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News from the world of cruise travel
September 16-30, 2004

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

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Princess Ships to Connect to Shore Power in Seattle for 2005 Summer Season
Line Expands Innovative Program to Reduce Air Emissions

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (Sept 30, 2004) -- Demonstrating Princess' commitment to operate responsibly in the communities in which it does business, Princess will turn off the engines of its ships when they dock in Seattle next summer and "plug in" to the city's electric utility, which relies on hydroelectric power. This unique shore power project, similar to an arrangement Princess started in the city of Juneau in 2001, is designed to help reduce air emissions. Announced today as part of the West Coast Diesel Emissions Reductions Collaborative, the program will enable Princess ships in Seattle to operate with power provided by Seattle City Light. The power will travel to the ship from a specially designed transformer designed to supply electricity to run all onboard services during the day-long calls. 

"This initiative is being made possible through a unique collaboration of public and private entities, the availability of cost-effective hydroelectric power ashore, and the fact that the technology exists on our Alaska bound ships which piloted this program," said Dean Brown, executive vice president, fleet operations for Princess Cruises and chairman of Princess Tours. "We are very pleased to be able to bring the shore power program to Seattle, and do our part to reduce fuel consumption."  

Princess' shore power program made history when it first began operations in Juneau. The program debuted in summer 2001 and now the technology is featured on seven ships which use local hydroelectric power when in port. To create this unusual power system, Princess has outfitted its ships with a custom-built state-of-the-art electrical connection cabinet that automatically connects the ship's electrical network to the local electrical network ashore. The electrical power is transmitted from the transformer ashore to the vessel via five flexible electrical cables. The actual cable connection on the vessel is a traditional, though quite large, male/female plug and socket, adapted from the Canadian mining industry. The cost to equip each Princess ship with the connection technology is approximately $500,000. For the new Seattle project, Princess joins with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the Port of Seattle and Seattle City Light.

"When we first developed shore power, it was challenging project because it was the first of its kind and there was no existing blueprint we could use. Now in Seattle we can draw upon our past experience in Alaska to bring this successful environmental effort to a second venue, and show local residents that we care about the air quality issues that are important to all of us," said Brown.

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First Cruise Season Called a Success for Icy Strait Point
Governor's visit caps destination's inaugural season

MIAMI -- With a visit from Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski and the last call of Celebrity Cruises' Mercury Sunday, Sept. 19, Icy Strait Point closed its first cruise season in an atmosphere of celebration. Alaska's first purpose-built cruise destination themed to deliver a unique wilderness experience hosted 32 ship calls and approximately 64,000 passengers from its grand opening on May 23 through the Alaska cruising season's end in September. 

Murkowski led a delegation of government officials, community leaders, travel industry representatives and journalists on an excursion to tour Icy Strait Point. He touted the development as "clearly a success" and an economic boon the nearby Tlingit village of Hoonah. 

"We had a terrific first season," said Mike Greve, president of Global Destinations Development, which markets Icy Strait Point. "Great guest feedback has validated our belief that cruisers want to experience the real Alaska one ship at a time. We also are generating lots of interest from cruise lines in the Alaska market."

Greve noted that both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have committed to return to Icy Strait for the 2005 and 2006 Alaska seasons. "We are in ongoing discussions with other cruise lines, several of which have expressed interest in trying to incorporate Icy Strait Point into their itinerary planning," said Greve.

The destination offered an initial slate of 11 shore excursions for cruise passengers in 2004, and Greve said that more would be added for the 2005 season. Excursions ranged from a tram ride through a spruce and hemlock rainforest to salmon-fishing trips to whale-watching and brown bear and wildlife viewing explorations. A native heritage show of traditional song and dance, and an interpretive tour highlighted the history and culture of the Native Tlingits who have lived in the region for thousands of years. 

Icy Strait Point was designed to host only one cruise ship per day to avoid overcrowding and maximize passengers' Alaska experience. Anchored by a refurbished 1930s-era cannery, Icy Strait Point features a museum, fish-canning line tour, food-and-beverage service, and a variety of retail shopping venues offering branded apparel and Alaskan arts and craft items. Visit the Icy Strait Point Web site at

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Royal Caribbean Signs on With TiVo to Showcase
 Mediterranean Cruises

ALVISO, Calif., Sept. 29 -- TiVo Inc., creator of and a leader in digital video recording services (DVRs) and Royal Caribbean International announced that Royal Caribbean will be the first cruise line to advertise on the TiVo platform. Royal Caribbean will use the TiVo platform to promote a one-hour TV special designed to break down the barriers to cruising and attract first-time cruisers. The program will premiere on The Travel Channel on October 14th at 9 p.m.

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Stockholm Posts Record Cruise Season for Summer 2004

STOCKHOLM -- The Stockholm Cruising Capital network announced that the 2004 summer cruise season brought a record number of inaugural cruise ship calls and passengers to the Swedish capital. Between May and September, the Ports of Stockholm had 208 calls carrying 210,000 passengers, and 17 turnarounds. Overall, that represents a 4 percent increase over the number of passengers served in 2003, which totaled 202,000.  

In a sign of the Baltic region's increasing popularity as a cruise market, there was a record number of inaugural port calls for the Ports of Stockholm including Costa Cruises' Costa Atlantica, Holland America Line's Westerdam, Royal Caribbean International's Jewel of the Seas, Princess Cruises' Grand Princess and Windstar Cruises' Wind Surf. 

"The Baltic region is emerging as a new cruise destination choice among consumers, and that, in turn, is moving cruise lines to create more northern European itineraries," said Claudia Quas, project coordinator cruises, Stockholm Visitors Board. "With the high demand for cruises to the Baltic, we hope to see yet another record-breaking season for Stockholm in 2005."

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Royal Caribbean Goes to New Lengths to Offer Innovative, Unexpected Experiences for Guests
Enchantment of the Seas Lengthening to Include Suspension Bridges, Bungee Trampolines, Additional Dining Options

MIAMI, Sept. 28 -- Royal Caribbean International will go to new lengths in 2005 to offer guests unforgettable new ways to experience the sea--and sky--aboard its Vision-class ship, Enchantment of the Seas. The ship, which is slated to be stretched in spring 2005 with a new 73-foot midsection, will feature suspension bridges, an overhanging bar offering spectacular panoramic views, and bungee trampolines that send guests soaring into the air high above the ocean. Built in 1997, Enchantment of the Seas will be the third ship in the company's history to be lengthened, the first in 25 years. The new midsection will add 151 staterooms, for a total of 1,126, and give the company space to introduce a wide range of new features for guests to enjoy.

"When we began talking about stretching a ship, we knew the goal had to be more than just adding staterooms," said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We wanted to create a new opportunity to offer innovative and unexpected activities and amenities to our guests. We also wanted to increase the dining options available on Enchantment by including a specialty restaurant and additional venues that will be announced in coming months."

One of the most striking additions to Enchantment of the Seas will be two suspension bridges on Deck 10, spanning more than 75 feet on either side of the Pool Deck below. Supported by dramatic arches, the bridges will cross over two new areas of the Pool Deck, which will jut out past lower decks to overhang the water. Each of these deck areas will be edged with 14-foot-high sheets of glass, offering outstanding views. They also will feature peek-a-boo windows in the floor that give glimpses down to the ocean. The overhanging space on the port side will feature a new island bar, while the starboard side will house a stage for poolside musical entertainment. 

In total, the main pool area will expand by nearly 50 percent, with two pools, four whirlpools and a new interactive Splash Deck for kids. The circular Splash Deck will feature 64 water jets on the floor, along the perimeter and on a central dome. Forty of the jets are connected to an interactive touchpad system, letting kids spray each other or create their own fountain effects. At night, the area closes to become a decorative fountain with a fiber-optic light show.

Guests looking for an active vacation and a little adventure will appreciate Enchantment's new Sports Deck. The company is offering guests another way to reach new heights: In addition to the line's signature rock- climbing wall, Enchantment of the Seas will feature four bungee trampolines. Guests strap into a harness connected to two bungee cords that will help them head skyward, while keeping them safely centered when they come in for a landing on the trampolines. Located at the front of Deck 10, the bungee trampolines will reward the adventurous with unparalleled views of the sea, ship and sky. 

The jogging track will offer a new challenge as well, with a new vitality course, including four fitness stops. In between laps on the quarter-mile track, runners can pause to jump rope; work their arms, back and stomach at the sit-up/press-up bars; strengthen their legs at a step-up station; and cool down with a series of suggested stretches. Toward the aft of the ship, sports fans will find two "ball zones," each with three basketball hoops of different heights to accommodate youth, teen and adult shooters. Shooting lanes will be marked before each hoop. At the far back of the ship, guests can test their skills on Enchantment's rock wall, or visit the ship's fitness center, which will be expanded during the renovations. The Enchantment Day Spa, one deck below, also will be expanded with five additional treatment rooms, including a couples massage room.

