vigo, Spain; Oporto, Portugal; and the French towns of Honfleur, St. Malo and Bordeaux. Hosted by Viking Chef Riki Senn, a 25-year veteran of the culinary industry who writes curriculum for Viking Cooking Schools. Her career highlights include serving as fine dining chef at West Virginia's renowned Greenbrier Resort.

  • Silver Wind departs October 18, 2007 on a 12-day voyage (#2729) from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados with calls in Key West, Grand Turk, St. Thomas, Virgin Gorda, Antigua, St. Bart's, St. Lucia and Grenada. Hosted by Viking Chef Kathleen Bruno, who develops classes and recipes for Viking Cooking Schools, and her husband Luis Bruno, currently executive chef at the Mississippi Governor's Mansion.

For complete voyage details and the latest information on Viking Cooking School cruises, visit

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Crystal Cruises Will Clock in More Than 50,000 Miles With Overland Adventures During 2008 World Cruise

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 13 -- As a result of record participation in 2007, Crystal Cruises announces its largest-ever collection of luxury Overland Adventures available with its 2008 World Cruise. Crystal has assembled 34 multiple-day excursions--10 of them brand new--for a savvy clientele eager to venture more than 1,000 miles from World Cruise ports to trek Borneo's rainforest, train an elephant in northern Thailand, drink in Australia's Barossa Valley wine region and other coveted destination experiences in India and Egypt, among others. Departing January 19, Crystal's 2008 108-day World Cruise travels from Los Angeles to London and calls at 45 ports in 22 countries. With the ultra- luxurious Crystal Serenity serving as home base, world cruisers can enjoy fully-escorted, two- to six-night adventures that depart from one port of call and re-join the ship in another.

"Crystal's World Cruise guests are sophisticated travelers with an insatiable appetite for culturally authentic and stimulating adventure," says John Stoll, Crystal's director of land programs. "Our Overland Adventures expand the way our guests plan their travels. While the cruise itinerary may list Cairns, Phuket or Cochin, a Crystal travel adventure can take you thousands of miles away to Ayers Rock or Mandalay or Jaipur." Adds Stoll, "A World Cruise in and of itself takes one on an incredible personal and shared journey. Additionally, there is a wonderful camaraderie that develops amongst those who experience an overland adventure together."

From natural wonders, like New Zealand's fjords and Australia's wetlands, to ancient wonders, like Angor Wat, The Great Wall and the Taj Mahal, Crystal's 2008 overland collection includes such highlights as:

  • NEW Borneo's Kota Kinabalu rainforest and orangutan experience in Sandakan (three nights from Singapore) -- distance traveled: over 2,000 miles

  • NEW Elephant training and a Thai massage in northern Thailand's ancient Chiang Mai (two nights from Ho Chi Minh) -- distance traveled: over 3,000 miles

  • NEW Ayers Rock, the world's largest monolith, in the Australian outback (three nights from Cairns) -- distance traveled: over 6,000 miles

  • NEW India's wonders discovered on three new adventures--five in all--showcasing the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, the Pink City of Jaipur and Udaipur, known as the Venice of the East (two to three nights; all from Cochin) -- distance traveled: over 10,000 miles

  • Six different excursions explore the Myanmar treasures of Mandalay, Lake Inle and Bagan, the largest archeological site in southeast Asia (one to four nights; all from Yangon) -- distance traveled: over 8,000 miles

  • Three excursions journey through Egypt and Jordan's Luxor, The Valley of the Kings and along the Nile (three nights from Safaga) -- distance traveled: over 1,000 miles

Besides record demand, Crystal Cruises' Overland Adventures have enjoyed record ratings from its discriminating World Cruisers. Where possible, accommodations are planned at hotels that share Crystal's service philosophy, such as The Oberoi, The Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental. Crystal is also using several Four Seasons Hotels -- including a Four Seasons Tented Camp in Thailand's Golden Triangle, the region where Thailand, Burma and Laos meet. Programs feature rare antiquities as well as visits to local shops and markets. Many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are showcased in the programs.

Crystal's Overland Adventures include all air/ground transportation, accommodations, meals and Crystal escort. Overland Adventures may be pre-reserved online at where guests may also view day-by-day itinerary details.

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MSC Cruises’ New 2008 Europe Itineraries Offer Substantial Savings 
and Kid’s Sail Free

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Aug. 13 – MSC Cruises has announced its new line up of itineraries, pricing and the opening of reservations for its exciting selection of 2008 Europe sailings, featuring more than 78 different itineraries and more than 120 ports of call. By planning early and reserving space while Early Booking rates are in effect, guests can reap significant savings on the line’s Mediterranean and Northern Europe itineraries. In addition, those who book by Dec. 31, 2007 can take advantage of MSC Cruises’ “Best Fare, Best Room” promotion, which provides them with the best stateroom available within their desired category (interior, oceanview, balcony) at the time of booking. As an added bonus, North American residents who place a reservation need only place a $100 deposit per person, based on double occupancy. Prices vary by sail date and category. Families can also take advantage of the special “Kids Sail Free” offer on all Europe sailings when youngsters ages 17 and under share a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults. 

All of the fleet’s nine ships will be in the Mediterranean region at some time in 2008 with two of its newest vessels sailing year round, reaffirming MSC Cruises as a leader in the market. Guests can select from a variety of Mediterranean itineraries, with cruises of varying lengths (from weekend cruises to 11-night itineraries) and port calls. Guests can, for example, explore the Greek Isles on MSC Musica, one of the line’s newest vessels, enjoy the more intimate cruising experience onboard the classic MSC Rhapsody’s exciting 7-night Mediterranean itinerary that includes Florence, Amalfi, Taromina, Malta and Tunisia, or journey to the pinnacle of beauty of Cape North on an 11-night Northern Europe cruise on MSC Armonia.

For more information about MSC Cruises’ extensive selection of European sailings, visit or a local travel professional.

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Makes Luxury History With 
Two World Cruises in 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, August 13 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises will offer two World Cruise itineraries in 2009, becoming the first luxury cruise operator ever to offer two global winter cruises in the same year. Regent’s World Cruise guests will travel in sybaritic style aboard the 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager® and the 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner®. Seven Seas Voyager will embark on a 116-night January journey to the South Pacific, Orient, Arabia, the Mediterranean and Bermuda, while Seven Seas Mariner departs two weeks later for a 121-night sojourn to South America, French Polynesia, Australia, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Russia and Alaska.

“We are delighted to schedule two World Cruises in 2009, an unprecedented deployment that will provide our guests with the ultimate travel experience aboard the only all-suite, all-balcony luxury ships in the world,” said Regent President Mark Conroy. “With two distinct itineraries spanning six continents, plus 23 combined overnight calls, exclusive on-board entertainment and the sumptuous amenities of two six-star luxury vessels, our dual World Cruises clearly place Regent Seven Seas Cruises at the forefront of cruising’s luxury category.”

Seven Seas Voyager’s 2009 Grand Circumnavigation World Cruise departs January 12 from Los Angeles with seven individual segments, each offering guests a choice of diverse Concierge Collection land adventures as well as enlightening onboard lecture programs and activities. For a dramatic beginning to their adventure, guests may combine Seven Seas Voyager’s World Cruise with a 15-night Panama Canal sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles (December 29, 2008 to January 12, 2009) for a 131-night voyage. Travelers explore pristine Costa Rica, tropical Colombia, and the magnificent Panama Canal, followed by three stops in Mexico before the journey ends in Los Angeles.

Seven Seas Mariner’s 2009 Ring of Fire World Cruise departs January 26 from Fort Lauderdale with eight individual segments, each offering exclusive Concierge Collection land journeys, stimulating onboard lecture programs and activities. Seven Seas Mariner will offer more time in port with 12 overnight calls, including Rio de Janiero, Ushuaia, Laem-Chabang, Hong Gai (Hanoi), Osaka and Tokyo. Travelers can launch their adventure by combining Seven Seas Mariner’s World Cruise with a 12-night Caribbean departure roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale (January 14 to 26, 2009) for a 132-night cruise. The itinerary features the southern Caribbean jewels of Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and St. Kitts, along with San Juan and Grand Turk.

General bookings will be accepted as of September 21, 2007; segments open for bookings in early October and 2008 World Cruise guests will receive priority booking status. Cruise fares include all shipboard gratuities; exclusive gifts and special events; complimentary beverages, including select wines and spirits served throughout the ship; complimentary 24-hour room service; in-suite bar setup in butler suites; and refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, beer and bottled water replenished daily.

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Explore the World's Greatest Civilizations & Natural Wonders by Cruise Ship

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, August 13- Perfect weather and total relaxation, complete escape from daily routine, dazzling dining, non-stop entertainment, endless shopping, colorful ports and foreign countries: these are all among the top reasons travelers of all ages and interests choose to cruise time and again. What may come as a surprise to many vacationers is the unparalleled opportunity a cruise offers to visit the world's greatest cultural and natural landmarks, often many during a single voyage. Some cruises are virtually a guided tour of civilization's and Mother Nature's most important and fabulous creations.

