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Cruise News
September 1-30, 2005

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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Previously Ordered 112,000-Ton Cruise Ship Assigned to Carnival Cruise Lines By Carnival Corporation

MIAMI, Sept. 30 -- Carnival Corporation announced that it has assigned a previously ordered 112,000-ton cruise ship to its Carnival Cruise Lines brand. The 3,006-passenger ship, to be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, is expected to enter service in spring 2008. Representing a new design for Carnival Cruise Lines, the as-yet-unnamed vessel will offer a host of innovative on-board amenities, including the largest spa and children's facilities in the Carnival fleet. 

The vessel was part of a five-ship agreement with Fincantieri announced in September 2004 that also included the 116,000-ton Emerald Princess for Princess Cruises, the 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom for Carnival Cruise Lines, and the 116,000-ton Ventura for P&O Cruises, and a significant redesign of Cunard Line's previously ordered Queen Victoria. 

"Originally, we envisioned this ship would be designated for one of our European brands. However, Carnival Cruise Lines continues to perform at a very high level and based on the tremendous consumer demand for its products, we now believe that this specific tonnage would be best utilized for Carnival's North American market," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman and CEO. Arison noted that the new ship extends Carnival Cruise Lines' newbuilding program into 2008 and will build upon the line's distinction as the "Number One Choice for Caribbean Cruising."

Among the new vessel's highlights will be a 17,800-square-foot spa that will encompass two forward decks and include an elaborate thermal suite, a variety of health and beauty treatment rooms, and Carnival's first thalasso therapy pool. Encircling the upper level of the spa will be a winter garden that will include a ceremonial tea house. 

A 5,500-square-foot children's playroom, the largest in the Carnival fleet, will be located mid-ship. Above the facility will be a new water play area, a first for the line. 
The mid-ship pool, one of four on board, will be enclosed by two full decks of glass walls. The area will be covered with a two-deck-high retractable dome that can be closed during inclement weather. A large balcony will encircle the upper deck of the pool area. A new sports deck will be located aft and feature bleacher-style seating for games and other events, while a reservations-only supper club will be located atop the poolside Lido restaurant, providing diners with magnificent ocean vistas.

The ship will also house 1,503 staterooms, 60 percent of which will offer an ocean view with 60 percent of those featuring private verandahs.

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Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises' Online Check-In Now Fleetwide

MIAMI, Sept. 29 -- Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises' innovative online check-in program that launched on two ships in July now is available fleetwide, in English and Spanish, reducing guests' check-in times to mere seconds at the pier. Named "Xpress Pass" for Celebrity Cruises and "SetSail" for Royal Caribbean International, online check-in allows guests to fill out all pertinent cruise documents before arriving at the pier. Boarding documents, immigration forms, onboard accounts and ticket contracts can be completed with just a click of the mouse.

"We are thrilled to be the first to offer this option to cruise vacationers," said Senior Vice President, Land Operations, Craig Milan. "We're equally pleased about the positive reaction and high level of participation among guests who have taken advantage of this time-saving option."

On average, up to 70 percent of guests on either Celebrity or Royal Caribbean cruise vacations already are taking advantage of the brands' online check-in program. The process pierside is consistently less than one minute per guest, according to Milan. To check in online, guests are asked to visit the pertinent line's web site ( or Guests will be asked to provide their booking number, ship and sail date, and to follow four easy steps to complete the process. Once all steps have been completed, they will be able to print the SetSail or Xpress Pass and provide it, along with identification, to agents at a specially designated express counter at the pier. 

Milan reports that, in addition to English and Spanish, the system also will be available in Italian, German, French and Portuguese in the near future. Additional information can be found on

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Smithsonian Traveling Photography Exhibit Debuts Aboard Crystal Symphony in November

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 27 -- In a cruise industry first, this fall the luxurious Crystal Symphony becomes a floating gallery at sea hosting a dramatic new photo collection from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Service (SITES). Crystal guests will be among the first to view the arresting collection "Documenting China: Contemporary Photography and Social Change," exploring a country in transition as seen through the eyes of seven native son photographers.

"Documenting China" debuts on Crystal Symphony on November 2, 2005, with 28 images on display. The exhibit runs through early May 2006 when it will transfer to Crystal Serenity. Onboard lectures and exhibit brochures by Smithsonian experts will complement the showing on selected sailings.

Focusing on the impacts of urbanization and industrialization in China, the exhibit portrays the country from an insider's point of view. With raw black-and-white and color images, photographers Liu Xiaodi, Jiang Jian, Zhang Xinmin, Luo Yongjin, Zhou Hai, Lu Yuanmin, and Zhou Min unveil truths about China's internal struggle, a battle between modern industrialism and the traditional, agrarian past that has sustained the country for thousands of years.

"Our guests are looking for contemporary, stimulating and culturally enriching experiences. This provocative exhibit is likely to foster fascinating conversations," says Nitsa Lewis, vice president, marketing.

"Documenting China" was created by SITES in conjunction with Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine. In addition to the exclusive boutique showing on Crystal, the full exhibit of 57 images will tour museums nationally from the spring of 2006 through 2009.

Renowned for its progressive enrichment programming, Crystal has partnered with the prestigious Smithsonian Associates through its Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program, which for the last several years has featured Smithsonian Associates lecturers aboard Crystal ships worldwide. In 2006, experts from the cultural and educational arm of the Institution will also travel with Crystal on eight voyages offering destination-specific lectures on the Panama Canal, the Amazon, Cape Horn, and New England.

The Award-winning Crystal Difference
With an emphasis on innovative product differentiation, Crystal is distinguished by classic service, abundant space, extensive choice, and quality, providing worldwide vacations that bridge the best of land and sea. For additional information, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Royal Caribbean Redeploys Grandeur of the Seas to Tampa

MIAMI, Sept. 27 -- Due to the indefinite closure of the Port of New Orleans, Royal Caribbean International's Grandeur of the Seas will begin offering four- and five-night Western Caribbean itineraries from the Port of Tampa beginning Dec. 3, 2005. Grandeur had been scheduled to sail from the Port of New Orleans on a series of seven-night Western Caribbean cruises from December 2005 through May 2006, when she was to be repositioned to the Port of Baltimore.

Grandeur of the Seas will now sail four-night cruises out of Tampa with a port of call in Cozumel, Mexico, as well as five-night cruises visiting the Mexican cities of Costa Maya and Cozumel from Dec. 3 through April 22, 2006. She will then sail a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise beginning April 22, followed by a seven-night cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning April 29. Grandeur will leave San Juan May 6 on a six-night repositioning cruise to Baltimore, where she will begin sailing a series of alternating five-night Bermuda and nine-night Western Caribbean itineraries May 12 through Nov. 10.

"We truly regret that we are unable to sail from New Orleans for the next several months," said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International. "The impact of Hurricane Katrina has been devastating, but we know that New Orleans will eventually reclaim its place as a world-class tourism destination. We will work with guests who have already booked sailings on Grandeur of the Seas to ensure they experience as little inconvenience as possible. And, we look forward to returning to the Port of New Orleans as soon as circumstances permit us to do so."

Guests already booked on Grandeur of the Seas sailings that were to depart from the Port of New Orleans have several options from which to choose to continue their cruise vacation plans between Dec. 3, 2005, and April 22, 2006. Guests may choose:

  • One of the four- or five-night Grandeur sailings from Tampa, Splendour of the Seas sailings from Galveston or Enchantment of the Seas sailings from Fort Lauderdale. Guests who rebook on Grandeur will receive a partial refund and a $150-per-stateroom onboard credit. Guests who rebook on Splendour or Enchantment will receive a partial refund and $100-per-stateroom onboard credit;

  • Any seven-night cruise on a Vision-class vessel (Vision of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas or Legend of the Seas) at the rate paid (price protected) and a $100-per-stateroom onboard credit;

  • Any other Royal Caribbean itinerary at prevailing rates and a $100-per- stateroom onboard credit; or

  • To cancel and receive a full refund, plus a $100-per-stateroom future cruise certificate.

Revised bookings will be accepted today through Nov. 1, 2005. Grandeur of the Seas guests who have already purchased air transportation through Royal Caribbean will receive assistance in changing their flights to arrive and depart from Tampa or the airport closest to their cruise departure point. Guests who booked their own air transportation should contact their carriers to make alternate flight arrangements. Royal Caribbean International is working directly with the airlines to request that cruise-only guests not be held responsible for any change fees. Additional information can be found on the cruise line's web site at or by calling 800-327-6700.

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Celebs Attend Sept 26 Premiere Party for 
'CBS Eye on Royal Caribbean'

MIAMI, Sept. 26 -- Royal Caribbean Intl and the CBS Television Network unveiled a new lineup of exclusive in-stateroom television programming on Sept. 26, hosting a star-studded premiere party onboard Monarch of the Seas at the Port of Los Angeles. In true Hollywood style, premiere guests will walk the red carpet and mingle with CBS stars including Henry Winkler, Stockard Channing, Christopher Gorham and Ty Burrell of the new hit comedy "Out of Practice." The invitation-only event will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Boleros Latin Lounge onboard Monarch of the Seas.

Guests sailing on Royal Caribbean's 19 ships can now tune in to "CBS Eye on Royal Caribbean" on Channel 16 on RCtv in-stateroom television to view an assortment of programming from "America's Most Watched Network." This custom- produced, first-in-the-industry TV programming will be hosted by CBS personalities such as "Survivor's" Jeff Probst and CBS Sports' Jim Nantz. The hosts will lead viewers through a lineup highlighted by features from CBS News and CBS Sports; segments from "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson"; full broadcasts of hit comedies such as "Two and a Half Men" and "The King of Queens"; special pieces, such as "Backstage on Broadway" and "Route 66" profiles of people and locales along the historic road; and entertainment coverage from "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider."

"Royal Caribbean has consistently led the way in bringing quality television programming to the high seas," said Liz Motley, the cruise line's TV programming specialist. "We were the first line to broadcast major athletic events, such as the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, Wimbledon tennis championship and weekly collegiate football games. And, we were the first line to offer a standardized TV channel lineup with five dedicated foreign-language channels. Now, we're the first to partner with a major TV network, CBS." 

For additional information, visit the cruise line's web site at or call 800-327-6700. 

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MSC Cruises Promises a Swinging Caribbean Season

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (Sept. 26, 2005) -- Classic rock ’n roll harmonies, swinging Big Band sounds and soulful jazz stylings will be in the spotlight on five MSC Cruises’ sailings during the 2006 Caribbean season. In addition to a stellar variety of professional entertainers performing nightly in the ship’s’ lounges, these 11-night roundtrip sailings from Fort Lauderdale on MSC Lirica will feature noted Big Band (Jan. 13, March 20 and April 22) and Jazz performers (Feb. 15) as well as the renowned Ink Spots (Jan. 24).

“While guests are soaking up their favorite sounds or kicking up their heels to tunes from another era, they can enjoy a cruise experience as only MSC Cruises can present it with a ‘True Italian Signature’ style,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA. “We are excited to have a very talented and award-winning slate of performers bringing wonderful music to life for our guests,” he adds.

The Ink Spots are bringing their harmonies and arrangements to the Jan. 24, 2006 sailing of MSC Lirica. The ship calls at San Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua, Tortola and Cayo Levantado (the cruise line’s private paradise in the Dominican Republic). With more than 80 hit records and numerous million sellers on their résumé, The Ink Spots are known to music lovers worldwide. Their biggest hit, "If I Didn't Care,” ultimately sold 19 million copies. With such hits as “I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire,” “To Each His Own,” “My Prayer,” “I'll Never Smile Again,” “Maybe,” “Into Each Life Some Rain May Fall,” “It's A Sin To Tell A Lie,” “Don't Get Around Much Anymore” and “Prisoner of Love,” it is not surprising that The Ink Spots have earned places of honor in the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Apollo Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

The 15-piece Les DeMerle Big Band, featuring vocalist Bonnie Eisele, takes center stage on MSC Lirica’s Jan. 13 and March 20 Big Band cruises as well as the April 22 combination Big Band & Baseball Greats theme cruise. Dynamic drummer Les DeMerle has toured and recorded with the Harry James Big Band and Wayne Newton; the band has also accompanied many top singers, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Mel Torme. The Les DeMerle Big Band is sure to have toes tapping, bodies swaying and guests singing along to the sounds of Ellington, Basie, James and Miller, plus the biggest Broadway hits, rock 'n' roll classics, hot Latin grooves and show-stoppers from the ‘40s through today.

The Jan. 13 and March 20 sailings call at Ocho Rios, Cartagena, San Blas, Cristobal, Puerto Limon and Roatan Island. The April 22 itinerary calls at San Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua, Tortola and Cayo Levantado.

MSC Cruises has something special for jazz lovers, too. The 11-night Feb. 15 MSC Lirica sailing will feature two noted jazz musicians pianist Joe Augustine and award-winning vocalist Dana Paul. A student of piano since the age of 15, Augustine developed his own inventive musical style which has been described as something “between Oscar Peterson and Dave Grusin with a little Fats Waller stride style tossed in for good measure.” A national recording artist, he has received numerous honors, including selection to the elite roster of “Steinway Artists” in 1995. Paul’s musical style takes audience members from classic pop tunes and sensuous ballads to the music and lyrics of the “greats” the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Sammy Cahn, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and even Lennon & McCartney.

