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News from the world of cruise travel ~
September 16-30, 2003

For schedule changes & departure information on a specific cruise line or port of call, please select Latest Updates by Cruise Line

SARS Updates from the cruise industry

Important Travel Safety Information letter from Jack Williams, President and Chief Operating Officer, Royal Caribbean International

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First-Ever Calls in Tampa for Seven Seas Navigator Starting in November; Series of Four Southern & Western Caribbean Voyages to Sail to/from Tampa with Two-For-One Savings
November 25 Roundtrip Tampa Thanksgiving Cruise Offers "Club Mariner" Children's Program

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL -- It's been a year filled with inaugural calls for the luxurious Seven Seas Navigator®, and on November 18, the 490-guest vessel will add one more first-ever port to her roster: Tampa, Florida. For the first time ever, the Navigator will sail into the Gulf of Mexico and along the Sunshine State's West Coast, on four voyages that will cruise to and from the vibrant waterfront city.

Beginning Nov. 8, the acclaimed, all-suite (90% with private balconies) vessel will offer her guests a selection of Tampa cruises: a cruise from Palm Beach to Tampa, two roundtrip Tampa voyages, and a Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale itinerary. The close-to-home, seven- and ten-night Southern and Western Caribbean itineraries boast convenient embarkation and disembarkation ports, as well as attractive two-for-one fares.

Commenting on the first-time program, Gina Rathbun, Director of Cruise Marketing, Tampa Port Authority, said, "The Port of Tampa is delighted to welcome Radisson Seven Seas and its guests to all Tampa has to offer including an unparalleled on-shore experience that will enrich cruisers' sense of Florida as a multifaceted destination."

Family Holidays Over Thanksgiving 
Enriching the shipboard experience for family groups cruising over Thanksgiving holiday, the Nov. 25 seven-night roundtrip Tampa sailing offers the "Club Mariner" children's program. A creative, lively schedule of age-graded events is arranged in two tiers - for children ages six to 11 and 12 to 17 - with counselor-supervised activities. Appealing children's menus will be available in the Compass Rose dining room.

Cruising Between Florida's East & West Coasts 
On Nov. 8, the Seven Seas Navigator will embark on a 10-night Southern Caribbean voyage from Palm Beach to Tampa, and on December 2, the vessel will ply the same route, from Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale. Cascading rays of sunshine will warm all on deck as the ultra-deluxe vessel cruises to Key West (Florida), Port Antonio (Jamaica), San Andrés (Colombia), Puerto Limón (Costa Rica), Colón (Panama) and Georgetown (Grand Cayman). Two-for-one prices from $2,398 per person include all shipboard gratuities, wine with dinner, soft drinks throughout, and an in-suite bar set-up. Low-cost air add-ons are available from 84 North American gateways.

Roundtrip Tampa
The Western Caribbean is within easy reach - affordably with two-for-one savings - on two roundtrip seven-night Tampa voyages this fall. On Nov. 18 and 25, the Seven Seas Navigator will depart Tampa Bay for Georgetown (Grand Cayman), Costa Maya and Cozumel (Mexico), and Key West (with a shipboard overnight on the Nov. 18 cruise).

Two-for-one prices from $1,698 per person include all shipboard gratuities, wine with dinner, soft drinks throughout, and an in-suite bar set-up. Low-cost air add-ons are available from 84 North American gateways. All guests will enjoy spacious suites ranging from a minimum of 301 up to 1,173 square feet, marble-appointed bathrooms with separate shower and full bathtub, fine cuisine in two restaurants, single, open-seating dining in the Compass Rose, and a full service spa. Butler service is included in the Master, Grand, Navigator and A & B Penthouse Suites.

For further information, contact Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, 600 Corporate Drive, Suite 410, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33334; or toll-free 800-477-7500; for brochures and reservation information toll-free 800-285-1835; or visit the Web site: To make reservations contact your travel professional.

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Alaska Cruise Guests Sail Through Airline Check-In Process
Innovative Onboard Check-In Program - Quick And Convenient For Customers

MIAMI, Sept. 30 -- Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, the Vancouver International Airport Authority, Air Canada, and Alaska Airlines today announced the successful completion of a 10-week pilot program called "Onboard Check-in and Luggage Valet." The innovative program allowed participating cruise guests to conduct their airline and luggage check-in for their return flights home while still onboard their cruise ship.

The program allowed guests to bypass the traditional check-in process at the Vancouver International Airport, adding convenience and saving time. Results show that Onboard Check-in and Luggage Valet saved guests 45 minutes to two hours, compared to the traditional airport check-in process. Some 2,170 passengers participated in the pilot program, which ran from July 13 to September 21, 2003. Canadian authorities and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration approved and oversaw the program.

"Onboard Check-in and Luggage Valet made returning home easier than ever for our guests," said Nick Hafner, vice president of Air, Sea, and Hotel for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "At the completion of their cruise, our guests didn't have to locate their luggage, transport it to the airport, or stand in long lines waiting to check-in. And, because of our control over the luggage, the program actually improves security. This is a model we hope to offer on all our ships, at all turn-around ports."

Onboard Check-in and Luggage Valet was designed for U.S. residents cruising to Alaska on Royal Caribbean International or Celebrity Cruises sailings that concluded in Vancouver. Guests also had to be flying to the U.S. on Air Canada the same day their cruise ended. Based on the initial success of the program, and government approval, the program was expanded to include Alaska Airlines customers during the final two weeks of the Alaska cruise season.

While onboard their ship, and by the end of the fourth day of their one- week cruise, participating guests confirmed their flight information and number of bags to be checked. Based on this information, boarding passes were printed by airline staff at the Vancouver International Airport. When the ship arrived at the Port of Vancouver, guests were given their boarding passes and luggage claim checks, were taken by bus to Vancouver International Airport, and were processed through security and U.S. federal inspection services in a dedicated area. Their luggage was secured, taken separately to the airport, processed, and moved directly to their aircraft. Guests then picked up their luggage normally upon arrival at their destination airport. The companies and government agencies involved now will review the program to further refine it and determine to what extent it could be permanently implemented in the future.

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Queen Mary 2 Passes Sea Trials in Style

First Atlantic Liner To Be Built For Over 30 Years; Right On Schedule For January Maiden Voyage

SAINT NAZAIRE, France, Sept. 29 -- Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary 2 returned from the sea for the first time today having completed her sea trials with flying colours. The largest, longest, tallest, widest, and at - $780-million - the most expensive passenger liner ever built underwent four days of rigorous testing of her power, manoeuvrability and vibration levels off the Brittany coast. The successful trials put QM2 right on schedule for her January 12 Maiden Voyage from Southampton, England, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

According to Captain Ronald Warwick, master-designate, Queen Mary 2, "The sea trials for Queen Mary 2 have been a tremendous success. It was great to finally take her out to the open ocean, where she belongs." Another observer on board during sea trials, the ship's naval architect Stephen Payne, was also jubilant: "For a first builder's sea trial, the performance of Queen Mary 2, being a prototype ship, exceeded expectations in all respects."

Destined to become the defining luxury ocean liner for the 21st century, QM2 will offer 15 transatlantic crossings in her inaugural year as she takes over the role currently operated by her sister ship, Queen Elizabeth 2, as Cunard's transatlantic liner. Prices for six-day crossings begin at $1,499 per person, double occupancy. The vessel also introduces a series of Caribbean cruises from New York and Fort Lauderdale; a voyage to Rio de Janeiro and back, timed for Carnival; five European itineraries and two fall foliage cruises to ports in Canada and New England.

Cunard's Queen Mary 2 features sweeping staircases, expansive promenades and luxurious accommodations for 2,620 passengers; nearly three-quarters of which have private balconies. World-famous chef Daniel Boulud is the ship's culinary consultant. Facilities include 10 dining venues, including the only shipboard restaurant by celebrity chef Todd English, the only Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea, the world's first planetarium at sea, the largest ballroom at sea, the largest library at sea, and the largest wine collection at sea. The ship also features a Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar, several other elegant bars and showrooms, a two-story theatre, a casino, five indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, boutiques, a pet kennel, and a children's facility, complete with British nannies.

A special highlight of the QM2's inaugural schedule will be its maiden eastbound crossing from New York on April 25 as both Queen Mary 2 and QE2 will sail in tandem. This day will be the first time two Cunard Queens have been berthed in the port together since March 1940.

For more information on Queen Mary 2, consult a travel agent, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit the website at Cunard Line has operated the most famous ocean liners in the world since 1840. Cunard vessels have a classic British heritage and include QE2 and Caronia. In 2004 the line welcomes Queen Mary 2, destined to recapture the glamour of the original Queen Mary, currently a hotel and attraction in Long Beach, CA. In 2005, another newbuild, Queen Victoria, joins the fleet.