From the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia to the fiery splendor of Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park, UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites encompasses the most important, culturally significant and astonishing achievements made by man or nature. They are found on all continents, in virtually every country. Some, like the Colosseum in Rome, the Acropolis in Athens, the pyramids of Egypt or the Statue of Liberty are much visited and well known; others, such as the Ilulissat Ice Fjord in Greenland or the giant stone statues of Easter Island, come as fascinating discoveries. Most important, CLIA member lines feature many of them on itineraries long and short, near to home and far away. In fact, a cruise vacation is the simplest, most comfortable way to visit some of the most exciting, exotic and surprising places in the world. 

Many CLIA member lines offer itineraries featuring hundreds of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here is a sampling of UNESCO World Heritage sites that are most popular amongst cruise passengers this year, according to by CLIA member lines:

  • In the United States: Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park; Florida's Everglades National Park

  • In the Caribbean: La Fortelaza and the quaint old city of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Willemstad, Curacao; The "Pitons" mountains of St. Lucia; the barrier reef of Belize; Morne Trois Pitons National Park on Dominica

  • In Canada: the magnificent coastal drives of Nova Scotia; Quebec City; Banff National Park; L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site 

  • In the Mediterranean: the medieval city of Rhodes; Valletta and the megalithic temples of Malta; the "old town" of Corfu

  • In the Adriatic: Dubrovnik and the old city of Trogir; the 8th century carvings on the rocks of Madara in Bulgaria; Butrint and the Ottoman town of Gjirokastra in Albania; Split, Montenegro, and Kotor 

  • In North Africa: Ancient Carthage and the amphitheater of El Jem in Tunisia; Cairo, Memphis, Giza in Egypt; Marrakesh in Morocco 

  • In Greece: The ancient temples at Delphi; the archaeological ruins of Olympia

  • In Turkey: Istanbul, Canakkale and the ancient city of Troy

  • In Italy: Hundreds of sites in Venice, Florence, Rome, Genoa, Naples, Ravenna; the Amalfi Coast; Pompeii 

  • In Portugal: Lisbon's monastery of the Hieronymites and the Tower of Belem; the cultural landscapes of Sintra; Madeira 

  • In Spain: the Alhambra; Seville; Barcelona 

  • In France: Mont Saint Michel; Versailles Palace, Bordeaux's Port of the Moon; Carcassonne; Avignon; Pont de Gard; Canal du Midi

  • In the U.K.: The ancient stones of Stonehenge, Avebury and Orkney; the landmarks and monuments of London, the old town of Edinburgh; Liverpool's Maritime Mercantile City; the Giant's Causeway; Canterbury Cathedral

  • In Russia: St. Petersburg, the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow 

  • In Asia: The ancient city of Nara in Japan; Angkor Wat; the imperial palaces of Beijing and Shenyang in China; the Great Wall; Agra Fort, the Taj Mahal, the churches of Goa and the Elephanta Caves of India; Borobudur Temple and Komodo National Park in Indonesia; Ha Long Bay and the ancient town of Hoi An in Vietnam

  • In Australia: the Great Barrier Reef; the Sydney Opera House; the Blue Mountains

  • In South America: The World Heritage designated cities of Valparaiso, Quito, Cuzco; Machu Picchu; Iguazu National Park of Argentina and Brazil 

  • In Mexico and Central America: Numerous ancient monuments and ruins, including Tikal, Copan, Uxmal and Chichen-Itza; the Agave landscape and ancient industrial facilities of Tequila

  • In Scandinavia and the Baltic: Norway's fjords, Geirangerfjord, the village of Nusfjord and Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen; Kronborg Castle in Denmark; the old town of Tallin and the historic center of Riga 

  • In the Middle East: The ancient harbor and capital of Dilmun in Bahrain; Petra in Jordan; the Old City of Sana'a in Yemen 

  • In Africa: The Ngorongoro conservation Area; Serengeti National Park; Kilimanjaro National Park; the Stone Town of Zanzibar; Victoria Falls

Most of the 24 cruise line members of CLIA offer itineraries that feature UNESCO World Heritage sites. For vacationers hoping to explore or discover the landmarks they've always dreamed about seeing, wherever they might be in the world, it is best to seek the counsel of a CLIA travel professional, considered the consumer's very best resource when planning a cruise vacation. To locate a travel agency near you, use the travel agent locator on CLIA's Web site at

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Offers Personalized Commemorative Photo Albums For Guests

FORT LAUDERDALE, August 9 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced it has enhanced its innovative program with SharedBook Inc., allowing guests to preserve their cruise memories with individualized commemorative photo albums. The enhancements include improved customization and more flexibility in choice of materials, and responds perfectly to the recent trend in, and demand for, personalized journaling and scrap-booking among vacationers. The SharedBook program is a “first” in the luxury cruise segment. 

Previously available only on select cruises, now guests on any Regent cruise can enjoy this one-of-a-kind vacation memento to remember their experience. The Regent Commemorative Album is a 36-page, high-quality, professionally printed and bound album that guests create online using customizable page templates. Available in both hard and soft covers, the book captures scenic pictures from different ports, information about the ship, details on the specific ports of call, facts about the destinations and highlights of on board and on-shore activities. Guests can mix these with their own personal photos and stories from their voyage, as well as shots taken by the onboard photographers. Each full-color, completed book is as unique as its author.

There are several benefits to the improved product that set it apart from others:

  • Photos taken on board can be sent directly from the ship to SharedBook 

  • Guests can choose from the best selection of onboard photography available at the photo shop for inclusion in their album 

  • The albums contain relevant and updated ship and itinerary content, provided by Regent 

  • A "White Glove Service from SharedBook, at no additional charge, will create albums on behalf of those guests who do not wish to create the book themselves. 

“We originally piloted this program on select sailings and are so pleased to be able to offer this unique offering now to all of our guests,” said Sophie Vlessing, Regent vice president, guest strategy and marketing. “Our partnership with SharedBook offers guests an innovative way to create a personalized commemorative album and re-live The Regent ExperienceSM for years to come.”

Guest feedback from the pilot program has been extremely positive. “I loved the book when it arrived, and I am giving it to my husband for Christmas” said Susan O., a Regent guest from Midland, Georgia.

Books can be purchased for $98.95 for a hard cover or $68.95 for a soft cover. Seven Seas Society Gold, Platinum and Titanium members can receive a complimentary upgrade of a purchased soft cover album to hard cover by calling the Regent Commemorative Album Customer Service line at 888-212-3121. Domestic shipping and handling is included. Regent guests can purchase the album through their travel agent, by visiting, or by seeing the onboard photo shop during their cruise.

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Baby Boomers, Seniors & Their Kids/Grandkids Can Save on MSC Cruises' Caribbean Sailings 

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Aug. 9 -- For a limited time only, Baby Boomers and Seniors can save at least 50 percent on the price of a memorable MSC Cruises Caribbean sailing and take the kids/grandkids along at a great price, too! Senior Saver prices on 2007-08 Caribbean sailings of MSC Lirica begin at just $479 per person, double occupancy (cruise only, not including government fees and taxes). At least one guest in the stateroom must be 50 years of age on the departure date and bookings must be made by Sept. 30.

Children (as many as two) ages 17 and younger staying in the same stateroom with two full-fare paying adults cruise for free (government taxes and fees are additional, per person) on cruises departing Fort Lauderdale Dec. 4 and 14; Jan. 9, 19 and 29; Feb. 8, 18 and 28; and March 9 and 19. On the ship's Dec. 21 and 28 holiday sailings, children sail for just $199 per person (plus government fees and taxes), when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare paying adults.

As an added bonus, North American residents who place a reservation need only place a $100 deposit per person, based on double occupancy. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or a local travel professional.

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Cunard Line Introduces Cunard Insights™

Valencia, CA - August 9 - From thought-provoking conversation to the opportunity to sail with like-minded guests, Cunard has long been the preferred line of travelers seeking to broaden their intellectual horizons. Now, with the introduction of Cunard Insights, the line's newly revisioned enrichment program, guests enjoy an even broader range of meaningful, often rare opportunities to interact with acclaimed experts and prominent luminaries. Delving deeply into a variety of compelling and relevant topics, Cunard Insights introduces guests to stimulating experts and accomplished visionaries who reflect the line's heritage of adventure and prestige. Through a series of lectures, Q&A's, debates, social gatherings, and workshops, guests connect with personalities who have achieved notable distinction in areas including history, world affairs, science, politics, arts and literature. The new Insights program underscores Cunard's longstanding view that enrichment at sea should transcend mere entertainment to afford guests a provocative and rewarding cerebral experience.

"For generations, Cunard has set the standard for onboard enrichment. As our guests eagerly anticipate and enjoy this aspect of our voyages, we feel a passionate responsibility to ensure that our programs are the most dynamic in the industry and that the experts and lecturers chosen are accomplished, engaging and approachable," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. According to Marlow, offering enrichment onboard ocean liner voyages came about organically. "Traditionally, Cunard has attracted the world's most well-educated and intrepid passengers. Dating back to the days of the original Queen Mary, several guests, including distinguished notables such as Winston Churchill or Cole Porter, engaged in informal talks to their fellow travelers as a way of entertaining themselves," said Marlow. "Just as the crew would organize deck games, lessons on etiquette and talent shows, guests enjoyed sharing their knowledge and experiences with one another." 

