Cruise Planner & Industry News from Cruise Diva
Discover the world of cruise travel

Make the most of your cruise vacation with
 information from

~ Site Map & Search
~ Cruise Lines
~ Articles & Advice
~ Cruise News
~ Planning Tips
~ Packing & Lists
~ Ports of Call

~ Cruise Reviews

~ HOT Tips Archive
~ About CruiseDiva
~ Cruise Links
~ Cruise Diary
~ CruiseDiva Home

Insure My Trip
Use the automated quote form & compare plans

CLICK HERE for savings--CruiseCompete

Bon Voyage gifts delivered worldwide by Well Wishers

Get cruise gear & more
The Cruise Shop

 Cruising by the Book ~ Top Picks in 
Cruise Guidebooks

The favorite of serious cruise travelers:
Cruise Travel Magazine
Cruise Travel

Have a question or a review to submit?

Copyright © 1995-2003 
Linda Coffman

News from the world of cruise travel ~
October 1-15, 2003

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

SARS Updates from the cruise industry

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

Back to Cruise News Weekly Index & Archive

Carnival Elation's Golf Program Features Top Caribbean Courses

MIAMI, 10/10/03 -- As part of its new seven-day "exotic" western Caribbean cruise program from Galveston launched late last month, Carnival Cruise Lines' 2,052-passenger Elation offers a comprehensive golf program featuring top Caribbean courses. Managed by Sunrise, Fla.-based Elite Golf Cruises LLC, the program includes professional instruction both aboard ship and during golf excursions. 

Featured courses on the Elation's new seven-day cruises include:

  • Cozumel Country Club (Cozumel), created by the renowned Nicklaus design team, this is the island's first and only championship-caliber course. Incorporating the natural habitat of the island, the 6,724-yard course was built around native trees, mangroves and wetlands, creating a truly spectacular golf venue. 

  • Caye Chapel Golf Resort (Belize), this spectacular 6,800-yard championship course offers ocean views at virtually every turn and has received international acclaim for its creative yet challenging layout, beautifully manicured greens and fairways, and Caribbean Sea vistas. Adding to the day's fun is an exhilarating plane transfer, which is included in the price. 

"The destinations featured on the Elation's new seven-day program from Galveston not only offer exceptional beaches and sightseeing opportunities but also some of the Caribbean's most beautiful and challenging golf courses," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.  

Shipboard lessons, which are available in 30- and 60-minute increments, are conducted by a golf professional who utilizes state-of-the-art V1 teaching computers featuring side-by-side comparisons with top tour players and sophisticated video analysis. Golfers can continue their lessons at home with a take-home video recap, which is available for purchase on board. Lessons take place in a covered and lighted "practice range" which protects golfers from the elements and allows for both daytime and evening instruction. The "practice range" also serves as the venue for putting contests and various group clinics taking place throughout the voyage. 

All-inclusive golf excursions include professional golf escort, priority tee times, round-trip transportation between ship and course, and cart and green fees. Equipment rental, including top-of-the-line Callaway clubs and Adidas golf shoes, is also available. A variety of golfing accessories such as golf balls, gloves and apparel are available for purchase, as well. Course information is available by visiting, calling 1-800-324-1106 or faxing a request to 1-954-382-5398. Guests can also stop by the shore excursion desk once on board. All-inclusive packages, which include professional instruction, begin at $140 per person for 18 holes. Professional on-board lessons range in price from $25 for a "swing check" to $80 for a complete one-hour video analysis with an instructor. 

The Elation launched Carnival's first seven-day program from Galveston Sept. 28, 2003, becoming the newest and largest Carnival ship to ever operate from that port. On its new route, the Elation departs the Port of Galveston every Sunday on week-long voyages to Progreso/Yucatan and Cozumel, Mexico, and Belize City, Belize. The Elation's golf offerings are part of the line's fleetwide golf program, which is featured aboard all 19 "Fun Ships" and includes courses throughout the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, New England and Bermuda. For additional Carnival information, call 1-800-327-9501 (individual) or 1-800-327-5782 (groups) or visit the line's travel agent Internet portal,

Back to the top of the news list

Study Concludes US Ports Could Save $175 Million With Federal Agency Streamlining & Efficiency 
The International Council of Cruise Lines Endorse Study Findings 