Renovations Extend Throughout the Ship
Belowdecks, guests on the renovated Enchantment will find additional entertainment and shopping options. The line's popular Boleros bar concept will appear on Deck 5, with a Latin American flair, including a glass dome ceiling reminiscent of a Mayan sunburst. Guests will enjoy live Latin jazz in the evenings along with regional drinks such as mojitos and caipirinhas.

Next door, Enchantment's Casino Royale will be expanded with additional slot machines, while up on Deck 6, the shopping area will be enhanced with new boutiques, including a Fossil(R) watch store, a fine jewelry store and a photo electronics retail shop. Also on Deck 6, guests will be invited to browse through the extended art auction gallery and photo gallery, complete with new digital photo kiosks from which they can choose their souvenir cruise photos.

Guests looking for a pick-me-up will be able to swing by the new Latte'tudes coffee and ice cream shop. In addition to offering specialty espresso drinks from Seattle's Best Coffee® and Ben & Jerry's® ice cream, this new area will feature computer terminals for Internet access.

Additional renovations will include a new Loyalty Ambassador lounge for guests who wish to book future cruises while onboard, as well as a refurbished, 100-seat conference center. New accessibility features will be added throughout the ship, including improved thresholds and ramps, as well as pool and Jacuzzi lifts, access to the Splash Deck and a lift to the bungee trampoline area. In addition, the new staterooms will include two family staterooms that will sleep six.

Enchantment's main dining room and Windjammer Cafe will be expanded to accommodate the new ship capacity. Additional dining options, including a specialty restaurant, are in development and will be announced in future months.

Special Sailings from the Northeast
The new midsection for Enchantment of the Seas currently is under construction at the Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Turku, Finland, while the actual lengthening and overall refurbishment will take place at the Keppel Verolme Shipyards in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in spring 2005.

Enchantment will return to service in July 2005 with a series of sailings from the Northeast before returning to Fort Lauderdale in October to resume her regular short Caribbean itineraries. On July 7, she will offer a four- night cruise from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., to Halifax, Nova Scotia, followed by a six-night cruise on July 11 to Boston, Bar Harbor and Halifax.

From July 19 to Aug. 21, she will sail from Philadelphia, offering one five-night cruise to Bar Harbor and Halifax, followed by five seven-night sailings to Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor, Portland and Halifax. On Sept. 4, Enchantment begins a series of three seven-night cruises from Boston to Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor, Portland, Halifax and Saint John, New Brunswick.

Additional information can be found at or by calling 800-327-6700.

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Celebrity Cruises Offers Seven Nights Of Spice 
With 'Savor The Caribbean' Series

MIAMI, Sept. 28 -- Celebrity Cruises and Bon Appetit magazine are bringing Caribbean spice to the high seas in 2005. For the second year, the two organizations will present the "Savor the Caribbean" series, pairing some of the nation's hottest chefs with one of the industry's highest-ranked ships, Celebrity's Millennium, on a special series of seven-night cruises. This distinct culinary experience is a rare opportunity for guests to discover secrets from the kitchens of some of the top chefs with a noted Caribbean flair. The celebrated chefs include:

  • Allen Susser, whose namesake restaurant "Chef Allen's," has been hailed the best restaurant south of New York. Susser also was named Best Chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation.

  • Carmen Gonzalez, owner and chef of "Carmen the Restaurant," who has been astonishing palates for more than 20 years. Her restaurant was recently named "one of the best new restaurants in America" by Esquire magazine.

  • Robbin Haas, chef of Coral Gables, Florida's newest hotspot, "Chispa." Haas, a constant in Miami's dining scene for more than 15 years, has been involved with such venues as "China Grill Cafe," "Red Square" and "Baleen."

  • Cindy Hutson, who has developed her own culinary style, "Cuisine of the Sun," featuring creative combinations of fish, fruit, vegetables and traditional tropical seasonings. Her delightful entrees can be found at her restaurant, "Ortanique on the Mile."

  • Mark Militello, who has been credited for putting South Florida on the culinary map. Chef Militello has been serving up his distinctive cuisine since 1988 and now has four "Mark's" restaurants in South Florida.

  • Oliver Saucy, chef of "Cafe Maxx," who is known for selecting the best and freshest ingredients from Mediterranean, tropical, "Southern Comfort," Southwestern and Oriental market baskets, and then combining them with the local bounty of spices, fruits, vegetables and seafood.

  • Jessica Harris, who is a culinary historian and author of eight acclaimed cookbooks, including her latest, "On the Side," coming out this fall.

Onboard Millennium, guests can participate in demonstrations by the featured chef, daily culinary activities, Caribbean-themed deck parties and Bacardi rum tastings and lectures. They also will receive a keepsake recipe booklet from Bon Appetit.

Additionally, guests can book shore excursions offering the rare opportunity to take cooking lessons capped with specially prepared meals made by some of the islands' most famous chefs. In Nassau, guests will have the chance to work with Chef Elijah Bowe of the Graycliff Restaurant and learn how to prepare a typical Bahamian lunch of conch chowder, lobster salad and apple crumble.

While in St. Thomas, guests can join a cooking class with Chef Brian Katz, named Best Chef in the Virgin Islands in 2004, at his 215-year-old plantation- turned-restaurant. There, guests will experience a tantalizing pairing of Caribbean rums and local fare. Shore excursions can be purchased online up to 10 days prior to sailing, as well as onboard, if space remains available.

The "Savor the Caribbean" series will take place onboard Celebrity's Millennium from February 6 through March 27, 2005. Departing from Ft. Lauderdale on Sundays, the ship will call on Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and Nassau, Bahamas. For more information about Celebrity Cruises' "Savor the Caribbean" itineraries, call 888-305-9153, ext. 80837, log on to, or call your travel agent.

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Disabled Cruise Passengers to Take Fight to U.S. Supreme Court

HOUSTON, Sept. 28 -- Following is a statement from the legal team for a group of mobility impaired passengers who sued Norwegian Cruise Lines over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

According to Brady Edwards, of Edwards & George, LLP, "We applaud the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to consider whether foreign cruise lines operating in U.S. waters must comply with the ADA. By resolving the conflict between the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, the Court can prohibit discrimination at places of public accommodation and in public transportation services. We respect the courage of Douglas Spector and our other clients to continue a legal fight that will clarify one of the most important laws of our generation. Their five-year commitment to this important issue deserves our appreciation."

According to Rex Burch, of Bruckner Burch, PLLC, "In our view, companies like Norwegian Cruise Lines whose principal place of business is in the United States and who state that any disputes with them are subject to U.S. law should comply with the ADA. Like all passengers on cruise ships, mobility impaired passengers should be entitled access to emergency evacuation equipment, facilities, the pool, restaurants and elevators, particularly when NCL charged premiums for such access and assistance."

Mr. Spector and the other plaintiffs in "Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line" (03-1388) are represented by Edwards & George, LLP, of Houston, Bruckner Burch, PLLC, of Houston, and Thomas C. Goldstein, of Goldstein & Howe, P.C., of Washington, D.C.

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Carnival Corp Reports Financial Impact of Hurricane Jeanne

MIAMI (Sept 28, 2004) – Carnival Corporation announced that it estimates the financial impact of Hurricane Jeanne on its fourth quarter earnings will be approximately $0.02 per share. This is in addition to a previously announced impact of $0.03 to $0.04 per share as a result of Hurricanes Frances and other hurricanes earlier this month.

Like Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Jeanne closed several south and central Florida ports, forcing Carnival to shorten the itineraries for six of its brands’ cruises – four for Carnival Cruise Lines and one each for Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Guests on abbreviated cruises had the option of sailing and receiving partial refunds and shipboard credits, or canceling and receiving full refunds or future cruise credits. Carnival Corporation also incurred incidental costs to transport passengers to alternate ports of embarkation/debarkation. 

“In terms of weather, the past few weeks have been the most challenging in our company’s history, with four different hurricanes hitting Florida and two of those causing major disruptions to our operations,” said Howard Frank, vice chairman and chief operating officer for Carnival Corporation. “We would like to thank our guests for their patience, cooperation and understanding during this period and commend our employees, both shipboard and shoreside, who continue to deliver quality vacations to our guests despite very challenging circumstances,” he added.