These informal talks grew in popularity and, today, they comprise an important part of the daytime activity onboard. Since the launch of Queen Mary 2 in January 2004, more than 250,000 guests have attended presentations, interviews and lectures. This experiential offering is so important to Cunard that a dedicated manager has been assigned to oversee the selection of more than 500 Cunard Insights presenters annually. Caroline Mathieson is responsible for identifying and booking compelling and fascinating speakers from around the globe to sail aboard Queen Mary 2. "Cunard Insights is the next-generation enrichment program," said Mathieson. "Essentially, we've taken a great program and expanded the offering, making it broader and brighter. Now, there really is something for everyone."

Looking for "passion, expertise and personality," Mathieson seeks to introduce Cunard travelers to numerous Insights speakers on every voyage through stimulating Q&A's, debates and workshops. Upcoming notable personalities slated to lecture aboard Queen Mary 2 include:

  • Victoria Tennant - British actress sailing on the August 9 westbound Transatlantic Crossing. 

  • David Hempleman-Adams - Polar explorer, mountaineer and author sailing on the August 23 and September 4 Transatlantic Crossings. 

  • John Cleese - Award-winning British actor/comedian/writer on the September 4 eastbound Transatlantic Crossing. 

  • Dr. Eric Paul Roorda - Director of the Frank C. Munson Institute of American Maritime Studies at Mystic Seaport, the Museum of America and the Sea, in Mystic, Connecticut; a Professor of History and Political Science at Bellarmine University, where he has taught since 1996. Sailing on the August 31 four-day Getaway voyage from New York to Halifax. 

  • Jeffrey Hoffman - former NASA astronaut and currently co-director of the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium at MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, sailing on the September 22 westbound Transatlantic Crossing. 

  • Dr. Jean-Pierre Isbouts - Professor of Culture and Media Studies at Fielding Graduate University, also an award-winning film-maker and the author of numerous publications on the art, architecture and music of the Near East, the Renaissance and the 19th century era. Sailing on the September 22 westbound Transatlantic Crossing. 

  • Frank DeFord - Emmy® Award winning sports commentator sailing on the eastbound October 7 Transatlantic Crossing. 

  • Dr Susan Humphris - Senior Scientist and Chair in the Geology and Geophysics Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, she studies the nature and distribution of sea-floor hot springs and has authored or co-authored more than 60 scientific papers. She is also the co-creator of the highly successful Dive and Discover web site that brings oceanographic expeditions in near real-time to students and the general public. Sailing on the October 25 westbound Transatlantic Crossing. 

  • Dr Bradley James Rowe - Holds a PhD in Applied Eco-Psychology and Integrated Ecology. Jim lectures on a wide variety of subjects ranging from coral reef ecology and SCUBA diving theory to human physiology, the history of Costa Rica, Panama and the Panama Canal, Caribbean Cultural history, Central American history, national psyche of Latin American countries, ocean rescue, river guide training, swift water rescue, wilderness first responder training and other subjects. Sailing on the October 25 westbound Transatlantic Crossing. 

  • Lynn Truss - Bestselling Author ("Eats, Shoots and Leaves") sailing on the October 25 westbound Transatlantic Crossing. 

  • Dr Jerry Labriola - Practiced medicine for 35 years and was an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut Medical School. A Yale graduate and former Chief of Staff at a major teaching hospital, he also served as state senator; ran for Lt. Governor and Governor of Connecticut; and for the United States Senate. Dr Labriola is the author of seven mystery novels and co-author with renowned forensic scientist, Dr Henry Lee, of three books: Famous Crimes Revisited, Dr Henry Lee's Forensic Files, and The Budapest Connection. Sailing on the October 31 Connoisseur's Caribbean voyage. 

  • Professor Anthony Grayling - Fellow of the World Economic Forum, a teacher at Birkbeck College, University of London, the author of many books on philosophy and a frequent broadcaster on the BBC. He is also a frequent contributor to the press in the UK, writing a column for the Guardian newspaper and The Times, and appearing often in the review and editorial pages of the Independent, the Observer, the New Statesman, the Financial Times, and the Literary Review. Voyage date to be confirmed.

To learn more about the upcoming schedule of speakers for Cunard Insights, visit and search for a specific voyage itinerary. For more information and reservations, contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Carnival Freedom Senior Cruise Director's Blog Hits New Milestone with Half a Million Visitors

MIAMI, Aug. 9 -- The on-line "blog" written by Carnival Freedom Senior Cruise Director John Heald, which offers lighthearted stories and amusing anecdotes of shipboard life, has reached a new milestone with more than half a million visitors since its debut in March. Originally created as part of the micro-site developed for the launch of the Carnival Freedom (, the blog has been making a steady climb, attracting 25,000 visitors in its first 10 days and reaching the 300,000 mark in June. Heald's blog consistently ranks among the top 100 among the nearly 1.3 million blogs hosted by Wordpress, a leading blog-hosting service.

"I was astonished when we reached 25,000 visitors, amazed when we hit 100,000, shocked when the figure reached 250,000, but 500,000 - well, I am completely 'gobsmacked,' which is a quaint old English colloquialism for 'I have no words,'" Heald said. "All I can say is thank you to all the readers who take their valuable time each day to read the blog thingy. I will keep typing as long as my two fingers allow," he added.

Through his blog, Heald shares with readers his personal stories and photos about life aboard the Carnival Freedom with wife Heidi, as well as entertaining and heartwarming encounters with guests and crewmembers he comes in contact with on a daily basis. The blog's increasingly popular question-and-answer section has quickly become a fan favorite. In it, Heald personally answers questions about the Carnival vacation experience, provides information and recommendations on various cruise-related topics, and offers personal travel tips on things to do while in port. 

The blog's popularity has led to the "John Heald Bloggers Cruise," a seven-day western Caribbean voyage aboard the Carnival Freedom Jan. 19, 2008, which will operate round-trip from Miami, visiting three of Heald's favorite ports of call: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. During the cruise, Heald will host a number of special events, including a Welcome Aboard Reception, trivia contests, and question-and-answer sessions, and participants will receive memorabilia such a limited edition calendar featuring Heald's top 12 entries, a custom-designed "Bloggers Cruise" T-shirt and more.

The blog has also spawned a series of T-shirts and polo shirts which are available on-line via, a specialized Web site that enables consumers to create custom-designed Carnival-inspired shirts. Three different shirt styles are available. "I Love John's Blog Thingy" and "I've Seen John's Blog Thingy" are modeled after Heald's own moniker for his blog, and "Official Member - Heidi's Fan Club," a tribute to Heald's wife, who is the Carnival Freedom's assistant cruise director and occasional blog contributor.

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

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Silversea Cruises Rolls Out Silver Sailing Savings Incentive 
on Select 2008 Voyages

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, August 9 -- Discerning luxury travelers with their sights set on the world's hottest destinations and most exotic locales will find incomparable value and exceptional savings opportunities now offered on a selection of over 55 Silversea voyages in 2008. The ultra-luxury cruise company has just rolled out its most generous savings program, the Silver Sailing incentive, with savings of up to 50% available, for a limited time, on diverse itineraries of six to 16 days exploring virtually every nook and corner of the globe including Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Far East, South Pacific, Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Alaska and Pacific Coast. 

"Luxury consumers always want to get the most for their dollar," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "By getting these savings opportunities out there as early as possible, we're making it easier than ever for savvy high-end travelers to know which sailings offer the best deals and value, giving them the flexibility to firm up their travel plans sooner." 

Silversea's privileged guests enjoy spacious, ocean-view accommodations, most with private veranda, award-winning gourmet cuisine, personalized service, warm Italian hospitality, and Silversea’s unmatched selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities. 

Following is a small sampling of the 2008 voyages featuring Silver Sailing savings:

Africa and Arabian Peninsula 
-- Silver Cloud departs February 7, 2008 on a 9-day voyage (#1804) from Mombasa to Mahe with calls in Lamu, Kenya; Zanzibar, Tanzania; Dzaoudzi, Mayotte; and the Seychelles islands of Farquhar and Desroches.
-- Silver Cloud departs February 23, 2008 on a 14-day voyage (#1806) from Mahe to Dubai with calls in Oman's port cities of Salalah, Muscat and Khasab; Fujairah and Abu Dhabi in the UAE; the Seychelles island of Praslin; Doha, Qatar; and Bahrain. 

Mediterranean and Atlantic Isles
-- Silver Wind departs May 4, 2008 on a 9-day voyage (#2814) from Las Palmas to Lisbon with calls in the Canary Islands, Azores, Funchal (Madeira) and Oporto.
-- Silver Whisper departs June 15, 2008 on a 7-day voyage (#4817) from Rome to Monte Carlo with calls in Tripoli, Malta, Sicily, Sorrento and Sardinia.

Northern Europe and Baltic 
-- Silver Cloud departs July 26, 2008 on a 10-day voyage (#1822) from Stockholm to Copenhagen with calls in Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Rostock, and Arhus (Denmark), plus a three-day, two night stopover in St. Petersburg.

