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 16-31, 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

Important Carnival Cruises Itinerary Information for Miami Departures November 2 to November 22, 2003

The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Ministerial Meeting and Business Forum will be held in downtown Miami in November. This important meeting is expected to attract over 100,000 visitors to a very concentrated area in downtown directly adjacent to the Port of Miami. We have carefully assessed this situation and have determined that the massive congestion that will be created by this meeting would result in a serious disruption to our operation  from the Port of Miami during this time.

As a result, we will change the embarkation and/or debarkation port from Miami to Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) for the following cruise departures:

Embark: Miami
Debark: Port Everglades

Saildate: 11/9/03
Embark: Port Everglades 
Debark: Port Everglades

Saildate: 11/16/03
Embark: Port Everglades
Debark: Miami

Carnival Triumph
Embark: Miami
Debark: Port Everglades

Saildate: 11/15/03
Embark: Port Everglades
Debark: Port Everglades

Saildate: 11/22/03
Embark: Port Everglades
Debark: Miami

Carnival Victory
Embark: Miami
Debark: Port Everglades

Saildate: 11/16/03
Embark: Port Everglades
Debark: Miami

Embark: Miami
Debark: Port Everglades

Saildate: 11/14/03 and 11/17/03
Embark: Port Everglades
Debark: Port Everglades

Saildate: 11/21/03
Embark: Port Everglades
Debark: Miami

Embark: Miami
Debark: Port Everglades

Saildate: 11/15/03
Embark: Port Everglades
Debark: Port Everglades

Saildate: 11/20/03
Embark: Port Everglades
Debark: Miami

Carnival will handle the logistics for this change as follows:

• Guests with air and/or transfers purchased from Carnival:  Carnival will adjust the transfers to correspond with the changes to the embarkation or debarkation port.

• Guests with air purchased independently:  Guests can purchase motorcoach transfers from Carnival.  If guests elect to obtain an independent transfer (taxi, etc.), Carnival will not be responsible for this cost.

• Guests driving to the pier:  Guests should park at the appropriate port of embarkation.  In the event the ship returns to a different port of debarkation, Carnival will provide a complimentary motorcoach transfer back to the port of embarkation. Carnival will adjust the transfers to correspond with the changes to the embarkation or debarkation port.

We sincerely apologize for these itinerary changes. However, they will enable us to offer the best possible cruise experience for all of our guests.

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises President & COO Enters Marathon to Raise Funds for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

MIAMI, Oct. 31 -- As part of his longtime commitment to raising funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), Jack Williams, president and chief operating officer (COO) of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, will participate for the first time in the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday to raise more than $300,000 for CFF. Williams is collecting donations for every mile of the 26.2-mile marathon, with all proceeds for CFF being matched by veteran quarterback Boomer Esiason.

"It is incredibly exciting to participate in this world-famous race, but even more thrilling to know that each mile will raise more funds for critical research into this devastating disease," said Williams, who will join approximately 30,000 runners from around the world in the famed annual marathon on November 2. The marathon is supported by more than 12,000 volunteers, and includes marathon event week activities such as a pasta party, fireworks and the finish-line banquet.

The cause Williams supports so fervently--cystic fibrosis--is a fatal genetic disorder affecting more than 30,000 Americans every year. A combination of therapy and pharmaceuticals can help keep the symptoms under control and enhance one's quality of life. Since the identification of the cystic fibrosis gene in 1989, there has been a rapid increase in the understanding of the development of the disease. The challenge now is to translate this information into new approaches to therapy and to find a cure. To help encourage donations, Williams is running the marathon with his BlackBerry Wireless Handheld™ and will send an email to his sponsors after every five miles completed, providing them with a progress update and informing them where to submit their donations.

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises are operated by global cruise company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The company has a combined total of 26 ships in service and three under construction or on firm order. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. Additional information can be found on or 

Back to the top of the news list

Crystal Cruises Implements Fleetwide Online Pre-registration of All Shore Excursions
Guests can opt to pre-reserve land programs at their convenience

LOS ANGELES, Oct 30, 2003 - Guests sailing aboard Crystal Cruises' three ultra-luxury ships can now pre-reserve any of the line's shore excursions long before they set sail. The pre-registration program, which was originally launched on Crystal Harmony, is now available fleet wide, enabling guests to pre-select and research shore excursions for any of the line's three Six-Star ships at their convenience.

"Crystal Cruises is always looking for new ways to make our guests' vacations as seamless and convenient as possible," said John Stoll, Crystal Cruises' director, land programs. "The pre-registration program is just another example of how we continue to improve our service." 

With a mere click of a mouse, guests can pre-register online simply by logging on to the Crystal Cruises' website at The Shore Excursions Pre-Registration Forms are now accessible on the line's website. To obtain the form, guests click on "Destinations" on the homepage, choose a destination and then click on their voyage number. On the upper right hand corner of the page under Shore Excursions is the Shore Excursions Registration Form, which can be printed out and faxed or mailed back to Crystal Cruises. Forms are on the site 90 days prior to sailing.

Shore Excursions books will continue to be mailed to guests along with pre-registration forms in preliminary docket packets 90 days prior to sailing. Guests or their travel agents can complete the form and fax or mail it back to Crystal Cruises. Once received, the line's Land Program department faxes or e-mails guests or their travel agent a confirmation. Guests, of course, can also book programs once on board. Payments are not required before sailing but will be charged to the guests' shipboard folio. Land Programs will be updated on Crystal Cruises' website as new shore excursions are finalized. 

The pre-registration program took effect on Crystal Symphony sailings in September, and will become available on Crystal Serenity itineraries beginning with the 12-day Caribbean itinerary from Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 17, 2003. The program has been in effect for Crystal Harmony since May. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure on any of Crystal's worldwide sailings, call 800.820.6663.

Back to the top of the news list

SeaDream Yacht Club Announces “Mediterranean Golf by Sea”
PerryGolf, Premier Golf Tour Operator In Charge of Escorted, Seven-Day Program

SeaDream Yacht Club, with its highly-regarded reputation for offering active, ultra-luxury seagoing holidays, will present a Mediterranean sailing next year especially for golfers. Guests on the seven-day, SeaDream sailing, September 11 to 18, 2004 will have the opportunity to play Six of the Mediterranean region’s best golf courses. There is also an exceptional shore excursion program customized for non-golfers. The “Mediterranean Golf by Sea” cruise will be aboard the 55-stateroom SeaDream II, one of the twin, ultra-luxury, mega-yachts operated by the company. 

SeaDream Yacht Club is presenting the golfing program in partnership with PerryGolf, the leading provider of luxury golf travel to the world’s most desirable destinations. The golf sailing commences Monte Carlo Saturday, September 11 and ends in Rome (Port of Civitavecchia) Saturday, September 18. Golfers will play at the Fregate Golf Club, Sanury Sur Mer; Royal Mougins Golf Club, Cannes; Sperone Golf Club, Bonifacio, Corsica; Pevero Golf Club (two rounds), Porto Cervo, Sardinia and Le Querce Golf Club, Rome. Details of the golfing program are available at .

Prices for the escorted, seagoing golf tour are from $8,200.00 for golfers and $7,350.00 for non-golfing guests. This includes: Stateroom accommodations aboard SeaDream II for seven-nights based on double occupancy; All meals; wine with lunch and dinner; open bar in public areas; transfers to and from SeaDream II; transfer to and from golfing; shipboard gratuities; golf course gratuities; port charges, taxes and service charges and green fees. Airfare is not included. 

SeaDream Yacht Club is the innovative new yachting venture that operates the twin, ultra-luxury mega yachts, SeaDream I and II. Founded in 2001, SeaDream’s sleek; mega yacht cruisers accommodate only 110 guests in 55 elegant staterooms. Officers and staff number 90 dedicated professionals. SeaDream operates on scheduled seven-day sailings in the Caribbean in the winter and the Mediterranean in the summer. They call on both small and exclusive yachting ports and classic capital cities. These yachts are not only ideal for discerning travelers seeking an unstructured and casual seagoing, holiday experience, but also as full-ship charters for small meetings and incentive groups and even individual private family gatherings. 

SeaDream I and II are known for their fine dining which ranges from elaborate international offerings to simple spa cuisine. They feature exemplary, European-style service and have a variety of water sports “toys”, mountain bikes, a golf simulator on which guests can “play” more than 50 championship courses and Segway Human Transporters; all available to guests who tend to be active travelers regardless of age. Both SeaDream yachts also have an Asian Spa and Fitness Center, highly praised by guests and industry observers. 

The twin yachts share the top Five Star Club award in the Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise ships 2003 guidebook. Contact PerryGolf, 1 800 344-5257, your professional travel agent, or SeaDream Yacht Club at 1 800 707-4911. SeaDream’s website is

Back to the top of the news list  

Holland America Line Offers Nine Transatlantic Sailing on Four Premium Ships in 2004
Distinctive Ports and Extended Days at Sea Offer Unparalleled Opportunity for Exploration, Relaxation 

Seattle, Oct 24, 2003 - Holland America Line has increased the line's number of trans-Atlantic sailings to nine in 2004, with four ships offering luxurious ocean crossings during the spring, summer and fall seasons. Itineraries range from 11 to 17 days and mingle idyllic days at sea with exotic ports in Iceland and Greenland, crossings of the Arctic Circle, and romantic stops in the Azores, Madeira and other islands. Highlighting the line's 2004 schedule is the first trans-Atlantic crossing by the ms Westerdam, Holland America's newest Vista-class ship, debuting in April 2004 and concluding her inaugural summer in Europe with a 17-day crossing of the Atlantic departing Barcelona on Nov 12.

