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Cruise News
October 1-31, 2007

Click the following links to the cruise news stories...

Berth of A Queen — With only a few months to go before her December Naming Ceremony, Cunard Line's Queen Victoria is taking shape in the shipyard. Follow the progress of Queen Victoria. Updates are added as they are announced.

Return to's Cruise News Weekly Index & Archive

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected.

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 and travel tips--find that and more in Cruise Diva, The Blog

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Cruise News Daily's CruiseBlogger

More Than 120 Crystal Adventures Take Travelers to Exotic Sites & Hidden Treasures Throughout Asia

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 30 -- From ancient temples and villages untouched by time to tours of verdant spice plantations and the life along the Mekong Delta, luxury travel specialist Crystal Cruises is offering guests more of Asia than ever before with 120 unique shoreside adventures exploring the region's famed wonders and hidden treasures off the beaten path. Culinary enthusiasts can savor a spice plantation in India, while adventure seekers can opt for a three-night overland adventure into Laos.

In 2008, Crystal is increasing its presence in Asia with two ships sailing the region. The award-winning Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony will sail Asia from March through May 2008 aboard six destination-rich itineraries, all of which feature noted UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Among the extensive Crystal Adventures during the cruise are 12 new programs and nine different overnight tours offering in-depth travels in Vietnam, Thailand, China, Laos, Cambodia and India, and all are available online at for review and pre-booking.

Crystal's Asia Adventures include:

  • Himeji Castle & Mount Shosha-zan (Kobe, Japan)--Explore Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Japan's most beautiful surviving medieval castle, and the magnificent Engyoji Temple perched atop Mount Shosha-zan.

  • NEW Shanghai's Jewish Heritage (Shanghai, China)--Discover the rich history of Shanghai's Jewish community exploring impressive synagogues and walking the Jewish ghetto where streets look more European than Chinese.

  • Train to Wuxi (Shanghai, China)--Journey to the ancient garden city of Wuxi and visit a Chinese silk-reeling factory to witness the entire process from the silkworms to the deft workers as they wind the cocoons into spools.

  • Da Nang & Hoi An (Da Nang, Vietnam)--Walk a living UNESCO World Heritage Site in the scenic river town of Hoi An where the colorful streets, temples and waterside markets remain largely untouched by time.

  • Laos Overland Adventure (Bangkok, Thailand)--Embark upon a three-night overland adventure into Laos and explore caves lit with candles and filled with hundreds of Buddhas. Admire magnificent temples, view spectacular waterfalls, and wake at dawn to participate in a traditional Buddhist alms-giving ceremony.

  • Cuisine of Kerala (Cochin, India)--Savor the cuisine of Southern India with lunch and a cooking demonstration as top chefs prepare a special meal infused with regional flavors and local spices. *Wine & Food Festival voyage

  • NEW The Temples & Spices of Goa (Marmagao, India)--Admire the beautiful Hindu architecture of the impressive Shri Mahalasa temple and learn about the flavors of India during lunch at a spice plantation. *Wine & Food Festival Voyage

  • Mystical Muscat (Muscat, Oman)--Explore the former residence of one of Oman's wealthiest and most well known families and view private collections of Omani weaponry, jewelry, clothing, photographs, books, paintings and maps.

Other highlights of Crystal's Asia cruises:

  • An unprecedented number of in-port overnights, 17 in all, allow guests extended time to experience Hong Kong, Shanghai, Osaka, Kobe, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bangkok with two- and three-day calls.

  • Two Crystal Symphony itineraries also include a complimentary three-night overland adventure in Beijing with tours of the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Great Wall of China.

"With nearly every Asia itinerary featuring in-port overnights in two or three cities throughout the voyage, we have arranged more than 120 unique adventures, including many new offerings to lesser known, yet magnificent sites," says John Stoll, Crystal's director of land programs. "Whether this is a traveler's first trip to Asia or their second or more, we can assure something new and exciting for every interest."

From March through May 2008 Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony will embark upon six destination-rich voyages to Asia ranging from 11 to 17 days and featuring calls in the exotic port cities of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and Dalian, China; Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Bangkok, Ko Samui and Phuket, Thailand; Singapore; Kobe, Hiroshima, and Osaka, Japan; Kuala Lampur/Port Kelang, Malaysia; Mumbai, Cochin, and Marmagao, India; Muscat, Oman; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

The Crystal Difference
Aboard the ultra-luxurious ships of Crystal Cruises, refined elegance meets casual simplicity. With an emphasis on innovative product differentiation, the renowned Crystal experience is distinguished by classic service, abundant space, extensive choices and quality, providing worldwide vacations that bridge the best of land and sea. 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 West Announces Online Booking of Alaska Shore Excursions

SEATTLE, WA, Oct 30 – In a move designed to help meet demand for its 85 optional Alaska shore excursions, Cruise West is making all these excursions available for booking on its Website, These excursions are in addition to those included shore excursions that are offered in every port on every Cruise West itinerary. Previously guests had to call to book at least 21 days before departure or wait until they began their cruise to book the optional excursions. The new online booking option is designed to provide a better opportunity for guests to ensure they receive their first choices.

“We’re trying to make it easier for guests to further personalize their Alaska experience by choosing additional activities that are suited to individual interests,” stated Jeff Krida, president and CEO. “Now on our Website they will be able to book in advance everything from historical tours to world-class fishing, heli-hiking and kayaking, with a wide range of activity levels from easy to moderate to strenuous.”

Optional excursions operated by Cruise West are specially designed and operated to match the up-close, personal, and casual style found onboard the vessels. Cruise West Land Guides are trained by instructors from the National Association of Interpretation, so guests know they have the best experience available when they book a Cruise West operated tour. Among the excursions recommended by Cruise West staff include scenic options such as the LeConte Glacier Flight with Kupreanof Air in Petersburg and the peaceful Chilkat River Float in Haines. For a more thrill-oriented excursion, Cruise West offers a Canopy Adventures & Wildlife Expedition in Ketchikan, complete with seven zip lines and 4,500 feet of high-tension cables and three aerial bridges. Another popular option is a Glacier Landing by ski-plane in Denali National Park and Preserve, where guests land in the Sheldon Amphitheater and actually hear seven echoes. 

To book, go to and follow the online prompts. All a guest needs to pre-book is the specific cruise itinerary name, departure date and a credit card. All bookings must be made at least 21 days in advance of departure date. Cruise West offers eight Alaska itineraries, eight ships and 167 departures in 2008, and has more permits than any other line to enter Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Tours to Denali National Park and Preserve may be added onto all cruise itineraries – guests also have the option to stay at a rustic Wilderness Lodge in the heart of the Denali. For additional information or to book a Cruise West cruise, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit

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SeaDream Yacht Club Offers Unique Black Sea Voyage

SeaDream Yacht Club, operator of the elegant mega-yacht cruisers SeaDream I and II, will introduce a highly unusual voyage next year, sailing in Europe’s Black Sea. The seven day voyage (#1835) August 23-30, aboard SeaDream I, begins and ends in the magnificent Turkish metropolis, Istanbul. 

Ports of call are:

  • Nessebar, Bulgaria--A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the well-preserved city is known for its medieval architecture including many churches. 

  • Constanta, Romania--Here, in this prominent Black Sea port-of-call, the history of winemaking dates back to the 4th century. 

  • Odessa, Ukraine--Founded in 1783 by Russia’s Catherine the Great, this prosperous, cosmopolitan city is home to Count Leo Tolstoy’s elaborate mansion. 

  • Sevastopol, Ukraine--Where Count Tolstoy began his career, Sevastopol is a popular Medieval-style seaside resort referred to as the “Gem of the Crimean Riviera.” 

  • Yalta, Ukraine--Summer residence of the Russian Czars, Yalta was the site of the 1945 historic World War II meeting of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin. 

The voyage (as do all SeaDream voyages) includes all meals, complimentary wines with luncheon and dinner, an open bar, use of “water toys” from the yacht’s stern Marina and gratuities. Air fare to and from the sailing, transfers from airport to ship and return and any hotel accommodations, are extra. There is also the opportunity to combine the seven night Black Sea voyage aboard SeaDream I with either a pre or post seven night Greek Isles sailing. Limited space is available and is capacity controlled. The offer may be withdrawn at any time. Some restrictions apply.

SeaDream Yacht Club, A Short Profile
SeaDream Yacht Club is the yachting venture by Norwegian entrepreneur Atle Brynestad, who founded Seabourn Cruise Line, and Larry Pimentel who was President of Seabourn under Brynestad and later President and CEO of the merged Cunard and Seabourn. Pimentel is President and CEO of the Miami, Florida-headquartered SeaDream Yacht Club and a co-owner. Brynestad is Chairman. The company, founded in the fall of 2001, operates SeaDream I and SeaDream II, elegant twin mega-yacht cruisers that sail on mostly seven-day voyages in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Greek Islands, the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia and into the Black Sea. 

The yachts are not only ideal for discerning travelers seeking an unstructured experience but also for small meetings and incentive groups or individual private family gatherings. They are available for full charter. In the Americas the SeaDream Yacht Club reservations number is 1 800 707-4911. In Europe it is +47 23 28 96 60. The website is

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NCL & Cooking Light Present Healthy Dining Options

MIAMI, Oct. 29 –NCL Corporation and Cooking Light,the nation’s largest food magazine, have renewed their partnership to provide healthy meal options on board NCL ships in 2008. NCL has offered Cooking Light-branded menu options on its ships since 1999. 

“Freestyle Cruising offers guests a world of options, including the chance to stay healthy on board through amenities such as fitness rooms and rock climbing walls or with healthy, delicious meal options at our many restaurants,” said Andy Stuart, executive vice president of sales, marketing and passenger services for NCL Corporation. “Our relationship with Cooking Light enhances our guest dining experience with unmatched culinary expertise from a trusted brand.”

As part of the agreement, Cooking Light will continue to provide appetizer, entrée and dessert recipes that are regularly incorporated and rotated among menus on NCL and NCL America ships, which offer up to 10 restaurants on each vessel. A Cooking Light chef will board NCL ships to oversee recipe execution and taste test meals, and will provide direction and additional menu suggestions throughout the year. Menu items include delicious fare such as jerk-style chicken with cinnamon, thyme, jalapenos and allspice and sautéed tilapia with lemon-peppercorn pan sauce.

Ship Shape Cruise on Norwegian Dawn
Cooking Light will also host its annual Ship Shape cruise, for the ninth year in a row, aboard Norwegian Dawn Nov. 11-18, 2007, departing roundtrip from Miami. Embarking on an Eastern Caribbean itinerary, this health-and wellness-focused voyage calls on Samana, Dominican Republic; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas—NCL’s own private Caribbean island. Guests will enjoy morning walks, customized shore excursions, cooking demonstrations and question and answers sessions with Cooking Light chefs, a private beach party in St. Thomas, Iron Chef-style cooking competitions, and more. For further information on NCL Corporation, contact a travel agent or NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (866) 234-0292.

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Cunard Adds New Benefits to World Club Program

Valencia, CA, Oct 29 - The Cunard World Club® has introduced a range of new benefits and tiers tailored to frequent Cunard travelers. Among the enhancements is a new "Diamond" tier for the most loyal Cunard guests and a revised tier structure that better reflects the traveling patterns of the line's discerning travelers. Now, for example, Cunard guests can achieve higher tier levels based on their number of days at sea as well as their number of completed voyages.

"When it comes to acknowledging our guests' dedication and passion for Cunard, we seek to be the 'best in class' and these enhancements reflect the V.I.P. services and experiences that our loyal guests find most valuable," said Carol Marlow, Cunard's president and managing director.

Cunard World Club now has four tier levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Each tier has valuable benefits, which increase based on the number or voyages of days at sea.

  • World Club Silver guests are those who have completed one voyage and receive a tiered key card, onboard welcome back letter, World Club member savings, access to a dedicated World Club Desk (shoreside and aboard), quarterly Cunarder magazine and entrée to the members' section at

  • World Club Gold level is achieved on the third through seventh voyages (or 20th through 69th day at sea) and guests receive a World Club Gold pin and invitation to the Members' Cocktail Party, as well as a credit towards a complimentary Internet package (up to two hours, valued at $50 per person) and preferred reservations in Todd English.

  • Cunard World Club Platinum is earned on the eighth through fifteenth voyages (or 71st through 149th days at sea), which include all Gold member benefits and complimentary Internet package (up to 4 hours total, valued at $90 per person), discounts on dry cleaning, laundry services and White Star luggage service, a complimentary exclusive wine tasting onboard, and an invitation to the Senior Officers' Party, as well as the World Club Platinum pin, and priority check-in and disembarkation.

  • Representing the pinnacle of Cunard loyalty is the new World Club Diamond level - Cunarders who've completed at least 15 voyages or 150 days at sea receive all Platinum benefits in addition to a Diamond-level World Club pin, complimentary Internet package (up to eight hours total, valued at $170 per person), complimentary lunch in Todd English, a dedicated Diamond Member contact at the Shoreside World Club Desk, priority luggage delivery and priority reservations with the Voyage Sales Specialists. 

For more information about Cunard World Club and the company's renowned ocean liners, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Holland America Line's Prinsendam Sails Two Grand Voyages in Early 2009

SEATTLE, Oct. 29 -- Prinsendam, Holland America Line's most intimate ship carrying just 793 guests, will sail two Grand Voyages in 2009 enveloping a third of the year from Jan. through April. Guests will cruise around the Latin lands of South America and discover mysteries and wonders of Antarctica on the Grand South America and Antarctic Voyage, as well as explore European favorites and uncover lesser-visited ports on the Grand Mediterranean and Black Sea Voyage.

Grand South America and Antarctic Voyage
For those seeking a true journey of exploration, the ship first departs Jan. 2, 2009, on a 68-day South America and Antarctica cruise round-trip from Fort Lauderdale. During the circumnavigation of the continent, Prinsendam will journey more than 17,700 nautical miles and visit 32 ports of call in 14 countries, including overnight stays in Manaus and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Callao (Lima), Peru, and Fuerte Amador, Panama. Prinsendam visits an impressive total of 13 different ports in Brazil, including maiden calls at Maceio, Ilhabela (Sao Sabastiao) and Itajai.

Prinsendam will sail from the tip to toe of South America and spend seven days exploring the Amazon River, cruising all the way to Manaus, the farthest upriver navigable point for ocean-going vessels. On the other end of the continent, the ship calls at Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world. Scenic cruising features the infamous Darwin and Beagle channels, Chilean fjords, Strait of Magellan and Cape Horn. Spectacular landscapes and colossal glaciers greet guests as the ship sails farther south to spend three days cruising in Antarctica, a rare journey for most travelers. Additional highlights of the Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage include daylight passage through the Panama Canal, a call at the mysterious Devil's Island and four Equator crossings. For those with less time, shorter cruise segments of 11 to 57 days are available between Fort Lauderdale, Buenos Aires and Callao.

Grand Mediterranean and Black Sea Voyage
For guests who always have wanted to explore Europe without flying, Prinsendam departs Fort Lauderdale March 11, 2009, for a 50-day round-trip cruise to the Mediterranean and Black Sea. After calls at unique Caribbean ports, the ship sails eastbound across the Atlantic where 25 centuries of history, art and culture await. During the voyage, Prinsendam will sail more than 14,400 nautical miles and visit 25 ports of call in 15 countries, including favorites such as Spain, Italy and France, as well as the more unusual ports of call in Bulgaria and Ukraine. After sailing westward back across the Atlantic, the ship calls at Bermuda before ending in either New York or Fort Lauderdale. Overnight stays in Barcelona, Spain, and Istanbul, Turkey, as well as late-night departures in Arrecife, Canary Islands; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Kusadasi, Turkey; Santorini, Greece, and Lisbon, Portugal, allow ample time for shopping and exploration of some of the world's most interesting and historic ports.

Reservations are now available for 2009 Prinsendam Grand Voyages
Reservations are now available for Prinsendam's 2009 Grand Voyages. Early-booking bonus amenities for full-cruise guests include airfare, prepaid hotel service charges, shipboard credit, luggage delivery service and limousine transfers when booking select stateroom categories; amenities vary by cruise and booking date. The two Grand Voyages are available to book for the full cruise or in segments as short as 11 days. For those with more time, the back-to back 2009 Prinsendam Grand Voyages can be combined for an epic 118-day adventure sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 2, returning April 30, 2009 with additional savings available.

Holland America Line premium cruise experience onboard the "Elegant Explorer"
Acquired by Holland America Line in 2002 and with a guest count of 793, Prinsendam has earned the moniker "Elegant Explorer" traveling on longer voyages to exotic destinations worldwide. In late 2007, the ship is scheduled for a significant 21-day, $20 million upgrade including installation of the latest technology and premium amenities. At the heart of every Holland America Line cruise is a warm and award- winning style of service that is never in the way and never out of reach. Sophisticated and savory menus enhance every culinary experience, with options to suit every taste. Whether it's a five-course meal in the Main Dining Room, an intimate table at the elegant Pinnacle Grill or fare while relaxing poolside, the crew of Holland America Line know how to orchestrate a truly memorable dining affair.

