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Cruise News
October 1-31, 2005

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British Academy of Film & Television Arts Los Angeles Partners With Cunard Line for Array of Unique Entertainment Initiatives

VALENCIA, CA, Oct. 27 -- The British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA) has entered into a partnership with Cunard Line, the legendary ocean liner company, for a program of entertainment initiatives which celebrate the line's illustrious history and salute British contributions to film and television. The sponsorship includes, among other things, Cunard being named the title sponsor of the BAFTA/LA's hallmark annual awards ceremony, which have been renamed the BAFTA/LA Cunard Britannia Awards. This year, the awards will honor Tom Cruise, Elizabeth Taylor, director Mike Newell and filmmaker Ronald Neame, and will take place on November 10, 2005 at the Beverly Hilton hotel. 

The special award being presented this year to Ronald Neame ("The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," "The Odessa File") will hereafter be named The Cunard Britannia Award for Lifetime Contributions to International Film. In addition to its presentation of the Britannia Awards, Cunard will also participate as a sponsor in BAFTA/LA's other unique entertainment events and programs presented in Los Angeles by BAFTA/LA throughout the year.

"Throughout the decades, Cunard has had connections to the world of filmmaking and theater, as film and stage personalities from both sides of the Atlantic have sailed aboard our company's liners," said Peter Ratcliffe, Cunard's chief executive officer. "We're therefore delighted to be taking this new voyage with BAFTA/LA as we carry on that storied Cunard tradition."

Cunard, operator of the luxury ocean liners Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2, has long been synonymous with the quest for new discoveries and the epitome of British finesse since the company's first paddle-wheeled steamer, the Britannia, crossed the Atlantic in 1840. The company has an illustrious history of hosting famed entertainers, royalty, and society luminaries aboard its fleet of liners. Earlier Cunard "Queens" have welcomed such famous personalities as Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, and Clark Gable who enjoyed Cunard's White Star Service(SM) when crossing the Atlantic aboard a Cunard ship was considered the only way to travel.

Since Queen Mary 2's launch in January 2004, she has continued to play host to many notable guests such as John Cleese, Katie Couric, Richard Dreyfuss, Carly Simon, Rod Stewart, Tina Brown and Harold Evans, Donald Trump, and Dame Shirley Bassey, while eminent visitors have included Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The partnership aligns Cunard with the prestigious British Academy's prolific Los Angeles organization, whose active board of directors under Chairman Gary Dartnall's leadership has effectively intensified its community outreach and enhanced its national profile in recent years. For its part, Cunard will contribute funding for BAFTA/LA programs and events, as well as donate luxury crossings aboard the flagship of their fleet, the Queen Mary 2, for BAFTA/LA's diverse fundraising efforts. 

Cunard Line has operated the most famous ocean liners in the world since 1840. Cunard vessels have a classic British heritage and include the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2. Queen Victoria joins the fleet in 2007.

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Crystal Cruises Unveils Its Most Extensive World Cruise for 2007

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26 -- A return to Israel, Carnaval in Rio, three days cruising Antarctica, three days in Dubai and Cape Town, and multiple African safari options are among the rare travel opportunities distinguishing Crystal Cruises' 12th annual 2007 World Cruise. Departing on January 12, 2007, from Miami, Florida to Southampton, England on a 109-day journey of discovery, the ultra-luxurious Crystal Serenity will explore 44 ports of call in 27 countries on five continents, the most extensive global crossing ever offered by the luxury line. Considered the grandest of voyages, Crystal's World Cruise features transits of such coveted world attractions as the Chilean fjords, the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal, Cape Horn and the Bosporus, as well as opportunities to visit the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Luxor, Petra, the Pyramids of Giza, Jerusalem, Ephesus, the Acropolis, Marrakech and safaris to Kenya, Botswana and other exotic locations.

"Each year our goal is to create the luxury cruise experience of a lifetime," says Gregg L. Michel, president, Crystal Cruises. "For 2007, we crafted an itinerary that blends the wonders of the world, sophisticated cities, romantic and unexpected ports, breathtaking scenery and a fascinating mix of cultures, both modern and ancient. On this ultimate voyage, our guests can unpack once and visit many of the destinations that have won top honors in the recent travel polls of World's Best destinations. From Nobu's cuisine to the Creative Learning Institute enrichment programs, Crystal Serenity offers an unparalleled shipboard experiencel. Crystal Serenity's size offers inviting choices amidst an intimate experience. When you combine those features with the distinctive Crystal Adventures and exotic ports, there is nothing like a Crystal World Cruise."

Offered in seven segments with departures from Miami, Florida; Valparaiso, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cape Town, South Africa; Dubai, UAE; Istanbul, Turkey; and Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy; the 2007 World Cruise also includes maiden calls in Coquimbo, Chile; Maputo, Mozambique; and Gabes, Tunisia. From Miami, Crystal Serenity will transit the Panama Canal before circumnavigating South America from Ecuador (for the Galapagos) to Peru, Chile (for Machu Picchu), Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. Other highlights include a cruise through the Chilean fjords, the rounding of Cape Horn, cruising through Antarctica, an overnight in Buenos Aires and a stay in Rio de Janeiro during 2007's sizzling Carnaval.

Crystal Serenity then crosses the Atlantic to Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, where she will visit Cape Town for three days. The luxury vessel will head up Africa's east coast to the Seychelles and on to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for a three-day stay. Along the way, multiple safari options will be available. Continuing from Dubai are ancient cities in Oman, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel (for the first time since 1999), a transit of the historic Suez Canal, followed by the architectural wonders of Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and Italy. From Rome, the World Cruise concludes with a delicious segment blending the food, wine and spices of Italy, Spain, Morocco, Portugal and overnights in Bordeaux before Crystal Serenity's arrival in Southampton, England.

The complete itinerary will be posted on Crystal Cruises' website on October 31, 2005. Fares will be released on November 10, when Crystal will open its Reservations first to full World Cruisers in 2006. Full World Cruise guests will enjoy two exclusive, memorable shoreside events reserved for full World Cruise guests only; a complimentary Crystal Adventure ashore on each of the seven segments; a gala event on the eve of departure from Miami; pre-paid shipboard gratuities; private car transfers within 100 miles of Crystal Cruises' air gateway cities from home to airport, and back; complimentary air transportation; $1,000 shipboard credit, per person; and a rich array of onboard events and gifts.

For its 2006 World Cruise, Crystal has more than 300 full World Cruisers, a record number for the luxury line. From November 10 to December 15, 2006 full World Cruisers will have the priority opportunity to reserve their same stateroom or suite for the 2007 World Cruise. World Cruise reservations for the full World Cruise or for segments open to the public on December 20, 2005. For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Holland America Increases Mexico Sailings, Adds Third Ship in 2007

SEATTLE, Oct. 25 -- Holland America Line is expanding its sun-splashed cruises to Mexico in 2007 by offering more wildlife-abundant Sea of Cortez sailings and adding a third ship featuring Mexican Riviera cruises. The ms Zaandam returns to the Mexican Riviera to join the ms Oosterdam and ms Ryndam in 2007 to offer a total of 42 Mexico cruises, 10 more than in 2006, sailing roundtrip from the convenient homeport of San Diego.

In 2007 Holland America Line will continue to be the only major cruise line sailing the pristine Sea of Cortez on 10-day, roundtrip San Diego cruises. The Ryndam will feature 11 such departures in winter/spring and fall, providing a wide range of dates. The Oosterdam continues to sail the popular seven-day Mexican Riviera itinerary, offering 28 cruises. The Zaandam will add two 10-day Mexican Riviera cruises -- and the Ryndam will sail one -- in the fall for guests who have more time to explore as far south as Acapulco.

"From vibrant Mexican Riviera ports to amazing wildlife in the Sea of Cortez, and with several hundreds of exciting shore activities to choose from, Holland America Line continues to offer more diverse premium cruise choices for Mexico travelers," said Richard D, Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "In addition, Holland America Line's Mexico cruises offer the convenience of sailing from San Diego's cruise port, just minutes from the city's airport, and a popular city for pre- and post-cruise options."

  • Seven-day Mexican Riviera Cruises
    The 1,848-guest Oosterdam features 28 Mexican Riviera cruises with Saturday departures from Jan. 6 to Apr. 21 and Sept. 29 to Dec. 15, 2007. These seven-day sailings visit the popular Mexican Riviera ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, providing a full day in each port for guests to explore. Cabo offers sea kayaking, whale-watching and snorkeling/diving opportunities; Mazatlan is renowned for its golden beaches and cosmopolitan resort flavor; and Puerto Vallarta provides a mix of colonial charm, bustling markets and superb shopping. The itinerary also includes three relaxing days at sea when guests can pamper themselves at the Oosterdam's Greenhouse Spa and Salon and laze in the sun around the ship's two outdoor swimming pools. The ship accommodates families well with its comprehensive Youth Program including Club HAL for kids ages 3 to 12 and The Loft, a teens-only lounge. 
  • 10-day Sea of Cortez Adventures
    The 1,258-guest Ryndam showcases the Sea of Cortez with seven spring cruises from Feb. 21 to Apr. 22 and four fall sailings from Oct. 11 to Nov. 10, 2007. These 10-day itineraries combine a taste of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan with highlights of the Sea of Cortez including Topolobampo and Loreto, an exclusive Holland America Line port call. From Topolobampo, guests can opt for the full-day excursion to Mexico's spectacular Copper Canyon, and in Loreto they can visit historic San Javier Mission, founded in 1697 as Mexico's first Jesuit mission. Then they enjoy scenic cruising past the Sierra de la Giganta mountains to call at La Paz and Cabo San Lucas. Exciting shore excursions are offered in each port, from snorkeling at Los Islotes (home to a sea lion colony) near La Paz to sport- fishing for tuna, marlin and billfish in Cabo San Lucas. 
  • 10-day Mexican Riviera Sailings
    For guests seeking more than seven days on the Mexican Riviera, the 1,432- passenger Zaandam offers two cruises departing Oct. 1 and 26 and the Ryndam features one cruise departing December 13, 2007. These leisurely 10-day sailings call at Manzanillo, a perfect "10" (like the movie filmed here) for its flawless beaches; Acapulco, international glamour magnet; Zihuatanejo, tranquil fishing village just five miles from modern resort Ixtapa; Puerto Vallarta; Mazatlan; and Cabo San Lucas. En route, guests enjoy three full days at sea to relax and enjoy all the shipboard amenities and services. 

Back to the top of the news list Debuts Dynamic Virtual Online 
Cinema Experience

SEATTLE, Oct. 24 -- Web surfing travelers can experience a virtual cruise vacation with Holland America Line's new interactive Online Cinema experience debuting now on the premium cruise leader's website at On the virtual cinema, the elegant ships, worldwide destinations, gracious service, sophisticated dining and enriching activities for which Holland America Line is renowned, come to life via rich media allowing guests to view a Holland America Line vacation experience in advance of their trip.

"Our new Online Cinema feature is designed to augment the existing site, inviting guests to immerse themselves in a virtual cruise of their choice. Guests can witness views from a tableside window in the Pinnacle Grill, virtual tours of our spacious staterooms and video from ports of call," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Today's consumer is increasingly internet savvy, and we want to provide them with as much detailed and experiential information regarding their vacation choice as possible."

The new Online Cinema portal on the opening page of the Holland America Line web site links guests to the site's innovative features including 360 degree tours, video clips, photo albums, interactive maps, travelogues, and more. Content covers each of the line's 12 ships and all of its destinations -- Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Asia/Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, Grand World Voyages, Hawaii, Canada/New England, Mexico, Panama Canal, and South America. The dynamic content is rich and detailed, offering guests an intimate preview of their vacation both on board and ashore.