When not soaking in the sounds onboard, guests on MSC Lirica will be able to enjoy the ports of San. Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua, Tortola and Cayo Levantado.

MSC Cruises is also hosting a series of Baseball Greats Theme Cruises, featuring some of the “greats of the game” in free interactive guest/player activities, such as a player-hosted trivia game in which guests can test their baseball knowledge, question-and-answer sessions, a lively story-telling, player-hosted clinics a free autograph signing at the end of the cruise. Baseball theme cruises will be held on the MSC Lirica’s Dec. 10 7-night sailing and April 11 11-night itinerary as well as the MSC Opera’s 7-night sailings Jan. 28, Feb. 18 and March 11.

An Italian-owned company, MSC Cruises features fine cuisine ranging from traditional authentic Italian recipes to gourmet delights and perennial All-American favorites. The ambiance is further enhanced by the ships’ elegant Italian design, the incomparable hospitality of the Italian officers and international crew, and the European-style entertainment including the roaming Pagliacci troupe that consistently earns rave reviews. With this distinctly European ambiance as a backdrop, guests can swim or soak up some sun on deck, enjoy pampering in the spa, work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center, play miniature golf, or take part in some unique programs perhaps even learn to speak Italian! For more information about MSC Cruises and its complete lineup of theme cruises, call a local travel agent or visit

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Carnival Cruise Lines Announces New Fleet Deployment Plans

MIAMI, Sept 23 – Carnival Cruise Lines will initiate several fleet deployment changes for 2006 and beyond, including new cruise programs from Port Canaveral, Fla., and Miami, new ports of call, the return of voyages from Mobile, Ala., and New Orleans, and extensive refurbishment of three vessels.

New Four- and Five-Day Cruises from Port Canaveral
A new year-round program of four and five-day cruises from Port Canaveral will kick off March 23, 2006. These cruises will initially be offered on the 2,052-passenger Sensation through Oct. 19, 2006. Just prior to the start of this program, the Sensation will undergo a comprehensive refurbishment.

The 2,052-passenger Elation will take over the program as of Oct. 23, 2006. Four-day cruises will call at Nassau and either Freeport or Half Moon Cay. Five-day cruises will call at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau throughout 2006 and from May to Sept. 2007. From Jan. to April 2007 and from Oct. to Dec. 2007, the five-day itinerary will feature Key West and Cozumel.

Grand Turk, part of the Turks & Caicos Islands chain, is a new port of call featuring pristine beaches, turquoise waters, world renowned coral reefs, and an intimate, unspoiled atmosphere. Half Moon Cay is a private island paradise in The Bahamas, featuring beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and an abundance of water sports and beach activities.

New Seven-Day Cruises from Miami Featuring Half Moon Cay & Grand Turk
Beginning April 30, 2006, the Elation will launch a new seven-day cruise program from Miami, which will run through Oct. 15, 2006. The ship will sail every Sunday on a brand new itinerary featuring four exceptional ports of call -- Half Moon Cay, The Bahamas; St. Thomas/St. John, U.S.V.I; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands. 

The 70,367-ton Elation will be the only Carnival Fantasy-class ship to offer seven-day cruises from Miami and the only Carnival itinerary to feature a daytime call in San Juan. Carnival’s 2,052-passenger Fantasy-class series is a favorite among many experienced cruisers who are attracted to the ships’ comfortable size and design.

Ecstasy to Return to Galveston
Effective April 8, 2006, the 2,052-passenger Ecstasy will resume four- and five-day Caribbean cruising from Galveston, Texas. The Ecstasy had previously operated that program until it was chartered by the U.S. government for hurricane relief efforts. The Elation, which replaced the Ecstasy on the four and five-day program from Galveston, will continue to operate those voyages through April 3, 2006. The Ecstasy will return to service after undergoing a multimillion-dollar 35-day refurbishment. Virtually all public areas and staterooms will be enhanced and upgraded. 

A second Carnival ship based in Galveston, the Carnival Conquest, operates seven-day western Caribbean cruises departing every Sunday.

Holiday to Resume Year-Round Cruising from Mobile
Beginning March 27, 2006, the “Fun Ship” Holiday will resume its program of year-round four and five-day Caribbean cruises from Mobile, which that vessel previously operated prior to being chartered by the U.S. government for hurricane relief efforts. The Holiday will be completely refurbished during a three-week drydock prior to re-entering service.

Resumption of Cruises from New Orleans 
The Sensation will resume four and five-day cruising from New Orleans beginning Oct. 26, 2006, a program it operated prior to Hurricane Katrina. The ship is currently under charter to the U.S. government for hurricane relief efforts.

“We have put together a fleet deployment schedule that accomplishes multiple objectives, including continuity of existing programs, resumption of cruise programs interrupted or modified by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent three-ship charter to the U.S. government, and to introduce some exciting new itinerary and destination options,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. “This deployment plan successfully achieves all of these objectives and offers some terrific new cruise options in the process,” he added. Dickinson further stated the company is examining avenues for full resumption of cruise service from New Orleans in the future (Carnival also operated a year-round seven-day program from that port prior to Hurricane Katrina). “We are eager to return to pre-Katrina capacity levels from New Orleans, a homeport that is extremely near and dear to us,” Dickinson added.

For those guests booked on voyages that are being canceled as a result of the deployment changes, Carnival is offering full refunds and, for those whose bookings were under deposit or fully paid as of Sept. 21, 2005, they will receive a shipboard credit if they re-book by the end of 2005 on any future Carnival voyage. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Crystal Cruises Releases Second Vintage of Proprietary C Wines 

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 22 -- Luxury cruise leader Crystal Cruises has just released its second vintage of C Wines, the proprietary label it debuted to rave reviews last year. Featuring softer tannins, the six new 2004 California wines (three premium and three reserve Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots) are the perfect complement to the fresh, quality ingredients distinguishing Crystal's award-winning cuisine.

C Wines were produced to exacting specifications under the direction of Crystal's Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations Toni Neumeister and four of the line's head sommeliers, who were flown to Napa Valley from their shipboard or home locations in Australia, Mexico, Italy and South America. Carefully made in limited production with grapes from the legendary Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Arroyo Seco, and Santa Lucia Highlands, Crystal's second order of C Wines will deliver nearly 55,000 bottles to Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity -- a 15% increase over last year's vintage. C Wines are offered by the glass or by the bottle, and are showcased on the line's already impressive wine list.

"We are particularly excited about our second vintage of C Wines because it represents a higher quality and more developed style for both the premium and reserve selections. Specifically, all the wines have softer tannins yet still retain the bright, fruit forward character," says Neumeister. "Our expert sommeliers have invested their time and talents in creating a new vintage that is designed to enhance the culinary and wine aspect of the Crystal dining experience."

The six proprietary labels include three C Reserve wines -- a 2004 C Reserve Chardonnay, richer and more complex than its predecessor; a 2003 C Reserve Merlot with a rounder texture and softer tannins, but richer fruit character; and, a perfectly balanced 2003 C Reserve Cabernet with an appealing mix of red and black fruit flavors; and three C Premium selections: a 2004 C Chardonnay with a bit more tropical fruit; a 2004 C Merlot is lush with considerably more weight in the mid-palate; and, a 2004 C Cabernet Sauvignon.

Crystal experts partnered with the Monterey Wine Company, widely regarded for its consistency and reliability in producing quality wines, to manage the growing and production of C Wines. With state-of-the-art winemaking facilities throughout California's prime wine regions, the Monterey Wine Company is led by a team of experienced winery professionals representing more than 85 years of growing, making and/or managing vineyards with distinguished labels such as Caymus, Domaine Chandon, Joseph Phelps and Kendall-Jackson, among others.

C Wines is but one element of Crystal's sophisticated culinary program which includes its highly regarded Crystal Wine & Food Festival, now in its ninth year, and its Wine-Maker Dinners, the first such concept to be offered at sea. The line continues on its worldwide journey to advance the culinary arts, leading the cruise industry by forming innovative alliances with some of the world's most celebrated names in food, wine and hospitality including menus designed by Nobu Matsuhisa and signature dishes from Wolfgang Puck's Chinois on Main. Now in its third year, the luxury line also hosts the Best Young Chefs of Italy, a collaborative effort with long-time culinary partner Piero Selvaggio, proprietor of the acclaimed Valentino restaurants whose Italian specialties are featured in Crystal's Prego restaurants.

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

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Unprecedented 'World's Largest Cruise Night' to be Held October 19

NEW YORK, Sept. 22 -- Travelers who are thinking about taking their first, or next, cruise vacation will not want to miss the World's Largest Cruise Night (WLCN) on October 19. WLCN will be the centerpiece of a month-long industry awareness campaign that will provide consumers with everything they ever wanted to know about cruise vacations and show why cruising is quickly becoming the vacation choice among travelers. WLCN will be the highlight of National Cruise Vacation Month (NCVM), the cruise industry's annual promotional campaign, which each year focuses consumer attention on the pleasures of cruise vacationing. NCVM is sponsored by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the chief marketing organization for 19 North American cruise lines and 16,700 member travel agencies.

"CLIA-member travel agencies, in cooperation with CLIA's member cruise lines, are joining together to host 'cruise night' events of all shapes and sizes in cities across North America," said Terry L. Dale, CLIA's president and CEO. "Consumers who attend WLCN events can obtain complete information on the widely diverse, passenger-pleasing vacation experiences available aboard today's cruise ships. They will also have the chance to meet with the very best cruise and vacation planning resource, a CLIA-member travel agency."

More than 200,000 consumers across North America are being invited to attend cruise nights, ranging from cocktail receptions to breakfast sessions to full-scale cruise expos, all in a single 24-hour period. At each of these events, consumers can learn about the diversity of cruise vacations available on the more than 150 ships of CLIA's 19 member cruise lines and the more than 1,800 worldwide ports of call travelers can visit on a cruise. In many cases, cruise line representatives will be on hand to provide detailed briefings on their cruise vacation products. And, at many events, cruise lines will provide special offers and value-added incentives for guests who book cruises at the events.

CLIA-member travel agencies are currently fine-tuning their WLCN events. Here is a sample of what prospective travelers might find:

  • Mary Garitone, manager of leisure operations at Carlson Wagonlit Travel
    in Tacoma, Wash., will host a cruise event at the Sheraton in Tacoma,
    Wash., with 12 CLIA-member cruise lines represented. She expects to
    draw 300 to 400 prospective cruisers to the event.

  • Pat Fulton, co-owner of Departures Travel in Mesa, Ariz., is working
    with Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises
    and also with officials at homeport cities including San Diego, Los
    Angeles and San Juan to co-sponsor her WLCN event. Fulton has booked
    two rooms at a nearby convention center for the event, which will be
    highlighted by presentations from individual cruise lines.

  • Michael Regan, a sales consultant with Cruise Ship Centers in
    Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, is planning an open house with
    refreshments and door prizes. To encourage bookings, the agency will
    offer incentives including wine, tote bags and cameras. Regan expects
    150 to 200 potential clients to attend.

It's easy for prospective cruisers to find out about WLCN events that will be held in their communities. Simply log on to CLIA's Web site at and click on the World's Largest Cruise Night icon on the bottom. Once on the WLCN homepage, it is possible to search for participating travel agencies by state.

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Carnival Corp Assigns Previously Ordered Vessel to P&O Cruises

MIAMI, Sept. 21 -- Carnival Corp has assigned the newbuild slot for the previously announced 116,000-ton cruise ship to U.K.-based P&O Cruises. To be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, the vessel is scheduled to enter service in spring 2008. The new 3,100-passenger vessel will become the largest cruise ship specifically built for British cruise service and continues Carnival's ongoing European expansion strategy. An itinerary for this vessel has not been announced.

The new P&O Cruises ship was part of a five-ship agreement with Fincantieri announced in September 2004 that also included the new 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom for Carnival Cruise Lines, the 116,000-ton Emerald Princess for Princess Cruises, a 110,000-ton ship that still must be assigned to a particular Carnival brand, and a significant redesign of Cunard Line's previously ordered Queen Victoria.

"The agreement with Fincantieri presented a unique opportunity to contract for a package of five ships at a very attractive price. At the time we signed the contract, we had not made a decision as to which brands would be designated for two of the ships. Given P&O Cruises' strong performance and the excellent demand for cruising in the UK market, the decision was made to designate one of the ships for P&O Cruises," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc's chairman and CEO. He said that the company will make a decision on which brand will receive the second vessel by the end of the month.

The new P&O Cruises ship, to be named Ventura, will feature eight restaurants, five pools and three show lounges, including the largest theater on a British cruise ship. In addition to one of the largest spas afloat, the ship will include a "family zone" featuring children's play areas, a "family bistro" and two pools dedicated to families and children. Of the ship's 1,550 cabins, nearly 60 percent will offer private balconies.