ARLINGTON, VA, Oct 7, 2003 — The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) today announced that it formally endorses the findings and recommendations of a study analyzing cruise facilities in U.S. ports, calling for efficient planning and consolidation of federal inspection agency facilities. According to the study “The Impact of Federal Inspection Service Facilities at Cruise Terminals,” conducted for the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) by Bermello, Ajamil & Partners, U.S. ports could require 56-70 new terminals over the next 15 years in order to keep up with cruise industry growth. However, the continued use of current federal design guidelines for government inspection facilities will require $150-300 million in construction costs, at a time when resources are stretched thin to meet other important priorities, such as security requirements. 

“We endorse the recommendations of this study and believe it is a common sense approach to facilitate the inspection requirements of the federal government and to align them with previously announced changes at the Department of Homeland Security,” said J. Michael Crye, president, ICCL. “We urge the Department of Homeland Security to review these recommendations, and applaud AAPA for commissioning this study.”  

Over the next three years, U.S. seaports have planned 14 terminals in their capital improvement programs. Currently, federal agency inspection space accounts for approximately 23-30 percent of the total facility square footage at each cruise facility. These spaces are used on a temporary basis, making the requirements of the inspection agencies elaborate, excessive and duplicative and in some instances, these spaces have never been used at all. The current construction guidelines for port facilities require separate queuing and inspection areas, as well as administrative spaces, break rooms, workout facilities and bathrooms, for three primary federal agencies that are involved in cruise inspections: Immigration and Naturalization Services, United States Customs Services, and Animal Plant and Health Inspection Services. Now that these agencies are all within the Department of Homeland Security, the ports see an opportunity to restructure current requirements and simplify the inspection process. The study concluded that efficient planning and consolidation of agency requirements could save ports up to $175 million, funds that ports can invest where needed to preserve America’s prosperity and security. 

Key Recommendations: 

  • Conduct a top-down review of all office needs to avoid ‘overbuilding.’

  • Centralize all federal agency support offices into a single location or headquarters within a port or region.

  • Provide flexibility into the design of federal agency processing to allow for future implementation of the latest advances in security technology and electronic information capture, including biometrics that will speed up processing time.

  • Consolidate the support functions between the former three federal agencies in order to provide a reduction of space that achieves efficiency and teamwork.

  • Consolidate passenger processing to a single area in lieu of the current requirement of separate areas for customs and immigration, thus cutting queuing and processing time in half.

Back to the top of the news list

Windstar's 2004 Deployment: Exotic Sailing Cruises to the South Pacific, Caribbean & Europe
144 Opportunities to Go 180 Degrees From Ordinary

Seattle, WA, Oct 8, 2003 - Travelers who want to experience the ultimate in small-ship, luxury sailing will have 144 opportunities to go "180 degrees from ordinary" with Windstar Cruises' 2004 deployment. Windstar's distinctive 4- and 5-masted ships--Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf--will again be sailing some of the world's most beautiful waters, with strong presences in Tahiti and the Society Islands, the Caribbean and Europe, including the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. In addition, the Wind Spirit and Wind Surf will operate three trans-Atlantic voyages of 14 days each for guests who wish to experience the unique thrill of crossing an ocean in a spectacular sailing ship.

"This season will see us add a second 14-day voyage from Tahiti to the Marquesas, new itineraries in the Baltic, and a host of holiday cruises that are a big hit with our guests," said Tom Russell, vice president of marketing and sales for Windstar Cruises. "Our schedule truly delivers all of the romance and thrills of true ocean sailing on our fleet of intimate, luxurious ships."

Tahiti and Her Islands - The 148-passenger Wind Star will continue to be based year-round in Tahiti for its trademark voyages through the famed Society Islands, making 46 voyages of 7-days that begin and end in Papeete and call on renowned islands of Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine and Raiatea. Overnight stays in Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete allow passengers to experience lingering sunsets, nightlife and around-the-clock atmosphere. Cruise rates start at $2,581 per person based on double occupancy. Book by January 31, 2004.

For the holiday season that begins in mid-December, the Wind Star will conduct a 10-day and an 11-day cruise that begins and ends in Papeete and adds overnights in Rangiroa and Raiatea. 