All five sections of the Online Cinema module -- ships/accommodations, destinations, service, dining and activities -- feature virtual tours, photo albums and downloadable e-brochures. The Penthouse Verandah Suites, Deluxe Outside Verandah Suites, and Outside/Inside Staterooms are further showcased with 360 degree tours. Destinations come to life with interactive maps and travelogues of the cruise itineraries. The line's legendary service is revealed with profiles on the types of events -- birthdays, weddings, anniversaries -- to celebrate on a ship, and dining is showcased via video clips and snapshots of the culinary experience. The enriching on-board activities also are highlighted by postcards from fellow Holland America Line guests themselves.

"In the short time that the new Online Cinema has been up, the Mariner Dream Experience has been the most popular feature," said Meadows. "Guests and potential guests want to see the stateroom accommodations through video and 360 degree photography to discover what's new at Holland America Line -- for example, our Mariner Dream Beds, bathroom amenities, and Signature of Excellence stateroom enhancements."

Virtual tours of other popular and requested areas by ship include: the Atrium, Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill (intimate, reservations-only fine dining), Lido Pool & Bar, Neptune Lounge (VIP lounge for penthouse and deluxe verandah suites), Greenhouse Spa & Salon, Fitness Center, Casino, Show Lounge, Piano Bar, Crow's Nest, Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine, Explorer's Lounge, Exploration Café - powered by The New York Times, Club HAL (for children), the Loft (for teens), and the Oasis (teens-only deck area).

Holland America Line's web site also features user-friendly vacation planning logistics such as browsing different itineraries, finding fares, locating a travel agent, and confirming shore excursions in advance of travel. The site features special cruise offers, and cyber travelers are encouraged to sign-up for emails and download e-brochures. The new Online Cinema is part of the line's sweeping Signature of Excellence initiative, a $250 million investment in product and service enhancements unprecedented in the industry.

With the introduction of the 1,848-passenger ms Noordam in early 2006, Holland America Line's fleet grows to 13 ships, offering nearly 500 cruises from more than 25 home ports. Itineraries range from two to 108 days long and visit all seven continents, including new Australia/New Zealand and Asia sailings, a world cruise and popular sailings to several ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico and Europe. The ms Noordam also will offer Caribbean sailings in the winter from new homeport New York City. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Century Casinos Announces Extension of Agreement With Oceania Cruises Until 2012 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Oct. 24 -- Century Casinos, Inc. announced that it has extended the Casino Concession Agreement with Oceania Cruises, Inc. until the year 2012. Currently, the company operates the casinos on two of Oceania Cruises' vessels and will commence casino operations on board a third vessel, the "Nautica" in late November of this year. In total, more than 200 gaming positions (Roulette, Blackjack, Poker and slot machines) will be available to Oceania Cruises' guests on the three ships.

Oceania Cruises is a fast growing cruise line in the upper premium segment of the US cruise market. The ships "Regatta", "Insignia" and "Nautica" have a total capacity of 2,053 passengers and cruise on all seven seas.

Robin Lindsay, Senior Vice President of Oceania Cruises, stated, "We are happy to have secured the services of Century Casinos until 2012. A state-of-the-art casino operation is an essential part of our premium product, which is why we wanted to extend the agreement with Century Casinos for the long term."

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Sail Off the Beaten Track to the Islands of the Indian Ocean
 on MS Bremen

Hamburg, GERMANY, October 2005 – The quest for knowledge and experience has always driven the great adventurers of our time. Still today, the hunger for discovering something new and for further education is unbowed and expeditions to exciting, remote, unspoiled destinations are in greater demand than ever before. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ 4-star expedition vessel MS Bremen was especially designed for guests seeking the thrill of discovery and will set sail for an adventurous expedition cruise from Maputo to Mahé along the east coast of Africa through the exotic islands of the Indian Ocean. 

The Bremen has advanced, high-tech navigation equipment for the safest trip possible, and is ISPS certified. Carrying only 164 passengers it has outside cabins only, allowing a perfect view for every traveler. The ship has a specially-designed draft and provides 12 zodiacs (small motorized boats) onboard that enable it to navigate through shallow water, which presents exploration opportunities not available to most ships.

“Hapag-Lloyd’s goal is to present its guests with a way to satisfy their hunger for a once-in-a-lifetime trip they would never be able to experience easily,” says Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. “Besides presenting the remote islands of the Indian Ocean in an accessible and personal way, we are also enabling guests to see the real Madagascar from the comfort of a 4-star ship. This is a rare opportunity. You can travel the entire world and infrequently find an area as bio-diverse as Madagascar. Those who have been there are always impressed by the island’s unique animals, plants, and friendly people. But since the island does not have a proliferation of upscale accommodations, it’s difficult for the guest who prefers high-end accommodations to visit the destination comfortably. We’re presenting that opportunity with a trip that affords all kinds of learning and exploration opportunities, complete with creature comforts.”

Departing from Maputo/Mozambique, a new port for the Bremen, the ship will firstly sail around mystic Madagascar. With two biologists and one ethnologist aboard tracing the process of the evolution, passengers will learn about the formation of the world’s fourth largest island. During numerous landings guests will see the many rare and exotic flowers, as well as primitive animals, including 30 species of lemurs and 2000 species of butterflies. Snorkeling (equipment provided on-board), diving and hiking are just a few of the activities you can choose from to get even closer to flora and fauna above and beyond the sea.

If you consider yourself a real world traveler, you’ll want to add the next points of disembarkation to your list; first you’ll experience coral islands of the Comoros, and then the Seychelles where you will see giant turtles that can be only found there. On Aldabra, you’ll land on the beach in zodiacs and watch the lagoon fill with water, and then recede again, a fascinating spectacle, not everyone has a chance to visit. 

You can sign up for a unique learning and traveling experience with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the world’s oldest cruise line, renowned for its legendary service, food and accommodations. This trip will be available in English and German. Tickets are available by contacting: Ingrid Schacht, Euro Lloyd Travel Group, 7300 Executive Park, Suite #215, Charlotte, NC 28226; Tel: 704-752-0042, 800-782-3924; Website:; E-mail:

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Royal Caribbean Makes Plans to Bring Grandeur of the Seas Back to the 'Big Easy' In Fall 2006

MIAMI, Oct. 18 -- Royal Caribbean International is already making plans to bring Grandeur of the Seas back to the Port of New Orleans for her scheduled seven-night Western Caribbean sailings in December 2006. Until then, Grandeur of the Seas will sail from her new temporary home, the Port of Tampa, on a series of four- and five-night Western Caribbean itineraries from December 2005 through May 2006, before relocating to Baltimore for the summer season.

"We sincerely look forward to welcoming Grandeur of the Seas back to the Port of New Orleans in the fall of 2006, to once again begin her traditional seven-night sailings," said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International. "The impact of Hurricane Katrina has been devastating, but we are confident that New Orleans will eventually reclaim its place as a world- class tourism destination."

On Dec. 2, 2006, Grandeur of the Seas will make her much anticipated return to New Orleans, where she will resume seven-night sailings to Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Costa Maya, Mexico, before closing out the season on April 28, 2007.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise vacation company with 19 ships in service and two more under construction. Additional information can be found on the company's web site at or by calling 800-327-6700.

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CapRock & SeaMobile to Offer Wireless Services at Sea

HOUSTON, Oct. 18 -- CapRock Communications, a leading global provider of satellite communications, announced today that it has formed a strategic alliance with Seattle-based SeaMobile Inc. to provide a bundled offering of satellite based broadband communications and mobile wireless services for the cruise line and commercial maritime industries. The joint service will allow customers to walk onboard a ship and use their own mobile phone or wireless device as if they were back on land. The service combines SeaMobile's carrier class advanced wireless technology with CapRock's field- proven global satellite network to enable data applications and wireless phone service even while a vessel is at sea.

The combined service offering provides much more than just wireless phone service. It allows cruise lines and ship captains to deliver new applications directly to the customer through a variety of devices like cell phones, wireless PDAs and laptops. Additionally, it enables passengers and crew to benefit from high-speed broadband services for Internet access and e-mail, including secure corporate data applications for PCs, servers and other devices connected to the ship's onboard wired network.

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Crystal Cruises Reveals the Rhythmic Adventure of 
South America in 2006

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 17 -- From music and culture to adventure and wildlife, Crystal Cruises' 2006 South America season aboard Crystal Symphony explores the continent's rich diversity with authentic and unique experiences ashore. With 153 Crystal Adventures, guests can find themselves dancing the tango in Buenos Aires, sipping wines in Montevideo, trekking the ice fields of Antarctica, or soaring high above Tierra del Fuego.

"South America is a fascinating continent of contrasts -- from rugged nature to cosmopolitan cities -- and our Crystal Adventures are designed to put guests in the middle of the experience, whether it's swaying to the samba, trekking Patagonia, or marching with penguins," says John Stoll, Crystal's director of land programs.

From February through April 2006, Crystal Symphony offers a diverse collection of South America cruises including two new eco-rich Amazon itineraries. Among the season's highlights are itineraries around Cape Horn offering excursions to Antarctica, overnight stays in Buenos Aires, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, Rio de Janeiro and Manaus, each offering its own eclectic and enriching mix of shoreside discovery. Highlights include:

Exhilarating Adventures

  • Soar above Antarctica on a flightseeing adventure revealing huge icebergs, tower-like mountains, snow-white glaciers, and glistening lakes of the Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego National Park and the Beagle Channel...

  • ... or trek the ice fields of Antarctica on an expedition following the paths of great explorers on King George Island. (Both from Punta Arenas, Chile)

  • Journey on a four-wheel-drive excursion through the heart of the Fuegian mountain range, followed by a hike through the glacier-carved Carbajal Valley -- one of four new tours for the season. (Ushuaia, Argentina).

  • Experience a 40-minute dune buggy adventure along the high, white-sand dunes Cumbuco Beach. (Fortaleza, Brazil)

Wildlife Discoveries

  • March with penguins on a journey through the Patagonian Plateau to the Punta Tombo Nature Reserve, home to the largest continental Magellan penguin colony. (Puerto Madryn, Argentina)

  • Journey into the Iguazu Falls National Park to ride the Eco-Train and witness Devil's Gorge, the largest of nearly 275 falls that constitute Iguazu Falls -- taller and four times as wide as Niagra Falls. (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

  • Explore Patagonia's Valdes Peninsula, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO known for its yearly visitation of southern right whales and is regarded for its conservation of penguins, seals, sea lions and sea elephants. (Puerto Madryn, Argentina) 

Dance & Music

  • Experience the Boi-Bumba celebration, a loud, rhythmic music ceremony that has been a folkloric ritual for the last 80 years. (Parintins, Brazil) 

  • Listen as world-renowned Brazilian conductor Rui Carvalho leads the Amazon Jazz Band at the famed Teatro Amazonas Opera House. (Manaus, Brazil)

  • Enjoy access to fashionable nightclubs to witness the samba in Rio de Janeiro and the tango in Buenos Aires.

