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September 1-30, 2006

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Regent Seven Seas' Guests Find Smaller Ships Offer Intimate Experiences, Exclusive Access

FT. LAUDERDALE, Sept 27, 2006 - Bucking the trend in an era of mega cruise ships, guests sailing with Regent Seven Seas find its small to-mid-sized ship experience a best-kept secret: offering more personalized service, greater overall space per passenger, and customized experiences. Beginning in 2007, the value of the ships' nimble size will be even more pronounced with several new and exotic ports of call and the expansion of The Regent Travel ConciergeSM, featuring one-on-one concierge services and tools for guests to customize their travel programs.

Indeed, an added bonus of smaller ships is faster embarkation and disembarkation, as well as visits to less touristed ports of call. Among Regent Seven Seas' 300 ports of call worldwide, many are inaccessible to larger ships, from Gustavia (St. Barts) in the Caribbean to Monte Carlo, Portofino, and Kotor (Montenegro) in Europe to the Society Islands in French Polynesia and Sitka in Alaska.In fact, Regent Seven Seas was the recipient of the 2005 Cruise Critic "Cruise Innovation Award" as "the luxury line with the most innovative, path-finding itineraries." In keeping with this trailblazing status, in 2007 its four luxury vessels will also feature more than 20 new ports of call and three "Grand Voyages."

The 700-guest all-balcony suite Seven Seas Voyager will feature: a 111-night World Cruise - Regent's most extensive ever, while the 700-guest all-balcony suite Seven Seas Mariner will sail a four-segment, 59-night roundtrip "Circle South America" voyage reaching 31 ports in 16 countries; and an eight-segment, 107-night "Grand Asia Pacific" journey.Also new for 2007, the 490-guest all-suite (90% with private balconies) Seven Seas Navigator will be deployed exclusively in the Mediterranean from April through early November.

Collectively, the Mariner, Voyager and Navigator will make maiden calls on four continents in 2007, in Europe: Falmouth (England), Kos (Greece), Korcula (Croatia), Golfo di Porto (Corsica), Cartagena and Valencia (Spain), Kotor (Montenegro), Koper (Slovenia); in eastern Africa: Maputo (Mozambique), Maura (Brunei), Colombo (Sri Lanka); in South America: Laguna San Rafael (Chile); and in Asia: Yokohama (Japan), Ko Samui (Thailand) and Pusan (South Korea), with Osaka (Japan) to be used as a turnaround port, and a return to Burma after an interval of several years.When the three ships sail the Caribbean in the winter and fall of 2007, they will also add Cayo Levantado (Dominican Republic) to their itineraries, and the Seven Seas Mariner will reach Chiapas (Mexico).

The 330-guest all-ocean view (more than 50% with private balconies) Paul Gauguin, which plies the waters of French Polynesia year-round, was specifically designed to navigate the region's shallow waters and coral reefs. In 2007, she will offer guests four new 14-night sailings calling at Nuku Alofa (Tonga), Vanua Levu, Lautoka and Yasawa (Fiji), in addition to her selection of 7-, 10, 11-, and 14-night voyages roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti, calling at the Society, Tuamotu, Marquesas, Cook and Austral Islands.

Smaller Ships, Bigger Benefits
The intimate atmosphere aboard Regent Seven Seas vessels is due in part to one of the highest crew-to-guest ratios in the industry (1:1.6). Regent also boasts the highest percentage of balconies afloat, the world's largest lead-in suites (aboard the Voyager), plus space per guest ratios ranging from 60 to 71.5 (compared to figures in the 20's and 30's aboard larger cruise ships). For further information, contact Regent Seven Seas Cruises, 1000 Corporate Drive, Suite 500, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33334. For brochures, call toll-free (866) 284-4079; for reservation information call toll-free (800) 285-1835; or visit:

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Affordable 'Fun' From New Orleans: Cruises Aboard Carnival's SuperLiner Fantasy Beginning Oct. 26, 2006

MIAMI, Sept. 27 -- To celebrate the return of "Fun Ship" cruising from New Orleans this fall, Carnival Cruise Lines is offering four and five-day Mexico voyages on the SuperLiner Fantasy starting at just $279 per person. The Fantasy's new schedule from New Orleans begins Oct. 26, 2006, and encompasses four-day cruises to Cozumel departing Thursdays and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Costa Maya departing Mondays and Saturdays. Pre- and post-cruise land stays providing guests opportunities to experience New Orleans' legendary cuisine, entertainment and nightlife are also available.

"We're very excited to bring 'Fun Ship' cruising back to New Orleans, one of America's truly great cities, and also what has historically been one of our most popular homeports," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

The namesake vessel in Carnival's "Fantasy-class," the 2,056-passenger SuperLiner offers a variety of on-board amenities, including three restaurants, three swimming pools, a jogging track, a cascading water slide, and a 12,000-square-foot spa. Also featured is an Internet cafe, including Wi-Fi access in a variety of public rooms and areas, as well as cellular phone service. "Camp Carnival" and "Club O2," offering supervised activities and expansive facilities for children and teens, respectively, are available, as well.

A variety of shore excursion opportunities, everything from scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and snorkeling to golfing, kayaking and Mayan ruins tours, are available during port calls in Cozumel and Costa Maya. 

In addition to 4- and 5-day cruises aboard the Fantasy, Carnival will launch 7-day Caribbean cruises from New Orleans aboard the Carnival Triumph beginning September 2, 2007. Prices for these week-long cruises begin at $429 per person. Carnival will be the only cruise line to operate two ships year-round from New Orleans. Together, the Fantasy and Carnival Triumph are expected to carry some 320,000 guests annually from New Orleans. 

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for all of its various New Orleans departures. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Two New Crystal Savings Opportunities for Europe 2007 

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 26 -- Crystal Cruises' business class air and luxury cruise savings provide sweet incentives to travel in luxury to Europe in 2007.

Penthouse and Stateroom savings: Book by October 31 and save 5% off Penthouse accommodations or 10% off all other stateroom categories on any one of four European cruises with Crystal Cruises in 2007. Travelers can choose from a May 1 cruise from London to Rome, a May 25 cruise from Istanbul to Venice, a May 31 cruise from Rome to London, or an August 9 voyage from Copenhagen to London aboard Crystal Symphony or Crystal Serenity, depending on the cruise departure.

Getting there: Crystal Cruises is also introducing reduced business class air upgrade fares with all 2007 European and Trans-Atlantic cruises booked by March 31, 2007. Representing approximately 50% lower than unrestricted business class airfares to Europe, guests can upgrade from Crystal Cruises' air/sea coach fares to business class. The air upgrade is available from 20 western, central and eastern gateways in the U.S. and Canada in conjunction with more than two dozen European cruises. In 2007, Crystal Cruises' seven-, 10-, 11-, 12- and 14-day European cruises depart from Rome, London, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Venice, Athens, Lisbon and Toulon in the south of France.

The Crystal Difference
Crystal Cruises enjoys a reputation for excellence, grounded in over a decade of prestigious accolades. For additional information, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Carnival Cruise Lines Announces New Ship Deployments from Tampa, New York & Fort Lauderdale

MIAMI, Sept 26, 2006 – Carnival Cruise Lines will switch the homeport deployments of its 2,124-passenger SuperLiners Carnival Legend and Carnival Miracle beginning in spring 2007.

  • Carnival Legend, which currently sails from New York and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will be deployed to Tampa to operate year-round seven-day western Caribbean voyages departing Sundays from that port beginning April 15, 2007.

  • Currently based in Tampa, Carnival Miracle will be relocated to New York and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to operate eight-day Caribbean cruises from those ports beginning April 25, 2007.

“Carnival is always seeking ways to keep our product fresh for our guests. By deploying Carnival Legend to Tampa and Carnival Miracle to New York and Fort Lauderdale, we’re providing these markets with exciting new ‘Fun Ship’ vacation choices aboard two of the industry’s most sophisticated and technically advanced vessels,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. He added that switching the homeports for Carnival Miracle and Carnival Legend provides repeat guests sailing from Tampa, New York and Fort Lauderdale an opportunity to experience the unique interior designs and entertainment options available on these vessels. Since Carnival Miracle and Carnival Legend are sister ships, guests’ reservations will be automatically shifted to the new vessel with booking and stateroom numbers remaining the same.

Carnival Legend to Tampa
Carnival Legend’s new seven-day schedule from Tampa begins April 15, 2007, and includes extended calls at four magnificent Caribbean ports – Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya, each offering excellent beaches and interesting historical sites and attractions. 

Prior to the start-up of its new seven-day itinerary, Carnival Legend will operate a special one-time four-day eastern Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale departing Monday, April 9, 2007, and visiting Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos Islands; and Nassau, The Bahamas. Carnival Legend will operate from Fort Lauderdale through the departure of April 1, 2007, before redeploying to Tampa. 

Carnival Miracle’s Summer Schedule from New York
Carnival Miracle’s eight-day Caribbean schedule from New York begins April 25, 2007, and includes three different tropical destinations – San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John, and Tortola/Virgin Gorda – renowned for their spectacular beaches, outstanding restaurants and shops, and excellent duty-free bargains. 

Prior to the start-up of this program, Carnival Miracle will sail on a six-day cruise from New York to King’s Wharf, Bermuda; and Newport, R.I., departing April 19, 2007, as well as a two-day cruise departing October 18, 2007 (both voyages were originally scheduled to be operated by Carnival Legend). Carnival Miracle will operate from Tampa through the departure of April 1, 2007, after which the ship will undergo an 11-day dry dock before re-deploying to New York. 

Carnival Miracle’s Winter Season in Fort Lauderdale 
Following its eight-day cruise program from New York, Carnival Miracle will reposition to Fort Lauderdale for alternating eight-day “exotic” southern and “exotic” western Caribbean cruises beginning October 22, 2007. On this route, southern Caribbean cruises include St. Maarten, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts--three tropical islands offering a lush landscape and magnificent beaches, along with myriad watersports and shopping and dining opportunities. 

The western route features Colon, Panama; Limon, Costa Rica; and Belize City, Belize, offering guests a diversity of landside experiences, from ecotourism and centuries-old archeological sites and ruins, along with gorgeous white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters teeming with tropical fish.

Variety of On-Board Facilities and Features 
Part of Carnival’s 88,500-ton “Spirit-class,” Carnival Miracle and Carnival Legend each offer a variety of on-board features – a huge array of balconied and ocean view staterooms and indoor and outdoor promenades - that make these vessels ideal for scenic cruising. Eighty percent of the ships’ 1,062 staterooms offer ocean view with 80 percent of those offering private balconies.

Carnival Miracle and Carnival Legend also feature a host of lounges, bars and entertainment venues, including a sports bar, wine bar, piano bar, a two-level dance club, and a multi-level theater showcasing elaborate production shows. Another highlight is an upscale reservations-only supper club located at the top of a soaring nine-deck-high atrium and enclosed by a red-tinted glass dome that forms the forward portion of the ship’s funnel. Numerous family-friendly features, including “Camp Carnival” and “Club O2,” with expansive facilities and programming for children and teens, respectively, are also featured. And, through Carnival’s comprehensive golf program, guests can enjoy shipboard lessons and play some of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the Caribbean.

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Holland America Line Announces 2007 Alaska & the Yukon CruiseTour Line-Up

SEATTLE, Sept. 26 -- Holland America Line offers 29 different CruiseTours visiting legendary Glacier Bay and Denali National Park plus beautiful regions as remote as the Arctic, as colorful as the Klondike Trail and as charming as Homer at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula. CruiseTour guests travel to the best places to see glaciers, mountains, wildlife and wilderness. Leisurely Inside Passage cruising aboard 5-star ships and luxury land travel via domed McKinley Explorer railcars and custom-built highway Explorer Coaches™ create the quintessential Alaska experience.

"Holland America takes guests to more national parks and recognized wilderness areas than any other CruiseTour company," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Our carefully planned itineraries make it easy to enjoy ample time in Denali and to visit unique places like Kluane National Park and Tombstone Park in the legendary Yukon. We also feature intimate, small-group explorations of the Yukon River, Prudhoe Bay, Gates of the Arctic National Park, the lush Kenai Peninsula and pristine Kenai Fjords National Park. We are offering our guests more opportunities to get off the beaten path and have a more personal wilderness experience," Meadows addes. "This is the primary reason guests come to the Great Land. Our program is designed to offer more chances to experience Alaska and the Yukon in smaller groups and in more remote and stunning areas."

New for 2007

  • CruiseTour guests traveling the state's roadways will enjoy a brand new or recently enhanced Explorer Coach sightseeing experience with as much legroom as domestic first class, comfy leather seats, a mini-galley with cold snacks and beverages, an eight-channel in-seat audio system, and an enriched narration program including topical handouts and exclusive videos.

  • Guests on CruiseTours 3, 4, 5, and 6 will enjoy the scenic beauty and historical interpretation of the longest operating narrow gauge railroad in North America -- the nostalgic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. After an investment of US$8 million, the railroad will be rebuilt to carry visitors from Skagway to Lake Bennett and Carcross over much of the same ruggedly beautiful route traveled by thousands of stampeders during the rollicking gold rush days. The trains will stop at the Historic Bennett Station Eating House and guests will be served a traditional northern style family lunch before continuing on their journey by Holland America Line ship or Holland America Line Tours Explorer Coach™.

More national parks, historic sites and thrilling excursions

Eighteen CruiseTour itineraries feature Holland America Line's "Double Denali" experience -- two nights at a classic wilderness lodge near the gates of Denali National Park, a comprehensive guided Tundra Wilderness Tour featuring the best wildlife and Mt. McKinley viewpoints, and an array of exceptional optional excursions that sample the great outdoors -- from mild to wild.

Holland America spotlights the special wildlife and unique geological features of Kluane National Park, home of five of the seven tallest peaks in North America; Tombstone Park in the Yukon, an ancient region of unique landforms that was once part of the original North American continent; the year-round playground of Alyeska near Anchorage; the Land of the Midnight Sun across the Arctic Circle; and the fascinating Visitor Centers and heritage sites that describe the Klondike gold rush era.

The leader in Alaska Cruises and Tours

Celebrating its 59th year as the leader in Alaska travel, Holland America Line will have eight ships offering 156 cruises in 2007 for scenic glacier viewing in Glacier Bay National Park or Hubbard Glacier plus Tracy Arm or College Fjord, depending on ship and departure. Most CruiseTours include rail travel on the largest, most luxurious touring railcars in the world -- the McKinley Explorer(R), Yukon River sightseeing aboard the mv Yukon Queen II, and Portage Glacier cruising aboard mv Ptarmigan. CruiseTours range from 10 to 20 days and start at $1,399 per person, double occupancy. For more information about booking an Alaska cruise or CruiseTour, contact a travel agent or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Holland America Line's Culinary Cruises Offer Guests a 
Recipe for Enrichment in 2007

SEATTLE, Sept. 25 -- Featuring more than 40 celebrated chefs, wine experts and cookbook authors, Holland America Line offers guests a culinary arts enrichment program unparalleled in the cruise industry. Trendsetters such as Marcus Samuelsson, executive chef and owner of New York's perennial favorite, Aquavit; hotspot holders Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter in New York and Michael Bloise of WISH, Miami; and shaking things up, master mixologists Julie Reiner, of New York's Flatiron Lounge and Ryan Magarian of Seattle's Liquid Kitchen, are several of the 2007 guests headlining Holland America's onboard Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine.

Holland America Line launched its innovative culinary program in 2005 with the installation of state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Centers aboard each of its 13 premium cruise ships offering culinary demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes aboard every sailing. The line then took the concept further by partnering with Food & Wine magazine to provide guests on select Holland America Line cruises an opportunity to experience demonstrations and seminars conducted by culinary experts covered in the magazine such as 2000 "Best New Chef" winner Andrew Carmellini of New York's hip Italian restaurant, A Voce, who is scheduled to sail aboard the ms Rotterdam in June. Another rising star is Jason Wilson, executive chef of Crush in Seattle, who was declared one of 2006's Top Ten New Chefs in North America by Food & Wine and is sailing on the ms Oosterdam in January.