Alaska & Pacific Coast 
-- Silver Shadow departs September 5, 2008 on a 12-day voyage (#3822) from Vancouver to Los Angeles cruising Alaska's Inside Passage and port cities of Wrangell, Skagway, Sitka and Ketchikan; Victoria in British Colombia; and San Francisco.

Caribbean & Mexico 
-- Silver Shadow departs May 16, 2008 on a 15-day Panama Canal crossing (#3811) from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles with calls in San Andres Island, Costa Rica, San Juan del Sur and the Mexican ports of Huatulco, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta. 
-- Silver Shadow departs December 3, 2008 on a 9-day voyage (#3829) from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados with calls in Tortola, Antigua, St. Lucia, Bequia and Grenada.

Far East & South Pacific 
-- Silver Whisper departs December 4, 2008 on a 16-day voyage (#4838) from Singapore to Sydney with calls in Kura Kura and Bali, Indonesia and the Australian ports of Darwin, Thursday Island, Cairns, Whitsunday Islands and Brisbane.

South America
-- Silver Cloud departs December 11, 2008 on an 8-day voyage (#1835) from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires with calls in Paraty, Sao Paulo and Imbituba, Brazil and Uruguay's Punta del Este and Montevideo.

A complete list of 2008 Silver Sailings is available at

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Holland America Line to Feature Exclusive Signature Shops
 on New ms Eurodam

SEATTLE, Aug. 8 -- Holland America Line's first Signature-class ship, ms Eurodam, will feature an exclusive collection of Signature Shops in a substantially expanded shopping promenade, along with many other enhancements, when the 2,104-passenger luxury liner debuts in June 2008. The Signature Shops concept highlights four major additions: high-end Merabella, offering one-of-a-kind designer jewelry collections; Fine Jewelry, specializing in diamonds and exotic gemstones; Fine Watches, featuring the best brands from around the world; and Destination & Apparel, tailoring its selection to the climate that guests are cruising, plus classic nautical wear.

"Holland America Line successfully introduced Merabella, the high-end jewelry store, on the ms Amsterdam and added it to the Vista-class ms Westerdam in May," said Richard D. Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "The positive response from guests convinced us to include Merabella on our new Eurodam as well as introduce it to other ships in our fleet. Guest feedback also led Holland America Line to add approximately 1,000 square feet of boutique space and add other luxury Signature Shops on these ships," continued Meadows. "We're responding to a new trend in cruise guests' shopping preferences -- they definitely want expanded selection and upscale choices while cruising."

Holland America Line guests will find unique jewelry collections from LeVian, Omar Torres, Chimento, Mazza, XXOO and many more designers at Merabella. Or they can choose from an amazing selection of diamonds and rare gemstones from around the world in the Fine Jewelry Signature Shop. It includes Diamond Journey, Diamond Fashion and Blue Diamond collections. Fine Watches educates guests on the craftsmanship and heritage of elegant timepieces from Fendi, Tissot, Baume & Mercier, Longines, Movado, Rado, Tag Heuer and other top designer brands. The Destination & Apparel Signature Shop showcases destination-themed clothing as well as the Holland Signature Nautical Collection of crisp whites, warm blues and sophisticated nautical stripes that lend themselves to cruising in any destination. It also offers apparel that is cruise- and/or destination-inspired.

With one more deck than Holland America Line's 10-deck Vista-class ships, the Signature-class Eurodam will feature three alternative dining venues, including a new pan-Asian restaurant on deck 10 with panoramic views. The Explorations Cafe -- powered by The New York Times -- will be located on deck 11 on the starboard side of the Crow's Nest. Other additions are an Explorer's Lounge Bar, a new specialty restaurant adjacent to the Lido offering the finest in Italian food, new atrium bar area, enhanced and reconfigured show lounge with theater-style seating, and a new photographic and imaging center.

Eurodam is scheduled to debut in June 2008 with European inaugural events and then cruise the Baltic region through the summer. The ship will then offer its first trans-Atlantic cruise and sail Canada/New England in the fall, followed by Caribbean itineraries the remainder of 2008. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Crystal Cruises Shares Ways to Save on Luxury This Fall

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 7 -- Luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises announces new savings promotions for 2007 and 2008. The new offers and insider tips, as well as abundant complimentary services and amenities, provide exceptional value for discriminating travelers seeking exotic and close-to-home vacations.

"With all of the notable features and incredible service we offer, we believe a Crystal cruise is a great value no matter when one travels with us," says Bill Smith, senior vice president, Crystal Cruises. "When travelers realize the additional savings we're offering on a very specific group of sailings, they will find the value is extraordinary."

  • 2007 Fall Mediterranean -- Guests can save up to 48% on six late August and fall 11- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages aboard Crystal Serenity. Cruises depart from Venice, Monte Carlo, Athens, Istanbul and Rome.

  • 2007 Thanksgiving Voyages -- Save up to an additional $1,000 per couple. This November, guests can save $500 per person in most stateroom categories, including verandahs, on voyages through the Panama Canal and Caribbean aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.

  • 2007 Thanksgiving Voyages -- Kids Sail Free. Along with Crystal's family-friendly activities and supervised junior activities program, kids 11 and under will sail free when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare adults. Plus, Crystal Serenity has just increased its third berth capacity by 15%, offering more choices for families. With the new promotion and special savings fares, travelers can save up to 60% off brochure fares.

  • 2007 and 2008 Value Collection. Guests can save up to 52% with Crystal Cruises' Value Collection sailings. Three applicable cruises remain in 2007 that sail through the Panama Canal, Mediterranean and Caribbean. Crystal's 2008 Value Collection features 11 diverse sailings of 10 to 17 days through the Panama Canal, South America, the Mediterranean, Western Europe, Caribbean and a Trans-Pacific voyage from Los Angeles to Hong Kong.

  • 2008 Western Europe -- Save up to 20%. For new bookings made before September 14, 2007, guests can save 20% on all Deluxe Stateroom accommodations (including verandah staterooms) and 10% on all Penthouse accommodations aboard Crystal Symphony's 13-day Western European voyage departing May 25, 2008 from Athens to London.

  • 2008 Europe "Combo" Cruises -- Save 20%. Travelers seeking a longer cruise experience in Europe can save 20% on all categories of staterooms and suites for new bookings made before September 14, 2007 when combining Crystal Symphony's May 25 Athens to London cruise with the cruise prior or cruise following. The combination cruises offer guests a 27- day exploration of Egypt, the Mediterranean and Western Europe, or a 24-day journey from Greece to the Baltic Sea, at savings ranging from $1,000 to $2,530 per person. Combine all three voyages for a 38-day cruise adventure and receive total savings of $3,840 per person.

  • Onboard Booking Savings -- All guests who book a future cruise on board receive between 4% and 4.5% off their next cruise.

  • Book 180 days in advanced -- All guests will receive a discount of 3.5% when they pay in full six months in advance.

  • Crystal Society Savings -- Not only do returning Crystal cruisers automatically save between 3% and 4% on their next cruise, but they can enjoy additional savings that range from shipboard credits, gifts and parties to stateroom upgrades and an 11-day free cruise in a Crystal Penthouse. Additionally, Crystal Society members who sail on Crystal Serenity's Mediterranean voyages departing July 19, July 31 or August 24 in 2008 will receive a $150 per member shipboard credit if booked by October 15, 2007.

  • Special Singles Fare -- Starting fares for single travelers are just 125% of the applicable double occupancy fare.

Adds Smith, "Frankly, given the weakness of the U.S. dollar against the Euro and the luxury of our product, all of Crystal's European cruises are 'on sale' for 2007 and 2008."

For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Carnival Unveils Design Details for Resort-Style Pool Areas and 'Carnival WaterWorks' on Fantasy-Class Ships

MIAMI, Aug. 7 -- Carnival Cruise Lines is unveiling specific design details for its stunning new resort-style pool areas and spectacular "Carnival WaterWorks" aqua parks on its eight Fantasy-class ships, part of the line's $250 million "Evolutions of Fun" enhancement program.

"A quintessential part of the Carnival cruise experience centers around the ships' pools and outdoor decks," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "With the 'Evolutions of Fun' program, we have focused very heavily on making these areas absolutely fabulous."

The new resort-style main pool areas, located mid-ship on Lido Deck, will feature striking umbrellas providing shaded seating at pool's edge along the tiled "beach" bordering the circumference of the pool. The pool and beach area will feature eye-catching blue tile with yellow accents, reminiscent of the Caribbean's aqua waters infused with tropical sunshine. A thatched roof will cover one of the two whirlpools at either end of the swimming pool, providing guests the option of shaded or sunny relaxation in the bubbling water. Towering faux palm trees, along with more thatched roofing over new, centrally positioned staircases further enhance the tropical resort-style ambiance. New mosaic tiles behind the two bars which occupy the forward corners of the deck area, along with thatch-work above, will create a fresh look, while the bar stool seating areas are given a more spacious, open feel by the removal of staircases previously positioned just in front that partially blocked views to the open deck. New tile-work and thatched roofing elements will also be featured in the outdoor food service area just behind the performance stage.