Authentic Cultural Experiences

  • Explore and taste the acclaimed vintages of the Juanico Winery, one of South America's finest. (Montevideo, Uruguay) 

  • Experience Uruguayan rural life on a true working ranch as gauchos milk cows, heard sheep, and go about their ranch activities. (Montevideo, Uruguay)

  • Learn more about Uruguay's past and present Jewish presence on a tour of the historic Old Town, the Golda Meir Square and the Holocaust Memorial, among other important sites. (Montevideo, Uruguay) 

Further enhancing the shoreside programming is Crystal's 2006 lineup of South America Extended Land Programs which include pre- and/or post-cruise overland excursion to Iguazu Falls from Buenos Aires (five nights), a new three-night extended land program to Machu Picchu from Valparaiso, and a six-night excursion to the Galapagos from Valparaiso. Five cruises, ranging from 11 to 16 days, depart from Miami, Florida; Manaus, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Valparaiso, Chile.

The Crystal Difference
The 940-guest, 50,000-ton Crystal Symphony is among the most spacious and luxurious vessels cruising in the luxury market. Its unique size allows for smooth sailing and a wide range of innovative facilities, generous amenities and elegant accommodations. The Six-Star rated liner features 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, 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. For additional information, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Norwegian Coastal Voyage Introduces Cruise to the Top of the World For New Year's Eve

New York, Oct 2005 -- New Year’s Eve festivities at the North Cape, Europe's northernmost point, highlight Norwegian Coastal Voyage’s new, seven-day cruise on the modern, 674-berth MS Midnatsol December 27 from Trondheim along the fjord-indented coast to Kirkenes. The itinerary, which adds a call at Alta, makes extended stops at five ports north of the Arctic Circle and offers special excursions in Lapland, the Lofotens Islands and Tromso such as dogsledge riding, snowmobiling, concerts, an art gallery, museums and a Sami cultural experience. The Northern Lights dance across the sky when atmospheric conditions are right. 

The North Cape plateau, atop a sheer 1,000-foot granite cliff facing the vast Arctic Ocean, is the spectacular setting for the New Year’s Eve lavish buffet dinner with wine, a troll show put on by local children, music and dancing, midnight fireworks and a sparkling toast to 2006 served from the world's most northern champagne bar. Participants also see a movie on the North Cape’s changing seasons and receive a present and North Cape certificate.  

With longer stays in the ports of Bodo, Svolvaer, Tromso, Alta and Honningsvag, NCV has added special shore excursions not available on regular sailings. They include Bodo’s Norwegian Aviation Museum; in the Lofoten Islands an ice sculpture exhibition and the Svinoya Island fishing community with its original 1828 general store, Gunnar Berg art gallery and fishing processing factory; in Tromso the Polar Museum, Tromso Museum and an Arctic Cathedral evening concert; and in Lapland an indigenous Sami community with traditional lunch, snowmobiling, riding a dogsledge or racing with reindeer, and an outdoor concert by Sami musicians. During the excursions passengers can also taste stockfish, drink from a glass made of ice, tour Tromso and visit its Polaria Arctic Experience Center.

The Midnatsol (Midnight Sun), the newest Millennium ship, has contemporary Norwegian art in the public areas, a two-story, glass-enclosed panoramic lounge, restaurants, bars, Internet Café, Jacuzzi, saunas, fitness room, shop and 23 suites. Shipboard lectures are given on polar expeditions, the Northern Lights and Norwegian fishing industry. An AARP member discount of $70 per cabin can be combined with a senior savings of $103 per person for travelers age 67 and up. Single supplements are waived. Cruise fares of $991 to $2,871 per person cover accommodations in the cabin or suite category selected, all meals, lectures, taxes, port charges and gratuities. The five optional excursions, including the New Year’s Eve gala, cost $635. NCV can book Oslo and Trondheim hotels and airline flights.

NCV also offers a 12-day, air-inclusive package combining a festive New Year’s Eve and five-day cruise on the 490-berth Richard With from Bergen to Havoysund with winter activities at a farm in the Arctic wilderness, the Sami culture, first-class hotels and sightseeing in Oslo, Bergen and Alta, most meals, tour director and local guides, round-trip transatlantic flights from New York, Alta-Oslo flight and transfers. Cost is $4,510 to $5,430 per person. Add-on airfares are available from other U.S. gateways. Information and reservations can be obtained from Norwegian Coastal Voyage, (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300; for brochures, (800) 666-2374, 24 hours a day; web site:

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World-Renowned French Master Chef Georges Blanc Signs Exclusive Agreement With Carnival Cruise Lines

MIAMI, Oct 12, 2005 - Georges Blanc, one of France's most revered and recognized master chefs who has maintained the coveted three stars from Michelin for the past 25 years, and Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's largest cruise operator, have announced an exclusive agreement in which the world-renowned chef/restaurateur will create a series of one-of-a-kind dishes to be served aboard the line's ships.

"Georges Blanc Signature Selections" include a wide variety of gourmet appetizers, entrees and desserts to be served in Carnival's main dining rooms and Lido restaurants fleetwide, as well as its reservations-only supper clubs featured on select vessels. 
Blanc and his staff are also providing training to Carnival chefs both at his restaurants in Vonnas, France, and aboard the line's ships.

According to Carnival President and CEO Bob Dickinson, the exclusive alliance continues Carnival's efforts at upgrading its culinary program. "Georges Blanc is one of the world's most innovative and celebrated chefs and Carnival is extremely honored and pleased that he will lend his extensive and wide-ranging culinary expertise to enhance our guests' dining experience," Dickinson said.

Blanc added, "When Carnival first approached me to form this partnership, I was both honored and flattered. Creating these 'Signature Selections' for Carnival is a unique opportunity to bring the cuisine my family has developed over four generations to an entirely new audience in North America. It also provides an interesting venue to expand into a new culinary environment with a firmly established, well-known company."

Blanc, famous for creating dishes that combine classic preparation with contemporary flair, has created a variety of entrees, appetizers and desserts for Carnival's dining room menus fleetwide, along with several items for the widely popular supper clubs on Carnival's eight Spirit- and Conquest-class vessels. "Georges Blanc Signature Selections" are indicated by a special notation on each menu. Dinner items include Milk and Corn Fed Chicken With Caramelized Garlic and Asparagus; Grilled Tiger Shrimp with Ginger-Lemon Oil; Veal Foreshank Osso-Buco with Mushroom Polenta; and Broiled Sea Bass with Spring Vegetables and Eggplant Tapenade. Appetizers in the "Georges Blanc Signature Selection" series include Alaskan King Crab in a Fresh Asparagus Chartreuse; Feuillete of Escargots Bourguignonne with Herbs; and Bay Scallops in Truffle Butter.

Carnival will be offering a "degustation menu," an elaborate six- to seven-course meal experience featuring samplings of "George Blanc Signature Selections," as part of its supper club menu choices. The Georges Blanc-created samplings include Pan Seared Main Lobster with Tomato Confit and Porcini In Ginger Oil; Free Range Chicken and Foie Gras Terrine with Candied Grapefruit; and Filet of Aged Prime Beef "A La Beujolaise." Blanc has also created a number of decadent desserts, including Chocolate Cake with Maury Cured Prunes; Caramelized Apples "Mille-feuille" with Vanilla Crème and Caramel Sauce; and Purple Figs and Cabernet Cake with Basil Ice Cream. 
"Georges Blanc Signature Selections" will also be featured within Carnival's casual poolside restaurants on Lido Deck. 

A variety of wines marketed under the Georges Blanc label, including Georges Blanc D'Azenay Chardonnay and Georges Blanc Pinot Noir, are currently served aboard Carnival's ships. 

Several Carnival chefs have traveled to Blanc's restaurant in Vonnas, France, to undergo two weeks of intensive training in various culinary techniques. Two culinary development teams, comprised of chefs from Carnival and Georges Blanc's restaurants and under the direction of Carnival's Corporate Executive Chef Peter Leypold and Executive Chef - Culinary Development Sanjay Dhall, will also travel to the line's ships to introduce the "Georges Blanc Signature Selections" fleetwide. The "Georges Blanc Signature Selections" complement the wide range of culinary offerings aboard Carnival ships, which include elaborate, multi-course meals in the main dining rooms, a more intimate dining experience in the "steakhouse-style" supper clubs, and a variety of casual breakfast, lunch and dinner alternatives in the poolside Lido restaurants. Many Carnival ships feature patisseries and sushi bars, and complimentary 24-hour stateroom service is available fleetwide. 

Georges Blanc has established his reputation as one of France's most renowned chefs by creating exquisite cuisine that blends old world tradition with vibrant innovation.
The Blanc family has a four-generation legacy of excellence in the restaurant business in Vonnas, France. At age 25, Georges Blanc took over as head of the family restaurant and turned it into one of the flagships of the acclaimed Relais & Chateaux chain. Blanc has since expanded his business to six restaurants throughout France: Georges Blanc, Chez Blanc, L'Ancienne Auberge, Le Château d'Epeyssoles, Le Saint Laurent and Le Splendid. 

In 1985 he was among only five chefs who received the unprecedented score of 19.5 in the Gault et Millau guide. In 1981, Michelin awarded him his third star and Gault et Millau named him Cook of the Year. He was a finalist in the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best French Craftsman) contest in Paris in 1976. Blanc also is the owner of one of the finest wine cellars in the world - 130,000 bottles from some 3,000 appellations. Out of this interest he created his own 14-acre vineyard in the Maconnais Burgundy region of France, which produces Domaine D'Azenay, an award-winning Chardonnay. Blanc's accolades include receipt of the French Legion of Honor, the National Order of Merit, Commander of the Agricultural Merit and Commander of Arts and Literature.

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Silversea Cruises Set to Offer First-ever Relais & Chateau Wine-themed Restaurant at Sea

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Oct 12, 2005 - Guests dining in Silversea's alternative gourmet restaurants Saletta and Le Champagne will soon experience a bold, new twist on traditional culinary protocol. Instead of wine taking a back seat to cuisine, some of the world's most treasured vintages will start stepping into the spotlight as the company rolls out the first-ever Relais & Châteaux wine-themed restaurant at sea, featuring a new collection of dishes designed specifically to complement great wines.

In Saletta, the alternative restaurant aboard Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, and its counterpart, Le Champagne (aboard Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper), award-winning wines are set to become the centerpiece of an extraordinary dining experience that reveals the historical, cultural and culinary nuances of wine. The new concept will debut aboard Silver Whisper in late November, followed by Silver Shadow in early December, and will be expanded to the line's other ships early next year.

"The focus of these restaurants is wine appreciation and the menus will feature all-new dishes that perfectly complement the finest vintages from our Epicurean Collection," said Albert Peter, Silversea's chief executive officer. "Guests will enjoy a different glass of wine with each course, so this will be a great opportunity to explore some very rare and expensive wines, while only paying a nominal fee to dine in the restaurant. The cozy and intimate ambiance of Saletta and Le Champagne offers the perfect setting for an exclusive dining experience, among friends and fellow wine lovers, that celebrates the world's finest wines." 

Each restaurant will feature enticing new culinary selections designed around a central theme: "A Celebration of Wine by Relais & Châteaux," and will give guests a chance to enjoy a different wine with each course, carefully selected by Relais & Châteaux-trained sommeliers. On every cruise, the menu will reflect those regions of the world renowned for their rich wine heritage, such as France, Italy and Europe, while voyages visiting the Americas, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will also include menus that celebrate some of the finest vintages and culinary traditions of those regions. 

The collection of new dishes designed exclusively to accompany the featured wines of Saletta and Le Champagne are being developed in close consultation with master sommeliers trained in the member establishments of Relais & Châteaux -- Relais Gourmands, the distinguished association of boutique lodgings and restaurants. These outstanding sommeliers will hold court in each restaurant, entertaining and enlightening guests with their insights into the origin and craftsmanship of each vintage, offering a deeper appreciation of the harmony that exists in food and wine that is properly paired.