Carnival’s P&O Cruises Australia unit is also reviewing the impact of the closure of the Freeport, Bahamas, dry-dock facility where one of its ships was undergoing an extensive refurbishment. The aforementioned $0.02 per share impact includes the expected cancellation of two more P&O Cruises Australia voyages in addition to the one previously cancelled as a result of Hurricane Frances. 

Additional information can be obtained via Carnival Corporation & plc’s Web sites at and

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Tropical Weather Update - Latest 9/29/04

Here we go again... appearing to finally decide on her next target, Hurricane Jeanne aims for Florida. It's been a weird, weird weather season in the tropics.

  • Port Everglades: 9/27/04 - Is open.

  • Port of Miami: 9/27/04 - Is open.

  • Port of Tampa: 9/27/04 - Is open.

  • Port Canaveral: 9/29/04 - Cruise ships are once again able to call at Port Canaveral, which was shut down twice in less than a month because of Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne. Some restrictions will remain as dredging continues to restore the harbor, which has a shoal buildup at the channel entrance. The U.S. Coast Guard has limited access to vessels with drafts up to 30 feet and up to 32 feet at high tide.

For real-time status on airport conditions throughout the southeast, please check the Air Traffic Control System Command Center.

Regular updates are being issued by cruise lines and the latest dates are indicated below in red. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.

Carnival Cruise Line

9/26/04 – Carnival is closely monitoring Hurricane Jeanne and all other weather conditions that could impact any of our sailings. The safety of our guests remains our number one priority. Presently Hurricane Jeanne has impacted the following cruises.


SENSATION: Based on the current path of Hurricane Jeanne, Carnival Cruise Lines has modified the itinerary for its cruise ship Sensation, which is homeported at Tampa. That ship will now depart on its next voyage on Tuesday, Sept. 28 instead of Monday as originally scheduled.

The itinerary will be converted to four days in length instead of five and feature an extra long port call (from 7 a.m. to midnight) at Cozumel, Mexico. The voyage will end in Tampa on Saturday, Oct. 2 as scheduled. Guests who opt to sail on the modified itinerary will receive a 20 percent refund of their cruise fare and a $100 per person shipboard credit. Guests who wish to cancel may do so and receive a full refund. For guests who booked air on their own and elect to sail on the modified itinerary, Carnival will provide up to $100 per person in reimbursement for costs incurred as a result of necessary flight changes. Guests will be required to provide proper documentation. Guests who booked an air/sea package through Carnival will have their flights rearranged by the cruise line.


CARNIVAL GLORY: The 7 Day cruise that departed on Sept. 18 will return to Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) on Mon., Sept. 27. Guests will be provided bus transportation back to Port Canaveral and the Orlando airport. 

The 7 Day cruise scheduled to depart on Sat., Sept. 25 has changed to a 5 Day cruise departing on Mon., Sept. 27 visiting Progreso and Cozumel. This cruise will now depart from Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) and return to Port Canaveral on Sat., Oct. 2. Guests will receive complimentary bus transportation from Port Canaveral and the Orlando airport to join the cruise. Guests should not drive to Port Everglades to join the ship. Guests will receive a 30% refund of cruise fare and a $100 per person onboard credit.

FANTASY: The 3 Day cruise that departed on Sept. 23 is now expected to return to Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) on Mon., Sept. 27. Guests will be provided bus transportation back to Port Canaveral and the Orlando airport. 

The 4 Day cruise scheduled to depart on Sun., Sept. 26 has changed to a 3 Day cruise departing on Mon., Sept. 27 visiting Nassau. This cruise will now depart from Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) and return to Port Canaveral on Thur., Sept. 30. Guests will receive complimentary bus transportation from Port Canaveral and the Orlando airport to join the cruise. Guests should not drive to Port Everglades to join the ship. Guests will receive a 25% refund of cruise fare and a $100 per person onboard credit.


CARNIVAL TRIUMPH: The 7 Day cruise that departed on Sept. 18 will return to Miami on Mon., Sept. 27.

The 7 Day cruise scheduled to depart Sat., September 25, 2004 has changed to a 5 Day Western Caribbean cruise, visiting Progreso and Cozumel, departing on Mon., September 27, 2004.

Guests who opt to sail on the modified itinerary will receive a 30 percent refund of their cruise fare and a $100 per person shipboard credit. Guests who wish to cancel may do so and receive a full refund. For guests who booked air on their own and elect to sail on the modified itinerary for any of the above voyages, Carnival will provide up to $100 per person in reimbursement for costs incurred as a result of necessary flight changes. Guests will be required to provide proper documentation.

COMPLIMENTARY BUS SERVICE: Complimentary bus service to Port Everglades from both Port Canaveral and the Orlando airport will be provided for Carnival Glory and Fantasy guests on Monday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Carnival will have staff available at each of these locations to provide assistance. Since both ships will return to Port Canaveral, guests should not drive to Port Everglades to board these vessels. 

For guests that purchased independent air (not from Carnival) and sail on these new itineraries, we will reimburse up to $100 per person in costs related to air arrangement changes. 

Storm-related itinerary changes and information can be found on the cruise line’s web site at, by calling 1-800-CARNIVAL, or email booking related questions to . Please include your name and booking number in your email.

Celebrity Cruises

9/27/04 – Celebrity Cruises continues to closely monitor Hurricane Jeanne to ensure our guests enjoy safe and comfortable cruises and to make certain our ships steer clear of any storms. The safety and comfort of our guests are always the foremost concern of Celebrity Cruises. We are pleased to report that our ships in the Caribbean are sailing in calm seas and warm, sunny weather.

Celebrity Cruises is currently unable to bring ships to Coco Cay, Bahamas, our private island. Storm-related repairs are ongoing and should be complete in the coming weeks. Additionally, storm recovery efforts in Freeport, Bahamas, and Georgetown, Cayman Islands, prevent us from visiting those ports. We look forward to returning to those locations in the very near future. Ships scheduled to make port calls at these locations in the coming weeks will make alternative port calls or spend the day at sea.

Ships sailing from Port Everglades

Century, normally scheduled to depart Saturday on a seven-night sailing, will delay its return from its current sailing and its departure for its next sailing until Monday, 9/27/04 at 8 p.m. local time. The ship will sail a modified itinerary that will end Saturday, October 2. The ship will visit Belize City, Belize, on Wednesday; Cozumel, Mexico, on Thursday; and Key West, Florida, on Friday. Guests who sail on this cruise will receive an onboard credit of $500 per stateroom and a certificate for a 50 percent discount on a future Celebrity sailing of seven nights or less, which departs on or before December 15, 2005, excluding holidays. Guests booked on this sailing who cancel their cruise will receive a letter of credit for the amount paid for the cruise portion of their sailing. Travel agent commissions will be protected. Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne, this itinerary is subject to change.

At this time, no other Celebrity Cruises ships are being impacted by tropical weather. We will continue to closely monitor weather conditions and update this information as necessary.

Disney Cruise Line

9/24/04 - The departure of Disney Wonder's September 26th cruise will be delayed by at least one day due to the approach of Hurricane Jeanne and closure of Port Canaveral. Currently on a cruise that departed Thursday, the ship will exchange Cozumel for a planned port call in the Bahamas and disembark passengers on Monday in Port Everglades. The subsequent cruise, which will depart Port Everglades on September 27th, will be a 3-night cruise instead of a 4-night cruise and is expected to return to Port Canaveral on Thursday, September 30.

Disney Magic, which was scheduled to return to Port Canaveral on Saturday morning, will instead arrive to debark passengers Friday night at approximately 10:30 p.m. Passengers will be accommodated at hotels near Disney World for the evening. The ship will return to sea to avoid the storm until docking in Port Everglades on Monday where it will embark passengers originally scheduled to sail on Saturday for an abbreviated five-night cruise. Transportation will be provided between Orlando and Port Canaveral to Port Everglades.