Following is the current lineup of Food & Wine chefs and culinary experts -- with more to be added to Holland America's Culinary Arts Center program for 2007:

  • Dave Lieberman, host of the Food Network programs Good Deal and Eat; This, cruising the ms Ryndam Panama Canal sailing, January 5 - 22.

  • Anthony Marini, owner/executive chef of Local Restaurant (Birmingham, AL), cruising aboard the ms Veendam in the Caribbean, January 6 - 14. 

  • Suvir Saran, co-executive chef of Devi (New York City) and Veda (New Delhi) and author of Indian Home Cooking, cruising aboard the ms Rotterdam in South America, January 11 - 31 and the ms Amsterdam's Grand World Voyage March 5 - 22.

  • Anoosh Shariat, director of culinary operations, Park Place on Main (Louisville, KY), aboard the ms Statendam's Australia/New Zealand cruise, January 19 - February 2.

  • Paulette Mitchell, author of 11 cookbooks and culinary instructor, sailing aboard the ms Ryndam's Hawaii/Tahiti/Marquesas cruise, January 22 - February 21 and aboard the ms Prinsendam in the Mediterranean and transatlantic, November 3 - 24.

  • Keegan Gerhard, pastry chef and Food Network host, cruising aboard the ms Amsterdam's Grand World Voyage, January 23 - February 4.

  • Jason Wilson, chef/owner, Crush (Seattle, WA), aboard the ms Oosterdam's Mexico cruise, January 27 - February 3. 

  • H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, executive chefs, Keyah Grande Resort (Pagosa Springs, CO) aboard the ms Statendam's Australia/New Zealand cruise, February 2 - 16.

  • Victor Scargle, chef, Julia's Kitchen at COPIA Center (Napa, CA), aboard the ms Statendam's Australia/New Zealand cruise, February 16 - March 2.

  • Richard Chamberlain, executive chef, Chamberlain's Steak and Chop House (Dallas, TX) and Envy (Las Vegas, NV) cruising the Caribbean aboard the ms Zuiderdam, February 17 - 24.

  • Matthew Karp, owner/executive chef, PLATES (Larchmont, NY), cruising aboard the ms Veendam in the Caribbean, February 18 - 25.

  • Holly Turner, winemaker, Three Rivers Winery (Walla Walla, WA), cruising aboard the ms Oosterdam in Mexico, March 3 - 10.

  • Emily Luchetti, cookbook author and executive pastry chef, Farallon (San Francisco, CA), cruising aboard the ms Rotterdam in South America, March 7 - 20. (2004 James Beard Award winner for Best Pastry Chef)

  • Thierry Rautureau, chef/owner, Rover's (Seattle, WA), cruising aboard the ms Westerdam in the Caribbean, March 4 - 11.

  • Marcus Samuelsson, executive chef Aquavit and Riingo (New York City), cruising on ms Noordam in the Caribbean, March 10 - 21.

  • Shea Gallante, executive chef, Cru (New York City) cruising on the ms Zuiderdam in the Caribbean, March 10 - 17. (2005 Food & Wine Best New Chef)

  • Rafih Benjelloun, chef/owner, Imperial Fez (Atlanta, GA), aboard the ms Prinsendam's Transatlantic cruise, March 12 - April 9.

  • Raphael Lunetta, chef, JiRaffe (Los Angeles, CA), aboard the ms Rotterdam's South America cruise, March 20 - April 5. (1997 Food & Wine Best New Chef)

  • Linton Hopkins, executive chef, Restaurant Eugene (Atlanta, GA), cruising aboard the ms Zuiderdam in the Caribbean, April 7 - 14.

  • Beau MacMillan, executive chef, Elements Restaurant (Paradise Valley, AZ), cruising aboard the ms Noordam in the Caribbean, April 11 - 21.

  • Ryan Magarian, master mixologist, Liquid Kitchen, (Seattle, WA) aboard the ms Amsterdam's Grand World Voyage April 13 - 20.

  • Johnny Iuzinni, executive pastry chef, Jean Georges (New York City), cruising aboard the ms Rotterdam's South America to Europe transatlantic crossing, April 5 - 20.

  • Bradford Thompson, chef de cuisine, Mary Elaine's at the Phoenician (Scottsdale, AZ), cruising aboard the ms Statendam's China/Japan cruise, April 19 - May 3. (2004 Food & Wine Best New Chef)

  • Michael Symon, executive chef, Lola (Cleveland, OH) and Parea (New York City), cruising aboard the ms Veendam in the Mediterranean, April 19 - 29. (1998 Food & Wine Best New Chef)

  • Ken Oringer, chef, Clio (Boston, MA), cruising aboard the ms Statendam's transpacific Asia and Alaska cruise, May 3 - 20.

  • Julie Reiner, co-owner/mixologist, Flatiron Lounge (New York City), cruising aboard the ms Rotterdam in Europe, May 14 - 30.

  • Dean Max, executive chef, 30/30 Ocean (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), cruising aboard the ms Veendam in the Mediterranean, May 19 - 29.

  • Alexandra Guarnaschelli, executive chef, Butter (New York City), cruising aboard the ms Rotterdam's Baltic cruise, May 30 - June 11.

  • Philip Mihalski, executive chef, Nell's (Seattle, WA), cruising aboard the ms Amsterdam in Alaska, June 8 - 15.

  • Marlin Kaplan, executive chef/owner, One Walnut (Cleveland, OH), cruising aboard the ms Veendam in Europe, June 8 - 23.

  • Jose Gutierrez, master chef, Encore (Memphis, TN), cruising aboard the ms Westerdam in the Mediterranean, June 9 - 19. (1990 Food & Wine Best New Chef)

  • Andrew Carmellini, executive chef, A Voce (New York City), cruising aboard the ms Rotterdam in the Baltic, June 23 - July 5. (2000 Food & Wine Best New Chef and 2005 James Beard Award winner for Best New York City Chef)

  • Brian Duncan, wine director, Bin 36 (Chicago, IL), cruising aboard the ms Prinsendam in Europe, June 26 - July 10.

  • Matthew Gennuso, executive chef, Chez Pascal (Providence, RI), aboard the ms Maasdam on a Canada/New England cruise, June 30 - July 7.

  • Pichet Ong, pastry chef, P*ONG (New York City), cruising on the ms Noordam to Alaska, July 1 - 8.

  • Peter Marks, wine director, COPIA (Napa, CA), cruising aboard the ms Oosterdam in Alaska, July 28 - August 4.

  • Bruce Sherman, chef and partner, North Pond (Chicago, IL), aboard the ms Ryndam's Alaska cruise, August 5 - 12.

  • Nick Maglieri, pastry chef, cookbook author, aboard the ms Zaandam in Alaska, August 22 - 29.

  • Andrew Shotts, chocolatier, Garrison Confections (Providence, RI), aboard the ms Veendam's transatlantic cruise, August 22 - September 9.

  • David McMillan, executive chef, 62 Main (Dallas, TX), cruising aboard the ms Westerdam in the Mediterranean, September 8 - 18.

  • Fran Bigelow, founder, Fran's Chocolate (Seattle, WA), cruising aboard the ms Rotterdam in Europe, September 18 - 30.

  • Kent Rathbun, executive chef, Abacus and Jasper´s (Dallas, TX), aboard the ms Volendam's Panama Canal cruise, November 3 - 13.

  • Michael Bloise, executive chef, WISH (Miami, FL), aboard the ms Statendam's Australia/New Zealand cruise, November 4 - 18.

In addition to partnering with Food & Wine to secure top experts, Holland America showcases its own culinary stars during each of more than 500 annual cruises with demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes given by the ships' executive chefs and culinary staff. Plus, with the release of the premium line's new cookbook, A Taste of Excellence, guests can learn preparation techniques for some of Holland America's most delectable dishes and lavish libations as part of the Culinary Arts Center experience. A state-of-the-art "show kitchen at sea," the Culinary Arts Centers resemble the elaborate show kitchens used by celebrity chefs on television cooking programs. Each facility features a theater-style venue, with two large plasma video screens to display overhead and close-up video views of food preparation, and a large cooking display counter where guests can learn from the masters. Culinary demonstrations also are filmed and aired on in-stateroom televisions. Holland America Line invested more than $13 million to create and install the Culinary Arts Center facilities on each of its ships as part of a $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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New Carnival Freedom to Offer Special 9-Day Mediterranean/Greek Isles Cruise in March 2007

MIAMI, Sept 25, 2006 – For those looking for an exciting and affordable European vacation option, Carnival Cruise Lines’ new 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom will operate a special one-time nine-day cruise in March 2007 featuring visits to five magnificent ports in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Turkey. The voyage begins with an overnight call in Venice March 5 and includes day-long stops at Dubrovnik, Croatia; Katakolon and Athens, Greece; Izmir, Turkey; Rhodes, Greece; and Naples, Italy; before arriving in Rome (Civitavecchia) on March 14, 2007. The nine-day cruise offers guests a variety of unforgettable shoreside experiences, including visiting the legendary Acropolis and the Temple of Poseidon in Greece, as well as the ancient cities of Olympia, Priere, Didyma and Miletus -- four of the best-preserved settlements of Grecian history. During the extended call in Turkey, guests can visit the fabled Blue Mosque and Topkapi Museum. 

"Carnival Freedom’s inaugural nine-day cruise not only provides guests with a terrific, value-packed European cruise vacation with visits to spectacular and sought-after destinations but also an opportunity to be among the first to experience the many facilities and features of our newest ‘Fun Ship,’" said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. 

As the newest SuperLiner in the "Fun Ship" fleet, Carnival Freedom will offer a host of innovative on-board amenities, including 100 percent "bow-to-stern" wireless Internet access, cell phone service and a 270-square-foot LED screen on Lido Deck, along with 22 lounges and bars with dramatic interiors inspired by prominent design themes and styles of the past decades and centuries. The ship offers some of the most spacious staterooms at sea and includes a wide selection of affordable accommodations featuring private balconies – perfect for scenic European cruising. All staterooms will feature the new "Carnival Comfort Bed" sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows. Dining options include two formal restaurants with extensive menus and wine lists, a 1,400-seat casual poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, and a reservations-only supper club offering prime dry-aged beef and other gourmet cuisine. All Carnival Freedom dining venues feature "Georges Blanc Signature Selections" created by the world-renowned French master chef.

Carnival Freedom’s nine-day inaugural cruise is just one of several exciting itinerary choices available aboard the 2,974-passenger vessel, which will also operate a summer schedule of 12-day Mediterranean and Mediterranean/Greek Isles cruises March 14 – October 16, 2007, round-trip from Rome (Civitavecchia) followed by a 14-day transatlantic crossing departing Rome (Civitavecchia) October 28, and arriving in Miami Nov. 11, 2007. The ship will then begin year-round service from Miami with seven-day cruises alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean beginning November 17, 2007. Prior to the start-up of this program, Carnival Freedom will operate a special four-day western Caribbean cruise from Miami Nov. 12, 2007.

Carnival is currently accepting reservations for Carnival Freedom’s nine-day inaugural cruise, as well as the vessel’s various other European and Caribbean departures. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Sky Grill Dinners are Another Seabourn Casual Dining Option

MIAMI, Sept 25, 2006--If it’s true that choice is the ultimate luxury, then Seabourn Cruise Line is living up to its ultra luxury reputation by offering its pampered guests yet another casual alternative dining option aboard the three, all-suite Yachts of Seabourn. The award-winning line has begun occasional service of freshly grilled seafood and sizzling steaks for dinners in the open air at the popular Sky Bar location atop the intimate ships.

“When the weather and the mood are right, there’s no finer place to be than up at Seabourn’s Sky Bar, with the ocean view, the soft music and the stars overhead,” says Seabourn president Deborah L. Natansohn. “I was up there one evening and I thought, ‘I’d really rather eat right here than dress and go down to the Restaurant.’”

As it happened, Seabourn’s vice president of fleet operations Larry Rapp had already been working with corporate executive chef Tony Egger on a plan for serving casual grill fare in the al fresco setting when the opportunity arose. The choice has been enthusiastically embraced by the line’s guests, and Sky Grill Dinners are now scheduled a couple of nights a cruise, weather permitting. The fare is simple and suited to the on-deck ambience. Steaks, seafood and other perfectly-grilled specialties are the centerpieces of the menus. The Sky Grill can accommodate about 40 of the ship’s 208 guests per night, by reservation, and in keeping with Seabourn’s highly-inclusive, club-like atmosphere, there is no extra charge. 

Sky Grill Dinners join the generous range of dining alternatives presented to Seabourn’s guests. Each ship’s elegant, open-seating Restaurant serves award-winning Progressive American cuisine designed by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. A more casual alternative is offered by “Tastings@2”, serving innovative, small plates tasting menus. And, of course, Seabourn guests also have the signature option of ordering from the Restaurant menu and having their dinners served, course by course, by a waiter in the privacy of their suite, where they may choose to dress in anything from formal finery to fluffy bathrobes and slippers. 

Sky Grill Dinners is the latest in a series of enhancements and upgrades to Seabourn’s Signature Delights: a myriad of thoughtful touches and pampering plusses that have earned the line a spot on every annual edition of Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious Gold List. Recent additions include Vintage Seabourn, a premium wines pre-purchase package; Seabourn to a Tea, an upgraded menu of rare estate teas, unique blends and herbal tisanes being served on board; Seabourn’s Personal Shopper service providing luxury cars and specialized shopping guides in various ports worldwide; WorldPhone global cell and satellite telephone rental services, and Seabourn’s innovative Personal Valet luggage shipping service. 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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Experience a Stress-Free Thanksgiving at Sea With Costa

MIAMI, Sept 22, 2006 - Families can enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving at sea this year, all while experiencing the love, laughter and la dolce vita of cruising with Costa in the Caribbean. A special Thanksgiving sailing departing from Ft. Lauderdale on November 19 aboard the beautiful Costa Magica will sail the Western Caribbean on a seven-night getaway where kids may sail free! Relaxing and reconnecting with loved ones over the holiday is simple and easy, thanks to Costa's warm and friendly staff and festive onboard atmosphere. In Costa's Caribbean, guests can expect fun-filled days that may include playing bocce ball to savoring authentic, Italian lunches al fresco. By night, they?ll be able to learn tarantella dancing and experience lively Roman Bacchanal parties. An extensive children's and teen's program features fun, educational and age-appropriate activities, ensuring a great experience for the whole family.

"Cruising with Costa in the Caribbean offers families the perfect opportunity to reconnect and experience the festive onboard atmosphere and international flair that we're known for providing," said Lynn Torrent, President & CEO of Costa Cruise Lines North America. "Kids may even sail free during Thanksgiving, which makes this the perfect time to bring the whole family onboard for a stress-free holiday."

The Costa Magica, one of the newest and largest ships in the Costa fleet, will depart from Ft. Lauderdale on November 19 and sail the Western Caribbean with stops in Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos. Guests who take advantage of Early Booking Fares can sail with their kids in the same cabin for free, excluding government fees. Additional savings and amenities are also available to past World's Leading Cruise Lines (WLCL) guests.

Costa offers an experience that is delightfully different in service and cuisine, in an atmosphere filled with love, laughter and la dolce vita. It's called "Cruising Italian Style" and true to its heritage, no detail has been overlooked in bringing the beauty and hospitality of Italy to the sea. Cruising Italian Style--that's Amore! The ships of Costa range in size from 30,000-tons to 112,000-tons, and provide an ambience that is distinctly Italian ? from the progressive architecture and stylish design to the unforgettable cuisine and gracious hospitality. The fifth largest cruise line in the world, Costa offers cruises that span the globe on itineraries of three nights and longer throughout the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South America and Transatlantic. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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Holland America Line Wraps Up the Holidays With 19 Winter Cruise Escapes

SEATTLE, Sept. 21 -- From the exotic--enjoying the Christmas spirit with penguins in Antarctica or toasting the New Year down under--to a popular Caribbean or Mexico cruise, Holland America Line invites travelers to celebrate the season this December on one of 19 holiday escapes.