Spectacular new "Carnival WaterWorks" aqua parks will be introduced on Verandah Deck aft on Fantasy-class ships and will feature a four-deck-high, 300-foot-long spiraling tube water slide, the biggest, longest and most elaborate in cruising. A separate 82-foot-long triple-lane waterslide will be featured, as well, while much of this deck area will be occupied by an expansive spray park that will offer multiple and varied water spray apparatus, creating cool and exhilarating fun for kids and adults, alike. Both the mid-ship pool areas and "Carnival WaterWorks" parks will be accented by comfortable lounge chairs and teak decking.

The first two ships to begin receiving these features, as well as "Serenity" adults-only deck areas, are the Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration later this year, with implementation on the balance of the line's Fantasy-class fleet expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

"Evolutions of Fun" is a $250 million product enhancement initiative that began in 2005 and includes renovations to virtually every guest area on the line's eight Fantasy-class ships, the Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise. Many aspects of the "Evolutions of Fun" program have already been implemented on several ships, including fully remodeled staterooms, suites, and bathrooms, flat-screen televisions in staterooms and select public areas, atrium lobby bars, updated sound and lighting systems in various lounges and clubs, coffee bars, nine-hole miniature golf courses, new art and photo galleries, New York-style delis in the Lido restaurants, and purpose-built conference facilities. The program also includes makeovers of the ships' 12,000-square-foot spa facilities, custom-designed clubs for the 12-14 year old age group under the line's top-rated "Camp Carnival" children's program, inter-connecting staterooms on some ships, and elaborate new sound and lighting systems in the ships' main show lounges.

"The Fantasy-class ships are already tremendously popular, and the upgrades and enhancements we are introducing through 'Evolutions of Fun' will take the guest experience to an entirely new level," said Freed.

Digital renderings of the resort-style pools and "Carnival WaterWorks," along with additional information on the "Evolutions of Fun" initiative, can be viewed at For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Royal Caribbean Announces 2008-09 Seasonal South America Cruises

MIAMI, Aug. 7 -- Royal Caribbean International will expand its South America cruise offerings to four ships when Splendour of the Seas sails out of Brazil for the Winter 2008-09 season. Taking guests on spectacular cruise adventures to some of the most sizzling South American ports of call, Splendour will join three other ships to be deployed in Latin America for the season and add to the extensive range of itineraries offered by Enchantment of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas.

"Our commitment of four ships in Central and South America reflects a growing worldwide demand for our signature style of cruising," said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International. "With the addition of these new itineraries in 2008, Royal Caribbean will visit more than 250 destinations in more than 75 countries on six continents, further solidifying our position as the world's largest global cruise brand."

From December 2008 through March 2009, Splendour of the Seas will offer travelers 19 roundtrip sailings from Sao Paulo (Santos), Brazil, ranging from three to eight nights. On the eight-night voyages, guests will enjoy a two-day port of call to explore Copacabana Beach or Salvador De Bahia, Brazil, or Buenos Aires, Argentina. Other ports of call include Rio De Janeiro, Porto Belo, Buzios, Ilhabela, Cabo Frio, and Parati, in Brazil, and Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

Guests also can choose a 14-night transatlantic voyage aboard Splendour to Lisbon, Portugal, sailing on March 30, 2009. Ports of call include Rio De Janeiro, Salvador De Bahia and Recife, Brazil; Casablanca and Agadir, Morocco; and Seville, Spain. Splendour's cruises from Brazil begin at $799 per person, double occupancy, and are currently open for booking.

"The new itineraries on Splendour of the Seas will bring our total guest capacity in the region to more than 113,000 for the season, bolstering Royal Caribbean's leadership position in Latin America," said Maria Sastre, vice president of International Sales and Marketing, Latin America and the Caribbean, Royal Caribbean International. "The incredible breadth of itineraries offered by all four of our ships will provide our guests with a greater variety of options to explore new destinations and cultures."

More Royal Caribbean Vacation Choices in South America
For even more South America cruise choices, Radiance of the Seas offers travelers 12 sailings from November 2008 through April 2009. Ranging from 13 to 16 nights, guests will call at some of the continent's most exciting ports of call including Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; and Valparaiso, Chile, among many others. Radiance will cruise to the Chilean Fjordlands; journey through the Panama Canal; make its way 'round the horn' and call at Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.

Travelers also can enjoy cruises along South America's northern coast and the Southern Caribbean aboard Enchantment of the Seas and Vision of the Seas. The recently announced itinerary for Enchantment offers vacationers seven- night roundtrip voyages from Colon, Panama, to Colombia, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Vision will take guests on seven-night cruises from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on alternating itineraries to the Windward or Leeward Islands of the Southern Caribbean.

South America Cruisetours
Vacationers can enhance their cruise with a pre- or post-cruise Royal Caribbean Cruisetour. Cruisetours offer guests the best of both worlds by combining a cruise vacation with a four- or five-night hotel stay and land tours, for a complete land and sea adventure. Guests of Splendour of the Seas can venture deep into Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls on a four-night escorted pre-cruise land tour. The tour includes city sightseeing of Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America, a gaucho ranch tour, dinner and tango show, and exploration tours at Iguazu Falls. Depending on the itinerary, guests onboard Radiance of the Seas have the option of the Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls cruisetour or a five-night Easter Island and Chile cruisetour, which includes hotel stays and sightseeing tours in Santiago, Chile, and the ecological preserve of Easter Island.

For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL CARIBBEAN.

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Norwegian Cruise Line to Participate in Caribbean Mass Rescue Exercise

MIAMI, August 7 – Norwegian Cruise Line, in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Virgin Islands Government, is co-sponsoring a large scale mass rescue exercise in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, on Thursday, August 9, 2007. NCL volunteered to be the lead cruise line in this exercise to assist the Coast Guard in their continuing emergency preparedness efforts. The exercise involves numerous federal, industry and U.S. Virgin Islands agencies and has been in the planning stages for more than one year. Emergency responders will react to a simulated scenario whereby a cruise ship evacuates all its passengers to Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, after running aground off the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico. Select members of NCL’s incident response team in Miami will contribute to the field exercise. NCL, in keeping with its commitment to safety and the protection of the environment, has invited the National Transportation Safety Board t o observe the actions of NCL’s incident response team in Miami.

“The safety and well being of our passengers and crew is our number one priority. Taking the lead in volunteering and participating in this exercise with the Coast Guard and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will provide us with invaluable learning,” said Bill Hamlin, NCL’s executive vice president of fleet operations. “We are looking forward to a successful exercise that will result in outcomes that benefit not only the parties involved, but also the entire cruise industry.”

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First Section of Costa Pacifica Delivered in Genoa

MIAMI, FL, August 7 – The first section of the Costa Pacifica, Costa’s newest flagship, which is due to enter service in Spring 2009, was delivered to Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa Sestri Ponente yesterday. The future bow section of the Costa Pacifica is 127 meters long, nearly 30 meters high, and weighs approximately 8,000 tons. It was built in Fincantieri’s Palermo shipyard and transferred by sea to the Genoa Sestri Ponente shipyard where construction will continue. The Costa Pacifica (114,500 tons and 3,780 passengers) will be a sister ship to the Costa Serena and the Costa Concordia, Costa’s current flagships and the largest passenger vessels flying the Italian flag. The Costa Pacifica will offer the same exciting innovations as her sister ships, including the Samsara Spa—one of the largest spas at sea, two swimming pools with retractable magrodomes, and an authentic Grand Prix race car driving simulator. 

Costa has three new ships on order or under construction in Italy with Fincantieri. In addition to the Costa Pacifica, two other ships, the Costa Luminosa (92,700 tons and 2,828 passengers) and her sister ship will be delivered by the Marghera shipyard in the Spring of 2009 and March 2010, respectively. At the end of 2010, when the last of the three ships currently on order are delivered, Costa’s fleet will be 15 vessels strong and will offer more than 30,000 lower berths. This will further strengthen the fleet’s position as Europe’s largest and most modern, while also increasing its capacity by more than 30%. Since 2000, Costa has invested approximately €3.5 billion in Italy to build seven new ships, all ordered from Fincantieri. These orders are part of an expansion program worth €4.5 billion to introduce 11 ships from 2000 to 2010. 

For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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Cruise West Announces Distinctive Cruises in Baja, Mexico

SEATTLE, WA, August 7 – Early booking savings are available through the leading small-ship cruise line Cruise West as it offers five specialty cruises in the Sea of Cortés in December 2007 and January 2008 onboard the 138-guest Spirit of Yorktown. Guests can save up to $175 on the route that inspired author John Steinbeck if they pay their trip in full by September 14, 2007. The special itineraries allow guests to explore in the company of expert scholars, hone photography skills, or celebrate the holidays Mexican-style on either the Christmas or New Year’s sailings. The itineraries are designed to allow guests to become intimately acquainted with Mexico’s family-friendly culture through enrichment-oriented interaction with local residents. Onboard kayaks help provide an up-close experience with the region’s prolific sea and bird life. 