Culinary staff and guest chefs will lead cooking classes and demonstrations in the onboard Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, and, as part of the Explorations Speaker Series, special guest lecturers will sail on segments of the Grand South America and Antarctic Voyage and Grand Mediterranean and Black Sea Voyage to offer unique and enriching perspectives on regional art, history and culture. The Explorations Cafe -- powered by the New York Times -- enables guests to stay connected to loved ones. To rest up for the next day, guests are assured a good night's sleep with the Mariner's Dream stateroom amenities, including luxurious beds and linens.

When in port, guests can choose from a multitude of diverse shore excursions including the exclusive Medallion Collection featuring Overland Adventures; Signature Collection private-car touring; visits to natural, architectural and technical masterpieces from the Wonders of the World Collection; and rare and unusual experiences with the Encore Collection excursions. Hot off the press, the new 2009 Grand Voyages cruise brochure is filled with stunning images, itinerary details and in-depth information about ports of call. For a brochure or more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-800-522-3399 or visit

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MSC Cruises: New Taste on the High Seas

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Oct. 29 – Satisfy your palate and discover new tastes with a Food & Wine Cruise on board MSC Lirica, MSC Poesia or MSC Orchestra. These special programs include cooking demonstrations by professionals. Enjoy learning how to prepare exquisite Italian regional dishes and specialities from the countries you visit on your itinerary. Learn the tricks of the trade as the chefs suggest how to prepare the perfect pasta, rice, meat and fish dishes. There will also be tips on selecting and preserving the best ingredients. 

Lovers of fine wines will have the opportunity to increase their knowledge under the guidance of an expert and passionate sommelier. Taste the best quality wines spanning the length and breath of Italy’s wine-producing regions. Discover the technical aspects of wine making and how to combine the best wines with regional speciality dishes. Then watch and learn from the barmen as they concoct the best cocktails on the high seas. Guests will also receive a wine dictionary to increase their knowledge of wines produced around the globe. 

Special attention will be paid to the art of hospitality at home, with lessons on how to set a table, including the center piece and place cards. There will also be light-hearted games and contests, all with a culinary theme. A quiz will test your memory on the names of drinks, international dishes or ingredients. Aspiring chefs will have the opportunity to compete against one another. Each evening will be a celebration of food featuring different menus served at the various onboard restaurants. These will include light menus, vegetarian dishes, as well as desserts for diabetic guests and special dishes for kosher meals. Whichever destination one chooses on board MSC Cruises, “foodies” and aspiring chefs will enjoy their own idea of heaven on the sea.

Here are the dates and exciting itineraries for the Food & Wine Cruises: 

  • MSC Poesia departs Venice April 19 and again on Sept. 13. These 7-night Eastern Mediterranean cruises will call at Bari, Olympia (Katakolon) in Greece, Izmir and Istanbul in Turkey and Dubrovnik in Croatia before returning to Venice.

  • MSC Orchestra departs May 9 from Barcelona on a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise. The ship visits Marseille in France, Genoa and Naples in Italy, Palermo in Sicily and Palma de Mallorca in Spain before returning to Barcelona.

  • MSC Lirica deoarts Rome Oct. 4 on a 7-night cruise of the Western Mediterranean. Ports of call include Genoa in Italy, Marseille in France, Valencia in Spain, Tangier in Morocco and Malaga in Spain before returning to Rome.

  • MSC Poesia will depart Nov. 15 from Venice on a 10-night cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean ending in Genoa. Ports of call include Bari, Corfu, Piraeus and Rhodes in Greece, Antalia in Turkey, Heraklion on Crete, Tripoli in Libya, and Valletta on the island of Malta before heading to Naples and Genoa.

Join one of these special cruises on any of these magnificent ships and taste the emotion of a cruise from start to finish. For more information about MSC Cruises and its Food & Wine theme cruises, contact a local travel professional or visit

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Cunard's Queen Victoria Shines a Spotlight on Museum-Quality Art Collection With a Self-Guided Digital Audio Tour

Valencia, CA, Oct 25 - Queen Victoria was England's first "modern" monarch - the first queen to have a telephone, ride a train, be photographed and host a World's Fair. As Britain's longest reigning royal, she led her country through the Industrial Revolution and into a peaceful constitutional monarchy. In celebration of the revered and influential monarch, Cunard turned to a collection of accomplished contemporary British artists to infuse its newest ocean liner, Queen Victoria, with the modern point of view that came to characterize her reign.

"Through this extraordinarily well-researched collection, we convey the ambiance that guests expect on a liner named Queen Victoria - a sense of history and grandeur coupled with a more contemporary appreciation of modern art by modern artists and artisans," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line.

Assembling an art collection worthy of Cunard's newest ocean liner was "a career highlight" for Amy Lucena, the art consultant who is managing the acquisition of over five hundred pieces that will form the core of the ship's nearly $2 million collection. Showcasing primarily British artists, the ship's collection runs the gamut, ranging from several featured pieces by renowned artists and craftsmen to smaller but equally significant installations. The three etchings in the Queens Room (one by Queen Victoria, one by Prince Albert and one by the two together) are among the ship's most treasured works. In hand-selecting every piece, Lucena was tasked with choosing diverse and expressive works that showcase the line's rich British history.

Queen Victoria Art Tour
Recognizing just how rich and varied the ship's collection of art is, Cunard will introduce a museum-style self-guided art tour at sea. An 80-minute audio overview, the Queen Victoria Art Tour will trace a path past 25 of the ship's most significant works including portraits, sculpture, vintage and contemporary ship models, murals and works in glass. In addition, the tour will feature video interviews with artists, some while at work on their particular Queen Victoria pieces. The audio tour will be available on the new Apple Ipod Touch which guests can borrow from the Purser's Desk. Highlights include:

  • Grand Lobby - Beautifully proportioned, the triple-height Grand Lobby exudes the character and ambiance of many Cunard ocean liners of the past, creating an immediate and unmistakable sense of grandeur and arrival. The room's sweeping staircase, gently curved balconies and breathtaking statement piece by Scottish sculptor John McKenna afford a guest's first glimpse of the opulence onboard. Executed in multiple mediums, the centerpiece of the Grand Staircase is a substantial work that captures Cunard's enduring legacy through an enchanting combination of rich, elegant marquetry by the foremost marquetry company in the U.K., Aryma Contemporary Marquetry, and a three dimensional sculpture in mixed media by McKenna. The marquetry depicts a globe, sky, continents and sea in diverse shades of wood, forming an intricate and engaging background for McKenna's stunning portrait of Queen Victoria. The work is a sister piece to McKenna's sculpture in the Grand Lobby aboard Queen Mary 2. Elsewhere in the Grand Lobby, there is a traditional maritime portrait of Queen Victoria at sea by noted maritime artist Robert Lloyd as well as Victorian and contemporary sculpted Cunard logos by Ian Brennan, the designated sculptor to Queen Elizabeth.

  • Queens Room - The life of Queen Victoria is reflected through a varied collection of works in the Queens Room, which features portraits of Victoria and Albert in octagon-shaped leaded glass panels by U.K.-based John Hardman & Company and elegant murals inspired by views from Queen Victoria's beloved Osbourne House by Clarissa Parish. Also featured is a portrait of Queen Victoria, Albert and two of their dogs by Marcus Hodge, painted in an impressionist style. Black and white photographs of Queen Victoria, Albert, their children and grandchildren round out this regal, yet welcoming room. Of particular note are the circa 1840's etchings by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of their dogs, Islay, Eos and Cairnach.

  • Royal Arcade - Perhaps nowhere is the marriage of contemporary and classic more evident than in the Royal Arcade. Its focal point is a classically designed clock by Dent & Co., the clockmaker to HRH Queen Victoria, whose most famous work is London's Clock Tower at the Palace of Westminster ("Big Ben"). The clock housing is black with gold-leaf lettering and the backlit dials are opal acrylic with black Roman numerals. Glass ceiling domes illuminate the room and both modern and old world views of London lead into this lovely arcade.

  • Britannia Restaurant - The ship's largest dining venue, Britannia was inspired by the dining car of the famed Golden Arrow that linked London to Paris. Its Art Deco design influences are captured in bespoke artwork, wall sconces and a combination of authentic finishes that include polished wood and bronze mirror. The room's focal point - a visually arresting world globe by U.K. artist David Norris - stands ten feet tall facing the restaurant's entrance.

  • Library - In the ship's two-story Library, a dramatic leaded glass ceiling by John Hardman & Company featuring elegant geometrical and classical patterns provides a dramatic counterpoint to the room's golden, green, and cream tones and rich mahogany cabinetry.

  • Royal Court Theatre - This dramatic venue pays a visual tribute to London's West End theatre district through a collection of Kevin Sazackerely murals throughout the theatre's interiors and exterior.

  • Chart Room - A favorite retreat aboard Cunarders for over a century, the Chart Room resonates with maritime history and innovation. The room features large murals of Servia and Britannia by maritime artist Robert Lloyd and portraits of Olympic and Caronia by maritime artist Stephen Card, as well as sand-blasted maps with sea views and vitrines displaying ship models and other maritime artifacts and memorabilia. These include items such as Cunard shipbuilding receipts, a 1930's Cunard sailor cap, and two sailor-made models of Queen Mary and Caronia, "The Green Goddess."

  • Commodore Club - Likewise, the Commodore Club features Cunarder porthole images by Robert Lloyd and modern ship models of Queen Elizabeth 2 and Cunard Countess encased in custom display cabinets.

  • Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar - This Art Deco-influenced space is highlighted by a mural by famed painter Barry Rowe, who is best known for his Art Deco portraits of automobiles. Here, he depicts his interpretation of the Christening of Queen Mary. The bar's exterior features a mural of the stunning Crystal Palace, which Prince Albert commissioned for the Great Exposition of the Works of Industry of all Nations in 1851.

  • Café Carinthia - Central to this room is maritime painter Stephen Card's commissioned portrait of Carinthia. A series of London maps from a first edition copy of Charles Dickens' London Atlas is also featured.

  • Empire Casino - The casino ceiling features a trio of backlit leaded glass panels by John Hardman & Company.

About Queen Victoria
The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will offer the very best of the heritage and traditions of Cunard Line, along with all modern day luxuries including some exciting innovations. These will include the first traditional West End-style private boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre, the first Cunardia museum exhibit at sea, housing Cunard artifacts and memorabilia along with the first two-storey library at sea featuring an elegant spiral staircase. The ship will also feature the line's celebrated Queens Grill and Princess Grill accommodations and dining, further enhanced on Queen Victoria with an exclusive deck terrace and an al fresco dining option.

From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at the sophistication that differentiates a Cunard liner. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale, featuring rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory complete with a retractable glass roof.

As well as being the second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Victoria's arrival is particularly noteworthy as it will mark the first time that three Cunard Queens have been in service together in the company's 168-year history (she joins the world's grandest liner, Queen Mary 2 and the world's most famous and best-loved liner, QE2). For more information about Cunard Line and Queen Victoria, contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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Seabourn Launches Odyssey Micro-Website

MIAMI, Oct 24--The Yachts of Seabourn has launched a micro-website dedicated to its new, 32,000-ton, ultra luxury vessel Seabourn Odyssey, currently being built in Italy. The site can be accessed either at or through the company's award-winning website at Once there, visitors are invited to view artists' renderings of the designs for various public rooms, including the ship's open-seating Restaurant, the expansive Pool Patio area, The Club and opulent Veranda and Penthouse suite accommodations, as well as exterior views of the ship from the front and from astern, showing the signature Seabourn water sports Marina. They can also access documentary photos taken at the shipyard in Porto Nogaro, Italy, where the construction of the hull is underway.

The complete inaugural year itineraries are available for review, including fares for each voyage in all 13 categories of ocean-view suites, from a 295-square foot Category A Seabourn Suite to the four, unashamedly extravagant Grand Suites incorporating up to 1,182 square feet of indoor space and as many as three private verandas adding another 301 square feet of private space. In addition, Seabourn Odyssey's inaugural world cruise, set to embark in January of 2010, is outlined in a special section, which displays the complete 108-day itinerary and invites interested travelers to put their names on a waiting list for reservations, which will open on February 1, 2008.

Seabourn's grand, new yacht will offer more dining options, more types of suites, more verandas, more entertainment venues and enhanced spa and recreational facilities than the company's three, existing 208-guest ships, Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. Although considerably larger than her smaller 10,000-ton sister ships, the new vessel will carry just over twice as many guests (450), boasting among the highest space-per-guest ratios (71.1) in the cruise industry and nearly one staff member per guest.

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Star Clippers Shore Excursions Offer the Best of Tahiti by Land & Sea

MIAMI, Oct. 24 -- Tahiti and the French Polynesian islands that Star Flyer will call home beginning in December 2007 are world-renowned for their breathtaking beauty and magical ambiance. To enhance the year-round sailing program, Star Clippers has put together an extensive selection of shore excursions that best showcase the region and enable guests to immerse themselves in Polynesian history, culture and charm. Guests can walk in the footsteps of Captain James Cook who, in 1769, named the islands after the Royal Society, England's preeminent scientific academy, or absorb the colorful landscape that Paul Gauguin captured on canvas. Whether seeking an adventure or a more relaxed experience, a memorable journey awaits.

"In French Polynesia, it's all about showcasing the beauty of the islands -- both on land and in the water," said Jack Chatham, vice president of sales and marketing for Star Clippers. "Our guests come from all over the world with a variety of interests, and we've worked attentively to compile a well-rounded selection of tours that highlight the best of each port of call."

Following is a brief description of the types of tours offered in each of Star Flyer's eight ports of call:

  • Papeete, Tahiti: Star Flyer arrives in Papeete, Tahiti, the evening before disembarkation, giving guests ample time to explore the tranquil paradise. In addition to exploring the greenery, guests will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Paul Gauguin on a tour throughout the island. The shore excursion includes a stop at the Paul Gauguin Museum, which houses original works, documents, letters and personal belongings of the artist who lived in Polynesia from 1891 to 1893 and again from 1895 until his death in May 1903.

  • Moorea, Society Islands: With calls at both Cook Bay and Opunohu Bay, guests will have a variety of options for uncovering this tropical haven. A helicopter flightseeing tour, off-road safari or botanical walk keep passengers high and dry, and the lagoon cruise with picnic lunch gives guests the thrill of discovering the island from the lagoon just as the first Western explorers did in the 18th century. For those who don't dive or snorkel, a semi-submersible watercraft features a 180-degree viewing chamber that permits one to gaze at Polynesia's underwater kingdom without getting wet. 

  • Bora Bora, Society Islands: Guests will have the chance to see the island by sea or air on a variety of shore excursions, from a flightseeing tour by helicopter and parasailing to the adventurous shark and ray feeding experience and the lagoonarium, where passengers will have the opportunity to swim in three separate enclosed pools and enjoy close encounters with a variety of marine animals including sharks, rays, turtles and parrot fish. 

  • Raiatea, Society Islands: The island is filled with pearl farms and vanilla and pineapple plantations, and because of it's surrounding lagoon and ocean, Raiatea offers ideal sailing, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. The shore excursions that best highlight the island's natural beauty include kayaking on the Faaroa River, French Polynesia's only navigable river, as well as a jungle hike to the three Hamoa waterfalls. The four-wheel Jeep safari takes guests to the heart of the island through tropical vegetation such as bamboo forests, and groves of chestnut, mango and guava trees.

  • Taha'a, Society Islands: Taha'a's lagoon connects to the ocean through two wide reef passages where blue dolphins play. With inside cruising, guests are privy to this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Often called the "Vanilla Island," Taha'a produces about 80 percent of all French Polynesian vanilla, and the rich aroma lingers in the island's air. Passengers can take a tour of Taha'a and learn more about island life, as well as visit a vanilla plantation.

  • Huahine, Society Islands: Guests will have an opportunity to explore the historic villages and beauty of Huahine in a variety of ways, including an expedition in open-air Jeeps, biking adventure and sailing tour. A picnic in a covered outrigger canoe to the islet Motu Tefarearii for snorkeling and swimming highlights the excursion selections.

  • Tiputa, Rangiroa, Tuamotu Atolls: Star Flyer calls at Tiputa on the island of Rangiroa, the largest atoll in the Southern Hemisphere and the second largest in the world. Rangiroa's lagoon is world renowned for scuba diving in the clear warm water, and the ship will spend a day and a half alternating between visiting the port and scenic cruising in the lagoon. In addition to taking to the water, guests will be able to visit a black pearl farm and learn how the prized gem is produced. 

  • Fakarava, Tuamotu Atolls: In Fakarava's fantastic purple water, visibility of 150 feet is the norm, and the immense lagoon has several black pearl farms and idyllic white sand beaches. Divers can explore rarely visited areas teeming with lagoon and ocean fish such as loach, grouper, barracudas, rays and the impressive hammerhead and tiger sharks.