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Week-Long Voyage Includes Special Live Performances, Exclusive Meet-and-Greet Opportunities with Renowned Pianist and Composer

MIAMI, 09/29/03 - World-renowned pianist and composer Marvin Hamlisch, creator of the legendary Broadway show, A Chorus Line, and composer of more than 40 motion picture scores, will host a "Concert at Sea" cruise aboard Carnival Cruise Lines' 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride in February 2004. A portion of the proceeds from the voyage will be donated by Marvin Hamlisch to the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, which provides funding for life-saving cardiac care to those with limited financial means.

During the week-long cruise, which will depart Long Beach, Calif., Feb. 15, 2004, and feature port calls to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Hamlisch will perform two exclusive, invitation-only one-hour shows featuring many of his famous musical numbers from stage and screen, all backed by a talented 10-piece orchestra. Participants will also have an opportunity to meet the artist during a private cocktail reception and a "coffee chat" on board. 

"Marvin Hamlisch is truly an entertainment legend and we are delighted to provide our guests an opportunity to not only enjoy his captivating musical performances but also meet the world-renowned artist 'up close and personal,' all while raising money for a very worthwhile cause," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

One of the most celebrated and accomplished artists in history, Hamlisch has won every major entertainment award, including three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, one Tony, and three Golden Globes, as well as a Pulitzer Prize for his long-running Broadway show, A Chorus Line. Hamlisch has also served as the composer for dozens of motion picture scores, including The Way We Were, The Sting, Sophie's Choice and Ordinary People. Hamlisch holds the position of Principal Pops Conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Hamlisch will perform in one of the Carnival Pride's 16 bars and lounges, whose interiors are inspired by the "icons of beauty" that exist in painting, architecture and other forms of artistic expression. 

The 88,500-ton SuperLiner also houses four swimming pools, a corkscrew water slide, a 14,500-square-foot health club, and a multitude of dining options, including a two-level dining room, a casual poolside eatery, an upscale reservations only supper club, 24-hour pizza, ice cream and stateroom service, a patisserie, and a sushi bar. Of Carnival Pride's 1,062 staterooms, 80 percent offer and ocean view and 80 percent of those feature a private balcony. The "Marvin Hamlisch Cruise" is marketed exclusively through the Vacation Store. For additional information and reservations call 1-800-259-4145.

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'Biking Comedian' to pedal to Hawaii on cruise ship & complete 16-year quest 

MIAMI, 09/29/03 - Tom Snyders, the "Bicycling Comedian," is slated to complete his 16-year quest to bicycle all 50 U.S. states when Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Spirit arrives at Maui, Hawaii, Tuesday, Sept. 30. Snyder departed Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, Sept. 24, and has pedaled his bike on a stationary stand and performed his comedy act on board the ship during the five-day crossing. 

During the past 16 years Snyders has ridden his bicycle to more than 200 engagements at comedy clubs and festivals. He has logged more than 121,000 miles - five times the circumference of the earth - and has traversed the 49 continental states, but has never biked Hawaii. Over the course of his travels, Snyders has photographed silly and enigmatic signs all over the United States, Australia and Europe. The absurd images combined with his on-the-road experiences provide the comedic material for his act, which incorporates a slide show and humorous recounting of his biking adventures. When the Carnival Spirit docks at the Port of Kahului on Maui, Snyders will complete his quest by cycling for the day on the island before rejoining the ship for a cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. 

Introduced in April 2001, the 88,500-ton, 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit was built in Finland for $375 million. The ship sails seasonally to Hawaii every spring and fall.

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Carnival's 'Fun Ship' Elation Kicks Off New Seven-Day Cruise Schedule From Galveston
One-of-a-Kind Program Includes Port Calls to Progreso/Yucatan, Cozumel and Belize

MIAMI, Sept. 28 -- Carnival Cruise Lines' 2,052-passenger "Fun Ship" Elation  inaugurated the line's first new seven-day cruise program from Texas when it departed from the Port of Galveston at 4 pm. It is the newest and largest cruise ship to be based in Galveston year-round. The sold-out voyage kicks off a new one-of-a-kind week-long schedule featuring port calls to Progreso/Yucatan and Cozumel, Mexico, and Belize City, Belize, which offer exceptional beaches and watersports, as well as interesting sightseeing opportunities, including ruins, pyramids and other archeological sites.

The Elation joins Carnival's 1,486-passenger Celebration, which was the first cruise ship to sail year-round from Galveston when it began four- and five-day Mexico service in September 2000. Including the Elation, Carnival expects to carry some 240,000 passengers annually from Galveston--the most of any cruise line.

"Response to 'Fun Ship' cruising from Galveston has been exceptional as consumers appreciate the convenience of sailing from this centrally located homeport, as well as the opportunity to enjoy pre- and post-cruise opportunities in this charming and historic city. We fully expect this popularity to continue with the Elation's new seven-day program," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

Commented Steven M. Cernak, Galveston port director, "We are proud to welcome Carnival's Fantasy-class vessel Elation to Galveston's Cruise Terminal. In partnership with Carnival, the Port of Galveston is currently in the process of upgrading Terminal No. 1 and upon completion will be able to handle any vessel in the company's fleet.

"The Port of Galveston has established itself as the Western Gulf of Mexico's gateway for international cruise vacations. Our continued growth allows numerous options where passengers can cruise from the Port of Galveston on a long weekend cruise or relax on a vacation of longer duration. We have come a long way in less than three years. Our growth has been phenomenal but we will continue our efforts to maintain Galveston as the port of choice for our cruise customers."

The Elation, which was launched in 1998, encompasses 12 passenger decks housing three swimming pools, three restaurants and a dozen "themed" lounges and bars, including Duke's, a live music venue that pays tribute to jazz legend Duke Ellington and New York's "Cotton Club" scene; Mark Twain Library, which pays homage to the romantic Riverboat Era with scale models of famous vessels that plied the Mississippi; and the Mikado, a Japanese-inspired theater showcasing lavish Vegas-style revues. Other features include a 2,400-square-foot enclosed play area, part of the line's fleetwide top-rated "Camp Carnival," which features a computer lab, arts and crafts center and indoor climbing maze. Elation also includes a 12,000-square-foot health club and salon, full casino gambling, a jogging track, and a comprehensive golf program with professional instruction available both aboard ship and during golf excursions.

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

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Seven Seas Voyager's 94-Night "Grand Asia Pacific" Voyage in Five Combinable 16- to 22-Night Segments; All Balcony Suite Vessel to Sail Roundtrip from Los Angeles Jan. 10, 2004
Each Segment Includes Special Shoreside Event & Shipboard Credit, Plus Choice of Complimentary Economy Airfare Or Up To $3,000 Per Suite Savings

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL, Sep 26, 2003 - Wonders Down Under and mysteries of ancient dynasties will come alive during five combinable segments of the Seven Seas Voyager's® 94-night Grand Asia Pacific Voyage, sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles January 10, 2004. Each of the 16- to 22-night segments offers guests a choice of free economy airfare from 84 North American gateways or up to $3,000 per suite savings. In addition, a special complimentary shoreside event and up to $400 per suite in shipboard credits are included on every segment.

Return to Paradise 
On Jan. 10, the new 700-guest all-balcony suite Seven Seas Voyager departs Los Angeles for Sydney on a 22-night sailing. After reaching the Hawaiian Islands she sails for the South Pacific, calling in seductive French Polynesia and the charming island Kingdom of Tonga. In New Caledonia, guests will enjoy a complimentary "Castaways Party" on the unspoiled beach of Ile des Pins. Next on the horizon is beautiful Sydney harbor, where guests may opt for post-cruise hotel stays to continue their explorations of Australia. Per person prices from $8,471 include 50% savings on second-guest fares and their choice of free economy air or $1,000 savings.

The Wonders "Down Under" 
Segment two, a 20-night Sydney to Perth voyage, begins Feb. 2 with a shipboard overnight. The Seven Seas Voyager cruises to New Zealand's North Island and Auckland, the "City of Sails." On Feb. 6, the ship will present world-renowned Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in an exclusive engagement with the New Zealand Philharmonic Orchestra, then sail to South Island's quaint Christchurch and Port Chalmers. En route to Hobart, Tasmania, the vessel cruises majestic Milford Sound and returns to Australia's mainland by way of Melbourne (shipboard overnight). She then sails the Great Australian Bight to Albany and Perth (shipboard overnight) where black swans grace scenic Swan River. Per person prices from $9,985 include a choice of free economy air or $1,500 savings.

Jumping Kangaroos & Singapore Slings 
The 18-night third segment begins Feb. 22 in Perth and hugs Australia's coastline before reaching the cultural crossroads of Singapore (shipboard overnight). Two days in Bangkok include a complimentary overnight at an elegant hotel in Ancient Siam's capital city. A shipboard overnight in historic, booming Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) precede the Seven Seas Voyager's cruise from enchanted Halong Bay to Hong Kong's renowned harbor (where guests enjoy another night onboard). Per person prices from $9,985 include a choice of free economy air or $1,500 savings.