"Holiday cruising provides a relaxed surrounding to enjoy family and the festivities and there's no cooking, cleaning, decorating or hassle," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president of marketing and sales. "From enriching activities ashore to special onboard festivities celebrating the season, our holiday cruises also provide tremendous value and extensive options for travelers of all ages."

From December 16 through 31, 2006, Holland America Line offers several cruise departures ranging from 7- to 20-days and accommodating the varied schedules of busy professionals, school kids and grandparents. Destinations, both close-to-home and far-flung, include:

  • The beaches and azure waters of the Caribbean -- the perfect warm winter retreat with 14 holiday cruises, ranging from 7 to 14 days, traveling round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa, Florida, Norfolk, Virginia, and New York City with the maiden Holiday voyages of the ms Noordam. Most itineraries feature a visit to Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private Bahamian island.

  • The mystery and beauty of the Mexican Riviera on a 7-day cruise traveling round-trip from San Diego for Christmas or New Year's. In a country known for its festive celebrations, guests may experience the excitement of Las Posadas, the nine days before Christmas, or Ano
    Nuevo, New Year's.

  • Journeys to exotic locales -- 14-day Panama Canal Sunfarer round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, 15-day Hawaii itinerary round-trip from San Diego, a 14-day New Zealand/Australia adventure from Auckland to Sydney, and a 20-day exploration of South America and Antarctica from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Valparaiso, Chile.

Each holiday voyage features clergy to conduct Catholic, Protestant and Jewish services (for the 12/16 Noordam cruise over Hanukkah). Holland America Line's on-board festivities for the entire family include holiday decorations, special movie showings, traditional dinner selections, religious services, a visit for the kids from Santa, sometimes arriving by parasail, activities and crafts for the Club HAL kids program, strolling carolers, tree lighting ceremony, eggnog in the atrium, Christmas brunch, Santa's milk and cookie late-night snack, a Christmas show by the crew on Christmas Eve, and a turndown gift on Christmas Eve. The line also holds a New Year's Eve Gala and arranges to broadcast some college bowl games on board the ship.

Extended Families Enjoy Special Group Fares and Extras
Families will enjoy the spirit of the holiday with the premium cruise line's Family Reunion Program, rewarding those who book five staterooms or more with special pricing and extra amenities. The special program features extras such as a fountain soda card for each family member, family photos, and dinner in the line's specialty Pinnacle Grill Restaurant. Caribbean-bound families might enjoy free rentals of snorkel gear and swim mats on Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line's award-winning private island. For more information about planning a holiday cruise, contact a travel agent or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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‘Water Wars’ Water Balloon Attraction to be Featured Aboard 
Carnival Cruise Lines’ ‘Fun Ships’

MIAMI, Sept – Through an exclusive agreement with Minnesota-based “Water Wars,” Carnival will be the first cruise line to feature the popular water balloon-themed attraction, currently found in amusement parks in 22 countries throughout the world. The “Jr. Dyno Water Wars” units consist of two custom-built “battle stations” in which participants propel water balloons through the air via catapults in an effort to splash their competitors. Currently available on Carnival’s Imagination and Fascination, the units will be installed fleetwide by summer 2007 and located on ships’ open decks adjacent to the main pool area. 

“Water Wars” is the latest poolside activity aboard Carnival’s ships which also feature swimming pools, cascading water slides, and acres of deck space for sunning and relaxing. The attraction is expected to be particularly popular among the 525,000 children who sail with Carnival each year.

“We’re always looking for new and exciting outdoor diversions that will add to the enjoyment to our guests’ vacation experience. ‘Water Wars’ is a great ‘fun in the sun’ activity for guests of all ages,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

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The Vote is In: Princess Passengers Select Best Shore Excursion Service
 in Alaska

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Sept 20, 2006 - As the 2006 Alaska cruise season winds down, Princess has announced the winners of its eighth annual C.R.U.I.S.E. service awards, which honor passenger choices for best tours of the season plus favorite tour guides and dock representatives in Alaska and Northwest ports Princess ships visit during the summer. The awards recognize the importance of local tour operators and their staff as a vital part of the visitor's Alaska cruise experience and are based upon the number of positive passenger comments. Winners include tour companies, individual guides and dock representatives from Princess' extensive line-up of more than 150 shore excursion options in Alaska. For the first time, the 2006 season awards will honor the contributions of dock representatives who make sure tours operate in a timely and smooth manner and assist passengers before and after tours. All recipients will receive their awards at ceremonies held aboard the line's Alaska-based ships.

"Our local tour operators are an integral part of our passengers' cruise experience in Alaska, and they excel at ensuring that Princess' service levels continue even off the ship," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "We're so pleased every year to see the wonderful feedback we get from passengers that helps us determine the winners of these C.R.U.I.S.E. service excellence awards."

Begun in 1999 in the Caribbean as part of Princess' C.R.U.I.S.E. (Courtesy, Respect, Unfailing In Service Excellence) customer service program, and expanded to Alaska in 2000, these tour operator awards cap off a season-long effort to recognize the role that Alaskan-owned tour partners play in passengers' cruise experiences. Tour Guide of the Season and Dock Representative of the Season award winners receive $100, a letter of commendation, a plaque, a ship tour and lunch onboard with their family. Operators of the Shore Excursion of the Season receive a plaque and a letter of commendation, a tour of the ship, and lunch onboard for company officials. A full list of winners follows:

Princess Cruises and Tours


  • Co-Shore Excursions: Helicopter Glacier Walkabout, NorthStar Trekking; Taku Glacier Lodge Flight & Feast, Wings Airways & Taku Lodge; Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest, Allen Marine Tours

  • Tour Guide: Richard Stokes, Gastineau Guiding Co.

  • Dock Representative: Elizabeth Schoenfeld, Alaska Travel Adventures


  • Co-Shore Excursions: Canopy Adventure & Wildlife Expedition, Alaska Canopy Adventures; Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure, Snorkel Alaska 

  • Co- Tour Guides: Rob Holston, Lighthouse Excursions; Ken Pollworth, Baranof Skiff Excursions

  • Dock Representative: Josh Kolean, Panhandle Motorcycle Adventures


  • Shore Excursion: Seattle Highlights, Gray Line of Seattle


  • Shore Excursion: Sea Otter Quest & Alaska Raptor Center, Allen Marine Tours and Sitka Tours

  • Tour Guide: Christian Litten, Greenling Enterprises LLC

  • Dock Representative: Sherry Aitken, Allen Marine Tours


  • Co- Shore Excursions: Glacier Point Wilderness Safari, Chilkat Guides; Klondike Rock Climbing & Rappelling, Alaska Mountain Guides; Skagway's Original Street Car, Skagway Street Car Co.

  • Co- Tour Guides: Ben Labay, Chilkat Guides; Cindy Godbey, Klondike Gold Dredge

  • Dock Representative: Jackie Tobin-Wolf, Alaska Excursions


  • Shore Excursion: Vancouver Overview, Gray Line West - Vancouver


  • Shore Excursion: Butchart & Butterfly Gardens, Gray Line West - Victoria

  • Tour Guide: Norman Archer, D'Costa Ports of Call

  • Dock Representative: Alf Gale, Gray Line West - Victoria


  • Shore Excursion: Blackstone Glacier Adventure Cruise, Prince William Sound Cruises & Tours

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Baby Boomers, Seniors Can Save Up to 60 Percent on Select MSC Cruises Caribbean Sailings 

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept. 20 -- Baby Boomers and Seniors can save up to 60 percent off retail rates on selected 2007 Caribbean and Panama sailings of MSC Lirica and MSC Opera. The Senior Saver prices for the 11-night roundtrip cruises from Fort Lauderdale begin at just $695 per person, double occupancy (cruise only, not including government fees and taxes). At least one guest in the stateroom must be 50 years of age on the departure date. The offer is valid for new reservations (including groups) made through Nov. 30 on MSC Lirica's 11-night sailings Jan. 20 through April 18 and MSC Opera's 11-night itineraries Jan. 14 through April 1.

"This is an extremely affordable way for Seniors and Baby Boomers to cruise the exotic Caribbean," says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA.

MSC Cruises takes travelers to the Deep Caribbean and Panama to explore the tropical destinations, their history and culture. Deep Caribbean itineraries include port calls at San Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Tortola and Samana (including shore excursions available to the cruise line's private paradise at Cayo Levantado in the Dominican Republic). The Panama itineraries include visits to Ocho Rios, Cartagena, San Blas, Cristobal (Panama), Puerto Limon and Roatan Island.

On each itinerary, guests will be surrounded by the line's 'Beautiful. Passionate. Italian.' cruise experience, including the elegant decor, authentic Italian cuisine, European ambiance, and exceptional service found onboard every MSC Cruises' ship. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or a local travel agent.

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Holland America Line Announces the Biggest Alaska Cruise Season
 Ever for 2007

SEATTLE, Sept. 19 -- Favorite Alaska cruise itineraries continue in 2007 with Holland America Line. Three Vista-class ships Oosterdam, Zuiderdam, and new to Alaska, Noordam offer more suites than ever before. Each Vista-class ship features 162 suites in seven categories, plus 461 (479 on the Noordam) Deluxe Outside Verandah staterooms. With 156 total departures and eight ships, there's ample opportunity to come aboard and embrace this magnificent 49th state -- Alaska.

"Viewing the Inside Passage from a premium Holland America Line ship offers outstanding scenery, and seeing and hearing a calving glacier at Hubbard, Glacier Bay or twin Sawyer Glaciers is exhilarating," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Add in the onboard amenities and activities, as well as great ports of call that offer a broad range of shore excursions designed to showcase the great Alaska wilderness, and you have an exceptional experience."

  • Alaskan Explorer cruises, roundtrip from Seattle, boast 58 departures with port calls to Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, BC. Two new Seattle-based ships, 1,918-guest ms Noordam, Sunday departures, and 1,380-guest ms Amsterdam, Friday departures, join 1,848-guest Oosterdam, Saturday departures. Noordam visits Glacier Bay on all departures while Amsterdam visits either Tracy Arm & Sawyer Glaciers or Glacier Bay (May 18, 25; June 29; July 13; August 24, 31; and September 14th). Oosterdam continues cruising to immense and memorable Hubbard Glacier.

  • Glacier Bay Inside Passage, roundtrip Vancouver cruises, include port calls at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan plus Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. Choose from 40 departures onboard 1,848-guest Zuiderdam (Saturdays) or 1,432-guest Zaandam (Wednesdays) or four departures during early and late season onboard Ryndam and Volendam, (Glacier Bay only).

  • Glacier Discovery Cruises, between Vancouver and Seward include port calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway or Haines plus Glacier Bay and College Fjord, which boasts sixteen tidewater glaciers. All 36 departures onboard the 1,258- guest Ryndam and Statendam (both ships depart Sundays) visit magnificent Glacier Bay.

  • New to the Glacier Discovery cruises is 1,432-guest Volendam, Friday departures, making 18 one-way sailings between Vancouver and Seward with port stops at authentic Icy Strait Point, which was introduced in 2006, Skagway or Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan. The Volendam visits spectacular Hubbard Glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Your Personal Alaska
At every port of call, Holland America Line offers diverse shore excursions designed to showcase Alaska's beauty and rich history. With a wide range from excursions to choose from, guests may be as active, adventurous or laid back as they choose. Excursions include flightseeing and dog-mushing or glacier trekking, fly fishing, whale watching, glacier and garden visits, float trips, kayaking, Alaska-style salmon bake, historical tours by foot or historic vehicle, wilderness safaris, and more.

2007 Alaska Cruises & CruiseTours Brochures Are Now Available
For a copy of the new 2007 Alaska Cruises brochure, contact a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Royal Caribbean Intl to Expand Operations into Asia in 2007

MIAMI, Sept. 15, 2006 – Royal Caribbean International announces its return to Asia in December 2007, bringing the active cruising experience to the region. The Vision-class ship, featuring the line’s signature rock-climbing wall and indoor glass walls providing exotic views of Asian landscapes, will offer a series of exciting cruises out of Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, visiting exotic ports of call in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. 

“The introduction of Rhapsody of the Seas into Asia, together with our previously announced deployments of ships to South America and the Dominican Republic are all part of the company’s strategy of international business development and expansion into emerging and high-growth markets,” said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International. “We have had the pleasure of hosting thousands of satisfied Asian guests onboard our vessels over the past several years and intend to bring to Asia all of the elements and the characteristics of our style of cruising that have made our brand globally recognized as an award-winning vacation experience.”

Rhapsody of the Seas will debut December 10, 2007, in Singapore offering a series of sailings that will call on Malaysia and Thailand. The ship’s Asia tour continues on from Hong Kong, where she will arrive in time for the Chinese New Year holiday season, offering a series of itineraries calling at ports in Taiwan, Japan, and Sanya, Hainan Island. Then moving to Shanghai, China, Rhapsody will call on ports in Japan and Korea. Additional details of Rhapsody’s itineraries will be available by mid-October 2006.

“We are confident that the Asian market and the Pan Asia regions, in general, have tremendous growth potential, and view this as a first step in a long-term plan that will define cruising in the region. In addition, there has been an increased level of awareness and interest in travel to Asia from India, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East which we predict will become strong secondary source markets,” said Goldstein. “I would like to extend my gratitude to the various governmental authorities, port authorities and tourism boards in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai for their encouragement that helped us to make this exciting decision.” 

Rhapsody of the Seas, at 78,491 tons and with a total guest capacity of 2,435, will be one of the largest cruise ships to homeport in Asia. In addition to the rock-climbing wall, she features the awe-inspiring Centrum, an open atrium with a shopping arcade; an outdoor pool; six whirlpools; an indoor/outdoor pool in a Solarium with a retractable roof; themed bars and lounges; the Adventure Ocean Youth program; the Shipshape Day Spa and Fitness Center; the Casino Royale; multi-level dining rooms with floor to ceiling windows; and Windjammer Café. The ship also has one main conference center with four smaller meeting rooms. For additional information, go to or call (800) 327-6700.

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Crystal Cruises 2008 World Cruise Details

LOS ANGELES, September 13, 2006 - For the first time in three years, Crystal Cruises' 2008 World Cruise will take guests on a 108-day odyssey through Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, India, Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. Responding to travel agents anxious to promote its 2008 World Cruise, Crystal Cruises has set its 13th annual World Cruise earlier than ever. This is the first of the luxury line's 2008 itineraries to be announced.

Considered to be the grandest of voyages, the 2008 World Cruise will span the globe visiting 45 ports of call in 22 different countries. Crystal Serenity will depart Los Angeles on January 19, 2008, and arrive in Southampton, England, on May 7. The global journey features overnight stays in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, India, Egypt and Monaco, and maiden calls at Crete/Aghios Nikoloas, Greece, and La Coruña and Valencia, Spain. The complete itinerary will be posted at on September 14. Fares will be released in mid-October.

Bill Smith, Crystal Cruises' senior vice president, sales & marketing, says, "Due to Crystal's World Cruise reputation and the increased interest from travelers around the world in taking longer cruises, we were hearing from travel agents much earlier than usual about finalizing this voyage. Before we even finalized an itinerary, we found we had dozens of guests on a 2008 World Cruise waitlist. Travelers know they are going to have an exceptionally enriching and completely pampering experience ashore and onboard a World Cruise with Crystal Cruises."

In 2006, Crystal boasted a record number of full World Cruisers and is expecting a very strong 12th annual World Cruise, which begins on January 12, 2007. Approximately 300 guests are already booked for the entire 109-day 2007 World Cruise, and many are taking multiple segments. Interest in the 2008 World Cruise has been stronger than ever, prompting the luxury line to release the itinerary so early.