Saletta and Le Champagne are open for dinner only and reservations are recommended, as seating is limited. Since the featured wines are not included among the line's complimentary selections, a nominal fee will be charged to the guest's shipboard account, which will vary depending on the evening's particular wines and regions presented.

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Feature-Filled Spas Put the “Buff” into Cruise Vacationing

NEW YORK, Oct 11, 2005 – Travelers who choose to cruise don’t have to leave their workout regimens at home – cruise ships offer expansive fitness and spa options that rival, and in many cases surpass, anything vacationers can find on land. Cruise lines dedicate thousands of square feet to health, fitness and spa facilities, in some cases 20,000 feet per vessel, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the cruise industry’s chief marketing organization, which counts as its members the 19 leading North American cruise lines and more than 16,700 travel agencies.

Cruise-ship health and fitness facilities offer guests a full complement of resistance machines and free weights, plus cardiovascular equipment, fitness classes and more. Today’s ships also feature outdoor jogging tracks and multiple swimming pools. Spa cuisine, offered in shipboard dining rooms or special spa cafes, allows guests to enjoy delicious, healthy meals while at sea. 

CLIA member-line cruise ships feature an eclectic mix of spas including Canyon Ranch, Carita of Paris and Mandara, which are considered among the world’s best. Many shipboard spa and fitness facilities are designed according to Feng Shui principles, and treatments run the gamut and include hot stone, Swedish, Shiatsu, and Reiki massage therapies and more. In some cases, guests can even opt for massages on deck or in a beachside bungalow. CLIA ships also offer the latest in health and fitness classes including Pilates, tai-chi, yoga and step aerobics. Shipboard health club staff offer complimentary tips on proper use of equipment and personal trainers are available to offer customized exercise programs for an additional fee. 

“There’s a workout plan for everyone aboard CLIA ships,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA. “Even more importantly, guests can actually disembark their ship in even better physical condition than when they began their cruise vacations. It all comes down to choice,” said Dale. “As healthy lifestyle options become increasingly popular, CLIA member lines ensure that there are active options for all guests – at all fitness levels.”

Following is a rundown of offerings available on CLIA member cruise lines.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES: Carnival’s SpaCarnival program features up to 15,000 square feet of dedicated health and fitness space per ship – with a variety of ways for guests to pamper themselves. Onboard facilities include the latest workout equipment; aerobics, relaxation and stretching sessions and many “European-style” spa therapies. Carnival Spa Fare offers guests the option of cuisine that is lower in fat, sodium, cholesterol and calories.

CRYSTAL CRUISES: The health clubs aboard Crystal Cruises’ ships are the only spas at sea designed according to Feng Shui principles. The line hosts several Health & Fitness theme cruises each year, with varying emphasis on Pilates, tai-chi or yoga. Fitness centers feature classes that change daily. Dining venues offer three-course, low-carbohydrate menus and selections that are low in salt, fat, sugar and cholesterol.

CELEBRITY CRUISES: Celebrity Cruises’ AquaSpas offer panoramic views and include state-of-the-art fitness centers with free weights, advanced weight-training machines, cardiovascular exercise equipment and aerobics areas. The facilities provide trainers for personal instruction, holistic spa treatments, massage rooms, saunas, steam rooms, thalassotherapy pools and fully equipped beauty salons. Many of the line’s ships also feature AquaSpa Cafes, which feature healthful cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

COSTA CRUISE LINES: Costa Cruise Lines’ ships offer Pilates and yoga, among other classes, along with a comprehensive spa menu of massages and beauty treatments. Health & Well-Being selections are featured in the main dining rooms. Costa’s Costa Concordia, due out next year, will feature the innovative two-deck Samsara Spa, which offers direct access via a private elevator, for some 55 cabins and 12 suites.

CUNARD LINE: The Canyon Ranch SpaClub aboard Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 features 20,000 square feet of spa, beauty and fitness facilities located on two forward-facing decks. It is the first such facility for Canyon Ranch on board a luxury liner. In an effort to provide guests with a more complete experience, Canyon Ranch chefs designed spa selections served in QM2 dining rooms.

DISNEY CRUISE LINE: The Vista Spa & Salon aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic recently introduced a cruise industry first “spa villas” concept – three indoor/outdoor treatment suites that feature an enclosed treatment area connected to a private verandah with a hot tub, open-air shower and chaise lounge. The fitness center at Vista Spa doubled in size to include more cardiovascular and weight machines and provide ample space for classes in aerobics, yoga and body shaping.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE: Holland America Line’s Greenhouse Spas offer an extensive menu of massage and body treatments, facials, detoxification therapies and salon services for men and women. The fitness centers feature top-of-the-line weight and cardio machines, as well as Pilates, yoga and spinning classes. Guests will find healthy meal options on lunch and dinner menus in the main dining rooms and Lido buffets.

MSC CRUISES: MSC Cruises’ fleet features spas complete with a wide variety of spa treatments – as well as fitness centers and beauty salons. In addition, MSC Opera, MSC Lirica, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Armonia each have relaxation and meditation rooms. Classes are offered in yoga, Pilates and aerobics. Lunch and dinner menus feature a selection of “Healthy Choice” and vegetarian dishes, including sugar-free desserts.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE: On the ships of Norwegian Cruise Line and NCL America guests enjoy Mandara Spas. Treatments include hot stone massages, Hawaiian lomi-lomi massages, Swedish style massage, reflexology and more. Ships feature 24-hour fitness centers, jogging tracks and volleyball and basketball courts. Other health and fitness amenities include putting greens, steam rooms, fitness classes and gyms with cardio equipment, weight machines and free weights.

OCEANIA CRUISES: Oceania Cruises’ spa facilities are operated by Mandara Spas and feature such amenities as thalassotherapy whirlpools and spa cabanas for on-deck massages, as well as yoga and Pilates classes and personal trainers. Styling salons offer hair styling, facials, manicures and pedicures. Oceania Spa Cuisine is available in dining rooms and guests dining in Toscana and Polo Grill can request light and healthy cuisine.

PRINCESS CRUISES: Lotus Spas on board Princess Cruises’ ships offer an Asian-themed atmosphere and treatments based on Far Eastern therapies and rituals. Lotus Spa offerings include a wide array of choices for facials, body treatments and massages. An extensive menu of exercise classes, fitness instructors and personal training and consultation sessions are also available – as well as a series of health and nutrition seminars.

RADISSON SEVEN SEAS CRUISES: Radisson Seven Seas Cruises offers several “spotlight” cruises with lecturers and experts who discuss the benefits of an active lifestyle and healthy diet. Most of the ships’ Carita Spas offer dry saunas, steam baths and Jacuzzis. In addition to fully equipped gyms, classes are offered in aerobics, step aerobics, stretching and body toning. Dining rooms offer lean and healthy entrée options.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL: ShipShape Fitness Centers aboard Royal Caribbean International ships feature the latest in cardiovascular equipment, weight machines and stair steppers. Yoga, kickboxing, aerobics classes and personal training sessions are also available. Ships also feature jogging tracks, basketball courts, rock-climbing walls, miniature golf and golf simulators. ShipShape Spas offer exotic treatments, including Elemis aroma stone therapy, Swedish massage, hydralift facials and enriching milk baths.

SEABOURN CRUISE LINE: The Spa at Seabourn, a full-service well-being facility located aboard the three all-suite Yachts of Seabourn, was awarded the highest score for a shipboard spa in the 2005 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Survey. Complimentary “Massage Moments” on deck introduce guests to the pleasures of massage therapy. Other popular services include Aroma Stone Therapy, LT Oxygen Lifting Facial and Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap.

SILVERSEA CRUISES: All four of Silversea Cruises’ ships feature a Mandara Spa, which offers guests various spa treatments, dry and steam saunas, a beauty and hair salon and fitness center. Stretching, aerobics, Pilates and yoga classes are offered as is instruction in circuit training. One-on-one training sessions are available at an additional charge. CruiseLite and low-carb menu items are offered in the ships’ dining rooms.

SWAN HELLENIC: Guests sailing aboard Swan Hellenic’s Minerva II can opt for facials, body wraps, massages, Reiki, reflexology, manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyelash and eyebrow tinting and make-up application. Fitness options include Pilates, yoga, tai-chi, Circuit Class, Body Tone, Body Ball, Body Breathe, Body Stretch, Legs, Bums and Tums, and Walking Club. All classes are led by a fitness director or a certified personal trainer.

WINDSTAR CRUISES: The WindSpa aboard Windstar Cruises’ 308-passenger Wind Surf boasts an updated gym and Nautilus room, new fitness classes and innovative spa treatments ranging from traditional massage and aromatherapy to hydro and synergistic therapy. Wind Star and Wind Spirit, at 148 passengers each, feature recently enlarged gyms with new equipment. Guests on all vessels can enjoy healthy meal options and vegetarian selections.

For more information on CLIA member lines, contact a CLIA-member travel agency. To locate an agency near you, use the Travel Agent Locator on CLIA’s website at

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Explore the Globe on a World Cruise

NEW YORK, Oct 7, 2005 – There is one category of vacation that, quite literally, takes in all four corners of the world – World Cruises. Global circumnavigation cruises, which depart each January, let guests touch all seven continents, visiting some of the world’s greatest cities, including Athens, Cairo, London, Paris, Rio, Rome and Sydney, to name a few.

“World cruises offer vacationers the ultimate in around-the-world travel on one voyage,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the cruise industry’s chief marketing organization. “Cruise ships on world itineraries provide passengers the opportunity to experience cultural-rich sightseeing opportunities on every continent. And shorter segments offer exotic slices of the world for those with less time.”

In 2006, cruisers can choose from a diverse array of circumnavigation voyages offered by four CLIA cruise lines: Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. In 2007, a fifth member line, Silversea Cruises, will offer a World Cruise, and Holland America Line will deploy a second ship on a world itinerary. Around-the-world voyages enable guests to couple leisurely days at sea with exciting land tours to inland attractions. In India, cruisers can see the Taj Mahal and the Golden Triangle. Photo safaris complement visits to Kenya and South Africa. In South America, guests can fly over spectacular Iguazú Falls or the White Continent of Antarctica. There’s also the opportunity to explore the jungles of Borneo, the Australian Outback or the Giza pyramids.

For travelers with time constraints, World Cruises can be broken down into shorter segments ranging from 11 to 80 days. For example, travelers can spend 23 nights sailing from Los Angeles to Sydney; enjoy an 11-day Grand European voyage from Rome to London, or cross the Pacific from Sydney to New York on a 72-day itinerary. Following is a sampling of CLIA member lines’ World Cruise offerings.

CRYSTAL CRUISES: Crystal Cruises’ 2006 world cruise aboard Crystal Serenity, the line’s 11th, will explore 40 ports in 106 days. For the first time, segments, of which there are seven, begin or end in Lima, Peru and Melbourne, Australia. Other segments begin or end in Dubai; Cape Town, South Africa; Civatvecchia; and Los Angeles. Crystal Serenity will again offer a world cruise in 2007. 

CUNARD LINE: In 2006, Queen Elizabeth 2 continues Cunard Line’s time-honored world cruise tradition with a voyage that offers travelers a taste of the South Pacific, Far East and Europe, with five cruise segments available. In 2007, younger sister Queen Mary 2 will offer her first circumnavigation of the globe in 80 days while QE2 celebrates her Silver Jubilee World Cruise of 108 days.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE: Holland America Line’s 2006 world cruise aboard Prinsendam covers 36 destinations, 22 countries, six continents and 30,000 nautical miles. It arrives off Turkey’s coast on March 29 – the ideal place and time to view a total solar eclipse. In 2007 to celebrate 43 years of global cruising, the line’s Amsterdam, after a four-year hiatus, will join Prinsendam in the world cruise arena. 