Pearls of the Orient 
On March 11 guests embark the acclaimed vessel for the 18-night segment four, starting with two shipboard overnights in Hong Kong. After exploring dynastic treasures in Kaoshung and Taipei, guests enjoy two nights in modern Shanghai. Two days in Beijing (from Tianjin) include a complimentary hotel overnight in China's capital city. The vessel then sails to Hiroshima and Kobe, Japan (shipboard overnight), and allows guests to probe the rare cultural treasures of ancient Kyoto before cruising to Tokyo (shipboard overnight) with its contrasting Ginza district and old Edo. Per person prices from $11,605 include a choice of free economy air or $1,500 savings.

Aloha Hawaii 
Sixteen-night segment five departs Tokyo March 29 for Los Angeles. Midway across the Pacific, the itinerary brings guests ashore in tiny Midway Island before arriving in lush Kauai and Honolulu where a private Swing Dance Party on the decks of the battleship USS Missouri awaits. Hands-on Le Cordon Bleu® cooking workshops are also featured on this segment ($395 per person). Per person prices from $7,421 include 50% savings on second-guest fares and a choice of free economy air or $1,000 savings.

For further information, contact Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, 600 Corporate Drive, Suite 410, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33334; or toll-free 800-477-7500; for brochures and reservation information toll-free 800-285-1835; or visit the Web site: To make reservations contact your travel professional.

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Norwegian Cruise Line Announces “Star Seeker” First Round Winners
Indiana barber and Colorado shipping manager will perform aboard NCL ships this fall

MIAMI, September 25, 2003 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has named Pat Catanzarite of South Bend, Ind. and Anton Mallard of Denver, Colo. as first round winners of its new “Star Seekers” passenger talent competition, which offers NCL guests the opportunity to wow their fellow cruisers and possibly win a full-time entertainment contract aboard an NCL ship! 

Star Seekers is offered on voyages aboard all of NCL’s ships. Contestants deliver a three-minute routine showcasing their particular talent before an audience of fellow passengers, while a panel of judges selects winners based on each performer’s entertainment value and the crowd’s reaction. Judges include the ship’s hotel and cruise directors, plus a musician and a performer from the ship’s professional entertainment staff. First-round winners such as Catanzarite and Mallard, receive a complimentary NCL cruise during which they serve as a featured entertainer in a 45-minute cabaret show. If they wow the crowd as guest entertainers, they will have the chance to become full-time featured performers onboard NCL ships with a professional contract.

Catanzarite, a barber, will be cruising as a stand-up comic on the Sept. 28, 2003 Bermuda cruise on Norwegian Majesty out of Boston. Said Catanzarite, “My speaking career started at my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and I haven’t stopped talking since.”

Meanwhile, Mallard, a shipping manager, will be sailing as a singer on the Nov. 1, 2003 Western Caribbean cruise on Norwegian Wind out of Miami. Listing Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder among his main musical influences, Mallard said, “I am fortunate that people enjoy my singing and love for music as much as I do.”

“Star Seekers has been a runaway hit and also serves to spotlight the wealth of untapped talent among our guests from all over the country,” said Keith Cox, NCL’s vice president of entertainment and onboard programming. “We are looking forward to these two talented performers shows and many other future Star Seeker winners.”

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line is an industry innovator. NCL recently announced its new brand, NCL America, under which its US flagged ships will operate. The company is currently building its first US Flagged ship, Pride of America, which begins inter-island Hawaii cruises on July 4, 2004. NCL is also the leader in roundtrip seven-day cruising from U.S. and Canadian ports, offering its popular Homeland Cruising program seasonally from Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Orlando (Port Canaveral), San Juan, Seattle and Vancouver, and year round from New York, Houston and Honolulu.

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SeaDream Yacht Club Offers Exclusive Gay Sailings

SeaDream Yacht Club, entrepreneurial operator of the twin, ultra-luxury mega yachts SeaDream I and II, is offering two, week-long cruises exclusively for the gay community. Both are scheduled late in 2004. The first, in the Mediterranean, is October 16-23. The second, in the Caribbean, is December 12-19.  

A staff of 90 will accommodate only up to 55 couples on SeaDream II, one of the twin, highly-rated, mega cruisers that share the top Five-Star Club award in the authoritative Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships 2003 guidebook. SeaDream II, one of the twin, highly-rated, mega cruisers that share the top Five-Star Club award in the authoritative Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships 2003 guidebook. The specially-priced gay cruise in the Mediterranean is priced from $3,399 per person, a savings off regular published fares of more than $3,500. The Caribbean cruise is $2,899, a more than $2000 savings. These fares are based on double occupancy of an elegant SeaDream stateroom. Fares include all meals, wine with lunch and dinner, open bar, use of water sports equipment and gratuities.

The Mediterranean sailing (Voyage #2444) departs Monte Carlo October 16 and returns there for disembarkation October 23. Ports of call for the seven-day sailing are: St. Jean Cap Ferrat, France; Portofino and Portovenere, Italy; Saint Florent (on the island of Corsica), St. Tropez and Cannes, France. All port arrivals are in the morning hours. There are late evening departures in Portofino , Portovenere and Saint Florent. SeaDream II overnights in St. Tropez and Cannes. This allows SeaDream guests to take advantage of late evening activities ashore in these exciting Mediterranean resort ports.

The Caribbean sailing (Voyage #2451) departs San Juan , Puerto Rico December 12 and concludes in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, December 19. Ports of call are: Marigot, St. Martin ; St. John’s, Antigua ; Charlestown, Nevis; Gustavia, St. Barts; Jost van Dyke and Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. All port arrivals are in the morning hours and departures are in the evenings. 

SeaDream I and II each offer open-seating and highly-rated fine dining both indoors and outdoors. Known for a wide array of water sports activities available from stern platforms, the SeaDream yachts each feature wave runners, kayaks, sail boats, zodiacs, water skiing and snorkeling. Onboard there is a golf simulator with 50 championship courses. There’s also an Asian Spa and Fitness Center, library, casino and piano bar. Films are screened in the main lounge or on deck under the stars. Staterooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs, CD/DVD players, e-mail and internet access. SeaDream yachts also feature the new and revolutionary Segway Human Transporters and folding mountain bikes. 

Air fare and ground transfers to and from the SeaDream yacht are not included. Fares are based on per person, double occupancy, are capacity controlled and may change without notice. Single and third person rates are available. Government fees, handling and service charges of $224 per person in the Caribbean and $252 per person in the Mediterranean.

SeaDream Yacht Club is the yachting venture by Norwegian entrepreneur Atle Brynestad who founded Seabourn Cruise Line, and Larry Pimentel who was president of Seabourn under Brynestad and later president and CEO of the merged Cunard and Seabourn. Pimentel is President and CEO of the Coconut Grove, Florida-headquartered SeaDream Yacht Club and a co-owner. Brynestad is Chairman. The company operates SeaDream I and SeaDream II, twin, ultra luxury, mega yachts that operate on seven-day sailings in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. The yachts are not only ideal for discerning travelers seeking an unstructured and casual holiday experience but also for small meetings and incentive groups or individual private family gatherings. They are available for full charter. SeaDream I and II share the top Five-Star Club award in the Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships 2003 guidebook. In the Americas the SeaDream Yacht Club reservations number is 1 800 707-4911. In Europe it is +47 23 28 96 60. The website is

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Norwegian Crown Snagged by Fishing Net

Miami, Sept 25 – While en route from Quebec City, Canada to Boston, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Crown sustained damage to its portside propeller caused by a fishing net in the water. The company’s Marine Operations Department notified the U.S. Coast guard upon discovering the damage and a repair timeframe was established.

The ship was rescheduled to sail from Boston between 10 p.m. and midnight and arrive into Baltimore on Saturday, September 27th between 10 a.m. and Noon; one day later than the original arrival schedule.

A full shore excursion program was arranged for guests’ additional day in Boston and NCL worked with passengers to rearrange their existing plans or to make new plans to ensure their journey home is as convenient as possible. NCL worked diligently to notify embarking guests of the schedule change and assisted with alternative transportation arrangements if necessary. Embarkation began on Saturday, Sept. 27th from 2 to 4 p.m.

NCL applied an onboard credit to embarking guest’s accounts, which equated to one day of the cruise fare they paid plus $100 per cabin to make up for the cruise being one day shorter and the delayed embarkation. NCL appreciates its guests’ patience and understanding during this time and thanks them for their patronage.

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Princess Presents 4th Annual Alaska Shore Excursion Awards
Unique Program Recognizes Importance of Local Tours & Guides to 
Passenger Cruise Experience

In an annual tradition that recognizes the best tour guides and shore excursions of the Alaska season, Princess Cruises announced the results of its yearly C.R.U.I.S.E. awards based on customer feedback throughout the season. The ceremonies, recently held aboard the line's Alaska-based ships, recognize the top operators in each Alaskan and Canadian port featured on Princess itineraries. The winners received the most passenger commendations among Princess' extensive line-up of more than 125 different shore excursion options.

