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Cruise News
October 1-31, 2008

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

Return to's Cruise News Weekly Index & Archive

CDC Inspection Scores for all ships inspected.

What's on Cruise Diva's mind? A bit of editorializing, news, announcements,
 and travel tips--find that and more in
Cruise Diva's Blog

NCL To Eliminate Fuel Supplement

MIAMI, Oct 30 -- Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced that the company’s current fuel supplement will no longer apply to bookings made on or after Nov 10, 2008 for sailings that depart on or after Jan 1, 2010.

For guests booked prior to Nov 10, 2008 for sailings that depart on or after Jan 1, 2010, the company has established the following guidelines for the refund of fuel supplements paid:

The criteria for refund will be determined on a quarterly basis. Should the closing price on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) of West Texas Intermediate fuel be below $65 per barrel two weeks prior to the beginning of the calendar quarter (dates specified below), the company will refund fuel supplements paid in the form of an on-board credit.

The same criteria applies for guests booked on sailings that depart in 2009 (on or after Jan 1, 2009 and that depart on or before Dec 31, 2009), regardless of booking date.

The dates on which the price of West Texas Intermediate fuel will be measured and the quarters during which refunds could apply are:

Fuel Price Determination
Quarter of Possible Fuel
Supplement Refunds
December 18, 2008
March 18, 2009
June 17, 2009
September 17, 2009
December 18, 2009
March 18, 2010
June 17, 2010
September 17, 2010
December 17, 2010
First Quarter 2009
Second Quarter 2009
Third Quarter 2009
Fourth Quarter 2009
First Quarter 2010
Second Quarter 2010
Third Quarter 2010
Fourth Quarter 2010
First Quarter 2011

Determination of what quarter a sailing is in will be based solely on the sailing date. The entire cruise will be considered to be part of the quarter that the sailing date originates in. These new fuel supplement policies apply to guests booked through all NCL offices around the world.

The company is implementing these changes in response to the recent decrease in global fuel prices. NCL will continue to closely monitor global fuel prices to assess whether a reinstatement of the fuel supplement will be necessary.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is the innovator in cruise travel with a 42-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, NCL has the youngest fleet in the industry with 12 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea.

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MSC Cruises Offers Special "Balcony Blowout" Rates
 For Select Europe 2009 Sailings

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Oct 30 - Now is the ideal time to book a European vacation with MSC Cruises to enjoy a balcony stateroom and take advantage of savings of up to 60 percent on balcony staterooms and the line’s kids 17 and younger sail free program. “Balcony Blowout” rates begin at $999 per person* for a balcony stateroom on a 7-night cruise to some of Europe's most exotic locales and on two of the world’s newest ships.

The special rates are available for new bookings made by Nov. 30, 2008 while space lasts on select 7-night sailings of:
  · MSC Poesia: Eastern Mediterranean roundtrip from Venice
  · MSC Orchestra: Baltic or Norwegian Fjords roundtrip from Copenhagen
  · MSC Splendida (which debuts July 2009): Western Med roundtrip from Barcelona
  · MSC Fantasia (which debuts December 2008): Western Med roundtrip from Genoa

MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida are the largest ships ever ordered by a European ship owner. In addition to elegant décor, international cuisine as well as regional Italian specialties and an alternative restaurant, European-style entertainment, and a spacious spa, they introduce a new concept in VIP cruising – MSC Yacht Club. For more information about MSC Cruises, visit or a local travel professional.

* Cruise-only rates begin at $999 per person for a balcony, based on double occupancy (government fees and taxes for all guests and a fuel surcharge are additional) and cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.

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Cruise West Announces New Columbia & Snake River
 Itinerary For Summer 2009

SEATTLE, Oct 30 – As travelers continue to look closer to home for their next getaway, Cruise West, the global leader in small-ship exploration voyages and the largest American-owned cruise line, is adding a new Summer 2009 Columbia & Snake Rivers itinerary. A reflection of the company’s attention to demand from their repeat customers as well as overall travel trends, Cruise West, now the only cruise operator on the river, is extending the Columbia & Snake Rivers cruise season through the summer with a new itinerary on the Spirit of ’98. As bookings for the river itineraries continue to rise, Cruise West will stay and operate a new summer itinerary rather than send the Spirit of ’98 to Alaska for the summer season.

Cruise West’s new, seven-night “Best of the Columbia & Snake Rivers” itinerary will cruise round-trip out of Portland, OR and highlight the native culture, cuisine and history of the region, with tours of the Tamastslikt Culture Institute, Mt. St. Helens and two boutique wineries. Additionally, guests of this Columbia & Snake Rivers cruise will visit the Bonneville Dam, the Pendleton Underground Tour and Pendleton Woolen Mills, plus take an exhilarating jet boat ride into Hells Canyon. The new summer itinerary departs weekly May 15 through September 11, 2009. Prices start at $3,399 per person, based on double occupancy. Guests who book and pay in full prior to December 12, 2008 will save an additional $450 per person, and those who book and pay in full by February 6, 2009 will save $350.

“Our Pacific Northwest itineraries have grown in popularity as we’ve infused them with our signature ‘Up-close and Personal’ touches,” remarked Cruise West President & CEO Dietmar Wertanzl. “Cruise West’s Columbia & Snake Rivers itineraries are part of our heritage. As the original cruise line on the Columbia River we have been perfecting these itineraries since 1992. We understand that travelers would like to maximize their vacation days by traveling closer to home and our Columbia & Snake Rivers itineraries offer just that opportunity.”