Star Flyer sails a seven-night, round-trip Papeete itinerary with almost all overnight calls. Along the way, the ship visits Huahine, Raiatea, Taha'a (overnight), Bora Bora (overnight), and Cook Bay and Opunohu Bay (overnight), Moorea, with an overnight in Papeete before disembarkation. The 10-night round-trip Papeete cruise takes Star Flyer to the Society Islands and Tuamotu Atolls, with special cruising in the Rangiroa Lagoon. The ship calls at Fakarava, Rangiroa (overnight with lagoon anchorage), Bora Bora (overnight), Raiatea, Taha'a (overnight), Huahine and Moorea. The 11-night voyage adds an overnight call at Huahine.

Star Clippers combines the luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship. Guests rediscover what sailing was like during the golden age of tall ships while visiting intimate ports of call untouched by larger cruise ships. The four- and five-masted clipper ships feature a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. Passengers dress in resort-casual attire and dine in one unhurried, open seating. Whether unwinding in the bowsprit net while gazing at the sea below or climbing the mast for a panoramic view of the horizon, a unique sailing adventure awaits. To request a brochure, call toll-free (800) 442-0556 or e-mail brochures. To make a reservation, contact a travel professional. For information, call Star Clippers at (800) 442-0551 or visit

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Destination Wellbeing: Special MSC Cruises Dedicated to Health, Relaxation & Intesive Fitness Programs

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Oct 23 – Are you dreaming of a vacation where you will be pampered and looked after, a luxurious rest to find harmony for body and soul? Join a Wellbeing Cruise on board MSC Opera, MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica or MSC Orchestra in 2008 to experience an unforgettable journey totally dedicated to your senses. 

Experts will be on hand on each of these cruises to offer advice for your wellbeing. Special menus and healthy non-alcoholic cocktails will be featured as well as specific fitness programs. Relaxation packages will include a selection of Balinese and Thai massages, reflexology and pressotherapy. After the treatments, dive into the pool, eliminate toxins with a sauna or Turkish bath, run along the jogging tack or relax in the millions of bubbles of the hydro massage tubs. Take time to clear your mind as you indulge in a makeover or a new hairstyle at the hairdressers. 

Give yourself a special gift – a sailing on one of MSC Cruises’ Wellbeing or Fitness Cruises. 

  • MSC Opera will depart Feb. 9 from Santos for a 7-night sailing in Brazil, calling at Buzios, Salvador, Ilheus and Ilha Grande.

  • MSC Armonia will depart March 2 from Rio De Janeiro on a 9-night cruise to Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Ports of call include Santos, Punta del Este, Buenos Aires, Ilhabela, and then Santos once again before returning to Rio de Janeiro.

  • MSC Lirica will depart Copenhagen on May 17 a 7-night cruise to Germany, Norway and Denmark. Ports of call include Kiel, Oslo, Stavanger, Flam, Hellesylt and Geiranger, returning to Copenhagen.

  • MSC Opera will also depart from Copenhagen on Aug. 24 on a 12-night cruise to England, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Malta, and Montenegro. Ports of call include Harwich, La Coruna, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malaga, Valletta and Kotor before arriving in Venice.

  • MSC Orchestra will depart Sept. 21 from Genoa on a classic 7-night cruise to Tunisia, the Balearics, Spain and France, calling at Naples, Palermo, Tunis, Palma, Barcelona and Marseille before returning to Genoa.

If sport is your passion, join MSC Sinfonia or MSC Opera and give yourself a week of intense fitness training to get back in perfect shape. 

  • MSC Sinfonia will depart Dec. 9, 2007 from Buenos Aires for an 8-night fitness cruise, traveling to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Ports of call include Punta del Este, Ilhabela, Buzios and Rio de Janeiro before returning to Buenos Aires.

  • MSC Opera will depart Feb. 24 from Santos also on a fitness cruise, this time for a 6-night Brazilian itinerary. Ports of call include Ilheus, Salvador and Buzios before returning to Santos.

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

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Silversea Offers the High-End Road to China

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Oct 23--With the 2008 Olympic Games less than a year away, China is abuzz with excitement and activity as the country prepares to welcome the world. The host city of Beijing is already dressing itself up with brand new stadiums, hotels, restaurants, galleries and upscale shops that will accommodate the needs of an unprecedented influx of visitors -- meaning the months leading up to the Summer Olympics offer a unique opportunity for savvy travelers to explore China's greatest cultural and historic attractions amid the growing fanfare, but without the crowds. 

Recognizing the destination's special allure, ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is offering guests aboard Silver Shadow's World Cruise 2008 a collection of optional overland adventures carefully tailored to showcase China's rich history and fascinating culture, while offering a glimpse of new attractions like Beijing's stunning new National Stadium and the iridescent National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, both specially constructed for the Summer Olympics. 

"Our new overland programs to Beijing blend together the ancient traditions and splendors of this legendary city with all the excitement and anticipation of a country revitalizing itself as it prepares to host one of the most important global competitions in sporting history. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the past, present and future all converging on one great city," said Joseph Proto, Silversea's director of world cruise and business development. 

The programs are available on Silver Shadow's 21-day "Ode to a Peaceful Sea" segment (#3804), departing February 8, 2008 from Honolulu to Hong Kong, and "Harmonies of Legend and Legacy," a 14-day journey (#3805) from Hong Kong to Singapore that departs on March 1, 2008. Highlights include: 


  • Wonders of Beijing and the Great Wall: This four-day, three-night program departs February 28 from Keelung, Taiwan, to explore the many traditional must-see landmarks found in Beijing's exciting metropolis including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall and the Summer Palace. Participants also get a sneak preview of the 2008 Olympics with a photo stop near fascinating new structures like the National Stadium and National Aquatics Center. Package includes three nights at the award-winning China World Hotel, a Shangri-La property located in the heart of Beijing. Guests rejoin Silver Shadow in Hong Kong.


  • Splendors of Beijing and Shanghai: Enjoy a comprehensive exploration of Beijing's Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and Temple of Heaven. See the famed Great Wall of China and Summer Palace. Glimpse intriguing new Olympics-inspired architecture like the new National Stadium and National Aquatics Center. In Shanghai, visit the Jin Mao Building, walk along the Bund, experience the peaceful Yu Garden and tour the Shanghai Museum. This five-day program includes three nights at Beijing's China World Hotel and one night at the Portman Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai. Guests depart from Hong Kong on March 2 and rejoin Silver Shadow in Ho Chi Minh City.)

  • The Xi'an Warriors and Beijing Treasures: Spend a day exploring the Terracotta Army Museum in Xi'an. Discovered in 1974, the 2000-year-old army of terracotta warriors is an amazing sight, not to be missed. Enjoy a dynamic dinner show with performances of traditional music and dance. In Beijing, discover its most famous attractions: the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, The Great Wall and the Summer Palace. Preview the Summer Olympics with a photo stop near the main Olympic Green, home of the new National Stadium and National Aquatics center. This five-day package includes two nights at the Shangri-La Golden Flower Hotel in Xi'an and two nights at Beijing's China World Hotel. Guests depart from Hong Kong on March 2 and rejoin Silver Shadow in Ho Chi Minh City.

Silversea land programs feature deluxe accommodations, all transportation, transfers, guided sightseeing and some meals. (Specified hotels may be substituted with similar properties, based on availability.) Additional overland packages are available for World Cruise 2008 guests, including multiple-day adventures through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Egypt and Jordan. Departing January 16, 2008 from Fort Lauderdale, Silver Shadow's World Cruise 2008, appropriately themed "The Rhythms of the World," will host no more than 382 privileged and pampered guests on a wondrous odyssey, encircling the world and embracing the cultures of more than 25 countries and over 50 different destinations. For more information on Silversea Cruises, please contact a travel agent. For a complimentary brochure, please call toll-free (877) 215-9986 or visit

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Azamara Cruises Introduces Azamara Quest 

MIAMI, Oct. 22 -- Azamara Cruises is on a quest to conquer the deluxe cruise market. The new cruise brand today officially adds the 694-guest Azamara Quest to its fleet, as the ship sets sail on the first of its two special two-night cruises from Miami, followed by a series of exotic Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries. Azamara Cruises, unveiled in May 2007, was designed to fill a niche: a cruise product presenting a more intimate, exclusive onboard experience, while allowing access to the less-traveled ports of call experienced travelers want to visit.

"We created Azamara Cruises to target an area of the market that we believe is underserved, and an area this product is ideally suited to fill," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Azamara Cruises' parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "This new line falls into the deluxe category -- a category between premium and luxury."

According to Azamara Cruises President and CEO Dan Hanrahan, "Azamara Cruises is expressly designed for experienced travelers who appreciate what a cruise vacation has to offer, but are looking for something a little different, and a little more special. What's special about Azamara Cruises is its pampering and personalized service, extraordinary cuisine, and off-the- beaten-path destinations, with truly immersive excursions."

While steeping guests in the history and culture of remote destinations larger ships can't reach, Azamara Cruises offers guests a more exclusive experience. Like its sister ship, Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest offers butler service in every stateroom and suite; concierge-style amenities, including fresh-cut flowers, fresh fruit and Elemis toiletries; complimentary use of Frette cotton robes, two complimentary pairs of slippers; plasma TVs, and plush European bedding.

Exquisite Dining
Like its sister ship, Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest features the Mediterranean-influenced "Aqualina" and the stylish steak and seafood restaurant, "Prime C." Guests staying in suites receive two nights of complimentary dining in one of the two specialty restaurants, while guests in staterooms receive one. Resort casual apparel is welcome in every venue day and night, and the main dining room features open seating. Guests also can raise a glass to Azamara Quest's spectacular wine cellar, and participate in wine and champagne tastings, seminars, and mini-pairings of food and wine, or enjoy fine vintages by the glass or bottle either with meals or curled up with a good book.

For more casual dining, Azamara Quest presents the new "Mosaic Cafe," open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, presenting a varied selection of pastries and savory dishes by day, and assorted hot and cold tapas for night owls.

Azamara's AstralSpa
Azamara Quest presents an enhanced emphasis on rest and relaxation with "AstralSpa," an inviting and meditative space that promises indulgence and pampering at every turn, and treatments comparable to those offered in some of the best-known spas on land. Guests in suites can enjoy certain spa services in the privacy of their room. Azamara Quest also offers an outdoor spa relaxation lounge and an aesthetics suite offering acupuncture, microdermabrasion and facials.

Exciting Ports of Call
Azamara Quest, like sister ship, Azamara Journey, invites guests to experience less-traveled ports of call. An onboard "excursion expert" not only will help guests select shore excursions based on their personal interests, but also serve as a destination guide offering detailed information about the culture and history of each port of call.

Azamara Quest arrived in Miami on October 19 following a nearly $20- million makeover, including the conversion of 48 staterooms into 32 suites; opening up the "Looking Glass Lounge" at the pinnacle of the forward end of the ship to offer 180-degree views, a new stone dance floor and new bandstand; a complete refurbishment of the dining areas to create two new specialty restaurants; an expansion of the spa area to include an aesthetics suite; a new Sunset Bar on the aft deck; a new art collection; the new Mosaic Cafe and Club Luxe; entirely new carpets and flooring throughout; new exterior decking; new paint schemes; new walls, and entirely new "soft goods," ranging from plush European bedding to cushions, drapes and table linens.

About Azamara Cruises
The name "Azamara" is a coined term, rooted in Romance language references to blue ("aza"), the sea ("mar"), and a lesser-known word, "acamar," which, in Classical times, was the southernmost bright star that could be seen from the latitude of Greece. Hanrahan said the company views the new brand as "a bright star on the deep blue sea."

Azamara Cruises unlocks the hidden corners of the world for those who desire to immerse themselves in the rich details of every voyage. The deluxe ships -- Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest -- offer an intimate experience, while allowing access to exotic destinations experienced travelers long to reach. For the 694 guests on each Azamara Cruises ship, every moment at sea embodies the pinnacle of luxury, and each footstep on shore accentuates the difference between visiting a place and getting a true sense of place. This year and in 2008, Azamara Cruises presents the best of South America and the Panama Canal, elite Asia, the most captivating Caribbean and enchanting Europe, with around-the-world voyages to come in 2010. For more information, travel agents are encouraged to call 1-877-222-2526. Guests are invited to call 1-877-999-9553. Or, visit

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Holland America Line's Upcoming Culinary Cruises Celebrate Chefs & Recipes From Around the Country

SEATTLE, Oct. 22  -- From wine-country cuisine to the re-invented wholesome fare of early American taverns to Southern-influenced prime seafood, Holland America Line will open its on-board kitchens to over 70 guest chefs from around the country throughout its 2008 cruise season. Guests can sample the culinary creations of such noted and soon to be noticed chefs as Cornelius Gallagher, former chef at Oceana (NY) and currently with Sonnier and Castle private events; Pichet Ong, chef at P*ong Restaurant; Bobby Stucky, master sommelier at Frasca Food and Wine; Eric Lee, executive chef at Simi Winery; Tenney Flynn, executive chef at GW Fins; Joel Antunes, chef of Joel Restaurant; Max McCalman, Artisinal Cheese; Susan Goss, owner and chef of the West Town Tavern in Chicago and dozens more. Augmenting the chefs will be a score of cookbook authors as well as wine and spirits experts including Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of the "Ultimate" cookbook series, and master mixologists Christy Pope and Chad Solomon.

"In our third year of hosting guest chefs on board, we are reaching out to chefs and culinary experts all around the country," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales, and guest programs. "What better way to entertain our guests then with notable chefs and experts that reflect the variety of cultures and cuisine found here?"

Holland America Line launched its innovative culinary program in 2005 with the installation of state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Centers aboard each of its 13 premium cruise ships offering culinary demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes aboard every sailing. The line then took the concept further by partnering with Food & Wine magazine to provide guests on select Holland America Line cruises an opportunity to experience demonstrations and seminars conducted by culinary experts covered in the magazine such as 1999 "Best New Chef" winner James Mazzio, executive chef at Via in Denver, Colorado. Another rising star is Christopher Lee, executive chef of New York's Gilt, selected as one of the ten "Best New Chefs" by Food & Wine Magazine for 2006 who is scheduled to sail aboard the ms Rotterdam in March.

In addition to partnering with Food & Wine to secure top experts, Holland America Line showcases its own culinary stars during each of more than 500 annual cruises with demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes given by the ships' executive chefs and culinary staff. Plus, with the release of the premium line's new cookbook, A Taste of Excellence, guests can learn preparation techniques for some of Holland America's most delectable dishes and lavish libations as part of the Culinary Arts Center experience.

A state-of-the-art "show kitchen at sea," the Culinary Arts Centers resemble the elaborate show kitchens used by celebrity chefs on television cooking programs. Each facility features a theater-style venue, with two large video screens to display overhead and close-up video views of food preparation, and a large cooking display counter where guests can learn from the masters. Culinary demonstrations also are filmed and aired on in-stateroom televisions. Holland America Line invested more than $13 million to create and install the Culinary Arts Center facilities on each of its ships as part of a $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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SeaDream Yacht Club Introduces Their New & Improved Website

Oct 22 -- SeaDream Yacht Club has introduced an elegant and highly functional new website, branding it by the distinctive title “It’s Yachting, Not Cruising”--the SeaDream mantra that reinforces its commitment to the yachting concept it has pioneered.

Commenting on the Internet project, Larry Pimentel, SeaDream President and CEO, said “The technology of websites as a marketing tool has come a long way since we began operations in the fall of 2001. The ability to tell the complete story of SeaDream electronically in an appealing manner is a reality. I invite everyone to browse our new site for information and for entertainment. After a thorough study of contemporary website design, we decided to overhaul and revise ours and to bring it up-to-the-minute, so it reflects the style and elegance of our total product. The site is eye-catching, imparts a lot of information in a well-organized manner and is easy to use. The name of the game when dealing with the technology of the internet is to keep it simple. Those who check our website will find we have done just that. We invite everyone--consumers and travel professionals alike--to visit us at our new website. We believe it will immerse them in the SeaDream Experience and provide valuable information as well.”

Highlights of SeaDream’s colorful new website are:

  • Video Clips: These depict SeaDream I and II at sea and in various ports-of-call and show activities such as water sports and the much-heralded Champagne and Caviar Splash.

  • 360 Degree Virtual Tour of SeaDream’s Mega-Yachts: Including accommodations, public rooms and on-deck features.

  • Awards and Accolades: A rundown of the prominent awards and accolades SeaDream has received from authoritative travel guidebooks and other publications.

  • Schedules, Itineraries and Shore Excursions: Viewers are able to access up-to-date information on the SeaDream Experience as it sails in European and Caribbean waters. Viewers are able to plan their SeaDream voyages through 2008 at present.

  • Pricing: The website is the infallible source for current pricing which is subject to change on a daily basis as voyages are booked. Complete details on SeaDream’s “Book Now and Save” program are found in this section of the website. Since pricing fluctuates, SeaDream’s printed brochure does not contain pricing information.

  • Color Photos Gallery of the SeaDream Lifestyle: There is complete range of excellent photographs of life aboard the SeaDream I and II including stateroom accommodations shown from all angles.