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Seabourn Yachts Introduce Rare Estate Teas, Blends 
& Tisanes On Board

MIAMI, Sept. 19 -- Seabourn Cruise Line has introduced a menu of more than a dozen rare estate teas gathered from around the world, innovative blends of full-leaf teas with botanicals and fruits, and unique herbal tisanes aboard its yacht-like ships. Dubbed "Seabourn to a Tea," the innovative indulgence features the exotic teas, freshly loose-brewed to order, served to guests during daily afternoon tea service. The un-brewed teas are presented in corked glass vials in a wooden tea chest, allowing guests to savor their unique aromas before selecting one to be brewed for them. A descriptive printed menu details the characteristics and ingredients of each brew, as well as its content of caffeine, antioxidants, vitamins and other elements.

"I lived in England for a number of years, so I know the value of afternoon tea as a chance to relax, refresh yourself and socialize," noted Deborah L. Natansohn, Seabourn's president. "Our new Seabourn to a Tea brings an extra degree of sensual sophistication to the table," she continued, "and we believe that will elevate the whole experience."

Teas and blends to be served include Bleu Peacock, a moderately caffeinated, premium blend of Chinese and fancy Formosa Oolong tea, known for its intense fruity notes, chocolaty aroma and depth of color. Jasmine Downy Pearls is a classic green tea made from the silver tips of tender young buds, gently steamed after plucking and hand-rolled into elegant pearls, then blended with fresh jasmine blossoms. Green Tea Passion is a fragrant blend of delicate green teas from Japan, China and Taiwan, accented by tropical fruits, including guava, pineapple and strawberry. 

Scented and fruited black teas include Mandarin Rose Petal, which combines aromatic rose petals and rich, tightly-twisted, black China tea leaves with delicate lychee fruit essence, and Earl Grey Organic, made from high-grown Ceylon and China black tea leaves combined with smoky citrus notes of Mediterranean bergamot fruit. Classic black teas such as English Breakfast Organic, a rich, malty, "dawn to dusk" blend of the finest black tea leaves harvested from India, Ceylon and China will be served, as well as Himalayan Peak Darjeeling Organic, carefully selected organic single estate leaves from the Darjeeling region of India. 

Tisanes are herbal and fruit blends that do not contain tea leaves, but provide appealing flavors and a wide variety of beneficial effects. Among tisanes offered on Seabourn's menu is Chamomile Citron(TM), a blend of Egyptian chamomile, citrus, orange blossoms, lemongrass, rose-hips, hibiscus, and mint that brings calm and balance, aids digestion, and is an excellent source of Vitamins B and C. Peppermint and spearmint gathered from the Morocco's Middle Atlas mountains mingle together in Organic Mint Melange, which aids digestion while it refreshes. Ginger Twist helps promote calm and good health with powerful antioxidants from its blend of Australian ginger, orange & lemon slices, lemongrass, wintergreen mint, papaya, apple, ginseng and licorice. The African rooibos or red bush is blended with hibiscus and exotic African fruits in African Amber, rich in anti-oxidants that promote calm and relaxation. Verbena Mint Organic provides a perfect balance of mint with the buttery richness and soft citrus notes of verbena, an especially soothing blend that aids digestion and relaxation. 

Travelers can enjoy Seabourn to a Tea on worldwide cruise itineraries of seven to 72 days or longer exploring landmark ports and lesser-known gems where larger ships cannot go. For information, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit Seabourn's award-winning website at

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Viking River Cruises Offers Deluxe Cruises Through Europe's Heart at 2-For-1 Prices

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19 -- Viking River Cruises offers value-conscious travelers a new way to discover Europe with 2-for-1 pricing. On select dates, cruises highlighting Germany and Austria start at only $94 per night. Visitors explore key tourist sites while avoiding high-season crowds, and get extra value for their dollar with river cruises that include gourmet meals and daily tours with English-speaking guides. Travelers can choose from sailings offered in November and December 2005, including the "easy-air-access" roundtrip Frankfurt to Frankfurt 7-night itinerary or the Vienna to Nuremberg (or reverse) 7-night program.

Great Value Pricing with Walk-into-Town Access
Unlike ocean cruises, river cruises offer an up-close journey through the heart of Europe, featuring both cosmopolitan cities and stops at smaller villages along the way. With only 150 passengers on each deluxe ship, travelers relax in an intimate, friendly environment and get "walk-off-the-ship" access when they dock right in the heart of town. Vessels feature all-outside cabins, each with a private bathroom, phone, TV and climate control. Onboard amenities include a restaurant, lounge, sun deck, bar and library. Included gourmet meals onboard feature regional specialties as well as American favorites.

Packages include tours with English-speaking guides
To further stretch travelers' dollars, each day features a new port of call, complete with an included tour. On select dates, visitors can also shop at traditional Christmas markets (from the third week of November - December 24), where they can shop for one-of-a-kind, handmade crafts.

For additional information, contact Viking River Cruises toll-free at 1-877-66VIKING (1-877-668-4546) or visit the company online at

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The New 'Costa Serena' Takes Shape in Genoa

HOLLYWOOD, FL, Sept. 16 -- Costa Crociere, the number one cruise company in Europe and South America, has announced the name of its new ship, which will join the continent's biggest and most advanced fleet in May 2007. The new ship will be called the "Costa Serena", and her name has been chosen to signify serenity between the people of different nations that the ship will welcome on board. The announcement was made at the same time the first building block for the new vessel was laid, in the dock at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente shipyards in Genoa. This first block, which is about 55 ft in length and 72 ft wide and weighs around 500 tons, is part of the Costa Serena's aft end section. Like her sister ship Costa Concordia, which is also currently under construction at Sestri Ponente and is due for delivery in July 2006, the Costa Serena will be Italy's largest cruise ship at 112,000 gross tonnage, 951 feet in length, with 1,500 cabins and total guest capacity of 3,780.

Costa Crociere has invested a total of around 1 billion euros on the building of the Costa Serena and her sister ship Costa Concordia. A similar investment was made by the Italian company for the Costa Fortuna and Costa Magica, the current flagships of the Costa fleet, which took to the sea from the Fincantieri shipyards in Sestri Ponente in November 2003 and November 2004, respectively. For reservations or more information, call 1-800-GO-COSTA. For a complimentary brochure call 1-800-33-COSTA or visit

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Princess Expands Lotus Spa Pre-Reservation Capability

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Sept 15, 2005 - Following the success of Princess' groundbreaking debut of advance spa reservations last year aboard Caribbean Princess and Sapphire Princess, the company has expanded the feature to make it easier than ever for passengers on six additional vessels to pamper themselves by booking relaxing spa treatments before they sail. Princess' online Cruise Personalizer is now accepting Lotus Spa pre-reservations for passengers with cruises departing on or after the following start dates: Diamond Princess (September 3); Island Princess (September 20); Golden Princess (October 8); Grand Princess (October 29); Coral Princess (November 24); and Star Princess (December 11).

"When we added online pre-reservations for the Lotus Spas aboard Caribbean Princess and Sapphire Princess it was an industry first and passengers loved the convenience of this new feature," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "Thousands of passengers have now successfully booked their massages, facials and other treatments before they boarded, so we're now pleased to expand this capability to more of our ships."

The reservations tool operates as part of Princess' Cruise Personalizer on This unique service makes booking spa appointments as simple as entering in a name and booking number and choosing from a full menu of services that includes massages, body treatments, facials, hair and nail options. Passengers will be able to see available appointment times and prices. Passengers without Internet access can call 1-800-PRINCESS to reserve treatments.

Princess' Lotus Spas feature a relaxing atmosphere and treatments based on ancient therapies and rituals. Highlights include a series of unique spa and beauty services that will indulge guests from tip to toe. Among the options that can now be reserved in advance are Elemis brand treatments such as Aroma Stone Therapy, Absolute Spa Ritual (which includes a Deep Tissue Muscle Massage and Pro-Collagen Marine Facial), Exotic Lime & Ginger Salt Glow, and a couples massage in the suite reserved for two. Other favorites include La Therapie anti-aging facials, Deep Tissue Muscle Massage and body wraps such as the Musclease Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap.

Additional information about Princess Cruises and Lotus Spa is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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A Record Five Ships to Sail Europe for Holland America Line in 2006

SEATTLE, Sept. 15 -- Heading into the 2006 Europe cruise season, Holland America Line deploys a record five ships and introduces a full summer of Mediterranean cruises aboard the new ms Noordam. The premium line covers all of Europe -- featuring 14 maiden port calls and 27 unique itineraries sailing the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Russia, Greenland and Iceland, North Cape and Polar Icecap, Black Sea, North Africa, British Isles and Transatlantic voyages.

"We have increased our 10- to 12-day sailings and added more 15- to 16-day itineraries, with a special focus on sailing the Mediterranean for the entire summer," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "We've added new ports and more time in ports including late departures and overnights, and our onboard culinary arts and guest-speaker programs enhance the unparalleled value of a premium cruise to Europe."

The European quintet of ships includes the intimate 793-guest ms Prinsendam designed for longer cruises; the new, state-of-the-art, 1,848-guest Noordam with open, airy spaces; the premium line's twin flagships the 1,316- guest ms Rotterdam and 1,380-guest ms Amsterdam; and the five-star 1,258-guest ms Maasdam.

Fourteen maiden ports of call lead guests to the pristine north of the Arctic Circle, once forbidden Libya, the breezy esplanades of Alicante and Palomos, Spain, or the rainforest-enveloped castles of northern Turkey during one of fifty-five 10- to 35-day cruises in spring through fall of 2006. In this hallmark European season, Holland America Line will feature the luxury of one- to two-night stays in Amsterdam, Athens, Gdansk, Istanbul, Marseille, St. Petersburg and Venice; and extended evening stays for enjoying night-life in lively ports such as Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Santorini.

Highlights of 2006 Europe Cruises
The new Noordam makes her graceful debut in Europe starting with a 16-day Atlantic crossing with the glamour of a live Big Band followed by a full summer sailing the Mediterranean. Highlights of the Prinsendam sailings feature a 21-day Midnight Explorer journey to Jan Mayen Island and the Arctic Circle and an epic 34-day transatlantic sojourn covering Western Europe. The Rotterdam ventures throughout southern Europe on eight varied itineraries from the thriving arts center of Varna, Bulgaria to the impressive remains of long- vanished empires in Tripoli, Libya.

A vast array of European shore excursions are offered from adventurous Off the Beaten Path tours such as Mallorca kayaking, a four-wheel drive safari in the Sintra Mountains, or riding a jet boat through Helsinki's waterways, to cultural and historical tours featuring monumental museums, churches and castles, and engaging cultural and folkloric experiences. Medallion excursions deliver exclusive experiences such as Formula One racing in Barcelona and popular Signature Collection touring which provides a private luxury vehicle, a driver and an English speaking guide; guests may design a self-styled itinerary that suits their interests, drawing on the professional expertise of shore excursion staff and the local guide. Hundreds of detailed shore excursion descriptions can be viewed online and are available for booking online approximately six months prior to sailing.

Four culinary experts will sail on European cruises, conducting demonstrations and classes in the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine. Robert Kinkead, chef/owner, Kinkead's in Washington, D.C., sails on the May 26 Grand European Capitals cruise aboard the Rotterdam; Michael Lomonaco, chef/director, Guastavino's in New York City and co-host of Epicurious on the Discovery Channel, sails July 28 aboard the Rotterdam's Best of the Baltic cruise; Mark Fiorentino, chef, boulanger, Daniel Boulud Restaurants, New York City, joins the Gems of the Baltic cruise on the August 11 departure of the Amsterdam; and Charles Dale, founder, Range and Rustique in Aspen, hosts the Mediterranean Enchantment sailing on September 18 aboard the Noordam.

Multi-Cultured Jewels of the Mediterranean
With the arrival of the Noordam, Holland America Line offers a full summer season of 10-day Mediterranean cruises in 2006. Two different itineraries departing roundtrip from Rome feature either the Western Mediterranean or Eastern Mediterranean and Greek Isles, visiting various ports such as Naples, Italy; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; La Goulette, Tunisia; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu and Santorini, Greece; Valletta, Malta; and Kusadasi, Turkey. For guests interested in combining the two itineraries, the premium cruise line offers a back-to-back booking option creating a 20-day complete Mediterranean sailing adventure starting from $2,999.

Altogether, three ships in the Mediterranean sail on 25 10- to 16-day cruises from May to October. New ports of call, from Ravenna, Italy, and its Byzantine architecture, to Antalya, Turkey, and its mountain-sculptured beaches, are in store for guests on the flagship Rotterdam and elegant explorer Prinsendam. The Rotterdam offers 10- and 12-day voyages between Lisbon and Athens, with four calls at Tripoli, Libya, which boasts colorful architecture and Roman ruins. The Prinsendam spends extra nights in Athens, Istanbul, Marseille and Venice for added leisure time. Her 16-day Cradle of Civilization itinerary explores eclectic markets in the maiden ports of Bizerte, Tunisia and Banghazi, Libya. Fares start at $1,749 per person, double occupancy.

Discovering the Bounties of the Black Sea
The Rotterdam explores the Black Sea on four 12-day sailings between Venice and Athens, while the Prinsendam's Sept. 15 Empire of the Ottomans cruise leads guests to the legends of Troy in the maiden port of Canakkale, Turkey. Black Sea ports include Odesa, Ukraine; Constanta, Romania; Istanbul, Turkey; and maiden port calls to Varna, Bulgaria, and Samsun and Trabzon, Turkey, featuring lush valleys and a fourth-century monastery crowning a stunning mountain forest. Cruise fares begin at $2,249 per person, double occupancy.