The Spirit of ’98, along with the Spirit of Columbia, currently operates the River Voyage of Discovery itinerary on the Columbia & Snake Rivers in the spring and fall, highlighting the history of Lewis & Clark. Additionally, the Spirit of Discovery will continue to offer its Taste of the Pacific Northwest itinerary, launched in fall 2008, in the spring and fall. This itinerary focuses on the rich culinary traditions and distinctive wines of Washington and Oregon. For additional information, a complete itinerary or to book a Cruise West Columbia & Snake Rivers cruise, call 1-800-296-8307, contact your Travel Professional or visit

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Wedding Bells to Ring During Naming Festivities for Ruby Princess

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct 28 - What better way for "the most romantic cruise line" to celebrate the launch of its new Ruby Princess than by incorporating an actual wedding in the naming ceremony? In a first, a California couple will be married during the ship's christening festivities on November 6. Ruby Princess godparents, romantic television celebrities Trista and Ryan Sutter, will serve as attendants and former Love Boat captain, Gavin MacLeod, will give away the bride.

The couple, Danielle Vurpillat and Kip Hickman from Dunsmuir, CA, were invited to share their nuptials with guests onboard after entering the Princess Cruises "Romance on the Ruby" contest. In their submission they shared that it would be their dream to create their own romantic milestone by getting married onboard the new Ruby Princess - and in true Love Boat fashion, Princess is making their dream come true. In addition to the celebrity attendants, a member of the line's Department of Romance, Phil Roberts, a minister, will perform the ceremony.

Princess Cruises has long been associated with romance on the high seas, dating back to its days as the setting for the now-iconic TV show. The Ruby Princess naming ceremony continues the line's tradition of romance as Trista and Ryan, who met and married on the television hit The Bachelorette, will christen the ship.

"A ship's naming is an exciting event in itself, so including an actual wedding in the ceremony will certainly make this a one-of-a-kind celebration," said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president. "We aim to make this a fantastic romantic milestone for Danielle and Kip as they begin their life together as husband and wife."

The wedding will take place during the ship's naming ceremony on Thursday, Nov 6 at 5:00 pm while Ruby Princess is berthed in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The couple will then enjoy the festivities during the subsequent two-night inaugural preview cruise for VIPs. The wedding and entire Ruby Princess naming ceremony will be available for viewing on line at beginning Nov 7.

The 3,080-passenger Ruby Princess includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing line-up of street performers. Passengers will also enjoy Princess' other array of dining venues including the signature Sabatini's Italian restaurant and the Crown Grill steak house, plus a relaxing oasis just for adults called The Sanctuary.

The new ship will also offer the many other innovations that define the Princess experience, including the popular Movies Under the Stars poolside movie screen, Personal Choice Dining featuring traditional or Anytime seating, multiple entertainment venues, a relaxing Asian-style Lotus Spa with fitness center, an extensive children and teen's center, and a wedding chapel.

During Ruby Princess' inaugural season she will make seven-day weekly sailings from Fort Lauderdale to the Western Caribbean. Calls include Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico and Princess Cays in the Bahamas. Next spring the ship will move to Europe for 12-day sailings in the Mediterranean and Greek Islands. 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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Cunard Line Underwrites New PBS Series

SOUTH HAMPTON, England, Oct. 28 -- In a move that further underscores Cunard's British heritage, the Line is sponsoring the new PBS series Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work, a six-episode series that provides an exclusive look inside the modern British monarchy. In advance of the series' U.S. debut on Nov 12, its associate producer and writer, Robert Hardman, sailed on Queen Mary 2's Oct 16 Transatlantic voyage to participate in the company's award-winning enrichment program, Cunard Insights. During the voyage, Hardman afforded Cunard guests an exclusive preview of the full series, hosting pre-film introductions and participating in Q&A sessions following each screening.

"We are delighted to support PBS in presenting this intriguing series, which explores the busy lives of Britain's modern monarchs, many of whom have graciously and enthusiastically celebrated Cunard's maritime milestones with us," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. "We are delighted to have been able to welcome Robert Hardman aboard, as we know our guests truly enjoyed this exclusive screening preview at sea."

Authorized by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, filmmakers were granted exclusive access for a behind-the-scenes look beyond the majestic gates and velvet ropes of Buckingham Palace. The intimate series features exclusive interviews with members of the royal family and observes preparations for elaborate formal occasions including a rare look inside the royal kitchens, wine cellar and car fleet, and the jobs of footmen, ladies in waiting, the yeoman guard and the crown jeweler. The series takes viewers along as Queen Elizabeth II visits the first permanent British settlement in the U.S., spends time with President Bush at the White House and visits the newly democratic republic of Estonia where no British monarch has set foot before.

The life of the monarchy unfolds in six compelling episodes, including:

-- "The State Visit, Parts 1 and 2" (11/12, 8:00-10:00 pm) - This episode follows the elaborate preparations that go into preparing for a visit from the queen. Highlights include celebrity photographer Annie Liebowitz's formal photo shoot with the queen and exclusive interviews with Liebowitz, the queen's press secretary, President Bush, and First Lady Laura Bush, who personally leads a private tour of the White House. Behind the scenes and at her side from beginning to end, "The State Visit" reveals what it takes to plan and execute an official visit from the queen.
-- "Headquarters" (11/19, 8:00-9:00 pm) - Buckingham Palace's 650 rooms form the nerve center of the British monarchy. It's from here that the queen directs the business of the royal family, entertains heads of state and conducts her private life. Highlights of the episode include Queen Elizabeth preparing for her annual move to Balmoral in Scotland.
-- "Head of State" (11/19, 9:00-10:00 pm) - For the dramatic ritual that opens Parliament, the queen's coachmen don full livery, and two of her horse- drawn carriages parade through the streets. One transports the queen, the other carries the crown jewels. The episode leads viewers through the elaborate state opening of Parliament. The episode also attends the weekly private audience between Her Majesty and the British prime minister.
-- "The Queen and Us" (11/26, 8:00-9:00 pm) - This episode tells the story of four invited guests as they savor each moment of a garden party at Buckingham Palace. Less formal occasions in every area of the country pack the queen's schedule, but she isn't the only member of the royal family who regularly crosses the country. In rural Northumberland, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall take tea and get a tour from a local organic farmer.
-- "Inside the Firm" (11/26, 9:00-10:00 pm) - To handle 4,000 state visits, balls, school dedications, nursing home visits and charity events, the queen depends on her husband, her children, cousins and now a new generation of grandchildren. In this episode, the queen's children talk frankly about the roles they were born into and the challenges of royal life.