The December 22 Whales & Wildlife eight-day holiday sailing offers a traditional Mexican Christmas Eve including the late night feast, Nochebuena. On Christmas Day, guests will unwind on a remote beach with activities, free from the holiday rush. There will also be a gift-giving event in Loreto with local children whose infectious smiles and warmth will long be remembered. Guests on this departure will be the first to enjoy numerous upgrades aboard the Spirit of Yorktown including the remodel of four Deluxe cabins on the Sun Deck and the addition of private balconies, slated to be completed late fall 2007. The ship will ring in Feliz Año Nuevo on the December 29 sailing with a midnight toast and late night buffet. This cruise includes a stop in La Paz where guests celebrate the “Epiphany” or “Three Kings Day” at the La Paz Children’s Home. 

Guests will sail in the company of John Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw of San Jose State University and Marine Biologist Bill Gilly, who will share the essence of Steinbeck’s journey through topical presentations, on the January 5 and 12, 2008 departures. Steinbeck was inspired by this remarkable area to write the book, The Log from the Sea of Cortez. The January 12 sailing also includes a special post-cruise philanthropic event at La Paz Children’s School for a painting party January 18-20. This event is offered through Cruise West’s philanthropy program, “Our Bear Cares.”

Photography buffs will enjoy the January 19, 2008 departure. PENTAX sponsored professional photographer, Kerrick James, will be on hand to coach guests on all aspects of photography and help them test drive PENTAX camera gear. All cruises sail round trip from Cabo San Lucas and include the picturesque seaside village and mission town Loreto and Isla Espiritú Santo, home to several plant and animal species only found on this island. Active guests will enjoy kayaking, snorkeling and nature walks at the serene islands Los Islotes & Isla Partida. Guests may also add-on a spectacular four-night Copper Canyon post-cruise land tour. Visit and

For additional information or to book a Cruise West cruise, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit

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Holland America Line Unveils Eurodam News Blog 

SEATTLE, Aug. 6 -- Holland America Line's Eurodam News Blog is live as of today, Monday, Aug. 6. The site, which is located at, is designed to be the primary portal for news and information about ms Eurodam, the line's next newbuild, currently under construction in Italy and due to be delivered in June 2008. The Eurodam News Blog is designed to provide unique insights into every aspect of the new ship. Regular posts will cover a wide variety of topics, from interior decor to new public rooms to entertainment and dining venues and menu developments. In addition, it will feature profiles of the officers and shipboard staff who are responsible for ensuring that the vessel is ready to receive its first passengers next July.

"The Eurodam News Blog is an innovative, new way for Holland America Line to engage guests and others in the building progress and unique features of our 14th ship," said Richard D. Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "This weblog is our first foray into the world of Web 2.0 and social media, and provides another tool to communicate with journalists, guests, travel agents and cruise enthusiasts."

The site has a Blog Board composed of top Holland America executives from various departments who are involved in the shipbuilding process and are the principle sources of the site's content. Visitors are encouraged to register and post comments and questions, to which members of the Blog Board will respond within their specific area of expertise.

When it is delivered in summer 2008, Eurodam will be the first in Holland America Line's next class of premium cruise ships--the Signature Class. The 2,104-guest, 86,700-gross-ton Panamax Eurodam is under construction at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard for an estimated cost of $450 million.

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Costa Offers Unique Experience of 'Italy in the Tropics' and Exclusive Spa Cabins on 2008/2009 Caribbean Sailings

MIAMI, Aug. 6 -- When sailing Costa in the Caribbean, guests can transport themselves to "Italy in the tropics" via an onboard ambience that captures all the charms of Italy in two ships, and for the first time, they can indulge in the relaxation of exclusive spa cabins as well. Europe's Number One Cruise Line released its Caribbean 2008-2009 lineup today, allowing guests to plan their winter getaways with Costa earlier than ever. Travelers can choose from routes aboard the grand Costa Fortuna and the breathtaking Costa Mediterranea, both of which will sail Eastern, Western and Southeastern routes from Ft. Lauderdale between December 2008 and April 2009.

Costa Brings Innovative Spa Cabin Concept to Caribbean
As the cruise line that introduced the revolutionary spa cabin concept to the travel industry, Costa is now bringing the experience to the Caribbean with the new "Ischia" wellness program aboard the Costa Mediterranea, which will undergo renovations in April 2008. Guests who book one of the 44 exclusive accommodations will enjoy privileges including a personalized wellness consultation, three complimentary treatments, two fitness or meditation classes and complimentary access to the Wellness Restaurant, offering a wide array of spa-friendly cuisine. Spa cabins, available in ocean view, veranda and suite categories, will feature aromatherapy diffusers, special shower and air filters, and a mini bar stocked with healthy food and beverage selections. In addition, guests with these accommodations will be offered priority spa reservation times.

Alternating Western and Eastern Caribbean Departures on Saturdays & Sundays
The 86,000-ton Costa Mediterranea, inaugurated in 2003, will once again sail seven-night routes departing on Saturdays from Ft. Lauderdale. With design features inspired by the lavish palazzos of Italy, the Costa Mediterranea boasts spectacularly designed public spaces, making the ship feel much like a floating palace. With a double occupancy capacity of 2,114, the ship features numerous staterooms with ocean views and balconies. The 2008-2009 Caribbean season will also feature the return of the 105,000-ton Costa Fortuna, which will sail seven-night routes departing on Sundays. Also inaugurated in 2003, the ship features a double occupancy capacity of 2,720. Inspired by grand Italian liners of the past, stunning design elements include a spectacular display featuring 26 models of past and present members of Costa's fleet showcased from the ceiling of the main atrium. In addition to Western and Eastern Caribbean routes, the Costa Fortuna will sail special Southeastern Caribbean itineraries throughou t the 2008-2009 season.

Costa's ports-of-call in the Caribbean include Casa de Campo, Catalina Island, La Romana and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; Key West, Florida; Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Nassau, Bahamas; Roatan, Honduras; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. John and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. Maarten, Leeward Islands and Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Early booking fares for seven-night sailings begin at $549 and are cruise only, per person, and based on double occupancy. Government taxes are additional. All fares are subject to change and based on availability.

Costa Offers Unique Experience of "Italy in the Tropics" Throughout Caribbean
Costa's unique and authentic onboard Italian flair provides guests with a feeling of "Italy in the tropics" on its Caribbean routes. For many, sailing Costa offers a "new" way of experiencing the Caribbean ports of call they know and love - bringing to mind the romance and warmth of Italy without having to cross the Atlantic. From homemade pastas and delectable desserts, to Italian greetings including "buon giorno" in the morning and "buona sera" in the evening, the "amore" of the old world stays with guests long after they disembark from their cruise. Festive onboard activities include everything from on-deck bocce ball games, tarantella dancing under the stars and Italian cooking lessons during "Festa Italiana," to the famous "Roman Bacchanal" soirée, where guests don tasteful togas and celebrate as the Romans did centuries ago!

"We hear from our guests time and time again just how unique and special our Caribbean experience is and how it's unlike anything else they've tried in the region - in our 2008-2009 season, not only will they be able to enjoy this flair for la dolce vita that they know and love, but they can also enjoy our revolutionary spa cabin concept in the tropics," said Lynn Torrent, President & CEO of Costa Cruise Lines-North America. "We take great pride in the special blend of Italian warmth and style we offer onboard-within our two ships that sail the Caribbean for five months, we give our guests a lifetime of Italian style memories."

For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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Oceania Cruises Reports Record Demand for New Itineraries

Miami, FL, August 3 — Oceania Cruises announced that on August 1st a new record for reservations was set as the line’s 2008–2009 Winter Collection of sailings went on sale. Oceania Cruises opened its reservation lines at 8 am on August 1st and took more than 400 new reservations in the first hours. At the close of business the line had bested it previous reservations record by almost 30% and some departures were 50% sold. The line’s new 2008-2009 Winter Collection includes 24 voyages to Asia, Australia, the Caribbean and South America, ranges from 10 to 35 days in length, calls on more than 100 ports of call, and features 46 overnight port stays. 

“With limited availability for our 2008 winter sailings, travel agents and Oceania Club members have been eager to learn details of the 2009 winter sailings. Our Travel Partners have always provided us with tremendous support and the response today is truly incredible,” stated Bob Binder, President of Oceania Cruises. “One of the primary drivers of our success has been our destination-rich itineraries that feature many unique ports and an abundance of overnight port stays. From our inception, our goal has been to provide our guests and travel partners with the richest and most rewarding destination experience possible. When you combine our itineraries with the onboard product which features an acclaimed dining experience and a level of personal service that can only be found on mid-size ships, the result is a winning combination that has resulted in an overwhelming demand from our past guests,” Binder added.

Highlights of the 2008-2009 Winter Collection:

  • An unrivaled roster of overnight port stays in Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Luxor, Dubai, Yangon, Bali, Bangkok, Hanoi, Saigon, Itajaí, São Paulo, Kyoto, and Taipei.

  • Nautica returns to Australia and Asia with eight unique voyages ranging from 15 to 35 days.

  • Insignia sails an enchanting array of 12- to 19-day voyages to the verdant coastal villages of Brazil and the mesmerizing Chilean fjords. Three exciting new 19-day cruises between Rio de Janeiro and Valparaiso offer a grand look at a grand continent. 