  • Deck and Stateroom Plans: Color-coded, the large illustrations virtually place website viewers aboard the SeaDream yachts.

  • Virtual SeaDream Brochure: Page by Page viewers can peruse the SeaDream brochure. There is also a mechanism for ordering a hard copy.

  • E-Cards: Viewers will find a varied selection of colorful postcards that may be customized. Travel professionals may send them to clients or SeaDream guests may send them to friends.

Other functions found on the new SeaDream website are a Boutique Shopper for luxurious, logo wear and various gift items; a complete SeaDream Frequently Asked Questions (a fact Sheet of quick, easy-to-find information); News Releases from the company as well as comments by press, public and travel industry executives; the necessary Terms and Conditions of Passage; and a special Journalists’ Section that includes high resolution photographs that may be downloaded.

A highly important section of the website is a section called Charters. SeaDream, in addition to operating regularly scheduled voyages for individual bookings, charters more than 70 percent of its total inventory to corporations, smaller companies, and even private families for special holidays. This section provides viewers with a step-by-step account of Full Yacht Chartering and Group Booking. The section features what is and is not included in charters, payment policy, and even sample menus. The website may be accessed at

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Scream With Excitement over NCL’s Halloween Festivities

MIAMI, OCT 19 – Calling all witches, goblins and ghosts; Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) invites guests to enjoy Halloween on the high seas. Guests can book last-minute on NCL ships and take advantage of great deals that are no trick, just a treat for those looking for a high-style Halloween getaway. 

All NCL and NCL America ships sailing over October 31 have created special Halloween festivities including haunted house theme parties, trick-or-treating, dance and costume contests and festive entertainment. For example, Norwegian Star will bring back the disco era with an 80s-themed Halloween Prom, a haunted house and a special performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller by the ship’s dancers. Norwegian Sun will offer cruisers Halloween activities such as trick or treat bingo, a children’s haunted house and midnight horror movie screenings. Pride of America will celebrate in style with a celebrity look-a-like contest, a spooky maze and a “Monster Mash” with band, along with a Halloween carnival for children.

All ships will also feature frightening Halloween-themed cocktails such as the Vampire, made with vodka, black raspberry liqueur and cranberry juice, along with Dracula’s Kiss, made with black cherry vodka, grenadine and coca-cola. Special buffet treats will also be featured including: pecan caramel spiders, pumpkin bars, ghoulish cup cakes, peanut butter pie and more.

NCL’s signature Freestyle Cruising offers guests the flexibility of having no fixed schedules or dining times, no formal dress codes and a variety of activity options. Halloween guests can jump on their broom stick any time to enjoy dining at different on-board restaurants each night of their ghoulish journey, savor Halloween cocktails on their own schedule, explore exotic destinations or simply do nothing at all! For more information or to book an NCL getaway, call a travel agent or NCL at (800) 327-7030.

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Holland America Line's Rotterdam Returns to World Cruising in 2009

SEATTLE, Oct. 19 -- Holland America Line began its tradition of world cruising in 1958, and more than half a century later the line continues to offer the annual once-in-a-lifetime journeys. Celebrating the line's annual tour around the globe, ms Rotterdam returns to world cruising in 2009 with a 114/117-day Grand World Voyage departing Jan. 19, 2009, from Los Angeles. The voyage is highlighted in new 2009 Grand World Voyage brochure produced by the premium cruise line. Hot off the press, the catalogue is filled with stunning images, itinerary details and in-depth information about ports of call. 

The 1,316-passenger Rotterdam, which was built expressly for world cruising, sails a westbound route through the Pacific Ocean to the Hawaiian Islands, on to the South Pacific, Australia, Asia and Africa before making calls in the Caribbean en route back to Fort Lauderdale and New York. Calling at 39 ports in 27 countries across five continents, Rotterdam will cover more than 35,100 nautical miles while sailing on 15 different oceans, seas, bays, channels and straits. Guests can choose to return to Fort Lauderdale May 13 or disembark at New York three days later on May 16, making the total voyage 117 days. Hundreds of optional shore excursions and an array of overland tours add color to this epic voyage, and several cruise segments ranging from 22 to 69 days are available for those wanting a shorter journey.

In addition to favorite cities, Rotterdam visits lesser-known ports offering guests unparalleled access to some of the most exotic destinations in the world. The itinerary features maiden calls at Kemaman, Malaysia -- known as Malaysia's silk capital -- and Maputo, Mozambique, the most exotic port of call during the voyage and once the "Cannes of Africa." Iles des Pins, New Caledonia, not previously visited on a Grand world voyage, adds to the port repertoire. The itinerary also gives guests extra time to explore several ports of call with overnights in Sydney, Australia; Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; Mumbai, India; Mombasa, Kenya, and Cape Town, South Africa. A highlight of the cruise will include a Midnight Golden Line Crossing when Rotterdam crosses both the Equator and International Date Line simultaneously.

2009 Grand World Voyage reservations can now be booked
Reservations are now available for Holland America Line's 2009 Grand World Voyage. Early-booking bonus amenities for full-cruise guests include airfare, prepaid hotel service charges, shipboard credit, luggage delivery service and limousine transfers when booking select stateroom categories; amenities vary by category and booking date. The Grand World Voyage is available to book for the full cruise or in segments as short as 22 days.

The Holland America Line premium cruise experience
At the heart of every Holland America Line cruise is a warm and award-winning style of service that is never in the way and never out of reach. Sophisticated and savory menus enhance every culinary experience, with options to suit every taste. Whether it's a five-course meal in the Main Dining Room, an intimate table at the elegant Pinnacle Grill or fare while relaxing poolside, the crew of Holland America Line know how to orchestrate a truly memorable dining affair.

Culinary staff and guest chefs will lead cooking classes and demonstrations in the onboard Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, and, as part of the Explorations Speaker Series, special guest lecturers will sail on segments of the Grand World Voyage to offer unique and enriching perspectives on regional art, history and culture. The Explorations Cafe, powered by the New York Times, enables guests to stay connected to loved ones. To rest up for the next day, guests are assured a good night's sleep with the Mariner's Dream stateroom amenities, including luxurious beds and linens.

When in port, guests can choose from a multitude of diverse shore excursions including the exclusive Medallion Collection featuring Overland Adventures; Signature Collection private-car touring; visits to natural, architectural and technical masterpieces from the Wonders of the World Collection; and rare and unusual experiences with the Encore Collection excursions.

For a 2009 Grand Voyages cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-800-522-3399 or visit

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Seabourn Announces Odyssey Inaugural Itineraries

MIAMI, Oct 18 - The Yachts of Seabourn is pleased to announce that the world's most luxurious cruise vessel, Seabourn Odyssey, will launch her inaugural year itinerary in Venice on June 24, 2009, and today, guests previously on a waiting list may select their choices of departures and luxury suites. As of Nov 5, 2007, bookings will be available to the general public. Starting in the grand cities and romantic isles of the Mediterranean and ending in the jewel-like bays of the Caribbean, Seabourn Odyssey's debut season will provide the sumptuous opulence and unparalleled service from scented Pure Pampering® baths drawn by the stewardess to a lavish Caviar in the Surf® beach party.

In addition to the inaugural year sailings, Seabourn Odyssey will embark on The Yachts of Seabourn's first-ever World Cruise in January 2010. Visiting exotic ports-of-call from Bora Bora to Bali, Sydney to Saigon and Hong Kong to Istanbul, and touching five continents, the 108-day voyage will offer guests opportunities to experience bespoke excursions at each destination, while traveling in the pampered, casually elegant style that is Seabourn's signature.

"The ultra luxury segment of the cruising business has been operating at nearly full capacity, and Seabourn Odyssey will be the first ultra luxury cruise vessel launched in six years," noted Pamela Conover, Seabourn president and Chief Executive Officer. "There is pent-up demand for a new, intimate ship to continue Seabourn's legacy of exceptional service, unexpected delights and exotic destinations, which are synonymous with the brand."

Like Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend, Seabourn Odyssey's intimate scale allows travelers the opportunity to explore secluded harbors and hidden coves such as the Thai island of Ko Kood and the charming village of Deshaise on Guadeloupe. Although Seabourn Odyssey is larger than her sisters, she will carry a maximum of only 450 guests - boasting one of the highest space ratios in the industry and maintaining a highly personalized standard of service with nearly one staff member per guest. Ninety percent of the 225 luxurious suites boast private verandas, and all command ocean views. They feature full granite and marble baths with separate tub and shower and Molton Brown well-being products, a complimentary in-suite bar stocked to the guests' requests, flat screen televisions and a writing desk with personalized stationery--thoughtful details that make guests feel at home. 

One exceptional feature of Seabourn Odyssey will be Seabourn Square, an innovative "concierge lounge" that invites guests to access every service they might require in a relaxed, club-like ambience designed to encourage sociability. The area includes a library, upscale shops, an outdoor terrace and a coffee bar and is staffed by concierges prepared to respond to any request, from in-port shopping tips to creating an ultimate shore excursion. Occupying the aft section of two decks, the Spa at Seabourn will be the largest on any luxury ship and offer full services in a dramatic, expansive setting. A two-deck-high waterfall and appealing indoor/outdoor treatment rooms combine with a thalassotherapy pool and complete salon facilities to pamper guests. 

Because guests of Seabourn consistently expect the best, Seabourn's Signature Delights provide voyagers with a variety of gracious enhancements to services. From Massage Moments that melt away tension and Movies Under the Stars on board, to Shopping with the Chef in exotic locales and Caviar in the Surf® ashore, these unexpected and exceptional extras add value and pleasure to the Seabourn experience. Seabourn's Signature Service Desk allows guests to create tailor-made excursions, and most cruises include an Exclusively Seabourn complimentary shore experience in a breathtaking setting. 

As the first addition to the ultra luxury segment of the cruise industry in six years, the $250 million Seabourn Odyssey provides an enhanced environment for enjoying the personalized service guests expect from the Seabourn brand. A wide variety of culinary experiences will be available in four dining venues, including many with celebrity chef Charlie Palmer's award-winning touches. The itineraries and complete details and fares are contained in a 38-page full color brochure that can be ordered by calling 1-800-929-9391 or by visiting the company's award-winning web site at

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Costa Crociere Orders Two New Cruise Ships

GENOA , ITALY, Oct 18 -- Costa Crociere, the leading cruise line in Italy and Europe, has announced an order for two new 114,200-ton ships to be delivered in 2011 and 2012. Costa Crociere S.p.a, the Italian subsidiary of Carnival Corp & plc, signed an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of the two new vessels at an all-in cost of approximately €1 billion (€510 million per ship). The two new ships will be built at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard and be sister ships to the Costa Concordia, Costa Serena and Costa Pacifica, the latter of which is currently being built at Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente shipyard. The new ships will each be able to accommodate 3,780 passengers in total (including all upper berths) or 3,012 guests based on double occupancy. 

"By ordering two additional ships for our fleet of twelve, plus three ordered previously, we are not only reinforcing our position as the market leader in Italy and Europe, but also responding to the increasing demand for our product from our customers across the globe," said Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman and CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A. "We are very pleased to have Fincantieri build these two new Concordia class ships and to enjoy our continued successful relationship." 

The two new ships ordered will offer the same innovative elements featured on the other Concordia class ships including the 23,000 square-foot Samsara spa, which is one of the largest spas at sea, complete with exclusive cabins featuring direct access to the spa and a dedicated restaurant. The ships will also feature two swimming pools with retractable magrodomes, the central one equipped with a giant movie screen and authentic Grand Prix race car driving simulators, which provide the most accurate representation of Formula One driving available. In addition, the new ships will boast 17 additional veranda cabins and an overall total of 1,506 cabins, six more than the other Concordia class ships. The two ships will also feature additional innovations to the spa area as well as upgrades to onboard entertainment for both adults and children and teens, among many other new and unique features. 

Costa's total capacity will increase by 20% (based on double occupancy) with the addition of the two new vessels, confirming the Italian cruise line’s position as market leader in Europe. The two new orders bring Costa's fleet expansion program, which began in 2000, to a total value of €5.5 billion and the total number of vessels introduced between 2000 and 2012 to 13. By 2012, when the last of the new orders is completed, the Costa fleet will be 17 strong and have a total guest capacity of approximately 36,700 based on double occupancy. 

Costa Crociere, Italy and Europe's Number One Cruise Line, is based in Italy and boasts 60 years of rich history. In 2006, Costa Crociere carried a total of 880,000 guests, a figure which topped the historic 1 million mark in 2007. Its fleet is Europe's largest and most advanced with 12 ships in service and five on order. By 2012, the Costa fleet will be 17 strong with a total guest capacity of approximately 36,700. All of the vessels fly the Italian flag and are deployed in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, South America, Dubai, the Far East and the Indian Ocean. All of the Costa Group vessels fly the Italian flag. Costa Crociere S.p.A. is a member of Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise operator.

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Weather Forecast: Snowing on Princess Ships this Holiday Season

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct 17 - A white Christmas in the Caribbean ... Mexico...Hawaii ... or even Brazil? It may seem unlikely, but this holiday season passengers on most Princess ships will find themselves in a winter wonderland as snow magically falls in the ships' atriums on December cruises. This daily snow flurry is one of several new onboard holiday activities added to celebrate the spirit of the season. Also new this year, passengers can participate in a "gingerbread challenge" housebuilding competition, test their craft skills by creating a personalized photo ornament, or just relax in front of a traditional burning Yule log ... on their stateroom television! And for those who can't get enough of Christmas carols, the ships' Princess Pop Star talent show will feature a holiday edition where competitors can croon their favorite seasonal songs.

"The joyful spirit of the holiday season is always evident on our year-end cruises," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service. "And this year we wanted to add some additional festive touches, including a little winter fun with snow on board."

The innovative snow-making process will create falling flakes that vanish on contact, letting passengers enjoy the romance of a winter snowfall without the need to bundle up. Princess' daily snowfall will occur on all ships except for the line' three small vessels: Pacific Princess, Tahitian Princess, and Royal Princess, which do not have large, multi-story atriums. Even when the snow isn't coming down, Princess ships will feature a merry atmosphere. Trimmed from stem to stern in holiday décor, even including a Christmas tree on the vessels' masts, the ships reflect the season in a variety of ways. Special events also include a reading of "The Night Before Christmas" by either the captain or cruise director, and strolling carolers fill the air with the sounds of the season. Passengers will additionally enjoy a holiday card from the captain, a stocking turndown gift, and classic holiday films. 

Christmas activities include a spectacular display from the ship's culinary team to delight the senses, and a holiday variety show adds a seasonal element to the ship's entertainment offerings. Religious services are held as well, and passengers can attend midnight mass or an inter-denominational church service performed by onboard clergy. 

  • Christmas Eve - Passengers will sit down to a dinner of traditional holiday fare, and on Christmas Day passengers can enjoy a cup of eggnog, plus a sumptuous brunch including roast turkey and all the trimmings. This year's holiday feast will begin with a special Christmas cocktail, and continues with a bang, as each place setting will include a traditional English Christmas cracker. Freshly prepared stolen and Christmas cookies with milk (even some for Santa) round out the seasonal treats. 

  • Christmas For Kids - Christmas is especially festive for junior cruisers. Santa Claus makes an appearance with his sack full of toys, and a fun-filled holiday fair in the atrium offers youngsters the opportunity to try their hand at Christmas cookie decorating, balloon making, face painting, games and other competitions. The youth centers will host holiday parties for each age group, and kids can make decorations to display on the center's Christmas tree. Youngsters can get creative with other holiday-themed arts and crafts projects throughout the cruise, and they will have an opportunity to sing Christmas carols for passengers. For parents who want to stay up later to celebrate the holidays, free late-night group kid sitting sessions will be available on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

  • Hanukkah - Passengers celebrating the Festival of Lights, which runs from December 4-12, will also have the opportunity to celebrate and participate in onboard religious services conducted by a rabbi who sails during the holiday period. A special area of the ship is reserved for those participating in these events and ships display menorahs and fresh flower arrangements decorated in the Hanukkah colors of blue, silver and white. Children will enjoy themed arts and crafts pertinent to the holiday.

  • Ringing in the New Year -- Princess ships will welcome 2008 with fun-filled New Year's Eve parties where passengers can count down to the new year with music, confetti, noise-makers and a balloon drop. Earlier in the evening, passengers will enjoy a special New Year's Eve menu. And once the new year arrives, football fans will be pleased to know they won't miss the day's traditional college bowl games, as the telecasts will be shown (as available by satellite) in a shipboard lounge or on some vessels' giant Movies Under the Stars screen.