RADISSON SEVEN SEAS CRUISES: In 2006, Radisson’s Seven Seas Voyager sets out to circumnavigate the globe on a voyage that spans 45 ports in 28 nations on five continents. By the end of this three-month adventure, guests will have seen and explored ports of call in French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, India, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Portugal, Bermuda and the Bahamas before reaching Ft. Lauderdale on April 28. Seven Seas Voyager will again offer a world cruise in 2007.

SILVERSEA CRUISES: In 2007, Silversea Cruises will offer their first world cruise aboard the 382-guest Silver Shadow. The 126-day itinerary will follow the trade winds from the Caribbean to Peru and across the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. The ship then journeys to intriguing Middle Eastern ports and destinations throughout the Mediterranean. Nine segments will be available.

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Introducing 2: A New Dining Style on The Yachts of Seabourn

MIAMI, Oct. 11 -- When they introduced a stellar set of dinner menus designed by celebrity chef/restaurateur Charlie Palmer, The Yachts of Seabourn won the first-place Diamond Award from Onboard Services magazine. In the most recent Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards, the intimate, all-suite ships scored number one and two for cuisine. And now, these celebrated cruise ships are introducing an innovative new concept that will re-define the "alternative" in casual alternative shipboard dining. Starting in March of 2006, the popular Veranda Cafe, high atop each Seabourn yacht, will be transformed nightly into 2: a stylish, contemporary dining venue serving imaginative multi-course tasting menus. Each dinner at 2 will be made up of playful pairings of dishes, reflecting culinary inspirations gathered from around the world.

In the newly expanded galley at 2, two chefs will turn out a taste- tempting array of small plates designed to be served two to a course, creating an intriguing variety of flavors and sensations during a five- or six-course meal. To start, for instance, diners at 2 might be presented with a Bouquet of Spring Rolls with soy, Thai and chili dipping sauces, side-by-side with a Soba Noodle and Seaweed Salad with sesame vinaigrette. Then an aromatic Lobster Bisque "Presse" appears, graced with black truffle cappuccino, combined with a savory Seafood Croquette dressed with white truffle oil. A salad of Baby Mesclun Leaves in orange vinaigrette with tapenade croutons accompanies a selection of Prawn Variations with a sweet mustard dip. One duo of entrees includes Grilled Striped Bass with a roasted vegetable medley beside Braised Beef Short Ribs with celery-potato mash and beef jus. Goat Cheese Pops with caramelized honey and drunken grapes is paired with a Port Wine Shooter and lemon sorbet as a penultimate course. Finally, a decadent dessert duet combines Vanilla Beignets sauced with caramel apple, fudge and chocolate with Ice Pralines of white and milk chocolate.

Novel lighting effects that transform the room's decor, fanciful table settings by Rosenthal and even the wait-staff uniforms at 2 will reflect a relaxed, refined sensibility, embodying classic quality and a spare, serene modernity. As in each ship's open-seating Restaurant, a selection of wines will be poured free of charge to accompany dinners at 2. In addition, 2's sommelier will suggest premium wines available for purchase to pair with each night's menu. Six different tasting menus will be offered, and while the menus will not be themed, they will take advantage of regional influences in the areas where the ships are sailing.

Suggested attire for dining at 2 will remain slightly more casual than that suggested for The Restaurant: Casual for most evenings and Elegant Casual (jacket, but no tie required for gentlemen) on those evenings when the Restaurant suggests Black Tie. Tasting dinners at 2 will be available, by reservation, to about 50 of the yachts' 208 guests nightly, at no additional cost.

Travelers can enjoy all of Seabourn's Signature Delights, including more casual alternative dining nightly at 2, on worldwide cruise itineraries of seven to 72 days or longer exploring landmark ports and lesser-known gems where larger ships cannot go. For information, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit Seabourn's award-winning website at

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Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruise Employees Roll Up Their Sleeves for Annual Community Service Day

MIAMI – Oct 11, 2005 – More than 1,200 employees from Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises will spend the day Oct. 22 in parks, schools and other venues providing hands-on work to repair, beautify and create environments that enrich the lives of their fellow citizens. Teams from Royal Caribbean facilities in Miami and Wichita, Kan., will repair playground equipment, paint murals, remove trash and participate in several other volunteer projects during G.I.V.E. Day, the largest annual community service event held by a South Florida-based company. 

“Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is one of Miami’s most valued corporations, both for its part in making us the ‘Cruise Capital of the World’ and for the commitment it has shown to giving back through community involvement,” said City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz. “I salute and thank Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and their employees for their dedication.”  

Eight projects are planned for throughout Miami-Dade County, and others are planned in Wichita, where the company maintains a reservations center. Confirmed projects include: 
· Landscaping and painting in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood with Roots in the City and the Overtown Neighborhood Enhancement Team (NET); 
· Landscaping and painting murals at Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Overtown, as well as at Yeshiva Elementary School in Miami Beach; 
· Picking up trash at North Shore Park, one of Miami Beach’s largest public outdoor recreational areas; 
· Landscaping and painting facilities at His House Children’s Home, as well as at the Sandor Wiener School of Opportunity and The Marian Center, two Miami-area organizations serving the disabled; and 
· Landscaping and building benches in a park in downtown Haysville, a suburb near Royal Caribbean’s Wichita Reservations Center, as part of a final rebuilding and recovery effort after a tornado that struck the city center in 1999. 

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, with a combined total of 29 ships in service, two under construction and one on firm order. The company also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe through its cruise-tour division. Additional information can be found on or

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Sodexho USA Puts Smiles on Hospital Patients' Faces With Carnival Cruise Lines' "Towel Animal" Creations

GAITHERSBURG, MD, Oct 11, 2005 - Sodexho USA, the nation's leading provider of food and facilities management services is taking the hospital patient experience to a new level by bringing smiles to patients' faces with the popular "towel animals" featured aboard Carnival Cruise Lines' ships. The whimsical creatures - which greet guests as they arrive in their staterooms each evening - will be introduced into hospitals this fall. Carnival is working with Sodexho to train its employees in the art of creating swan, dog and cobra towel animals. As Sodexho employees advance their skills, additional animals will be added to the collection. 

"We put the patients at the heart of what we do and continually look for ways to make a patient's hospital stay as enjoyable as possible. Our employees thought the loveable 'towel animals' that Carnival uses to greet its cruise guests with would be a much appreciated addition to what is often a vulnerable and uncomfortable situation," said Dudley Abbe, senior vice president of the patient experience brand for Sodexho Health Care Services. "Our employees have a very close personal interaction with patients and their families everyday and they suggested that towel animals would help brighten their patients' day."

Abbe noted that Carnival's recently published book - "Towel Animal Creations" which provides helpful page-by-page instructions on creating the different animals - is serving as a reference manual by Sodexho's hospital employees. Commented Carnival President and CEO Bob Dickinson, "'Towel animals' are one of the many popular features aboard the 'Fun Ships' - enjoyed by children and adults alike. Carnival is very pleased to work with Sodexho in teaching hospital employees how to brighten a patient's day by creating these fun and whimsical creatures."

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Discovery World Cruises Announces Expedition Team for Antarctica

FORT LAUDERDALE, Oct 11, 2005 – A noted team of polar explorers and lecturers will accompany Discovery World Cruises’ third consecutive season of Antarctic cruise expeditions. Travelers will learn about the world’s most fascinating continent while exploring the maze of icebergs and floes found in the South Polar waters aboard the line’s mv Discovery. Excursions by motor launches and multiple landings on the Antarctic Peninsula enhance the experience.

Although Discovery’s Antarctica cruises typically sell out far in advance, a limited number of cabins are still available on a 13-night Antarctica cruisetour, which departs January 21, 2006. Highlights include Deception, King George and Half Moon islands, as well as Antarctic Sound, Hope Bay, Gerlache Strait and the Lemaire Channel. Rates begin at $3,595 per person, double occupancy, and include a two-night hotel stay in Buenos Aires before embarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina, eight nights aboard mv Discovery, and one-night in Ushuaia before flying home. 

Highlighting the voyage is a team of specialists in glaciology and geology, marine life, seabirds, and Antarctic politics and living conditions led by Dr. Peter Carey, director of the Sub Antarctic Foundation for Ecosystems Research (SAFER). Dr. Carey has made more than 50 trips to the continent as a research scientist. An expert on seals and penguins, he also works to preserve the delicate ecology of a group of small islands that he purchased from the Falkland Islands.

“Discovery’s Antarctic expedition team uniquely features active scientists still working on the frontlines of exploration and discovery,” said Mark Flager, Discovery’s vice president of sales, marketing and passenger services. “This is an exceptional group of lecturers, with the ability to present their fields of study in engaging and interesting ways.”

Dr. Carey’s team includes Dr. Sean Fitzsimons, a glaciologist and geomorphologist who has led 14 expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula with the New Zealand Antarctic Program and the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition. The author of numerous scientific publications and a senior lecturer at the University of Otago, New Zealand, he will share his knowledge of polar glaciers and other ice formations with passengers.

Dr. Fitzsimons will be joined by his colleague, Dr. Craig Franklin, who has participated in 10 research expeditions to Antarctica with the New Zealand Antarctic Program. An evolutionary and environmental physiologist, he has a particular interest in how animals survive and thrive in extreme environments. Dr. Franklin is currently an associate professor at the University of Queensland, Australia, where he runs a large laboratory and studies such diverse species as crocodiles, sharks, burrowing frogs and turtles.

Also onboard will be Paul Sagar, a biologist with a long association with Antarctica and the subantarctic islands. An expert on seabirds, his current research focuses on the impacts of fisheries on albatross populations and the causes of penguin population declines. Sagar is the author of more than 50 scientific publications about the Antarctic region’s birds.

Travelers discover Antarctica in comfort and style aboard mv Discovery, which is resplendent with every modern comfort and convenience. The vessel features 351 cabins and suites; three restaurants; five lounges; a well-stocked library; casino; Internet center; modern health club; two swimming pools, including one beneath a retractable roof; and two Jacuzzis. For more information about Discovery World Cruises’ Antarctica itineraries, visit To make a reservation, consult with a travel professional or contact Discovery toll-free at (866) 623-2689.

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Stockholm Hosted Record 260,000 Passengers in Summer 2005

STOCKHOLM, Oct. 10, 2005 -- The Stockholm Cruise Network announced that the 2005 summer cruise season brought a record number of inaugural cruise ship calls, cruise lines and passengers to the Swedish capital. Between May and October, the Ports of Stockholm had 259 cruise ship calls carrying 228,000 passengers, and 29 turnarounds. That represents a 20 percent increase over the 210,000 passengers served in 2004. In a sign of the Baltic region's rising popularity as a cruise destination, the Swedish capital welcomed for the first time on either a port call or turnaround Seetours' Aida Cara, P and O Cruises' Arcadia, Pullman Tour's Blue Dream, Iles du Ponant's Le Levant and Thomson Cruises' Thomson Celebration. 

On July 26, the Ports of Stockholm had a record number of cruise ships docked at its ports simultaneously. The eight vessels included Classic International Cruise Line's Athena, Costa Cruises' Costa Atlantica, Elegant Cruises' Andrea, Herbridean Island Cruises' Hebridean Spirit, Holland America Line's Westerdam, Majestic International Cruises' Ocean Monarch, Princess Cruises' Star Princess and Seabourn Cruise Line's Seabourn Pride. With 29 turnaround calls this season, more cruise passengers had time to explore Stockholm before or after their cruise. Whether the activity of choice was a lunchtime ferry through the archipelago of 24,000 islands, a stroll through Gamla Stan or Old Town, a visit to one of Stockholm's many museums or shopping for fine crystal or Scandinavian-design products, the 750-year-old city had plenty to offer them.