The line's trans-Atlantic itineraries feature several days at sea, affording guests the opportunity to luxuriate in every amenity for which Holland America ships are renowned. It's a great opportunity for guests to relax, pamper themselves, and revel in abundant activities, dining choices, and spectacular evening shows. During days at sea, guests can take advantage of an extensive spa, exercise facility and hair and nail salon; enjoy Broadway-style shows, sidesplitting comics or watch first-run movies. "Our trans-Atlantic sailings offer the combination of several days at sea to relax and explore every amenity our ships have to offer, and several desirable and interesting ports of call," said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president of marketing and sales. 

The stately flagship ms Rotterdam increases her Atlantic crossings to four in 2004. Sailing North Atlantic routes, the 1,316-passenger ship visits some of the most scenic and remote places in the Northern Hemisphere. On June 6, the Rotterdam sails past the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor to commence a 17-day "Voyage of Vikings" cruise to Scandinavia. Four initial days at sea are broken up with a call at St. John's, Newfoundland; before continuing to Reykjavík, Iceland. Two more days at sea in include a crossing of the Arctic Circle on the way to calls at Tromsø and Honningsvåg, Norway; and scenic midnight cruising of the spectacular North Cape. After crossing the Arctic Circle a second time, guests spend two days touring the majestic fjords at Trondheim and Stavanger, with calls on both cities, before lingering in Hamburg, Germany, for an overnight stay and then concluding in Amsterdam. 

In late June and July, the Rotterdam commences two consecutive 17-day trans-Atlantic voyages. The westbound "Irish Sea Odyssey" voyage departs Amsterdam on June 23 and visits Harwich and Plymouth, England; Dublin, Ireland; then takes in the rugged British islands of Man, Scotland's Hebrides and the Shetlands, and Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands. Next up is Akureyri, Iceland, with a scenic cruising of the Eyjafjord before crossing the Atlantic to visit the ports of St. Anthony's and Corner Brook, Newfoundland before concluding in New York. The eastbound "Midnight Sun Medley" departs New York on July 10 with a visit to St. John's and scenic cruising along the coast of Labrador. Next is a visit to Nuuk, Greenland- offering scenic cruising through Prince Christians Sound and Cape Farewell- then a day at sea passes before the Rotterdam arrives in Reykjavík for a day's visit. Then after another day at sea, it's time for more scenic cruising through Scotland's Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Cromarty Firth, with a visit to Invergordon. The voyage continues to Bergen, Kristiansand and Oslo in Norway before concluding in Copenhagen on July 27. The Rotterdam's 16-day fall crossing begins in Harwich, England on Sept. 14 and makes calls on its namesake city of Rotterdam; Le Havre in France; Dublin and Cobh in County Cork, and Belfast in Northern Ireland before making her way across the Atlantic to New York, with six relaxing days at sea, punctuated by visits to St. John's and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Cruise-only fares for all Rotterdam trans-Atlantic sailings begin at US$2,799, per person, double occupancy, including port charges. 

The new ms Westerdam, scheduled to launch in April 2004, will make a journey of discovery on her first trans-Atlantic crossing with a unique itinerary that touches on Africa, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean. The 17-day passage begins in Barcelona, Spain; on Nov. 12 and visits Tarragona before sailing to Gibraltar and passing the famous Rock. Days in Cádiz, Spain, Funchal, Madeira and Casablanca allow guests to take in the exotic sights, sounds and smells of those legendary ports, and then the Westerdam makes Holland America's only visit in the Canary Islands for 2004 with a day-long call at Lanzarote. Five days at sea are punctuated by the rhythms of a "big band"- orchestra, and the ship makes leisurely visits to Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay, Holland America's award-winning private island in the Bahamas, before concluding her voyage in Fort Lauderdale. Cruise-only fares for the sailing begin at US$2,049, per person, double occupancy, including port charges. 

For passengers who seek the serenity of several consecutive days at sea surrounded by the ambience and the renowned five-star service that only Holland America delivers, the Noordam and Prinsendam feature four dedicated crossings of the south Atlantic in 2004.

The Noordam's two sailings, bookending the Europe season with an eastbound crossing in April and a westbound passage in November, feature the swinging sounds of top-notch big band-style orchestras for lively nights of dancing and music. A 14-day sailing departs from Tampa on April 15 and spends seven consecutive days at sea before calling on the Azorean ports of Horta and Ponta Delgada. Two more days at sea are separated by a call at Funchal, Madeira. Next the voyage calls at Cádiz, Spain before concluding in Lisbon on April 29. Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians orchestra will provide the big band sound. On the return voyage, an 11-day passage beginning Nov. 12 in Lisbon, the ship cruises the scenic Tagus River and visits Cádiz and Funchal before crossing the southern Atlantic for six days. A day in the sun at Half Moon Cay precedes the journey's conclusion in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 23. The Harry James Orchestra provides the big band sounds. 

The Prinsendam's eastbound voyage in May is a 10- to 13-day roundtrip journey that allows passengers to choose either Fort Lauderdale or New York as their embarkation port. The ship then crosses on a southerly route for a visit in the Azores after five consecutive days at sea. A scenic cruise of the Tagus River then leads to an extended, overnight visit in Lisbon. On Nov. 9, the ship makes the return voyage from Lisbon, stopping at Funchal, before a leisurely seven days at sea and a full day at Half Moon Cay and concluding in Fort Lauderdale. Cruise-only fares for the Prinsendam start at US$1,299 and Noordam's trans-Atlantic sailings begin at US$899, per person, double occupancy, including port charges.

Back to the top of the news list

Carnival Elation Golf Program Features Top Caribbean Courses

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, Florida-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.

Shipboard lessons, which are conducted 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 onboard.

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.

Back to the top of the news list

It's A Lock: 27 Panama Canal Cruises Scheduled for 2004 
Seven Ships Offer Convenient Departures From 12 Departure Ports 

Seattle, Oct 27, 2003 - Holland America Line "locks" up its 2004 deployment schedule by sending seven of the line's premium ships through the Panama Canal on 27 cruises that navigate the Central American manmade wonder. These voyages all feature daylight exploration of the Canal, allowing guests plenty of time to marvel at the historic series of locks that join the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 

"Visiting the Panama Canal is an unforgettable cruising experience, and Holland America leads the way with a host of options for our guests," said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Everyone should see the locks of the Canal in person, and Holland America provides the best variety of Canal itineraries to satisfy every traveler." 

One highlight of Holland America's 2004 Panama Canal itineraries is an exclusive 21-day Pan-America sailing roundtrip from San Diego in October aboard the ms Statendam. This singular sailing offers adventurers an in-depth Canal experience including an entire day in Panama City, overnight on Gatun Lake and intriguing ports of call on the Mexican Riviera and South America. The Statendam will also offer two consecutive 16-day Transcanal sailings between San Diego and Ft. Lauderdale in 2004. 

Another highlight and new for 2004 is the introduction of the line's Vista-class to Transcanal sailing, with the Oosterdam sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego in April and the same sailing in reverse in September. Holland America's extensive 2004 Canal itineraries allow guests to explore the beaches and rainforests of Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica, or set sail to or from Florida and a half-dozen west coast cities stretching between Vancouver, British Columbia and Acapulco. 

ROTTERDAM LEADS THE WAY - Holland America's luxurious flagship, the 1,316 passenger Rotterdam, will offer the line's most Panama Canal sailings in 2004. From January 3 to April 2, and again from Nov. 2 through the end of the year, the ship will conduct 16, 10-day round-trip Sunfarer voyages from Fort Lauderdale. The cruises call at Half Moon Cay, Holland America's award-winning private island in the Bahamas, and Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. Each of the sailings enters the Canal at Cristobal, enjoys scenic cruising on Gatun Lake, and then returns through Cristobal. Guests may extend the April 2nd sailing by continuing from Fort Lauderdale to Baltimore at the conclusion of the voyage. For the November 2nd sailing, guests may extend the front end of the voyage by embarking in New York City on October 30th. 

THREE TRANSCANAL CRUISES FOR THE STATENDAM TO/FROM SAN DIEGO - The 1,258-guest Statendam is scheduled to cross the Canal three times in 2004 on West Coast voyages. On January 23rd, the ship embarks on two consecutive 16-day voyages between San Diego and Fort Lauderdale. The eastbound journey calls at Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Santa Cruz Huatulco, Mexico; as well as Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica and a scenic tour in the Golfo Dulce. After crossing the Canal, the voyage calls at Cartagena, Colombia; and Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Half Moon Cay. The westbound journey visits Half Moon Cay; George Town, Grand Cayman; Santa Marta, Colombia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua; and substitutes Acapulco for Puerto Vallarta on the Mexican side before returning to San Diego. A third Statendam voyage is a 21-day Transcanal voyage on October 15th that begins and ends in San Diego, with two days spent in the Canal, calls at the above-named Mexican and Central American ports, and additional calls at Amador, Panama; and Zihuatanejo and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 

MULTIPLE OPTIONS FROM WEST COAST PORTS - A number of 10- to 21-day voyages are slated for the Veendam, Volendam, Zaandam and Oosterdam that allow guests maximum flexibility in choosing days at sea and preferred port cities in Florida and on the west coast. 