Check your local PBS station programming schedule to confirm broadcast dates and times.Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work is underwritten by Cunard Line, Public Television Viewers and PBS. Co-producers: RDF Media and History Television International in association with Oregon Public Broadcasting. For more information and to book a voyage aboard Queen Mary 2 or Queen Victoria, consult your Travel Professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to

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EcoHangers Help Luxury Cruise Line Stay 'Crystal Clean'

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 27 -- Extending the same care for the environment as it does for guests on its luxury cruises, Crystal Cruises has partnered with the Hanger Network, the creator of EcoHangers, to green the guest staterooms on its ships. EcoHangers are the environmentally sound alternative to the 3.5 billion wire hangers and the 5 billion plastic hangers that fill America's landfills each year. EcoHangers are 100% recyclable, manufactured in EPA-regulated factories in the U.S. from 100% recycled materials, and have proven to be stronger than wire hangers in laboratory strength tests.

Under this new partnership, the Crystal fleet will use company-branded EcoHangers for its guest laundering services. In conjunction with the new hangers, Crystal will also utilize washable garment bags for laundry distribution, eliminating the use of more than 100,000 plastic bags on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity per year. Crystal Cruises' partnership with the Hanger Network reaffirms the luxury line's commitment to the environment. "Crystal Clean" is the company's program of environmentally-friendly initiatives, which includes educating its staff on an ongoing basis about conservation methods on board, ashore and at home. In addition, the "Crystal Clean" message is reiterated to guests through its onboard publication, Reflections, and signage posted in every stateroom and suite.

"Crystal Cruises recognizes we are stewards of our oceans and we continually seek ways to minimize our impact on the environment," said Gregg L. Michel, Crystal Cruises' president. "The washable garment bags and EcoHangers are both aesthetic enhancements, as well as being more ecologically beneficial."

In 2006 and 2007, Crystal Cruises audited its ships' lighting and energy consumption. Since then, light replacement measures have included automated light programming that eliminates or reduces electricity use in public areas when they are not in use or there is ample natural light, and the installation of Infra-Red coated light bulbs, which use 30% less energy than standard bulbs. These measures have saved more than 960,000 kWh, the equivalent to eliminating more than 5,000 light bulbs per year, or nearly 200 tons of fuel per year.

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In Unsettled Economic Times SeaDream Yacht Club
 Introduces Cancel for Any Reason

Here’s a welcome and timely new program from innovative SeaDream Yacht Club--a Cancellation Waiver Policy on bookings called Cancel for Any Reason. In these disturbing economic times SeaDream is introducing a policy whereby travelers who book voyages on SeaDream I and II, can change or postpone their SeaDream travel plans for up to 18 months for any reason. Provided they do so up to 48 hours prior to the date of departure they will receive 100 percent yacht credit for the voyage tariff including government, port handling and service fees. This yacht credit will be applied toward a future sailing on one of SeaDream’s ultra-luxury mega-yacht cruisers within 18 months of the written cancellation. Cost for this Cancel for Any Reason program is $50 per person or a minimum of $100 per stateroom, per voyage. This is about $7 per day, per person to cancel for any reason for a one week voyage.

To take advantage of the Cancel for Any Reason program” travelers need only to advise SeaDream or their travel agent of their desire to cancel their booking up to 48 hours prior to embarkation. Cancellation must be in writing. The yacht credit in the amount of the original monies paid, less the waiver fee, applies to the new booking on any 2008, 2009 or 2010 scheduled voyages.

When guests elect to re-book within the specified 18 month period the yacht credit is applied as a fare reduction on the new booking. If the re-booking cost is less than the original, the balance, is forfeited. If the re-booking costs more, then the original guests pay the difference. SeaDream operated a similar program following 9/11 that was much appreciated by the travel agent community and the general public.

Commenting on the Cancel for Any Reason program, Larry Pimentel, President, CEO and Co-Owner of SeaDream stated: “Even in these unsettled economic times we have seen that travelers are pragmatic and resilient about their vacation plans. Yet, all of us are in need of reassurances, especially in highly stressful times such as we are experiencing now.”

SeaDream points out that the Cancel for Any Reason program is not a substitute for the purchase of a regular travel insurance policy which covers medical emergencies, trip interruption or cancellation, loss or delay of baggage and other eventualities. SeaDream’s supplier for travel insurance is Travel Guard International whose policies are available to North American travelers. Information on complete coverage may be found on SeaDream’s website at

The Cancel for Any Reason program is not applicable to SeaDream Group Bookings, Bulk Stateroom Purchases or Full Yacht Charters. The Cancel for Any Reason program will be reevaluated at year’s end.

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On All Hallows Eve, Cunard’s “Liner Notes” Casts a Captivating Spell

Oct 27 – Liner Notes, the literary travel series sponsored by Cunard Line, marks Halloween with a special “Costume Party” episode hosted by Paul Holdengräber. In this spirited episode, Holdengräber takes listeners on a mesmerizing journey exploring the nature of horror in literature and film through the eyes of some of the world’s most accomplished writers, filmmakers and scholars. Highlights of the hour-long episode include an expedition to Mexico to experience the Day of the Dead and a revealing discourse on the appeal of putting on a mask. In the tradition of the legendary Algonquin Roundtable, Liner Notes is taped over lunch at the Captain’s Table aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and, in this episode, features the insight and analysis of seven notable guests.

“From spine-tingling topics to a captivating collection of guests, this episode will engage listeners whose interests include science fiction, fantasy, fright and myth,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line.