About Oceania Cruises
As the leader in destination cruising, Oceania Cruises sails to more than 180 ports in Europe, China and the Far East, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Featuring three intimate and elegant mid-sized ships, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica, the line will introduce two new mid-size Oceania Class ships to its fleet in 2010 and 2011. For additional information, to make a reservation, or to order a brochure, please contact your travel agent or Oceania Cruises at 800-531-5658. Visit us at

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NCL Donates Used Cooking Oil for Bio-Diesel

MIAMI, August 3 – Furthering NCL’s continued commitment to the environment, NCL Corporation recently completed a first-of-its-kind initiative at the Port of Miami to recycle used cooking oil from Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl. Approximately 1,300 gallons of used cooking oil were offloaded and donated to an organic farmer in Vero Beach, Fla., who converted the oil to 870 gallons of usable bio-diesel for his farming equipment. 

“We are extremely pleased that despite many logistical hurdles, we could make this donation and put our used cooking oil to good use,” said Bill Hamlin, NCL’s executive vice president of fleet operations. “This was a concerted effort amongst our environmental staff, various departments at the Port of Miami and our ground operations team. Our plan is to continue this effort when our ships return to Miami this fall.”

In Hawai`i, all NCL and NCL America ships have been offloading their used cooking oil for recycling to bio-diesel. The company recycled approximately 40,000 gallons of used cooking oil last year in Hawaii. In addition, NCL continues its oily residual recycling program in Alaska, Hawaii, British Columbia, New York, Miami and Charleston where its residual oil is offloaded and often recycled. The program entails taking a waste product and converting it into a marketable product. This is done with enhanced management of the various types of oily residuals generated onboard and partnering with waste oil treatment facilities on land. 

Waste oil on board is generated from several sources: fuel oil separation which removes contaminants and water from the fuel prior to combustion in the main engines; lube oil separation which removes impurities from the engine lubricants; the treatment of oily bilge water; spent lube oil from the main engines; and spent cooking oil. In the past, the marine industry has commingled these waste streams in a “sludge’ tank onboard the ship. This “sludge” or oily waste is pumped ashore as a waste product for treatment and eventually recycled or it is burned aboard as a waste material. Instead of a waste product, NCL provides a marketable oil product directly to the secondary oil market via company partners like Peninsula Waste Water Services in Victoria, BC and Cliff Berry, Inc. in south Florida. This is accomplished by designating tanks on board, separating the various types of oils and installing new equipment to better filter/dewater these oily residuals. NCL’s partners on land provide oil transportation services and, most importantly, the criteria or specification for oily residues to be considered a marketable product in that region. 

The used oil market has recognized high quality oily residuals generated by the marine industry as a viable product. These oils typically require no treatment and are sent as direct shipments into the marketplace; mainly as fuel for industrial processes.

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Carnival Cruise Lines To Carry a Record 2.9 Million Guests on Caribbean Cruises in 2007

MIAMI, Aug. 2 -- When the new Carnival Freedom begins its winter schedule of seven-day Caribbean cruises from Miami in November, it will further bolster Carnival Cruise Lines' industry-leading and record-breaking 2007 Caribbean cruise season during which the line will carry an unprecedented 2.9 million passengers within the region - the most in its 35-year history. In 2007, Carnival will deploy 18 ships in the Caribbean with 14 of those offering year-round service. Overall, upwards of 1,150 three- to eight-day cruises will be operated by Carnival, which is the only cruise line to offer the option of departing from 12 convenient U.S. homeports. According to statistics from the Cruise Lines International Association, the Caribbean is the most sought-after cruise destination by far, with the region featured on roughly half of all itineraries of North American cruise operators.

"The Caribbean offers everything that consumers want in a vacation - picture perfect weather, gracious hospitality, unique sightseeing experiences, great shopping and, of course, gorgeous beaches," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "But there's more to the Caribbean than great beaches - this is one of the most culturally diverse regions in the world, with a rich history dating back centuries, magnificent architecture, and historical attractions and landmarks," she added.

According to Freed, while Caribbean demand the past year or so has been impacted by unfavorable economic factors affecting consumers' discretionary purchasing, it was clearly part of a cyclical trend that the industry has seen many times in the past. "Bookings for the second half of 2007 and early 2008 have shown much stronger fundamental demand and the trend we were previously observing clearly was not a reflection of the Caribbean's popularity or desirability," said Freed. "Consumers are unquestionably responding well to the strong value appeal inherent in a cruise vacation versus other vacation options," she added. "Many of our other guest metrics also point to the strength of Carnival's Caribbean cruise product, with guest satisfaction levels remaining at exceptionally high historical levels including very favorable guest feedback on Caribbean destinations," said Freed.

As the industry leader in Caribbean cruising, Carnival is continually updating its cruise itineraries and destination choices and over the next few months will introduce several new programs. These include a new five-day itinerary on the Carnival Imagination featuring Grand Turk, the new port in the Turks and Caicos and the award- winning private island of Half Moon Cay; a seven-day, five-port schedule on the Carnival Destiny from San Juan offering extended day-long visits to St. Lucia, Antigua, Dominica, Barbados and St. Thomas; and seven-day cruises aboard the Carnival Triumph from Miami that feature Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands, St. Thomas, and San Juan.

Carnival has also been working with destination partners to enhance and expand shore excursion programming to cater to today's active lifestyles, offering more choices than ever for consumers to immerse themselves in this fascinating destination. In 2007 alone, Carnival will offer approximately 900 landside tour choices in the region. Carnival's Caribbean expansion will continue in 2008 when the 3,006- passenger Carnival Splendor, the largest "Fun Ship" ever constructed, launches a series of seven-day Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale Nov. 22. Featured will be visits to San Juan, St. Thomas, Nassau and Casa de Campo, one of the Caribbean's finest resorts.

In addition to three- to eight-day cruises to the Caribbean and The Bahamas, Carnival offers three- to 16-day voyages to the Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, New England, Canada, Europe, the Greek Isles, and South America. The line currently has three new ships on order - the 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor, set to debut in Europe July 13, 2008; and the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic, scheduled for delivery in October 2009 and June 2011, respectively. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Majestic America Line Announces Farewell Celebration Throughout 2008 for the Legendary Delta Queen

SEATTLE, Aug. 1 -- Majestic America Line, one of the world's premier river cruise lines and the largest river and coastal cruising company in America, announced today that despite tremendous efforts by the company, many esteemed partners and thousands of previous guests, the U.S. Congress has decided that the Delta Queen should not continue operating on America's rivers beyond 2008. Majestic America Line is committed to providing this American treasure with a proper and well-deserved send off, and will spend the Delta Queen's 2008 farewell season celebrating this historic landmark with the communities and people who hold her storied tradition of sailing the waterways of the United States so dear.

Built in 1926, the Delta Queen features a steel hull and a superstructure constructed of wood -- a direct reflection of the designs of her time. Subsequent Coast Guard regulations prohibited wooden superstructures, but Congress decided more than 40 years ago to provide a special exemption from these rules for the historic Delta Queen. This exemption, which Congress had extended no fewer than six occasions, was set to expire in November 2008. Majestic America Line recently joined forces with those who know and love the fabled ship to extend this exemption. A comprehensive campaign was launched to raise awareness for the Delta Queen's excellent safety record, its impeccable training program and the quality and experience of the crew. However, Congress recently chose not to include this extension on legislation. Without the extension from Congress, the Delta Queen will not be able to continue cruise voyages on the river.

"We are incredibly disappointed by this decision, but we are extremely grateful to those who worked tirelessly on behalf of the Delta Queen to preserve her place on the Mississippi River," said Joe Ueberroth, President and CEO, Ambassadors International, which owns and operates Majestic America Line. "This includes many congressional leaders such as Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO), who gathered the support of so many of his colleagues, thousands of loyal guests, our hard-working travel partners and Delta Queen enthusiasts like We appreciate their efforts and we will continue to keep them involved as we plan the best way to honor the Delta Queen."

In addition to the leadership displayed by Congressman Clay, members such as Congressman Richard Baker (R-LA), representing congressional districts that are visited each year by the Delta Queen, were very supportive of the efforts to keep her operating on the river.

For years, the Delta Queen has been a beloved fixture on the heartland rivers of the United States and provided guests with a view of America from the waters that shaped the country's expansion. The Delta Queen provides a wholly unique way to experience the great American communities, cultures and experiences along the Upper and Lower Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Black Warrior and Cumberland rivers, as well as the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. A veteran of World War II and the only steamboat to transit the Panama Canal, the 80 year-old Delta Queen was host to three U.S. presidents and a princess. Stars of stage, screen and the entertainment world have also graced her decks, as well as some of the most prominent business leaders and statesmen of our time.

In 1970, recognized as the last operational steam paddlewheeler with overnight accommodations plying the rivers, the Delta Queen was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1989, she was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. She was inducted into the National Maritime Hall of Fame in 2004. 
The ship itself is rich with art and antiquities such as original Tiffany- style stained glass windows, rich hardwood paneling, gleaming brass fittings, the only Siamese ironwood floor aboard a steamboat, the dramatic and often- photographed Grand Staircase, an 1897 steam calliope, and the very same ship's bell that sounded out landings for the steamboat that Mark Twain rode downriver in 1883.