In April, the 1,440-passenger Zaandam embarks from Port Canaveral on a journey that calls at St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Oranjestad and Cartagena before passing through the Canal. Calls in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala follow on consecutive days, and then the ship calls on five western Mexican ports in the next five days before concluding in either Los Angeles or Vancouver, British Columbia. A similar itinerary in reverse is scheduled to begin September 25, when the ship boards passengers in Vancouver (with stops in Victoria and Astoria, Oregon), San Diego or Acapulco before crossing the Canal on its way to Port Canaveral. 

The Oosterdam offers a 10- to 14-day Transcanal voyage in April, departing from Fort Lauderdale and disembarking passengers in either Acapulco or San Diego. In September, a Transcanal voyage begins in Seattle and allows guests the option of embarking in Vancouver, B.C.; Los Angeles or Puerto Vallarta on a voyage to Fort Lauderdale. 

Similarly, the Veendam and Volendam offer two Transcanal cruises each of 10 to 21 days, with options of embarking in Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Acapulco on eastbound cruises in September to either Tampa or Fort Lauderdale, with westbound itineraries in April to those West Coast cities, as well as Seattle. 

The intimate, 794-guest Prinsendam offers the Transcanal experience at the commencement of its Grand World Voyage that departs Fort Lauderdale on January 4. The 16-day segment of the Grand World Voyage calls at Santa Marta, Colombia and San Blas Islands, Panama before crossing the canal from Cristobal to Balboa, with stops at Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica and Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, as well as Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta before disembarking guests in Los Angeles.

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean International Prepares To Unveil Pop Art Pool Deck On Mariner Of The Seas
Royal Caribbean Takes Delivery of Newest Voyager-Class Ship

MIAMI, Oct. 29 -- Neo-pop art sensation Romero Britto has completed one of his most ambitious and colorful works to date--the 25,000-square-foot pool deck of Royal Caribbean International's new Mariner of the Seas, which was delivered to the company today by the Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Turku, Finland. Royal Caribbean commissioned Britto to transform the main pool area into a one-of-a-kind art experience for its guests.

"It's an incredible coup to have an artist of Romero Britto's caliber create what is essentially an outdoor art museum for our newest ship," said Jack Williams, president and COO for Royal Caribbean International. "Our goal always is to provide outstanding and unexpected experiences for guests, whether it is through innovative ships, exciting destinations, superior service, or, in this case, a unique and uplifting atmosphere."

From "Absolut Britto" ads to Michael Jackson's latest album cover, Britto's work is a hot commodity, collected by connoisseurs from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Jordan to Guggenheims, Rothschilds and Kennedys. His upbeat, colorful art hangs in more than 140 exclusive galleries around the world. The artist's work also has inspired clothing by designers from Nicole Miller to Enrico Coveri, as well as two fragrances, "Britto Man" and "Britto Woman." Britto calls his distinctive style "a celebration of the simple and good things in life," a theme that extends throughout Mariner of the Seas' entire $8.5 million collection by a variety of artists. Britto's whimsical figures and playful patterns adorn two levels around the main pool, including the deck and wading area, pool columns, wall panels, Jacuzzi and bandstand canopies, the Pool Bar and the Sky Bar. The vibrant focal point is a 10-foot aluminum sculpture of a surfer titled "All About Fun."

Britto spent more than a year on the project, from initial concept through final construction. He traveled to Turku, Finland, where the ship was built, to hand-paint the pool deck pillars and oversee the installation of the components. His designs adorn a wide variety of materials, including metal sheets, rubber flooring, painted columns, canvas awnings and translucent plastic. A gallery adjacent to the main pool chronicles the creation of the Britto pool deck, featuring design sketches and photos at various phases of construction. One wall is a biography of Britto himself and his remarkable body of work. In addition, a video about the artist and the project will run in staterooms.

For those who want to own a little bit of Britto, Mariner's gift shops will feature items such as beach towels and sun visors sporting the artist's distinctive designs. In addition, Britto's work will grace the cover of Royal Caribbean's in-stateroom magazine, Explore!, on all of the line's Caribbean- bound ships this winter.

The new, 3,114-passenger Mariner of the Seas will be the fifth ship in the company's Voyager class and will be the largest ship to sail from Port Canaveral year-round. Mariner will be officially named on Nov. 14, 2003, by her godmother, Olympian and Paralympian Jean Driscoll. Mariner begins her regularly scheduled itineraries on Nov. 16, sailing alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. The Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes stops in Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. The Western Caribbean sailings include port calls in Labadee, Hispanola; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. Pricing starts at $699 per person, double occupancy. For additional information, please visit the company's web site at or call 800-327-6700.

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Cruise Line & NY Giants Extend Partnership 
for a Second Year

NCL again designated as “Preferred Cruise Line”

Miami, October 23, 2003 – Today, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) kicks off its second partnership year with the New York Giants again becoming the team’s “Preferred Cruise Line.” In addition, the company will host its second annual Game Day promotion and award one lucky fan a 7-day cruise vacation at halftime of the Giants’ Nov. 9, 2003 contest with the Atlanta Falcons. The cruise award is just one of several giveaways planned for the game day promotion at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

NCL will also host pre- and post-game celebrations in the stadium’s Touchdown Club for area travel agents, and offer fans a number of promotional gifts from kiosks set up around the stadium. NCL’s sponsorship of the New York Giants continues the company’s commitment to the New York community, in which its 2,224-passenger Norwegian Dawn calls home.

“As the only cruise ship to be in New York every week of the year, we want to be good neighbors and one way we can do that is by showing our support for one of New York’s greatest sporting institutions, the New York Giants,” said Andy Stuart, NCL’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services. “This support for the Giants compliments our sponsorships with other New York institutions such as the New York Philharmonic and the New York Aquarium.”

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line is an industry innovator. NCL recently announced NCL America, under which its US flagged ships will operate. The company is building the US Flagged ship Pride of America, which begins Hawaii cruises on July 4, 2004. NCL is also the leader in roundtrip cruising from U.S. and Canadian ports, offering its Homeland Cruising program seasonally from Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Juan, Seattle and Vancouver, and year round from New York, Houston and Honolulu. For further information on NCL or NCL America, agents in the U.S. and Canada may contact NCL at (800) 327-7030; visit NCL’s website at

Back to the top of the news list

Crystal Cruises Wins World's Best Large-Ship Cruise Line For Record Eighth Year in A Row
Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Poll Keeps Crystal on Top

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23 -- For the eighth consecutive year, Crystal Cruises has been awarded with the notable distinction of "Best Large-Ship Cruise Line" by the discerning readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine, making it the only cruise line in the world to ever have achieved such a record.

Crystal's score of 90.7 places the luxury line more than two points above its nearest competitor. The 2003 Readers' Choice Poll also rewards Crystal in the areas of crew/service (96.2) and food/dining (95.2), with its best-ever ratings that position the cruise line well beyond the other ships in its category. In the category of events/activities, Crystal maintains its leading position as an innovator in guest enrichment programming.

"Receiving this recognition for eight consecutive years from the very people who purchase our vacations is a testament to the consistency and innovation of the Crystal product, as well as the dedication and enthusiasm of our employees," says President Gregg L. Michel. "An award of this caliber lets us know we are meeting the high expectations of experienced luxury travelers and wowing those cruise vacationers who have moved up to Crystal."

Crystal invests a significant amount of time and resources to evolving the Crystal experience. Shipboard and shoreside employees embrace the company's Six-Star Crystal Basics, a 30-point credo for anticipating and fulfilling guests' needs. The line's culinary program is renowned for its new and progressive concepts, including alliances with Wolfgang Puck, Nobu Matsuhisa, and its recently launched Best Young Chefs of Italy program with Valentino proprietor and wine expert, Piero Selvaggio. Crystal's Wine & Food Festival, now in its seventh year, attracts some of the most respected names in the culinary world.

The Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards represent the culmination of an extensive poll of subscriber travel preferences. Large-ship cruise line (vessels carrying 500 or more passengers) scores are percentages based on the "excellent" and "very good" votes from the subscribers in the categories of itineraries, crew/service, food/dining, cabins/design, and events/activities. A complete list of the 2003 Readers' Choice Awards appears in Conde Nast Traveler's November issue.

Since its debut in 1990, Crystal has enjoyed an enviable reputation in luxury travel, consistently earning the praise and recognition of savvy travelers and industry experts worldwide. This year, the luxury line also became an eight-time consecutive recipient of Travel + Leisure magazine's World's Best Large Ship Award, and it continues to earn the highest accolades from noted travel magazines and guidebooks.

Crystal's three sister ships, the 940-guest, 50,000-ton Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony and the 1,080-guest, 68,000-ton Crystal Serenity, are among the most spacious and luxurious vessels cruising the world. Their unique size in the luxury market allows for smooth sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, generous amenities and elegant accommodations. The Six-Star rated liners feature grand lounges, a lavish spa outfitted in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui, extensive exercise facilities, complimentary golf, yoga and Pilates instruction, Asian and Italian specialty restaurants, the only Caesars Palace at Sea Casino afloat, and the popular Computer University@Sea, offering 24-hour e-mail and internet access, as well as hands-on instruction, expansive decks, two pools, award-winning cuisine and entertainment, and exquisitely appointed staterooms, more than half of which offer private verandahs.

Crystal's luxury vessels sail on worldwide itineraries of seven to 106 days. Crystal Cruises is sold exclusively through travel agents. Call 800.820.6663 for a brochure, or detailed cruise information can be found at the luxury line's website,

Back to the top of the news list

World's Leading Cruise Lines Signs Sponsorship Agreement with Society For Accessible Travel & Hospitality

MIAMI (10/23/03) - The World's Leading Cruise Lines (WLCL) marketing alliance, composed of Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Seabourn and Windstar, and the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH) have signed a sponsorship agreement in which SATH will provide marketing expertise in expanding the potential customer base for the WLCL to travelers with disabilities. Additionally, SATH will serve in an advisory role regarding the accessibility features of the vessels among the WLCL's seven brands.