Crystal's 2008 World Cruise is offered in eight different segments ranging from 11 to 18 days with departures from Los Angeles; Papeete, Tahiti; Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; Hong Kong, China; Singapore; Mumbai, India; and Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy. On a voyage of ultimate discovery balancing days at sea with days ashore, Crystal Serenity will explore the tropical waters of Hawaii en route to the exotic islands of French Polynesia in the South Pacific. The ship then travels Down Under to reveal the scenic and natural beauty of New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. Leaving Australia, Crystal Serenity will visit the Sultanate of Brunei before continuing up through Asia and on to Myanmar for three days in Yangon. After exploring India, North Africa beckons with an overnight in Safaga, Egypt, allowing for exploration of Luxor and the Valley of Kings, followed by a transit of the historic Suez Canal and discovery of the architectural wonders of Greece, Sicily and Italy. From Rome, the World Cruise concludes with a delicious segment blending the food, wine, and spices of Italy, Spain and Portugal before arriving in Southampton, England.

Full World Cruise guests will enjoy two exclusive, grand shoreside events; a complimentary Crystal Adventure ashore on each of the eight segments; a gala event on the eve of departure from Los Angeles; pre-paid shipboard gratuities; private car transfers within 100 miles of Crystal Cruises' air gateway cities from home to airport, and back; complimentary air transportation; $1,000 shipboard credit, per person; and a rich array of onboard events and gifts. For additional information, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Celebrity Cruises' Mercury to Sail From Vancouver in 2007 

MIAMI, Sept. 14  -- To offer guests more time in select ports of call and a better arrival time for viewing Alaska's breathtaking, ice-blue Hubbard Glacier on Mercury's seven-night Alaska sailings in 2007, Celebrity Cruises has changed the ship's port of arrival and departure to Vancouver, B.C. Guests currently holding reservations with deposits made for Celebrity's Mercury cruises from Seattle between May 4, 2007, and September 14, 2007, will receive a $100 per stateroom onboard credit. Celebrity's Air/Sea department will make the necessary changes for any Air/Sea guests whose air travel is impacted by the shift to Vancouver. Cruise-only guests who incur a fee due to changing their air reservations will be reimbursed up to $100 per person, providing proof of the air change fee is provided.

The itinerary from Vancouver will feature the same ports of call: Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska, and including cruises through the Inside Passage and several hours beside Hubbard Glacier. Celebrity is proactively contacting all travel agents with clients holding reservations affected by this change; however, agents as well as guests with individual or group bookings are welcome to call Celebrity's re-accommodation desk, at 1-888-281-9343.

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Majestic Canadian Rockies Add to Princess Cruisetour Options

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Sept 14, 2006 - Majestic mountains, dazzling ice fields, and Western's Canada's most celebrated national parks highlight Princess' 2007 Canadian Rockies Cruisetours. Designed specifically to complement the line's popular Gulf of Alaska or Inside Passage cruises, Princess' five- and six-night land packages to the heart of Canada's spectacular mountains include stays at the area's premiere resort properties and landmark historic hotels. Combined with a seven-day Alaska cruise, these cruisetours offer a full 12- or 13-night land/sea vacation. Passengers will enjoy group camaraderie as they visit the natural wonders of Banff, Jasper and Yoho national parks, plus such attractions as the alpine city of Banff, the brilliant glacial waters of Lake Louise, a snowcoach tour of Athabasca Glacier, the Olympic city of Calgary, British Columbia's Kamloops, Vancouver, and other local highlights.

"These itineraries take passengers right to the heart of the Canadian Rockies' most sought after experiences and locations," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "Our tours offer the best routes, hotels and cruises together in a seamless package for our guests, who enjoy Princess' high service levels throughout their exploration of this beautiful region."

Two cruisetour options are available, each including most meals, gratuities, and the personal attention of a professional Princess tour director to coordinate travel details throughout the land portion of the journey.

  • Royal Heart of the Rockies -- This 12- or 13-night Canadian Rockies cruisetour originates in Calgary, home of the world-famous Calgary Stampede. Passengers will travel via motorcoach to Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, and Kamloops, featuring dramatic scenery along the Icefield Parkway and a stop at the Athabasca Glacier for a ride aboard a specially designed glacier snowcoach. Tours include overnight stays at some of the Rockies' most famous and historic properties -- the Fairmont Palliser Hotel, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

  • Royal Heart of the Rockies Plus Rail -- A 13-night cruisetour that covers the same attractions and historic hotels as the Heart of the Rockies tour, but adds two days of daylight travel between Jasper and Vancouver aboard Canada's luxury Rocky Mountaineer train. From the train passengers will view spectacular scenery including the towering Mt. Robson and Thompson and Fraser River Canyons and whitewater rapids at Jaws of Death Gorge.

Both tours are combined with Princess' Gulf of Alaska cruises between Vancouver and Whittier or round-trip Inside Passage sailings from Seattle, or can be booked as a land-only vacation. Early booking fares for Canadian Rockies cruisetours begin at $2,599 per person based on double occupancy, including a Gulf of Alaska cruise. Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Tahiti Cruises & Grand Med Voyages Highlight Star Clippers' 
2007-2008 Cruise Atlas

MIAMI, Sept 13, 2006 -- Star Clippers' new cruise brochure, showcasing itineraries from fall 2006 through early summer 2008, is hot off the press and available to travel agents and consumers. The 81-page catalogue is the largest ever for the line and is filled with stunning full-page images and in-depth details about ports of call. Convenient maps make it easy to plot out voyages and see exactly where each ship will be sailing day by day. The brochure is divided into sections by destination, facilitating navigation and cruise selection. Highlighting the line's newest itineraries is the section on Tahiti. Come December 2007, Star Flyer repositions to the region for year-round cruises throughout the exotic islands of French Polynesia. Other Star Clippers itineraries feature the Far East, Caribbean and Mediterranean, and range in length from four to 37 nights.

Caribbean favorites and a Panama Canal transit

  • Royal Clipper and Star Clipper continue their Caribbean seasons with seven-night round-trip Barbados and round-trip St. Maarten sailings, respectively, through April 2007. 

  • Royal Clipper, the 227-passenger flagship of the fleet, returns to the region in November 2007 and sails two alternating seven-night round-trip Barbados itineraries through April 2008.

  • Royal Clipper departs Barbados on Dec. 29, 2007, on a special 11-night New Year's Eve sailing to Panama City, Panama, via a transit of the Panama Canal. Along the way the ship will call at Tobago Cays, Grenada, Venezuela, Curaçao, Aruba and Colombia.

Star Flyer says farewell to the Far East and Star Clipper makes debut

  • From November 2006 to March 2007, Star Flyer will sail its final Far East season before Star Clipper takes over the route. The intimate size of the vessels, which carry just 170 passengers, enable the ships to visit tiny island jewels in Thailand and Malaysia on two distinct seven-night round-trip Phuket, Thailand, itineraries. Four special seven-night sailings in December 2006 and March 2007 take Star Flyer between Phuket and Singapore.

  • Star Clipper repositions to the Far East in November 2007 and takes over the round-trip Phuket routes as well as the sailings between Phuket and Singapore.

Med itineraries include idyllic ports and adventurous escapes

  • The Mediterranean continues to be a hot destination for travelers, and Star Clippers' summer Med season offers an assortment of itineraries ranging from four to 11 nights. From April to October 2007, the three ships in the fleet will journey to 11 countries and offer a series of special cruises in addition to the regular itineraries.

  • Royal Clipper again sails its popular 10- and 11-night cruises between Venice and Civitavecchia, Italy, that include calls in Croatia and Montenegro, in addition to seven-night round-trip Civitavecchia sailings that showcase the best of Italy.

  • Round-trip Cannes, France, itineraries ranging in length from four to seven nights make up the majority of Star Clipper's Mediterranean season, with additional cruises departing from Lisbon, Portugal, and Barcelona, Spain.

  • Sailing its final season in the Mediterranean before repositioning to French Polynesia, Star Flyer offers seven-night round-trip Athens cruises and 10- and 11-night itineraries between Athens and Venice.

Grand Mediterranean Voyages offer longer itineraries

  • Guests looking for a longer sailing adventure can take advantage of the four Grand Mediterranean Voyages that range from 12 to 14 nights.

  • Royal Clipper's 12-night cruise in October 2007 sails from Rome to Lisbon, and the port-intensive itinerary features calls in Spain, France, Italy, Morocco and Portugal.

  • Star Clipper sails two distinctly different 12-night journeys that take the ship to six different countries. Departing in April 2007, the Lisbon to Barcelona cruise sails to Portugal, Spain and Morocco; the Cannes to Athens cruise departs in September and visits France, Italy and Greece.

  • Marking the line's longest Mediterranean voyage of the season, Star Flyer sails a 14-night Athens to Malaga, Spain, cruise in September 2007 that calls at ports throughout Greece, Italy and Spain.

Star Flyer repositions to a South Pacific paradise 

  • Tahiti cruises make their debut in December 2007 when Star Flyer repositions to French Polynesia year-round. Three distinct products -- seven-night round-trip Papeete, Tahiti, cruises, 10- and 11-night round-trip Papeete voyages, and 10- and 11-night sailings between Papeete and Nuku Hiva, Marquesas -- feature several overnight calls and breathtaking scenery. 

  • The 11 ports of call that compose the destination-intense itineraries take the ship to the Society and Marquesas Islands and Tuamotu Atolls.

Ocean crossings offer once-in-a-lifetime journey

  • For guests looking to unwind and rejuvenate while also visiting exciting destinations, ocean crossings offer a perfect combination of relaxation and adventure. Star Clippers is offering five crossings ranging from 16 to 37 nights.

  • Transatlantic journeys take Royal Clipper from Barbados to Rome, and from Lisbon to Barbados; Star Flyer sails from Malaga to Barbados. Two 37-night Indian Ocean crossings transit the Suez Canal and take Star Flyer from Phuket to Athens, and Star Clipper from Athens to Phuket, both calling at ports in Greece, Egypt, India and Sri Lanka.

Advance Purchase Discounts available to guests who book early 
New to the brochure this year, Advance Purchase Discounts (APD) are listed in the pricing chart for almost every sailing. Ranging from $400 off per person on seven-night cruises to $600 off per person on 12- to 14-night cruises, APDs are available to guests who book early. Early bookings were strong for Star Clippers' 2006 sailing season, so guests are encouraged to reserve space as soon as possible to take advantage of the savings and avoid disappointment.

Star Clippers combines the pampered luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the exhilarating thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship. Guests rediscover what sailing was like during the glorious age of the tall ships while visiting intimate ports of call untouched by larger cruise ships. 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 obtain a copy of Star Clippers' new brochure, call (800) 442-0556. To make a reservation, contact a travel professional. For more information call Star Clippers at (800) 442-0551 or visit

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Country Cruise Getaway Starring Brooks & Dunn Set for Jan 31 - Feb 3, 2007 Aboard Carnival Liberty

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 13 -- Country music superstars Brooks & Dunn will anchor a Country Cruise Getaway set for January 31 through February 3, 2007, headlining an intimate, exclusive concert onboard Carnival Cruise Lines' newest ship, Carnival Liberty, during a 3-Day Bahamas cruise. The Country Cruise Getaway starring Brooks & Dunn will set sail on January 31, 2007 aboard the 2,974-passenger SuperLiner, offering passengers a musical jaunt through paradise accompanied by some of country music's hottest new stars. Several of the special Country Cruise guests include, Blue Collar Comedy Tour star, Bill Engvall, Jypsi, Jamie O'Neil and Little Big Town and the Nashville Hitmakers.

Embarking in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the Country Cruise Getaway will kick things off right as passengers are welcomed aboard with a special bon voyage deck party featuring live entertainment and cocktails. The Carnival Liberty will then cruise to Nassau, Bahamas and on to Freeport Bahamas, where after passengers have the opportunity to explore the exciting ports of call, Brooks & Dunn will board the ship for a special, intimate concert onboard. While at sea, music fans will be treated to a variety of live concerts with some of country music's hottest young performers and songwriters, and have the opportunity to participate in "behind the music" Q&A sessions with all of the artists onboard, including Brooks & Dunn.

In addition to popular shipboard activities such as relaxing by the pool, working out in the ship's state-of-the-art gym, indulging in a massage or facial, or dining in one of the ship's four restaurants, passengers will be invited to take line dancing lessons and to participate in a special art auction. The ship also offers a fun and entertaining Camp Carnival for kids from 2 to 14 years old, as well as a teen program, Club O2, for older kids. 

Tickets go on sale on Monday, September 18th for this special musical cruise. Reservations and accommodations are on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on this unique fan adventure, go to the official website at

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Singles & Solo Cruisers Finally Get a Price Break With Lower Single Supplements & Escorted Cruises

West Hartfort, CT – SoloCruiser ( has finally broken the price barrier for single and solo cruisers by offering four categories of cruises: “Lower Single Occupancy” for individual travelers plus three categories of escorted groups: “55+ Cruisers”, “Special Interest Cruises” and “All-Inclusive Cruises.” Among SoloCruiser’s unique features is an interactive roommate finder, the first time those traveling alone can pick their own roommate from a database of other solo cruisers seeking a person to share a cabin. With typical singles cruise operators the travel agency assigns roommates while SoloCruiser’s roommate finder allows cruisers to get to know each other before departure through email and telephone calls and decide with whom they want to share a stateroom.

SoloCruiser is an affiliate of White Travel in West Hartford, CT, founded in 1972 and one of the country’s premier travel companies. White Travel’s president, Rick White, said “Unlike typical singles cruises where the focus is meeting a mate, SoloCruiser clients are sophisticated adults who may be single as well as those who are divorced, widowed and married who are traveling alone, with a friend or relative, and want to mix and mingle. According to recent US Census statistics, there are 89.8 million unmarried and single Americans, approximately 41% of all U.S. residents.”

First No & Low Single Supplement Cruises
SoloCruiser is the first travel agency allowing independent cruisers to get a price break on the cruise industry’s typical 200% surcharge, the major barrier which has kept single and solo travelers from cruising. SoloCruiser’s offerings range from mid-priced to ultra-luxury vessels. Rick White says, “In some cases we’re able to offer no single supplement but on those where a moderate single supplement applies, we still offer enormous savings for independent solo cruisers. And, all the Lower Single Supplement cruises are only available from our agency.”

Unique Escorted Solo Cruises
Three categories of escorted cruises offered by SoloCruiser include “55+ Cruises”, “All-Inclusive Cruises” and “Theme Solo Cruises”. Solo cruises offers unique features to groups including a dine-around program (you’ll never sit with the same person twice), exclusive shore excursions for participants, pajama parties with hot cocoa and pillow gifts delivered to staterooms many evenings.

Regarding the company’s “55+ Solo Cruises,” Rick White pointed out that the largest segment of the population is baby boomers and over 25% of this group lives alone. “55+ solo or single travelers want to mix and mingle with people who share his or her interests, which tend to be generational. They are more likely to seek out a more refined cruise experience and seek destinations outside the Caribbean.”

SoloCruiser’s Theme Cruises are designed to bring single and solo travelers together who share a common interest such as golf, culinary arts and photography. SoloCruiser also offers the well-heeled single and solo cruiser steep savings on some of the most luxurious ships afloat, including the vessels of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silverseas Cruises. Because new cruises are added each week to SoloCruiser’s web site, the company offers a free newsletter to visitors who want to pounce when a terrific bargain appears. Reservations and additional information may be obtained by visiting SoloCruiser at or calling 888-SOLOCRUISER (888-765-6278).

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Ring in the New Year while Soaking up the Caribbean Sun on a Windstar Cruise

Seattle, WA, Sept 12, 2006 —Party hats, noisemakers and champagne are traditional for ringing in the New Year. Add an elegant Windstar Cruises’ motor sailing yacht in the sparkling azure waters of the Caribbean and the stage is set for a memorable holiday celebration.

“Choosing to go cruising during the holidays can be a liberating experience,” says Diane Moore, Windstar’s vice president of marketing and sales. “An elegant sailing ship in the Caribbean provides the perfect setting, whether they are looking to escape the pressures of the holidays or simply spend quality time with a significant other. Guests can relax and let other people do the cooking and cleaning.”