Majestic America Line will dedicate the 2008 season to celebrating the Delta Queen's 80 years of service and her fabled time on the river. Majestic America Line is planning special commemorative events, exclusive departures for previous Delta Queen guests and commemorative gifts that will mark the farewell season. With just 24 departures on the Delta Queen during 2008, guests are encouraged to reserve their place in history soon. The company is continuing to evaluate the best way to preserve her legendary spirit and her esteemed place in American history for future generations.

"A journey on board the Delta Queen is a true American experience, providing guests with an authentic glimpse of our country's culture and a time in our history when steamboats ruled the rivers," said David A. Giersdorf, President, Majestic America Line. "We will make every sailing in 2008 a special event, allowing every guest, like so many before, the opportunity to share in the Delta Queen's legacy and honor the last chapter in her service on the river."

To find out more about traveling on the Delta Queen, please contact your Travel Professional, call a reservation specialist at (800) 434-1232 or visit

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MSC Lirica: Flavors on the Seas

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Aug. 1 – If you are looking to satisfy your taste and discover new recipes, your appetite will be further enhanced by the gastronomic cruise on board MSC Lirica, with a wide selection of wine and food tasting opportunities... with lots of temptations! 

MSC Lirica will depart Sept. 2 from Copenhagen, followed by Harwich, with an optional excursion to William the Conquerors Castle (11th Century) in Colchester, the oldest English city, or visit Cambridge. From here, the ship cruises southwards to Spain and La Coruna, followed by Lisbon and then Gibraltar, Britain’s last European colony. Next port of call is Malaga, followed by Olbia on the fashionable Costa Smeralda before arriving in Genoa on Sept. 12 

On board, a veritable cornucopia of enjoyment awaits aspiring chefs and those willing to abandon themselves to sampling. Join culinary demonstrations where professionals teach the preparation of specialities from Italy and the countries visited en route. Chat with chefs to learn the tricks of the trade, to ensure you cook the perfect pasta, rice, meat and fish and how to best conserve food. Wine lovers will be equally spoiled with expert and passionate sommeliers offering tastings, following the map of wine from cities famed for their vintage cellars. 

Receive guidance to choose the perfect wine to accompany the perfect meal as you discover regional specialities. The barmen will also be on hand to demonstrate how to make the best international cocktails. Guests will receive a special “wine dictionary” to help them improve and expand their global wine knowledge. Particular attention is paid to the art of hospitality with lessons on how to serve food and drinks, how to set a table and arrange the centerpieces and place settings. 

The program includes games and races, all themed on culinary subjects, including a memory quiz on the name of drinks, international food and ingredients to test all those aspiring chefs! Every evening there will be a big party with a selection of special menus served at the various on board restaurants. This will include light meals, vegetarian dishes, deserts sweetened with artificial sweeteners suitable for diabetic guests, as well as kosher food on request. 

For more information on MSC Cruises, visit or a local travel professional.

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With NCL’S “Pity the Procrastinator” Promotion, Guests Who Book Early Get the Better Stateroom

MIAMI, August 1– Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) launched a new promotion, Pity the Procrastinator, which offers a free best available stateroom upgrade at the time of booking. This offer is applicable fleetwide on inside, oceanview or balcony categories for most fall 2007 and winter 2008 sailings. NCL’s Pity the Procrastinator promotion urges guests and travel agents to “hurry up and book” before they miss out on one of the best opportunities ever. For those guests taking advantage of the offer, they pay the lowest price for an inside, oceanview or balcony stateroom, and they will automatically receive the best available stateroom within that category at the time. Guests who don’t procrastinate could receive up to an 11-category upgrade for free.

NCL’s Pity the Procrastinator promotion is subject to availability and applies only to new individual and group reservations. The offer is not combinable with any other promotions. For more details, visit

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Holland America Line Expands South America Program

SEATTLE -- Announcing an expanded 2008 season, Holland America Line continues to explore the colorful culture of South America. Included in the new program are additional sailings, new itineraries and more cruises to Antarctica than ever before.

"No one offers more diverse and remarkable views of South America than Holland America," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "The popularity of this exotic and complex region continues to grow and Holland America once more offers new itineraries, extended stays and maiden ports. From the captivating tropics of the Panama Canal to the ethereal icy beauty of South Chile, we have the continent covered."

New itineraries for 2008 include an expanded 20-Day South America Explorer and Antarctica cruise aboard the ms Rotterdam, a 26-Day Inca Discovery cruise on the ms Statendam, a 22-Day Americas Discovery Cruise on the ms Amsterdam, a 26-Day Amazon Explorer cruise on the ms Prinsendam, and a 32 to 36-Day Panama Canal and Amazon Explorer cruise aboard the ms Veendam.

  • 20-Day South America Explorer & Antarctica Experience: For 2008, Holland America Line will offer the popular 20-Day South America Explorer and Antarctica Experience on the ms Rotterdam with an additional sailing added offering a choice of two departures in January. Holiday sailings will continue to be available in December 2007 and 2008, with the latter aboard the ms Amsterdam. New for 2008 is an expanded Antarctica experience exploring the Wilhelm Archipelago, South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Sound.

  • 16-Day South America Explorer: Discover Rio's red-hot culture as the ms Rotterdam rounds Cape Horn to glacial regions between Valparaiso, Chile, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil February through March 2008. Holland America Line features inside-passage sailings through the Beagle, Cockburn and Darwin channels and Straight of Magellan for extensive scenic fjord and glacier cruising. Plus, two full days in Buenos Aires, Argentina, allowing plenty of time to enjoy an evening of tango or take an optional excursion to thunderous Iguazu Falls.

  • 16- to 28-Day Tri-Continent Sojourn: Stay onboard the ms Rotterdam in April and sail from Rio de Janeiro to Lisbon, Portugal on a 16-Day Tri-Continent Sojourn through South America, Africa and Europe. Or journey from Rio de Janeiro to Athens, Greece for an extended 28-Day Sojourn and Mediterranean journey.

  • 13- to 26-Day Inca Discovery Cruise*: The expanded 2008 season includes a brand new 26-Day Inca Discovery Cruise aboard the ms Statendam in November. This cruise sails roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, with 13-day options (Ft. Lauderdale to Callao and Callao to Ft. Lauderdale). It explores five Central and South America countries and offers two full transits of the Panama Canal, one in each direction on the 26-day full cruise. The itinerary features an extended stay of two nights in Callao (Lima) Peru.

  • 22-Day Americas Discovery Cruise*: A new unique itinerary to the Mexican Riviera, Central and South America has been added for 2008. This cruise aboard the ms Amsterdam explores ports in the Americas including Puerto Chiapas, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Fuerte Amador (Panama City); Manta (Quito), Ecuador; Callao (Lima), Peru (overnight); General San Martin, Peru and Arica, Chile. A visit to Lauca National Park, a UNESCO Global Biosphere Reserve in a dramatic setting of mountains, volcanoes and one of the highest lakes in the world, or a visit to Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are among the featured optional shore excursions.

  • Amazon River and Panama Canal: With the increasing popularity of the Amazon River, two voyages are available in 2008. The 32 to 36-Day Panama Canal & Amazon Explorer aboard the ms Veendam in September and the 26-Day Amazon Explorer aboard the ms Prinsendam in November. With a choice of departures from Vancouver or San Diego to Tampa, the ms Veendam voyage combines the manmade wonders of the Panama Canal with the natural wonders of the Amazon Basin in Brazil. The ms Prinsendam will sail roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale and features two maiden ports of call including Macapa, Brazil, the gateway to the Amazon River, and Alter do Chao, Brazil, known as Ilha do Amor or Island of Love. Both itineraries feature seven to eight days cruising the Amazon River with an overnight in Manuas, the furthest navigable point on the river for ocean-going vessels.

  • 2008 Grand South America & Antarctica Highlights: For those guests who want to truly experience everything that South America has to offer, this is the ultimate journey. Beginning in January, a single voyage will take guests to every key region of this great continent with the added excitement of three days of dramatic scenic cruising in the great white continent of Antarctica all without a single international flight. Limited staterooms on shorter segments between Ft. Lauderdale, Callao (Lima), and Buenos Aires are available. Journey more than 17,400 nautical miles and visit 30 unique ports in 14 different countries; this is a complete exploration of South America.

*Both the Inca Discovery Cruise and the Americas Discovery Cruise offer guests the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu, Peru, one of the recently named new Seven Wonders of the World.

About Holland America Line
Holland America Line's fleet of 13 ships offers nearly 500 cruises to more than 320 ports. Two- to 108-day itineraries visit all seven continents, including Antarctica, South America, Australia/New Zealand and Asia and Grand World Voyages; and popular sailings to ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico, Canada/New England, Europe and Panama Canal. Fleetwide, the company features Signature of Excellence enhancements, totaling more than $225 million, that showcase the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine -- a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchen where more than 60 celebrated guest chefs and culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes -- Explorations Cafe powered by The New York Times, teens-only activity areas and all new stateroom amenities highlighted by flat-panel TVs and plush Euro-top Mariner's Dream Beds.For more information contact a travel professional; call 1-877-724-5425 or visit online at

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