This season, Princess' 16-ship fleet offers worldwide holiday sailings including festive voyages to the Caribbean, Mexico, the Panama Canal, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, South America, Hawaii and the South Pacific. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Delight in the ‘Magic’ and ‘Wonder’ of the Holidays Aboard Disney Cruise Line

CELEBRATION, FL -- From the happy haunts of Halloween through the revelry of the new year, guests will discover an extra dose of pixie dust aboard Disney Cruise Line this holiday season. From traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts to "snowflake" sightings and seasonal caroling, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder will sparkle with the joy of the holiday season. The festivities begin on the Oct. 27 and 28 sailings, where guests can take part in some Halloween fun. Children will enjoy a trail of candy stations that culminates in a dance party on the top deck and special costume parties in each of the youth activity areas. For adults, there's a dance party and costume contest with prizes for costume categories such as best group, most original and most Disney. With Halloween decorations throughout the ship and scary, as well as not-so-scary, movies playing in various venues, children of all ages will enjoy a uniquely Disney twist on this autumn tradition.

Then, beginning in late November, the spirit of the season will surround cruise guests from the moment they arrive at Port Canaveral, Fla. Disney characters decked out in their finest holiday attire will welcome guests to the lavishly decorated private cruise terminal. Onboard, the festivities continue with special themed activities, decorations, and even a transformed winter wonderland on Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. 

On Thanksgiving Day, guests will delight in a traditional Thanksgiving feast complete with roast turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. After enjoying as much as they care to eat, guests can relax in a deck chair or partake in some of the many shipboard activities such as themed craft projects for the children. To top off the festivities, Mickey and Minnie will don their Thanksgiving costumes.

After Thanksgiving, guests will discover continued holiday cheer along with:

  • A nearly three-deck-tall tree festooned with decorations in the atrium lobby, where "snow" flurries fall and a tree-lighting ceremony occurs. 

  • A Christmas Day visit from Santa Goofy, with surprises for all the kids. 

  • International holiday caroling by crew members from around the globe (exclusively on the Christmas cruises). 

  • Special family time for designing and decorating gingerbread houses. 

  • A reading of "The Night Before Christmas" by Mrs. Claus. 

  • Traditional holiday feasts in Disney's three themed dining rooms (Christmas cruises only). 

  • Multiple faith and interdenominational holiday services (Christmas and Hanukkah cruises only). 

  • A ship-wide party to ring in 2008 and a New Year's Day tailgate party. 

The holiday fun even extends to Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. When the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder arrive at the sandy Bahamian isle just after Thanksgiving, the island will be transformed into a Magical Wonderland -- a "snowy" holiday hideaway. "Snow" flurries will fall like magic, Christmas trees will glow and carolers will croon. Mr. and Mrs. Snowman, wearing shell noses and tropical attire, will greet guests with a sleigh full of presents. The tram that transports guests across the 1,000-acre island will be reindeer themed, complete with antlers and tail. At the beach, kids can dive into holiday-themed activities that include making candy cane reindeer, paper plate angels and snowflake mobiles.

The festivities begin on the Disney Magic on a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise departing on Nov. 24, and on a special four-night Bahamian cruise leaving Nov. 21. Guests wishing to spend the Christmas holiday onboard Disney Cruise Line can enjoy a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise beginning Dec. 22, or a four-night Bahamian cruise departing Dec. 23. 

From an extra treat on Halloween to a magical holiday season Thanksgiving through the New Year, Disney Cruise Line guests will cherish the memories made on board the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit or call Disney Cruise Line at 888/DCL-2500.

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SeaDream Yacht Club Announces New “Sweet Dreams” 
Signature Bedding Collection… Zzzzzz

Ordinarily we’d give you the upside first, but in this case the downside has an upside. The downside is SeaDream Yacht Club guests may oversleep. The upside is they will sleep even more soundly on SeaDream’s new in-stateroom Sweet Dreams Signature Beds. They will be installed on both SeaDream I and II by November.

Once each year the SeaDream twin yachts receive routine maintenance to keep them in tip-top shape. On a continuing basis they also are scrutinized for those extras loving touches that add so much to their appeal--the new, top-of-the-line Sweet Dreams Signature Beds are a perfect example. And by the way, these new in-stateroom beds should not be confused with SeaDream’s Balinese SunBeds--those double beds up on deck where guests lounge in the sun or shade, and even spend the night sleeping under the stars if they wish.

The new Sweet Dreams Signature Bedding Collection may be set up as guests prefer with queen-size or single, sleep-inducing mattresses and pillow tops, and are fitted with fine Belgian linens, as well as the guest’s choice of woolen blankets or duvets and foam or down pillows. And all SeaDream guests receive complimentary blue and white, two-piece cotton pajamas, with their names monogrammed on the tops--a perfect complement to their sweet dreams on these plush Sweet Dreams Signature Beds.

Interviewed for this news announcement while reclining on one of the new beds--just before he nodded off--Larry Pimentel, SeaDream’s President & CEO, said “The addition of our new Sweet Dreams Signature Bedding collection is an example of how SeaDream’s attention to detail benefits our guests. “It is this guest-oriented thinking that led us to add such notable SeaDream features as an array of water toys or our Segway Human Transporters. If you’re not ahead of the curve, you’re behind it and that’s no way to run a railroad, or in this case, an award-winning vacation company operating twin, mega-yacht cruisers,” he said. 

But back to upside-downside: The new Sweet Dreams Signature Bedding Collection will probably prompt SeaDream guests to request more wake-up calls. But that’s okay. Whatever works. Zzzzzzzz...

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Silversea Dishes Out Expanded Schedule of Viking Cooking School Cruises

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Oct 16 -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises will sail into 2008 with an increased schedule of voyages featuring the Viking Cooking School Aboard Silversea. The fragrant spices of Arabia and the Far East, the roasted chiles of Mexico and the wine-inspired sauces of Bordeaux are just a few of the gastronomic specialties that guests may encounter in cooking demonstrations or market tours hosted by the chefs of the Viking Cooking School on 12 select voyages visiting virtually every corner of the globe next year.

"Our new Viking Cooking School theme cruises are generating such great feedback from guests that we're rolling out a more expansive schedule next year," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "This is a really fun enrichment program that lets guests discover new cooking techniques and sample regional dishes prepared on top-of-the-line Viking Range equipment, including culinary products and utensils they may have in their own kitchens at home."

Through the company's unique partnership with Viking Range Corporation, whose ultra-premium appliances grace the luxury kitchens of those who truly enjoy the finer things in life, each Silversea ship features a demonstration culinary theater custom-designed by Viking and equipped with state-of-the-art induction stove, sophisticated convection-microwave oven and Viking professional-caliber cookware, cutlery and countertop appliances, plus a large rear projection screen so guests can easily view different cooking techniques and utensils. 

A cornerstone of the alliance between the two luxury brands is the exclusive Viking Cooking School culinary teaching method and curriculum presented to Silversea guests on select voyages hosted by Viking chefs. The curriculum for each cruise is carefully designed to echo the cultural flavor of the ship's itinerary. Highlights include cooking demonstrations with wine pairings and interactive Q&A sessions; a "Lunch and Learn" event giving groups of 12-16 guests a chance to sample a delicious meal of specially prepared dishes; and a "Market to the Plate" experience (offered on certain voyages when the itinerary permits) that provides an escorted tour of a local market followed by a cooking class. 

All Viking instructors are accomplished chefs and culinary industry leaders who bring many years of expertise and knowledge to the classroom. When Viking chefs are not on board, the culinary theaters serve as venues for the international guest chefs of Relais & Chateaux to show off their extraordinary talents on select Culinary Arts cruises. On all other voyages, Silversea's own master chefs take the stage to host cooking demonstrations and dynamic competitions. Each designated Viking Cooking School voyage will feature a culinary curriculum perfectly paired to the region explored on the itinerary. Following below is the schedule for 2008: 

Africa and Arabian Peninsula 

  • Silver Cloud departs February 23, 2008 on a 14-day voyage (#1806) from Mahe to Dubai with calls in Praslin, Salalah, Muscat, Fujairah, Khasab, Bahrain, Doha and Abu Dhabi. 

  • Silver Whisper departs April 20, 2008 on a 15-day voyage (#4810) from Dubai to Athens with calls in Fujairah, Salalah, Jeddah, Safaga, Aqaba and Sharm el Sheikh.

  • Silver Wind departs December 2, 2008 on an 18-day voyage (#2833) from Las Palmas to Cape Town with calls in Dakar, Banjul, Walvis Bay, Cape Verde Islands and Bom Bom Island.

Caribbean and Mexico 

  • Silver Shadow departs May 16, 2008 on a 15-day Panama Canal crossing (#3811) from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles with calls in Cartagena, San Blas Island, Costa Rica, Acapulco, Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta.

  • Silver Shadow departs September 17, 2008 on an 11-day voyage (#3823) from Los Angeles to Costa Rica with calls in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Zihuatanejo, Acapulco and Puerto Quetzal.

  • Silver Shadow departs November 18, 2008 on a 15-day Panama Canal crossing (#3828) from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale with calls in Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Puerto Quetzal, Cartagena and Santa Marta.

Northern Europe 

  • Silver Cloud departs August 5, 2008 on a 15-day voyage (#1823) roundtrip from Copenhagen with calls in Orkney Islands, Lerwick, Faroe Islands, Reykjavik, Isafjordur, Akureyri, Alesund, Bergen and Sylt.

  • Silver Wind departs September 10, 2008 on a 12-day voyage (#2826) from London to Lisbon with calls in Honfleur, St. Malo, Nantes, Belle Ile, Bordeaux, La Coruna and Oporto.

South America 

  • Silver Wind departs February 15, 2008 on a 15-day voyage (#2804) from Rio de Janeiro to Barbados with calls in Salvador, Recife, Natal, Fortaleza, Devil's Island, Grenada and St. Lucia.

South Pacific and Far East 

  • Silver Shadow departs October 24, 2008 on a 16-day voyage (#3826) from Papeete to Los Angeles with calls in Rangiroa, Nuku Hiva, Hilo, Honolulu and Lahaina.

  • Silver Whisper departs December 4, 2008 on a 16-day cruise (#4838) from Singapore to Sydney with calls in Kura Kura, Bali, Darwin, Thursday Island, Cairns, Whitsunday Islands and Brisbane.


  • Silver Cloud departs November 3, 2008 on a 16-day transatlantic crossing (#1832) from Barcelona to Barbados with calls in Cadiz, Canary Islands, Dakar, Cape Verde Islands and Grenada.

For complete voyage details and the latest information on Viking Cooking School cruises, visit

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd Transfers Royal Caribbean Intl Ship to Pullmantur; Replaces Ship Serving Port Canaveral 

MIAMI, Oct. 12 -- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today that Royal Caribbean International's Sovereign of the Seas will be reassigned to the company's Pullmantur fleet, and the Los Angeles- based Monarch of the Seas will assume Sovereign of the Seas' sailings out of Port Canaveral. These changes will take place in October and November 2008.

"We are fortunate that our mix of brands allows us the flexibility and opportunity to expand in key strategic markets and to diversify in existing ones," said Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Adam Goldstein. "We thank our partners at the ports of Los Angeles, Ensenada, Catalina and San Diego for our outstanding and ongoing relationship. We look forward to providing our Monarch of the Seas guests with exceptional vacations as we visit those locations through next fall."

Sovereign of the Seas' last scheduled sailing for Royal Caribbean International will be on October 31, 2008. Two subsequent cruises, scheduled for November 3 and 7, will be canceled, and guests booked on those cruises will receive a full refund and an onboard credit for rebooking an earlier Sovereign of the Seas sailing during 2008 (excluding holidays). All rebookings must be made by December 31, 2007. All guests currently booked on Sovereign of the Seas on or after November 10, 2008, will be re-accommodated onboard Monarch of the Seas.

Monarch of the Seas will make its last regularly scheduled sailing out of Los Angeles on October 13, 2008. All guests currently booked on a subsequent sailing will receive a full refund and an onboard credit for rebooking a three, four or five-night Caribbean sailing, or a seven-night Mexican Riviera sailing, onboard Royal Caribbean International in 2008 (excluding holidays). All rebookings must be made by December 31, 2007.

On October 17, 2008, Monarch of the Seas will reposition to the East Coast when it departs Los Angeles on a 16-night Panama Canal cruise to Miami. The ship will then undergo a scheduled, weeklong dry-dock before welcoming its first Port Canaveral guests for three and four-night Bahamas sailings starting November 10, 2008. Royal Caribbean International has established a special help desk to assist its guests and travel agents impacted by these changes. The toll free phone number is 1-888-281-9344.

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Princess Announces New Segments Available for 2009 World Cruises

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct 11 - Passengers who want to share in the excitement of Princess' two 2009 world cruises but can't commit to the full 107-day voyages now have the opportunity to choose from four segments ranging from 22 to 35 days. And for those with a bit more time to travel, Princess is also introducing the opportunity to combine segments into "Liner Voyages" of 45 to 80 days in length. The segments and Liner Voyage options offer passengers 25 different ways to be a part of the Princess world cruise experience. The line's 107-day world cruises aboard Tahitian Princess and Royal Princess set sail on January 14 and 20, 2009 respectively. Each full world cruise travels to more than 40 destinations on six continents in total.

For passengers choosing to take the full 107-day worldwide adventure, a number of special benefits have been announced as well. Airfare to Ft. Lauderdale and home from Rome, Dover or Stockholm will now be included for world cruise passengers booking a balcony stateroom or above, all world cruise passengers will also receive complimentary hotel and dining charges, and suite passengers will have their mini-bar setups replenished weekly. Onboard cruise credits of up to $1,000 per person will be issued to full world cruise passengers who book before January 31, 2008, while those booking Liner Voyages (at least two segments) will receive an onboard credit of up to $500 per person for early bookings. 

"These new segments offer some great travel options for our passengers who have less available time, but who would still like a longer exotic adventure," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. "And we think some of the additional benefits we're offering to passengers on the full voyages will add to their enjoyment of this global adventure." 

Available segments include:

  • Ft. Lauderdale to Sydney (35 days) - Both ships set sail from Ft. Lauderdale on an adventure through the Panama Canal taking in South America, including opportunities to visit Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands, plus the islands of the South Pacific on the way to Australia. Ports of call include Grand Cayman; the Panama Canal; Quito (Manta), Ecuador; an overnight stay in Lima (Callao), Peru; Easter Island; Pitcairn Island (scenic cruising); Tahiti (Papeete); Rarotonga; Auckland and Burnie (Tasmania), before arriving in Sydney.

  • Sydney to Hong Kong (23 days) - The perfect choice for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and the mysteries and wonders of Japan and China. Passengers on this segment head off to see Brisbane; Cairns (for the Great Barrier Reef); Rabaul (Papua/New Guinea); Guam; Osaka (for Kyoto); Hiroshima, Seoul (Inchon); and Shanghai on the way to Hong Kong. 

  • Hong Kong to Dubai (22 days) - The flavors of Asia take center stage on this shortest segment, including opportunities to visit Cambodia's famed Angkor Wat and explore India. From Hong Kong the ships head to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Sihanoukville (Cambodia); Bangkok, Singapore; Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Malaysia; Port Blair, Andaman Islands (maiden Princess call); Mumbai, India and then to Dubai.

  • Dubai to Rome or Dover (27 days) - On the final segments the ships' paths diverge, heading to different European destinations. After leaving Dubai, passengers will visit Salalah in Oman, followed by the wonders of Egypt with calls in Safaga (for Luxor/Karnak) and Port Said (for Cairo/Giza). After Egypt, each itinerary heads in a different direction. Tahitian Princess heads for Athens (Piraeus); Sorrento/Capri; Rome (Civitavecchia); Cannes (for Monte Carlo); Barcelona; Gibraltar; Lisbon; Cork (Cobh - for Blarney Castle), Ireland; and Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), before arriving in Dover (for London). Meanwhile, passengers aboard Royal Princess will stay in the Mediterranean with visits to Jerusalem (Ashdod), Istanbul; Athens; Sicily (Messina); Barcelona; Cannes; and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), before their final stop in the eternal city of Rome.

These segments are available in a variety of Liner Voyage combinations. In addition, Tahitian Princess passengers can extend their voyage with a 10-day Scandinavia and Russia sailing including a call in St. Petersburg and ending in Stockholm. Or they can choose to combine their world cruise with a six-day transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York aboard the legendary Queen Mary 2. Full world cruise passengers receive a discount on the QM2 sailing. Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at

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Holland America Line Offers 121 Caribbean Cruises from 
Three to 20 Days in 2008

Seattle, Oct 10, 2007 – With sailings up to 20 days, Holland America Line’s 2008 Caribbean itineraries feature 121 varied departures that focus on longer, port-intensive options for premium cruise guests. The line continues to lead major cruise lines with sailings of 10 days or more and will introduce the new 2,104-guest ms Eurodam to Caribbean cruising. 

“Holland America Line once again offers more choice, longer itinerary options and greater port diversity in the Caribbean,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs.

Holland America Line will sail ten ships to the Caribbean in 2008 from Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and New York: ms Noordam, ms Zuiderdam, ms Westerdam, ms Maasdam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Veendam, ms Volendam, ms Statendam, and the new ms Eurodam. Sailing from Fort Lauderdale in October 2008, the Maasdam takes over the 14-day southern Caribbean cruise previously offered on the Veendam, which will focus on seven-day western Caribbean itineraries. The Noordam will pick up the Maasdam’s former 10-day Wayfarer and Seafarer cruises using Fort Lauderdale as a gateway. 