Holland America Line

9/24/04 - Hurricane Jeanne continues to proceed slowly toward South Florida. As a result, the U.S. Coast Guard has announced that it will close Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) to incoming vessels later today. At this point, depending on the impact of the storm, the port is expected to re-open sometime late Sunday. The ms Zuiderdam is now expected to arrive Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) early Monday morning, September 27th. 

ms Zuiderdam cruise that was to depart on Saturday, September 25th

The Saturday, September 25th sailing of the ms Zuiderdam will now depart on Monday, September 27th at 8:00 pm. The cruise itinerary has been changed with calls in Key West and Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. The revised itinerary is as follows: 

Monday, Sept 27 Fort Lauderdale - 8 pm 
Tuesday, Sept 28 Key West, FL - 8 am 3 pm 
Wednesday, Sept 29 Cozumel, Mexico - 11 am 11 pm 
Thursday, Sept 30 Costa Maya, Mexico - 8 am 6 pm 
Friday, Oct 1 at sea 
Saturday, Oct 2 Fort Lauderdale - 8 am

Guests booked on the Saturday, September 25th sailing of the ms Zuiderdam have the following options: 

Sail the revised 5-day itinerary and receive a Holland America Line future travel discount in the amount of 25 percent of the cruise fare paid in addition to a per person ship board credit (Shipboard credit does not apply to passengers paying Travel Industry Fares). Amount based on cabin category purchased as follows:

  • Inside staterooms (categories NN-I): $200 per person 

  • Outside staterooms (categories H-C): $225 per person 

  • Deluxe verandah staterooms (categories BC-A): $250 per person 

  • Superior verandah suites (category SS): $325 per person 

  • Deluxe verandah suites (category S): $425 per person 

  • Penthouse verandah suites (category PS): $600 per person 

  • 3rd/4th guests sharing stateroom: $100 per person 

Guests opting not to sail will receive a full cash refund. Please contact the Holland America Line reservations center at 800-577-1728 by 3:00 pm PDT Sunday, September 26th to receive this refund. 

ms Zuiderdam Cruise Departing October 2 

Due to the damage that was caused by Hurricane Ivan, the itinerary for the October 2nd sailing of the ms Zuiderdam has been revised, canceling the call to Grand Cayman, and adding Costa Maya, Mexico. The revised itinerary follows:

Saturday, Oct 2 Fort Lauderdale - 5 pm 
Sunday, Oct 3 Key West, FL - 8 am 3 pm 
Monday, Oct 4 Cozumel, Mexico - 11 am 11 pm 
Tuesday, Oct 5 Costa Maya, Mexico - 8 am 6 pm 
Wednesday, Oct 6 at sea 
Thursday, Oct 7 at sea 
Friday, Oct 8 Half Moon Cay, Bahamas - 7 am 4 pm 
Saturday, Oct 9 Fort Lauderdale - 8 am

Guests can visit at all times or call 888-624-5788 for updates. Holland America will update this information regularly as new information becomes available. All other Holland America Line ships are operating as scheduled. At Holland America Line, the safety and comfort of our guests are our top priorities.

Norwegian Cruise Line

9/26/04 - Norwegian Cruise Line continues to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Jeanne. As of today, Norwegian Dawn's itinerary will sail as planned. However, if the hurricane's track changes, the company's contingency itineraries are ready to ensure a safe and enjoyable cruise. 

If a further update is necessary, NCL will post the information on under "Storm Update" and advise the team in the call center, who can be reached by calling 1-800-327-7030. The remainder of the fleet is not expected to be affected.

Princess Cruises

9/26/04 - Princess Cruises is closely monitoring the current and projected path of Hurricane Jeanne in order to ensure the safety and comfort of our passengers and crew, which is always our foremost priority. The following is an update of Princess' sailings in the region. 

Caribbean Princess Voyage B440: Originally Scheduled to Depart on Saturday, September 25

Because of the delay returning to Port Everglades, this cruise is now scheduled to depart on Monday, September 27 at 10 pm. As the ship's sailing schedule has been shortened by two days, the itinerary has been changed to a 5-day Western Caribbean route to provide passengers with the optimum port experience. Unfortunately, Caribbean Princess' delayed departure will not allow the ship to make its original calls, and we regret any disappointment this may cause. The new itinerary will be:

Fort Lauderdale Mon 27 Sep - 10 pm 
At Sea Tues 28 Sep 
Costa Maya Wed 29 Sep - 8 am 5 pm 
Cozumel Thurs 30 Sep - 7 am 6 pm 
At Sea Fri 1 Oct 
Port Everglades Sat 2 Oct - 7 am 

Passengers and their travel agents are currently being contacted to advise them of this change and are being advised to make alternative flight arrangements. Passengers who have booked their air through Princess will automatically be rescheduled on new flights arriving in Fort Lauderdale Monday, September 27. 

Because of the change in itinerary, passengers will receive a 30% refund on their cruise fare. In addition, each passenger will receive a discount on a future Princess cruise. This credit will be $100 for an inside cabin; $150 for an outside cabin; $200 for a balcony cabin; or $250 for a mini-suite or suite. Passengers will be responsible for the cost of their own incidentals relating to travel to the ship. If passengers are unable to continue with their plans to sail on this voyage, they may choose between a future cruise credit and a full refund.

We are continuing to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Jeanne and will post any updates to this information on our web site, 

Royal Caribbean

9/28/04 - Royal Caribbean continues to closely monitor Hurricane Jeanne and other tropical weather conditions to ensure our guests enjoy safe and comfortable cruises and to make certain our ships steer clear of any storms. 

The safety and comfort of our guests are always the foremost concern of Royal Caribbean. We are pleased to report that our ships in the Caribbean are sailing in calm seas and warm, sunny weather. However, based on Hurricane Jeanne's location and projected path, Royal Caribbean will alter the itineraries of several ships. Itinerary changes are listed below.

Ships sailing from Port Canaveral

  • Sovereign of the Seas, normally scheduled to depart Monday on a four-night sailing, will delay its return from its current sailing until Tuesday and will now return to Port Everglades, Florida. Royal Caribbean International will transport guests from Port Everglades to Port Canaveral and the Orlando airport at the conclusion of this sailing. In addition, the ship will leave on its next sailing at 8 p.m. local time Tuesday from Port Everglades and will sail a modified itinerary. The ship will make a port call in Nassau, Bahamas on Wednesday and Thursday and return to Port Canaveral on Friday. Guests who sail on this cruise will receive an onboard credit of $250 per stateroom and a certificate for a 50 percent discount on a future Royal Caribbean sailing of seven nights or less, which departs on or before December 15, 2005, excluding holidays. Guests booked on this sailing who cancel their cruise will receive a letter of credit for the amount paid for the cruise portion of their sailing. Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne, this itinerary is subject to change. 

  • Mariner of the Seas, normally scheduled to depart Sunday on a seven-night sailing, will delay its return from its current sailing until Tuesday and will now return to the Port of Miami. Royal Caribbean will transport guests from the Port of Miami to Port Canaveral and the Orlando airport at the conclusion of this sailing. In addition, the ship will leave on its next sailing at 8 p.m. local time Tuesday from Miami and sail a modified itinerary. The ship will make port calls in Nassau, Bahamas, on Wednesday; Cozumel, Mexico, on Friday; and return to Port Canaveral on Sunday. Guests who sail on this cruise will receive an onboard credit of $500 per stateroom and a certificate for a 50 percent discount on a future Royal Caribbean sailing of seven nights or less, which departs on or before December 15, 2005, excluding holidays. Guests booked on this sailing who cancel their cruise will receive a letter of credit for the amount paid for the cruise portion of their sailing. Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne, this itinerary is subject to change.

Complimentary transfers from Port Canaveral to Port Everglades will be offered as follows:

  • Orlando International Airport: Between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from Terminal A and B. 

  • Port Canaveral: Between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from Terminal 10. 

  • Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport: Between 10:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. from Terminal 2.

Guests who choose to drive directly to Port Everglades will be transported back to Port Canaveral at the conclusion of their cruise, should they require it.

 Ships sailing from the Port of Miami

  • Explorer of the Seas, normally scheduled to depart Sunday on a seven-night sailing, delayed its return and it departured for its next sailing Monday. The ship delayed its departure until 9 p.m. local time and is sailing a modified itinerary that will end Sunday, October 3. The ship will visit Costa Maya, Mexico, on Wednesday; Cozumel, Mexico, on Thursday; and Nassau, Bahamas, on Saturday. Guests who sail on this cruise will receive an onboard credit of $250 per stateroom and a certificate for a 50 percent discount on a future Royal Caribbean sailing of seven nights or less, which departs on or before December 15, 2005, excluding holidays. Guests booked on this sailing who cancel their cruise will receive a letter of credit for the amount paid for the cruise portion of their sailing. Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne, this itinerary is subject to change. 

  • Navigator of the Seas, normally scheduled to depart Saturday on a seven-night sailing, delayed its return and it departed for its next sailing Monday. The ship delayed its departure until 9 p.m. local time and is sailing a modified itinerary that will end Saturday, October 2. The ship will visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on Wednesday; and Labadee, Hispaniola, on Thursday. Guests who sail on this cruise will receive an onboard credit of $500 per stateroom and a certificate for a 50 percent discount on a future Royal Caribbean sailing of seven nights or less, which departs on or before December 15, 2005, excluding holidays. Guests booked on this sailing who cancel their cruise will receive a letter of credit for the amount paid for the cruise portion of their sailing. Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne, this itinerary is subject to change. 