"The shore excursion experience is an integral part of our passengers' cruise in Alaska," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales/Chairman and CEO of Princess Tours. "These tour providers have done an outstanding job of ensuring that Princess' service levels continue even when passengers get off the ship."

Begun in 1999 in the Caribbean as part of Princess' C.R.U.I.S.E. (Courtesy, Respect, Unfailing In Service Excellence) customer service program, and expanded to Alaska in 2000, these awards are the culmination of a season-long effort to recognize the importance of tour operators to passengers' cruise experience. Tour Guide of the Season award winners receive $100, a tour of the ship, a letter of commendation, a plaque, and lunch onboard for their family. Operators of the Shore Excursion of the Season receive a plaque and a letter of commendation, a tour of the ship, and lunch onboard for company officials. A full list of winners is attached.

Princess Adventures Ashore 2003 C.R.U.I.S.E. Shore Excursion of the Season & Tour Guide of the Season

Co-Shore Excursions: Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest, Allen Marine Tours
Helicopter Glacier Trek, NorthStar Trekking
Tour Guide: Jami Likins, Guide's Choice Adventure Hike (Gastineau Guiding)

Shore Excursion: Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure, Snorkel Alaska
Co-Tour Guides: Rob Holston, Guard Island Lighthouse Excursions
Aaron Fargo, Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure (Snorkel Alaska)

Shore Excursion: Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest, Allen Marine Tours
Tour Guide: Mary Hames, Sitka Tours

Co-Shore Excursions: Glacier Point Wilderness Safari, Chilkat Guides Ltd
Pilot's Choice Helicopter Odyssey, Temsco
Co-Tour Guides: Dave Marvin, Glacier Point Wilderness Safari (Chilkat Guides Ltd)
Cory Thole, Heli-Hike & Rail Adventure (Packer Expeditions Ltd)

Shore Excursion: Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise, Kenai Fjord Tours
Tour Guide: Micki Van Deusen, Homestead Cabin & Exit Glacier (Trails North Inc.)

Shore Excursion: Capilano Canyon Nature Tour, Rockwood Adventures
Tour Guide: Jeff Veniot, Gray Line of Vancouver

Shore Excursion: Grand City Drive & Empress Tea, Gray Line of Victoria
Tour Guide: Dave Roberts, Victoria Highlight & Mt. Tolmie (Gray Line of Victoria)

Shore Excursion: Ride the Ducks of Seattle, Ride the Ducks of Seattle
Tour Guide: Nicole Hansen, Ride the Ducks of Seattle

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United Announces Long-Term Partnership With Norwegian Cruise Line

DENVER, Sept. 25  -- United Airlines and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced they have entered into a long-term partnership for air lift to and from the Islands of Hawaii from United's hubs in Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Enhancing its 23-year client relationship with United, NCL Senior Vice President Marketing and Sales Andy Stuart was in Denver on Wednesday with John Tague, United's Executive Vice President Customer to sign a multi- million dollar guaranteed flying contract with United through December 2007.

"We are very pleased to enhance our long-standing relationship with NCL in this mutually beneficial endeavor," said Tague. "This partnership introduces more leisure travelers to United and allows us to better gauge air travel demand year-round. At the same time, we will bring passengers to NCL's freestyle cruising ships and our agreement allows them to extensively promote air, cruise and stay packages."

"We believe this enhanced partnership is a natural fit," said Stuart. "United's strong route network and extensive service to Hawaii ideally compliments NCL's significant expansion in the state of Hawaii."

Under the terms of the agreement, United will set aside blocks of seats for cruise bound passengers who will journey on NCL's four Hawaii-based ships. When the cruise line sells an air, cruise and stay package, United will be the primary carrier.

About NCL
NCL is also the leader in roundtrip seven-day cruising from U.S. and Canadian ports, offering its popular Homeland Cruising program seasonally from Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Orlando (Port Canaveral), San Juan, Seattle and Vancouver, and year round from New York, Houston and Honolulu. For further information on NCL or NCL America, agents in the U.S. and Canada may contact NCL at (800) 327-7030; visit NCL's website at 

About United
In 2002, United employees broke 35 company records and achieved the best overall performance in the company's 77-year history. United Airlines finished 2002 ranked No.1 in the industry in domestic on-time performance, according to the official U.S. Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer report. United and United Express operate more than 3,300 flights a day on a route network that spans the globe. News releases and other information about United can be found at the company's website at

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Royal Caribbean Names Jean Driscoll Godmother of 
Mariner of the Seas

Largest Cruise Ship to Sail From Port Canaveral to be Named Nov. 14

MIAMI, September 23, 2003 - Royal Caribbean International has announced that Jean Driscoll - world-class athlete, Olympian, Paralympian and international advocate for persons with disabilities - will serve as godmother to the line's newest ship, Mariner of the Seas, which debuts later this year. As godmother, Driscoll will officially give the ship its name during ceremonies in Port Canaveral, Fla., on Nov. 14, 2003.

"We are immensely pleased that such a prominent athlete and outstanding advocate for persons with disabilities will be the godmother of our newest, fully accessible ship," said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Jean is a true champion who excels in everything she does, in the sports arena and beyond. She has shown by example that physical disabilities need not limit life experiences, and we are proud to have her spirit lead a ship that was designed to ensure all guests can participate fully in the excitement of a cruise experience."

Driscoll's achievements range from winning the women's wheelchair division of the prestigious Boston Marathon eight times - the only person in Boston Marathon history to achieve that feat - to victories in both the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games. She was recognized by Sports Illustrated for Women as one of the top 25 female athletes of the 20th century and is also a world record holder in the 10,000-meter track event as well as the 10K and marathon road racing distances. Driscoll, who was born with spina bifida, is actively involved with organizations for athletes with disabilities both in the United States and abroad. In the United States, she is the spokesperson for the ASPIRE project (Adapted Sports in Recreation and Education), which works to bring youth sports leagues for athletes with physical disabilities to each state, with a goal that someday all students with disabilities will have an opportunity to participate in sports programs.

Globally, Driscoll dedicates her time to Wheels for the World, a program that restores wheelchairs and takes them to individuals in third-world countries. She also travels annually to West Africa to teach the sport of wheelchair track. Thanks to her efforts, Ghana will attempt to send its first athletes to represent the country in the Paralympics in Athens in 2004. Driscoll joins a distinguished list of Royal Caribbean godmothers, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Katarina Witt, Stefanie Graf, Whoopi Goldberg and Queen Sonja of Norway.

About Mariner of the Seas
The 142,000-ton Mariner of the Seas will be the fifth ship in the company's Voyager class and the largest cruise ship to sail from Port Canaveral. An action-packed ship with numerous dining and entertainment venues, Mariner features the line's signature rock-climbing wall, an inline skating track, a full-size basketball court, and the Royal Promenade - an interior shopping, dining and entertainment boulevard. Mariner of the Seas also features an ice skating rink with ice shows, a 1,350-seat Broadway-style theater, a miniature golf course, and one of the largest fitness and spa complexes at sea.

Mariner of the Seas leads the industry in providing accessibility to guests with disabilities. Royal Caribbean's progressive accessibility program - Accessible Seas - strives to make travel more convenient, enjoyable and hassle-free for all guests. Mariner offers an extensive list of amenities such as automatic doors; hydraulic pool/jacuzzi lifts; Braille menus and stairwell banister deck numbers; extra-wide corridors; public bathroom facilities; and special devices for the hearing and visually impaired. Mariner also has 26 specially designed staterooms that include a variety of accessibility features such as roll-in showers and pull-down closet rods.  
Mariner of the Seas will begin her regularly scheduled, year-round itineraries on Nov. 16, 2003, sailing alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Prices start at $749 per person, double occupancy.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand currently with 17 ships in service and three more under construction. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700.

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Royal Caribbean And The State Of Louisiana Throw A Celebration 200 Years In The Making
Special Anniversary Cruise Headlines Louisiana Legends Irma Thomas and Harry Connick, Sr.

MIAMI, Sept. 23 -- Royal Caribbean International has joined once again with the State of Louisiana to offer travelers a unique opportunity to enjoy the tastes, sounds and history of the state. The Official Cruise Line of the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration, Royal Caribbean is wrapping up the anniversary year with a special sailing timed to correspond with the state's official re-enactment of the Louisiana Purchase signing.