The sponsorship makes the WLCL the largest cruise alliance to sign such an agreement with SATH, which was formed in 1976 as a non-profit educational membership organization whose mission is to raise awareness of the needs of travelers with disabilities among all segments of the tourism industry, as well as serving as a clearinghouse for information for consumers (

"While the brands of the World's Leading Cruise Lines strive to make their ships accessible and enjoyable for travelers with disabilities, this agreement with SATH will enable WLCL brands to build upon these efforts even further," said Jack Anderson, WLCL executive director.

Commented Roberta Schwartz, CTC, MCC, SATH Director of Education, "Cruising is a favorite vacation option among travelers with disabilities and we are looking forward to working with the WLCL in promoting the alliance's broad diversity of cruise vacation offerings to SATH members. SATH applauds the WLCL for recognizing this market potential and creating this outreach for travelers with disabilities."

According to Schwartz, there are an estimated 54 million Americans with disabilities, making it one of the largest niche markets in leisure travel. "Traveling for people with disabilities can be a life-altering experience. Our goal at SATH is to help these guests in making informed vacation choices, allowing them to enrich their lives and spend quality time with friends and family," she said.

As part of the new agreement, the WLCL will participate in SATH's annual World Congress and Trade Show for Travelers with Disabilities and the Mature, and other trade shows. Cross-promotional opportunities such as consumer awareness seminars and media/publicity efforts will be included, as well. SATH will also work closely with WLCL in developing a wide range of strategic initiatives that may include comprehensive Web-site information and specialized training for shipboard employees of WLCL member lines.

The World's Leading Cruise Lines marketing alliance was established by Carnival Corporation & plc as a means of communicating a highly diversified, global cruise product that capitalizes on the unique attributes and amenities of its seven distinct member lines, which include:

Carnival Cruise Lines - The largest and most popular cruise line in the world, Carnival's "Fun Ships" offer a one-of-a-kind vacation experience enjoyed by guests of all ages and backgrounds.

Costa Cruises - Europe's number one cruise operator, Costa offers cruising "Italian-style," with a distinctive shipboard ambiance, outstanding cuisine and a diversity of activities and entertainment.

Cunard Line - From more than 160 years of British tradition to innovation to legendary White Star Service, Cunard Line's famous ocean liners offer a gracious lifestyle, tantalizing cuisine and global adventures.

Holland America Line - The leader in the premium category, Holland America's modern award-winning fleet is known for top-of-the-line amenities, multi-million dollar art collections and fine craftsmanship.

Princess Cruises - The leader in destination cruising offers a wide variety of choice in dining and entertainment together with excellent service aboard its modern fleet of balcony-rich Love Boats.

Seabourn Cruise Line - Among the finest cruise products in the world, the ultra-luxury "Yachts of Seabourn" feature well-appointed suites, outstanding cuisine and worldwide itineraries.

Windstar Cruises - Comprised of a fleet of three computerized sailing vessels, Windstar offers a casually elegant shipboard experience that is "definitely 180 degrees from ordinary."

Currently, the WLCL fleet comprises 59 ships totaling more than 94,000 lower berths. WLCL member lines have 13 new ships slated for delivery between now and mid-2006 representing more than 23,000 new lower berths.

Back to the top of the news list

Disney Cruise Line Teams Up With The U.S. Coast Guard and Canaveral Port Authority To Keep Canaveral Beautiful

Disney Cruise Line cast and crew members team up with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Canaveral Port Authority this Saturday to clean up the Banana River shoreline in an effort to keep Port Canaveral beautiful. The annual tradition allows Disney Cruise Line the opportunity to give back to the community that is the year-round home port of the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder cruise ships.

The event will take place on the Banana River side of SR 401, which runs around the Port Canaveral West Turning Basin.

Back to the top of the news list

Newest U.S. Flagged Ship to Salute Historic Vessel S.S. America by Dedicating Onboard Library

Miami, Oct. 15, 2003 – NCL America today announced it will salute the S.S. America by naming its onboard library on the Pride of America, the S.S. America Library and featuring memorabilia and artifacts from the historic ship. As the first new ocean-going cruise ship in nearly 50 years to hoist the Stars and Stripes, the Pride of America will be christened in Hawai’i on July 4th, 2004 and will sail under Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) NCL America brand. The 100-percent U.S. crewed ship will sail in Hawai’i year round and is designed to celebrate the Best of America.

“As a gesture to the U.S. cruise industry and a salute to former U.S. Flagged vessels, we felt honoring the S.S. America through the onboard library was an appropriate dedication,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL America. “We know how beloved U.S. flagged vessels are to maritime enthusiasts and many modern day cruisers and we wanted to work that into our new ship. I think our guests will be pleased with the library.”

The S.S. America Library will be located on deck six with a large selection of books and magazines for guests. NCL America is currently working with ship historian Bill Lee to develop the library, which will feature historic maps, oil paintings, an S.S. America scale model and a selection of books about her as well as photographs that depict the different stages of her life. The library will also feature memorabilia from the original ship, including crockery, cutlery and menus all displaying the ship’s regal logo and historic photographs of passengers onboard enjoying their time onboard.

A plaque in the Library will list the ship’s details, including the length, tonnage, the date the ship went into service, dry-docks, Atlantic crossings, etc. Finally, a sign that will read “S.S. America” is being created especially for the library from a piece of her original teak deck salvaged and donated by Steven L. Tacey, a former passenger who immigrated to Australia onboard the vessel. To continue the homage to ships of yesteryear, the Lifestyles card room next door will feature oil paintings of other United States Lines ships.

The S. S. America was completed in 1940 and served as America's symbolic Ship of State as an early foray into the realm of the great ocean liners. She was built in the grand tradition and was an unmistakably American ship, sailing under the United States Lines fleet. She was fast, comfortable and modern in design and décor, yet opulent and luxurious with grand salons and unique detailing in every public room. Known affectionately as the Queen of the American Merchant Marine, the S.S. America was christened by then first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

The US Maritime Commission subsidized the cost of the ship’s construction and certain ‘defense features’ had been inconspicuously incorporated into her design. After sailing in the Caribbean for less than a year, World War II delayed the ship’s entry into the transatlantic passenger trade. During an intense 11-day period, the ship was converted into a troop transport vessel capable of carrying more than 8,000 soldiers at a time. The S.S. America was renamed the USS West Point (AP 23) and made 15 Pacific crossings and 41 Atlantic crossings, transporting over a half million soldiers without loss of a single passenger.

The USS West Point was relieved of Naval duty in 1946 and underwent a multi-million dollar restoration to replicate the S.S. America’s original specifications. In November 1946, the S.S. America finally made her maiden voyage to Europe and then settled into a routine of transatlantic crossings, averaging 15-18 round trip voyages each year. By the time her service with the United States Lines ended, the ship had completed 288 Atlantic crossings, steamed 2.8 million nautical miles and carried over 500,000 peacetime passengers.

In November 1964, the S.S. America was sold to Greek shipping company Chandris, for use in emigrant service from England to Australia. She was renamed the RHMS Australis -- The Australian Maiden. Typically, every three months the RHMS Australis would sail from Southampton to ports in Australia and New Zealand. Under the Australian Government’s heavily subsidized migrant contract, her passengers could pay as little as 10 pounds each for their adventure of a lifetime – a multi-week cruise more than halfway around the world.

Taken out of service in 1979, she languished at anchor in a Greek harbor for 15 years. On Christmas Eve of 1993 the ship left Piraeus for what was planned to be a100-day tow to Thailand to become a floating hotel. However, off the Canary Islands, the weather quickly deteriorated and the towline snapped. After several attempts to recover control of the ship, she was driven hard aground on the west coast of Fuerteventura Island on January 18, 1994, where she has remained.

Pride of America
Pride of America will feature the innovative attributes of NCL’s newest Freestyle Cruising fleet. She features eight restaurants offering traditional dining experiences in two main restaurants plus multiple alternative dining venues, from formal to casual and 24-hour room service.

With over 660 balcony staterooms, Pride of America offers the broadest range of family-friendly interconnecting cabins available, state-of-the-art entertainment venues, three pools, extensive children’s facilities, an abundance of spacious public rooms, and the largest dedicated meeting facilities at sea. All inspired by the diverse regions of America. The ship will also include several firsts for NCL including a Conservatory, a new category of family suites, tennis court and an art gallery.

Pride of America will also feature a vibrant artistic interpretation of the Stars and Stripes combined with the United States’ national bird – the Bald Eagle – on its hull. The eagle artwork, splashed with stars and stripes in striking red, white and blue colors will run on both sides of the hull in a dynamic celebration of America.

On April 14, 2003 Norwegian Cruise Line announced the purchase of two American Maritime flagships built in the glory days of transatlantic sea travel, the S.S. United States and S.S. Independence. Though NCL has not yet announced plans for the vessels, they too are a part of NCL America, the company’s U.S. flagged brand. For further information on NCL, contact a travel agent of NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 347-7030; in Miami-Dade County, FL;, (305) 436-0866; visit NCL's web site at

Back to the top of the news list

Princess Adds Special Shore Excursions to First Antarctic Sailing
Antarctica Landing Expedition Gives Passengers the Opportunity to Visit Important Research Station

SANTA CLARITA, CA, 10/21/03 – Passengers on Princess’ upcoming first ever Antarctic sailing will be able to add another unique experience to their adventure to the planet’s most remote continent. Now, after their four days of cruising through the scenic islands and wildlife areas of the Antarctic Peninsula, passengers can choose to add an exclusive shore excursion that will fly them to visit one of Antarctic’s oldest and most important research stations.