Ships sailing from the Port of Baltimore

  • UPDATED: Grandeur of the Seas, which departed September 24 on a nine-night sailing, will sail a revised itinerary. The ship will make port calls in King's Wharf, Bermuda, on Sunday and Monday; Labadee, Hispaniola, on Wednesday; and Nassau, Bahamas, on Friday. Due to the uncertainty of Hurricane Jeanne's path, this itinerary is subject to change.

At this time, no other Royal Caribbean ships are being impacted by tropical weather. We will continue to closely monitor weather conditions and update this information.

NOTE: Royal Caribbean is currently unable to bring ships to Coco Cay, Bahamas, our private island. Storm-related repairs are ongoing and should be complete in the coming weeks. Additionally, storm recovery efforts in Freeport, Bahamas, and Georgetown, Cayman Islands, prevent us from visiting those ports. We look forward to returning to those locations in the very near future. Ships scheduled to make port calls at these locations in the coming weeks will make alternative port calls or spend the day at sea.

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Wrap Up the Holidays With Seasonal Festivities and Savings Aboard a Luxurious Crystal Cruise
Celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas & New Year's With Special Savings Ideal for Couples, Singles & Family Travel

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 24 -- Christmas in the Caribbean. Thanksgiving in the Tropics. Hanukkah transiting the Panama Canal. This year, luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises wraps up the holidays with celebrations of the season, convenient domestic departures, and, on select cruises, special savings for couples, singles and families with children of all ages.

"Perhaps the greatest gift a family can enjoy during the holidays is quality time together. At Crystal, we go the extra mile to ensure our ships provide a festive ambience with all the trimmings and traditions of the season," says Bill Smith, Crystal's senior vice president of marketing and sales. "And with special savings offered on a variety of itineraries, a holiday at sea aboard one of our floating resorts is a wonderful present for oneself or the entire family."

Crystal Cruises' creative programming and special promotions are designed to appeal to the expectations of its savvy clientele. Whether they're couples with or without children, or extended families enjoying a reunion, guests will enjoy the finest cuisine, entertainment, accommodations and service available on the high seas.

Thanksgiving cruises allow Crystal's award-winning culinary team to showcase their talents with a traditional, albeit stylized, five-course meal.

Guests will enjoy the nostalgia of Thanksgiving with a tropical twist on any of three itineraries to the Caribbean, South America or the Panama Canal: Crystal Harmony, November 18, 11 days from Costa Rica to Ft. Lauderdale with fares as low as $1,695, including the opportunity to "stay and save" on the subsequent December 15th cruise departing roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale for just $997.50; Crystal Symphony, November 10, 17 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Buenos Aires with fares starting at $3,995; and Crystal Serenity, November 20, 7 days roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale with rates beginning at $2,850. Guests already booked on Crystal Serenity's November 9th Trans-Atlantic voyage from Lisbon to Ft. Lauderdale will have plenty to be thankful for when they can "stay and save" for only $1,190 on the subsequent Thanksgiving cruise.

Christmas & New Year's
Aboard Crystal Harmony, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, guests will find a decidedly festive yet supremely sophisticated ambience. In keeping with the line'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.

Christmas Eve promises a traditional Christmas Eve Dinner held in the elegant Crystal Dining Room; a Christmas tree lighting ceremony hosted by the Captain -- complete with Christmas carols, cookies and hot chocolate; holiday tunes in the Avenue Saloon piano bar; gingerbread houses adorning the dining room, lounges and Crystal Penthouses; and holiday gifts for all guests.

Clergy will also be aboard to conduct a Christmas Eve Mass or a Protestant Christmas Eve service.

Christmas Day brings complimentary eggnog, served at 11:00 am, followed with a gala Christmas buffet at noon. A Chocolate Tea Time -- and the arrival of Santa Claus bearing gifts for Junior Cruisers -- is scheduled for the afternoon. Crystal's innovative and talented Repertory Theatre at Sea will perform "A Christmas Carol," and the festivities culminate in an extravagant Christmas Day Dinner.

Holiday-themed films, shown in The Hollywood Theatre, include "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Miracle on 34th Street," "A Christmas Story," "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas Live," as well as other popular new releases.

In-stateroom television programming is equally as festive with such classics 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."

New Year's Eve features an array of activities throughout the day and into the wee hours of a brand new year. 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 Show. Last but not least, guests can revel in the traditional New Year's Eve Countdown with a balloon drop in the ships' Atrium.

On New Year's Day, guests wake to complimentary Bloody Mary parties, and New Year's Day brunches with champagne and mimosas.

All three Christmas/New Year's voyages are 14 days and operate, conveniently, roundtrip from US ports, with the added value of up to 2-for-1 savings on each cruise. Guests already booked aboard Crystal Harmony's December 21st "Caribbean Holiday" cruise departing from New Orleans have the opportunity to "stay and save" by extending their cruise from the preceding December 9th cruise for as little as $997.50. A child under 12 can sail for free when sharing a stateroom with two adults, and fares start at $3,495 per person.

Crystal Symphony's "Tropical Holiday" travels from Ft. Lauderdale on December 22 with rates beginning at $5,445 per person.

Crystal Serenity's "Pacific Holiday" explores the Mexican Riviera, leaving from Los Angeles on December 22 with fares starting at $6,445 per person.

Considered the most joyous of the Jewish holidays, Hanukkah or "The Festival of Lights" (December 8-15), will be celebrated with traditional and nostalgic festivities including the nightly lighting of the Menorah commemorating the oil that burned in the Holy Temple for eight days rather than the expected one. Traditional fried foods such as latkes and loukoumades -- deep-fried pastry puffs dipped in honey or sugar -- symbolizing the magic of the holiday will be served alongside the more contemporary butter cookies and pretzels in the shape of Hanukkah symbols. A rabbi will also be onboard each ship to conduct services.

With departures to the Caribbean, South America or through the Panama Canal, Hanukkah cruises include: Crystal Harmony, December 9, 12 days from Ft. Lauderdale to New Orleans, available at special fares as low as $1,995 and a reduced 5% single supplement; Crystal Symphony, November 28, 17 days from Buenos Aires to Ft. Lauderdale with rates starting at $3,995; and Crystal Serenity, December 7, 15 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles with fares beginning at $4,495.

Fantasia - for Junior Cruisers
Aboard all three ships, Crystal has invested tremendous resources and creative passion into the continued evolution of Fantasia, the main venue for children's activities. On Christmas/New Year's sailings, and cruises with a large number of children, Junior Activities Directors are onboard to create age-appropriate programs themed to the holidays and destinations.

Among Fantasia's amenities are custom designed built-in kiosks for Sony Playstation® video games, personal computers complete with entertainment and educational software, arts and crafts stations, and movie nights with popcorn and pizza.

The ships' Library offer more than 1,500 titles, including a selection of children's books and DVDs for the television/DVD units that are standard in all staterooms. In addition to a dedicated children's menu in the main dining room, the popular poolside Trident Grill serves hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches and frozen yogurt and ice cream throughout the afternoon.

Triple-berth staterooms are available in a range of categories, as well as suites and connecting staterooms. Cribs are available when requested in advance, and babysitting service is also offered.

On cruises with Junior Activities Directors, families may plan their days and nights according to "Surf Runner," the children's daily newsletter detailing scheduled activities and delivered to each child's stateroom the preceding evening.

Fares quoted are based on per person, double occupancy accommodations. For additional information, contact a travel agent or call 866.446.6625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Carnival Corp Signs Five-Ship Agreement
Deliveries Planned for 2007 and 2008 for Several Carnival Brands

MIAMI, Sept. 23 -- Carnival Corporation announced it has signed a historic multi-billion-dollar cooperation agreement with Italian shipyard Fincantieri to construct four new cruise ships as well as significantly redesign the previously announced Queen Victoria for its Cunard Line brand. Two of the newbuilding orders have been placed in U.S. dollars; two others are in euros. The Queen Victoria redesign is in a combination of euros and dollars.

Carnival Chairman and CEO Micky Arison said that this unique alliance with Fincantieri lays the foundation for its newbuilding program in 2007 and 2008 and allows the company to simultaneously execute its two-pronged growth strategy. "For our U.S. brands, it is important for us to build vessels at reasonable U.S. dollar costs, especially under the unfavorable U.S. dollar/euro currency environment that exists today. At the same time, we must continue to reinvest in our European brands to develop the cruise business there and maintain the leadership position of those brands in their respective markets," he said.