"The increasing popularity of Baltic cruises is just one of the many reasons Stockholm's cruising numbers have hit a record high," said Christel Wiman, chief executive officer for the Ports of Stockholm. "We also have a variety of port facilities to accommodate almost any ship. But the biggest draw is the city's natural beauty, its rich culture and history, and its endless array of activities for visitors."

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Theme Cruises Offer Special-Interest Guests a World of Opportunity

NEW YORK, Oct 10, 2005 – What do jazz, baseball, film and theater, health and fitness, wine and food, antiques and chocolate have in common? Each special interest or hobby can be easily combined with all the passenger pleasing amenities of a seagoing vacation. Just as there are cruise ships to meet and exceed every traveler’s expectations, there are also cruise-ship theme voyages for a broad range of special interests, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which is comprised of the 19 premier North American cruise lines and 16,700 travel agencies that specialize in selling seagoing vacations.

In response to the growing trend of special-interest travel, several CLIA-member cruise lines are upping the ante by adding diverse theme cruises designed to sate every vacationer’s curiosity. Theme-cruise topics run the gamut – World War II veterans might visit historic battle sites, speed junkies can ride Harley-Davidsons in the Caribbean, golfers can play some of the world’s most famous courses, and antique enthusiasts can find hidden treasures at ports around the globe. In many cases, theme cruises feature onboard lecturers or celebrities – from big names in cinema and literature to renowned academic scholars and sports icons. Theme cruise passengers enjoy workshops, special events, autograph signings and in-cabin video programming, all tied into the theme. 

“What could be better than attending a cooking class hosted by a renowned chef or discussing the World Series poolside with one of baseball’s greats,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA. “Guests aboard CLIA member-line theme cruises also enjoy fine dining, entertainment, accommodations and nightlife offered aboard CLIA-member line ships.”

Following is a sample of some CLIA member lines’ theme cruises. 

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES: Carnival Cruise Lines will continue its “Rusty Wallace Cruises” with a seven-day cruise aboard the 110,000-ton Carnival Valor – the seventh in the popular racing-themed series. The voyage operates round-trip from Miami, December 4-11, 2005. It visits Nassau, St. Thomas/St. John and St. Maartin, and includes a number of invitation-only events and opportunities to meet the NASCAR legend.

CRYSTAL CRUISES: Crystal Cruises features a wide range of enrichment programs in 2006 that complement a particular cruise’s destinations or leisurely days at sea. Proven favorites include the line’s Health & Fitness series, cruises hosted by The Smithsonian Associates, Sotheby’s Institute, and the renowned Crystal Wine & Food Festival, which celebrates its 11th year in 2006. Other theme cruises include a Distinguished Speakers Series; Big Band cruises; golf sailings; film and theater; and jazz.

CUNARD LINE: Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 will host an illustrious group of modern-day explorers on its 36- and 38-day South America Odysseys in January 2006. The voyages pay tribute to intrepid adventurers who pioneered the first circumnavigation of the globe led by Ferdinand Magellan, one of the world’s greatest explorers. The journey will sail around Cape Horn via the Drake Passage, Beagle Channel and the Straits of Magellan, visiting 12 countries in total.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE: Holland America Line partners with Food & Wine magazine to bring guests demonstrations and seminars conducted by top chefs, wine experts and leading cookbook authors on select cruises. Guests mingle with such cuisine authorities as Cat Cora, the first American woman Iron Chef and host of the Food Network’s Cat Cora Show, and Mark Bittman, cookbook author and food writer for The New York Times. Bittman will be featured on a January cruise while Cora will sail in December. 

MSC CRUISES: MSC Cruises is bringing back its highly popular baseball theme cruises for another Caribbean season aboard MSC Lirica and MSC Opera. Five “Baseball Greats” cruises are scheduled from December 2005 through April 2006, each featuring Hall-of-Famers, who passengers can interact with at various sessions and seminars throughout the voyage. MSC Cruises also features Big Band cruises, a jazz cruise and an itinerary featuring the Ink Spots, who produced over 80 hit records.

OCEANIA CRUISES: Oceania Cruises features its third annual Chairman’s Cruise. The July voyage to the Black Sea, hosted by the line’s chairman Joe Watters, features exclusive events and celebrity guest lecturers. The Second Annual Oceania Club Reunion cruise, showcasing the British Isles and Norway, sets sail in June, featuring exclusive amenities, activities and shore excursions for past guests. Chef Jacques Pépin, the line’s executive culinary director, shares his culinary insights on a July Dover-Stockholm itinerary.

PRINCESS CRUISES: On April 26, Pacific Princess will sail on a 21-day “Islands of the Pacific Theater” cruise between Sydney and Osaka, Japan. It is one of Princess Cruises’ most popular cruises and features WWII-themed activities and calls at former battle sites throughout the Pacific Rim. A special 14-day Canada & Colonial America voyage onboard Sea Princess, departs October 28. The Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale itinerary visits six of the original U.S. colonies. 

RADISSON SEVEN SEAS CRUISES: Radisson Seven Seas Cruises offers a Spotlight program that enhances the normal itinerary with guest experts and specialized sightseeing tours. Several cruises shine a spotlight on antiques with experts from the famous BBC television program Antiques Roadshow, featuring onboard presentations and treasure hunts ashore. Guest chefs and winemakers provide culinary insights on select cruises while the natural beauty of Alaska provides a calming backdrop for presentations on well being in a high-tech world. 

SEABOURN CRUISE LINE: Seabourn Pride will host the line’s first European Food & Wine Festival during a 14-day Rivers of Western Europe cruise departing Lisbon for London on May 20, 2006. The cruise will feature some of Europe’s most celebrated chefs joining guests during cooking demonstrations, shopping and culinary excursions ashore, as well as preparing signature dishes for special festival dinners on board.

SILVERSEA CRUISES: On each Silversea Cruises’ Culinary Arts sailing, distinguished guest chefs display their epicurean artistry during cooking demonstrations. Guests taste and learn firsthand the secrets of signature dishes created by master chefs from Relais & Châteaux and a host of acclaimed restaurants. The featured chef escorts guests on shore excursions with a gastronomic focus. The line’s Wine Series brings top wine experts, vineyard owners and winemakers onboard to provide lectures and conduct special tastings.

WINDSTAR CRUISES: Each year, Windstar Cruises plans a cruise to coincide with the Monaco Grand Prix and Cannes Film Festival. In 2006, Wind Surf sails a 14-day cruise roundtrip from Nice. The line will sell tickets and coordinate an event for guests wishing to view the Grand Prix race. The itinerary will visit Cannes, St. Florent, Corsica, Monte Carlo and Italy’s Ponza, Amalfi, Sorrento and Portofino. Windstar is in the process of finalizing itinerary activities.

For more information on theme cruises offered by CLIA member lines, contact a CLIA-member travel agency. To locate an agency near you, use the Travel Agent Locator on CLIA’s website at

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Back by Popular Demand, Holland America's Touring Moose Mobiles Hit the Road

SEATTLE, Oct. 5 -- Back by popular demand and significantly expanded, three Moose Mobiles will tour the United States departing October 2005 to promote Holland America Line's 2006 Alaska Cruises and CruiseTours. Seminars and events for travel agents and consumers will be held at each stop onboard the Moose Mobile by invitation only. The seminars are interactive, educational and show off the stunning features of Alaska and the Yukon. Tours of the Moose Mobile will also be available to the public. It's a moving piece of art--fun, unique, and educational.

"The first Moose Mobile that toured this past winter was so successful that travel agents requested we expand the Moose Mobile's program to promote 2006 Cruises and CruiseTours. Holland America Line is pleased to have three Moose Mobile motor coaches touring the Western, Central and Eastern regions of the United States to reach even more agents and guests," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "We offer more of Alaska and the Yukon in 2006, so there is a lot to talk about."

In 2005 Holland America Line Moose Mobile toured 27 states between January and April and proved to be a resounding success. The "Moose Mobile" motor coach, essentially a traveling piece of artwork, was driven across the United States by a native Alaskan husband and wife team who conducted seminars and travel agent events along the way. To accommodate demand, three identical motor coaches beautifully wrapped with a dramatic Alaska backdrop created by Pacific Northwest artist, Bryn Barnard, depart for three to five month tours, depending on the region, October 2005. Travel agencies interested in participating in a seminar or hosting an event should contact a Holland America Line sales representative to check availability.

2006 Alaska Cruise and CruiseTours
Holland America Line, the leader in Alaska Cruises and CruiseTours, offers a comprehensive selection of Alaska cruise itineraries and departures, sailing eight ships on 159 cruises and offering 29 CruiseTours in 2006. Three Vista-class ships, ms Oosterdam and ms Westerdam, roundtrip Seattle, and ms Zuiderdam, roundtrip Vancouver, will be introduced as well as three Seattle-based ships, ten additional cruises to Glacier Bay National Park and unique new port, Icy Strait Point.

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Hundreds of Star Entertainers & Speakers to Join Crystal Cruises' 2006 World Cruise

LOS ANGELES, October 5, 2005 – More than 200 star entertainers, acclaimed chefs, famous Olympians and noted diplomats, among others, will offer in excess of 1,000 shows, lectures and demonstrations during Crystal Cruises’ 11th annual World Cruise, January 18 – May 5, 2006. The luxurious Crystal Serenity travels from Los Angeles to London on a 106-day odyssey, offering guests an entertaining variety of enrichment opportunities with interactive seminars and progressive classes focusing on everything from art lessons to world affairs.

“A World Cruise with Crystal is the ultimate travel experience. In 2006, our guests will explore exotic destinations on five different continents and enjoy a tremendous scope of onboard enrichment programming,” says Bret Bullock, Crystal’s vice president, entertainment. “World Cruise travelers expect to be enriched by their experiences on board as much as they do ashore, and we offer them extensive choices to do as much – or as little – as they want.”

Long regarded for its award-winning Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program, the luxury cruise line has assembled a stellar cast of name performers and renowned speakers in line with the discerning expectations of its savvy World Cruise clientele. Some highlights include:

Stars of Screen & Song
Academy Award nominee and celebrated entertainer Debbie Reynolds shares Hollywood stories; Grammy-nominated pianist, singer and cabaret star Michael Feinstein, renowned for his Gershwin interpretations, performs popular American songs; while Emmy Award winner Art Linkletter offers insight into his experiences as host of two of the longest-running shows in television history.

Decorated Olympians
Timed to coincide with the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in February, Olympians including gold medal figure skater Dorothy Hamill; the most decorated American gymnast in history, Shannon Miller; and distance swimmer Janet Evans, recipient of four individual Olympic golds and one silver; share their insights on the revered Games and the importance of dedication and perseverance. 

Cuisine & Wine
Culinary wizards including world-renowned Master Chef André Soltner; and, Anton Mosimann, master chef and owner of London’s Chateau Mosimann-Private Dining Club; lead cooking demonstrations and feature special menus in the ship’s dining room. Award-winning wine journalist and San Francisco Chronicle columnist Leslie Sbrocco; Master of Wine and award-winning TV host Jancis Robinson; and, Stephen Mack, wine director at Hong Kong’s Asian Wine Service and Education Center; provide insight on savoring and pairing the world’s top vintages.