Southern Caribbean Cruises Include Unique 7-Day Itinerary 
Ranging from seven to 14 days, southern Caribbean itineraries feature a full season of seven-day itineraries aboard the Westerdam to Aruba, Curaçao and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. A New Year’s departure of Dec. 27, 2008, sails on the new Eurodam.

The Maasdam will sail a series of alternating, 10-day Seafarer and 10-day Wayfarer itineraries roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale Jan. through Apr. with the Noordam sailing the routes from Oct. through Dec., 2008. Seafarer cruises explore popular ports such as Aruba and Curaçao, while Wayfarer sailings highlight the islands of St. Lucia and Barbados. The itineraries can be combined to create a 20-day cruise experience that only repeats Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk, two popular ports for Holland America Line’s Caribbean. 

The Veendam will feature 14-day winter/spring cruises roundtrip from Tampa. This itinerary delves deep into Southern ports in Dominica, Barbados, Grenada, Venezuela, Bonaire and Aruba. In fall 2008, a 14-day Southern Caribbean itinerary will depart roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on the Maasdam and include San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Guadaloupe, St. Maarten, Tortola and Half Moon Cay. A 14-day Statendam itinerary departs Dec. 6, 2008 with highlights including St. Lucia, Trinidad, Venezuela, Antigua, Barbados, Curaçao, Aruba, Grand Turk, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. 

The Noordam will sail 11-day Southern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from New YorkJan. 5 through Mar. 8. This itinerary calls at Tortola, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, San Juan, Dominica and Barbados. 

10- & 14-day “Sunfarer” Cruises of Panama Canal and Caribbean 
Increasing capacity with the Vista-class Zuiderdam at year’s end, Holland America Line continues its popular 10-day Sunfarer voyages that combine Panama Canal cruising with Caribbean destinations. The Volendam sails ten winter/spring Sunfarer cruises roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. 

Guests cruise to Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Dutch-influenced Willemstad, Curacao and Oranjestad, Aruba; the Panama Canal to Gatun Lake; Limon Bay and Manzanillo Bay, Panama; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. 

The Rotterdam also sails a 12-day Caribbean and Sunfarer cruise on Dec. 23, adding Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Kralendijk, Bonaire. 

Eastern Caribbean Cruises 
Holland America line will offer a wide variety of six- to 10-day cruises through the eastern Caribbean. With weekend departures, the Zuiderdam and Westerdam will sail seven-day Eastern Caribbean itineraries roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. The new Eurodam takes over the Zuiderdam’s fall schedule. 

Destinations on eastern Caribbean itineraries may include St. Maarten, Grand Turk, Tortola, St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay. The Noordam will feature 10-day winter/spring cruises to the Eastern Caribbean from New York City to the above ports, except for Half Moon Cay, and with additional days at sea.

Western Caribbean Cruises 
The Veendam and Westerdam will explore the Western Caribbean in the coming year offering seven-day Sunday departures to such ports as Belize City, Belize; Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala; Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman; and Grand Turk. Holland America Line is the only premium line to call in Belize and Guatemala. The Veendam will sail roundtrip from Tampa, while the Westerdam will cruise from Ft. Lauderdale. 

Three-day Bahamas Getaways 
For those short on time yet seeking major relaxation, Holland America Line will feature a pair of three-day, roundtrip cruises from Ft. Lauderdale to the Bahamas aboard the Westerdam on April 19 and the new Eurodam on Oct. 15, 2008. Guests can indulge in such Holland America Line amenities as the Greenhouse Spa and Salon and the innovative Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine, where culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations.

Half Moon Cay: The Quintessential Caribbean Island Experience 
Most sailings also plan a day at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s acclaimed private island that offers a horseback riding and swimming excursion, AquaTrax watercraft tour, and family-friendly aqua park.

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Hank Aaron 'On Deck' in 2008

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 10 -- Hall of Fame baseball legend Hank Aaron will kick off Crystal Serenity's first cruise of 2008 to share insight into his life and times as one of Major League Baseball's greatest players. On Crystal Cruises' January 4 Panama Canal cruise from Miami to Los Angeles, Mr. Aaron will share his inspiring achievements, professional milestones and life experiences. During the cruise, guests will have the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with the homerun champion of 33 years, as well as receive an autographed photo taken with him.

"The legend of Hank Aaron extends beyond the baseball field," says Bret Bullock, Crystal's vice president, entertainment. "Mr. Aaron is a gentleman who continues to be a role model for athletes and non-athletes of all ages. Crystal Cruises is honored to feature such an important figure in U.S. history."

The 15-day cruise aboard the award-winning Crystal Serenity begins in Miami on January 4 and features calls in Grand Cayman/George Town, British West Indies; Cartagena, Colombia; Caldera, Costa Rica; Puerto Chiapas (maiden call), Acapulco, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; ultimately arriving in Los Angeles on January 19. 

The lecture series is presented by the luxury cruise line's Crystal Visions® Enrichment Program, which brings aboard noted lecturers for stimulating discussions on all cruises. For additional information, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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New Carnival Splendor to Operate Special One-Time 8-Day Cruise
 in July 2008

MIAMI, Oct 10 – Carnival Cruise Lines’ new 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor, the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed, will operate a special one-time eight-day European cruise in July 2008. The eight-day voyage, which departs Genoa July 2 and arrives in London (Dover) July 10, 2008, will visit four magnificent ports in three countries: Cannes, France; Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Le Havre (Paris), France.

“Carnival Splendor’s special eight-day voyage is just the latest addition to a highly diverse European inaugural season,” said Vicki Freed, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest services. “It’s the best way to see the great cities of Europe at a great value.” 

  • Following this voyage, the 3,006-passenger SuperLiner will launch Carnival’s first-ever 12-day northern Europe cruise schedule from London July 13 – the first of five voyages in the program, which continues through Aug. 30, 2008. Ports include Copenhagen; Warnemunde (Berlin); Helsinki; St. Petersburg; Tallin, Estonia; and Amsterdam. 

  • Carnival Splendor will also sail a special 12-day Mediterranean cruise from London to Rome (Civitavecchia) Sept. 11, 2008, then operate the line’s popular Grand Mediterranean and Mediterranean and Greek Isles cruises Sept. 23, and Oct. 5 and Oct. 17, 2008.

  • Upon completion of its European season, Carnival Splendor will sail a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Rome to Fort Lauderdale, FL, where it will sail a series of seven-day Caribbean voyages from Port Everglades. Following Carnival’s first program of South American cruises January to March 2009, Carnival Splendor will launch year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, Calif., March 29, 2009, continuing the line’s West Coast expansion.

Representing a new class of “Fun Ship,” Carnival Splendor will feature a host of innovations, highlighted by a two-deck-high “Cloud 9 Spa” featuring a Thalassotherapy Pool and an elaborate Thermal Suite with four rooms set at different temperatures. Adjacent to the facility will be 68 exclusive spa staterooms and suites – another first for the line – with private access to the facility, special amenities and priority spa reservations. The vessel’s family-friendly amenities include a 5,500-square-foot children’s play area – the largest in the “Fun Ship” fleet and part of the top-rated “Camp Carnival” program — along with a water spray park and an expansive “Club O2” teen center with a DJ, dance floor and high-tech sound and lighting system. Also featured will be four swimming pools – one covered by a retractable Sky Dome that will house the popular “Carnival Seaside Theatre,” an oversized screen displaying movies, concerts and other programming. 

Carnival will begin accepting reservations for Carnival Splendor’s eight-day European cruise Thursday, Oct. 11. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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MSC Cruises Serves Up Service With A Butler!

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Oct. 10 – Close your eyes and think of a long sea voyage visiting places steeped in history and culture. Then imagine this trip being made extra-special by the service of a butler who will look after you, turning your cruise into a truly unforgettable experience. This will become a reality on board MSC Fantasia and sister ship MSC Splendida, the biggest ships built for a European ship owner. These two new ships will join the fleet in November 2008 and spring 2009, respectively, marking the beginning of a new concept for cruises and a new era for vacations at sea. 

MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida are the first ships in the fleet to have an exclusive VIP area. On board MSC Fantasia this will be called the “MSC Yacht Club” and will consist of 99 spacious suites. Other reserved areas will include a bar, solarium, 2 Jacuzzis, 1 pool with a skydome, an observation lounge (an area with its own bar and concierge plus a magnificent panoramic view) but above all, 24/7 “Butler Service, with one butler for every five suites. 

“Butler Service” will provide assistance from check-in to transporting luggage and, if requested, unpacking and organizing personal belongings, serving English tea after 5 o’clock and meals in the stateroom on request, as well as cigars, wines, liquors and champagne. The butler also will be in charge of booking spa treatments, reserving a table at the restaurants and excursions – even organizing a small party in the suite. To provide the perfect “Butler Service” on board MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, Giovanni Mautone, Dining Services Manager of MSC Cruises, will be in charge of this new on board service. To equip himself with the necessary qualification, he graduated from “The International Butler Academy” in Warnsveld, the Netherlands. 

MSC Fantasia and sister ship MSC Splendida will be 135,000 tons each, 1,092 feet long, 124 feet wide and 196 feet high. These two giants of the seas will be 6 times the height of the Tower of Pisa, 393 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower and as tall as a 23 story building. Maximum speed will be 23 knots, with a 40 Mega Watt intake for the propulsion, equivalent to a 120 Ferrari! The ships will also have a total of 1,800 kms of electric cabling (the distance from Naples to Nantes) and 65,000 power points. 

On board facilities will include: 

  • 1,637 staterooms, to host 3,900 passengers and 1,300 crew: 80% of the staterooms will be outside staterooms, of which 109 will be suites; 

  • 290,000 square feet of public space will include a theater (seating capacity 1,700), “Aqua Spa” the wellbeing center (occupying 16,000 square feet) with a thermal cave, 5 restaurants (including a Tex Mex with its open kitchen and a panoramic restaurant), 4 pools (3 outside and one covered with a transparent ceiling) with hydromassage and Jacuzzi, a sports bar and jazz bar, shops, casino, disco, Formula 1 simulator and interactive 3D cinema – all geared up to provide maximum enjoyment to the on board guests; 

  • The Children’s Area will cover 4,000 square feet, dedicated to equally important ‘younger’ guests, and will feature a “Water Slide” (this will be located to one side of the disco and span the height of two decks, offering an impressive visual impact). 

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

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Costa Mediterranea to Reposition for Winter 2008/09 

MIAMI, FL, Oct 10 – Costa, Europe and South America’s Number One Cruise Line, will redeploy the Costa Mediterranea for the 2008/2009 winter season. Rather than joining the Costa Fortuna, which will sail from Port Everglades to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, the Costa Mediterranea will be redeployed to a different key core market, allowing Costa to reinforce its strategic global positions. Specific details will be forthcoming. For the upcoming 2007/2008 winter season, the Costa Mediterranea will sail from Port Everglades along with the Costa Fortuna. 

Costa will continue to feature spectacular voyages in the Caribbean, South America, Eastern Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Dubai, Indian Ocean, and Far East during its winter season. From now through 2010, Costa will introduce three new ships to its current fleet of twelve. This growth will equate to 1.5 million guests by that same year, a record breaking number for the company. Along with this fleet expansion, Costa looks forward to welcoming back two ships to the Caribbean in 2009/2010.

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Cunard to Build "Queen Elizabeth"

Valencia, CA, Oct 10 - Cunard Line announces that it has ordered a new 92,000-ton liner, to be named "Queen Elizabeth," scheduled to enter service in the autumn of 2010. Cunard, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc signed an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of the new 2092-passenger ocean liner, which will be built at Fincantieri's Monfalcone yard at an all-in cost of approximately $700 million. The vessel will be the second largest Cunarder the company has ever built.

"Cunard already owns and operates the two most famous ocean liners in the world, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2, and a third, Queen Victoria, is due to be named by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, in December of this year," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. "The decision to order another ship for Cunard Line has been taken as a result of the strong booking response to the new Queen Victoria, and we are extremely pleased that Cunard will once again become a three-ship fleet so soon after the departure of the much-celebrated Queen Elizabeth 2 in November next year. Furthermore, we are delighted that Her Majesty The Queen has given her blessing to our calling this new Cunarder 'Queen Elizabeth', after our first vessel of that name."

The new ship follows a long line of famous Cunard liners stretching back to the company's inception as the first operator of a timetabled transatlantic service 167 years ago. Queen Elizabeth will offer the very best of Cunard's values and traditions, blended with every conceivable modern luxury that today's discerning travelers expect. Through her opulent public rooms and impeccable service, the new ship will reflect the grandeur which has been associated with Cunard ships since the introduction of the Mauretania in 1907; and from the outside, her black hull, gleaming white superstructure and distinctive red funnel will echo the classic characteristics of the company's distinctive liner heritage. 

Queen Elizabeth will fly the Red Ensign with her home-port Southampton, as is the case with the other ships in the Cunard fleet. The agreement is subject to approval by the board of directors of Carnival Corp & plc. Design details and initial itineraries will be announced in due course.

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Special Culinary Program Flavors Holland America Line's
 2007 Holiday Cruises

SEATTLE, Oct. 9 -- From Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, Holland America Line is highlighting its 2007 holiday cruises with a special culinary program that combines traditional dishes with festive cuisine from around the world. Cooking classes and demonstrations in each ships' Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine will also feature special holiday fare. The holiday culinary program will be offered on 19 Holland America cruises that celebrate the holidays sailing the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Hawaii, South America/Antarctica, and Australia/New Zealand.

Holland America Line's Master Chef Rudi Sodamin has designed special holiday menus that offer a wide choice of both traditional and exotic dishes. For example, his Christmas Eve dinner menu features a choice of appetizers from the Caribbean, Asia, Spain, Germany and Mexico; entrees from Austria, Norway, Italy, England and the United States; and desserts from France, the Netherlands, Caribbean and Canada. Classic dishes such as Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas roast goose are enhanced with gourmet seasonings and side dishes.

"This seasonal culinary program offers an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy wonderful holiday cuisine while relaxing aboard a cruise -- a much preferable option to doing all that cooking and clean-up at home," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Our holiday cruises also offer the perfect solution to the hectic frenzy that typically envelops the season at home, especially for busy professionals. Families also really enjoy holiday cruising when the kids are on school vacation because our ships provide so many activities for both children and adults."

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

Holland America Line offers holiday cruise departures ranging from 7 to 20 days to a variety of warm weather and exotic destinations.

  • Popular, 7- to 17-day Caribbean cruises sail roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa and New York City to a wide choice of sun-drenched islands in the eastern, western and southern Caribbean. Most itineraries feature a visit to Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private Bahamian island. The 10- and 14-day Sunfarer itineraries cruise the Panama Canal in addition to exploring southern Caribbean ports and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

  • The Prinsendam rounds out the season with a 17-day Caribbean Explorer cruise, visiting St. Barts, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Dominican Republic, Half Moon Cay and Ponce, the newest cruise port in Puerto Rico.

  • Warm weather cruises also sail roundtrip from San Diego to Mexico and Hawaii. The dazzling Mexican Riviera beckons with 7-day cruises to such colorful ports as Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. The Hawaiian Islands highlight a 15-day itinerary that combines relaxing days at sea with port calls at Oahu, Maui and Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii.

  • Far-flung holiday adventures await on a 16- to 18-day Australia/New Zealand adventure from Brisbane or Sydney to Auckland and a 20-day exploration of South America and Antarctica from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Valparaiso, Chile.

Extended Families Enjoy Special 3rd and 4th Fares: Families will enjoy the spirit of the holiday with the premium cruise line's special 3rd and 4th fares in applicable staterooms on 11 holiday sailings. For more information about planning a holiday cruise, contact a travel agent or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

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Keel is Laid for Costa Luminosa

MIAMI, FL, Oct 9 – Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, laid the keel for the thirteenth ship in its fleet late last week at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard. Due for delivery in Spring 2009, the Costa Luminosa will be 92,700-tons, 292 meters long and offer a double occupancy of 2,260. The ship will boast a new design concept combining the very best of the brand including wellness, entertainment, food and wine, exclusive itineraries, and fine art. In addition, it will feature the highest number of veranda accommodations (68%) in the fleet. In particular, 772 of 1,130 cabins will be in this category, making the ship especially well suited for scenic itineraries.

Onboard, the ship will showcase the latest innovations from Costa, including the Samsara Spa, which is one of the largest wellness centers at sea, complete with accommodations featuring direct access to the spa. It will also feature a pool deck with a retractable magrodome extending over two pools and a Grand Prix race car driving simulator. In addition, the Costa Luminosa will feature an 18-hole championship golf course simulator. 