  • The 308-guest msy Wind Surf sails an eight-day cruise departing December 30 roundtrip from Bridgetown, Barbados. A get-away-from-it-all itinerary first visits Castries, St. Lucia where the ship will stay until 2:00am to ring in the new year. Continuing on, the ship visits Charlotteville, Tobago; Bequia, The Grenadines; Roseau, Dominica; Kingstown, St. Vincent; and Mayreau, The Grenadines.

  • The 148-guest Wind Spirit sails a seven-day cruise departing December 30 from St. Thomas. New Year’s Eve day is spent at the lush island of St. John. The ship departs at 6:00pm for a New Year’s Eve celebration at sea with the next day spent at sea for optimal relaxation. Other islands visited include St. Barthélemy, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda.

At the New Year’s Eve party, a champagne toast in the lounge is accompanied by a ship tradition. The ship’s bell is brought from the Bridge to the lounge where the oldest member of the crew rings out the old year, and the youngest rings in the new year. Party hats and noisemakers are festive accompaniments.

Lazing in the sun on a white sand beach, snorkeling among colorful schools of fish, exploring islands and enjoying gourmet dining aboard the ship fill the days. Complimentary water sports activities from the water sports platform include kayaking, wind surfing, sailing, water skiing and ski tubing. Snorkeling gear may be checked out for the week. Scuba diving excursions for novice and experienced divers are available for a fee and organized shore excursions are available in most ports.

As part of the line’s Degrees of Difference initiative, a multi-million dollar investment will be made in all three ships in 2006 and 2007. For the Caribbean season, the Wind Surf will be fresh from a five-week work period in the fall. Work on the Wind Surf will include improvements to the WindSpa, the creation of two new suites, renovated bathrooms, and a new gathering spot on the main deck called the Yacht Club.

About Windstar Cruises: Seattle-based Windstar Cruises operates three sailing yachts known for their pampering without pretense and their ability to visit the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world’s most treasured destinations. Carrying just 148 to 308 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. For more information including brochures, rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online at

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United States District Judge Denies Class Action Certification in 
Rogue Wave Lawsuit

MIAMI, Sept 12, 2006 – After a rigorous analysis of the facts and law, United States District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga denied the plaintiff’s motion for class certification in the lawsuit stemming from the April 10, 2005 voyage of Norwegian Dawn. The ship encountered heavy weather on its return to New York including an unpredictable large wave. None of the guests and crew suffered serious injuries.

“We are pleased and gratified with Judge Altonaga’s decision that the lawsuit is not appropriate for class action status. From the outset, this frivolous lawsuit has existed only in the minds of the plaintiffs’ lawyers,” said NCL Corporation’s President and CEO Colin Veitch. 

The court victory followed the very favorable conclusions of The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) and the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA), both finding no wrongdoing by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) or Norwegian Dawn’s Captain. In its report released in November 2005, the NTSB concluded that although the rough weather made the voyage unpleasant, “the safety and integrity of the ship was in no way compromised by this incident.”

The NTSB also determined that NCL acted appropriately during the severe weather and tried to accommodate and comfort its passengers. “Rather than attempting to maintain the scheduled arrival time in New York, the master decided to lower the ship’s speed and change its heading for the passengers’ comfort.” Moreover, “the hotel staff tried to accommodate the passengers’ needs and make them comfortable.” Similarly, the BMA found that the action of Norwegian Dawn’s Captain was “prudent and appropriate throughout,“ and that “there is no evidence that any real or perceived urgency to arrive at New York earlier was a factor in the handling of the ship or that Norwegian Cruise Line did anything but support the captain’s on-scene decisions.”

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Carnival Corp Brands Earns Internationally Accredited Environmental Management Certifications

MIAMI, Sept 12, 2006 – The operating companies of Carnival Corporation & plc have successfully completed implementation and certification of their respective environmental management systems to the ISO 14001 standard. Certifications have been issued to the company’s operating units by four different internationally recognized maritime regulatory agencies in recognition of Carnival’s commitment to systematic management of its processes, products and services to minimize environmental impact. The international certification agencies included RINA from Italy, Germanischer Lloyd from Germany, Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance from North America and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the UK.

The certificates attest that each operating unit’s Environmental Management System (EMS) for Operation and Management of Cruise Ships meets the ISO 14001 standard established by the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization, an internationally recognized standards organization that promotes the development and implementation of international standards, including those for environmental management issues. ISO 14001 presents a structured approach to establishing environmental objectives and targets and provides a framework for organizations to apply these tools to enhance their processes.

“Carnival Corporation & plc is committed to operating its vessels in the most environmentally friendly manner possible and to receive this ISO 14001 certification speaks volumes about our environmental preservation and protection efforts,” said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman and CEO. “Carnival Corporation & plc will continue to undertake wide-ranging environmental initiatives, including a significant investment in new technology, to reduce our environmental footprint and we are more committed than ever to our goal of becoming the industry leader in environmental excellence,” he added.

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American Queen to Debut as Majestic America Line Flagship

SEATTLE, Sept. 12 -- On March 9, 2007, the crown jewel of river cruising, the elegant American Queen, makes her debut as the flagship vessel for Majestic America Line. In 2007 the American Queen will cruise the mighty Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, showcasing our nation's rich tapestry of breathtaking natural beauty, distinct regional cultures and vibrant history for an extraordinary American experience guests will treasure for years to come. Named the flagship not just for her size (she's the world's largest river cruise ship), but also her grace and casual elegance, the American Queen joins five other ships in the Majestic America Line fleet plying America's great rivers and coastal waterways in 2007 including the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, Queen of the West, Empress of the North and Executive Explorer.

The American Queen features 46 specially designed journeys in 2007, exploring America's rivers, while calling on fascinating and historic ports along the way. Itineraries include the beloved and once again vibrant city of New Orleans, La. in the south to historic St. Paul, Minn., the boyhood home to American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, in the north. Aboard the American Queen, cruising the rivers provides a completely unique way to experience the heart and soul of America on the waterways that helped shape this great country with the flexibility to cruise from three to seven nights, in extraordinary places, at a wide variety of price points.

"We're proudly looking forward to the American Queen taking her place as the flagship and crown jewel in our fleet of spectacular river cruise ships," said David A. Giersdorf, President, Majestic America Line. "We have anticipated this moment since we acquired the Delta Queen Steamboat Company earlier this year. The ship is as grand as America itself and we're thrilled to offer our guests unparalleled, one-of-a-kind journeys."

A Unique Cruise Experience Aboard the Largest River Cruise Ship
Guests who choose to travel aboard the American Queen will enjoy a one-of- a-kind extraordinary travel experience. The world's largest river cruise ship is spacious yet intimate with 222 staterooms and suites, beautifully appointed community gathering areas that reflect the character of America, and every modern comfort, convenience and service that today's sophisticated travelers expect. The ship is adorned with finely crafted hardwood fixtures, beautiful antiques and gleaming brass details. Dining aboard the American Queen is an event in the elegant J.M. White dining room. This gorgeous room, with its expansive, stained-glass topped windows rising two decks high was modeled after the main cabin of the J.M. White, one of the most luxurious steamboats ever to cruise America's rivers. The ship's spacious public areas offer something to appeal to every traveler, whether they choose to relax and enjoy a book in the Mark Twain Gallery or take in a lively, Broadway-quality performance in the two-deck Grand Saloon, one of the most elegant entertainment spaces on the river. Each of Majestic America Line's ships provide an unforgettable cruise experience with exceptional cuisine, high-quality entertainment, rewarding and invigorating enrichment programs and an extraordinary level of warm, attentive service from the energetic all-American crew.

Spend Spring Exploring the Lower Mississippi
To properly commemorate the start of the 2007 cruise season for the American Queen -- and the inaugural year of Majestic America Line -- the company will celebrate in style with inaugural festivities in the Crescent City of New Orleans prior to the American Queen's maiden departure under the Majestic America Line flag. For the upcoming spring season, the American Queen will explore the Lower Mississippi, starting with a seven-night cruise from New Orleans to Memphis, Tenn. Guests will be immersed in Southern hospitality, charm and culture and along the way will soak up the Delta Blues in Helena, Ark. at the Delta Cultural Center; learn more about the siege of Vicksburg in Vicksburg, Miss.; and visit the beautiful plantation homes in Natchez, Miss. and St. Francisville, La. Guests can choose to explore this popular region from March through May, with departures from either New Orleans or Memphis or with a roundtrip journey from New Orleans.

Savor Summer While Traveling America's Heartland
In early summer, the American Queen journeys up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, straight into America's Heartland. The ship will carry guests through the scenic panorama that embodies the region -- from pristine farms nestled in rolling terrain to steep bluffs that rise from rivers dotted with wooded islands. Shore adventures along the way allow guests to stroll through the Victorian architecture in the historic district of Red Wing, Minn.; experience the life of a barge pilot at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa; and visit the boyhood home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens -- better known as Mark Twain -- in Hannibal, Mo. Guests can choose to travel America's Heartland aboard the American Queen from June through November. 

Enjoy Fall Foliage on the River
The splendor that comes from seeing miles of river shores awash in a dozen shades of red, gold and auburn cannot be understated, and there is no better way to experience it than when aboard the American Queen during one of her seven, Fall Foliage-themed cruises. These carefully crafted trips will make port in picture postcard towns such as Winona, Minn., a town founded by a steamboat captain in 1851; La Crosse, Wis., with its Amish Country flavor; and Alton, Ill., where guests can learn about the beginnings of Lewis and Clark's magnificent cross-country trek. From late September through mid-November, travelers may choose from Fall Foliage journeys between St. Louis and St. Paul, Minn. or St. Louis and Memphis. 

Experience a Holiday Season Filled with Southern Hospitality
During the holidays, the American Queen will return to the Lower Mississippi. From November through the New Year, guests will celebrate the holiday season steeped in unique and memorable Southern customs, including traditional bonfires on the levee to welcome Papa Noel. Guests will celebrate the bounty of Thanksgiving aboard a special Memphis-to-New Orleans cruise, and can start an unforgettable New Year's tradition with the roundtrip journey from New Orleans to ring in 2008 in style. 

Early Bookings Ensure Best Choices and Greatest Value
Limited space and the desire to be among the first guests to experience a Majestic America Line cruise are driving travelers to booking their 2007 inaugural year cruises now. Because of that and the special savings of up to 20 percent plus additional very best buy savings of $250 on select March and April departures aboard the American Queen guests are encouraged to reserve their travel by October 31, 2006 to ensure the greatest choice and availability of departures. Other inaugural year departures provide early booking savings of up to 10 percent (up to $700 per couple). For additional information, please visit, call a reservation specialist at (800) 543-1949 or contact your professional travel agent.

About Majestic America Line
Majestic America Line, formed through the combination of American West Steamboat Company and Delta Queen Steamboat Company, is the premier river and coastal cruising company in the United States, offering uniquely American cruise itineraries that provide an extraordinary travel experience. With a fleet of U.S.-flagged and built ships, Majestic America Line travels America's great rivers and coastal waterways from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest to the Heartland and the Lower Mississippi. The company's specially designed ships deliver an unequalled boutique cruise experience that combines an unmatched attention to quality with deluxe comfort and warm, attentive service from an all-American crew. Based in Seattle, Majestic America Line is a division of Ambassadors Cruise Group, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ambassadors International, Inc.

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MSC Cruises Offers 2-for-1 Stateroom Special on Select MSC Lirica 
Caribbean & Panama Sailings

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Sept. 11 -- For a limited time only, MSC Cruises is offering a special 2-staterooms-for-the-price-of-1 promotion on selected Caribbean and Panama sailings of MSC Lirica. Prices start from just $50 per person per day (after discount, not including government fees and taxes). The offer is valid for new reservations made through Oct. 15 in available category 1-10 staterooms on MSC Lirica's 11-night Nov. 15 and Dec. 7 Deep Caribbean itineraries and the Nov. 26 and Jan. 9 Panama itineraries.

"This is a fantastic offer that makes it extremely affordable for the entire family or a group of friends to share a 'Beautiful. Passionate. Italian.' experience to some of the Caribbean's most magnificent and exotic locales," says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA.

On the Deep Caribbean sailings, for example, the average rate for four passengers starts at $550 per person, double occupancy after the 2-for-1 stateroom offer, while the starting average rate on MSC Lirica's select Panama itineraries begins at $600 per person, double occupancy. MSC Lirica's Deep Caribbean roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale include three days at sea and port calls at San Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Tortola and Samana (including the cruise line's private paradise at Cayo Levantado in the Dominican Republic).

The Panama itineraries include four days at sea and visits to Ocho Rios, Cartagena, San Blas, Cristobal (Panama), Puerto Limon and Roatan Island before returning to Fort Lauderdale. On each itinerary, guests can explore the tropical destinations, their history and culture, with ample time to enjoy the elegance, Italian cuisine, ambiance, and exceptional service onboard an MSC Cruises' ship.

For more information about MSC Cruises, or a local travel agent.

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Carnival Cruise Lines & AMC Team Up to Offer the “You Cast Your Crew” Contest at

Miami, FL - September 11, 2006 - Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s most popular cruise line, and AMC, basic cable’s premiere destination dedicated to movies and movie culture, announced today they have teamed up to offer “You Cast Your Crew,” a one-of-a-kind contest where contestants compete to win a Carnival Caribbean “Fun Ship” cruise vacation for the winner and up to 19 family members and friends. From now through September 30, contestants may log onto Carnival’s new social networking website, to enter. The contest will be promoted via 30-second television spots on AMC, as well as through advertisements in People magazine and various e-marketing channels.

Entrants are asked to supply basic personal information and to fill out a fun and easy multiple choice survey, which includes questions related to their movie preferences. Participants will then be asked to submit a short essay on why they feel their group should be chosen to win the grand prize Carnival cruise. All entries will be judged on appropriateness of theme, originality, creativity and story flow. The winner may choose from among Carnival’s wide variety of three to seven-day Caribbean itineraries. The prize has an estimated value of up to $15,000. Ten second-prize winners will receive a rolling duffel bag filled with Carnival and AMC branded merchandise, as well as a portable DVD player.

“A Carnival cruise is the perfect environment for reconnecting with friends and family and the ‘You Cast Your Crew’ contest offers a terrific means for encouraging consumers to visit and learn just how easy it is to put a cruise group together,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. “Partnering with AMC to promote this contest is an excellent synergy given the high quality, cinematic programming offered by this outstanding TV network,” he added. is an interactive community website that makes it fun and easy for families and friends to plan a group vacation and share information with other cruisers. Consumers can utilize to create and send customized “e-vites” to others to join their “Fun Ship” vacation group. Group members can also review the in-depth information resources on the web site’s real-time message boards to help organize and plan their trip. 

AMC and Carnival Cruise Lines’ You Cast Your Crew Contest. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Contest Period begins on 9/4/06 at 12:00:00 am ET and ends on 9/30/06 at 11:59:59 pm ET. Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are 21 years of age or older. Void where prohibited. Official Rules available online at

For additional information on Carnival’s “Fun Ship” vacations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Norwegian Cruise Line to Build Up to Three New 
Third Generation Freestyle Cruising Ships

Miami, Thursday, Sept 7, 2006 -- NCL Corporation Ltd. announced today that it has entered into a contract with Aker Yards S.A. of France to build up to three new cruise ships, totaling 12,600 berths for delivery between 2009 and 2011. The contract price, comprising two firm ships and one option, is €2.17 billion, or approximately $2.8 billion at today’s exchange rate. The ships will be built for the company’s Norwegian Cruise Line brand (NCL) and will each be approximately 150,000 Gross Tons and 4,200 passenger berths. The order is firm for two ships for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2009 and the second quarter of 2010, and there is an option for a third sister ship for delivery in the first quarter of 2011. The contract price for each of the first two ships is €735 million, and for the optional third ship is €700 million.

The new ships, with the project name “F3”, will incorporate a world of new features and will represent NCL’s third generation of Freestyle Cruising ships, a further evolution of NCL’s progressive dismantling of the structure, regimentation, and constraints of the traditional cruise experience. Details of the ship’s design will be released closer to delivery. The cabin mix will be the richest of any NCL ship to date, and will include the feature that 100% of outside staterooms will have private balconies. In total, the ship will have 1,415 balcony staterooms and suites.