Best of the Baltic, Scandinavia and Russia
The premium line explores the shimmering sights of Scandinavia and the Baltic on 19 10- to 16-day cruises from May through September. Featured are nine comprehensive Gems of the Baltic cruises, a 10-day compilation of eight interesting ports in six countries in this diverse northern sea. In 2006, every Baltic sailing aboard the twin flagships Rotterdam and Amsterdam includes an overnight in grand St. Petersburg and also calls at regal Scandinavian capitals such as Aarhus, Denmark; Tallinn, Estonia; and Helsinki, Finland on Vikings and Czars, Best of the Baltic, and Treasures of Scandinavia and Russia cruises. Fares start at $1,899 per person.

Aboard the Prinsendam's 16-day Scandinavian Summer sojourn on June 24 guests enjoy two nights and three days in St. Petersburg as well as an overnight in Gdansk, Poland. A new 21-day Midnight Sun Explorer cruise roundtrip from Amsterdam on July 10 epitomizes awe inspiring scenic cruising, as the ship sails Norwegian fjords, and into the Arctic Circle to northernmost Longyearbyen then on to Iceland and Scotland. Fares start at $3,669 and $5,069 respectively.

Capitals of Europe Come Alive
Offering a taste of Europe's diverse tapestry, the Rotterdam sails between Athens and Rotterdam or London in May and September, visiting the ancient treasures in Kusadasi, Turkey; Tripoli, Libya; Rome, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Le Havre (Paris), France. The July 31, 14-day Prinsendam cruise visits Invergordon (Inverness), Scotland; the remote Hebrides; Dublin, Ireland; La Rochelle, France; Leixoes (Porto), Portugal; Funchal, Madeira; and Cadiz, Spain. Fares start at $2,549 per person.

Grand Dames of Transatlantic Cruising
Holland America Line's eight 17- to 35-day transatlantic sailings offer many options to explore less-visited ports while crossing the ocean. Highlights include Prinsendam's May 21 Epic Explorer cruise sails from Fort Lauderdale to the maiden port of Narvik, Norway, via La Rochelle, France, and Casablanca, Morocco; docking overnight in the final city of Amsterdam. The Maasdam's July 1 sailing offers 17, 18 or 35 days of charming towns and stunning fjords in Ireland, Greenland, Iceland and Norway, as she sails roundtrip from Boston, with a chance to embark or disembark in Rotterdam. For a unique taste of two continents, the Rotterdam sails 15-day voyages between Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Lisbon, Portugal. Ports calls will be made at the Cape Verde Islands off of Africa. Transatlantic cruise fares start at $1,879 per person.

For a 2006 Europe cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Oceania Cruises Releases New 2006-2007 Winter Collection

Miami, FL, September 15, 2005 - Oceania Cruises announced the debut of their new 2006-2007 Winter Collection of sailings to Asia, South America and the Caribbean. Comprised of 29 sailings that range from 10 to 35 days in length, all voyages will offer the extraordinary value of Free Air and 2-for-1 Cruise Fares that begin at $1,299 per guest. Sailing to 90 ports on five continents, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica showcase the crème de la crème of cosmopolitan cities, scenic natural wonders, tropical island hideaways and off-the-beaten-path locales. Guests will be treated to the mystical wonders of Beijing and Xiamen, the crystal-clear waters and sugar-sand beaches of Grand Turk or the awe-inspiring majesty of Iguaçu Falls and the Amazon. Enriching the destination experience, Oceania Cruises offers more than 40 overnight port stays throughout Asia, South America and the Caribbean along with an abundance of enticing shore excursion and overland touring options. 

“Oceania Cruises has set the industry standard for upscale destination cruising and this diverse array of itineraries raises the benchmark for excellence to new heights,” commented Frank Del Rio, President and CEO of Oceania Cruises. “The focus of Oceania Cruises is on destinations and discoveries, transporting guests to new cultures while enjoying the extraordinary style, comfort and gourmet cuisine that Oceania Cruises has become synonymous with. Oceania Cruises is always seeking to elevate the travel experience, and that is why we have added these enchanting new destinations to our critically acclaimed itineraries.”

Highlights of the 2006-2007 Winter Collection

  • Singapore to Hong Kong, 15 Days - Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Canton (Huangpu). December 22, 2006; January 6, 2007 (reverse); January 21, 2007

  • Bangkok to Beijing, 24 Days - Ko Samui (Thailand), Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Da Nang (Vietnam), Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Hong Kong, Taipei (Keelung), Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Shanghai, Seoul (Inchon). February 20, 2007

  • Hong Kong to Athens, 35 Days - Da Nang (Vietnam), Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Singapore, Phuket, Goa (Mormugao), Bombay, Salalah, Luxor (Safaga), Aqaba, Suez Canal, Cairo (Port Said). April 21, 2007

  • Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires, 10 Days - Ihla Grande (Brazil), Parati (Brazil), Santos (Brazil), Itajaí (Iguaçu Falls), Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), Montevideo (Uruguay). December 9, 2006

  • Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, 16 Days - Montevideo (Uruguay), Puerto Madryn (Argentina), Port Stanley (Falkland Islands), Ushuaia (Argentina), Cape Horn, Punta Arenas (Chile), Chilean Fjords, Laguna San Rafael (Chile), Puerto Chacabuco (Chile), Puerto Montt (Chile). December 19, 2006; January 4, 2007 (reverse); January 20, 2007; February 5, 2007 (reverse)

  • Manaus to Bridgetown, 14 Days - Anavilhanas Archipelago (Brazil), Amazon River, Boca da Valeria (Brazil), Santarem (Brazil), Devil’s Island, St. George’s (Grenada), Isla Margarita (Venezuela). March 20, 2007

  • Miami to Miami, 26 Days - Tortola, St. Barts, St. Lucia, Tobago, Amazon River (Macapa), Santarem (Brazil), Boca da Valeria (Brazil), Manaus (Brazil), Parintins (Brazil), Devil’s Island, Barbados, Dominica, Antigua, Virgin Gorda, Samaná (Dominican Republic), Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos Islands). November 25, 2006

  • Miami to Miami, 12 Days - Virgin Gorda, St. Barts, Dominica, St. Lucia, Antigua, Tortola, Samaná (Dominican Republic), Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos Islands). December 21, 2006; February 13, 2007; March 11, 2007

New Ports of Call

Laguna San Rafael, Chile 
Puerto Chacabuco, Chile 
Nanjing, China 
Qingdao, China 
Xiamen, China 
Samaná, Dominican Republic 
George Town, Grand Cayman 
Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands

Free Air and 2-For-1 Cruise Fares: These new itineraries represent the pinnacle of value and are certain to sell out as quickly as the 2005 and 2006 sailings which are virtually sold out. Complete itineraries, fares and shore excursions are available online at or through your travel agent. The offer of Free Air and 2-for-1 Cruise Fares is capacity controlled and expires January 31, 2006. 

Oceania Cruises’ fleet features three intimate and luxurious 684-guest ships, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica. With the addition in November 2005 of the line’s third ship, Nautica, Oceania Cruises will be the world’s largest upscale cruise line. Combining the finest cuisine at sea, exceptional personalized service, luxurious accommodations and extraordinary value, Oceania Cruises is setting a new, worldwide standard for luxury cruising. For additional information or reservations, please contact your Travel Agent or Oceania Cruises at 800-531-5658. Visit them at

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Keel Laying Ceremony Marks Beginning of Emerald Princess Construction

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Sept 14, 2005 -- The keel was officially laid today for Emerald Princess, marking the formal start of construction of this upcoming Princess vessel. During the ceremony, which was held at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the first section of the 113,000-ton ship was moved into the building dock, where it will remain until the float out occurs. A sister ship to Caribbean Princess and Crown Princess debuting next June, Emerald Princess will join the Princess fleet in spring 2007.

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Crown Princess to Serve Up a Feast of New Culinary Options

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Sept 13, 2005 - Whether savoring a seafood appetizer paired with a glass of wine in the sidewalk café-style atrium, taking in the expansive top-deck views during an Italian extravaganza in Sabatini's, or gazing at the open kitchen as a chef custom-grills their steak, passengers aboard the new Crown Princess will have the opportunity to sample a variety of innovative culinary offerings when the ship debuts next summer. Princess has long been known for its array of alternative dining opportunities, and Crown Princess will take the line's Anytime Dining concept to new levels with the addition of new casual and specialty dining venues.

A brand new feature aboard Crown Princess is the piazza-style atrium, designed to be the bustling hub of the ship with a street café atmosphere. With Italian-inspired décor, this charming street café environment will be an inviting venue throughout the day for those passengers seeking a more casual dining option. The International Café will feature a rotating menu based on time of day. The Vines wine and seafood bar will cater to passengers with a craving for light fare, such as ceviche, escabèche, shrimp and oysters, with the perfect accompanying glass of wine. Additionally, Princess' hallmark Sabatini's has been expanded, and relocated to the scenic aft end of the ship, providing diners with a multi-course Italian dining extravaganza and a view. The line's popular Sterling Steakhouse has evolved into the Crown Grill, a steak and seafood house with a theater-style performance kitchen.

"This ship will truly offer anytime, anywhere dining, raising the culinary options for our passengers to new levels," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "And in all three of the new dining venues -- International Cafe, Vines wine and seafood bar, and the Crown Grill -- passengers will be able to watch artisan chefs and pastry chefs prepare the various delicacies, underscoring Princess' commitment to using the freshest products available and to individual attention to our passengers."

Crown Princess' new culinary options will include:

  • International Café (Atrium, Deck 5) - Serving up rotating themes throughout the day, the International Café is the place for an ever-changing array of snacks. Passengers might find freshly baked croissants or beignets in the morning, crêpes or bonbons in the afternoon, and chocolate fondue or desserts in the evening. It will also be the perfect spot for pre-dinner tapas or after-dinner petit fours.

  • Vines (Atrium, Deck 5) - A wine and seafood bar will tempt passengers in the evening with an assortment of fine wines by the glass as well as chilled seafood "cocktails" - appetizers including salmon, caviar, sushi, gravlax or other treats from the sea. The venue will also host an extensive menu of wines and food tastings paired for a completely different experience.

  • Internet Café (Atrium, Deck 5) - Table service from both the International Café and Vines will be available in the Internet Café, for those passengers who like to snack and surf the Net at the same time.

  • Crown Grill (Deck 7) - An evolution from previous ships' Sterling Steakhouse concept, the ship's Crown Grill will feature a brand new menu offering seafood as well as traditional steakhouse fare. This showplace eatery will entertain passengers with an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs custom-prepare steamed shellfish-- such as lobster, scallops, clams and mussels -- and cooked-to-order steaks and chops. Passengers can choose to sit at the kitchen's eat-up counter and watch the show as they dine. Larger than the previous steakhouse venues, this 160-seat restaurant will feature rich décor, leather appointments, wine display cabinets and the privacy of booths as well as tables and counter seating.

  • Sabatini's (Deck 16) - Princess' famed Sabatini's Italian trattoria moves to a new top deck location aboard Crown Princess to offer fine dining with a view. The expanded space will allow more room for diners to enjoy this intimate, eight-course Italian extravaganza. The stunning new venue offers views on three sides with dramatic vistas overlooking the wake of the ship. The new adjacent Adagio Lounge offers a cozy venue for Sabatini diners to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail and relaxing piano music while taking in the breathtaking views.

Crown Princess will also offer Princess' many dining options that passengers have come love on other Princess vessels. The 24-hour Horizon Court serves up round-the-clock buffet fare, while the adjacent Café Caribe will offer unique Caribbean specialties in a deluxe buffet setting, with a focus on a different island or region each night plus seafood extravaganzas on formal evenings. Princess continues to be the only line offering a choice in the ships' main dining rooms between Traditional seating and the restaurant-style Anytime Dining, and Crown Princess' three dining rooms will again offer this seating option. Passengers can also enjoy poolside treats with a hamburger and hot dog grill, pizzeria and ice cream shop. And Crown Princess will serve Princess' trademark traditional afternoon tea.

The 113,000-ton Crown Princess is scheduled to debut in June 2006 and will sail round-trip from New York on a series of nine-day Caribbean and Bermuda voyages. In fall, the ship moves to San Juan for a season of Southern Caribbean cruises. Additional information about Crown Princess' first season of cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting

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Crystal Cruises to Offer Exclusive New Masterpiece 
Art Enrichment Program

LOS ANGELES, Sept 12, 2005 – Five hundred pounds of Colorado alabaster is en route to Crystal Serenity to be used in the first-ever stone sculpting art classes offered aboard a cruise ship. Guests traveling aboard the luxury cruise line’s 11th annual World Cruise will sculpt the eight-pound stones into personal treasures when an exclusive new Masterpiece Art Program debuts on the 106-day odyssey traveling from Los Angeles to London, January 18 – May 5, 2006.

The most comprehensive art program at sea, Crystal’s Masterpiece Art Program combines worldly destinations, regional style and personal flair with an engaging course of progressive study in painting, sculpture or crafts. As of August 2005, Crystal is offering on every cruise art courses incorporating the unique attributes and art history of the destination. The expanded Masterpiece Art Program will be offered on the World Cruise and other two-week+ voyages.