Holdengräber’s “Costume Party” guests include:

-- Clive Barker, contemporary horror/fantasy writer and filmmaker, of whom Stephen King once said, “I have seen the future of horror, his name is Clive Barker.” Barker, who is best known for his collection of short horror stories including Books of Blood, also wrote and directed Hellraiser, Nightbreed and Lord of Illusions.
-- Peter Straub, award-winning horror fiction author, whose works include Ghost Story; In the Night; Koko; and Lost Boy, Lost Girl. Straub is a four-time winner of the Bram Stroker Award for “superior achievement” in horror writing and winner of the prestigious World Fantasy Award.
-- Hampton Fancher, actor, film producer and screenwriter, who is best known for the screenplay Bladerunner. Fancher also wrote screenplays for The Mighty Quinn starring Denzel Washington and The Minus Man, which he also directed.
-- Ellen Datlow, former fiction editor of Omni magazine and Omni Online, who has edited numerous original science fiction, fantasy and horror anthologies. She has received the World Fantasy Award a record eight times.
-- Wendy Doniger, scholar of history of religion, who holds doctorates from Harvard University and the University of Oxford. The author of more than 30 books, Doniger is a professor at the University of Chicago where she teaches Hinduism and mythology. Through her research, she has explored many taboo subjects including the role masks have played throughout ancient cultures.
-- Maraleen Manos-Jones, storyteller and performer, whose work involving butterflies ranges from collecting stories, myths, legends, poems, superstitions and art about the butterfly. “The Butterfly Lady,” as she is known, explores the recurring themes of transformation, love, death and rebirth, and spiritual awakening.
-- Jan Albert, award-winning film producer, writer and critic. Albert's television and radio work has been recognized with two Emmy Awards, a Cable Ace Award and the Armstrong and CPB Awards.

Liner Notes explores fascinating destinations and thought-provoking ways that travel can be experienced and enjoyed through literature. Hosted by cultural wunderkind Paul Holdengräber,
whose literary happenings have turned the New York Public Library into a popular hot spot and whose public events at the Institute for Art and Cultures in Los Angeles are renowned, and recorded with notable and knowledgeable guests over lunch at the Captain's Table aboard Queen Mary 2, the series of themed, one-hour shows takes listeners on a journey of wit, wisdom and wanderlust, exploring destinations as they have been imagined and as they exist in literature, painting, film, music and myth. The conversations raise themes related to travel; for example, "falling in love with a place," "the benefits of wandering," "lost in translation," and "ex-patriot dreams." Interviews with travelers and locals deepen the exploration of a place in fact and in fantasy. The programs are available to hear at

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Carnival Liberty To Cancel European Sailings & Operate Year-Round 7-Day Cruises From Miami Beginning in April 2009

MIAMI, Oct 27 – Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that its Miami-based Carnival Liberty, which was originally scheduled to reposition to Europe in May 2009, will instead remain in Miami to operate year-round Caribbean cruises. The Carnival Liberty will continue to offer its existing schedule of 7-day Caribbean cruises through next spring and then introduce a new 7-day program from Miami beginning in April 2009.

In turn, the Carnival Pride, currently based in Long Beach, CA, and originally scheduled to shift to Miami for a five-month Caribbean deployment from April through August, will instead launch its Baltimore-based program on April 27, 2009. Prior to its Baltimore deployment, Carnival Pride will operate its previously scheduled Panama Canal cruise from Long Beach to Miami March 22–April 5, 2009, as well as a 6-day cruise departing April 5 and two 7-day Caribbean cruises departing April 11 and 18, 2009, all operating from Miami.

“Based on current market conditions, continued economic uncertainty and high air costs to Europe, we are shifting our focus to an even greater extent toward our core, close-to-home cruise options which are clearly the preference of the vast majority of the mainstream vacation market right now,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. “We are excited that this change in deployment will also enable us to bring the Carnival Pride to Baltimore four months earlier than originally planned to start up that city’s first year-round cruise program, which is proving to be extremely popular based on advanced bookings so far,” he added.

Cahill noted that Carnival will still offer several European cruises next year when the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream-–the line’s newest and largest ship-–debuts with a series of three 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruises from Rome (Civitavecchia) in Sept and Oct 2009. Carnival Dream will also operate a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Rome (Civitavecchia) to New York in late Oct 2009.

Cahill said that the company will be offering assistance in finding vacation alternatives to Carnival Liberty guests who were scheduled to sail in Europe, including European cruises on Carnival’s sister companies that have a strong presence in the region such as Holland America and Princess. “We understand that our guests who were scheduled to sail in Europe are going to be disappointed by this development and we sincerely apologize to them for this disruption to their vacation plans. Europe remains a desirable vacation choice for many and we will endeavor to help our guests find alternative plans to sail within the region,” he said.

Existing Bookings - Carnival Liberty & Carnival Pride:

  • Guests booked on the Carnival Liberty Europe cruises will be provided special onboard credit offers toward other 2009 Carnival cruises, including the Carnival Dream European departures. In addition, Carnival will assist guests with the cost of changes/cancellations for non-refundable air transportation.
  • Guests who were booked on the Carnival Pride’s Caribbean cruises from April 25, 2009 to August 29, 2009 from Miami will be automatically shifted to the same accommodations on the Carnival Liberty. The Carnival Liberty will also operate the same itineraries as previously scheduled on the Carnival Pride.

Carnival Liberty’s New 7-Day Caribbean Cruises From Miami: Carnival Liberty will continue its current program of 7-day Caribbean cruises from Miami through April 18, 2009 then assume a new schedule of weeklong cruises to the Western and Exotic Eastern Caribbean beginning Sat, April 25, 2009, through Nov 28, 2009. The new Exotic Eastern Caribbean cruise route will feature Half Moon Cay, a private Bahamian island; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands. The western route will visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.

Carnival Pride’s New Spring/Summer Departures From Baltimore: Carnival Pride will launch Baltimore’s first year-round cruise program beginning on April 27, 2009, four months ahead of the original schedule. From April 27, 2009 to Sept 6, 2009, the ship will operate a series of 6-, 7- and 8-day cruises. These cruises will visit a wide variety of ports including Nassau, Freeport, Half Moon Cay (a private Bahamian island), Port Canaveral (Orlando) and Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos.