Diplomats & Ambassadors
World affairs both past and present are addressed by experts including Ambassador Hank Cohen, whose 38 years in the US Foreign Service included five assignments in sub-Saharan Africa; Ambassador Marc Ginsberg, the first US Ambassador of Jewish heritage appointed to a Middle East nation; retired US Air Force Major General Perry Smith, a CNN and NBC military analyst during the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars; and Tex Harris, two-time president of the American Foreign Service Association, the professional organization of American diplomats. General Nick Halley, a recognized expert on leadership, terrorism and change management and former commander of troops in Vietnam, Greneda and Desert Storm; and Nigel West, renowned author and military historian specializing in intelligence and counterintelligence, provide insight on the security issues facing the world today.

Film Enrichment
Behind-the-scenes insight into motion pictures and television is showcased with presentations from filmmaker Rick McCay whose Emmy Award-winning projects stretch from PBS, HBO and A&E to the big screen with his critically acclaimed “Broadway: The Golden Age;” Nando Parrado shares his unforgettable 74-day saga of human endurance high in the Andes Mountains from the book and movie Alive; former President and CEO of the Museum of Television and Radio Stuart Brotman explores the phenomenon of television on American life; and multi-award winning producer, director and choreographer Kevin Carlisle tells tales of his experiences working with Bob Hope, Julie Andrews, Doris Day, George Burns and Bill Cosby, among many others.

Dozens of other celebrated authors, Hollywood historians, inspirational speakers, fitness gurus and more are scheduled to join the cruise – including cultural experts from The Smithsonian Associates and art historians from the world-renowned Sotheby’s Institute. 

Available in seven segments and featuring 41 port calls in 25 countries, seven complimentary shoreside excursions, and a variety of overland adventures including 11 different safaris, Crystal Serenity’s World Cruise programming is equally as impressive as its destinations. Days at sea are filled with additional enrichment opportunities including: the line’s innovative Creative Learning Institute, featuring complimentary progressive courses in language by Berlitz and piano by Yamaha; the pioneering Computer University@Sea® offering 30 different complimentary courses; PGA golf pros providing instruction using TaylorMade equipment; fitness instruction from experts on yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi; and much, much more. Crystal is scheduling its 12th annual World Cruise beginning in January 2007. The luxury line will announce details later in the month. For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Cruise the Islands of the Pacific in Signature Style 
With Holland America

SEATTLE, Oct. 5 -- In 2006 and 2007 Holland America Line ships will trace figure-eights on 20 sailings around the balmy isles of the Pacific. Hawaii and Tahiti headline the itineraries of the "Voyages of the Pacific" brochure, expected out in late October. Twelve cruises are on offer during winter, spring and fall of 2006, and eight sailings are scheduled for winter and spring of 2007 with fall and winter dates still to be announced.

"Our Pacific Island cruises offer convenient west coast departures that don't require long air flights. We visit a diversity of islands, offer extended stays in Honolulu and scenic cruising during ideal times to ensure that guests enjoy an unmatched experience in the Hawaiian Islands," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "And on our longer journeys we deliver the best of Hawaii and introduce guests to some of the most beautiful places on earth in Tahiti, Bora Bora and the Marquesas Islands."

The Pacific Island Cruise Experience
Cruise itineraries are tuned for maximum exposure to Polynesian paradise. The magical islands of Hawaii, Oahu and Maui are visited on each and every sailing while ten cruises also add gorgeous Kauai, the Garden Isle. Longer voyages cross the equator delving deep to exotic South Sea isles such as Tahiti, Fiji and Pago Pago. Extended two-day stays at Honolulu on twelve cruises allow evening enjoyment at this lively tropical city. Similarly, two Tahiti sailings boast an overnight call to romantic Bora Bora Island.

Guests are welcomed aboard the cruise with a traditional lei ceremony. Through Holland America Line's Explorations Speaker Series, experts on the history and culture of the islands share insights on Polynesian subjects, from astronomy of the Pacific skies to regional cuisine and ceremonial traditions. Each ship also features a Culinary Arts Center with demonstrations on regional food and drink. Daily menus highlight a feast of local specialties, such as Maui Kalbi ribs, Lomi Lomi-marinated salmon and papaya salad.

Five vessels -- the 1,380-guest ms Amsterdam, 1,258-guest ms Ryndam and ms Statendam, and 1,432-guest ms Volendam and ms Zaandam -- depart from a trio of west coast homeports: San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, B.C.

A variety of shore excursions lead guests to swim with the dolphins, visit lush tropical gardens, hike in rainforests and take helicopter tours. Through Holland America Line's Off-the-Beaten-Path excursions, guests may go four-wheeling through Hawaii's back roads up to Mauna Kea's summit to see Rainbow Falls and the world's largest telescope, or take a Tahiti trek through the Papenoo Valley. Other excursions visit Maui's Haleakala Crater, venture to Lana'i on a dolphin and snorkel excursion or let guests swim with reef sharks and sting rays in Bora Bora Lagoon. Shore excursion can be viewed online and are available for booking online approximately six months prior to sailing.

Hawaii - America's Premier Island Getaway
Fifteen "Circle Hawaii" cruises sail roundtrip from San Diego for 15-days each and feature the Hawaiian Islands and a visit to Ensenada, Mexico. Cruises meander around Kauai's cliff-hugged Na Pali coast, cruise Maui's whale-breeding waters to Lahaina, and pair pastel sunsets with orange and black volcano scenes on evening sailing by the Big Island's Kilauea Volcano. Departure dates in 2006 include Feb. 5 and 20, Mar. 7 and 22, and Apr. 6, onboard the Amsterdam and Oct. 7, Nov. 1 and 26, and Dec. 21 onboard the Zaandam. Dates available for booking now for 2007 are Jan. 5 and 20, Feb. 4 and 19, and Mar. 6 and 21. Fall and winter 2007 dates will be released soon. Fares start at $1,999 per person double occupancy.

Special Hawaiian Islands Culinary Cruise
Max McCalman, cheese expert, author and Maitre Fromager from the Artisanal Cheese Center in New York City hosts a special "Circle Hawaii" sailing from the Pacific Northwest aboard the Volendam. McCalman's culinary expertise will be showcased in demonstrations and classes in the ship's state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Center. The Apr. 22, 2006, 18-day cruise sails from the Emerald City of Seattle, calls at charming, Victorian-styled Astoria, Oregon, on the delta of the Columbia River, and then sails for the Hawaiian Islands spending nearly a week island hopping with an overnight in Honolulu, before cruising to Vancouver, British Columbia. The cosmopolitan Canadian port city of Vancouver also plays host to a 17-day "Circle Hawaii" roundtrip cruise departing exactly one year later on Apr. 22, 2007. Fares for the two 17- and 18-day Circle Hawaii sailings listed above start at $2,399.

Exotic Escape - Hawaii, Tahiti, and Marquesas Island
The ultimate 30-day Polynesian escapade sails once a year roundtrip from San Diego navigating ancient trade routes to the coral reefs and idyllic beaches of Hawaii, Tahiti and the famous yet remote Marquesas Islands. Port calls include Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Raiatea, Tahiti, and Moorea with overnight stays in Honolulu and Bora Bora for additional time to shop, swim, explore and relax. Harboring relaxation is the key -- as guests glide in the sun-glistened Pacific, call on the lovely islands, bask in the middle of nowhere on Christmas Island, Kiribati, snorkel in palm-lined lagoons, peruse black pearls in Tahiti, and behold sacred sites of ancient societies at Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands. The upcoming 30-day "Circle Hawaii, Tahiti, and Marquesas" cruise departs on Jan. 6, 2006 onboard the Amsterdam and on Jan. 22, 2007 onboard the Ryndam. Cruise rates for the 30-day Hawaii, Tahiti, and Marquesas Islands voyages start at $5,079 per person.

Repositioning Reveals Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji & New Zealand
Not to be missed is an exclusive 24- to 28-day "South Pacific and New Zealand" cruise departing from Vancouver on September 29, 2006. This unique repositioning cruise also calls at Los Angeles on October 3 before beginning her pacific crossing. En route the Statendam takes in the Hawaiian Islands, Christmas Island, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. Final stops include New Zealand's Bay of Islands and Tauranga before arriving in Auckland where she makes her winter home sailing between New Zealand and Australia during their summer season. A similar sailing across the Pacific is also being planned for 2007. Fares for the 28-day sailing begin at $3,649 per person, double occupancy.

For more information or a brochure on Holland America Line's "Voyages of the Pacific", contact a professional travel agent; call 1-877-724-5425 or visit online at

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Seabourn Adds 'Vintage Seabourn' Premium Wines Selections

MIAMI, Oct. 4 -- Beginning in September 2005, the sommeliers on board Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend are offering guests a Vintage Seabourn pre-purchase option that will grant them access to a varied selection of premium wines from the ships' well-stocked and diversified cellars, at specially privileged prices.

"We pour complimentary wines, and quite a nice selection of very good ones, on board all our Seabourn yachts," noted Seabourn president Deborah L. Natansohn. "But each ship also carries a remarkable collection of rarer or more unusual wines, ones that people interested in wines might want to explore," she continued. "Vintage Seabourn is our way of encouraging them to do that."

Participation in Vintage Seabourn will be available at two levels. For $150, the Vintage Seabourn Silver collection will provide a menu of six premium white wines and six premium red wines, including one dessert wine selection, from which guests may select a total of three bottles to enjoy on board. Vintage Seabourn Gold will be priced at $300, and offers the same menu, plus an additional four whites and four reds of higher priced vintages, from which guests may select a total of six bottles.

Although the menus will routinely change, wines in a Vintage Seabourn Silver selection might include white varieties such as a Domaine Laroche "Les Blanchots" that sells for $65 individually; a Laetitia Pinot Noir in the red category that sells for $66 and, for dessert, a Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes that sells individually for $58. Gold level additions may feature wines such as a Hanzell Alexander Valley Pinot Noir, which sells individually for $80, and a Chapoutier "Condrieu" Viognier, priced separately at $74.

Vintage Seabourn privileges will be available for purchase in advance of departure or on board, as well as on the advance Gift Order Form for use by family, friends or associates of guests. When guests embark on their cruises, they will find a descriptive brochure and a menu of available wines in their suites. A personalized Vintage Seabourn privilege card will allow them to select the wines whenever they like from the sommelier, who will present the wines in Seabourn's special oversized glassware.

Vintage Seabourn is the latest in a continuing series of enhancements and upgrades to Seabourn's Signature Delights: a myriad of thoughtful touches and pampering plusses that have earned the line the highest scores awarded to any cruise line by readers of Departures and Travel + Leisure magazines. Other recent additions include Seabourn to a Tea, an upgraded menu of rare estate teas, unique blends and herbals tisanes being served on board; Seabourn's Personal Shopper service providing luxury cars and specialized shopping guides in various ports worldwide; WorldPhone global cell and satellite telephone rental services, and Seabourn's innovative Personal Valet luggage shipping service.

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

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Windstar Cruises' Degrees of Difference Add Up to an Experience 180 Degrees from Ordinary

Seattle, WA – Windstar Cruises is launching a new initiative called Degrees of Difference, featuring added amenities and enhancements to the line’s three motor sailing yachts – the 308-guest Wind Surf and 148-guest Wind Star and Wind Spirit. The Degrees of Difference initiative encompasses the five areas that anchor the line’s overall guest experience—dining, accommodations, service, destinations and activities—with new amenities and enhancements to further Windstar’s position as 180 degrees from ordinary. The initiative will be completed in stages and will be finished in 2007.