Guests onboard the special Dec. 13 commemorative cruise will enjoy performances by local legends Irma Thomas and Harry Connick, Sr., as well as Zydeco master Terrence Simien. Cruisers will also have a chance to immerse themselves in the history and culture of the state during the Mardi Gras Under the Stars celebration and Louisiana Film Festival. In addition, Royal Caribbean's team of international chefs will offer special menu items throughout the week that reflect the region's world-renowned cuisine. Cruisers return to New Orleans on Saturday, Dec. 20, in plenty of time to head to the Cabildo, the historic site of the Louisiana Purchase ceremonies in 1803, where VIPs and dignitaries will re-enact the historic transaction that reshaped the nation.

"It has been an honor to be the official cruise line of the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebrations and we are excited to cap off the year of exciting events by offering this unforgettable experience," said Dan Hanrahan, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales, for Royal Caribbean International.

"From its flawless kick-off cruise in January, Royal Caribbean has lived up to its designation as the official cruise line of the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration," Lt. Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said. "Royal Caribbean has fulfilled all of our expectations and then some. It has been an economic boost for New Orleans and a partner in making our cruise industry one of the strongest in the nation."

The special, seven-night Western Caribbean cruise departs on Dec. 13, 2003, from New Orleans with stops in Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Costa Maya, Mexico. Prices start at $539 per person, double occupancy.

About Grandeur of the Seas
The 74,140-ton, 916-foot Grandeur of the Seas holds 1,950 guests, double- occupancy. Grandeur offers a variety of outstanding features including a Broadway-style theater and a casino, a full-service spa and fitness center, the Adventure Ocean Youth Center, six whirlpools and two pools, including a Solarium featuring an indoor/outdoor pool and sliding glass canopy. Guests who sail on Grandeur of the Seas from New Orleans will also enjoy the cruise line's signature rock-climbing wall, which will be installed in November 2003.

Grandeur of the Seas returns to New Orleans for the winter season on Nov. 15 to offer seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries alternating between Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Progreso, Mexico; and Progreso, Cozumel and Key West, Florida. Grandeur of the Seas sails from New Orleans through May 1, 2004, when she heads to Baltimore to sail Caribbean and Bahamas/Orlando vacations for the summer/fall season, the first time a Royal Caribbean ship will sail from the port.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand currently with 17 ships in service and three more under construction. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's web site at 

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Carnival Miracle to Operate Three-Day Cruise
From Jacksonville 2/27/04

Newly Added Voyage Kicks Off Line's First-Ever 'Fun Ship' Cruise Program From Emerging Florida Port 

MIAMI (09/22/03) - Carnival Cruise Lines has scheduled a special three-day cruise from Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 27-March 1, 2004, aboard the 88,500-ton Carnival Miracle, the line's newest "Fun Ship" currently under construction in Helsinki, Finland. The three-day inaugural cruise precedes a previously announced schedule of 11 three- to six-day voyages aboard the Miracle operating March 1-April 17, 2004. Three-day cruises visit Freeport, The Bahamas; five-day cruises stop at Key West, Fla., and Nassau, The Bahamas; and six-day voyages feature Cozumel, Freeport and Costa Maya or Playa del Carmen. 

"We're very excited about bringing the new Carnival Miracle to Jacksonville. In addition to providing a value-packed weekend getaway, this three-day voyage offers consumers an opportunity to be among the first to sail from our newest homeport aboard this spectacular 'floating resort,'" said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

The 20th vessel in Carnival Cruise Lines' fleet, Carnival Miracle will feature 13 passenger decks housing four swimming pools, a 14,500-square-foot health club, and three restaurants, including a two-level formal dining room, an expansive poolside eatery offering casual alternatives, and an upscale steakhouse-style supper club. Sixteen lounges and bars, with dramatic interiors inspired by famous fictional characters, will also be featured. An 1,800-square-foot children's play area, part of the line's top-rated "Camp Carnival" children's program, and a high-tech video arcade, will be included, as well. Eighty percent of the ship's 1,062 staterooms will offer an ocean view with 80 percent of those featuring private balconies. 

Following the Miracle sailings, Carnival's 1,452-passenger Holiday will kick off Jacksonville's first year-round cruise program with a six-day voyage departing Oct. 17, 2004. The ship will then launch four- and five-day service from Jacksonville Oct. 23, 2004. Carnival is currently accepting reservations for all of its various departures from Jacksonville. Prices for the Carnival Miracle's Feb. 27 three-day voyage from Jacksonville begin at $399 per person based on double occupancy. If purchased via Carnival's "Fun Finance Plan (SM)," which enables guests to purchase a "Fun Ship" cruise over 24 monthly installments, prices begin at $19 per month (based on a 24-month payment term at the lowest annual percentage rate available). Actual "Fun Finance Plan" monthly payments and terms may vary according to the applicant's credit qualifications. Valid for U.S. individual bookings only. Certain other restrictions apply. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom are available, as well. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit

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Celebrity Cruises Presents World's First 'Acupuncture At Sea'

MIAMI, Sept. 22 -- Continuing its trendsetting innovations, award-winning premium cruise operator Celebrity Cruises has become the world's first line to offer "Acupuncture at Sea." Debuting on Infinity this month, Celebrity's Acupuncture at Sea program will include lectures about acupuncture, feng shui, nutrition, and healing with herbs, in addition to the acupuncture treatments themselves.

"Acupuncture at Sea is a vivid example of the rejuvenating experience we offer our guests," said Celebrity's Senior Vice President of Fleet Operations, Dietmar Wertanzl. "It also is another program that differentiates our product, and reinforces that a Celebrity vacation is, as our tagline states, 'a true departure'."

"Acupuncture is not only effective for many of today's ailments, but also is entertaining, interesting and exotic, which makes it an ideal fit within the environment of a Celebrity ship," said Dr. Philippe Manicom of OM Alliance, Coconut Grove, Fla., acupuncturist for celebrities and Olympic and NBA athletes, and among the professionals offering the service onboard. Proven acupuncture results include enhanced immune functions, mental functions and energy level; appetite control, weight loss, relaxation, and pain management. Celebrity's Acupuncture at Sea is scheduled during three cruises on Infinity: September 26, October 8, and October 19. Dates on other Celebrity ships are yet to be announced.

Celebrity is the industry's highest-rated premium cruise brand with a taste of luxury. The cruise line has nine ships in its fleet, which is the youngest of any major line. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Bermuda, California, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, the Panama Canal and South America. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111, or visit the Celebrity web site at

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"Destination: Caribbean" Feature Debuts on
New Feature Provides Port, Activity and Cruise Information about Princess' Expanded Caribbean Program

Focusing on its key area of expansion, Princess has launched a comprehensive online destination section called "Destination: Caribbean." With dozens of pages of informative text and dramatic photos, Destination: Caribbean serves as a unique and convenient tool for planning Caribbean cruise vacations, including providing information on each island visited, plus offering itinerary planning and shore excursions options. The new feature is part of Princess' popular "Destination:" series on its award-winning website, This special series is designed to provide a user-friendly resource about the line's worldwide cruise program.

"Princess is expanding 75 percent in the Caribbean, and we want consumers to know why they should cruise this destination with us," said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "Travelers considering a cruise with Princess in the Caribbean will find that this content-rich site offers a convenient way to plan their trip with all the information they need in one easy-to-navigate section."

The new web feature provides users with a wealth of information, divided into two main sections--the Caribbean Experience and Caribbean Cruises

In the Caribbean Experience section, users will find information about the many ways to enjoy fun in the sun, shopping, and nature's wonders. In addition, the site offers full descriptions of each port of call on Princess' varied Caribbean routes.

The Caribbean Cruises section presents details about Princess' many Caribbean itineraries--seven-day Western, Eastern and Southern Caribbean routes plus a variety of 10-day offerings--with descriptions of the many attractions on each route. The pages provide links to information about cruise highlights and itineraries, plus shore excursion options.

"This new section is a great resource for potential passengers who want to learn about cruises from our new homeport in Galveston, and the variety of itineraries for our six ships dedicated to the Caribbean," noted Brown.

Other Destination: sections on Princess' website include Alaska and the Panama Canal. 
Upcoming sections will feature in-depth coverage of Europe as well as Mexico and Canada/New England. Later a special section on Princess' many Exotics destinations will join the site to complete this comprehensive online resource.

Users can access the new section directly at Princess will launch its most extensive Caribbean season ever in fall 2004, with six of its largest and newest vessels sailing throughout the region. The 2004-05 schedule represents a dramatic 75 percent increase in Caribbean capacity from the season before, and features the youngest fleet sailing in the region. Highlights of the season include the new Caribbean Princess, a host of new itineraries, a new port of call in Belize, and a new home port of Galveston.

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CruisesOnly Asks, 'Does Las Vegas Offer a Guarantee?'

DELRAY BEACH, Fla., Sept. 22 -- CruisesOnly, the World's Largest Cruise Agency, works with several hundred thousand customers each year and knows that selecting a vacation is not always an easy decision. They are finding, however, that more and more customers are opting to take a cruise vacation rather than a traditional, land-based vacation like Las Vegas due to the overall value.