“A large part of any travel experience is collecting artifacts, both elaborate and simple, that truly reflect the personality of a destination or the memory of an experience,” says Kristin Turner, Crystal’s manager, entertainment. “With our Masterpiece Art Program and art classes on every voyage, guests can create their own art unique to their experience and personal style.”

Inspired by the beauty of the world and the imaginations of its guests, Crystal collaborated with long-time partner Linda Perlmutter, owner of the highly regarded Odyssey Art Centers, to take art enrichment to a new level with innovative programming and interactive classes. With an emphasis on quality, only the finest supplies will be used, including Daler-Rowney paints, professional grade paper, Princeton and Loew-Cornell paint brushes, Sanford drawing pens, and Model Magic clay. Each of the seven World Cruise segments will spotlight a different art form incorporating the artful nuances of the destination, with professional instructors leading students on a progressive course of study. For example, during the Australian segment, the teacher may discuss aboriginal art and suggest ways for students to incorporate it in their work.

The Masterpiece Art Program curriculum follows:

  • “Designer Decoupage.” Guests design a Chanel-type handbag or treasure box with Aztec and Inca artifacts and memorabilia collected during their cruise. § World Voyage I; Los Angeles to Lima, Peru; 14 days; January 18 – February 1, 2006.

  • “Sensational Scrapbooking.” Not just photos in an album, but a coffee-table book showcasing the individual experiences of each guest with the serene beauty of the South Pacific. § World Voyage II; Lima to Papeete, Tahiti; 14 days; February 1 – 15.

  • “Fruits of the Field & Flowers of the Forest.” Budding artists create a relief using paper sculpture depicting the diverse natural beauty of New Zealand and Australia. § World Voyage III; Papeete to Melbourne, Australia; 16 days; February 15 – March 4.

  • ”A Vision of Eden.” Guests try their hand at sculpting with clay as they journey through the Indian Ocean en route to South Africa. § World Voyage IV; Melbourne to Cape Town, South Africa; 19 days; March 4 – 23.

  • “Wonderful Watercolor.” In-depth instruction on color and technique culminating with a framed painting – perhaps of Africa. § World Voyage V; Cape Town to Dubai, UAE; 17 days; March 23 – April 9.

  • “Stone Sculpture.” Never before done at sea, novice sculptors learn to transform an eight-pound piece of Colorado alabaster into a work of art. Offered on two voyages using stones in shades of pink, gray and white. § World Voyage VI; Dubai to Rome, Italy; 15 days; April 9 – 24. § World Voyage VII; Rome to London; 11 days; April 24 – May 5.

“With as many as 60 guests participating in our current art enrichment classes, we expect the expanded Masterpiece Art Program to add a new dimension to the World Cruise offering guests an opportunity to learn about art in a very interactive and entertaining manner,” noted Turner.

The Masterpiece Art Program is the newest addition to the rich menu of daytime and evening activities offered as part of the line’s renowned Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program. The 2006 World Cruise will again showcase stars of the stage and screen, celebrated authors and journalists, noted diplomats and ambassadors, and intriguing scientists and explorers. With a focus on choices and exceptional quality, World Cruise guests have tremendous options for enrichment on every segment of the journey with dedicated theme cruise programming featuring presentations by the Smithsonian Associates and Sotheby’s Institute, as well as a Film Festival and Crystal’s popular Wine & Food Festival. For reservations and additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Mega-Yacht Sailings at Mega Savings on Star Clippers Winter Caribbean Cruises

MIAMI, Sept -- Come November, passengers can leave the winter blues behind and head to the sun-kissed beaches and azure waters of the Caribbean aboard Royal Clipper or Star Clipper at a rate of two for the price of one. These savings are available to U.S. residents on select departures from November 2005 through January 2006 for a limited time only -- the offer expires Nov. 15, 2005.

Royal Clipper, the 227-passenger flagship of the fleet, sails a seven-night, round-trip Barbados itinerary that includes calls at St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, Iles de Saintes and Martinique. The two-for-one offer is valid on the Nov. 27, Jan. 8 and Jan. 22 departures with fares starting from $798 per person, double, in an outside cabin.

The 170-passenger Star Clipper is sailing two seven-night Caribbean itineraries round-trip from St. Maarten. The Leeward Islands itinerary calls at Nevis, Iles de Saintes, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Antigua and St. Barts, and the "twofer" deal is valid on the Nov. 26, Dec. 10, Jan. 7 and Jan. 21 departures. The Treasure Islands itinerary calls at Anguilla, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Jost van Dyke, St. Kitts and St. Barts, and the special pricing is valid on the Jan. 28 departure. Fares for both itineraries start from $798 per person, double, in an outside cabin. Fares for a six-night Treasure Islands cruise departing Dec. 17 start from $688 per person, double, in an outside cabin. 

The four- and five-masted clipper ships feature a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. Passengers dress in resort-casual attire and dine in one unhurried, open seating. Whether unwinding in the bowsprit net while gazing at the sea below or climbing the mast for a panoramic view of the horizon, a unique sailing adventure awaits. To make a reservation, contact a travel professional, for information call Star Clippers at 1-800-442-0551 or visit To request a brochure, call 1-800-442-0556.

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Crown Princess Touches the Sea

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Sept 12, 2005 - Princess Cruises' newest vessel, Crown Princess, hit a construction milestone this past weekend when the ship "floated out" of her building dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. The two-day float out process involves slowly letting water into the building dock to set the vessel afloat for the first time. The ship has now been moved to the outfitting dock where final construction and interior outfitting will take place. Crown Princess will debut in June 2006 and will introduce Princess' first program of Caribbean cruises from New York.

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MSC Cruises Presents the Caribbean with a Distinctly European Flavor

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Sept. 12, 2005 -- Visiting the Caribbean onboard an MSC Cruises’ ship is not your “typical” Caribbean cruise experience. MSC Cruises combines its uniquely authentic Italian culture and cuisine (which are part of every MSC cruise) with a distinctly European way of experiencing Caribbean destinations to create lifetime memories for its guests.

“We present our guests with a bit of Italy in the Caribbean Sea,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA, “taking them to not only the customary and popular ports of call but also the less crowded, undiscovered gems of the Caribbean.”

There are many exciting and memorable experiences to be found both onboard and ashore on MSC Cruises’ Caribbean sailings of MSC Opera and MSC Lirica. Onboard, guests will enjoy the line’s “True Italian Signature” experience. An Italian-owned company, MSC Cruises features fine cuisine ranging from traditional authentic Italian recipes to gourmet delights and perennial All-American favorites. The ambiance is further enhanced by the ships’ elegant Italian design, the incomparable hospitality of the Italian officers and international crew, and the European-style entertainment including the roaming Pagliacci troupe that consistently earns rave reviews. With this distinctly European ambiance as a backdrop, guests can swim or soak up some sun on deck, enjoy pampering in the spa, work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center, play miniature golf, or take part in some unique programs perhaps even learn to speak Italian! 

MSC Cruises is also hosting several special theme cruises during the 2005-06 Caribbean season:

  • Baseball Greats: Dec. 10 and April 22(MSC Lirica) and Jan. 28, Feb. 18, and March 11 (MSC Opera) Six former “greats of the game” (player lineup varies by sailing) share tips, stories and complimentary autographs.

  • Big Band: Jan. 13, March 20 and April 22 (MSC Lirica) The 15-piece Les DeMerle Big Band features vocalist Bonnie Eisele.

  • The Ink Spots: Jan. 24 (MSC Lirica) With more than 80 hit records and numerous million sellers, The Ink Spots will delight audiences with the wonderful harmonies and arrangements that have made the group a musical legend around the world.

  • Jazz: Feb. 15 (MSC Lirica) Jazz pianist Joe Augustine and award-winning singer Dana Paul will be featured on this musical cruise, lending their stylings to the music and lyrics of the “greats” of yesterday and today.

On shore, MSC Cruises’ 7-, 10- and 11-night Caribbean itineraries offer an assortment of shore excursions with something for everyone’s interests, whether it is relaxing and rejuvenating on white sandy beaches or more adventurous island explorations. 
“Our exciting itineraries feature an array of shore excursions designed to let guests experience the Caribbean as they would like to, tailoring the onshore experiences to their own interests,” says Sasso.

MSC Cruises’ private paradise, Cayo Levantado in the Dominican Republic, is sure to be one of the highlights of the 2005-06 Caribbean season. Known for its pristine beaches and turquoise waters, the Samana Bay that surrounds the island is also where humpback whales migrate each winter to give birth, making it ideal for whale watching. 

Guests who enjoy sightseeing and exploration can choose to tour the historic sites and picturesque scenery by bus, Jeep, catamaran, bicycle, or even by helicopter. Golfers who want to enjoy their hobby while on vacation will find themselves challenged by some of the Caribbean’s most renowned championship courses. Several Caribbean port calls also offer guests the opportunity to try something adventurous, such as kayaking, clay shooting, skeet shooting, off-road ATV adventures and whitewater rafting, or horseback riding along the shore or through rainforest and countryside. Since the best way to get close to marine life is in the water, guests can dive in and learn to scuba dive, go snorkeling, or swim with dolphins. 

MSC Lirica departs Genoa Nov. 23, 2005 on a 17-night transatlantic journey that brings her to Fort Lauderdale Dec. 10. MSC Lirica’s first sailing of the 2005-2006 Caribbean season is a 7-night itinerary that departs Fort Lauderdale Dec. 10, 2005 and calls at San Juan and St. Maarten in addition to La Romana and Cayo Levantado in the Dominican Republic.

The ship then sails several itineraries roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale: 
· 10-night Deep Caribbean Holiday Cruise (Dec. 17) San Juan, Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and Nassau. 
· 11-night Panama New Year’s Cruise (Dec. 27) Montego Bay, Cartagena, Cristobal, Puerto Limon, Roatan Island and Cozumel.
· 11-night Panama Cruise (Jan. 13, Feb. 4, Feb. 26, March 20, April 11) Ocho Rios, Cartagena, San Blas, Cristobal, Puerto Limon and Roatan Island.
· 11-night Deep Caribbean Cruise (Jan. 24, Feb. 15, March 9, March 31, April 4) San Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua, Tortola, and Cayo Levantado.

MSC Opera departs Genoa Dec. 27 on an 18-night westbound transatlantic itinerary to Fort Lauderdale that includes eight nights at sea and calls at Valencia, Funchal, Grenada, Margarita Island, Martinique, St. Maarten and San Juan. MSC Opera begins a series of seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale Jan. 14-April 1. The itinerary includes calls at San Juan, St. Maarten, La Romana and Cayo Levantado. 
MSC Opera departs Fort Lauderdale April 8 on a 17-night transatlantic crossing that calls at Cayo Levantado, Tortola, Martinique, Funchal, Malaga and Marsiglia before arriving in Genoa. MSC Lirica begins her return to Genoa May 3 on a 17-night journey that includes calls at Cayo Levantado, Tortola, Martinique, Funchal, Malaga and Barcelona.

“When you take the lush Caribbean destinations, add in the extensive assortment of shore excursions and top that off with MSC Cruises’ ‘True Italian Signature’ experience, you are sure to have memories that will last a lifetime,” says Sasso. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or your local travel agent.

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Silversea Announces Expanded Collection of 
2006 Culinary & Wine Cruises

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Sept 12, 2005 -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is rolling out an expanded collection of 15 Culinary Arts Cruises and 12 Wine Series Voyages in 2006. It's the biggest program the line has ever offered and will feature, for the first time, award-winning authors in addition to a stellar lineup of international wine experts, winemakers, and acclaimed chefs from the world's top restaurants, including the distinguished dining establishments of Relais & Châteaux -- Relais Gourmands.

Among the talented food and wine writers set to join the program is the culinary power couple of Jill Van Cleave and William Rice, scheduled to jointly host Silver Wind's Voyage 2610, sailing April 8 from Lisbon to Barcelona. Van Cleave is a renowned author, food stylist and chef and Rice is the food and wine columnist for the "Chicago Tribune," former editor-in-chief of "Food and Wine," and winner of the Who's Who award for "Best Food Journalism."

Other acclaimed writers tapped to host a culinary or wine cruise include Eunice Fried, author of numerous books, including "Burgundy: The Country, The Wines, The People"; writer-photographer Gerry Dawes, author of "Spain: An Insider's Guide to Food, Wine and Travel in Spain"; Joyce Jue, food consultant and award-winning author of "Savoring Southeast Asia"; and Sarah Edington, whose book "The Captain's Table: Life and Dining on the Great Ocean Liners" offers a fascinating exploration of shipboard life and dining from the golden age of liners to the present.

"Our smaller, more intimate ships provide the perfect atmosphere for enriching learning experiences that appeal to our guests' sense of discovery and interest in fine food and wine," said David Morris, Silversea’s senior vice president of North America sales. "Each year our culinary and wine theme cruises have grown in popularity, and we’re delighted to be able to offer a record number of these special enrichment cruises in 2006." 