NCL’s unique Freestyle Cruising offers vacationers a less structured, more relaxed, more resort-style experience than traditional cruising. It is characterized, in particular, by having no fixed dining times, no formal dress codes, up to ten different restaurants and even more lounges, bars, theatres and other entertainment and activity options. The new ship design will offer 60% more passenger space than the largest ships built so far by NCL, and will use that space to introduce a major leap forward in the flexibility and variety of the cruise experience, entirely in keeping with the Freestyle Cruising philosophy already established. The unique use of space on these new ships is designed for optimal cost efficiency per capacity day, as well as being highly attractive in terms of cabin revenue mix and onboard revenue generation. The design is a unique blend of cruise industry best practice, offering both an exciting, high quality product, and a space efficient, cost efficient framework in which to deliver that product.

The company is currently undergoing a complete renewal of its fleet and these new orders, when delivered, are projected to take the combined Norwegian Cruise Line and NCL America fleets, in 2010, to a position of being by far the youngest fleet amongst the major North American lines, with an average ship size, fleet wide, of over 2,500 passenger lower berths, and with over 50% of all staterooms fleet wide offering private balconies.

NCL’s President and CEO, Colin Veitch, said: “This order is a strong statement of our confidence in the North American cruise industry and NCL’s leading role in it. Our U.S. flag start-up costs have obscured, for the past two years, the attractive financial returns on the international fleet of ships that we have built since Star Cruises bought NCL. All our growth from now on will be in this strongly profitable sector of our fleet, and will take us well past the goal we set ourselves of having the youngest fleet in the industry and a transformed financial profile by 2010.”

The contract has been placed with Aker Yards S.A., formerly Chantiers de l’Atlantique, in St. Nazaire, France. Since the spring of this year, Aker Yards S.A. has been a subsidiary of the Norwegian shipbuilding group Aker Yards ASA and a sister company to the Finnish shipyard Aker Yards Finland. With this order, these two yards between them have built, or are building, all ten of the largest cruise ships in the world. Commenting on the choice of yard, Veitch said: “We have successfully built exclusively in Germany for the last ten years but, with our expanding new build program, we have felt the need to work with an additional yard. With this new order we are, in fact, re-connecting with not one but two yards that we know well from prior times.” The French yard and the Finnish yard have both built for NCL’s earlier generation of ships in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The new order is conditional on financing, completion of the design specification, and Star Cruises shareholder approval.

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Princess Introduces New Transportation Option to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Sept. 7 -- Travelers from the Northeast sailing aboard Princess ships from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal next summer will enjoy a convenient new transportation option to get to and from their ship as the company introduces a pre- and post-cruise motorcoach transfer service from a variety of Northeast locations. The new service begins in May 2007 for passengers sailing aboard Crown Princess' summer Caribbean cruises from Brooklyn, and continues through the ship's Canada/New England fall cruises. Four unique roundtrip routes serve all the major metropolitan areas in the Northeast, including the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area; eastern Pennsylvania; Massachusetts; and the Connecticut/Providence, Rhode Island area.

"A traveler's vacation can start that much sooner with this new service because passengers can relax on the way to their ship without worry about driving or parking at the cruise terminal," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "The program offers competitive rates and a convenient schedule that will make cruising from Brooklyn even more attractive to local passengers."

Princess' Northeast Motorcoach program includes four routes. The first travels from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore; Wilmington, Delaware; Philadelphia and Burlington, New Jersey. Route two runs through Pennsylvania, departing from Harrisburg and traveling to Lancaster, Reading, Allentown and Easton. The third route begins in Boston, with subsequent stops in Worcester and Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut. The fourth itinerary departs from Providence, RI and travels through Connecticut with stops in New London, New Haven and Bridgeport. All routes operate in reverse as well for the post-cruise return home.

Princess' Northeast Motorcoach Service is available from May 12 to October 13, 2007. All routes feature comfortable, air-conditioned motorcoaches and can accommodate wheelchair passengers with prior notification. Roundtrip fares for the Northeast Motorcoach Program range between $100 and $155 per person, depending on pickup location. Additional information about the new motorcoach program is available through a professional travel agent or by calling 1-800-PRINCESS.

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Cruise West Announces 2007 Alaska Itineraries

SEATTLE, WA, Sept 6, 2006 – Cruise West, the most experienced cruise line traveling Alaska, will offer nine exceptional itineraries in utilizing its up-close, casual and personal style in the Great Land, British Columbia and Russian Far East for the 2007 season. From the Inside Passage to the Bering Sea, Cruise West will explore remote islands, native cultures and awe-inspiring wildlife on seven of the line’s distinctive small ships.

Exploring the Inside Passage
Cruise West offers four distinct itineraries to explore Alaska’s Inside Passage, traveling close enough to see the barnacles on a whale’s tail and feel the chill of the glaciers. All itineraries sail through Glacier Bay National Park, a 3.3-million-acre wonderland. Cruise West has become the leading cruise line to travel in Glacier Bay, and, in 2005, was awarded a permit from the National Park Service allowing the most entries into the Park of any line for the next 10 years. While in Glacier Bay, guests are joined by a National Park Service Ranger and Hoonah Tlingit Cultural Interpreters to get a deeper understanding of culture and wildlife in the region.

Glacier Bay Highlights provides a shorter getaway in the remote wilderness of the Inside Passage. During these four- and five-day round trip voyages from Juneau, guests will visit the Gold Rush capital of Skagway and the artistic community of Haines, and search for brown and black bears, coyote, seals, and wolverine while traveling through Glacier Bay. The Glacier Bay Highlights itinerary sails May through August 2007 on the Spirit of Alaska.

Alaska’s Inside Passage travels between Ketchikan and Juneau for nine days and has become the traditional trip for first-time Alaska guests. This journey provides the one-of-a-kind opportunity to visit with the Tsimshian elders of the Metlakatla community, cruise through the mystical Misty Fjords, and enjoy a performance by the Norwegian Leikarring Dancers in Petersburg. The itinerary sails May through August 2007 on the Spirit of Yorktown and the Spirit of ’98.

Wilderness Inside Passage is perfect for nature and wilderness enthusiasts, as Cruise West offers a Whale Sighting guarantee. Should whales not be spotted on a sailing, the line will refund $250 to each guest. Deep in the Inside Passage, guests will explore narrow inlets, beautiful fjords, and peaceful coves. This nine-day itinerary sails round trip from Juneau in May through early-September on the Spirit of Discovery and the Spirit of Endeavour.

Gold Rush Inside Passage travels the route of the original Klondike Gold Rush stampeders. While sailing between Seattle and Juneau, guests will see the charming ports and scenic waterways much as they were back during the gold rush period of the late 1800s. This 11-day itinerary sails in May and late-August through September on six different Cruise West ships.

Cruise West’s flagship, the Spirit of Oceanus, travels along the paths of the world’s great explorers on three distinct voyages from Vancouver through the Bering Sea and Russian Far East.

On the 25-day In Harriman’s Wake voyage, following the path of Edward Henry Harriman’s history-making voyage of 1899, guests sail between Vancouver and Nome, Alaska. Along the way, they will visit native villages in the Bering Sea, cruise in the Arctic Circle, view the 76-mile Hubbard Glacier and visit Siberian Eskimo villages. This itinerary is available on June 22 and July 14, 2007.

Coastal Odyssey, sailing between Vancouver and Whittier, Alaska, provides the opportunity to visit both the entire Inside Passage and Prince William Sound, bringing guests up-close to Alaska’s greatest wonders. The 13-day trip sails eight times between May and August 2007.

Voyage to the Bering Sea sails to the Aleutians and remote islands of the Far North and the distant Russian Far East. This 14-day journey travels round trip from Anchorage on July 2 and July 14, 2007.

Cruise West offers one of the few overnight itineraries to Prince William Sound, a 3,500-mile shoreline filled with hidden islands and enfolded fjords, which is only accessible by small ships. These four- and five-day trips sail round trip from Whittier and float up-close to glaciers while searching for sea otters, seals and mountain goats. Glacier Wonderland offers trips in May through August 2007 aboard the Spirit of Columbia.

Cruise West’s best seller, the Best of Both Worlds is a 9- or 10-day adventure of cruising flying, traveling by motorcoach and rail into the highlights of Alaska. See Denali National Park, Glacier Bay, Icy Strait and much more between Juneau and Ketchikan. This itinerary is offered from May through August on the Spirit of Alaska.

For further details on these itineraries, excursions and land tour extensions, visit At Cruise West, taxes, port charges, fees, fuel surcharges and onboard services are all included in itinerary prices. Guests are neither expected nor required to tip for onboard service.

~ Up-Close, Casual and Personal Cruising ~
Cruise West – a second-generation, family-owned business and the largest American-owned cruising company – offers the opportunity to explore remote, worldwide locales by providing distinctive, one-of-a-kind, personalized itineraries not offered by the traditional large ship cruise lines. Cruise West’s smaller ships – 9 in all – hold between 78-138 guests each, and the casual style onboard encourages relaxation and congenial interaction between guests and crew alike. The experience is personally enriching through expert Exploration Leaders providing onboard narrative and lectures, special local guest speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds, and the library provided on each vessel. All have forward lounges and ample outdoor deck space for viewing and photographing wildlife and scenery. All vessels are also equipped with inflatable landing boats for close-up exploration of remote areas and shore landings. To make reservations or request a brochure, visit or call (800) 888-9378.

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Ballroom Dance, Cabaret & Wellness Lead Crystal's 2007 Line-up of New Theme Cruises

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 6 -- From ballroom dancing to wellness, luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises will showcase 12 different theme cruise topics on nearly half of its worldwide itineraries in 2007. Together, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will offer 64 destination rich cruises, of which 26 will feature dedicated theme programming. New topics such as ballroom dancing and cabaret performances join established favorites including golf, jazz, comedy, film and the line's renowned Crystal Wine & Food Festival. Also new next year are two Mind, Body & Spirit cruises offering a holistic, more balanced focus on overall wellness beyond traditional exercise regimes. Extended courses in music by Yamaha, language by Berlitz and even computer studies are offered as part of the line's progressive Creative Learning Institute, and a "Tall Ships" cruise with an overnight in Stockholm showcasing the impressive participants in the world's largest sailing event.

"At Crystal, we place tremendous focus on creating stimulating and engaging enrichment programs and entertainment on every worldwide voyage, and a theme cruise allows us to dial-up a particular topic with added activities bridging land and sea," says Kristin Turner, Crystal's manager of entertainment.

Long renowned for its onboard enrichment programming, Crystal seeks to tap the interests of today's savvy traveler with a varied roster of themes emphasizing destination, culture, history and contemporary trends. The 2007 theme cruise line-up includes:

  • New! Big Band & Ballroom Dance -- plugging into the ballroom dance craze sweeping the nation, Crystal adds dance instruction to a Trans-Atlantic Big Band cruise, recalling the gilded days of oceanic crossings.

  • New! Cabaret at Sea -- the Mabel Mercer Foundation, so named for the legendary cabaret performer, celebrates great American composers.

  • New! Mind, Body & Spirit -- guest instructors focus on yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and overall wellness aboard and ashore.

  • Comprehensive Creative Learning Institute -- expanded curriculums of progressive study offered in music, art and language; a computer course at the line's Computer University@Sea offers transferable college credit during Crystal Serenity's 2007 World Cruise.

  • Crystal Comedy Club at Sea -- featuring talented comedians from the nation's top comedy clubs.

  • Film & Theatre Festival -- guest speakers and film authorities salute films and theatre during a London to New York Trans-Atlantic crossing.

  • Golf -- PGA instructors and golf celebrities host clinics and share stories on the PGA Tour. Optional Crystal Adventures shore excursions offer play at famous courses throughout the British Isles.

  • Jazz -- ensembles perform soulful sounds and industry experts explore this art form on a cruise through the Caribbean.

  • President's Cruise -- Company President Gregg L. Michel and his family host a special Canary Island sailing.

  • Smithsonian Journeys -- destination-specific lectures from the cultural and educational arm of the Smithsonian Institution bring added enrichment to destinations steeped in centuries of history, from China and Southeast Asia to Turkey, Greece and Italy.

  • Tall Ships Cruise -- an overnight stay in Stockholm spotlights the more than 80 ships measuring 325 feet during the world's largest sailing event.

  • Crystal Wine & Food Festival -- world-renowned chefs and wine experts share their talents at lectures, special meals and tastings on board and ashore during the line's 11th annual festival offered on 10 different voyages.

Crystal's theme cruises are a vital component of the Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program of renowned speakers and celebrity guest lecturers offered on every Crystal cruise. For additional information, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Families Get More Room for Less this Fall on Select NCL Cruises

NCL Corporation (NCL) announced a new Family Plan today for families traveling on select NCL and NCL America ships this fall. Guests will receive 10% off the Cruise Fare for the second stateroom when booking a mini-suite (category AF). Mini-suites include a sitting area, private balcony, two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed, luxury bath and shower.

This family-friendly special is available on all sailings of the Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Star and Pride of Hawaii. New individual reservations must be booked 180 days prior to sailing and blackout dates do apply. Guests requesting this promotion must be booked on the same sailing. For reservations, contact your local travel professional or call NCL at 1-800-327-7030.

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Princess Becomes First in Cruise Industry to Convert to All-Electronic Tickets

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Sept. 5 -- Starting this week Princess passengers will receive their travel documents sooner and more conveniently with the company's new eTickets program. The line will be the first in the industry to convert completely to electronic ticketing, and will also provide the earliest cruise documents available to passengers. Princess eTickets will give passengers 24/7 access to print out their cruise details and boarding passes whenever they wish, and will deliver final booking and travel information through the company's online Cruise Personalizer.

"There's nothing that travelers appreciate more than having their travel details confirmed well in advance and in-hand so they can rest assured their vacation will be their perfect escape," said Jan Swartz, senior vice president of customer service and sales for Princess. "This is yet another online innovation that delivers great customer service and convenience to our passengers," she said, referring to the line's earlier roll-outs of the industry's first online advance shore excursion and spa reservations.

With the new eTickets, not only will passengers receive their travel documentation much quicker than the current mailed ticket package, the new technology provides passengers with their Princess Air details as soon as 75 days in advance -- earlier than any other cruise line. By receiving this travel information sooner, passengers have a greater opportunity to finalize their vacation plans and make changes if needed. Replacing the company's traditional paper documents, Princess eTickets will begin fleetwide for most sailings departing on and after November 17, 2006 (Golden Princess will begin with the December 16 sailing). Passengers sailing on or after this date will be able to access their boarding passes and travel summaries starting this week. The program currently applies only to bookings from North American passengers.

"We've been testing eTickets on select groups of passengers for several months now," said Swartz. "Feedback has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and our customers have told us what a great convenience it is. Giving our passengers their cruise and air details much sooner and, at their fingertips, provides them more control over their final travel arrangements, which is what we know is important to them."

With Princess eTickets, travelers are provided with a comprehensive, personalized travel summary including cruise and flight information, itinerary, special request information, important notices, packages and transfers, shore excursion and spa pre-reservations, and a new boarding pass to be printed out and brought to the ship for check-in. Each passenger's travel summary will be available through the online Cruise Personalizer once the booking is confirmed. Air travel arrangements made through the company's Princess Air program will be included in this summary as soon as 75 days in advance of travel, well ahead of the industry standard of 30-day notification. 

When passengers complete their pre-cruise immigration information and their reservation has been fully paid, passengers will be able to access their new online boarding pass. Passengers who complete their information forms in a timely fashion will be able to print their travel documentation much more quickly than the traditional mailed ticket package, which is currently sent at 30 days prior to the sailing. The travel summary can also be easily forwarded to friends and family who might need a copy of the itinerary information.

Suite passengers, as well as Platinum and Elite level members of Princess' Captain's Circle loyalty program, will receive a Preferred Boarding Pass to use at the Preferred Boarding check-in desk at the pier.