"Once a consumer truly understands what's included in a cruise vacation such as dining, entertainment and activities, the real value becomes apparent. Apples to apples, a cruise is a better value," says Don Walker, Vice President of Marketing for CruisesOnly. He continued, "We are so confident that the consumer will enjoy a cruise that we are the only agency to offer a Satisfaction Guarantee. Carnival Cruise Lines was the first and only cruise line to offer a similar guarantee. Las Vegas doesn't seem to be able to compete with that."

Las Vegas has always been a popular destination, offering gambling, lavish shows, fine restaurants and great shopping. A cruise offers everything Las Vegas does, and then some. Not only are there beautiful casinos with slot machines and games you'd also find in Las Vegas, but there is a wide selection of restaurants offering fine cuisine, lavish Broadway- and Las Vegas-style shows, spas that rival the best land-based ones, shopping, guest lecturers, fun games and contests. The best part is that almost everything is included in the price of the cruise, while in Las Vegas, everything, including entertainment and meals, is at an additional cost.

CruisesOnly compared the price and consumer value of a 7-day Caribbean Cruise aboard Carnival's Glory, to the Western Caribbean, against a 7-day vacation in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. The dates selected were October 25 through November 1 and the pricing is based on two adults traveling. All port charges are included and government taxes and fees would be additional in both cases. Food and entertainment are estimates and would vary depending on the consumer. Airfare for both vacations was priced out of New York.

Here are the findings: The Las Vegas vacation at the MGM totaled $3,115 for a deluxe room, airfare, a food allowance of $700 and an entertainment allowance of $300.

The Carnival cruise vacation totaled $1,610 including an oceanview stateroom, all meals and 24-hour room service and all on-board entertainment. As opposed to staying in Las Vegas the entire trip, the Carnival Glory itinerary takes the traveler to Port Canaveral, Key West, Belize, Cozumel and Merida.

The cruise vacation also comes with a Satisfaction Guarantee offered by both Carnival Cruise Lines and CruisesOnly. The MGM offered no such guarantee. Details of the guarantees can be found by visiting the company's website at or by calling them at 1-800-CRUISES.

As the largest seller of Carnival cruise vacations, CruisesOnly receives many promotional offers throughout the year for their customers. Special arrangements and discounts can be even deeper for those customers buying six cabins or more. In addition to offering low rates, travelers who book by October 15, 2003, will get a cabin upgrade up to two categories at no additional charge on many sailing dates.

For group discounts and special arrangements involving six cabins or more, call CruisesOnly at 1-800-BIG CRUISE. For the best rate on any Carnival vacation, call 1-800-CRUISES.

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Frank McCourt, Tommy Makem, and Cherish the Ladies to Entertain on Annual Irish Festival Cruise to the Caribbean
More than a Score of Top Irish Entertainers to Provide 40 hours of Concerts & Workshops

Warminster, PA - More than 40 hours of traditional Irish entertainment will highlight the  Annual Irish Festival Cruise aboard the flagship Costa Mediterranea departing from Ft. Lauderdale on January 25th, 2004. The week long Costa cruise to several tropical ports of call--Key West, Progreso & Merida, Cozumel and Grand Cayman--combines the best in Irish music, dance and culture with luxurious Caribbean cruising.
Performers include author Frank McCourt, balladeers Paddy Reilly and Tommy Makem, Mary Black, Frances Black and The Black Brothers, Cherish the Ladies,Brigid's Cross and balladeers Tom Sweeney and Jimmy Crowley.  Also, tenor Ciarán Sheehan accompanied by Eily O'Grady Patterson, singer John Dillon, raconteur John Gleeson,  comedian Al Banim and world champion Irish dancers.
"In addition to the nightly concerts, there will be workshops on all things Irish... from learning to dance a jig, reel or hornpipe, to instructions on the tin whistle and bodhran" stated executive director Mary Rowley. A traditional highlight of all Irish Festival Cruises is the enjoyment  the guests derive from the informal socializing with the performers, noted Rowley.

In addition to the Irish Festival activities, guests can also enjoy all the luxury facilities, dining and amenities of the world class Costa Mediterranea. The cruise ship features an array of on-board activities including casino gambling, golf at sea, swimming, bingo, scuba lessons, fashion shows and more. Most staterooms have private verandahs.

Irish Festival Cruise accommodations, for January 25 through February 1, range in price from $1,199 to $2,499  per person (based on double occupancy). The price includes all shipboard accommodations, meals and entertainment. The package can only be booked through Irish Festival Cruises, Ltd., at 1-800-441-HARP. The web site is

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Norwegian Cruise Line’s Expansion Accelerates
Two more Freestyle Cruising Ships--largest ever built-–for delivery in 2005 and 2006

Miami, September 19, 2003 -- Star Cruises announced that it has finalized orders for two new Freestyle Cruising ships for Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) for delivery in Fall 2005 and Spring 2006, continuing an expansion and renewal program that has seen a new ship added every year since Star Cruises acquired the long-established brand. The two ships will be built at Meyer Werft in Germany, continuing a relationship that has seen the building by that 200 year-old family-owned yard of four ships for the Star/NCL group: Superstar Leo, Superstar Virgo, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn.

“Star Cruises is committed to the North American market and to completely renewing the NCL fleet by adding at least one new ship a year,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and CEO of Star Cruises Group. “In just three and a half short years, we have committed almost $2.5 billion to new ships for NCL with half of that investment already being in service and the other half under construction. With the introduction of these latest two ships in 2005 and 2006, we will have increased NCL’s capacity by nearly 13,500 berths since 2000, all on new, state-of-the-art ships.”

“Freestyle Cruising and our break with traditional cruise ship design have clearly changed the face of cruising," said Colin Veitch, President and CEO of NCL, “and at an estimated all-in cost of less than $170,000 per berth these additional 4,800 berths will be a huge boost to the financial success we are already having with our new Freestyle Cruising ships. These ships will be the largest we have ever built, and will enable us to continue the expansion of our popular Homeland Cruising deployment around the coast of North America. Already we are selling regularly scheduled cruises out of 14 North American home ports and our ambition is to bring a modern cruise ship to every major coastal population center in North America.”

The two vessels, known currently as hull S.667 and S.668, will be based in large part on the highly successful Norwegian Dawn/Norwegian Star design, with modifications in both technical and passenger areas. Both ships will be capable of the same high 24-25 knot speeds as their recent sister ships. Gross tonnage will be slightly higher than Norwegian Dawn at an estimated 93,000 GRT and the passenger capacity of each will be 2,400 lower berths. The first contract is in dollars and the second in Euro. The two ships together will cost approximately Euro 703 million or $790 million at today’s exchange rates, including allowances for owner-supplied items.

The new design will continue many of the features that have proven so popular and successful on Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star, with 10 different restaurants including a steak house, an Asian restaurant/sushi bar/teppanyaki room (now with two tables versus the current one), Italian, French, and Spanish restaurants, two main dining rooms, and a coffee shop/casual eatery located in the center of the atrium; enormous health, fitness, and spa facilities; generous children and teen areas with a dedicated children’s outdoor pool area; a 1000+ seat opera-style theatre; a high-energy top-of-the-ship nightclub; karaoke facilities and private karaoke rooms; a state of the art casino with player tracking and the highest table limits at sea; a department store-style shopping area, and extensive meeting and conference facilities.

Modifications from Norwegian Dawn include several new public areas on which details will be released closer to delivery. The new ships will also feature the very latest in environmental and safety management systems, including advanced wastewater treatment plants for the treatment of all gray and black water streams, sterilizing and drying plants for various solid wastes, additional incineration units and additional water making capacity; water-emulsion injection systems for reduction of NOX emissions from the diesel engines, and shore side discharge pumping systems for closed-system waste disposal to licensed shore side facilities. Each ship will have a CCTV surveillance system with over 1000 cameras monitoring all areas of the ship to assist the officers and crew in their safe and efficient management of operations.

Construction will commence on the first ship at the end of this month and Meyer Werft, one of the most advanced shipbuilding yards in the world, expects to deliver the first vessel in a record 22 months from contract signing. Commenting on the order, Bernard Meyer, CEO of Meyer Werft, said: “We are extremely pleased to have reached this agreement with NCL and are proud that our previous two ships for Star/NCL have had such a revolutionary impact on the US market that our customer has come back to us for more ships.”

“We have been refining the design and negotiating the contracts on these ships continuously since the delivery of Norwegian Dawn last year," Veitch said. "The new design is truly an advance on what we have already done with Meyer Werft, and reflects the excellent working relationship we have with this yard where creativity and mold-breaking ideas can be turned into attractive and commercially realistic ship designs.”