On 15 culinary sailings spanning the globe from Auckland to Zanzibar, the distinguished guest chefs will show off their exceptional culinary talents during informative and entertaining cooking demonstrations. Guests can taste and learn firsthand the secrets of enticing signature dishes created by award-winning chefs like Raymond Blanc, the Michelin two-star chef/owner of Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxford, England; Joachim Koerper, the Michelin two-star chef/owner of Spain’s famed Girasol restaurant; Rick Tramonto, partner and executive chef of Chicago's Tru, a Mobil Four star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant; and chocolatier Katrina Markoff, founder of Chicago's innovative Vosges Haut-Chocolat and one of Inc. magazine's "26 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs" -- to name a few. The Culinary Arts Cruises also feature food and wine pairings, creative regional dishes, and a five-course grand gourmet dinner. Throughout these special voyages, the featured guest chef and Silversea’s executive chef are on hand to share their culinary expertise and answer any questions. 

From the lush vineyards of Victoria on Australia's southern coast, to the famed French town of Cognac, to the rolling hills of Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, guests will have a chance to explore fabled wine regions throughout the world on 12 different Wine Series Voyages. Discerning travelers with a passion for fine wines will enjoy sampling some of the world’s finest vintages and visiting world-famous wineries, cellars and vineyards. Top experts, like Remington Norman, author of "The Great Domaines of Burgundy", and Georges Muller of Riedel Crystal, the wine glass company, plus winemakers from renowned establishments like Castello Banfi, will be on board to provide enriching lectures, conduct special tastings of vintage blends and guide Silversea’s guests on excursions to celebrated wineries and vineyards in select ports of call. 

A complete list of the 2006 Culinary Arts and Wine Series Voyages will soon be available at

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Holland America Line Offers More Alaska in 2006

SEATTLE, Sept. 12 -- Holland America Line, the leader in Alaska Cruises and CruiseTours, continues to offer a comprehensive selection of Alaska cruise itineraries and departures, sailing eight ships on 159 cruises in 2006. Three Vista-class ships, ms Oosterdam and ms Westerdam, roundtrip Seattle, and ms Zuiderdam, roundtrip Vancouver, will be introduced as well as three Seattle-based ships, ten additional cruises to Glacier Bay National Park and unique new port, Icy Strait Point. The company's five-star ships offer unmatched spaciousness and service, carry fewer passengers than any other major cruise line and offer the most entries into Glacier Bay National Park. Guests will experience the most popular Alaskan ports of call, most extensive shore excursion programs, exclusive enrichment programs and brand-new Signature of Excellence amenities.

"We're revving up for a great 2006 season and are pleased to offer more Alaska than ever for our 58th year in Alaska," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "All ships will have gone thru the Signature of Excellence upgrades so the shipboard experience will be even better than ever, from stateroom amenities to the new Culinary Arts Center show kitchen and Explorations Café. No detail has gone unturned."

Three First-Rate Alaska Cruise Itineraries
Beginning in May 2006, two ships will cruise Glacier Bay Inside Passage, 7-day roundtrip voyages from Vancouver, aboard Holland America Line's 1,848-passenger Vista-class Zuiderdam (new to Vancouver, departing Saturdays), and the 1,432-passenger ship ms Volendam (departing Wednesdays). The voyages will take in the pristine waters and scenic surroundings of Canada's Inside Passage and tour Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier en route to port calls at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. Each cruise features a day of cruising Glacier Bay National Park with a U.S. park ranger and Huna Totem native interpreter, including giant Margerie Glacier, a mile wide and 25 stories high. In addition, the 1,258-passenger ships, ms Ryndam, ms Veendam and ms Statendam, will sail six early and late season sailings to Glacier Bay.

Three ships will sail seven-night Glacier Discovery Cruises, one-way between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska throughout the summer, approximately 1,679 nautical miles. The gracious 1,258-passenger Statendam (departing Fridays) explores new port Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier, Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway or Sitka. 1,258-passenger sister ships, Veendam and Ryndam, (departing Sundays), cruise Glacier Bay and College Fjord with port stops in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway or Haines.

Seattle roundtrip Alaskan Explorer Cruises are offered on three ships, the 1,848-passenger Vista-class ship Oosterdam, (departing Saturdays), cruises to immense Hubbard Glacier and lovely Yakutat Bay. Ten additional Glacier Bay National Park departures are being offered from Seattle onboard 1,848-passenger Vista-class Westerdam (new to Seattle, departing Sundays) on May 7, 14, 21 and 28, July 16, 23 and 30, August 20, September 10 and 17. The Westerdam cruises Hubbard Glacier on all other dates. The 1,432-passenger ms Zaandam (departing Fridays) also cruises renowned Glacier Bay National Park and all three ships have port stops in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, British Columbia.

"Holland America Line is the only cruise line," continued Meadows, "offering Glacier Bay National Park on three different itineraries: roundtrip Seattle, roundtrip Vancouver and Vancouver/Seward. With smaller ships and the best choice of glacier experiences, the 2006 Alaska cruise season for Holland America Line has a terrific lineup."

Extensive Shore Excursion Selection Invites Personalized Experience
At every port of call, there are diverse shore excursions available designed to excite and delight. Holland America Line offers tremendous choices from active and adventurous to cultural and historical. Excursions include flightseeing and dog-mushing, fly fishing, whale watching, glacier and garden visits, float trips, kayaking, Alaska-style salmon bake, historical tours by foot or historic vehicle, wilderness safari's, and more.

2006 Alaska Cruises Brochures Are Now Available
For a copy of the new 2006 Alaska Cruises brochure, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Cruise Lines Donate Money, Support for Hurricane Katrina Relief

Arlington, VA, Sept 9, 2005 – In the wake of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina, the cruise industry is lending its aid and support through a variety of means. Members of the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have donated more than $2.6 million in relief support thus far and that number will continue to rise as cruise lines contribute additional funds, goods and resources. 

In the early days of the relief response, individual cruise line hurricane relief efforts to date have included:

  • Chartering three cruise ships to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to shelter evacuees or aid relief workers in the Gulf region 

  • Working with FEMA to coordinate the possibility of providing medical personnel, supplies and food services 

  • Monetary donations to the American Red Cross, volunteer shelters and children’s charities 

  • Corporate programs to match employee donations dollar-for-dollar 

  • Optional employee payroll deductions for donations to relief funds 

  • Offering passengers the option to contribute to relief funds through shipboard accounts or through the cruise line’s Web site 

  • Shipments of furniture and soft goods for use in shelters and rebuilding efforts

  • Donation of several cruises for an online charity auction 

  • Delivery of drinking water to rescue operations in Mobile 

The cruise industry has aided local communities throughout the world following natural disasters just in the past year with the 2004 hurricane season affecting the Caribbean and United States, as well as the tsunami devastation in Southeast Asia. Millions of dollars in aid and supplies were donated from the cruise lines to help those areas respond and rebuild. As they have in these stricken areas, cruise ships will return to New Orleans and Mobile when they are allowed, supporting local economies through tourism. “We recognize the lengthy recovery process and the cruise industry is a dedicated partner in the restoration of this important region,” said Michael Crye, ICCL president. “Our most heartfelt prayers are with the residents of the Gulf Coast region as they rebuild from this tragedy,” said Terry Dale, CEO and president of CLIA. “We will continue to assist in every way to help this vital area of our country return to its important role in our industry.”

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Katrina Cancels Charter, Seabourn Offers Great Value on October 16 Mediterranean Sailing

MIAMI, Sept 2005 - Due to the tragic recent hurricane in New Orleans, the National D-Day Museum, which had chartered Seabourn Legend for a commemorative voyage to Italy departing October 16, 2005, has had to cancel their contract with Seabourn for this sailing date. The Museum is located in New Orleans and its condition at this time is unknown (Editor's Note: The D-Day Museum building and exhibits reportedly did not suffer extensive damage. While looters were reported to be in the facility, they did not destroy the interior.)

Faced with the last-minute cancellation of a chartered voyage aboard its all-suite Seabourn Legend, the ultra luxury cruise line is offering exceptional pricing on a 7-day Mediterranean cruise between Monte Carlo and Rome. The newly-created itinerary includes full-day calls at Cannes, Nice and Ajaccio (Corsica), France; plus Portofino, Livorno (Florence) and Portoferraio (Elba), Italy. The cruise will feature all of Seabourn's award-winning Signature Delights, including complimentary open bars, gourmet cuisine designed by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, Pure pampering amenities by Molton Brown and an included Exclusively Seabourn shoreside experience in one port of call.

The line expects the ship's 104 suites to fill quickly. "This represents an exceptional value opportunity for travelers to experience Seabourn at a very attractive price," said Seabourn president Deborah L. Natansohn. "All of our other fall sailings in the Med are sold out," she continued, "and we are already taking bookings for next season. Those who can go at short notice will enjoy a great value." 

Seabourn is offering two ways to save on this exceptional departure. To book a specific suite, the fare is 50% off seasonal brochure fares, starting from $2,998 per person, double occupancy. Special Guarantee Fare is $2,495 per person, double, with the specific suite assigned at time of sailing. For information, visit and select "special offers" from the menu on the right side of the home page. To make a booking, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391.

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Delta Queen Cancels American Queen Fall and Winter Cruises in Wake of Katrina

BUFFALO, NY, Sept. 8 -- As a result of the devastating effect of Hurricane Katrina on the greater New Orleans area, officials of Delta Queen Steamboat Company today announced the cancellation of the fall and winter cruise schedule of its steamboat American Queen. The cancellation applies to all three- and four-night cruises from Sept. 17, 2005, until March 5, 2006. The ship will begin sailing again on March 6, 2006. Passengers booked on the affected cruises can receive an automatic refund or choose to rebook the trip with various incentives.

Delta Queen President Bruce Nierenberg expressed gratitude for the outpouring of empathy from passengers and associates throughout the country, and offered assurances that all passengers would be accommodated through rebooking or the refund process. "All of us at Delta Queen appreciate your support and understanding during this difficult period. If you need to call us, please be patient as we expect the phone lines to be very busy during this transition and rebooking period. But we promise we will continue working until every guest is taken care of," he said.

Refund Procedure: All American Queen passengers booked on cancelled cruises will receive full refunds for deposits and other payments. There is no need for consumers or travel agents to contact the company or their travel agents to initiate the refund process. The refunds will go out automatically within the next 60 days. Refunds for bookings made through Delta Queen travel agents will be processed through the travel agent; refunds for all groups will be processed through the travel agent who coordinated the group departure.

Rebooking Future Voyages: In lieu of refunds, passengers can change their trips to any scheduled 2006 cruise. There is a $100-per-person onboard credit being offered to those who choose this option. In addition, the 2005 rates will apply to the new voyage, as will the current advance purchase discounts available for 2006 voyages. To take advantage of this offer, call 800-543-1949.

Company Pitches In to Aid Relief Effort: Delta Queen is currently working with various government authorities to make the American Queen available in the overall relief efforts for the Gulf Coast region, especially greater New Orleans. As well, with the help of its parent, Delaware North Companies, it has established a foundation for the benefit of associates who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina. Passengers or travel agents wishing to convert all or part of their refunds to a contribution to this effort should e-mail their names and phone numbers to . A company representative will call to process the donation. Individuals may also call Delta Queen at 800-543-1949, but it is not necessary.

About Delta Queen Steamboat Company: From its home port of New Orleans, the Delta Queen Steamboat Company offers deluxe three- to 14-day paddlewheel steamboat cruises on the Mississippi, Ohio and other Heartland rivers. It traces its roots back to 1890 and is the oldest continuously operating cruise line in America. Since 2002, it has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Delaware North Companies.

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Making the Grade: Holland America Line Signature of Excellence Innovations Keep Premium Cruise Leader at Head of Class

SEATTLE, Sept. 8 -- Today's competitive travel market demands progressive product differentiation, and Holland America Line's unprecedented $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative lays claim to some of the cruise industry's top innovations.

"The Signature of Excellence innovations seamlessly blend the progressive programming and service elements expected by today's sophisticated travelers with the unparalleled comfort of traveling with one of the world's most experienced cruise lines," says Richard D. Meadows, CTC, Holland America Line's senior vice president, marketing and sales.

Among the most significant Signature of Excellence Innovations are:

  • Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine. Holland America Line features the only fleetwide dedicated state-of-the-art show kitchens at sea, each resembling the elaborate kitchens used by celebrated chefs on television cooking programs. Innovative theater-styled venues offer large overhead plasma video screens providing close-up views of food preparation, and a large cooking display counter where guests can learn new techniques and recipes. More than 60 top chefs, wine experts and cookbook authors will sail in each year, and classes and demonstrations will be offered on every sailing.

  • Explorations Cafe -- powered by The New York Times. This exclusive and progressive cafe offers guests an opportunity to sip coffee, browse through one of the most extensive libraries at sea, enjoy a wide selection of music at several listening stations or surf the Internet. They may also work on specially designed New York Times crossword puzzles and receive complimentary access to "TimesTalks" events and the website.

  • Mariner's Dream beds. All staterooms and suites will be outfitted with plush, custom-designed Sealy Posturpedic Euro-top mattresses and feature 250- thread count cotton bed linens (Penthouse and Deluxe Verandah suites feature comfortable duvets, too). The mattresses have proved so popular with guests that they will be available for purchase shortly through an on-line store. Additional new stateroom amenities include thick Egyptian cotton towels and deluxe waffle and terry cloth bathrobes; premium massage showerheads; magnifying make-up mirrors with halo lighting and salon-quality hair dryers; a stainless steel basket filled with fresh fruit; and, a stainless-steel ice bucket and serving tray for beverages.