Passengers will continue to receive by mail Princess' popular package of pre-cruise documents including a welcome letter, Cruise Answer Book, Adventures Ashore excursion booklet, passage contract, Princess Travel Care details (if applicable) and luggage tags. This packet will be mailed approximately 75 days prior to their sailing date -- earlier than the current 60-day-prior mailings.

"We've been an innovator in pre-cruise planning as we strive to make our passengers' pre-cruise preparation quicker and easier," noted Swartz. "We pioneered online shore excursion reservations, and even today, our Adventures Ashore tours are available for booking as early as 90 days out--the earliest in the industry. We were also the first line to offer online reservations for spa treatments. We want to make it as easy as possible for a passenger to plan their perfect vacation with us."

Travelers without internet access can receive their travel summary and boarding pass from their travel agent, or Princess will send them a copy of the travel summary in the mail upon request. Additional information about Princess eTickets is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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From Popular Gems to Tranquil Islands—Windstar’s Caribbean Itineraries
 Visit A Diverse Selection of Ports

Seattle, WA, Sept 5 — Windstar Cruises’ 148-guest msy Wind Spirit and 308-guest msy Wind Surf set sail in the Caribbean this winter on 41 voyages featuring six different itineraries roundtrip from St. Thomas and Barbados. Sailing from December through March, both ships combine out-of-the-way and quaint Caribbean ports with an intimate experience akin to sailing on one’s personal mega-yacht.

“We’ve put a lot of thought into creating itineraries for both one week and two week cruises in the Caribbean,” says Diane Moore, Windstar Cruises’ vice president of marketing and sales. “The two week voyage on the Wind Surf visits popular ports such as St. Barts and St. Martin, and also gives guests a glimpse of a quieter side of the Caribbean with less visited islands such as The Grenadines and Tobago.”

The Wind Spirit sails roundtrip from St. Thomas visiting St. John, St. Martin, St. Barthélemy, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda. The variety of islands visited provides guests an interesting mix of the Caribbean. Guests can shop in chic St. Barts, explore unspoiled St. John where more than two-thirds of the island is a U.S. National Park, and see the famous Baths on Virgin Gorda. Holiday and New Year’s cruises feature slightly different itineraries with a day spent at sea for celebrating the holidays.

The Wind Surf sails alternating seven-day northbound and southbound itineraries roundtrip from Bridgetown, Barbados. Combined, they offer an ideal opportunity to sail for 14-days visiting islands in the windward and leeward chain. The northbound itinerary visits Nevis; St. Martin; St. Barthélemy; Basse-Terre and Les Saintes, Guadeloupe; and St. Lucia. To experience an even more tranquil side of the Caribbean, the southbound itinerary visits Bequia, Dominica, St. Lucia, The Grenadines, Grenada and Tobago. Both itineraries offer a mix of attractions—white sand beaches for sunning and swimming, tropical forests for nature hikes, quaint towns for a peek at how the local’s live, and parks and historic sites to explore. For the 2006 holiday season, an eight-day New Year’s cruise includes a day at sea and a late-night departure to ring in the New Year from Castries, St. Lucia.

Complimentary water sports from the water sports platform include kayaking, wind surfing, boat rides, sailing, water skiing and ski tubing. Snorkeling gear may be checked out for the week. Scuba diving excursions for novice and experienced divers are available for a fee and organized shore excursions are available in most ports.

As part of the line’s Degrees of Difference initiative, a multi-million dollar investment will be made in all three ships in 2006 and 2007. This investment will focus on structural and mechanical operations, along with improvements to guest areas, such as new stateroom amenities and extensive bathroom renovations. For the Caribbean season, the Wind Surf will be fresh from a five-week work period in the fall. Work on the Wind Surf will also include improvements to the WindSpa, the library, and the creation of two new suites.

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Carnival Cruise Lines' Ships Receive Environmental Certification from International Classification Society

MIAMI, Sept 5 -- Carnival Cruise Lines has received certification of its ISO14001:2004 Environmental Management System (EMS) from Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, an accredited ship classification society. The certification applies to Carnival Cruise Lines’ fleet of 21 ships and its Miami headquarters. The requirements for certification are established by the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization, an internationally recognized standards organization that promotes the development and implementation of international standards, including those for environmental management issues. 

“Carnival Cruise Lines owes its livelihood to the sea and receiving ISO 14001 certification from Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance further demonstrates our continued commitment to preserving and protecting our important natural resources,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival Cruise Lines president and CEO. 

The EMS system provides a framework by which Carnival Cruise Lines evaluates its environmental impact and serves as a foundation to enhance the company’s wide-ranging environmental performance and compliance initiatives. The system includes requirements for employee training and auditing, corrective and preventive actions, regulatory compliance instructions and practices, and measurement of stated goals and objectives. Procedures of the system include identifying activities and services for potential environmental impact and opportunities for enhancing the company’s environmental goals and objectives.

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Costa Unveils 2007-2008 Caribbean Itineraries 

MIAMI, Sept. 5 -- Turquoise-blue tropical waters combined with warm, authentic Italian hospitality set the scene once again for Cruising Italian Style with Costa in the 07-08 Caribbean season. From November 2007 through April 2008, Europe's Number One Cruise Line will sail in celebration throughout the Caribbean as 2008 marks 60 years of cruising for the Italian cruise company. The season also features the introduction of the beautiful Costa Fortuna to the region, while the breathtaking Costa Mediterranea will return with new Saturday-to-Saturday itineraries. The complete Costa Caribbean 07/08 brochure will be released at the end of September.

Costa offers a signature Italian flair that creates a festive onboard atmosphere filled with love, laughter and la dolce vita in the Caribbean. From authentic Italian cuisine to afternoon bocce ball games and tarantella dancing under the stars, guests sailing with Costa experience the romance of Italy in the tropics.

"Guests who have sailed with us in the past tell us what a special and unique experience we offer in the Caribbean - a feeling of Italian warmth and excitement that has become synonymous with Costa," said Lynn Torrent, President and CEO of Costa Cruise Lines - North America. "This particular season will be especially exciting for past and new guests alike as we celebrate 60 years of cruising, new itineraries and a new deployment."

Costa Fortuna Newly Deployed to Caribbean
Inspired by grand Italian liners of the past, the 105,000-ton Costa Fortuna will sail the Eastern, Western and Southeastern Caribbean for the first time in the 07/08 season. Inaugurated in 2003, this sister ship to the Costa Magica has a double occupancy capacity of 2,720, with many staterooms featuring ocean views and balconies. Stunning design elements of the ship include a spectacular display featuring 26 models of past and present members of Costa's fleet showcased from the ceiling of the main atrium. Western Caribbean ports of call include Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos. In the Eastern Caribbean, ports of call featured include San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Catalina Island and La Romana, Dominican Republic; and Nassau, Bahamas. Southeastern Caribbean ports of call include San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Maarten, Leeward Islands; Tortola, British Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas.

Costa Mediterranea Returns with New Saturday-to-Saturday Itineraries
With design features inspired by the lavish palazzos of Italy, the 86,000-ton Costa Mediterranea boasts spectacularly designed public spaces, making the ship feel much like a floating palace. Also inaugurated in 2003, this ship has a double occupancy capacity of 2,114 and features numerous staterooms with ocean views and balconies. Western Caribbean ports of call include Key West, Florida; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos. Eastern Caribbean ports of call featured include San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Catalina Island and La Romana, Dominican Republic; Nassau, Bahamas and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos.

Only Cruise Line Sailing to Bermuda from Ft. Lauderdale
The only cruise line sailing to Bermuda out of Ft. Lauderdale, Costa will feature one April itinerary to the popular island getaway for the 2007/2008 season. One seven-night sailing departing Ft. Lauderdale on April 6 aboard the Costa Fortuna features two overnights in King's Wharf.

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Water, Water - Everywhere! Additional Stateroom Amenities Enhance the Disney Cruise Line Experience 

CELEBRATION, FL -- Disney Cruise Line guests soon will be able to absorb the enriching benefits of the ocean while sailing on the high seas. Beginning in October, the cruise line is introducing H2O Plus Spa bath and shower products to all 877 guest accommodations on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. These high-end products, derived from marine botanicals, bring a piece of the ocean into every stateroom. The high-quality, water-based H2O Plus products being stocked on the Disney Cruise Line ships include Sea Marine Revitalizing Shampoo, Marine Collagen Conditioner and Hydrating Body Butter from the H2O Plus premium Spa line -- all in uniquely designed, co-branded bottles. Guests staying in concierge-level suites will find additional H20 Plus offerings such as Sea Salt Body Wash and Solar Relief Gel. 

The upgrade of every family-friendly stateroom onboard both the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder also features new Sealy Posturepedic Premium Plush Euro-top mattresses, new pillows and Frette 300 thread-count, 100 percent Egyptian cotton linens. In addition, larger, more luxurious bath towels and bath sheets have been added to all stateroom bathrooms. In all concierge-level suites, there are comfortable duvets and a new "Pillow Talk" program which allows concierge guests to choose from a selection of hypo-allergenic, feather and therapeutic memory foam pillow options.

A leader in the family cruise segment, Disney Cruise Line offers three-, four- and seven-night itineraries to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Land/sea vacation packages that include a stay at the Walt Disney World Resort also are available. This fall, the Disney Wonder will sail two first-ever 10- and 11-night itineraries to the Southern Caribbean. In the summer of 2007, for the first time, Disney Cruise Line will reposition the Disney Magic to the Port of Barcelona and offer alternating 10-night and 11-night Mediterranean cruise vacations to Europe. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit or call 888-DCL-2500.

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Renowned Culinary Expert Susie Heller to Sail Aboard Nautica

Miami, FL — Oceania Cruises announced that Susie Heller, Executive Producer for Jacques Pépin and Culinary Producer for Julia Child on a total of six series and three specials, will share her keen culinary insights aboard Nautica’s January 6, 2007 sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore. Having worked with more than 50 of the world’s most famous chefs and culinary personalities of our day, she has authored or collaborated on numerous best-selling cookbooks, including The French Laundry Cookbook and Bouchon with Thomas Keller. Heller’s enthralling lectures will take guests into the behind the scenes worlds of some of the greatest chefs and culinary personalities of our time. In addition to her keen insights, the culinary experience will include special menus featuring a selection of favorites from Susie, Jacques Pépin and Julia Child. 

"Our guests relish insightful lectures and hold a deep appreciation for culinary entertainment," stated Bob Binder, Executive Vice President of Oceania Cruises. "We are extremely pleased to welcome Susie aboard to learn more about her latest projects and fascinating culinary anecdotes.” 

Highlights of Susie Heller’s Lecture Series

  • The Essence of Chocolate - A chocolate lover’s dream, Susie will share tips on working with fine chocolates along with recipes and techniques from the newly published book she co-authored, The Essence of Chocolate.
  • Happy in the Kitchen - Susie has worked with over 50 top chefs from around the country including such culinary luminaries as Thomas Keller of French Laundry, Michael Chiarello of Tra Vigne, and Michel Richard, the self-proclaimed “Captain Crunch”. She will share some favorite recipes and tips from Happy in the Kitchen, the newly published book she co-authored with Michel Richard.
  • Jacques and Julia - Susie shares stories about working with Jacques Pépin for more than 20 years and the amazing relationship she shared with Julia Child. She talks about working with this dynamic duo on six series and three specials and the world of producing cooking shows and cookbooks for the country’s top chefs. In addition, we will show a never before aired interview and cooking segment with Jacques Pépin from the upcoming Spring 2007 PBS series Chef’s Story.

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Special Transatlantic Experiences Bring MSC Lirica, MSC Opera 
Back to the Caribbean

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – America’s favorite Italian cruise ships – MSC Opera and MSC Lirica – will sail magical themed transatlantic voyages to return to their American homeport in Fort Lauderdale for the exciting 2006-2007 Caribbean vacation season. Guests on these special journeys will have the opportunity to explore exciting ports on both sides of the Atlantic and enjoy leisurely days at sea. Special themed programs will immerse travelers on the MSC Lirica in beautiful music and invite MSC Opera passengers to enrich their well-being and partake in special holiday celebrations on the transatlantic crossings, adding another dimension to the “Beautiful. Passionate. Italian.” experience found only on MSC Cruises. 

Celebrate Music on MSC Lirica 
MSC Cruises celebrates the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth with MSC Lirica’s westbound transatlantic itinerary. The journey is dedicated to beautiful music and insights into the history and universal language of music. MSC Lirica departs Genoa Oct. 29, calling at Barcelona, Casablanca, Funchal, Barbados, Margarita Island, Martinique and San Juan and offering a total of eight days at sea before arriving in Fort Lauderdale Nov. 15. 

MSC Lirica’s 2006-07 Caribbean season features exotic 11-night Deep Caribbean and Panama itineraries roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale through April 18. The Dec. 18 Panama itinerary is a special Holiday sailing, and guests can celebrate the arrival of the New Year on the Dec. 29 Deep Caribbean itinerary. The ship begins her return journey to Hamburg on April 29. MSC Opera’s Well-Being Cruise.

MSC Opera departs Genoa Dec. 16 on a 17-night “Well-being Cruise” that focuses on relaxation and regeneration. Guests can learn the magical techniques of massage and aromatherapy, as well other fitness and beauty treatments available at the expert hands of the Bali masseuses. Plus, they can celebrate the holidays at sea Italian-style with this Holiday/New Year’s itinerary. The ship visits Barcelona, Casablanca, Tenerife, Martinique, San Juan, St. Thomas, Samana and Nassau and spends a total of eight days at sea before arriving at Fort Lauderdale Jan. 2. 

MSC Opera begins its Caribbean season Jan.14, alternating 11-night Panama and Deep Caribbean itineraries roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, before departing for Kiel on April 12.

‘Kids Sail Free’ Offer 
Nearly all of MSC Cruises’ winter 2006-07 Caribbean season sailings feature a special “Kids Sail Free” offer, available to youngsters ages 17 and under sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults on most itineraries. Since a limited number of staterooms are available in conjunction with this offer, guests are encouraged to book early.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or a local travel agent.

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Holland America Line Explores Europe With Five Ships 
and 46 Itineraries in 2007

SEATTLE -- 2007 will mark the longest European cruise season in recent history for Holland America Line with sailings over the course of nine months. A fleet of five ships will embark on one third more sailings next year with 46 different itineraries. Sailings to Europe begin March 12 and run through November 3, 2007 and range from 10- to 56-days. With 136 ports of call in Europe, including 13 new maiden ports -- guests may choose from a total of 82 cruise departure dates.

"Our European cruises draw on more than 130 years of experience. From the Black Sea to the Baltic we offer the widest array of itineraries, departures and cruise lengths at the best value," stated Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales." Our guests look forward to more time in port including late departures and overnights, fascinating excursions and the 'best overall cruise value' according to the World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society."

Holland America Line displays a flair for seeking out intriguing places off the beaten track. First time maiden port calls to ports such as Jupivogur, Iceland; Sochi, Russia; and Koper, Slovenia add an element of emotion and excitement. Unique sites including Djupivogur and Seydisfjordur in Iceland, the Lofoten Islands off the coast of Norway and Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, spotlight spectacular natural beauty. Ports in Slovenia and Albania plus seldom-visited cities like Lorient, France; Lubeck, Germany; Peterhead, Scotland; and Greenwich, England provide singular perspectives for a well- rounded understanding of wide-ranging countries and cultures. The program of 2007 itineraries that also includes ten quintessential Transatlantic crossings and journeys to the North Cape and Polar Icecap.

Shore excursions are an essential cruise element and Holland America Line's 2007 European cruises feature more than 500 diverse shore ventures. These optional tours can be booked online in advance through the cruise line and highlight each region's local culture and rich heritage including classical ruins and historic monuments, cosmopolitan capitals and seaside resorts, adventurous physical pursuits and visual performances, and flavorful visits to markets, restaurants and even private homes for an authentic meal.