The new “Antarctica Landing Expedition,” which departs from the Chilean port of Punta Arenas, will first be offered for passengers on Royal Princess’ December 19 Antarctica/South America cruise. The tour will subsequently be available to passengers on Royal Princess’ Cape Horn/Strait of Magellan cruises in January and February 2004. The exciting 12-hour excursion takes passengers soaring over Tierra del Fuego on a flight to Villa Las Estrellas Research Station in Antarctica. Here, guests will have approximately four hours to enjoy an unforgettable encounter with the landscape and wildlife of Earth’s harshest continent. The visit includes a tour of the center, one of the continent’s oldest and most important meteorological stations. Passengers will also trek to view the area’s wildlife reserves and glaciers, plus visit a colony of sea lions and, weather permitting, hike along the beach to Ardley Island. Wildlife in the area and surrounding waters include baleen and killer whales, Weddel and Antarctic seals and Papua and Adelie penguins.

"This first Antarctic cruise is a dramatic addition to our cruise program in itself as it brings the seventh and final continent to Princess’ worldwide itinerary lineup," said Dean Brown, Princess’ executive vice president of customer service and sales. "And by also offering this excursion option, our passengers will truly have the opportunity to say they’ve explored Antarctica."

Royal Princess’ 24-day South Atlantic/Antarctica/South America cruise travels between Cape Town and Santiago, taking in some of the least-visited areas in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans along the way, with four days of cruising among the islands and channels of the southernmost continent. The itinerary begins with an overnight in Cape Town on December 19, followed by a cruise around the Cape of Good Hope. In the South Atlantic, the ship will call at Tristan da Cunha, an intriguing outpost that is home to fewer than 300 inhabitants. Royal Princess will then sail among the islands and channels surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula, including Elephant Island, named for its abundance of elephant seals; Esperanza Station, Deception Island, Intercurrence Island and Sigma Island (subject to weather and ice conditions). The ship turns north to call at Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands, then on to Cape Horn and Ushuaia in Argentina. Other calls, as the ship heads north along the Chilean coast to Santiago, include cruising the Beagle Channel, Punta Arenas (the departure point for the new excursion) Puerto Montt, and cruising Seno Eyre Fjord.

Limited space is still available Princess’ 24-day Antarctica/South America voyage, with fares starting at $3,578. The new Antarctica Landing Expedition shore excursion is available for $1,599 per person.

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. Additional information is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company’s website at

Back to the top of the news list

Crystal Cruises Unveils Extraordinary Rates for Crystal Harmony's Spring 2004 Asia Itineraries
Phenomenal Savings of Up to 57% Off Cruise Fares, Reduced Business Class Air Upgrades

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 20 -- Six-Star Crystal Cruises has substantially lowered fares on four spring 2004 Asia sailings aboard Crystal Harmony, offering guests its most attractive savings ever to the region. Crystal Cruises is further sweetening the savings opportunities with new reduced business class air upgrades that are available with the sailings for bookings made by December 1, 2003.

"These once-in-a-lifetime offers for Asia travel at the most beautiful time of year are too fantastic for travelers to pass up," said Crystal Cruises' Adam Leavitt, senior vice president, marketing. "They provide new and veteran guests alike the chance to savor Crystal Harmony's ultra-luxury vacation experience in one of the world's most exciting and exotic regions of the world at fares that may never be available again."

The line has reduced minimum fares by an astounding 57% and taken the unprecedented step of reducing verandah fares by 52% on three of the four Asia itineraries. Business class upgrades, which are in addition to coach add-ons, are also available in conjunction with the sailings. The offer applies to the following itineraries:

   *  April 9-23 (14 days) -- Singapore to Hong Kong, with calls in
      Thailand's Bangkok and Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.
      Business class upgrades from Los Angeles start at $1,198.

   *  April 23-May 5 (12 days) -- Hong Kong to Beijing, with calls at
      Japan's Nagasaki and Kobe, China's Shanghai and Qingdao.  Business
      class upgrades from Los Angeles start at $1,498.

   *  May 5-May 16 (11 days) -- Beijing to Tokyo, with calls at China's
      Shanghai, and Japan's Nagasaki, Osaka and Shimizu.  Business class
      upgrades from Los Angeles start at $1,898.

The fourth Asia itinerary, which is part of Crystal's Value Collection, offers guests savings of up to 50 % off cruise fares and business class upgrades. The 15-day sailing, which departs Tokyo on May 16 and ends in San Francisco on May 30, will feature a business class upgrade that starts at $998.

Australia and New Zealand savings
Crystal Cruises has also has also reduced fares on the Crystal Harmony's New Zealand and Australia sailings:

   *  March 13-March 26 (13 days) -- Auckland to Sydney, with calls at New
      Zealand's Christchurch and Dunedin and Australia's Hobart and
      Melbourne. Starting cruises fares reduced by 37%.

   *  March 26-April 9 (14 days) -- Sydney to Singapore, with calls at
      Australia's Hardy Reef, Hamilton Island, Port Douglas and Darwin.
      Starting cruises fares reduced by 57%.

At 50,000 tons, the ultra-luxurious Crystal Harmony carries 940 guests, providing a flawless sailing experience with its cutting edge facilities, superlative service and elegant accommodations. Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary brochure on Asia or any other worldwide destination, please call 800.820.6663. Visit the luxury line's website at

Back to the top of the news list

Book A 2004 Group Cruise on SeaDream Yacht Club and Save

Receive one free stateroom for every four paid staterooms -- up to 3 free staterooms earned on any one sailing.

Perfect for small groups – 5 to 25 staterooms! 
Friends, Family Reunions, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Yacht Clubs, Wine Clubs,
Country Clubs, Investment Clubs, Upscale Restaurants, Class Reunions,
Corporate Incentives and Meetings
Why perfect for small groups?

  • Intimate – maximum of 55 couples served by 90 crew members.

  • Dining – tables outside as well as inside in private settings. Tabletops for from 2 to 10.

  • Cuisine – gourmet five star dining with exquisite wines and spirits.

  • Active – water sports, mountain bikes, golf, tours, Segways, Asian spa and fitness center.

  • Entertaining – Casino, piano bar, outside movies, caviar and champagne splash.

  • All Inclusive – open bar, wine with lunch and dinner, activities, gratuities.

  • Owner’s Suite – Excellent for private catered group parties at no additional cost.

  • Meeting Space - Private meeting space available with state of the art audio visual equipment.

Call Reservations at 1-800-707-4911 to book your groups.

Back to the top of the news list

Construction Complete on JAXPORT Cruise Terminal
Building Ready to Handle Passengers on First Sailing October 27

Jacksonville, FL – Construction is now substantially complete on the temporary “JAXPORT Cruise Terminal” in North Jacksonville, and JAXPORT officials are ready for the facility to handle the city’s first cruise ship on October 27. The terminal will service passengers boarding Celebrity and Carnival cruise ships in their newly-announced services departing Jacksonville. 

The first vessel to use the terminal will be Celebrity’s 1,374-guest ship Zenith for a series of 13 cruises, each departing Jacksonville on various dates from October 27, 2003 through April 22, 2004 for destinations in the Southern and Western Caribbean. Celebrity then will return for another series of cruises from October 2004 through April 2005.

Carnival Cruise Lines also will use the new terminal, beginning with a series of 12 cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean aboard the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle from February 27 through April 17, 2004. Starting in October 2004, Carnival will then offer service with the first cruise ship to be based year-round in Jacksonville, the 1,452-passenger Holiday, which will depart JAXPORT for four and five night cruises to the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

“The location at Dames Point in North Jacksonville is well-suited for a cruise terminal,” said Rick Ferrin, JAXPORT’s Executive Director. “JAXPORT owns the property and already had an existing 1,200-linear foot ship berth on the site, as well as 20 acres of paved and fenced port property for parking. Additionally, the terminal is less than one mile from State Road 9-A and only 15 minutes from Jacksonville International Airport, making it convenient for passengers driving to their cruise.”

The 63,000-square foot facility, the city’s first ever cruise terminal, cost $5.5 million to build, paid for from JAXPORT’s cash reserves. The terminal is temporary, but JAXPORT officials plan to provide a permanent facility either at the same site or at another location along the river. The JAXPORT Cruise Terminal is located just off Heckscher Drive about one mile west of State Road 9-A, adjacent to JAXPORT’s Dames Point Marine Terminal, or about four miles east of the Jacksonville Zoological Gardens. The 63,000-square foot terminal includes 19,000 square feet for passenger embarkation (ticket counters and seating); 30,000 square feet for baggage handling; 9,500 square feet for federal inspectors from U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and 4,500 square feet for bathrooms, utilities, and baggage screening. Ships will dock in the St. Johns River behind the building along a 1,200-linear foot berth. Passenger parking is available in a 20-acre paved and fenced parking lot adjacent to the terminal.

Back to the top of the news list

Vacationers from the United States made up 32 percent of passengers on port calls and 69 percent on turnaround cruises.

STOCKHOLM -- The Stockholm Cruising Capital network announced that the 2003 summer cruise season brought a record number of cruise ship calls, turnarounds and passengers to the Swedish capital. Between May and September, the Ports of Stockholm had 214 calls carrying 202,000 passengers, and 20 turnarounds that brought 23,000 cruise vacationers. Overall, that represents a 50 percent increase over the number of passengers served in 2002, which totaled 135,000.