The U.S. dollar agreement calls for the construction of a 110,000-ton "Conquest-class" ship for Carnival Cruise Lines at Fincantieri's Sestri yard and a 116,000-ton "Caribbean Princess-class" ship for Princess Cruises at Fincantieri's Monfalcone yard. Both ships are expected to be delivered in spring 2007. The all-in cost for the Carnival ship is approximately $500 million and the Princess ship approximately $525 million.

Arison noted that the all-in cost for these two vessels compares favorably to the $165,000-$175,000 per berth price that Carnival has historically paid for new ships for these brands and should allow the company to achieve the financial targets it sets for its newbuilding projects. "These two classes of ships presently have some of the highest returns in the cruise industry," Arison pointed out.

The euro-based agreement includes two similar-sized vessels, one that is 110,000 tons carrying approximately 3,000 lower berth passengers and another 116,000 tons carrying approximately 3,100 lower berth passengers. While the agreements for these ships have been signed, Carnival has a one-year option to designate which of the company's brands will take delivery of the vessels. Both are scheduled for delivery in spring 2008. The all-in cost for each vessel will be approximately 475 million and 490 million euros, respectively. They will also be built at Fincantieri's Sestri and Monfalcone yards.

"Given our strategic focus on developing the European markets and that these are euro-based agreements, it is probable that both vessels will go to our European brands. However, this one-year option allows us some latitude in determining where the tonnage will be best utilized," Arison said. "These ships are also priced within the 150,000-170,000 euros per berth range that Carnival has previously paid for its European brands and will enable them to meet our newbuilding financial targets," he added.

The agreement with Fincantieri also includes a significant redesign of the Queen Victoria, for which the order was previously announced in April 2004. The vessel will be lengthened by 11 meters and its tonnage increased to 90,000 with its lower berth passenger capacity increased to 2,000. The redesign brings the all-in price to 340 million euros plus $95 million (U.S.). The vessel will be constructed at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard and is now expected to be delivered in summer 2007.

"With these extensive modifications, Queen Victoria will incorporate the 'grand ocean liner' style of the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2, as well as the signature design elements and culinary experiences that have earned Cunard its position as the preeminent luxury cruise operator," Arison said. "At the same time, the reengineered Queen Victoria will serve as Cunard's SuperLiner of the future," he added.

In addition, the cooperation agreement calls for Carnival to continue working with Fincantieri on new cruise ship development projects, including the "Pinnacle Project" which is a large prototype vessel for the Carnival Cruise Lines brand. Fincantieri has also granted Carnival preferential building slots in its various shipyards throughout Italy. Based on these new orders, Carnival's capacity growth will be 5.9 percent in 2007 and 5.1 percent in 2008 compared to an average growth rate of 15 percent in the three-year period from 2002 to 2005.

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Windstar Cruises Rated Number One in World 

SEATTLE, Sept. 23 -- Readers of Conde Nast Traveller magazine in the United Kingdom have voted Windstar Cruises the number one small-ship cruise line in the world. The luxury sail cruise line received an exceptionally high rating of 90.63% that put the line in first place for small-ship cruise lines, including all luxury and ultra-luxury lines. The high score also beat the top-rated large-ship cruise line, making Windstar the highest rated cruise line out of both small and large-ship lines. Aside from North America, Windstar draws more guests from the United Kingdom than anywhere else in the world.

"We are very proud to be voted the number one small-ship cruise line in the world in the prestigious Readers' Travel Awards," says Tom Russell, Windstar's vice president marketing and sales. "Windstar is truly '180-degrees from ordinary' with a winning combination of elegant sailing ships, intimate atmosphere, exotic itineraries, and of course our incredibly friendly staff. The high-level of individual service and genuine hospitality provided by our professional staff stands out. The letters we receive from guests glow with commendations, and our guests continue to return to sail with us year after year."

Cruise line ratings are based on the following criteria: service/staff, value for money, food/restaurants, facilities/activities, standard/comfort of cabins, itinerary/variety of destinations and ambience/decor. The readers of Conde Nast Traveller UK rate the top cruise lines, cities, islands, hotels, airlines, airports, countries, spas and tour operators during the annual awards. Windstar was also named to the magazine's "Top 100" list which is comprised of the highest scores from all categories.

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Spectacular Scuba Diving Featured on Windstar's 
Mayan Riviera Cruises
Guided Dives Visit Dolphin and Whale Shark Habitats, Belize’s Famed Blue Hole

Seattle, WA, September 22, 2004 — World-class diving on the spectacular coral reefs and underwater mountains of Honduras, Belize and Mexico highlight Windstar’s inaugural season of cruising the Mayan Riviera in 2005. With two-tank dives offered on five of seven cruising days, as well as post-cruise dive opportunities, the five-masted sailing yacht Wind Surf will be a diver’s paradise during her eleven scheduled cruises in the region. PADI Diving Society members will receive a $75 diving credit on board when they identify themselves at booking. Programs are in place for both advanced divers and novices who wish to experience the thrills of diving alongside dolphins, turtles, whale sharks and some of the finest coral environments in the world.

Windstar has extensively surveyed the region and identified the top diving opportunities at each destination. Teams of PADI-certified instructors and dive masters will be on board to organize dives and accompany both experienced and novice divers to sites that match their ability levels. Check-out dives and pool sessions are available for divers who wish to brush up on their skills before returning to deeper waters. 

“Our Mayan Riviera voyages are loaded with opportunities for divers, and they are a great value.” says Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales for Windstar Cruises. “Advance booking rates are as low as $1,295 for guests who book their cruises before November 30 of this year, and dive packages can be purchased for as little as $360, which includes six dives in Belize and Honduras, a complimentary dive in Mexico and a souvenir. Combined with the relaxed shipboard life on our beautifully appointed sailing yachts and the awesome scenery of the region both above and below water, these cruises are sure to be an unforgettable experience for divers.”

The Wind Surf, which accommodates 308 passengers, will sail eleven cruises to the Mayan Riviera from January 16 to April 3, 2005. Each voyage will be a seven-day, roundtrip journey from the island of Cozumel, Mexico, with calls at the Honduran Bay Islands of Isla de Utila and West End (Roatan Island); stops on the Honduran mainland at Puerto Cortez and Omoa; a visit to Belize City, Belize; and a stop at Costa Maya, Mexico, before returning to Cozumel. Diving will be available in Cozumel, Utila, Roatan, Belize City and Costa Maya. 

Diving Program Delivers Marine Wildlife and Unforgettable Reefs
The opportunities for diving promise to be nothing short of sensational for both experienced and novice divers. Water temperatures are typically in the 80s, with hundreds of feet of visibility, and the region is home to everything from schools of brightly colored tropical fish to turtles, rays, groupers, large pelagics and even whale sharks, the largest known fish on Earth. The marine environment has some of the world’s finest assortment of giant barrel sponges, flower and brain coral and Gorgonian Fans waving in the nutrient-rich currents.

An Adventure in Diving certification is available for certified divers. Divers who have already completed the necessary certification classes plus exam may complete the open water dive portion of their certification on board. Beginners can enroll in a Discover Scuba Diving program led by trained PADI instructors that includes classroom time to teach the basics of scuba, a pool session to acquaint students with scuba gear and techniques, and a shallow water dive with instructors leading small groups of students. Dive highlights include:

  • DIVING WITH THE DOLPHINS. This reef dive off Roatan is famous for its encounters with dolphins in an open-water, totally spontaneous setting. A dolphin behaviorist briefs divers on how to interact with wild dolphins, and the shallow water dive includes direct contact with schools of curious dolphins.

  • ELBOW, TURNEFFE ATOLL, BELIZE. One of the single greatest dive sites in the world, the marine environment outside of Turneffe Island is packed with everything from schools of barracuda to majestic flights of eagle rays, all suspended over a lush reef of multi-hued corals and outcroppings.

  • BELIZE’S BLUE HOLE. This amazing circular pit of turquoise water was explored by Jacques Cousteau. Inside you will see reef sharks lingering at 140 feet, amazing formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and a profusion of sea life at shallower depths that include cleaning shrimp and small tropicals flitting around great growths of elkhorn coral. 

  • CJ’S DROP OFF AT UTILA. Packed with marine life and extremely colorful coral in pristine condition, Utila is known as a spot to see manta rays, turtles, dolphins, reef sharks and possibly whale sharks which are known to frequent the area. Old Tom, the largest whale shark seen here is over 50-feet in length and has a mouth that is large enough for three men to stand upright inside. Luckily for divers, they are filter feeders.