For truly exotic and unique South Pacific sailing, the ship will embark from Papeete in June and September on 14-day voyages to the remote Marquesan islands of Fatu Hiva and Hiva Oa, among others, as well as a stop at the astonishing Tuamotu group island of Rangiroa on one of the largest natural lagoons in the world.

Caribbean -
The 148-passenger Wind Spirit and 308-passenger Wind Surf will explore the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea in 34 sailings in 2004. New for this year, all sailings for both ships will begin and end in St. Thomas, with 30 of the cruises set for 7-day voyages that call on exotic islands like St. Barthelemy, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Isla Culebra and St. John. With six different itineraries planned, passengers can experience the best of small-ship sailing to less-visited ports that convey the unique flavor of island life and culture. Cruise rates start at $1,497 per person based on double occupancy. Book by January 31, 2004.

The holiday season will see the two ships embarking from St. Thomas on luxurious 9-, 10- and 11-day round-trip voyages that add stops in Nevis, St. Martin, Antigua and Virgin Gorda, among others.

Transatlantic - There is nothing like an ocean crossing in an elegant sailing ship for sheer relaxation, endless horizons and enjoyment of the first-class food, service and amenities of Windstar. In April, both the Wind Spirit and Wind Surf will embark from St. Thomas for 14-day voyages to Lisbon. The Wind Spirit crosses the opposite way in November. Cruise rates start at $1,391. Book by January 31, 2004.

Europe - With 57 voyages planned in Europe, including 31 Mediterranean cruises, on board the Wind Spirit and Wind Surf, guests have a myriad of options for exploring the continent from the dazzling islands of the Mediterranean to the impressive capitals of northern Europe and the Baltic states. The stately cities of Lisbon, Barcelona, Rome, Nice, Venice and Malta serve as homeports for Mediterranean cruises. Guests can set sail for Mediterranean adventures on 14 dazzling itineraries that run from 6-8 days and take in the great ports of the Mediterranean: Marseille, Portofino, Monte Carlo and St. Tropez, Ibiza, Malaga and Tangier, among many others. 

On May 16th, the Wind Surf will embark on an 8-day voyage from Nice that includes an overnight in Cannes for the glamorous Cannes Film Festival, and continues via Portofino to Monte Carlo for two nights that coincide with the 2004 Grand Prix Race.

Greek Islands - The sun-drenched and legendary islands of Greece will be the focus of 18 Wind Spirit voyages in 2004, with 7-day itineraries that begin in Rome, Athens and Istanbul. The popular voyage between Athens and Istanbul, a favorite of Windstar guests, will be conducted 14 times, with calls in Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Bodrum and Kusadasi. The four remaining voyages are conducted between Athens and Rome, calling at Ermoupolis, Navplion, Gythion, Messina, and Capri.

Northern Europe and the Baltic - Highlighting the 2004 deployment schedule for Northern Europe are new voyages to and from St. Petersburg in July on board the Wind Surf. On July 22nd, a fascinating 7-day journey from Copenhagen makes its way to the great Russian imperial capital via Gydnia, Klaipeda, Ventspiils and Talinn, with an overnight stay in St. Petersburg. On July 29th, the ship returns to Copenhagen on a leisurely 13-day voyage that begins with an overnight stay in St. Petersburg and includes an overnight visit in Stockholm. 

There are 8 voyages in all on the schedule for northern Europe from June to September, with calls in the great northern capitals of London, Oslo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Oslo, Helsinki and Tallinn. Extensive shore excursion options are available on all itineraries, including tours of the capital cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lisbon, London, Oslo, St. Petersburg and Tallinn. Cruise rates for Europe start at $2,451 per person based on double occupancy. Book by January 31, 2004.

Windstar alumni receive an additional $50 per person savings off listed prices if booked by January 31, 2004.