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line is an industry innovator. NCL recently announced its new brand, NCL America, under which its US flagged ships will operate. The company is currently building its first US Flagged ship, Pride of America, which begins inter-island Hawaii cruises on July 4, 2004. Together, with Pride of America next year, and Norwegian Crown transferred this month after undergoing extensive refurbishment, the two new orders bring to 7,950 the number of new berths scheduled to join the NCL fleet between now and 2006, a 50 percent increase over today’s capacity.

NCL is also the leader in roundtrip seven-day cruising from U.S. and Canadian ports, offering its popular Homeland Cruising program seasonally from Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Orlando (Port Canaveral), San Juan, Seattle and Vancouver, and year round from New York, Houston and Honolulu.

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Carnival Miracle to Operate 7-Day Cruises from NYC to Port Canaveral/Orlando & The Bahamas in 2004 
Program Continues Line's Rapid Expansion in Northeast, Complements Wide Variety of Caribbean, Canada, New England Cruises from the Big Apple

MIAMI (09/19/03) - Carnival Cruise Lines will offer its first-ever program of seven-day cruises from New York to Port Canaveral/Orlando and The Bahamas in summer 2004 aboard the new 88,500-ton Carnival Miracle, currently under construction in Helsinki, Finland. On this new program, the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle will depart the New York City Passenger Ship Terminal each Saturday from June 12 - Aug. 28, 2004, on week-long cruises to Port Canaveral/Orlando, and Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas.

"For Carnival Miracle, we've assembled a terrific itinerary offering a unique combination of vacation experiences--the fun-filled attractions of Orlando and Florida's Space Coast and the laid-back ambiance of The Bahamas," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. He added that the Carnival Miracle will be the newest addition to the line's highly acclaimed Spirit-class which boasts the latest in technology and ship design providing the ultimate level of choice in dining, entertainment and accommodations. Including Carnival Miracle's new seven-day schedule, in 2004 Carnival will operate more than 70 voyages to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, Canada and New England aboard three "Fun Ships" departing from New York and Baltimore. "Only Carnival offers these exciting itineraries from two convenient, 'close-to-home' departure points on three of the cruise industry's most modern, state-of-the-art floating resorts," Dickinson added. 

Seven-Day Cruises from New York on Carnival Miracle On June 12, 2004, Carnival Miracle will operate the first of 12 week-long cruises to Port Canaveral/Orlando and The Bahamas from New York. The seven-day voyages will include an extra-long, 14-hour call at Port Canaveral, Fla., offering guests ample time to visit the nearby Kennedy Space Center or enjoy an excursion to Orlando's popular theme parks and attractions. Also included are visits to Nassau and Freeport, both of which are home to gorgeous white-sand beaches and excellent shopping and watersports opportunities. 

Signature 'Fun Ship' Amenities The 20th vessel in Carnival's "Fun Ship" fleet, Carnival Miracle will offer a wide range of on-board features and facilities. Eighty percent of the ship's staterooms will offer an ocean view or ocean view with balcony. In fact, Carnival Miracle will feature the highest percentage of balconied staterooms of any ship sailing from New York and Baltimore. The vessel's stunning interiors are inspired by famous fictional icons and include 16 lounges and bars. The ship will also feature four swimming pools, a jogging track, Internet café, wedding chapel, video arcade, and a multitude of fine and casual dining options, including a reservations-only supper club located at the uppermost level of a soaring 11-deck-high atrium. Also featured will be a 14,500-square-foot health club and a comprehensive golf program with professional instruction both aboard ship and during excursions. An 1,800-square-foot play area, part of the line's top-rated "Camp Carnival" program, will be included, as well. 

Special Five-Day Canada Voyage on Carnival Miracle 
Prior to the start-up of its seven-day program from New York, Carnival Miracle will operate a special five-day Canada cruise June 7-12, 2004. Ports of call on this one-time voyage include Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia. This short cruise itinerary, the first operated by one of the line's 88,500-ton "Spirit-class" vessels, provides an exciting, cost-effective choice for first-time cruisers, as well as an attractive option for repeat passengers who want to visit these Canadian ports on Carnival's newest "Fun Ship." 

Prices and Reservations 
Prices for Carnival Miracle's new seven-day cruises from New York to Port Canaveral/Orlando and The Bahamas begin at $899 per person, based on double occupancy. Rates for Carnival Miracle's five-day Canada cruise start at $529 per person. If purchased via Carnival's "Fun Finance Plan (SM)," which enables guests to purchase a "Fun Ship" cruise over 24 monthly installments, prices for Carnival Miracle's seven-day Port Canaveral/Orlando and The Bahamas cruises begin at $42 per month. Prices for Carnival Miracle's five-day Canada cruise begin at $25 per month (based on a 24-month payment term at the lowest annual percentage rate available). Actual "Fun Finance Plan" monthly payments and terms may vary according to the applicant's credit qualifications. Valid for U.S. individual bookings only. Certain other restrictions apply. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom are available, as well. Carnival is currently accepting reservations on all of its 2004 New York departures. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501 (individual) or 1-800-327-5782 (groups) or visit the line's travel agent Internet portal,

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Orders Ultra Voyager

MIAMI, and HELSINKI, Finland, Sept. 19 -- Building on the popularity and success of its Voyager-class ships, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today ordered an even larger model--the Ultra Voyager--for delivery in May 2006. Destined for the Royal Caribbean International fleet, the new ship will be built at Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Finland, continuing a shipbuilding tradition that produced five Voyager-class ships, two Vision-class vessels and four earlier ships.

Roughly 15 percent larger than Voyager, the Ultra Voyager will be 126 feet by 1,112 feet, and will stand 18 stories high while cruising at approximately 22 knots. At 100 percent occupancy, it will carry 3,600 guests and 1,400 crew.

"The Voyager-class ships clearly changed the face of cruising," said Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain. "The Ultra Voyager will extend that success and, with a lower per berth capital and operating costs, provides even better economies of scale."

"We are pleased that the partnership and tradition with Royal Caribbean continues," said Jorma Eloranta, president and chief executive officer at Kvaerner Masa-Yards. "The Ultra Voyager will reflect this legacy of trust and support." The yard and cruise line signed a preliminary agreement last June, outlining the design and specifications of the new ship. Today's contract formalizes that agreement and results in a capacity growth of about 3% in each of 2006 and 2007. The company estimates total all-in costs to be just over $200,000 per guest berth. The yard also granted the company an option for a second Ultra Voyager, with a 2007 delivery date. In related news, the company announced it would not be exercising its options for a fifth and sixth Radiance-class vessel.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise company that operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, with a combined total of 26 ships in service and two under construction. The company also offers unique cruise-tour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. Additional information can be found on, or

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Looking for a cruise that leaves from Louisiana, stops in Santorini, or calls in Ketchikan? On, travelers now can search quickly for cruise itineraries and information by departure point, general destination and key words.

From the home page, site visitors can plan their adventure by selecting a departure point or general destination from pull-down menus. Those with more specific searches in mind can take advantage of the site's new advanced search engine powered by iphrase, accessed from the left-hand navigation bar. Finding the information they need is as simple as typing in a question or a keyword, whether they want to know, "What cruises are offered in October 2003?" "Where does Voyager of the Seas sail?" or "Are there any cruises to Lisbon?" The new search feature also makes it easier to find more general Royal Caribbean information on the Web site with the "Site Search," which can answer questions like, "Do your ships have Internet access?" "What is the Adventure Ocean Program?" and "Can I rent a tuxedo onboard?" Responses pop up in an easy-to-browse format.

The web site also offers travelers the ability to book shore excursions for an upcoming cruise, sign up for the Crown & Anchor loyalty program, or simply browse and get inspired for their next cruise vacation. To try the new search engine, log on to

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More Than 2.3 Million People Cruise in Second Quarter 2003, Contributing to 4.5 Million First Half Total, CLIA Reports

NEW YORK, Sept. 16 -- More than 2.3 million people cruised on Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member line ships in the second quarter of 2003, including nearly 2 million North Americans. "With more than 4.5 million passengers worldwide (including nearly 4 million North Americans) traveling on CLIA ships in the first half of the year, the industry is on pace for another record-setting year," says Bob Sharak, CLIA executive director.

The second-quarter figures reflect a 5.72 percent increase over the same period last year and contribute to an 13.6 percent hike over first half 2002 figures. "It is significant that these increases came in the face of several worldwide challenges," says Mark Conroy, CLIA chairman and president of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. "The war in Iraq, a worldwide SARS alert and economic worries influenced the first half of the year, yet consumers continued to demonstrate their confidence in cruising by making it their vacation of choice. Consumers are well aware of all cruising has to offer, from the new ships, ports and itineraries to expanded programs and amenities and, of course, cruising's consistent value."

"It is thanks to the joint efforts of the industry and its professional travel agent partners that CLIA ships sailed at 100.7 percent occupancy during the first half of 2003," says Sharak.