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Seabourn's Website Scores Two Top Web Awards for 2004 
Named 'Best Travel Site' and 'Best Leisure Site' By Web Marketing Association 

MIAMI, Sept. 21 -- The website for ultra luxury cruise pioneer Seabourn Cruise Line, located at, has been selected by the judges of the Seventh Annual Web Marketing Association "WebAwards" competition as the Best Travel Site for 2004. In addition, the judges named Seabourn's innovative Virtual Theater this year's Best Leisure Site. 
The Best Travel Site award was presented to Chicago-based Quicksilver Associates, Seabourn's website host and provider. The Best Leisure Site award went to Miami's BGT Partners, the company hired by Seabourn to create an interactive Virtual Theater section to display streaming video, 360-degree photography and other images illustrating Seabourn's cruise product.

"Seabourn's vision is to be the best of the best in ultra luxury travel," said Deborah Natansohn, Seabourn's president. "And that vision extends to the way we present ourselves on the Web. It's important to us that our website be as elegant, handsome and as hospitable to visitors as our yachts are to our guests."

WMA judges measured all nominated competitors based on seven criteria: design; innovation; content; technology; interactivity, copywriting and ease of use. 

Seabourn's Web presence offers visitors hundreds of pages of information about the intimate, all-suite Yachts of Seabourn, the company's award-winning Signature Delights onboard features and amenities and the worldwide itineraries sailed by Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. A separate section for travel agents allows them to order marketing materials, download images and logos, customize brochures or emails for their use and request bookings. In addition, the site contains sales policies and a survey for agents. 

Visitors can create a personalized page called My Seabourn, where they can store itineraries of interest, create and maintain a personal profile and otherwise enhance the customization of the site to their wishes. The Virtual Theater section features several different streaming video presentations, including a thrilling aerial view of a Seabourn Yacht underway, a delightful "Shopping with the Chef" excursion and a video of actual Seabourn guests relating their own "Seabourn Stories" anecdotes. For more information, contact a travel agent or call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391. To visit the award-winning Seabourn website, set your browser to

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Discovery Delivers Relief After Hurricane Frances 

MIAMI, Sept. 21 -- Discovery Cruise Line, the largest tour operator from South Florida to Grand Bahama Island, has been intimately involved in the Bahamas hurricane relief effort, bringing water, food and other supplies to the island daily. It was the first to arrive on the island with needed supplies after the ports reopened following the battering by Hurricane Frances, bringing 18,000 bottles of water and 300 tons of water. That feat was also repeated the next day.

Discovery also supplied a large quantity of fresh foods, meats, and groceries to Old Bahama Bay for its efforts to feed the needy inhabitants of the West End. According to Hanns J. Hahn, General Manager of Discovery, "Discovery has been partners with the Bahamas for over 17 years, having taken nearly four million passengers to and from Grand Bahama Island. During these years, we have developed close relationships with a large number of residents of the island. We wanted to get assistance to them as quickly as possible after Frances moved away because they would have done the same for us if our positions were reversed. We will continue to help them as long as they are in need."

Other major donors included Food For The Poor, Anheuser Busch, Seaboard Marine, Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Casa del Marino Seafarer's House in Port Everglades, and Ship Supply in Miami. In addition to water, other deliveries received and transported by Discovery included hundreds of thousands of pounds of blankets, coolers, kerosene lamps, kerosene stoves, dry soup mix, dry goods, clothing, paper supplies, diapers, freezers for ice storage, cleaning supplies, batteries, and assorted groceries.

Discovery also reduced immediately the roundtrip rate for Bahamians sailing between Ft. Lauderdale and Grand Bahama Island to $49 per person, plus fees and taxes, "in recognition of the need for Bahamians to travel to and from South Florida to purchase items to make repairs and to restock their homes with food and water," according to Mr. Hahn. This rate will remain in effect until September 30, 2004.

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'Today Show' Co-Anchor Katie Couric to Serve as Godmother of Carnival Cruise Lines' New Carnival Valor
New 110,000-Ton 'Fun Ship' to be Named in Dockside Ceremony in Miami Dec. 17

MIAMI, Sept. 20 -- Katie Couric, the longtime co-host of NBC News' "Today," will serve as godmother to Carnival Cruise Lines' newest ship, the Carnival Valor. Couric will "officially" name the new 110,000-ton SuperLiner at an evening ceremony in Miami Dec. 17, 2004, by breaking the traditional bottle of champagne across the ship's hull.

"In addition to being one of the most popular and respected television personalities in America, Katie Couric has distinguished herself through her public service both as a reporter and an advocate," said Carnival's President and CEO Bob Dickinson. "In recognition of her many professional achievements and her efforts in support of colon cancer research and education, it is our honor to have her serve as godmother of Carnival Valor," he added.

In March 2000, along with Lilly Tartikoff and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Couric launched the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA), which supports education, new research and regular medical screenings in the fight against colon cancer. In recognition of Couric's role as Carnival Valor godmother, Carnival is making a donation in her name to the NCCRA.

Carnival Valor, the third in Carnival's highly successful 110,000-ton "Conquest-class," is among the largest passenger vessels at sea and will feature 22 lounges and bars with dramatic interiors celebrating themes of heroes and heroism, along with four swimming pools, a 214-foot-long water slide, a 13,300-square-foot spa, expansive children's and teen facilities, and four restaurants, including a reservations-only supper club. Following an inaugural two-day cruise to Nassau, Bahamas, departing Miami Wednesday, Dec. 15, Carnival Valor returns to Miami on Friday, Dec. 17, for its official naming ceremony. The ship is scheduled to launch year-round seven-day Caribbean service from Miami Dec. 19, becoming the largest Carnival ship ever based at that port.

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Holland America Line Expands Entertainment Features With Extended TV Programming
Premium Cruise Line Now Offers Most Extensive Television and Movie Service Available at Sea

SEATTLE, Sept. 20 -- Holland America Line announced today that it is expanding its television and entertainment options to include additional channels and even more movie choices for its guests. This programming expansion will cover Holland America's entire fleet of five-star ships and is part of the company's $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative. Signature of Excellence is a series of groundbreaking investments occurring throughout Holland America's fleet that are enhancing the company's position as the premium cruise leader.

"We recognize that each guest who steps aboard a Holland America Line ship is unique," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "This goes right down to the kind of television programming and movies they like to watch. Our goal is to accommodate our guests in every way possible; one way to do this is to provide them with more viewing and entertainment options than ever before."

Holland America Line's extended service debuts this month, and includes a new documentary channel with programming that varies based on the ship's itinerary. For example, passengers embarking on a trip to Alaska can see the documentary, "Alaska's Natural Wonders," which will provide them with a spectacular look at the 49th state's majestic beauty -- all from the comfort and luxury of their stateroom.

In addition, ESPN will now be available in all staterooms, as will two new channels: one featuring Discovery Channel programs and another featuring recent and classic TV shows. Guests will also be able to view cooking demonstrations that take place in the ships' Culinary Arts Center from the privacy of their own cabin. These new programming options complement Holland America Line's existing in-stateroom offerings, including CNN, Boomerang, TNT and CNNfn.

"Our entertainment options always provide guests with an opportunity to have fun and learn about some of the intriguing destinations we visit," said Bill Prince, Holland America's director of entertainment. "We have long set the industry standard for providing exciting entertainment with a purpose and the additional television and movie offerings are simply an extension of that commitment."

With the enhanced programming options, Holland America Line will offer passengers more movie choices than ever before, with nine different movies every day on rotation on three different movie channels. Each channel will provide a different focus including comedy, drama and classic movies.

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Mandara Spa Announces Agreement With Oceania Cruises

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Sept. 20, 2004--Steiner Leisure announced that its Mandara Spa brand, has signed an agreement with Oceania Cruises for a five-year term through August 2009. This new agreement provides for Mandara Spa to be the exclusive provider of unique spa and massage services, hair dressing, beauty treatments, and fitness programs aboard the luxury vessels Insignia and Regatta, as well as on all ships it introduces into service during the term of this agreement.

Robin Lindsay, Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations for Oceania Cruises, Inc. stated, "I'm delighted to have chosen Mandara as the operators for the Oceania Spa aboard Regatta and Insignia. Their world-class spa operations are the perfect complement to the Oceania Cruises Experience." 

Leonard I. Fluxman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Steiner Leisure Limited, commented, "We are very excited that Oceania Cruises selected Mandara Spa as the exclusive provider of spa & beauty services aboard its luxury vessels. This is new market share for Mandara Spa at sea and further demonstrates the growing demand for our brands as spa operators in the premium and luxury segments. We are proud to be associated with Oceania and its standards of excellence and assist them in the further enhancement of their product in general, and specifically with the spa experience." 