  • Flat Screen TVs. All staterooms will feature state-of-the-art flat screen TVs and accompanying DVD/CD players. An extensive collection of DVDs is available for guests in the library at Explorations Cafe -- powered by The New York Times. DVD rentals are complimentary for all suite guests with a minimal fee for others.

  • Family Reunion Program. The first of its kind in the industry, the Family and Friends Program rewards families who cruise together with extra amenities including special group pricing. Extras include a Fountain Soda Package for every member; a family photo per stateroom; and a choice of either dinner for the whole family in the line's alternative Pinnacle Grill Restaurant or, on Caribbean cruises, free rentals of snorkel gear and swim mats or banana boat rides for all on Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private island.

  • The Loft & The Oasis. Among the most innovative teen-only areas in the industry, the new facilities are exclusively for ages 13 to 17. The Loft appears as a New York artist's studio with a flair of bright colors and funky patterns. A secluded staircase leads to The Oasis, an adult-free zone and hideaway giving teens sun-drenched deck space with hammocks and a waterfall. With a focus on the arts and creativity, the expanded Club HAL(R) now caters to kids as young as 3 years with supervised, age- and destination-appropriate activities for kids up to age 12. Club HAL After Hours now offers childcare from 10 pm to midnight.

  • Half Moon Cay. Nearly every Holland America Line Caribbean itinerary features a day at exclusive Half Moon Cay -- the highest-rated private island in the cruise industry and Holland America Line's highest-rated Caribbean port call. A bird-watching sanctuary, the cruise line carefully crafted new activities designed to offer guests an elevated sense of exploration, discovery and adventure consistent with the island's natural beauty. Enhancements include a horseback riding and swimming tour, a stingray adventure program, guided AquaTrax watercraft tour, and a fun-filled family aqua park. The new activities augment Half Moon Cay's extensive array of existing excursions including scuba diving tours, catch-and-release deep sea fishing trips, eco tours by glass-bottom boat, kayak trips and parasailing.

  • One-touch Concierge & Neptune Lounge. Widely renowned for its world-class service, Holland America Line provides all guests in verandah suites with personalized, 24-hour phone concierge service to assist with special requests, spa or dinner reservations, room service and other needs. In addition, the industry-leading Neptune Lounge offers a quiet place to relax and work with one-on-one concierge service to deluxe verandah and penthouse suite guests. The fleet-wide lounges provide work tables, TV, library, sofas and chairs, and refreshments. Guests enjoy personalized service to confirm shore excursions, car rentals, spa appointments, and reservations at the Pinnacle Grill. One-Touch Concierge Service is available to deluxe suite guests when the Neptune Lounge is closed.

  • More Times and Options to Dine. Holland America Line offers an elevated five-star dining experience, showcasing exceptional quality and choice unmatched in the premium cruise category. Enhancements include the elegant, reservations-only Pinnacle Grill, a fine-dining Northwest-themed steakhouse on every ship featuring Sterling Silver premium meats and fresh seafood served with distinctive Bulgari china, Frette linens and elegant Riedle stemware. An impressive four dining times are offered in the main dining room, catering to the varied schedules of its guests with enhanced one-on-one service. Made-to-order dinner entrees and table-side wait service are also offered in the Lido Restaurant's popular casual dining alternative. And all guests may enjoy 24-hour complimentary room service.

  • Greenhouse Spa and Salon. Holland America Line teamed up with The Greenhouse Spa and Salon, a popular spa brand in Dallas and New York City, to provide a wide selection of signature treatments and fitness activities. Greenhouse Spa expansions feature additional treatment rooms: including couple's massage rooms, dry float suite with massage option, thermal suites with hydro-therapy pool and steam room; and heated ceramic lounges. It also features a new manicure and pedicure area and the Lifestyle Fitness Center.

Since announcing the Signature of Excellence in 2003, all ships now offer stateroom amenities, suite enhancements, Neptune Lounge, dining enhancements and the Pinnacle Grill. Ten ships feature the plush Mariner Dream beds with the remaining two to receive them in fall 2005.

Half of Holland America Line's five-star fleet already showcases new construction enhancements such as the Explorations Cafe - powered by The New York Times, the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine and the expanded youth facilities. Three remaining ships will be completed in fall 2005 and four in 2006. Signature of Excellence enhancements may vary slightly by ship.

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NCL Moves Norwegian Sun to Houston Because of Indefinite Closure of the Port of New Orleans
Ship to reposition to Miami in January for two new eastern and western caribbean itineraries until April 2006 

MIAMI, September 6, 2005 - Norwegian Cruise Line (“NCL”) announced that Norwegian Sun will move to Houston beginning October 16 to operate its exotic Western Caribbean cruises through the January 8, 2006 cruise. The ship will then reposition to Miami to sail one four-day cruise to the Bahamas on January 17, 2006, and sail a series of alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries beginning January 21, 2006 through April 16, 2006.

NCL has made this decision as a result of the indefinite closure of the Port of New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina. “It is with deep regret that we have to make this change,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this catastrophic hurricane.”

NCL is working closely with the American Red Cross to assist in the recovery and restoration process. The company is making a corporate donation as well as conducting a fundraising drive for its employees and crew, and a passenger fundraising drive onboard its ships. All money raised will go directly to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. In addition, NCL has established a link from its website to to assist in the giving process.

Norwegian Sun’s Panama Canal cruise departing Los Angeles September 30, 2005 will
now conclude in Houston, instead of New Orleans, on Sunday, October 16, 2005.

Below is Norwegian Sun’s itinerary from Houston, October 16, 2005 through the January 8, 2006 cruise. Ports of call have been slightly amended from Norwegian Sun’s original New Orleans itinerary.

Day Port Arrival Departure
Sunday Houston 5:30 pm
Monday At Sea
Tuesday, morning Playa del Carmen, Mexico 8:00 am 10:00 am
Tuesday, afternoon Cozumel, Mexico 12:00 pm 10:00 pm
Wednesday Belize City, Belize 9:00 am 7:00 pm
Thursday Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras 7:00 am 6:00 pm
Friday At Sea
Saturday At Sea
Sunday Houston 7:00 am

For guests booked on Norwegian Sun sailings beginning January 21, 2006, NCL will offer a series of alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries out of Miami, the details of which will be announced shortly.

Guests booked on Norwegian Sun beginning in January can choose an itinerary out of Miami or transfer to Norwegian Dream out of Houston. Norwegian Dream’s itinerary out of Houston features calls into Cozumel, Roatan, Belize City and Cancun.

Norwegian Sun guests booked as of September 1, 2005, who elect one the ship’s revised sailings from Houston or Miami, will receive a $50 per person onboard credit ($100 max per cabin). Moreover, guests booked on Norwegian Sun’s January 15, 2006 sailing, which has been cancelled, can choose a Norwegian Dream sailing out of Houston or a Norwegian Sun sailing out of Houston or Miami and receive $50 per person onboard credit.

Guests booked with NCL’s Air/Sea program to or from New Orleans will be rebooked on flights to or from Houston and Miami/Fort Lauderdale. Passengers who made independent arrangements to join their NCL cruise should contact the travel agent or airline who made the travel arrangements for the departing cruise for updated information on flight service and schedules. 

Guests who elect not to sail and who advise us by September 30, 2005 can cancel
without assessments of cancellation fees.

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Silversea Launches Wi-Fi Hot Spots & Enhanced Internet Centers

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Sept 6, 2005 -- Guests of Silversea Cruises will soon be surfing the Internet faster and more conveniently as the ultra-luxury line launches remote wireless Internet access (also known as Wi Fi) in designated locations aboard its ships and revamps its Internet centers with new state-of-the-art computers featuring 17-inch flat screen monitors. 

The enhanced cyber technology debuted aboard Silver Shadow last month and will be expanded to the rest of the fleet by the end of the year. With the implementation of the new system, guests who bring their personal Wi-Fi-enabled laptops will be able to access the Internet and their e-mail in the Panorama Lounge (aboard Silver Cloud and Silver Wind) or Observation Lounge (aboard Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper), as well as the library, card room and conference room aboard all ships. Guests will also have access to over 270 daily newspapers from around the world, offered at a nominal fee, plus the Fox News channel will be joining CNN and BBC on the roster of complimentary in-suite-TV news channels available to guests. 

"Many of our sophisticated, well-traveled guests need to stay connected with family, friends and business associates while on vacation," said Rick Kneale, Silversea's vice president of information technology and chief information officer. "We know that staying connected gives our guests more time to stay on board, relax and have fun, so we're very excited."

Among the enhancements available to guests visiting the newly-equipped Internet centers is the ability to quickly upload and send images from their digital cameras, making it easier than ever to share great vacation moments with family and friends.

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MSC Cruises Combines Italian & American Traditions on Caribbean Holiday Sailings

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (Sept. 6, 2005) -- Give the entire family a memorable gift with ‘Kids Sail Free’ Offer; celebrate the holidays with a unique blend of authentic Italian traditions and familiar American celebrations onboard MSC Cruises Caribbean sailings this holiday season. To make it easier to share this celebration with the entire family, kids ages 12 and under sail free on MSC Lirica’s Dec. 17 and Dec. 27 roundtrip cruises from Fort Lauderdale when they stay in the same stateroom with two paying adults.

“An MSC Cruises holiday sailing is truly a gift to all involved. It eliminates the stress often associated with planning holiday activities and get-togethers and puts the emphasis on just enjoying the season ‘With a True Italian Signature’,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA. “One of the Italian signatures that distinguishes MSC Cruises is our attention to family values. Our officers and staff enjoy creating an environment that will allow our young guests to enjoy a vacation like no other. All our guests have to do is relax and enjoy the season’s good cheer.”

Guests can escape it all or share the warmth of the season with family and friends (both old and new) as they enjoy holiday music and classic films, visits from Santa, beautiful decorations, specially prepared seasonal menus and champagne toasts all without any of the work needed to plan a celebration at home. Members of the clergy will also be on board to conduct holiday services.

“The entire family can enjoy a vacation with a truly Italian flavor while visiting some of the Caribbean’s most memorable destinations,” says Jim Henwood, vice president, sales of MSC Cruises USA. “The adults can relax knowing that, while they are working out in the gym, being pampered in the spa or swimming on deck, the youngsters are enjoying themselves, too, participating in activities and facilities designed especially for them under the watchful eye of trained counselors.”

MSC Lirica’s Dec. 17 10-night roundtrip cruise from Fort Lauderdale includes calls at San Juan, Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and Nassau, as well as three days at sea. Prices start at $1,150 per person, double occupancy, cruise only. The Dec. 27 11-night sailing calls at Montego Bay, Cartagena, Cristobal, Puerto Limon, Roatan Island and Cozumel, and spends three days at sea before returning to Fort Lauderdale. Prices start at $1,350 per person, double occupancy, cruise only. For more information about MSC Cruises’ holiday sailings, visit a travel agent or log onto

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Carly Simon Sets Sail for Transatlantic Serenade

Valencia, CA, Sept 6, 2005 - One legend meets another as celebrated singer Carly Simon boards Queen Mary 2 to tape the first-ever television special aboard a transatlantic crossing. Performing romantic standards from her latest best-selling album, Moonlight Serenade, she'll take to the Queens Room, the largest ballroom at sea, for the PBS special and full-concert DVD. "Live Onboard Queen Mary 2" will include concerts and candid footage shot aboard the longest, tallest and grandest ocean liner in history.

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Carnival Corp Reports Financial Impact of Hurricane Katrina 

MIAMI, Sept. 5 -- Carnival Corporation & plc announced that the severe weather caused by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent port closures resulted in the cancellation of one voyage and the shortening of two voyages, as well as other voyage disruptions and related costs, for the company's Carnival Cruise Lines brand. In addition, Carnival Cruise Lines has two vessels, the Carnival Conquest and Sensation, which homeported out of New Orleans. Given the tremendous damage to New Orleans, the company does not expect these ships to operate from New Orleans for an extended period of time. The Carnival Conquest will relocate indefinitely to Galveston, Texas.

Carnival Cruise Lines has chartered three vessels, including the Sensation, along with the Holiday and Ecstasy -- to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a period of six months that will be used in the hurricane relief efforts. The charters will begin Monday, Sept. 5, aboard the Ecstasy and Sensation, docked in Galveston, and Thursday, Sept. 8, aboard the Holiday, docked in her homeport of Mobile, Ala.

While it is difficult to determine the full financial impact resulting from the above hurricane related events, the company currently believes that these events will reduce earnings by between $0.01 and $0.03 per share with most of the impact expected to fall in the fourth quarter of 2005.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of New Orleans and all of the Gulf Coast who have been so terribly devastated by this catastrophic event," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc's chairman and CEO. "We know that all of our loyal guests, shareholders and employees are very pleased that we were able to join forces with the federal government to participate in the extensive relief efforts that have been launched. We have every intention of re-launching cruise service from the great city of New Orleans as soon as the infrastructure is in place so that our ships may contribute to the economic recovery of the area," he added. "At the same time we apologize to those guests who have had their vacation plans disrupted by these cancellations but know that they will understand the extreme circumstances our country is facing and why this action is necessary," Arison said.