The CLIA fleet represents 97.5 percent of the cruise capacity marketed from North America. From 1980 through 2002, growth in cruise capacity has averaged 8.3 percent annually, keeping pace with demand and the 8.4 percent annual passenger growth the industry has experienced since 1980. For more information about cruise vacations, visit CLIA's website at

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is a nonprofit marketing and training organization comprising 24 leading cruise lines in 2003, which together accommodate 95 percent of the North American cruise passengers. Approximately 16,000 affiliated travel agencies focused and engaged in the sales of cruise vacations in the U.S. and Canada are affiliates of the association. The association conducts cruise industry-related research and communication initiatives to educate and promote the attributes of cruise vacations and CLIA-affiliated travel agencies to the traveling public. CLIA is a recognized travel industry leader in sales education. CLIA provides an extensive array of educational programs for travel agents including curriculum leading to certification as Accredited Cruise Counselors and Master Cruise Counselors -- considered the consumers best resource for planning a cruise vacation. For more information on CLIA, its member cruise lines and affiliated travel agencies, visit its website at

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Rates Begin at $69 Per Night on Minimum Three-Night Stays - Up to 33% Savings

Greater Fort Lauderdale, FL, Sept 16, 2003 -- For fall, Greater Fort Lauderdale and® have teamed up to offer travelers an exclusive value-added travel package featuring the first night free with a minimum three night stay - up to 33% in total savings.  "Fall In Love In Greater Fort Lauderdale, the First Night's On Us" rates begin at just $69 per night and are valid for travel from September 15 through December 20, 2003.

A total of 15 hotels in Greater Fort Lauderdale are participating in the "Fall In Love In Greater Fort Lauderdale, the First Night's On Us" package, offering visitors a wide variety of accommodation options, ranging from luxurious resorts to charming inns and hotels. To book a package, go to For additional information on participating hotels, visit

When booking a "Fall In Love In Greater Fort Lauderdale, the First Night's On Us" package on®, you can also add a special dining option for just $19.99, which entitles guests to a 20% discount at 15th Street Fisheries as well as a complimentary appetizer and priority seating.

With an idyllic oceanfront setting along 23 miles of pristine Blue Wave beaches, Greater Fort Lauderdale is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway, whether one is looking for a quick escape or a place to celebrate a honeymoon or anniversary. Relax with an alfresco candlelight dinner for two on Las Olas, a sunset Water Taxi ride down the New River, a couples massage at one of several acclaimed spa resorts and an afternoon of antiquing in Dania.  Or for a change of pace, dance the night away on Second Street, explore the Everglades on an exhilarating airboat ride, discover underwater treasures with a Scuba dive and indulge in a round of golf at one of more than 40 area courses.

The following hotels and resorts are participating in the "Fall In Love In Greater Fort Lauderdale, the First Night's On Us" promotion:

·      Best Western Marina Inn & Yacht Harbor
·      Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Cypress Creek
·      Doubletree Hotel Fort Lauderdale Oceanfront
·      Embassy Suites Hotel Deerfield Beach
·      Embassy Suites Hotel Ft. Lauderdale
·      Hilton Fort Lauderdale Airport
·      Holiday Inn Fort Lauderdale Beach
·      Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six
·      Marriott Fort Lauderdale North
·      Ocean Manor Resort
·      Radisson Bahia Mar Beach Resort
·      Renaissance Fort Lauderdale
·      Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel
·      Sheraton Yankee Clipper Beach Resort
·      Sheraton Yankee Trader Beach Resort

Rates are based on availability and do not include taxes or gratuities. Certain holiday booking restrictions and blackout dates apply. For more information, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, 1850 Eller Drive, Suite 303, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316; call 800-22-SUNNY (in the U.S. and Canada) or log onto

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Kids Sail Free on Crystal Cruises' Ultra Elegant Christmas-New Year's Itineraries
Offer Applies to 14-Day Caribbean Sailings Aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony, Roundtrip From U.S. Ports

LOS ANGELES -- Crystal Cruises has launched an unprecedented promotion that lets children under 12 sail free aboard its highly popular, luxurious Christmas-New Year's itineraries aboard the Six-Star Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony. The offer applies to kids under 12 who are sharing the same stateroom with two paying adults. As family travel rises to new heights, Crystal Cruises has added a stunning array of programs and promotions that accommodate the needs of the luxury market. "As the luxury line for family travel, Crystal Cruises wants to make the holidays an exceptional experience for guests of all ages," said Adam Leavitt, the line's senior vice president, marketing. "Now more than ever families want to spend as much time as possible together and there's no better way to ensure an elegant and fun holiday for everyone than on a Crystal cruise."

All Crystal ships were originally custom-built with facilities fashioned specifically with children in mind. Just last year Fantasia facilities were refurbished to ensure the facilities maintain the line's cutting edge standards. To accommodate the increasing number of children that will sail during the holidays, Crystal is adding a larger number of Junior Activities Directors to ensure that kids are well supervised and highly entertained. The veteran staff includes grade school, high school, and physical education teachers and seasoned camp counselors who oversee a variety of age-appropriate activities.

Crystal continues to ensure that its discriminating guests -- whether they're couples with children in their mid-40s or groups enjoying a family reunion -- receive the finest cuisine, entertainment, accommodations and service available on the high seas. Guests will find the ambiance on board Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony decidedly festive, yet supremely sophisticated. In keeping with Crystal's dedication to offering an ultra-luxury vacation experience, $100,000 of seasonal decor -- such as handcrafted ornaments, ornate sleighs, Old English toy soldiers and a dozen twinkling Christmas trees -- will adorn each ship.

Holiday-themed films, shown in The Hollywood Theatre, will include "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Miracle on 34th Street," "A Christmas Story," "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas Live." In-stateroom television programming will be equally as festive, with such favorites as Tony Bennett's "A Family Christmas," Irving Berlin's "White Christmas," Johnny Mathis' "Home for Christmas," "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," "The Santa Clause," "Scrooged," "White Christmas," "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "The Year Without Santa Clause," and "The Nutcracker Prince."

Crystal Cruises is also promising that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be spectacular for the whole family: Traditional Christmas Eve Dinner will be held in the elegant Crystal Dining Room; guests will witness a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, complete with Christmas carols, cookies and hot chocolate; holiday tunes will be featured in the Avenue Saloon piano bar; and guests will receive special holiday gifts. Guests can also partake in Christmas Eve Mass and Protestant Christmas Eve service.

On Christmas, complimentary eggnog, served at 11:00 am, will be followed with a gala Christmas Day buffet at noon. A Chocolate Tea Time and the arrival of Santa Claus is scheduled for the afternoon. The festivities culminate in an extravagant Christmas Day Dinner.

On New Year's Eve, Crystal has scheduled an eclectic array of activities throughout the day and into the wee hours of New Year's Day. An opulent, gala New Year's dinner will be served in the dining room, followed by drinks, dancing, and a New Year's Eve Variety Showtime. Last but not least, guests can partake in the traditional New Year's Eve Countdown. On New Year's Day, both ships will host complimentary Bloody Mary parties, and New Year's Day brunches with complimentary champagne and mimosas.

The dates for Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony cruises, which operate, conveniently, roundtrip from U.S. ports, are Dec. 22 to Jan. 5. Crystal Harmony will sail roundtrip from New Orleans, calling at Playa del Carmen and Cozumel in Mexico, Curacao, St. Lucia, St. Barts, Tortola and Key West. Fares for the 14-day cruise start at $4,850 per person, double occupancy. Crystal Symphony, sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, will visit Nassau, Tortola, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Curacao, Aruba and Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. Crystal Symphony's 14-day cruise fares start at $6,095 per person, double occupancy. Air/sea add-on fares for both cruises are available from more than 100 U.S. and Canadian gateways.

Last year's upgrade of Fantasia, the main venue for children's supervised activities, included new furniture, carpet, and custom designed built-in kiosks for Sony Playstation® video games, and personal computers complete with entertainment and educational software. The ship's Library offers more than 1,500 titles, including a selection of children's books and children's videos for the televisions/VCRs that are standard in all staterooms, and the Trident Grill serves hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches and frozen yogurt and ice cream throughout the afternoon. Young athletes can take advantage of the ship's paddle tennis court, golf- driving nets, and putting greens, and can even compete in their own mini- Olympics.

Three-bed staterooms are available in a range of categories, as well as suites and connecting staterooms. Cribs are available when requested in advance. Babysitting service is available. Families may plan their days and nights according to "Surf Runner," the children's newsletter, which details scheduled activities and is delivered to each child's stateroom the preceding evening.

The Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony are the most elegant, spacious vessels afloat in the world today. At 50,000-tons and carrying 940 guests, the ships provide for flawless sailing experiences and allows for a range of cutting edge facilities, amenities and accommodations. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure, call 800.820.6663.

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Unless otherwise noted, all news items are sourced by individual cruise lines, cruise-related industries, and their agents.

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