Steiner Leisure Limited is a worldwide provider of spa services. The Company's operations include spas and salons on 114 cruise ships, and in 66 resort spas and two luxury day spas.

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Port of Philadelphia & Camden Expands Cruise Offerings for 2005 
Royal Caribbean Will Enter Market With Sailings To Canada & New England

PHILADELPHIA -- Beginning in summer 2005, cruisers from Philadelphia will have more options when Royal Caribbean International (RCI) begins sailings to Canada and New England. Based on strong customer demand and a large number of potential first time cruisers, RCI, the world's second largest cruise line, has decided to bring some of its business to Philadelphia. The line has announced that it will offer five-, six- and seven-day sailings to Canada and New England from Philadelphia on its Enchantment of the  Seas, starting on July 19, 2005. This addition to the 2005 schedule means that  32 cruises will depart from Philadelphia next year, compared with 22 cruises in 2004.

The 1,950-passenger vessel will be the largest ship to operate out of the Port of Philadelphia and Camden (PPC) and the first to sail the New England/Canada itinerary on a regular basis. The Enchantment will make six trips in 2005, operating through August 21, 2005. These new sailings will provide passengers from Philadelphia with more itinerary choices and a newer ship with a variety of activities such as a rock climbing wall, shopping boutiques and a state-of-the- art gym and spa complex. 

"We are thrilled that Royal Caribbean is coming to Philadelphia. We've gotten great feedback from customers about the new route and feel that we'll be able to offer a strong season of bookings and excellent pre- and post-cruise experiences," said John Matheussen, CEO of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), the parent agency of PPC. "This development just shows how much Philadelphia has grown as a port city and the huge potential we offer in terms of new passengers. It also helps us diversify our offerings, giving cruisers a regular season of both Bermuda and Canada/New England sailings."

"Philadelphia is a vibrant and exciting city," said Adam Goldstein, executive vice president for RCI. "We are pleased to offer our guests this outstanding new departure port from which to experience a Royal Caribbean cruise aboard the 'new' Enchantment of the Seas."

To accommodate Enchantment of the Seas, PPC is making upgrades to the terminal and adding new equipment, including enhancements to its  disembarkation facility. The 74,000-ton Enchantment of the Seas debuted in 1997 and will be stretched and extensively refurbished in spring 2005. The ship will sail from Philadelphia to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Saint John, New Brunswick. RCI is now accepting bookings for the new itinerary.

Visitors who want to extend their stay in the Philadelphia region can take advantage of the PPC's CruisePhilly First package, which offers discounts at the Philadelphia Marriott in Center City and a variety of restaurants, shops and attractions. For more information about cruising from Philadelphia or the CruisePhilly First program, contact the PPC at (856) 968-2052 or visit For information about travel to Philadelphia, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Independence National Historical Park, at (800) 537-7676 or visit

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Carnival's Holiday Returning to New Orleans Friday Evening; Next Voyage Modified to a Two-Day Cruise-to-Nowhere

MIAMI, Sept. 16 -- Carnival Cruise Lines' Holiday, which was originally scheduled to arrive in New Orleans this morning but instead temporarily deviated to Galveston, Texas, will sail today toward New Orleans with an anticipated Friday evening arrival. The next voyage, originally scheduled to depart this afternoon, will instead depart on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. and be converted to a two-day cruise-to-nowhere.

Guests who sail on the modified itinerary will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare and a $50 per person shipboard credit. Those who wish to cancel will receive a full refund. During the voyage, the casino will be open on Sunday only. For guests who opt to sail and booked air on their own, Carnival will provide up to $100 per person in reimbursement for costs incurred as a result of necessary flight changes. Guests will be required to provide proper documentation to receive the reimbursement.

Individuals interested in making a reservation for the two-day cruise may contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or book online at Rates start at $100 per person. Updated information on weather-related itinerary changes is available on the cruise line's web site at or by calling 1-800-CARNIVAL.

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Holland America Line Announces 4th Annual Seven Continents Celebration for 2005 Sailings

SEATTLE, Sept. 15 -- Holland America Line recently announced its 4th annual Seven Continents Celebration. The promotion, which runs through Nov. 30, 2004, celebrates the fact that Holland America Line is the industry leader in worldwide deployment. With nearly 500 cruises to all seven continents, guests can save up to $1,000 per person off already low Early Savings or Mariner Savings rates on 2005 sailings.

Holland America Line offers truly global choices. From romantic Europe, enticing Hawaii and South Pacific, and leisurely Panama Canal cruises, to exotic Asia, or the colorful cultures of South America, Holland America Line offers a five-star vacation experience to all seven continents. The premium line is also the industry leader closer to home with cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada/New England and Alaska from an array of convenient North American homeports.

Holland America Line Advantages

  • Vista-class ms Oosterdam begins sailing from California's most convenient home port, San Diego, in January.
  • A total Hawaiian vacation experience, combining island port calls with leisurely days at sea, featuring the Explorations Speaker Series with renowned experts sharing their insights on Polynesian music, dance, history, astronomy and biology as well as special events including scenic cruising past Kilauea Volcano and traditional luau and lei ceremonies. 
  • Popular South America sailings full of culture and scenic cruising feature Antarctica. Two special cruises spend seven days cruising up the Amazon River with an overnight in Manaus, Brazil. 
  • European cruising aboard four spacious and traditionally-appointed ships offer itineraries from 10 to 35 days that provide clients a chance to visit unspoiled, less-visited ports of call along with classic favorites.
  • Panama Canal cruises provide a complete canal experience with comprehensive port content and unique scenic cruising opportunities including a day of scenic cruising in Costa Rica's incomparable Golfo Dulce.
  • Celebrating 57 years of Alaska experience in 2005, Holland America Line cruises and cruise-tours deliver the best of Alaska with carefully planned itineraries, which give more time to experience the Great Land.
  • Holland America's award-winning private island, Half Moon Cay, is featured on most Caribbean cruises. A dazzling destination unto itself, the island is receiving Signature of Excellence enhancements adding a horseback ride and swim excursion, Stingray Cove, kids' aqua park, and an AquaTrax™ water course.

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Royal Caribbean Announces Plan to Reflag Six Ships 
to Bahamian Registry

MIAMI, September 15, 2004 - After a year of discussion with union representatives, Norwegian government officials and its own employees, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced its plans to transfer the registry of six Royal Caribbean International ships from Norway to the Bahamas. 

The transfer of registry for Enchantment of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Sovereign of the Seas to the Bahamian registry is scheduled to occur by early 2005. Royal Caribbean's other 13 ships are already registered in the Bahamas, as are the nine ships of its sister brand, Celebrity Cruises.

"Since the day our company was founded, we have been proud of our strong ties to Norway, and transferring the registry of six ships will not change that fact," said Royal Caribbean Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Fain. "However, the competitive nature of the cruise industry is intense, and we must ensure our competitiveness throughout the business."

The move will affect about 400 Royal Caribbean shipboard employees covered by collective bargaining agreements required by the Norwegian International Ship Registry. The company plans to keep compensation levels for those employees at or above their current levels during a two-year transition period set to end in January 2007. 

Having Royal Caribbean's ships registered in two countries has required the company to operate under different sets of standards involving marine operations, hiring, compensation and benefits, medical certification and other issues. Operating under a single flag will result in a more streamlined management process for Royal Caribbean's shipboard operations, according to the company. 

Should registration with Norway again become competitive, Royal Caribbean will revisit the flagging issue, company officials said. Royal Caribbean International will continue to use the Norwegian classification society Det Norske Veritas, which issues certificates for all 19 vessels in the brand's fleet and performs many related services on an ongoing basis that are critical to its operations. 

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, with a combined total of 29 ships in service and one under construction. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. Additional information can be found on

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Cash Systems, Inc. Announces Contract with Carnival Corp

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 15, 2004--Cash Systems, Inc., a provider of cash access solutions for the gaming industry, today announced a contract to provide credit card cash advance and check cashing services to Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise vacation group. Cash Systems' products will be utilized aboard Carnival Cruise Lines 19 ships, which operate three- to 16-day voyages to The Bahamas, Canada, the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, Canada, New England, the Panama Canal, Alaska, and Hawaii. 

Steve Ocksrider, casino controller at Carnival Corporation stated, "We selected Cash Systems based on their state-of-the-art products and superior service. The ability to cash checks and receive cash advances during their cruise is a common request from our guests and we are pleased that Cash Systems will provide this important service throughout our fleet."

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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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