About Windstar Cruises
Carrying just 148 to 308 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar exude a private yacht-like atmosphere creating camaraderie and lasting friendships between shipmates. The company's unique vacations offer a seaside window on the world, combining the refinement of a luxury hotel with a moveable feast of cultural experiences. The sailing yachts cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at more than 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and Tahiti. Windstar offers optional trip cancellation protection that provides cash back when passengers cancel for any reason prior to 24 hours before departure. For more information, including Windstar's brand-new 2004 Sailing Atlas, Voyage Planner and Tahiti-specific brochure, contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Sail over to Windstar Cruises online at

Back to the top of the news list

Silversea Cruises Wins 6th Consecutive Five Star Diamond Award

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Oct 7, 2003 --  Silversea Cruises' has been awarded the International Five Star Diamond Award by the prestigious American Academy of Hospitality Sciences for the sixth consecutive year. The award, which designates Silversea as one of the finest hospitality establishments in the world, was formally presented last Sunday in a ceremony held aboard Silver Whisper. Founded in 1989, the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences recognizes establishments and organizations worldwide for their outstanding commitment to hospitality that must be reflected in every aspect of operation.

"We are thrilled to receive this honor from such a distinguished organization that recognizes excellence in the hospitality industry on a worldwide basis," said Albert Peter, Silversea's Chief Executive Officer. "This type of recognition validates our total commitment to maintaining the exceptional standards that have helped us pioneer and define ultra-luxury cruising with our distinctive concept of elegant, all-suite accommodations, personalized service and gracious hospitality."

The Academy is governed by a board of internationally renowned trustees who oversee a rigorous selection process. Members of international financial institutions, industry professionals and world travelers recommend hotels, cruise lines, airlines, restaurants, and wineries, which are then evaluated for ambiance, gastronomy, cleanliness and hospitality. The evaluations are conducted with anonymous on-site visits and, after a final selection is made, the Academy's trustees vote on nominees in each category and classification to determine the winners of the Five Star Diamond Award. Other recipients of the award include some of the world's most revered properties and resorts, such as Milan's Four Seasons; Hôtel de Crillon, Paris; Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong; and the Dorchester, London.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. For the seventh consecutive year, Silversea Cruises was named best small-ship line in the 2002 readers' survey conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine.  For the fifth time, Silversea was selected "Number One" small-ship line in Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards 2003. 2004 will be an exciting year as Silversea celebrates its tenth anniversary. Look for upcoming announcements about gala events and special programs to celebrate the line's ten years of excellence. For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent. For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Giving Thanks Aboard Princess Ships
Pumpkin-themed Menu Highlights Onboard Thanksgiving Celebrations

SANTA CLARITA, CA Oct. 3, 2003 -- Beginning with pumpkin gnocchi gratin and finishing with traditional pumpkin pie or pumpkin creme brulee, Princess passengers will delight in what has become a yearly tradition--a unique "all pumpkin'' menu for Thanksgiving dinner.
Princess' culinary team has designed this special theme menu that uses a Thanksgiving favorite in an entirely new way. Each dish features the traditional pumpkin -- but the style of presentation and preparation varies with each menu item. Main courses include the traditional slow-roasted Vermont turkey, served with pumpkin polenta; broiled filet of orange roughy with pumpkin risotto; center cut pork loin chop with pumpkin spaetzle; and grilled medallions of aged beef tenderloin with sauteed pumpkin rosti. In addition, appetizer, salad and dessert selections all feature pumpkin dishes, and "healthy choice'' and vegetarian items are available as well.

"Thanksgiving dinner is always a special meal aboard Princess,'' said Dean Brown, Princess' executive vice president of customer service and sales. "We look forward to welcoming many new passengers to join us in giving thanks this year and enjoying our chefs' unique creations.''

This special Thanksgiving celebration is available aboard all Princess ships. Passengers can choose to celebrate in locations around the world, including the Caribbean/Panama Canal, French Polynesia, Hawaii, West Africa, or Australia/New Zealand.

One of the best-known names in North American cruising, Princess Cruises is a global cruise and tour company. Part of Carnival Corporation and plc, its current fleet of 11 ships sail on approximately 150 different itineraries around the globe, calling at more than 260 ports on all seven continents. By 2006 a further four ships will be introduced.