In a sign of the Baltic region's increasing popularity as a cruise market, U.S. citizens constituted a majority of passengers arriving at Stockholm. On ship calls, 32 percent of passengers (64,640) were from the United States, while a full 69 percent of passengers (15,870) on turnaround cruises were Americans.

"This is the first time Stockholm has hosted more than 200 ship calls and the first time we have had more than 200,000 passengers in a season," said Maria Guggenberger, cruise marketing manager for Stockholm Cruising Capital network. "Next year, with Princess Cruises placing the first Grand-class ship in the Baltic, I think we will see even more Americans and even greater interest in the Baltic itineraries."

She pointed out that Stockholm is one of the most attractive destinations on Baltic cruises, whether visitors are in town for a day or a pre- or post-cruise stayover. "We are finding that cruise passengers really enjoy Stockholm as either a port of call or a turnaround port," Guggenberger adds. "It is compact and easy to get around, everybody speaks English and no matter what you want to do, whether shopping, sightseeing or dining, there is something that appeals to everyone."

Guggenberger said that inaugural calls already scheduled by the Ports of Stockholm in 2004 include Costa Cruises' Costa Atlantica, Royal Caribbean International's Jewel of the Seas, Princess' Grand Princess and Windstar Cruises' Wind Surf. Stockholm currently has scheduled 202 calls and 17 turnarounds, and is estimating a total of more than 220,000 passengers in 2004.

Back to the top of the news list

Win a cruise for 12, bring the entire family

He gets to skip soccer practice. She gets to blow off ballet. And you get to ditch dinner duty seven nights in a row. How? Easy. Enter the Royal Caribbean Family Cruise Sweepstakes. It’s your chance to win one of three Grand Prizes of a cruise for 12 to the destination of your choice – the Caribbean, Alaska or Europe – or three First Prizes of a Caribbean cruise for 4. Try your luck – and, hey, spread the word – right here.

Back to the top of the news list

Shipyard Fire Damages Holland America Vessel Under Construction

MIAMI, Oct. 17 -- Holland America Line, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc reported that its cruise ship under construction at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Marghera, Italy has experienced a fire. The fire began on the stern section of the 82,000-ton vessel at approximately 7:30 a.m. local time on October 17 and was extinguished by 11 a.m. local time. No injuries were reported.

The extent of damage to the ship cannot be fully determined at this time. To be named Westerdam, the 1,848-passenger vessel is scheduled for delivery on April 15, 2004.

Back to the top of the news list

Holland America Line Offers Savings of Up to $2,400 Per Stateroom Off 2004 Cruises During Annual 
Seven-Continents Celebration Promotion

SEATTLE, Oct. 15 -- Guests looking for a cruise vacation to the four corners of the world or something a little closer to home now have additional incentive to begin planning for 2004. Holland America Line is offering savings of up to US$2,400 off a couple's cruise fare on more than 80 sailings in 2004 when booking by the end of November 2003. Options include award-winning itineraries in Europe, the Panama Canal, South America and Antarctica, Hawaii, Caribbean, and Canada/New England.

"Our Seven-Continents promotion emphasizes what an exceptional value cruising can be on the highest rated premium cruise line," said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "As the name aptly implies, we sail to all seven continents and offer the industry's largest variety of far-ranging itineraries. Now with greater value and savings, planning a Holland America cruise vacation shouldn't wait."

The Seven Continents promotion applies to Holland America's cruise itineraries to Hawaii, South America, Panama Canal, Europe, Mexico, Canada/New England, and select Caribbean sailings. Dates are available through the end of 2004. Seven Continent savings range from US$400 to US$2,400 per stateroom and apply to Early Savings cruise fares, past guest Mariner pricing and all standard group fares on bookings made by November 30, 2003.

Back to the top of the news list

Her Majesty The Queen to Name Queen Mary 2

MIAMI, Oct. 15 -- Cunard is delighted to confirm that Her Majesty The Queen will name the company's new flagship Queen Mary 2 at a ceremony to take place in Southampton, England, on Thursday, January 8, 2004. Her Majesty will be accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. The launch will be a milestone in British maritime history and will be a major event of worldwide interest.

According to Pamela Conover, president of Cunard Line: "This will be an historic occasion in the true sense of the word. The Queen honoured Cunard by launching our current flagship QE2 in 1967, and we are delighted Her Majesty has agreed to do the same for our next transatlantic liner, Queen Mary 2. Cunard prides itself on operating the most famous ocean liners in the world and Queen Mary 2 will carry this fine tradition into the 21st century."

The British-registered Queen Mary 2, the largest, longest, tallest, widest and--at $780 million--the most expensive passenger liner ever built, will enter service on January 12, 2004, with a Maiden Voyage from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Cunard Line has operated the most famous ocean liners in the world since 1840. Cunard vessels have a classic British heritage and include QE2 and Caronia. In 2004 the line welcomes Queen Mary 2, destined to recapture the glamour of the original Queen Mary, currently a hotel and attraction in Long Beach, CA. In 2005, another newbuild, Queen Victoria, joins the fleet. 

For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or visit the website at

Back to the top of the news list

Holland America's 2004 Alaska Cruisetour Itineraries Offer More Time for Seeing the Best of Alaska by Land, Sea & Air
25 Programs Offer More Than 530 Departures Including New Tours to Prudhoe Bay

Seattle -- When heading north to Alaska, travelers can discover more of the region by combining a popular Holland America Southeast Alaskan cruise with a tour into the interior, which includes Denali National Park and its beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. In 2004, Holland America offers 25 different ways for guests to explore the wonders of the 49th state and neighboring areas in the Far North with new programs to Prudhoe Bay and the return of the popular Kluane National Park tours to the Yukon. 

The itineraries, which range from 11 to 19 days, offer any number of ways to combine cruises on one of five premium Holland America five-star ships with exciting land programs that include many options exclusive to Holland America. In 2004, Holland America has added scenic cruising of the twin Sawyer Glaciers of Tracy Arm to the line's affordable Great Land CruiseTours and their Glacier Bay Inside Passage cruises from Vancouver. So, for the first time, Northbound Great Land CruiseTours include scenic glacier cruising at Tracy Arm and a visit to Juneau before guests enjoy a full day in Skagway. Ranging from 11 to 17 days, Great Land CruiseTours also explore Whitehorse, Beaver Creek, Fairbanks and Denali National Park. 

"Our CruiseTours offer guests more time in Denali National Park than any other program, as well as more and better ways to experience Glacier Bay National Park," said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "We have built in ways for guests to take extra time to experience the very best that Alaska has to offer. With our brand new McKinley Explorer domed railcars and our expanded hotel facilities in Fairbanks and Denali, our guests will also enjoy the best transportation and accommodations. And let's not forget that each CruiseTour begins or ends with a luxurious Holland America cruise to cap a truly remarkable experience for each guest." 

Three Styles of CruiseTour 
The CruiseTour program is comprised of three separate itinerary groupings.

On a Great Land Klondike CruiseTour, guests can choose one of six different itineraries for experiencing the sights of Denali National Park and the trail of the legendary Yukon gold rush. Itineraries run from 11 to 15 days on journeys between Anchorage and Vancouver, with either three or four nights spent aboard the Volendam or Zaandam. A typical Great Land Klondike itinerary begins with a five-star cruise from Vancouver through the Inside Passage that takes in scenic Tracy Arm and the Sawyer Glaciers, as well as a call at Juneau. Arriving in Skagway, guests disembark and board the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway for a scenic ride through the perilous canyon where Gold Rushers once hauled their kits on the way to the Yukon gold fields. Luxury motorcoaches complete the ride to Whitehorse, where guests spend the night and enjoy a city tour and live frontier entertainment. The tour continues to Dawson and a spectacular ride aboard the mv Yukon Queen tour boat, a Holland America exclusive, as well as a visit to Fairbanks and the historic Gold Dredge No. 8, another Holland America exclusive, where guests can learn firsthand how gold was dredged and processed. A domed McKinley Explorer railcar - featuring the largest passenger rail cars in service in North America with panoramic views and innovative technology to provide an unsurpassed touring experience through Alaska's pristine backcountry - then whisks guests to Denali National Park and the exciting Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour, a six-hour narrated expedition that goes deep into the park and delivers frequent big-game wildlife sightings as well as great views on clear days of Mt. McKinley. Another domed McKinley Explorer rail journey delivers guests from Denali to Anchorage for transfers home. Seasonal prices begin at $1,799 to $2,299 per person, double occupancy. Taxes are additional. 

On the second CruiseTour program, Great Land Wilderness CruiseTours, after the popular Inside Passage and glacier cruise, guests can choose to spend an entire, unscheduled day in Skagway to take advantage of excursions such as a Glacier Bay flightseeing tour or a ferry transfer to nearby Haines for kayaking or sightseeing. The fascinating White Pass rail and motorcoach trip takes guests to Whitehorse for an overnight visit and a two-day motorcoach transfer along the Alaska Highway to Fairbanks offer unparalleled sightseeing of vast stretches of Alaskan outback. The journey continues to Denali National Park for the wilderness tour, and then concludes with a domed railcar transfer to Anchorage. CruiseTour itineraries are available with spectacular Kluane National Park and an extra day at Denali National Park. Seasonal prices begin at $1,449 to $1,949 per person, double occupancy. 