Reservations: Carnival will begin accepting reservations for the new Carnival Liberty and Carnival Pride programs from Miami and Baltimore beginning Oct 30, 2008. For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501.

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Announces End to Fuel Supplement

MIAMI, Oct. 24 -- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced that the company's fuel supplement will no longer apply to new Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises bookings made on or after Nov 10, 2008, anywhere in the world, for sailings that depart on or after Jan 1, 2010. This decision takes into consideration the recent reductions in global fuel prices. The company has also established specific guidelines that will determine whether fuel supplement refunds will be provided for sailings that begin in 2009 and later, which were booked prior to Nov 10, 2008, if fuel prices remain below a specific price threshold.

For 2009 sailings and 2010 sailings booked before Nov 10, 2008, the company will determine on a quarterly basis whether fuel supplements will be refunded. Refunds, in the form of an onboard credit, will be provided if the closing price of West Texas Intermediate fuel is $65 or less, at the closing time of the New York Mercantile Exchange, two weeks prior to the beginning of the upcoming calendar quarter. When those conditions are met, an onboard credit will be provided to all guests on sailings that begin during the upcoming calendar quarter.

The dates on which the price of West Texas Intermediate fuel will be measured, and the quarters during which refunds could apply are:

Fuel Price Determination Date     Quarter of Possible Fuel Supplement Refunds

December 18, 2008                   First quarter 2009
March 18, 2009                        Second quarter 2009
June 17, 2009                          Third quarter 2009
September 17, 2009                  Fourth quarter 2009
December 18, 2009                   First quarter 2010
March 18, 2010                        Second quarter 2010
June 17, 2010                          Third quarter 2010
September 17, 2010                  Fourth quarter 2010

The company will continue to closely monitor the movement of global fuel prices and recognize that an upturn in those prices could necessitate the reinstatement of a fuel supplement.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean Intl, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Cruises, and CDF Croisieres de France. The company has a combined total of 38 ships in service and six under construction. Additional information can be found on,,,, or

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Ruby Princess Godparents Select “Romance on the Ruby”
Grand-Prize Contest Winner

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct 24 -- Proving that romance is alive and well, Princess Cruises received more than 6,600 entries for their “Romance on the Ruby” cruise contest, which asked people to share their favorite romantic moment or milestone for a chance to win a getaway aboard Princess’ newest ship, Ruby Princess. From a pool of 10 finalists, one grand-prize winner was chosen today by Ruby Princess godparents Trista and Ryan Sutter, of the hit television reality series The Bachelorette. The Sutters selected Susan Custer of Battle Ground, Wash. to receive a seven-day cruise aboard Ruby Princess. Custer and the other finalists will join the ship for the two-day inaugural celebrations, which include attending the naming ceremony on Nov 6 and setting sail on a mini cruise.

“We were so touched by the heartfelt entries and by these couples’ years of love and dedication,” said Trista Sutter, “so it was really difficult to choose just one. But overall, we felt that Susan’s romantic story really captured the theme of the contest. Ryan and I are looking forward to meeting Susan and her husband, John, to congratulate them in person aboard Ruby Princess.” As the cruise line that has long embodied romance, Princess selected Trista and Ryan as christeners to help celebrate their milestone fifth wedding anniversary during the ship’s naming.

The thousands of entries included stories about memorable first meetings, romantic proposals, and unique celebrations of milestone occasions. Custer’s entry tells the story of how the man who was to become her second husband showed his love for her by surprising her with a new ring that combined stones from her first wedding ring from her late husband with new stones from him. “He had the jeweler put together a special ring from the two ‘loves’ of my life,” she said. They look forward to their Ruby Princess sailing as an opportunity to celebrate their upcoming second anniversary.

Custer was among the finalists voted as favorites by Princess Cruises’ Department of Romance members who include actor Gavin MacLeod, The Love Boat's "Captain Stubing;" Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the always-provocative couples therapist; Alex Michel, the first Bachelor on ABC’s hit show; Trish McDermott, vice president of love at; and Lisa Light, destination wedding expert and author.

“I shared in a lot of romantic moments during my 10 years on The Love Boat, so I had high expectations of the entries,” said Department of Romance member and Princess ambassador, Gavin MacLeod. “I think the winners chosen truly exemplify ways to keep romance a priority in a relationship.” MacLeod will also be on hand during the inaugural festivities to personally congratulate the winners.

The new Ruby Princess features a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing array of performing street entertainers, Princess' signature adults-only oasis called The Sanctuary, Sabatini’s Italian restaurant, Crown Grill seafood and steak house, "Movies Under the Stars" giant outdoor movie screen, and Hearts & Minds wedding chapel. The ship will feature an inaugural season of Western Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, followed by a program of Mediterranean voyages in summer 2009. 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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Celebrity Cruises 'Takes The Keys' to Celebrity Solstice

MIAMI, Oct. 24 -- The most widely heralded cruise ship to enter the market this year, Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Solstice, was delivered today at a ceremony in Emshaven, Netherlands, marking the formal transfer of the ship--the first in a class of five--from shipbuilder Meyer Werft to Celebrity Cruises. The ship will begin its transatlantic voyage Oct 25, with arrival in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., anticipated Nov 3.

"With its innovative, half-acre Lawn Club with real, growing grass; the Hot Glass Show offered through our alliance with The Corning Museum of Glass; 10 widely varied restaurants, including four in the specialty category; stylish, spacious staterooms whose design was influenced by a panel of five women with unique travel and hospitality insights; and, of course, the intangible attribute found on every Celebrity ship--extraordinary service--Celebrity Solstice is the perfect manifestation of what the Celebrity brand is all about," said Celebrity's President & CEO Dan Hanrahan.