Costa will also build a sister ship to the Costa Luminosa, scheduled to enter service in March 2010. Both ships will be created at a total cost of over 800 million Euros. Costa’s fleet expansion program includes the addition of a third ship, the Costa Pacifica, which will leave the Genoa-Sestri Ponente yard in Spring 2009 along with the Costa Luminosa. By 2010, the Costa fleet will have 15 members, all flying the Italian flag, confirming Costa’s European leadership. 

The ships of Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, range in size from 30,000-tons to 114,500-tons, and provide an ambience that is distinctly Italian – from the progressive architecture and stylish design to the unforgettable cuisine and gracious hospitality. With twelve ships in service and three on order, Costa offers cruises that span the globe on itineraries of three nights and longer throughout the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South America, Transatlantic, Far East, Dubai; and at the end of 2007, the Indian Ocean. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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Southwest Airlines Offers Cruise-Goers a Hand With Their Bags

DALLAS, Oct. 9 -- Florida's busy cruise season is approaching, and Southwest Airlines is launching a new service that will make getting cruise-goers' baggage from the seaport to the airport easier than ever. Through a partnership with a company called Bags To Go Enterprises, and in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Southwest Airlines Customers can now check their bags and obtain their boarding pass at the port where their cruise ship docks.

The new service will allow Customers to explore and enjoy the city in which they disembark, without having to lug their bags around, until it's time to head to the airport. Once at the airport, Customers can head straight to their departure gate, allowing them to bypass lines at the Skycap and main ticket counter.

How does it work?

  • Upon disembarking from their cruise ship, Customers simply hand their baggage over to the Bags To Go agent stationed at the cruise port.

  • The Bags To Go agent checks the Customer's luggage and issues the Southwest Airlines boarding pass.

  • The luggage is then shipped to the airport in a secure vehicle, screened by the TSA, and loaded onto the Customer's Southwest Airlines flight.

"The Bags To Go service is all about convenience for our Customers," says Southwest Airlines Director of Central Baggage Services, Laura Adams. "The service has the added benefit of shortening airport lines and improving baggage operations behind-the-scenes."

Cruise-going Customers can arrange for the baggage service upon their arrival at the airport or when they disembark from their cruise ship. Bags must be presented three hours prior to departure and are only accepted on flights departing after 12:00 noon. The service costs $20 per person and allows up to three checked bags. Southwest Airlines is launching the new service at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport for Customers disembarking at the Port of Miami and Port Everglades.

"Off-site check-in is a growing trend in the airline industry," says Adams, "and we hope to expand this convenience to every Southwest destination where it will make sense for our Customers."

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2008 History Circles Of Interest Will Provide Enlightening Perspectives on World-Famous Destinations

FORT LAUDERDALE, Oct 8 – Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) has scheduled three Circles of Interest enrichment programs focusing on world history in 2008. Circles of Interest offer RSSC guests exclusive onboard and shore-side experiences and feature world-class lecturers, instructors and authorities from the realms of art, cuisine, history, environmental conservation, photography and wellness. RSSC’s history-focused Circles of Interest programs offer guests rare opportunities to discover the secrets of diverse regions through the lens of a particular interest. The programs offer the insight and perspective of knowledgeable hosts, and feature the camaraderie of an intimate community of guests sharing similar interests.

RSSC’s history-focused Circles of Interest programs will be offered aboard 2008 winter and summer voyages of the 700-guest, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner® and the 490-guest, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator®. British naval hero Commodore Jamie Miller will host “The Falklands Conflict,” a 19-night South America voyage departing January 16 aboard Seven Seas Mariner, while Emmy® Award-winning journalist and network news producer Elyse Weiner hosts “Barcelona and Florence Revealed” aboard Seven Seas Navigator’s June 14 and August 16 Mediterranean departures.

“Regent’s history-focused Circles of Interest for 2008 extend our tradition of providing guests with enriching experiences based on personal discovery,” said Sophie Vlessing, the line’s vice president, marketing and guest strategy. “These programs offer rare insight from world-class experts and also provide the added enjoyment of a core group of travelers who share similar interests. Through onboard and shore-side events, our 2008 history Circles of Interest will deliver truly memorable experiences.”

“The Falklands Conflict” Circles of Interest program aboard Seven Seas Mariner’s January 16 voyage is available for $305 per person (exclusive of cruise fare), while “Barcelona and Florence Revealed” on Seven Seas Navigator’s June 14 and August 16 departures costs $415 per person additional. Further details on these programs can be found on Regent’s website,

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NCL is Searching for the Latitudes “It” Girl to Christen Norwegian Gem

MIAMI, Oct 4 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced the search for the godmother of its new ship, Norwegian Gem. The company is inviting its Latitudes members to discover their inner “It” Girl and submit a video at explaining why they should be named Godmother of Norwegian Gem. The call for entries begins Oct 8, 2007 and ends on Nov 12, 2007. Five finalists will be revealed on Nov 15, 2007. The grand prize winner will be announced during the christening ceremony of Norwegian Gem on Dec 18, 2007 in New York City and will christen the ship during an on-board ceremony.

“Norwegian Gem represents the ultimate in Freestyle Cruising and is the ultimate “It” Girl,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. “In looking for her Godmother, we wanted to reflect her hip personality while rewarding one of our past guests with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

In addition to being named Norwegian Gem’s Godmother, the grand prize winner will also receive a seven-day cruise in the ultra luxurious Garden Villa on Norwegian Gem for her and five of her entourage. The Latitudes “It” Girl should embody the attributes of NCL’s hottest, hippest new ship, Norwegian Gem, as well as the free spirit of NCL’s Freestyle Cruising. These characteristics include sophistication, independence and confidence, eagerness to explore new destinations and learn new things, glamorous, stylish and cultured, along with a youthful and adventurous spirit regardless of age. In their video submissions, entrants are encouraged to include how many times they’ve cruised with NCL and why they think they should be the Latitudes “It” Girl. In addition, entrants are invited to include their own unique talent (if they have one) that exemplifies the freestyle spirit of NCL cruising. Entries will be judged on creativity and originality of the submission. 

NCL is also giving those who have not sailed on an NCL cruise the opportunity to enter the video contest and become the Latitudes “It” Girl’s BFF. While non-Latitudes members aren’t eligible to win the grand prize, they will be entered to win a seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruise for two aboard Norwegian Gem during the 2008 sailing season.

Second City Provides Video Examples
NCL has enlisted the help of Second City, the famed improvisational group that is also featured on NCL ships, to provide video examples. Several Second City cast members have created videos that will be posted on showing what’s “it” and what isn’t “it.”

All submissions meeting the contest criteria will be posted at, where visitors can rank the videos and view them by a variety of categories including featured, most viewed, hottest, new, all videos and by traits including funny, glamorous, freestyle, chic, glamorous and too hot. NCL is also giving guests sailing on its ships during the call for entries the opportunity to create their videos on board. All NCL* and NCL America ships will offer scheduled complimentary videotaping sessions for those guests wanting to enter the contest. Guests will be given a DVD of their entry that they can submit online when they return home.

On Nov 15, when the five finalists are announced, the public can vote for their favorite entry through December 7, 2007. The public vote will assist NCL in determining the grand prize winner. The five finalists will be whisked away to Norwegian Gem’s christening ceremony on December 18, 2007 in New York City. Each will receive roundtrip air transportation to New York and accommodations for two on the ship’s two-night inaugural sailing. Further details, including the contest terms and conditions, can be found online at starting on Monday, Oct 8, 2007.

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Crystal Cruises & Luggage Concierge Announce New Luxury Partnership

LOS ANGELES, Oct 3 - How can travelers eliminate the hassles of airport baggage check-in and long waits at baggage claim? Luxury travel specialist Crystal Cruises has entered into a new exclusive alliance with Luggage Concierge, offering guests easy door-to-door baggage service between their homes and Crystal's exotic ports of call around the world. Luggage Concierge has established a dedicated phone line for Crystal guests, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Arrangements for luggage shipment can be made by calling 877-231-6408 or registering at Effective later this month, Crystal Cruises will also provide a link on its own website at, which will direct guests to the Luggage Concierge online booking engine. As an added benefit, Crystal's repeat guests (Crystal Society members) will receive a 20% discount on luggage shipments to and from their Crystal voyage, as well as a 10% discount on luggage shipments for other non-cruise related leisure travel if they book directly through Luggage Concierge.

"Whether they are traveling to Miami or Mumbai, baggage-free travel offers our guests a new level of comfort, ease and convenience by avoiding long lines and annoying waits at airport check-in counters, baggage security, and baggage claim areas after long, tiring flights," says John Stoll, Crystal's director of land programs. "Our clients are intrepid travelers interested in exploring far-reaching destinations, and this service offers the ultimate luxury: time - less time tangled up at the airport which translates to more time relaxing aboard the ship and exploring the world's most exciting cities."

Also included in the door-to-door round-trip service is an automatic insurance coverage of $1,500 for all luggage shipments within the U.S., and $2,000 coverage for international luggage shipments. In addition, Crystal guests utilizing the new Luggage Concierge service will receive personalized tracking and delivery notification of their baggage through their preferred choice of phone, fax or e-mail.

About Luggage Concierge: Established in 2003, Luggage Concierge is a door-to-door luggage delivery service based out of Hawthorne, New York. Luggage Concierge maintains strategic alliances with American Express, ASTA, Caesars Palace, CouTour Travel, DHL, Discover Card, LEROS Point-to-Point Limousine, the Mandarin Oriental-Miami, Marston Hotels, Master Card, Town and Country Travel Club, Travcoa, UPS, the Virtuoso Travel Network, and Visa. For more information, visit Luggage Concierge online at

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

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Disney Cruise Line Announces Onboard Airline Check-in Service

CELEBRATION, FL, Oct. 3 -- Disney Cruise Line strives to offer guests a hassle-free vacation experience by providing extra services, such as Disney's Magical Express, that help eliminate some of the stresses of family travel. And beginning this fall, select guests sailing with Disney Cruise Line will find their vacation experience has been made even easier with the introduction of Onboard Airline Check-In. This new service will allow qualified guests to check-in for their post-cruise flights while on board the Disney Magic or Disney Wonder, eliminating the need to do so at Orlando International Airport.

Guests participating in Onboard Airline Check-In will enjoy the ease and convenience of not having to collect their luggage upon debarkation; checked luggage will be transported directly from the ship to the guest's flight. While on their cruise, guests' boarding passes will be delivered to their staterooms the day prior to disembarkation. Upon the ship's return to Port Canaveral, participating guests can proceed directly to Customs and then to Orlando International Airport where they bypass check-in and continue straight to airport security and on to their assigned departure gate.

In order to take advantage of this service, guests will need to meet certain requirements and be booked on a domestic flight on one of the seven participating air carriers: AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines, or United Airlines/Ted. Eligible guests will be able to enroll for Onboard Airline Check-in by completing pre-registration information received at Orlando International Airport or one of the Disney Cruise Line Hospitality Desks at the Walt Disney World Resort and turning it in during check-in at Port Canaveral.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a Disney Cruise Line vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit or call Disney Cruise Line at (888) DCL-2500.

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easyCruise to Triple Capacity When 540-Passenger Ship Joins Fleet in 2008

LONDON, Oct 3, 2007 – The tremendous success of easyCruise’s inaugural summer season in Greece has prompted the unorthodox and innovative cruise operator to more than triple its capacity for summer 2008. The line’s new flagship, to be named easyCruise Life, will accommodate 540 passengers and will enter service in April 2008. 

The hallmark of easyCruise is that itineraries include overnight stays in port so guests can enjoy nighttime fun ashore. The new vessel will offer a seven-night itinerary that visits Turkey for the first time, calling at Bodrum, one of the country’s most popular resorts. Bodrum is awash in white, stucco hillside houses, charming waterfront cafés and ancient treasures, and enjoys a nightlife known throughout the Aegean.

The new itineraries will also showcase six different Greek Islands from laidback Syros and Samos to lively Kalymnos, Kos, Paros and Mykonos, the legendary jet-set mecca. Guests can uniquely choose to join the cruise in Piraeus (Athens) on Saturdays or in Bodrum on Mondays.

“Since easyCruise launched two years ago we have offered an affordable way to see intriguing places that are difficult to reach, except by sea,” said Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, chairman of easyCruise. “It is clear that staying in port until the early morning hours has broad appeal because many travelers also want to experience the local nightlife.”

Cruise fares start from as low as $143 per person, based on double occupancy, for seven nights aboard easyCruise Life and include port taxes. Cabins are equipped with ensuite bathrooms with shower, and fresh linens and towels upon arrival. Meals, drinks, spa treatments, sightseeing tours and housekeeping services are not included, but are reasonably priced and can be purchased from the line in advance or on board.

The 12,711-ton easyCruise Life is three times the size of her yacht-like, sister ship easyCruise One (4,011 tons). The vessel, named Lev Tolstoy by her original Soviet owners, was built at Poland’s Szczecin shipyard in 1981 and extensively refurbished in 1989. It will undergo a further, multi-million-dollar update before emerging in her new easyCruise livery. Facilities will include enhanced versions of the modern Aptiva Spa and innovative fusionon6 combination restaurant/discotheque that can be found on easyCruise One, plus broad teak sundecks, a large outdoor swimming pool and hot tub. Guests can also choose from a range of accommodations that includes 23 Panoramic Suites and 14 superior doubles, all of which feature picture windows; 76 oceanview standard twin cabins, 45 oceanview standard quad cabins, and 112 interior standard twins.

This fall and next spring, the line’s easyCruise One will be deployed on a new seven-night itinerary that showcases some of the most amazing archaeological sites in Classical Greece, including Mycenae, Nemea, Olympia and Delphi. As a highlight, timings have been planned so that guests can experience the Acropolis by night and witness a Sounion sunset. In summer 2008, the ship will again offer her popular long-weekend cruises to Poros, Mykonos, Paros and Sifnos. A new 10-night itinerary will transit the Corinth Canal to the islands of the Ionian Sea, including Ithaki, Paxos, Corfu, Kefallonia, Zakynothos, Itea (for Delphi), Corinth, Preveza and Agioi Saranta, Albania, which serves as a gateway to Butrint, a UNEXCO World Heritage Site. 

About easyCruise
easyCruise was launched in 2005 by the entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou
( to inexpensively cruise to chic resorts and islands off the usual tourist trail. Unlike a traditional cruise, ships sail for just a few hours each morning arriving around lunchtime so guests can enjoy the rest of the day and evening (until the early morning hours) ashore. easyCruise’s unorthodox fares include accommodations and port taxes only. Fusion cuisine, drinks, spa treatments, sightseeing tours and housekeeping services are not included, but can be purchased a la carte on board or in advance. To learn more about the new easyCruise Life, easyCruise One or the line’s Greece and Turkey itineraries visit or see a professional travel agent.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Expands 'Concierge Club' Program

MIAMI, Oct. 3 -- Carnival Cruise Lines has expanded its "Concierge Club" guest recognition program to provide members with shipboard credits when they achieve a "milestone" cruise with the line. With the new shipboard credit benefit, "Concierge Club" members who sail on their 25th, 50th and 75th "Fun Ship" cruise will receive a shipboard credit representing 25, 50 or 75 percent of their cruise fare, respectively, for that particular voyage. Those sailing on their 100th "Fun Ship" cruise earn a complimentary Caribbean, Mexican Riviera or Alaska voyage of up to eight days in length. This new milestone cruise benefit is in addition to the wide range of amenities and privileges that "Platinum" cardholders already receive.

Carnival's "Concierge Club," which was created exclusively for "Platinum" cardholders who have sailed with the line 10 or more times, provides a variety of amenities and privileges to recognize longtime guests for their loyalty and support. "The 'Concierge Club' has been met with incredible response since being launched last year and this new shipboard credit benefit is just another way of Carnival recognizing and thanking our loyal and valued guests," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.

Prior to their "milestone" cruise, guests will receive a personalized letter from Cahill informing them of the shipboard credit or free cruise they will earn in conjunction with their next milestone cruise. Carnival has also established a special toll-free line, 1-877-CCL-VIPS (1-877-225-8477) that is staffed on a 24/7 basis and designated specifically for questions regarding the new shipboard credit/free cruise benefit for "Concierge Club" members.

In addition to the rewards for significant milestone cruises, all Platinum cardholders are entitled to the following shipboard benefits and features:

* Petit fours and/or canapes delivered to cabin one evening
* Personalized stationery
* A special Carnival logo item
* Guaranteed dining times and supper club reservations
* Complimentary entry fee into blackjack or slot tournament
* Spa Carnival priority reservations and complimentary treatment upgrade
* Complimentary wash and fold laundry service
* Complimentary arcade tokens for members under age 18
* Priority tender boarding
* Priority embarkation and debarkation

Additionally, an exclusive concierge desk for Platinum cardholders has been established at the pursers information desk aboard every Carnival ship. A dedicated phone line is available fleetwide, as well. "Carnival Concierge Club" members also receive a special Welcome Aboard letter from Cahill in their stateroom detailing the exclusive amenities and privileges available during their cruise.