Glacier Discovery CruiseTours, the third grouping of the CruiseTour program, offer 15 different ways to experience Alaska's magnificent glaciers as well as the attractions of Denali National Park and Fairbanks. These tours run from 11 to 19 days, with a full seven nights of cruising on board the Ryndam, Statendam or Veendam on northbound departures from Vancouver and southbound departures from Seward. The cruise portions of these tours include viewing the magnificent glaciers and scenery of Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord or the Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay. Guests then travel by National Scenic Byway between Seward and Anchorage, or by an equally spectacular cruise train route. Domed McKinley Explorer railcars transfer guests to Denali National Park for the full Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour. Another railcar excursion to Fairbanks leads to tours of Gold Dredge No. 8 and a cruise on board the sternwheeler "Discovery III" of the Chena and Tanana rivers. Alternate itineraries for Glacier Discovery CruiseTours include a new extension to the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay, including travel on the Dalton Highway past Gates of the Arctic National Park and the Alaska pipeline; extensions to the Yukon and Dawson; and a two-day side trip by air to Nome and Kotzebue in the Arctic for demonstrations of native handicrafts and dancing. Seasonal prices begin at $1,699 to $2,399 per person, double occupancy.

See for additional details.

Back to the top of the news list

A First For Seabourn: Excursion Requires Breathalyzer Test

MIAMI -- Seabourn Cruise Line announced that a spectacular shore excursion the ultra luxury line will offer in Sydney, Australia early next year is its first such excursion requiring all participants to pass a breath test for blood alcohol level. The morning half-day excursion, which is one of Seabourn's innovative Adventure Series tours, is called "Harbour Bridge Climb & Rocks Pubs." As the name implies, the tour entails participants' climbing to the dizzying summit of Sydney Harbour Bridge, 441 feet above the water--and therein lies the concern for their sobriety.

Daring participants will be outfitted with Bridge Suits and divided into small groups. A safety briefing precedes the climb, which is fully escorted. Ascending a catwalk, Seabourn's guests will reach the supporting pylon of the landmark bridge, built in 1932, and start across the 1,650-foot arch to the summit. From there, they will enjoy the unique and breathtaking 360-degree panorama of Sydney Harbour and the surrounding city. Although, for safety reasons, guests cannot carry cameras, a professional photographer will record their success and a citation will be issued. Only after descending from the bridge will guests be led on a short walk around the historic Rocks section of the city, where they can finally enjoy a much-needed glass of Aussie brew and a chat with local Sydney-siders in one of the area's popular pubs.

The excursion is one of several Adventure Series tours in Seabourn's South Pacific season. Others include swimming with dolphins and an exclusive visit to an isolated seal rookery near Akaroa, New Zealand. Seabourn also offers custom-designed Signature Series excursions such as a behind-the-scenes tour of Sydney Opera House with a private performance by one of the Sydney Opera's singers, or a helicopter tour to the dramatic New Zealand national parks countryside depicted as Middle Earth in the "Lord of the Rings" films.

On every cruise, Seabourn creates a complimentary Exclusively Seabourn shoreside experience for all guests. One example is a special invitation to spend a day at the ultra luxury Hayman Island Resort on the Great Barrier Reef, rated as one of the world's finest resorts.

The all-suite, 208-guest Seabourn Spirit will sail six cruises of 11 to 18 days in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea during January, February and March of 2004. Early Booking Savings of up to 50 percent offer fares from $2,998 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot Seabourn suite. For more information on The Yachts of Seabourn, contact your travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Discovery Cruise Line Announces New Year's Special Cruise

MIAMI -- Discovery Cruise Line, America's favorite cruise ship sailing to Grand Bahama Island, has announced that it will operate its annual New Year's Eve Party Cruise with several early booking options. The regular published rates for the cruise are $149.99 per person for the first seating at 7 p.m. and $169.99 per person for the second seating at 9:15 p.m.

Special group rates and the following early booking options are available:

  • $50 off per person for the first 200 bookings. A $50 per person deposit is required at the time of booking and final payment is due on or before November 15, 2003. No refunds are permitted.
  • $25 off per person for the next 200 bookings. A $50 per person deposit is required at the time of booking and final payment is due on or before December 15, 2003. No refunds are permitted.
  • Both dinner seatings are available at published rates after the first 400 bookings. Full payment is due at the time of booking. No refunds are permitted.

The ship departs from Port Everglades at 7:00 p.m. New Year's Eve and returns back to the pier at 3:00 a.m. The cruise features dancing in all lounges all night, interspersed with special entertainment, a disco, a Las Vegas Style casino, shows, and a great party out at sea. Passengers will delight in Discovery's deluxe seven-course dinner which has won the cruise line the distinction of membership in La Chaine des Rotisseurs gourmet society. There will also be a special champagne toast at midnight to ring in the new year followed by a very special breakfast buffet.

To take advantage of the early booking discount, call your travel agent or 1-800-93-SHIPS, or visit

Back to the top of the news list

Piero Selvaggio Brings 'The Best Young Chefs of Italy'
 to Crystal Cruises

Ciccio Sultano and Walter Ferreto Showcase New Italian Cuisine at Prego

LOS ANGELES -- A new wave of young, creative and extremely talented chefs is reinventing Italian cuisine, and Piero Selvaggio, proprietor of the acclaimed Valentino restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, is bringing "The Best Young Chefs of Italy" to the award-winning culinary team at Crystal Cruises, launching a progressive new food concept showcasing a contemporary twist on authentic Italian cuisine.

Conceived by Selvaggio to incorporate this New Italian Cuisine into the menus at his legendary restaurants, "The Best Young Chefs of Italy" taps the future stars of the culinary world, spotlighting Italy's famed regions. Sicily, Piedmont, Tuscany--each has its own specialty, but a common theme is emerging among the country's daring young chefs from North to South that focuses on basic, fresh, local ingredients crafted with imagination and flair.

Hot new chefs such as Ciccio Sultano of Sicily's Il Duomo Restaurant and Walter Ferreto of Cascinalenuovo restaurant in Piedmont, are welcomed aboard to train Crystal's chefs on their regionally inspired menus which are presented at Prego, the line's Italian specialty restaurant found aboard each ship. Selvaggio, in collaboration with Toni Neumeister, Crystal's vice president of food and beverage, determines which dishes work best, and these are featured on the "Valentino at Prego" menu offered nightly alongside Prego's own inspired Italian cuisine.

The program debuted to rave reviews with Chef Sultano traveling aboard Crystal Serenity during its inaugural Mediterranean season. Sultano's signature dishes currently featured on CrystalSerenity's "Valentino at Prego" menu reflect the flavors of Sicily and include entrees such as Grilled Fillet of Mediterranean Bass, served with Potato Baked in Salt, Sauteed Vegetable Julienne in a Creamy Sweet and Sour Sauce; and a Broiled Veal Chop Stuffed with Pistachio, Grilled Ragusan Cheese and Sauteed Vegetables, accompanied by Spinach Ravioli with Natural Carrubbo Sauce.

In January 2004, Chef Ferreto brings his talents aboard Crystal Symphony to showcase his delicate Piedmont cuisine created with personality and creativity in a region known for its robust flavors. Ferreto's Angolotti "dalplin" is a delicately divine version of a traditional Piedmont favorite; and his feathery light Gnocchetti with Whitefish Ragout and Basil-Scented Zucchini is another signature dish slated to appear on the Crystal Symphony "Valentino at Prego" menu.

Selvaggio and Crystal plan to feature at least two "Best Young Chefs of Italy" each year.

"With an emphasis on continuing Crystal's commitment to excellence in wine and food, we have taken the guest chef concept to the next level and created 'The Best Young Chefs of Italy' to introduce the most exciting and contemporary Italian cuisine to our discerning clientele," says Neumeister. "Working with our long-time partner Piero Selvaggio, this inspired program is yet another evolution of the quality Crystal dining experience."

As has become common practice since the Selvaggio-Crystal partnership began, Crystal's culinary team will spend time ashore in the kitchens of Italy's Best Young Chefs, perfecting their techniques and absorbing their philosophies. The result is a collection of inventive menus that will be rotated throughout the year.

"Italian food is regional, each with its own nuances and flavors. And with 'The Best Young Chefs of Italy' we will emphasize the best of each chef from each region, providing Crystal's clientele with a dining experience above and beyond their expectations," says Selvaggio.

Selvaggio & Crystal - A Perfect Pairing
Crystal's relationship with Piero Selvaggio dates back to 1998, when the noted wine expert conducted wine classes and tastings as part of Crystal's on- going Wine & Food Festival, which features the world's renowned culinary leaders. Selvaggio was impressed by the experience, and a powerful relationship was born. Notes Selvaggio, "It was spectacular. Once I saw first-hand the quality and professionalism of Crystal's culinary staff, I was enthusiastic about creating a full-time alliance -- something that has never been done before."

Valentino is frequently cited as having one of the country's best Italian kitchens and wine cellars. Selvaggio partnered with the luxury line in January 2001, when the award-winning leaders in their respective fields launched an innovative dining and wine program, "Valentino at Prego." For the first time, connoisseurs were able to savor a five-course Valentino dinner -- throughout the world -- in Prego, the intimate Italian restaurant aboard Crystal's Six-Star ships.

Prepared by Valentino-trained Prego chefs, the added menu reflects Valentino's philosophy of utilizing the best, freshest ingredients to create authentic Italian cuisine of the highest quality. Selections vary according to the cruising region and availability of unique ingredients, with at least five Valentino signature dishes served on each Crystal cruise. Each course is paired with wine chosen by Selvaggio.