"We are indebted to the countless, highly dedicated individuals who have brought this spectacular ship to this point, and who have shared our passion for innovation, and our dedication to excellence," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Celebrity Cruises' parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Soon after its arrival in Fort Lauderdale on Nov 3, Celebrity Solstice will serve as the perfect platform for Celebrity Cruises' first Global Sales Meeting, followed by a series of exclusive, two-night preview cruises for invited travel agents, press and other dignitaries. Celebrity Solstice will be named in formal ceremonies on Nov 14, and will embark on its inaugural season Nov 23, on a series of seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. In spring 2009, the stunning new ship will introduce a series of romantic 10- and 11-night Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Rome.

Celebrity's fleet, including the new Celebrity Solstice, will be joined by Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit

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Ruby Princess Delivered by Shipyard; Sets Sail for Florida

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct 23 - The newest addition to the Princess fleet, Ruby Princess, was delivered to Princess Cruises today in Monfalcone, Italy by the ship's builder, Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani. The 3,070-passenger vessel has set sail for Fort Lauderdale where she is scheduled to arrive on Nov 4. The ship will be christened on Nov 6 by celebrity couple Trista and Ryan Sutter from ABC's hit reality series, The Bachelorette. In keeping with the launch's "romantic milestones" theme, Princess will help the duo celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.

Ruby Princess will debut a number of new services and amenities on board, including new dining options such as a pub lunch in the Wheelhouse Bar, unique enrichment programs and the new Ultimate Ship Tour. The vessel also includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing array of performing street entertainers, Princess' signature adults-only oasis called The Sanctuary, Sabatini's Italian restaurant, Crown Grill seafood and steak house, "Movies Under the Stars" giant outdoor movie screen, and Hearts & Minds wedding chapel.

Ruby Princess will set sail on her maiden voyage from Fort Lauderdale on Nov 8, beginning a program of Western Caribbean sailings taking passengers to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Princess Cays. Following her inaugural Caribbean season, the ship will offer a program of Mediterranean voyages in summer 2009. 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 Enhances Platinum Cancellation Protection Plan

Seattle, WA, Oct 23 – Holland America Line guests now have the option of purchasing an enhanced version of its Cancellation Protection Plan (CPP), which covers the cost of a cruise fare in the event of cancellation by the guest. While the former plan required an approved covered medical reason to cancel within 24 hours of departure, the new CPP Platinum will feature a 90% refund upon cancellation for any reason up to departure, as well as increased baggage protection and relaxed rules related to recovering expenses for a trip delay. The new plan is effective for cruises departing Sept 1, 2009, and beyond.

Extension of Cancellation Period: Eliminating a previous one-day notice clause, the updated CPP Platinum offers a “cancel-for-any-reason” refund at 90% of the of the eligible amounts paid (excluding the protection plan cost) up to the point of departure. The extension of time allows for any circumstance that might prevent travel within 24 hours prior to departure, regardless of the reason. Standard CPP reimburses 80% of eligible amounts paid for cancellations for any reason up to 24 hours prior to departure. For most sailings, Holland America Line’s standard cancellation policy allows guests to cancel in writing without penalty up to 76 days prior to the departure date.

Trip Delay Benefits: Compensation up to US$500 per person for accommodation and travel expense is provided with the enhanced CPP Platinum for any length of trip delay. Previous per diem limits and minimum trip delay length restrictions have been eliminated.

Baggage Protection Increased:In addition to the reimbursement of US$600 for baggage delays, liability for baggage loss or damage has increased from US$600 to a total of US$1600 under the CPP Platinum Plan.
The non-refundable CPP Platinum is available to U.S. and Canadian residents and must be purchased at the time of deposit. Pricing varies by cruise fare. For example, CPP pricing for a guest paying $1,200 per person for a seven-day Caribbean cruise would be $99 for Standard CPP and $129 for CPP Platinum. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Windstar Launches 'Half the Deposit, All the Luxury' Program

SEATTLE, Oct 23 -- Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations, is reducing its cruise deposit requirement by 50 percent on all new bookings made Oct 22 through Dec 15, 2008, for any 2009 sailing that is not within final payment requirement. Between those dates, the new program allows guests to make a deposit of $375 per person, instead of $750 per person, within three days of booking a Windstar cruise to secure a reservation for 2009 sailings that are outside of the final payment period. The remaining deposit is due Jan 15, 2009.

"In these challenging economic times, we are offering guests more value by significantly reducing the amount of deposit required on luxurious Windstar cruise vacations," said Diane Moore, President of Windstar Cruises.

A leader in defining the small ship luxury cruise experience for more than 20 years, Windstar has won the allegiance of a new generation of contemporary travelers who appreciate the line's luxurious accommodations, alternative dining venues, diversity of shore excursions, complimentary water sports program and deluxe spa facilities. The completed multi-million dollar Degrees of Difference enhancements on all three ships focused on structural and technical operations along with upgrades to guest areas, remodeled bathrooms in staterooms and an expanded beauty salon and spa. Other enhancements include Bose SoundDock speakers for Apple iPod Nanos, wireless Internet, flat screen televisions, luxury linens and mattresses as well as L'Occitane amenities.

Windstar Cruises operates three sailing yachts known for their pampering without pretense and their ability to visit the hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world's most treasured destinations. Carrying just 148 to 312 guests, the luxurious ships of Windstar cruise to nearly 50 nations, calling at 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. For more information including rates and itineraries contact a professional travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online at

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Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef Jacques Thorel
to Host Silversea "Culinary Arts" Cruise

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Oct 23 -- From the sun-kissed beaches of the Cape Verde Islands to the breathtaking desert dunes of Namibia, this December Silversea's newly refurbished Silver Wind will offer the perfect setting for a rare epicurean odyssey hosted by Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef Jacques Thorel.

Thorel is the renowned chef/owner of two-Michelin-starred Auberge Bretonne (a Relais & Châteaux-member restaurant and hotel that also bears the coveted "Relais Gourmand" designation), located in picturesque La Roche-Bernard, a medieval village nestled in the French region of Brittany. He has collaborated with Silversea's corporate executive chef, Rudi Scholdis, to create over 60 enticing new dishes for La Collection du Monde, the exclusive three-course dining options that form part of the dinner menu featured each evening in The Restaurant, the main dining venue aboard all Silversea ships.