Back to the top of the news list

New Luxury Liner Ventures to Antarctica, South America, Polynesia &  Mexican Riviera

FORT LAUDERDALE, Oct 2, 2003 - Discovery World Cruises' MV Discovery will explore the Southern Hemisphere this winter, traveling to Antarctica, the islands of the South Pacific, New Zealand, Hawaii, much of South America, Mexico, Bermuda and the Panama Canal as well. The line's 2003-2004 inaugural season, including savings of 10-50 percent on selected cruises, is detailed in a new, free full-color brochure available now from Discovery World Cruises and travel agents.

Itineraries, presented as 13- to 27-night "cruise-tour" vacations, include extended stays and sightseeing before and/or after the cruise, detailed briefings on each port of call, and local cultural performances on board. Prices are as low as $133 per person, per day.

In addition, all cruise-tours feature enrichment lectures by noted experts (even a descendant of Fletcher Christian himself on Pitcairn Island). According to Gerry Herrod, the line's founder, what differentiates Discovery World Cruises from most other cruise lines is the emphasis placed on the destinations visited. "Our goal is to provide travelers with a true wanderlust with the opportunity to explore in depth, and in great comfort, the most exotic regions of the world at very affordable prices."

Entering A New Era in Destination Cruising
Discovery's Maiden Voyage - departing November 27 - is a 25-night voyage from Lisbon, Portugal, to South America visiting Gibraltar, Tangier, Casablanca, Madeira, the Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands before arriving in Brazil where passengers will have the opportunity to explore Recife, Salvador and Santos before disembarking in romantic Rio de Janeiro. MV Discovery begins her journey southward to Antarctica with a 22-night Christmas and New Year's cruise-tour, departing December 20, that combines sizzling South American cities like Rio, Montevideo and Buenos Aires with the isolated Falkland Islands and Antarctica. Complimentary wines will be offered during dinner for a truly festive holiday sailing.

Next is a 13-night exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula, departing January 6, 2004, before the ship heads to the west coast of South America, January 13, for a 21-night cruise vacation to Antarctica, the Chilean fjords and Patagonia. Depending on the itinerary, hotel stays are included in Buenos Aires and Santiago, Chile.

From South America Discovery charts a course for the Pacific on a 27-night South Seas journey featuring Robinson Crusoe Island, Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti and the Cook Islands before arriving in Auckland, New Zealand. The cruise-tour departs January 27 and includes a three-night hotel stay in Santiago before embarkation and a two-night hotel stay in Auckland after the cruise.

"Discover New Zealand," departing February 16, is a two-week cruise vacation to the splendors of the two-island nation, including the spectacular fjordlands, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, and Tauranga, gateway to Rotorua.

New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Western Samoa, Christmas Island and Maui, their names alone evoke images of an island paradise. These and more are the featured attractions of a 24-night Pacific passage, departing February 26. 

Following an 18-night itinerary from Honolulu to Acapulco, departing March 16, Discovery sails through the Panama Canal on a 16-night cruise featuring Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula before making landfall in the U.S. at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Discovery World Cruises' season concludes with a festive 17-night transatlantic crossing from Fort Lauderdale - departing April 14 - and visiting Bermuda and the remote Azores before concluding in Southampton, England.

MV Discovery: Adventure in Elegance
Before entering service in 2003, Discovery underwent an extensive, multi-million dollar refit creating, in effect, a brand new ship. The 650-passenger liner - small in comparison to today's mega liners - is substantial enough for cruising to faraway places yet nimble enough to enter remote harbors that larger vessels must pass by. The ship retains its handsome, classic exterior profile, but now features every modern safety feature and amenity. Facilities include 351 cabins and suites, equipped with televisions and built-in hairdryers; three restaurants; five elegant lounges; a well-stocked library; casino; modern health club and beauty center; two swimming pools, including one with a retractable dome; two Jacuzzis; and duty-free boutiques.

Discovery World Cruises was founded in 2002. Herrod, a noted travel industry entrepreneur, is the former chairman of Orient Lines, Ocean Cruise Lines and Pearl Cruises. He was also the founder of Travellers International, which in the 1970s grew to be the largest European tour operator for U.S. travelers. Discovery World Cruises is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with an operations center in London. For more information and to make a reservation, see a travel professional or contact Discovery World Cruises toll-free at 866-623-2689.

Back to the top of the news list

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

Cruise Diva Home | Site Map & Search