Crystal's Toni Neumeister had mutual admiration for Selvaggio's successful operation and style, and envisioned a symbiotic union. "Crystal Cruises, like Valentino, is known for its passion for detail and atmosphere of warmth and elegance," says Neumeister. "'Valentino at Prego' reflects Crystal's commitment to continually fine-tune our luxury travel experience and exceed our guests' expectations through innovation and choices."

Committed to the Culinary Arts
"The Best Young Chefs of Italy" is the newest addition to Crystal's sophisticated culinary program which includes its highly regarded "Wine & Food Festival," now in its seventh year, and the recently launched "Wine & Champagne Makers Dinners," the first such concept to be offered at sea.

In addition to its pioneering relationship with Selvaggio, the line's devotion to the culinary arts is further evidenced by its unprecedented alliances with some of the world's most celebrated names in food, wine and hospitality including Nobu Matsuhisa, whose legendary cuisine is featured in the aptly-named "Sushi Bar" and "Silk Road Restaurant" aboard Crystal Serenity; and Wolfgang Puck, whose acclaimed Santa Monica-based restaurant, Chinois on Main, is showcased at "Jade Garden," the intimate Asian specialty restaurant aboard Crystal Symphony.

Crystal Cruises is booked exclusively through professional travel agents. For a complimentary copy of the 2003 or 2004 Cruise Atlas, call 800-820-6663. Visit the website:

Back to the top of the news list

Celebrity Cruises Takes Kids On New 'Celebrity Science Journeys'

MIAMI -- Children sailing with Celebrity Cruises now can tell their parents to "bug off," and mean it. "Celebrity Science Journeys" allows parents to escape to the pool or Celebrity's AquaSpa(SM) knowing that their children are busy discovering insects, experimenting with sea life or exploring the history of pirates.

Celebrity Science Journeys are a new component of the line's Family Cruising Program, and will be offered daily on every ship beginning November 27, 2003. The hands-on programs range from 30 minutes to one hour, and are age-appropriate for children from three to 12 years.

"Celebrity Science Journeys encourage children to learn about science and nature in an engaging environment, and are intended to initiate conversation between child and parent," said Celebrity Cruises' Director of Entertainment and Cruise Programs Michael Thomas.

The six Celebrity Science Journeys include:

  • Buccaneer's Bounty traces the history of pirates, sunken treasure and       excavation.
  • Earthworks includes lessons about biomes, pollination and the solar     system.
  • Environmentation Station explores natural phenomena and "man-made" disasters.
  • Get Buggy offers encounters with insects and arachnids, and traces the process of metamorphosis.
  • Sounds of the Sea presents the opportunity to listen to sea-life communicate underwater, including dolphins and whales.
  • Wacky Weather reviews everything from hurricanes to air pressure, tsunamis to thunder, and how weather patterns emerge and change.

Celebrity's Family Cruising Program is led by trained youth counselors. Program hours are 9 a.m.-12 noon; 2 p.m.- 5 p.m.; and 7 p.m.-10 p.m., whether in port or at sea.

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

Back to the top of the news list

Royal Caribbean Announces Major Changes Afloat for 2004; New Ships in the Northeast, Europe and Alaska, Plus Expanded Itinerary Options

MIAMI -- From new ships to additional ports of departure, Royal Caribbean International has a new lineup for 2004 that gives travelers even more exciting vacation options:

Non-Stop News in the Northeast -- Spring Through Fall
Royal Caribbean is bringing one of its most action-packed ships to New York City in May 2004. Voyager of the Seas charted new waters in active vacations when it first debuted as the world's largest cruise ship in 1999, with the first rock-climbing wall and ice-skating rink at sea, as well as an in-line skating track, and the Royal Promenade -- an interior shopping, dining and entertainment boulevard. Voyager of the Seas will sail alternating five- night Canada/New England and nine-night Western Caribbean itineraries from May through October 2004.

Voyager joins Nordic Empress, which returns to New York City in May 2004 to offer unique six- and eight-night alternating Bermuda cruises, making ports of call at King's Wharf and Hamilton, as well as St. George's on the longer itineraries.

Royal Caribbean also is offering a new departure port from the Northeast in 2004. Grandeur of the Seas will sail out of Baltimore from July through October. Grandeur will offer a seven-night itinerary including visits to Key West; Orlando; Freeport, Grand Bahama; and Royal Caribbean's private island, CocoCay, as well as select 10- and 11-night Caribbean cruises and two special Canada/New England sailings in October.

In addition, a new Royal Caribbean ship, Jewel of the Seas, will make her U.S. debut in Boston in September/October 2004 to offer 10-night Canada/New England cruises.

New Options in the Gulf
Starting in March 2004, Splendour of the Seas will offer new short getaways from Galveston, sailing four- and five-night cruises through April to the Western Caribbean, with ports of call in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico.

In November 2004, Splendour will head to Tampa to offer seven-night Western Caribbean cruises with stops in George Town, Grand Cayman; Costa Maya; Belize City, Belize; and Cozumel. From New Orleans, Grandeur of the Seas returns to offer Western Caribbean cruises throughout the 2003/2004 and 2004/2005 winter seasons.

Expanded Adventures in Alaska
Three Royal Caribbean ships will sail seven-night Alaska voyages throughout the summer of 2004, including two of the cruise line's Radiance- class ships. Radiance of the Seas, and the new Serenade of the Seas, which debuted in August 2003, are designed to bring the sea, sun and coastal scenery of Alaska indoors with nearly three acres of exterior glass. Both ships sail roundtrip Hubbard Glacier itineraries, while Vision of the Seas offers open- jaw cruises between Vancouver and Seward with stops in an exciting new destination -- Icy Strait Point, a historic area located on a picturesque Alaskan bay ideal for wildlife spotting.

Additionally, guests can choose from 19 Alaska and six Canada cruisetours, which combine Alaska cruises with outstanding land vacations, including the industry's only glass-domed train car experience between Seward and Anchorage, as well as four- and five-night excursions through the Canadian Rockies and three-night adventures to Whistler.

Europe Made Easy
Royal Caribbean will return to Europe full force in spring 2004 with three ships. The new Jewel of the Seas debuts in May 2004, when she begins sailing 12-night Scandinavia/Russia cruises, as well as two special British Isles/Norwegian Fjords sailings. Brilliance of the Seas will sail alternating 12-night Mediterranean and Mediterranean/Greek Isles itineraries. In addition, Splendour of the Seas will sail seven-night Mediterranean vacations from Barcelona.

Once again, Royal Caribbean will offer exclusive cruisetours on select European itineraries, providing guests with unforgettable experiences in some of the most beautiful and historic areas of England, France and Spain.

Exotic Itineraries Closer to Home
Options also abound on the West Coast, where Legend of the Seas will sail a summer season of seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises from San Diego, flanked by 10- and 11-night Hawaii and 14-night Panama Canal itineraries. Vision of the Seas will offer seven-night Mexican Riviera escapes from Los Angeles in the spring, fall and winter, while Monarch of the Seas sails three- and four- night Baja Mexico getaways year-round. From the East Coast, Brilliance of the Seas will offer 10-night, roundtrip Panama Canal cruises from Miami in the spring, fall and winter.

The Caribbean -- Closer than Ever
A total of 15 Royal Caribbean ships will cruise the Caribbean in winter 2003/2004, departing from seven convenient ports: Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Tampa, New Orleans, Galveston and San Juan. Vacationers can choose from a variety of cruise lengths from three to 11 nights. In addition, 10 of those ships will cruise the Caribbean/Bahamas year-round throughout 2004.

To cap off the year, Royal Caribbean is giving travelers a chance to experience the Caribbean like never before on Nordic Empress' new exotic itineraries to the Southern Caribbean, departing from San Juan beginning late November 2004. The unique, 11-night adventures will make stops in St. Maarten, St. Barts, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Margarita Island, Aruba and Curacao. Nordic Empress also will sail three-night St. Thomas/St. Maarten and St. Kitts/St. Maarten sailings, as well as four special, four-night Dominican Republic cruises with stops in Santo Domingo and Catalina Island on Oct. 15, Nov. 1, 8 and 15.

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

Back to the top of the news list

Norwegian Cruise Line Entertainers Stage Bermuda Benefit Concert for Fabian Relief Fund

Miami, October 13 - A festive crowd of 4,000 enjoyed a benefit concert by entertainers from Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)’s Norwegian Majesty and Norwegian Sea in Bermuda last week. The event, which was held in St. George’s Town Square on Tuesday, October 7, raised more than $12,000 for the St. George’s Preparatory School, which was heavily damaged last month by Hurricane Fabian. Chad Brennan and Marcus Dagan, both from NCL’s entertainment staff, worked with St. George’s-based business leaders and artists to organize the concert.

Brennan, an art director and singer aboard Norwegian Majesty, and Dagan, a singer and pianist aboard Norwegian Sea, organized the concert after learning of Hurricane Fabian’s harsh toll on St. George’s. “Entertainers on both ships love Bermuda, and we wanted to give something back,” Dagan said.

From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, St. George’s residents and cruise guests alike enjoyed singing, dancing, comedy and music delivered by the talented performers from both ships that sail to Bermuda seasonally. The concert was free, but a donations box was strategically placed near the entrance to Town Square. The St. George’s Preparatory School P.T.A. sold baked goods and sodas, and NCL’s featured entertainers took pictures with audience members in exchange for donations. At the concert’s end, students from the school gathered to sing a chorus of “We Are The World” and Henry Hayward, St. George’s Mayor, handed out certificates of appreciation to all of the NCL participants on the town’s behalf.

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