Following is a sampling of some of the new delicacies featured in La Collection du Monde:

* Roasted Wild Boar with Porcini Mushrooms
* Breast of Pigeon Slow-cooked with Foie Gras and Truffle Shavings
* Baby Turbot Cooked in Madras Curry and Coconut Milk with Fresh Coriander
* Beef Filet Mignon with Foie Gras-poached Potatoes and Shallot Jam
* Pan-fried Fillet of Greenland Turbot with Sweet Pepper Ragout
* Layered Partridge Tart with Rouennaise Sauce

"We're very pleased that Chef Thorel will be joining us as we launch these exclusive Relais & Châteaux signature dishes aboard Silver Wind," said Scholdis. "Since June we have been testing them aboard the Prince Albert II and I'm very pleased with the favorable feedback from our guests. We are now ready to phase in the enhanced menu selections across our fleet, starting with Silver Cloud on October 20, Silver Wind on December 5, and Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper in early 2009."

In conjunction with the launch of the refreshed dining options of La Collection du Monde, Thorel will host a Culinary Arts enrichment program aboard Silver Wind's December 2, Las Palmas-to-Cape Town cruise, an exotic 18-day voyage calling in the Cape Verde Islands, Dakar, Banjul, Bom Bom Island and Walvis Bay. Thorel will present his unique Breton cuisine and cooking methods in the ship's demonstration culinary theater. Custom-designed by Viking Range Corporation, the theater is 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.

This special voyage will also feature food and wine pairings, creative regional dishes, and a five-course grand gourmet dinner. If the itinerary permits, guests may also enjoy escorted provisioning trips to international markets. Silversea Corporate Executive Chef Rudi Scholdis will also be on hand to share his culinary expertise and answer any questions.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents.

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Costa Cruises’ Fleet Expansion Continues
As Engines Are Installed On Costa Deliziosa

MIAMI, FL, Oct 23 – Work is continuing at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera, Italy on the construction of the Costa Deliziosa, the 15th member of the fleet belonging to Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line. The Costa Deliziosa is due to enter service in January 2010. Over the last few days, procedures were carried out for the installation of the diesel engine generator sets, the engines that produce the power needed for propulsion and shipboard hotel services. The complex operation included the installation of six engines: four 162,000 kg, 12-cylinder 12,000 kW generators as well as two 117,000 kg, 8-cylinder, 8000 kW engines. Together, they can provide power of nearly 64 Mw, the equivalent to the electricity consumption of a town of over 40,000 inhabitants.

The Costa Deliziosa, which is the sister ship of the Costa Luminosa, will be a 92,700 gross tonnage ship with a double occupancy capacity of 2,260. Fincantieri is currently building three new Costa ships in its yards. In addition to the Costa Deliziosa, the Italian ship builder is presently completing the Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica (double occupancy capacity of 3,000 and 114,500 gross tonnage). These are respectively the 13th and 14th members of the fleet, which are being fitted out in Marghera and Genoa-Sestri Ponente and will be delivered at the end of April and the end of May 2009 with a joint inaugural on June 5, 2009.

Costa’s fleet expansion program includes the introduction of five new ships by 2012, all built in Italy by Fincantieri for a total investment worth 2.4 billion euros. In addition to the Costa Pacifica, Costa Luminosa and Costa Deliziosa, two sister ships of the Costa Pacifica will enter service in spring 2011 and 2012. The Costa Cruises fleet will then be 17-strong and able to carry some 46,400 guests, an increase of 50% on present capacity, confirming its status as Europe’s largest cruise fleet. Five more vessels have been commissioned and will enter service by 2012. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA, or visit

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Official Opening Events for Carnival Corp’s Rebuilt
Puerta Maya Cruise Center in Cozumel Include Reef Dedication

MIAMI, Oct 22 – The Puerta Maya Cruise Center in Cozumel, operated by Carnival Corporation, “officially” opened yesterday with grand opening festivities presided over by Francine Cousteau, president of the Cousteau Society and widow of pioneering undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau. In addition to the re-opening of a new two-berth pier and expansive shopping and retail complex, Francine Cousteau served as “godmother” of a new artificial reef off the coast of Cozumel comprised of 56,000 tons of salvaged concrete pilings taken from Puerta Maya’s original pier that was destroyed by Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

The inauguration of the artificial reef kicked off two days of grand opening festivities for the Puerta Maya Cruise Center. Events included a gala fundraiser benefiting Parque Marino Arrecifes de Cozumel (Marine Parks of Cozumel) and the Cousteau Society, as well as an opening reception at the facility’s main plaza attended by Mexican government officials, including the Governor of the State of Quintana Roo Felix Gonzales Canto, Cozumel Mayor Juan Carlos Gonzales, and other federal, state and city representatives. A luncheon aboard the Carnival Legend took place, as well.

Located on the north coast of Cozumel, the new artificial reef was funded by Carnival Corporation & plc and will create a new underwater habitat within the island’s world-renowned reef system, part of the largest reef system in the Western Hemisphere. While abundant with fish and other marine animals, the former marine habitat consisted mainly of vast areas of sand and seaweed. The new reef, called Lol-Ha after the Mayan word for “water-flower” and inspired by the centuries-old tale that explains how the sea got its blue color, creates an undersea environment that can support a wider variety of marine species, including soft and hard corals and sponges, as well as fish and crustaceans.