Shipboard credits and free cruises received for milestone cruises are non-transferable and non-refundable. Certain other restrictions apply. For additional information on Carnival's "Fun Ship" vacations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Princess Exotic Cruisetours Take Passengers to Some of the Globe's Most Celebrated Destinations in 2008-09

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct 3 - Princess will debut three new cruisetour options for the 2008-09 season to add even more adventurous opportunities for passengers on South America, Asia or Australia cruises. These full land/sea vacations take passengers beyond ports of call to explore some of the world's most fascinating destinations, including new tours to the remote Galapagos Islands, home to unique indigenous wildlife, and Hangzhou, one of China's most scenic cities. Together Princess' worldwide lineup of Exotic cruisetours offer passengers the opportunities to visit three of the new Seven Wonders of the World as well as a number of UNESCO's World Heritage sites, including such important sites as Machu Picchu, The Great Wall of China, Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue, Australia's Great Barrier Reef and Angkor Wat.

The three new tours debuting next season include Galapagos Discovery, which is offered in conjunction with a South America and Panama Canal cruise; Beijing, Hangzhou and Xian, which is combined with several Asia voyages; and Tropical Highlights of Australia which is an add-on to Australia/New Zealand or Asia/Australia sailings.

"These unique cultural itineraries offer a wonderful opportunity for passengers to expand their vacation options with visits to some of the world's most memorable destinations and sites," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service. "It's a seamless way to enjoy Princess hospitality and service on an unforgettable journey beyond their cruise."

South America - Machu Picchu and Rio de Janeiro's landmark Christ the Redeemer statue both were recently voted among the new Seven Wonders of the World - and both are featured on Princess cruisetours in South America. For the first time, Princess will offer a Galapagos Discovery tour, featuring air travel from Guayaquil, Ecuador to the Galapagos where the M/V Galapagos Legend will be their home for three days of exploring the islands that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Passengers will have four days to view the unique indigenous wildlife on various islands, including sea lions, iguanas, the world's largest colony of waved albatross, and the famous Blue-footed Booby. Rounding out the South America program's five itinerary options are tours to Rio and Iguaçu Falls as well as Machu Picchu via the historic cities of Lima and Cusco.

Asia - Passengers on Princess Asia cruises can explore another of the new Seven Wonders of the World - China's Great Wall. Three China cruisetour options each offer the opportunity to visit Beijing and see this world-famous barrier, along with many of the country's famed attractions such as the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian, cruise the Yangtze River, and a new destination for Princess, the historic city of Hangzhou. One of the most prosperous cities of China for much of the last 1,000 years, Hangzhou was once called "the most splendid and luxurious city in the world," by none other than Marco Polo. Today this ancient capital is ranked as one of the ten most scenic cities in China, drawing visitors from around the world particularly for the natural beauty of West Lake and the city's historic treasures. Asia visitors can also experience the highlights of Southeast Asia with the Bangkok and Angkor Wat option, which includes a visit to Cambodia to see the celebrated temple complex - a UNESCO World Heritage site - plus Thailand's capital and the northern city of Chiang Mai.

Australia - Four different cruisetour options offer travelers the opportunity to visit the iconic sights of Sydney plus visit the Great Barrier Reef. In addition, some tour options include travel to the outback to see Ayers Rock, Kakadu National park and Kuranda, an aboriginal village surrounded by the World heritage Wet tropics of Queensland. New for the season, the Tropical Highlights of Australia tour features extra time for a longer visit in Queensland.

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

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NCL Begins Building Its Next Generation of Freestyle Cruising Ships

St. Nazaire, France, Oct. 2 – The steel cutting for the first of NCL’s third generation of new Freestyle Cruising ships, project name “F3,” took place yesterday at Aker Yards S.A. in Saint Nazaire, France. Andy Stuart, NCL’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services, was assisted by representatives from America’s Vacation Center and Direct Line Cruises in pushing the button that began the historic steel cutting. In addition, nearly 50 of NCL’s President’s Club members, representatives from the company’s top travel partners, witnessed the event.

“Today’s steel cutting marks a major milestone in NCL’s history as we begin the construction of our first F3 ship in conjunction with Aker Yards,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. “Travel partners have been instrumental to our success over the past 40 years, so we invited our President’s Club members to join us in this historic event. We are pleased that they could be in attendance to witness the beginnings of the first ship which will further signify NCL’s progressive dismantling of the structure, regimentation and constraints of the traditional cruise experience.” 

The F3 ships are the next phase in NCL’s unique Freestyle Cruising, which offers vacationers a less structured, more relaxed, more resort-style experience than traditional cruising and is characterized by no fixed dining times, no formal dress codes and up to 10 different restaurants. The 150,000-ton ships will each total 4,200 passenger berths, representing the largest ships in NCL’s fleet. The first ship is scheduled for delivery in January 2010. The new ship design will offer 60 percent more guest space than NCL’s largest ships to date, which will be used to provide guests an even wider range of on-board activities, amenities and stateroom options. The ships’ cabin mix will be the richest of any NCL ship with 100 percent of outside staterooms featuring private balconies. In total, each ship will have 1,415 balcony staterooms. Details of the ships’ design will be released closer to delivery.

NCL plans to build up to three new third generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery between 2010 and 2011. NCL is on target to have the youngest fleet in the industry by the end of 2007 with the introduction of Norwegian Gem, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea.

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NCL’s Norwegian Gem Delivered in Handover Ceremony

MIAMI, Oct. 2 – Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) took delivery of its new “It” Girl, Norwegian Gem, from Meyer Werft in a handover ceremony yesterday in Eemshaven, Netherlands. Norwegian Gem is the fourth and final ship in the company's Jewel-class series and solidifies NCL's status as the youngest, most modern fleet in the industry.

“Outfitted with top-of-the-line amenities including opulent suites and villas, a four-lane ten-pin bowling alley and rock climbing wall, Norwegian Gem epitomizes Freestyle Cruising and what it means to be an ‘It’ Girl,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. “We look forward to welcoming her to her new home in New York this December.” 

Upon delivery, Norwegian Gem will head to Rotterdam, Netherlands and then to Dover, UK where she will arrive on Oct. 5. After a series of seven-day Western Mediterranean itineraries, the ship will make her U.S. debut in Boston on Dec. 12 followed by a christening ceremony in New York City on Dec. 18.

Norwegian Gem will spend spring 2008 on seven-day Bahamas and Florida itineraries and on 10- and 11-day Exotic Southern Caribbean itineraries out of New York. She’ll then summer in Europe on seven-day Western Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona. The ship will also offer a 15-day transatlantic sailing in April 2008 and a 13-day transatlantic sailing in November 2008. 

For more about Norwegian Gem including her blog, visit the ship’s “HerSpace” page at

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Silversea Rolls Out 12 "Silver Links" Golf Theme Cruises for 2008

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Oct 2007 -- Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises will once again host its popular "Silver Links" golf program on 12 diverse itineraries aboard Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper in 2008. The program offers golf enthusiasts the chance to perfect their swing on 35 of the most beautiful and challenging courses in 16 countries and island destinations throughout the South Pacific, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Mexico. 

"Our golf cruises are an excellent option for the affluent traveler looking to hone his or her game on the finest international links and fairways," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "Avid golfers of all levels can combine a luxury vacation with the chance to enjoy guided golf excursions and priority tee times at some of the world's most celebrated courses." 

The Silver Links voyages offer optional golfing excursions in multiple ports arranged and escorted by the ship's golf professional. From the breathtaking Pacific scenery of the Kauri Cliffs Golf Club in New Zealand's Bay of Islands, to the narrow fairways and mountain terrain of the elegant Monte Carlo Golf Club, to the rolling topography and saltwater canals of the Club de Golf Marina Ixtapa in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, guests will have a chance to perfect their game at some of the world's most challenging and revered championship courses. The escorted, optional golfing excursions vary in price from course to course and include transfers to and from the select golf courses, pull or power-drive carts (where available), green and any applicable caddy fees. Should guests choose to leave their clubs at home, the finest Nike Golf clubs and golf essentials are available for rental or purchase. Golf clubs can be rented for as little as $45 per day with multiple-day and equipment packages available. 

Golfers have the option to further hone their skills aboard ship with sophisticated split-screen swing analysis utilizing the most advanced V1 digital coaching system, the same software selected by as their preferred instructional technology. The cost for private swing analysis starts at just $30. On each of these exciting voyages rich in golf destinations, guests will also have the opportunity to advance their game aboard ship with the help of a certified PGA-classed golf professional, who is available to organize personalized instruction, specialty group clinics, demonstrations and even putting contests. While some group activities are complimentary, there is a fee for private lessons.

Following is a sampling of the Silver Links voyages and golf courses: 

  • Silver Shadow departs May 16, 2008 on a 15-day Panama Canal crossing (#3811) from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles with optional golf excursions to La Iguana at Los Suenos (Puntarenas); Tres Vidas Golf Club (Acapulco); and El Tigre Golf Club (Puerto Vallarta).

  • Silver Whisper departs July 19, 2008 on a 7-day Mediterranean sailing (#4822) from Rome to Monte Carlo with optional golf excursions to Golf Park Mallorca (Palma de Mallorca); PGA at Catalunya Golf Club (Barcelona); Servannes Golf Club (Sete); and Sainte Maxime Golf Club (St. Tropez).

  • Silver Whisper departs August 16, 2008 on a 7-day Mediterranean cruise (#4826) from Barcelona to Rome with optional golf excursions to Cannes Mougins Golf Club (Menton); Cosmopolitan Golf Club (Livorno); and the Monte Carlo Golf Club.Silver Shadow departs September 17, 2008 on an 11-day Mexican Riviera voyage (#3823) from Los Angeles to Costa Rica with optional golf excursions to Cabo del Sol Desert Course (Cabo San Lucas); El Tigre Golf Club (Puerto Vallarta); Club de Golf Marina Ixtapa (Zihuatanejo); and Tres Vidas Golf Club (Acapulco).

  • Silver Shadow departs December 3, 2008 on a 9-day Caribbean sailing (#3829) from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados with optional golf excursions to Antigua's Cedar Valley Golf Club, the St. Lucia Golf & Country Club, and Sandy Lane Country Club in Barbados.

  • Silver Whisper departs December 20, 2008 on a 15-day South Pacific voyage (#4839) from Sydney to Auckland with optional golf excursions to the Royal Melbourne Golf Club; Royal Hobart Golf Club; St. Clair Golf Club (Dunedin); Clearwater Golf Club (Christchurch); Paraparaumu Golf Club (Wellington); Cape Kidnappers Golf Club (Napier); Kauri Cliffs Golf Club (Bay of Islands); and the Tauranga Golf Club.

Guests aboard Silver Links voyages will also enjoy spacious, ocean-view accommodations, most with private veranda, award-winning gourmet cuisine, personalized service, warm Italian hospitality, and Silversea's unmatched selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities. For complete voyage details and the latest information on Silver Links cruises, visit

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Expanded ‘Carnival Towel Creations’ Books Offers Instructions for Making Popular Stateroom Towel Animals

MIAMI, Oct 1 – Carnival Cruise Lines has issued a new book offering step-by-step instructions and photos for creating the line’s wildly popular “towel animals” that greet guests when they arrive in their “Fun Ship” staterooms each evening. Entitled “Carnival Towel Creations with Freddy” featuring the line’s fun-loving mascot “Fun Ship” Freddy, the new book offers easy-to-follow directions and diagrams for creating more than 80 different creatures, including new variations such as a snail, bat, cow, stingray and goat. The new 90-page book expands upon Carnival’s original towel creations book published two years ago which featured instructions for 40 animals and sold 100,000 copies.

“‘Towel animals’ are a signature element of a Carnival cruise and this new book provides guests an opportunity to relive their ‘Fun Ship’ cruise each time they create these whimsical creatures at home,” said Vicki Freed, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

It is estimated that each year Carnival stateroom stewards create nine million towel animals which are featured within the line’s more than 25,000 staterooms fleetwide. Stateroom stewards also often incorporate guests’ sunglasses, hats and other accessories to create custom-designed towel animals for guests’ enjoyment and amusement. Miniature “towel pal” plush toys of several popular creations are available in the line’s gift shops fleetwide or on-line at

Towel animals are just one of the many personal touches that adorn Carnival’s staterooms, which also include plush terrycloth robes, in-cabin amenity kits with brand-name products, and the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with comfortable mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows. 

“Carnival Towel Creations with Freddy” is sold in the Formalities gift shops throughout the line’s 22-vessel fleet. The cost is $14.95. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Haunted Tours Among Halloween Season Land Options on Princess Cruises

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (October 1, 2007) - Just in time for Halloween, Princess Cruises ships set a course for some of the world's spookiest graveyards, haunted houses and legendary landmarks. The Tower of London, Singapore's Hill Street Building, Whaley House in San Diego and the Chase Mausoleum in Barbados are among the half-dozen spine-tingling sites ashore awaiting Princess passengers this October. 

"We know Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the U.S., and we thought it would be fun to remind passengers that among the wide variety of nearly 3,500 tours available on our cruises around the world, there are some haunted ones as well," said Jan Swartz, senior vice president of customer service for Princess Cruises. "These are the perfect experiences to put our passengers in the mood for the spookiest day of the year." 

The scary sites can be experienced on tours from a number of Princess cruises:

The Tower of London -- Sea Princess
From the two little princes haunting the famed Bloody Tower to the ghostly wives of Henry VIII, there are more spooks here per square foot than any other building in the whole of haunted Britain. Sea Princess has two sailings departing from London/Southampton on October 6 and 13.

Hill Street Building (Singapore) -- Sapphire Princess
With a turbulent history of inquisitions and torture during the long-ago Japanese occupation, this building is well known for sightings of the ghosts of tortured souls. Today, the building houses beautiful works of Singaporean, Southeast Asian, and European fine arts in the ARTrium@MITA (Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts), but passengers on the Sapphire Princess "Southeast Asia and China" itineraries can still seek out ghost sightings during their port day in Singapore. Sailings depart October 1 and 17.

Belcourt Castle (Newport, RI) -- Crown Princess & Grand Princess
Built in the late 1800s, this famously haunted castle features an oft-spotted ghostly monk, and passengers can pre-reserve a special ghost tour that unveils all its spooky secrets...including an opportunity to sit and experience the "Haunted Chair." Newport is a regular port-of-call on Crown Princess and Grand Princess "Canada and New England" itineraries in October. Departures on October 6 and 13 on Crown Princess and October 8 and 18 on Grand Princess.

Whaley House (San Diego) -- Dawn Princess
Often called "the most haunted house in America," this 1857 home was partially built on a cemetery. Ghosts seen here are so life-like, they are often mistaken for real people, with sightings occurring regularly. Passengers on the Mexican Riviera itinerary aboard Dawn Princess can tour the house on their embarkation/disembarkation day (R/T sailings depart from San Diego on October 7, 14, 21 and 28).

Eden Brown Estate (St. Kitts/Nevis) -- Sea Princess and Crown Princess
Haunted by a bride-to-be whose husband was killed in a duel the night before their wedding, visitors to this island estate may catch a glimpse of her ghost weeping and wailing. Both Sea Princess and Crown Princess make port calls here in late October. Departures on October 13 from London on Sea Princess and from San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 20 and 27 on Crown Princess.

Chase Mausoleum in Crist Church Graveyard (Barbados) -- Sea Princess
Famous in ghostly lore, this mausoleum has a "moving" history dating from the 1800s: its coffins were said to move around the locked vault, sometimes lining up vertically along the walls. At one time, the governor of Barbados personally sealed the vault, but nine months later the coffins were all rearranged, though the seal remained untouched. On their port call in Barbados, Sea Princess passengers can explore the empty vault and get a taste of the ghostly history. Departures on October 13 from London and October 27 from Barbados.

Ghost Tours of Quebec (Quebec City) -- Grand Princess 
More than 300 years of murders, executions, mysterious ghost sightings, tragedies and hauntings are the focus of this tour, conducted by eerie lantern light. Quebec's cobblestone streets and ancient buildings set the stage for a truly unique experience that explains one of Canada's greatest marine disasters - which saw more loss of passengers than the Titanic. In addition, costumed guides relate stories of bizarre happenings that make up Canada's past. Departures on October 8 from New York and October 18 from Quebec City. 

Ghosts, Graves & Galleries (Dunedin, New Zealand) -- Sun Princess 
Passengers can experience the paranormal on a walking tour that visits Dunedin's North Cemetery -- the final resting place for such New Zealand pioneers as the Larnach of Larnach Castle and the Speights of brewery fame - and discover the supernatural secrets haunting the city streets. Guides relate tales of haunted Dunedin, including the mysterious Octagon fires, and the spine-tingling habits of the million souls thought to wander the city streets at night. Departure on September 23 from Seattle.

In addition to these transatlantic, Asia, Caribbean, Canada/New England, Australia/NZ and Mexico sailings, Princess ships will also sail to French Polynesia and the Mediterranean this October. All Princess Halloween voyages offer a variety of entertaining holiday activities on board for children and their families to enjoy, including a costume parade through the atrium, trick or treating around the ship, mask making and more.

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

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

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