He noted that the Holiday is currently operating a cruise from Mobile, which has quickly recovered from hurricane damage. The Holiday will resume cruise service from Mobile at the conclusion of the charter.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of 12 cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises, Swan Hellenic, and P&O Cruises Australia. Together, these brands operate 79 ships totaling more than 137,000 lower berths with 12 new ships scheduled for delivery between January 2006 and April 2009. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, Holland America Tours and Princess Tours. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices. Additional information can be obtained via Carnival Corporation & plc's Web sites at and

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Celebrity Cruises' Millennium and Infinity 'Trade Places'

MIAMI, Sept. 1 -- Celebrity Cruises will "swap ships" for its 2006 sailings in South America to avoid disruption of guests' vacations and keep both ships on track for scheduled drydock periods. Celebrity's Millennium will replace sister ship Infinity in South America, while Infinity will sail in the Caribbean. All itineraries in both regions remain exactly as scheduled. Guests currently booked on either Infinity or Millennium in the first quarter of 2006 are being informed that they will retain the same accommodations they have now. All guest data, such as booking and stateroom numbers, will be automatically transferred to the appropriate ship.

"Drydock availability for Infinity changed following completion of our 2006 deployment plans, so to avoid disrupting any of our guests' vacation plans, we chose to swap ships," said Celebrity's President Dan Hanrahan. "Millennium is scheduled to enter drydock this November, just before returning from Europe to the Caribbean, leaving the ship perfectly positioned to offer our guests a full, uninterrupted season of cruising in South America."

Meanwhile, sister ship Infinity is scheduled for drydock in the Caribbean from March 20 through April 6, 2006. Celebrity's decision also was based on the virtually identical guest experience offered on the two ships. "Guests who are familiar with Infinity will feel completely at home onboard Millennium, and vice versa," said Hanrahan. "Both are ranked among the top 10 ships in the world, and the layout of the two is almost identical, as are all of the signature spaces, short of design and color scheme."

Millennium-South America Itineraries
On December 24, Millennium will sail a 15-night South America voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Valparaiso, Chile. The ship then will depart on alternating 14-night South America cruises from Valparaiso or Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 8 and 22, and February 5, 2006. On February 19, Millennium will offer Celebrity's wildly popular 14-night "Rio Carnaval" cruise roundtrip from Buenos Aires. The ship's South America season will be capped with a 14-night cruise from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso on March 5, and a 14-night Panama Canal cruise departing Valparaiso on March 19, followed by the resumption of Millennium's Caribbean season beginning April 2, 2006, with a seven-night cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

Infinity-Caribbean Itineraries
Infinity will sail a nine-night Eastern Caribbean holiday cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on December 24, 2005. On January 2, 2006, Infinity will set sail on a special six-night Eastern Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale, and every Sunday through March 19 will offer a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Following scheduled drydock from March 19-April 2, 2006, Infinity will cap the season with a 15-night Panama Canal cruise departing Fort Lauderdale April 2, ending in San Francisco. To compensate for Infinity's two-week dry-dock period in March and to meet guest demand for additional Caribbean cruises this winter, Celebrity also is offering four new seven-night cruises on Century. The ship will sail round- trip from Fort Lauderdale on March 19 and 26, and April 2 and 9, calling on Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Key West, Florida.

For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111, or visit the Celebrity web site at

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Princess Introduces Digital Photo Kiosks Fleetwide

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Sept 1 - As travelers are increasingly adding digital cameras to their packing lists, Princess Cruises has made it easier than ever for its passengers to print or save those precious vacation memories right on board with new self-service digital photo kiosks. The entire fleet of Princess ships now features state-of-the-art machines from Pixel Magic Imaging, a leader in digital imaging and photo kiosks. The user-friendly stations offer passengers the opportunity to make high-quality prints of favorite photos in a variety of sizes or save their images to a CD at the touch of a button. The kiosks accept all popular forms of digital media, enabling owners of most types of digital cameras to access the service's many features. 

"We know that capturing vacation memories is important to our passengers," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "These innovative kiosks have been enthusiastically received by our passengers who don't want to wait until they return home to enjoy their photographs. They're also great for sharing copies of photos instantly with newfound friends, and passengers can download their digital media cards directly to a CD, freeing their cameras for the next round of cruise memories." 

A Pixel Magic digital kiosk is located adjacent to the onboard photo services desk on each ship. The machines offer a range of printing options, including editing functions to crop or enlarge images plus add boarders and other special effects. Prices for kiosk services begin at 45 cents for a 4x6 print. Princess' shipboard photography program also offers a wide range of professional photographic options including portrait services, event photos, wedding photography & videography, retail digital cameras & accessories and digital imaging services. 

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Robust Demand Drives 2nd Quarter Passenger Growth for CLIA-Member Cruise Lines

NEW YORK, Sept 1 – Consumer demand for seagoing vacations remained strong in the second quarter of 2005, driving robust passenger growth for the member fleets of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). CLIA member cruise lines carried 2.66 million worldwide guests during the second quarter of 2005, a 2.3 percent increase over the same period in 2004. North American passengers grew by 6.2 percent in the second quarter to 2.41 million, up from 2.31 million second-quarter guests during the same period one year ago. 

The 2005 second-quarter passenger figures are new statistics released by CLIA, whose 19 member cruise lines represent nearly 98 percent of the cruise capacity marketed in North America. In addition to the growing passenger totals, CLIA cruise lines also posted a collective 101.7 percent occupancy factor in the second quarter of 2005 compared with 100.7 percent for the year prior. 

For the first six months of 2005, CLIA’s member-line fleets carried 5.30 million guests, a 5.5% increase over the 5,024,465 guests carried during the same period in 2004. North American guests for the period totaled 4.73 million, up 9.4% over the 4.33 million carried during the first six months of 2004. 

“The cruise industry’s constant innovation, combined with the dedicated efforts of CLIA’s 16,700 member travel agencies, continue to generate strong consumer demand for cruise vacations,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA, the cruise industry’s chief marketing and training organization and North America’s largest travel industry association. “Leisure travelers are clearly attracted to the cruise lines’ ceaseless innovation, and the value and emphasis on guest satisfaction that are inherent elements of today’s cruise vacations,” Dale continued. “At the same time, CLIA-member agencies continue to play a vital role, providing consumers with updated product information and unrivalled counsel.”

CLIA’s second-quarter passenger carryings report also found:

  • Itineraries of 1 to 5 days accounted for a 34.8 percent share of the cruise market; itineraries of 6 to 8 days accounted for 53.3 percent; 9 to 17-day itineraries accounted for 11.6 percent and itineraries of 18 days or longer accounted for .34 percent of the market.

  • The average length of a cruise in the first two quarters was 7.33 days versus 7.09 days for the same period in 2004.

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QE2 Becomes the Longest Serving Cunarder Ever

VALENCIA, CA, Sept 1 -- The most famous ship in the world, Queen Elizabeth 2, reaches a notable milestone on Sunday, September 4 when she becomes the longest serving Cunarder ever. When she entered service in 1969 city analysts prophesied that QE2 would be mothballed within six months - that the age of the liner was dead. How wrong they were! On Sunday QE2 will pass the 36 years 4 months and 2 days' record of service of Scythia, which sailed from 1921 to 1957.

QE2 was also the Cunard flagship for longer than any other - from 1969 until she handed over the role to Queen Mary 2 last year. In November last year she became the longest serving Cunard express liner when she passed the 35 years 6 months and 1 day record previously set by Aquitania, which served Cunard Line, in peace and in two wars, from May 1914 to December 1949.

This historic event will be marked on board QE2 with a special dinner, the unveiling of a plaque and all passengers will receive a certificate acknowledging their presence on board. Fittingly the vessel will be berthed in Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was Nova Scotian Samuel Cunard who founded Cunard Line in 1839.

A Record Unlike Any Other
QE2 has sailed more than 5.3 million nautical miles - that's more than any ship in history and is equivalent to travelling to the moon and back 12 times. She has carried nearly three million passengers - many of them returning again and again to their second home. She has called at her homeport of Southampton 651 times and has completed 1,383 voyages. She has made 796 Atlantic crossings and completed 23 full World Voyages. She has sailed at an average speed of 24.75 knots over the last 36 years and she can sail backwards faster than most cruise ships can sail forwards! One gallon of fuel moves her just 49.5 feet! She has been commanded so far by 24 Captains.

A History Unlike Any Other
QE2 was launched by Her Majesty the Queen in 1967 and was the last passenger ship to be built on the Clyde. For the last 36 years QE2 has been the most famous passenger liner in the world, making headlines throughout her career.
She was one of the star attractions when she led the Tall Ships into New York Harbour for the Statue of Liberty's centenary celebrations in 1986; over one million sightseers flocked to see her when she called at Liverpool for the first time during Cunard's 150th anniversary celebrations in 1990 and she was at the head of the flotilla reviewed by the Queen on the 50th Anniversary of 'D' Day in 1994.

However, QE2's history has not only been one of sedate cruises, ecstatic welcomes and luxury living. In 1982, she was requisitioned by the Government for service in the Falklands Campaign - and so joined the ranks of the great Cunarders called upon to serve the country in times of conflict. QE2 goes from great things to greater, and many sailings this year - her second season of European cruises - were completely sold out.

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Cruise Industry Contributed $30 Billion to U.S. Economy in 2004

ARLINGTON, VA, Sept. 1, 2005 — The North American cruise industry had a total impact of more than $30 billion on the United States’ economy in 2004, an increase of more than 18 percent over 2003. In an annual study commissioned by the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA) found that the cruise industry supported nearly 316,000 jobs nationwide and paid a total of more than $12.4 billion in wages and salaries in 2004. 

“Despite an ongoing war in Iraq and consumer uncertainty about the economy last year, the cruise industry continued to grow, spending a significant amount of money in the United States and supporting a lot of jobs,” said ICCL President Michael Crye. “The spending is not just in seaport cities either; virtually every business sector and every single state — from Alabama to Wyoming — benefited from cruise line expenditures.”

Cruise lines, their passengers and crew were responsible for a total of $14.7 billion in direct economic impacts last year — nearly $2 billion more than in 2003. BREA attributed much of that increase to a rise in U.S. passenger embarkations of nearly 14 percent, to 8.1 million. These direct expenditures supported 135,000 jobs paying $4.8 billion in wages and salaries.
The study noted that direct economic benefits to the U.S. economy arose from five principal sources:

  • Spending by cruise passengers and crew for goods and services associated with a cruise, including travel to the port of embarkation and pre- and post-cruise vacations; 

  • Shoreside staffing by cruise lines for U.S.-based headquarters, marketing and tour operations;

  • Purchase of goods and services necessary for cruise operations, including food and beverages, fuel, hotel supplies and equipment, navigation and communication equipment, etc.;

  • Payments for port services at U.S. homeports and ports-of-call; and

  • Maintenance and repair of cruise ships at U.S. shipyards and capital expenditures for port terminals, office facilities and other capital equipment.

Cruise line operational expenditures for wages, taxes and goods and services accounted for approximately 80 percent of direct spending, while passenger and crew spending on transportation, accommodations, food and other retail accounted for the remaining 20 percent.

Indirect economic impacts included expenditures by cruise line vendors and businesses that supply goods and services to passengers and crew. For example, food processors purchase raw foodstuffs, utilities such as electricity and water to run equipment and process raw materials, transportation services to deliver finished products to cruise lines or wholesalers and insurance for property and employees.

According to the study, the United States is the primary beneficiary of the cruise industry’s global economic impact with more than 75 percent of the North American cruise industry’s expenditures made with U.S.-based businesses. In 2004, cruise lines spent $7.2 billion for goods and services from U.S. suppliers, supporting 42,350 jobs in virtually every industry and generating $1.7 billion in wage income. 

With the addition of eight new cruise ships, growth of the North American fleet remained comparable to 2003. However, the new, larger vessels accounted for nearly 25,000 additional berths (single beds), an 11.6 percent increase in capacity growth – well above the industry’s average 8 percent long-term growth trend over the past decade. In spite of this growth in capacity, the industry was able to increase its passenger carryings and occupancy rate.

U.S. ports and port cities were major beneficiaries of cruise line growth. With 8.1 million embarkations in 2004, U.S. ports accounted for 75 percent of the 10.85 million total worldwide passenger embarkations. 

The top 10 cruise embarkation ports – Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, New York, Los Angeles, Galveston, Tampa, Long Beach, New Orleans and Seattle – accounted for 87 percent of all U.S. passenger embarkations. BREA attributed lower embarkation numbers in 2004 for Miami (-14 percent) and Tampa (-6 percent) to capacity redeployment to emerging cruise ports like Jacksonville and Mobile, and increased sailings from mid-size ports such as San Diego (+113 percent) and Seattle (+ 80 percent).

While the industry’s economic impact was felt in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 81 percent was concentrated in 10 states: Florida, California, New York, Alaska, Texas, Washington, Georgia, Illinois, Colorado and Hawaii. Florida, of course, has more homeports than any other state; Alaska is primarily a port-of-call destination; Hawaii serves as both a homeport and port-of -call market, and the three states with no cruise ports — Georgia, Illinois and Colorado — served as significant passenger source markets and provided vendor support for cruise and tour operations.

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

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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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