“It’s the little details – or the ‘degrees of difference’ – that add up to the Windstar experience, which is 180 degrees from ordinary,” says Diane Moore, Windstar Cruises’ vice president, marketing and sales. “Degrees of Difference continues the tradition and romance of a sailing ship, but with cutting edge amenities and a casual elegance relevant to today’s traveler. At Windstar, our goal is to deliver a cruise experience 180 degrees from ordinary. The Degrees of Difference initiative takes us there by enhancing each of the key areas important to our guests – cuisine, accommodations, service, destinations and activities. After all, to be 180 degrees from ordinary, means we must be extraordinary.”

High-Tech on the High Seas
To address the needs of today’s traveler, Windstar is adding a host of high-tech amenities including Apple iPod Nanos, Bose SoundDocks and personal laptops plus wireless connectivity in public areas on all three ships. The Wind Surf also features an onboard Internet Center with desktop computers for guest use.

Enhanced Signature Cuisine
Building on an industry-leading relationship established more than ten years ago, Windstar is introducing 100 new menu items in collaboration with acclaimed celebrity chef Joachim Splichal of the Patina Group. Chef Splichal created Windstar’s initial Signature Cuisine and has now created an array of new dishes to be served aboard all three ships. The new menu includes such items as spicy tomato soup and fried crab beignets, lamb rack with short-rib-mushroom-risotto stuffed onion, minted zucchini and roasted carrots; and seared snapper with oven dried tomatoes, caperberries, nicoise olives, roasted fennel and creamy rice.

The menu in the Wind Surf’s Bistro has changed. Splichal has created a steak house menu with entrees such as Grilled Marinated Hanger Steak, Crispy Skin Half Chicken rubbed with French mustard and Grilled Herb Marinated Atlantic Salmon. In addition, the Bistro will offer Italian, French and Indonesian menus on rotating nights. The Bistro will be redecorated with a new burgundy color scheme including new carpet, curtains, and reupholstered chairs. Dishes and glassware will also be new—Rosenthal china and Schott Zwiesel stemware.

Other dining enhancements include the addition of an “Amuse Bouche,” or “little bite” at dinner, compliments of the chef; Riedel stemware to grace the tabletops aboard each ship; Rosenthal china; a new wine list featuring more boutique labels plus the flexibility to purchase wine in ports along the ships’ itineraries; a selection of exotic fine cheeses (many bought fresh in local markets) served tableside from a specially designed cheese cart, and Petit-fours, trays of delicate sweet treats, to be served with coffee at the end of dinner.

More Luxurious Accommodations
Combining the classic luxury of a sailing ship with today’s modern amenities is Windstar’s forte. The sleek yacht-like design of Windstar’s ships feature all outside staterooms, with ample space for rest and relaxation. Additional elements which add even greater comfort to Windstar’s ambiance of casual elegance include custom Sealy Posturepedic Premium Plush Euro-Top mattresses, luxurious cotton bed linens and duvets, Egyptian-cotton towels and waffle terry spa bathrobes. Guests will be treated to Shea Butter bathroom amenities from L’Occitane, maker of fine natural body products manufactured with ingredients from Provence. Amenity baskets include Verbena Shea Butter Soap, Verbena Shower Cream, Shea Body Lotion, Shine Enhancing Shampoo with Shea Extract and Shea Hair Conditioner.

Each stateroom also features flat screen TVs and DVD/CD players. Guests may rent laptops from the reception desk. Apple iPod Nanos fully loaded with a broad selection of music may be checked out from reception complimentary. Bose SoundDocks for use with the iPods will be added to each stateroom. Other new elements include sheer curtains, throw pillows and luggage mats.

Personalized Small Ship Service
Windstar’s international crew specializes in unobtrusive, gracious service with a guest to crew ratio of less than 2 to 1. Returning guests are often surprised to be greeted by name and handed their favorite cocktail—courtesy of a crew member’s memory. Windstar’s attention to the little details extends to all areas of service. On steamy days, guests may expect to be handed a lemon-scented frozen towel to help keep cool; servers will bring around trays of refreshing sorbet in orange halves for guests on deck. Complimentary 24-hour room service rises to a new level with course-by-course dining. During dinner, guests may elect to dine in the privacy of their own stateroom with each course served separately. This new dining option provides personalized service to couples wishing to maximize their time together.

Relaxation to Exhilaration: Activities the Windstar Way
New hammocks on the flying bridges aboard all three ships will accommodate two for a prime spot to relax under billowing sails. Windstar’s wide, open teak decks serve as guests’ own private verandas to watch the scenery pass, take a nap, or read a book. Further relaxation and rejuvenation may be found in the WindSpa aboard Wind Surf. Trained therapists employ massage techniques from all over the world to ease muscle aches. Other treats include an Aromaspa Ocean Wrap which cocoons guests in seaweed to energize tired muscles, an Oxygen Lifting Facial and an egg-like capsule called the Chakra Balancing Capsule which uses aromatherapy, heat and vibrations to balance the energy center.

At anchor, a water sports platform is lowered from the aft Marina Deck, turning a pristine lagoon into a private water park. Active cruisers can take advantage of Windstar’s complimentary water sports activities: kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, water skiing and snorkeling. Scuba diving adventures are available for both professional and novice divers. Windstar offers a Discover Scuba Diving program for beginners who will then enjoy 30- to 40-foot dives with the onboard dive master, while certified divers join PADI instructors for more challenging excursions. 

Diverse Destinations
Windstar is well known for traveling off the beaten path on itineraries from the Mediterranean, Amalfi Coast and Greek Isles to the Aegean Sea, the Caribbean and Costa Rica. In most destinations, a mixture of non-repeating, seven-day itineraries has been designed to allow for 14-day voyages with no repeating ports of call. Itineraries have also been adjusted for later departures and more overnights in ports, so guests can enjoy more time for shopping, shore excursions and nightlife. 

Taking the adventure from ship to shore, Windstar guests may choose to raft down the Corobici River in Costa Rica, take a panoramic flight over Provence, sail a catamaran in the Caribbean, or enjoy a Champagne Sunday Brunch at Caneel Bay Resort, founded by Laurence Rockefeller on the island of St. John. 

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Cunard Line Celebrates Special Commemorations in Halifax

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, Oct 3, 2005 - During a ceremony in Halifax aboard Queen Mary 2, Cunard Line announced that it will become the lead sponsor of the Sir Samuel Cunard Memorial Project, an initiative designed to honour the company's founder by erecting a commemorative monument on the Halifax Harbourfront in the fall of 2006. Originally spearheaded by the Master of Queen Mary 2, Commodore Ronald Warwick, the Sir Samuel Cunard Memorial Project is being realized by The Halifax Foundation, the only community foundation in Nova Scotia.

"As the company that bears Sir Samuel Cunard's name, we are extremely proud to support this historic project commemorating Cunard's contribution to Halifax and Nova Scotia," said Jan Swartz, senior vice president of customer service and sales for Cunard Line. "We look forward to the realization of this very deserving memorial."

The project recognizes the far-reaching impact of Sir Samuel Cunard's contributions to the city of Halifax, province of Nova Scotia, Canada and the world. Recognized as the most renowned businessman in the Atlantic Provinces, Cunard revolutionized commerce and communications between continents nearly two centuries ago. He was a true visionary who foresaw the day when steam power would replace sailing on the North Atlantic, changing the course of maritime history and creating the "ocean railway." Cunard's ships were long associated with many maritime firsts including the first to use navigation lights and the first ship to be lit by electricity. Cunard Line is the lead sponsor of the memorial, contributing a $75,000 donation, and The Halifax Foundation has now raised $100,000 to support the $275,000 project.

"We are honouring Cunard's remarkable legacy and his world-renowned company," said the Honourable Alan R. Abraham, Sr., Project Committee Chair, The Halifax Foundation. "We are very grateful to have the support of those who share a history with Cunard today--a long overdue commemoration has come to life."

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Honours Cunard
The Cunard celebrations continued at Halifax's Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the largest site in Nova Scotia that collects and interprets various elements of Nova Scotia's marine history. First, Commodore Ronald Warwick was inducted into the museum's Admiralty Circle, honouring his illustrious maritime career. He joined Cunard Line in 1970 and was appointed to the Carmania as a junior officer. He then went on to serve in various ranks on the QE2, Cunard Adventurer, Cunard Countess, Cunard Princess and Crown Dynasty. His first command was of the Cunard Princess when she was sailing in Alaskan waters in 1986. He was navigator on the first QE2 world cruise in 1975 and chief officer for a number of years, which included the period when the liner was requisitioned by the British Government for service in the Falkland Campaign. Commodore Warwick first took command of the Queen Elizabeth 2 in July 1990 and helmed the ship until he departed in 2003 to oversee the construction of Cunard's new flagship, Queen Mary 2.

In addition, the museum and members of the Maritime Ship Modelers Guild, in association with the Cunard Steamship Society, unveiled the fully restored ship model of the Franconia, which Cunard debuted in 1923. The "Franconia Project" began in July 2003 with the complete dismantling and cataloging of all parts of the ship. The modelers then identified the many different tasks which were then assigned to working groups from the modelers' complement. During this period the restoration has been witnessed by countless visitors to the museum who have enjoyed watching the modelers in the workshop specially built to house the Franconia model while under refurbishment.

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Carnival's ‘Fun Ship’ Fantasy Undergoes Multimillion Dollar Makeover During 21-Day Refurbishment

MIAMI – Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2,056-passenger Fantasy recently underwent a multi-million-dollar refurbishment and emerged with a host of new and updated features and facilities, including new photo and art galleries, a nine-hole miniature golf course, and completely renovated health and fitness center. The upgrades were completed during a 21-day scheduled dry dock that took place in Norfolk, Va. The Fantasy has resumed its year-round schedule of three- and four-day Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral, FL. 

“The Fantasy, with its myriad on-board amenities and convenient and affordable Bahamas itinerary, is already a popular ‘Fun Ship’ vacation option with consumers. With these new enhancements, we’ve made a great ship even better with a host of new and expanded features,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.

One of the most noticeable enhancements is in the ship’s 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival, which has been completely revamped and now features 11 private treatment rooms, including two couples massage rooms, a new relaxation/waiting room, as well as updated equipment, new carpeting, tile work and other cosmetic enhancements. 

Featured on Sun Deck is a brand new nine-hole miniature golf course providing guests of all ages with a fun and exciting outdoor diversion. Along Empress Deck is a new art gallery that is home to the line’s popular art auctions where guests can bid on a variety of pieces by the some of world’s most famous artists. Other enhancements include a new photo gallery on Promenade Deck providing guests with an easy and convenient means for selecting their favorite photos taken during their cruise, as well as upgraded audio/visual equipment in a variety of public areas. 

These enhancements are in addition to a variety of cosmetic upgrades that include new tilework, carpeting and upholstery throughout the vessel. Updated galley and laundry equipment has also been installed to enhance guest service. The recent upgrades follow a 2003 drydock which included the installation of a new lobby bar, a renovated promenade and updated cabins. 

The Fantasy entered service in 1990 as the namesake vessel of Carnival’s “Fantasy-class,” which, with eight vessels, is the most successful series of cruise ships ever introduced. The Fantasy departs Port Canaveral every Thursday on three-day cruises to Nassau, and every Sunday on four-day voyages to Nassau and Freeport. Prices start at $249 per person for three-day cruises and $279 per person for four-day cruises based on double occupancy. For additional information and reservations on the Fantasy or any other Carnival “Fun Ship,” contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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

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