Enhancing the European experience onboard each ship are region-specific enrichment opportunities such as the Explorations Speaker Series and food and wine demonstrations and classes in the onboard Culinary Arts Center presented by Food and Wine magazine. Foodies may savor certain European sailings hosted by notable chefs such as Andrew Carmellini of A Voce, or Alexandra Guarnaschelli of Butter, both at the helm of these New York City hotspots; as well as James Boyce of swank Studio at Montage Resort in Laguna Beach or sweets connoisseur extraordinaire Fran Bigelow of delectable Fran's Chocolates in Seattle.

The European quintet of ships includes the state-of-the-art 1,848- passenger ms Westerdam with open, airy spaces; the premium line's flagship the 1,316-passenger ms Rotterdam; the five-star 1,258-passenger ms Veendam (newly deployed to the region) and ms Maasdam; and the 793-passenger ms Prinsendam, the "Elegant Explorer" designed for longer cruises. All ships are top-rated for "best overall service" by Porthole magazine's Readers' Choice Awards and have earned the International Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, boasting ultra-spacious staterooms, many with expansive private verandahs, for Europe's dramatic views.

  • 10- to 32-day Northern Europe. Celebrating its European heritage, Holland America spotlights the natural beauty and epic history of Scandinavia and Russia with 16 itineraries from Copenhagen, London, Amsterdam or Rotterdam. Two full days in St. Petersburg for in-depth excursions to the Hermitage Museum, Summer Palace at Peterhof and other celebrated attractions is just one of many highlights. Select cruises also showcase the Norwegian Fjords and North Cape, transits of the Kiel Canal and a circumnavigation of the British Isles on 10-, 12- and 14-day vacations. Collector's Voyages ranging from 24 to 32 days are designed for those with a true passion for longer, more in-depth cruise travel. 
  • 10- to 28-day Mediterranean, Northern Africa & Black Sea. Monuments built by ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian civilizations, sun-washed playgrounds bustling with a modern-day buzz, Holland America blankets the Mediterranean with 12 different itineraries encompassing natural and man-made wonders. Cruises sail from Rome, Venice and Athens and spotlight major cities like Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Istanbul. Sophisticated travelers are drawn to exotic North African ports like Tunis and Carthage and the re-emerging Black Sea ports of Varna, Constanta, Yalta and Sochi.
  • 14- to 28-day European Treasures. European cruises that bridge the continents northern and southern climes feature itineraries that weave a cultural tapestry from the Greek Isles to the British Isles. These artful immersions are ideal for those seeking to sample many flavors and capitals throughout the Mediterranean and Western Europe. Cruises depart spring through fall from Athens, Venice, Rome, London and Amsterdam and feature as many as 21 ports in 16 countries.
  • 12- to 56-day Transatlantics. Immortalized in the days of the grand ocean liners, crossing the Atlantic is a one-of-a-kind travel experience. Holland America, one of the first lines to sail between Europe and North America, proudly offers ten exceptional passages in 2007 that are much more than an ocean crossing. In addition to the ultra relaxing sea days, shorter crossings of less than 16 days offer as many eight port calls while the longer voyages from 17- to 56-days visit between six and 30 ports highlighting the storied towns that rim the mighty Atlantic.
  • Eight traditional spring and fall voyages sail 10- to 27-days to or from Athens, Copenhagen, Ft. Lauderdale, New York, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Tampa. Two spectacular sailings offer double the fun while circling either the North or South Atlantic roundtrip from North America. On March 12 a 56-day Grand Mediterranean and North Africa voyage aboard the Elegant Explorer Prinsendam cruises roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale and is available in varying lengths of 25-, 28-, 53, or 56-days with a Rome mid-point. While Maasdam's annual mid- summer adventure sails July 7 roundtrip from Boston and can be purchased as a 17-, 18- or 35-day voyage featuring Rotterdam as the half way marker.

Guests can benefit from Holland America Line's Early Advantage pricing which represents 10- to 30-percent off current brochure fares on select sailings booked by September 30, 2006. For a 2007 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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Royal Caribbean Announces Purchase of Pullmantur S.A. 

MIAMI, Aug. 31 -- In a move to further expand its European and Latin American operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced its agreement to purchase Pullmantur S.A., a Madrid-based cruise and tour operator. Royal Caribbean expects the acquisition to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2006, subject to regulatory approvals. 

Pullmantur, formed in 1971, is the largest cruise operator in Spain. It has two primary business interests: cruises and tour operations. Its cruise division consists of five ships operating in Europe and Latin America. Its tour operations sells travel packages to Spanish guests - including hotel and flights - primarily to Caribbean resorts, and sells travel packages to Europe aimed at Latin American customers. Pullmantur also has a small air business that operates three aircraft in support of its cruise and tour. Pullmantur has offices in Spain and Portugal, with approximately 2,600 employees, and will be Royal Caribbean's first wholly-owned European brand.

Royal Caribbean has signed an agreement with the shareholders of Pullmantur to buy all of the capital stock of the company for 430 million euro, plus Pullmantur's net debt of approximately 270 million euro. Royal Caribbean has obtained a committed bridge facility to support the purchase. As part of the transaction, Pullmantur will be withdrawing from all Cuba- related activities prior to closing.

"Pullmantur offers a terrific strategic opportunity for Royal Caribbean to further grow our presence in the European and Latin American markets in a major and tangible way," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We have made significant inroads into these regions through our Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises brands, and this combination will allow us to accelerate our growth in these markets. Pullmantur will remain an independent brand under the Royal Caribbean umbrella, keeping its distinctive and successful customer experience."

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A New Crystal Symphony to Emerge Following Crystal Cruises' Largest-Ever Dry Dock This Fall 

LOS ANGELES -- Ultra-luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises is spending $23 million to enhance the award-winning Crystal Symphony in what will be the cruise line's largest-ever dry dock. In just two weeks, from October 31 through November 12, 2006, nearly 1,300 people will work around the clock on more than 150 separate projects to create what will essentially be a new ship, especially to those familiar with it. 

Emerging with a decidedly sophisticated and contemporary style, Crystal Symphony's comprehensive undertaking will transform all staterooms, a continuation of the ship's last dry dock in 2004 when all penthouses were refurbished; much of Tiffany Deck, the ship's main entertainment area, including a completely reconstructed social lounge, new casino and new nightclub; complete redesign of all boutiques, shops and cafe; as well as dozens of behind the scenes improvements. Underscoring the company's commitment to quality, this major construction project follows an earlier multi-million dollar renovation two years ago that debuted a brand-new Feng Shui-inspired spa, a new Vintage Room -- today one of the ship's most popular features, an expanded Computer University@Sea, redesign of specialty restaurants, and complete refurbishment of all penthouse accommodations.

"As a leader in luxury travel, Crystal has an obligation to provide our discerning clientele with an experience that continues to deliver upon their expectations and at the same time exceed our own exacting standards," says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal's senior vice president of hotel operations. "Within the last two to three years, we will have invested in excess of $35 million dollars in new construction projects that will ultimately transform the look of Crystal Symphony with incredibly sophisticated and modern architectural features and design elements."

Since its debut in 1995, Crystal Symphony has enjoyed a decade of accolades, consistently earning the industry's highest praises. Crystal Symphony's renowned status will take on a newly urbane air of contemporary style following this fall's dry dock with major construction projects that include:

Completely redesigned with the look of a chic boutique hotel, all 416 staterooms will be elegant sanctuaries of refined style. Notable appointments such as new Murano glass bedside lamps, Rubelli fabrics and handsome leather headboard adorn a reconfigured space with state-of-the-art features including special LED reading lights and new 20" LCD flat screen televisions. Bathrooms will be newly reconstructed with a contemporary style showcasing oval glass sinks atop granite countertops.

Tiffany Deck -- Main Entertainment Area
As the hub of social activity, shopping, entertainment and casually elegant dining, Tiffany Deck (deck six) will be completely transformed from stem to stern with new color schemes, new construction and new contemporary lighting that will create different moods as day moves into night.

  • New Starlite Club: Centrally located in the middle of Tiffany Deck, existing walls are removed and a dramatic round bar takes center stage in this stylishly open environment offering panoramic sea views. With window walls sparkling with Swarovski crystals, the new Starlite Club will be the place to see and be seen, featuring lectures by day and dancing by night.

  • New Crystal Casino: Dramatic black flooring will anchor a sophisticated new black and silver color palette in the completely redesigned Crystal Casino. In addition to black jack, roulette, baccarat, new offerings will include The Ultimate Texas Hold-em and state-of-the-art slots.

  • New Nightclub: From its polished aluminum Phillipe Stark bar stools to the glass Bizzaro mosaics, Crystal Symphony's modern new nightclub will be a sophisticated spot for drinks, dancing and conversation. Located adjacent to the new Crystal Casino, a dazzling new lighting system will flash electric color off shimmery finishes and stunning shades of black, silver and white.

  • New Boutiques and Shops: Cultured and refined, sleek and sexy. The sophisticated boutiques and shops aboard Crystal Symphony will be completely transformed with dramatic white marble, black accents, clean stone finishes and stunning chandeliers. Facets will feature a new private space for guests to consider high-end jewelry purchases, and Apropos will continue to offer the line's popular logo items and resort wear.

  • New Bistro Cafe: A comfortable European atmosphere will be recreated in this long-favorite venue, enhanced with new decorative tiles, new wall finishings and fresh upholstery all done in a warm palette of russets and earth tones.

  • Computer University@Sea: Expanded just two years ago to accommodate the increased demand for its growing portfolio of courses, Crystal's revolutionary Computer University@Sea will be outfitted with all new equipment and feature
    wireless access as well.

With extreme home makeovers and architectural/interior redesigns capturing mainstream attention like never before, the scope and logistics of Crystal Symphony's two-week dry dock is equally as fascinating:

  • 750 outside workers (the most ever employed by Crystal during a dry dock) will join forces with Crystal Symphony's existing crew of 545 to ensure a timely completion;

  • 200 workers will dedicate their time to the staterooms, while 23 people will work on windows alone;

  • The labor force represents more than 40 different nationalities;

  • 140 20-foot containers (nearly two-three times as many as most cruise ships have during a typical dry dock) will arrive from Finland, Italy, Norway, the UK, China and more, and must be unloaded within nine days; and,

  • The cruise line will work with dozens of companies from the U.S., UK, Singapore, Canada, Italy, Finland, Norway and Germany.

Crystal has again selected prestigious design firms to lead the reconstruction including SMC Design and Clixby Associates, regarded for its modern luxe design. Each has a proven history of high-end projects, including previous work on Crystal ships. Crystal Symphony's dry dock will be completed at the BAE Shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia. On November 12, 2006, the luxury liner departs Miami on a 12-day Panama Canal cruise en route to Caldera, Costa Rica. For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Cruise Industry Contributed $32.4 Billion to U.S. Economy in 2005

ARLINGTON, VA — The North American cruise industry generated $32.4 billion into the U.S. economy in 2005, an increase of nearly 8 percent over 2004, contributing to the economy of every state in the nation. 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 more than 330,000 jobs nationwide and paid a total of $13.5 billion in wages and salaries to Americans in 2005.

Cruise lines, their passengers and crew were responsible for a total of $16.2 billion in direct spending on U.S. goods and services last year – $1.5 billion, or 10 percent, more than in 2004. The industry’s direct expenditures supported nearly 143,000 jobs and paid $5.2 billion in wages and salaries, an increase of 5.6 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively. BREA noted that while growth in embarkations was not as robust in 2005, global spending on a per passenger basis rose from $1,553 in 2004 to $1,667 in 2005, up 7.3 percent. 

“Last year was challenging due to weather disruptions and fewer new ships delivered,” said ICCL President Michael Crye. “Through those challenges, however, the cruise industry remained a robust economic resource in 2005, benefiting the U.S. economy with $32.4 billion – $4 billion more in goods, services and wages than it spent in 2004.”

The study noted that direct economic benefits to the U.S. economy derived from five main 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.

The $16.2 billion in direct purchases for goods and services for cruise operations by the North American cruise industry benefited the economies of all 50 states. Benefits to states from cruise line purchases included air transportation, food and beverages, ship maintenance and refurbishment, engineering and travel agent commissions. Economic impacts were concentrated in 10 states that accounted for 77 percent of the total U.S. impacts: Florida, California, New York, Alaska, Texas, Georgia, Washington, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Illinois.

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, 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.

In 2005, the cruise industry experienced a more moderate rate of capacity expansion than in recent years. Four major new cruise ships were launched, but the size of the North American fleet remained unchanged at 192 vessels as an equal number of ships were withdrawn from the market. Due to larger newbuilds, capacity grew by 2.2 percent for a total combined capacity of 245,755 lower berths. Overall occupancy rose to 106 percent in 2005, due in part, to passenger rescheduling after a number of cruises were canceled during the hurricane season.

U.S. ports continued to handle 75 percent of all global cruise embarkations in 2005. More than 8.6 million cruise passengers began their cruises from U.S. ports, an increase of 6.3 percent over the previous year. Globally, demand for cruising remained strong in 2005, and the industry increased passenger carryings by 6 percent over 2004 to 11.5 million passengers worldwide. U.S. residents totaled 9.1 million, or 79 percent, of global passengers.

The top 10 cruise embarkation ports – Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Los Angeles, Galveston, Tampa, New York, Long Beach, Seattle and New Orleans – accounted for 84 percent of all U.S. passenger embarkations. Higher 2005 embarkation numbers were posted by Miami (5.3 percent), Los Angeles (30.9 percent), Galveston (22.1 percent), Tampa (6 percent) and Seattle (18.2 percent).

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Europe in the Fall with MSC Cruises

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Fall is a wonderful time to experience Europe – the summer tourist crush is over, shop prices are lower, restaurants are less crowded, and the weather is delightful. Combine that with an MSC Cruises’ 11-night itinerary and you can regenerate and rediscover and savor the subtle pleasures of European life, history and culture while visiting magnificent destinations. From September to December, the ships in the Italian fleet will sail ancient routes, from the most beautiful ports in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, offering unforgettable trips and Italian-style cruising that is the trademark and pride of MSC Cruises. 

Onboard MSC MUSICA: 11-night cruise to Croatia, Greece, Tunisia, Balearic Islands, Spain and France. Depart Oct. 28 from Venice for Split, Piraeus, Rhodes, Heraklion, Tunis, Palma, Barcelona, Marseille and Nov.8 in Genoa.

Onboard MSC OPERA: 11-night cruise to Egypt, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. Depart Oct. 30 from Genoa for Naples, Alexandria, Limassol, Rhodes, Izmir, Messina, Capri and return to Genoa Nov. 10. 

Onboard MSC LIRICA: 11-night cruise to Greece, Black Sea, Turkey and Sicily. Depart Sept. 11 from Genoa for Naples, Piraeus, Yalta, Odessa, Istanbul, Catania, Capri and return to Genoa Sept. 22. 11-night cruise to Spain, Morocco, Madeira and the Canary Isles. Depart Sept. 22 from Genoa for Barcelona, Casablanca, Funchal, Tenerife, Cadiz, and Malaga, returning to Genoa Nov. 21.

Onboard MSC ARMONIA: 11-night cruise to Croatia, Greece, Tunisia and Italy. Depart Oct. 29 from Venice for Dubrovnik, Bari, Corfu, Heraklion, Tripoli, Malta, Tunis, Messina, Civitavecchia, Olbia and return to Genoa Nov. 9. 11-night cruise to Spain, Morocco, Madeira and the Canary Isles. Depart Nov. 10 from Genoa to Barcelona, Casablanca, Funchal, Tenerife, Cadiz, and Malaga, returning to Genoa Nov. 21.

On board MSC MELODY: 11-night cruise to Sicily, Greece, Egypt, Libya and Malta. Depart Genoa Sept. 20 for Naples, Catania, Rhodes, Alexandria, Tripoli, Malta, Salerno and return to Genoa Oct. 1. 11-night cruise to Sicily, Turkey, Ukraine and Greece. Depart Genoa Sept. 9 and Oct. 1 for Naples, Catania, Istanbul, Yalta, Piraeus, Argostoli, and Livorno, returning to Genoa Sept. 20 and Oct. 12.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or a local travel agent.

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