Carnival Corp and Puerta Maya officials also unveiled a number of educational and environmental initiatives designed to heighten awareness of the island’s precious natural resources. These include:

  • Environmental Education – In partnership with the Cozumel Department of Education and Puerta Maya, Carnival is underwriting two environmental education programs for local schoolchildren. The first is an in-school program for younger students focusing on the importance of ocean and coral reef preservation. The second program, aimed at high school students, offers an overview of the wide-ranging environmental operations of cruise ships and includes field trips to visit cruise ships while they are in port where students can learn about recycling, water treatment and other shipboard environmental programs.
  • New Snorkeling Guidelines - Carnival Corporation & plc has imposed new rules for tour operators offering reef snorkeling expeditions in waters surrounding Cozumel, which will also be expanded to other ports in the region. The new guidelines, which call for excursion operators to ensure that there is at least 10 feet (three meters) of depth between the surface of the water and reefs, are intended to protect the reef from damage caused by inexperienced snorkelers inadvertently kicking or standing on the reef, which can kill the living coral polyps that are the foundation of the reef structure.
  • Permanent Environmental Exhibit at Puerta Maya – Designed to provide a comprehensive overview of Cozumel’s vast ecosystems, the 20-foot by 40-foot exhibit at the Puerta Maya Cruise Center features a series of panels and three-dimensional objects that focus on a variety of environmental preservation and protection efforts within the island and the surrounding area.
  • ‘Beach and Coral Reef Etiquette Card’ - The card, which is distributed to cruise guests as they disembark the ship, consists of a map of the island showing the major coral reefs and beaches, with guidelines for the preservation of these natural resources. The card, which is printed in both English and Spanish, is suitable for use as a souvenir keepsake or bookmark.

“Cozumel is one of the world’s most beautiful cruising destinations and these wide-ranging initiatives underscore the importance of protecting and preserving the island’s precious natural resources, particularly its marine environments, which are such an important part of guests' cruise experience,” said Giora Israel, Carnival Corp’s vice president of strategic planning and port development. “We would also like to thank Mrs. Francine Cousteau for her role in serving as ‘godmother’ to this magnificent new artificial reef which will provide a valuable marine habitat, as well as a new underwater attraction for snorkelers and divers,” he added.

Representing an investment of more than $50 million, the rebuilt Puerta Maya Cruise Center includes a two-berth pier built to withstand a category 5 hurricane, along with a variety of shopping and dining opportunities and a transportation hub capable of accommodating dozens of taxis and tour buses. A new shore excursion pier allowing for quick and convenient access to all water-bound excursions, as well as water-based transportation to and from the facility, is also available. Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy and 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy were the first cruise ships to call at the new Puerta Maya pier last week, representing the first of 550 cruise-ship visits at the facility over the next year. In addition to calling at Puerta Maya, vessels from Carnival Corporation & plc brands will continue to utilize the other two piers in Cozumel. Collectively, these ships will bring an estimated 1.5 million visitors annually to Cozumel, who are expected to spend $126 million on the island each year.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Plans November 1st Return to Galveston

MIAMI, Oct 22 – Carnival Cruise Lines, the Port of Galveston's only year-round cruise operator, announced today that it will resume service from the Texas port on Nov 1, 2008 following a temporary relocation of cruise operations due to Hurricane Ike last month. The 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy will resume year-round 4- and 5-day cruises from Galveston with a 5-day voyage departing on Saturday, Nov 1. The 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest will begin year-round 7-day service from Galveston Sunday, Nov 2.

Up until that time, the ships will continue to operate round-trip from the Port of Houston's Bayport Cruise Terminal where they were shifted temporarily following Hurricane Ike. The Carnival Ecstasy cruises on Oct 23 and Oct 27; and the Carnival Conquest cruise on Oct 26 will operate round-trip from Houston.

"We are extremely pleased to be resuming service from the Port of Galveston and extend our congratulations and appreciation to the port and the Galveston community as a whole for enabling us to return so quickly," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO. "We would also like to express our gratitude to the Port of Houston for their tremendous efforts in accommodating our ships and being such exceptional partners. Their support enabled these ships to remain Texas based while Galveston worked through its recovery process," Cahill noted.

Carnival launched the first year-round cruise program from Galveston in 2000 and has expanded its presence dramatically over the past eight years. With the return of its two year-round ships, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Conquest, the line expects to carry an estimated 350,000 guests annually from Galveston.

Carnival Ecstasy's 4- and 5-day cruise schedule encompasses 4-day voyages departing Thursdays to Cozumel, Mexico, and 5-day cruises departing Mondays and Saturdays to Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico. Carnival Conquest's 7-day western Caribbean cruise program includes week-long voyages departing every Sunday to Montego Bay, Jamaica; Cozumel; and George Town, Grand Cayman as well as a new 2009 itinerary option that visits Key West, Freeport and Nassau. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit

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Oasis of the Seas to Feature Ultimate Wonderland for Young Adventurers

MIAMI, Oct 22 – The final neighborhood to be added into the deck plans of Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas concept that will provide guests with the opportunity to seek out relevant experiences based on their personal style, preference or mood in seven neighborhoods, including Central Park, Boardwalk with the AquaTheater, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place, and the Youth Zone was announced last night during an online unveiling. The Youth Zone, a haven for children and teens, joins the ranks of six other previously-announced, diverse neighborhoods that will be aboard the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship due to launch in November 2009.

Oasis of the Seas will offer more of everything for every member of the family, including more for our younger guests,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. Oasis of the Seas will continue to build on our award-winning Adventure Ocean youth and teen programs, and expand to include dedicated space and programming for our guests as young as six months.”

The latest neighborhood unveiling introduced a wealth of kid- and teen-friendly adventures that lie within the Youth Zone - covering a total expansive area of more than 28,700 sq. ft. (2,669 sq. meters) - including, Kids Avenue, a central boulevard connecting children with dedicated Adventure Ocean spaces and various themed play areas; the cruise line’s first nursery for infants and toddlers (six months or older); and state-of-the-art teen areas. A video preview of these areas, including interviews with Royal Caribbean executives, is now available online at

The Adventure Ocean youth program aboard Oasis of the Seas will feature the cruise line’s award-winning curriculum currently offered to young guests fleetwide, but with an exciting new and enhanced approach, including impressive spaces created and equipped specifically for designated activities allowing for a more robust program. All Royal Caribbean Adventure Ocean and teen programs are led by exceptional, energetic and college-educated counselors, whose goal is to create memorable experiences for the cruise line’s younger guests.

Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated advancements is the addition of the Royal Babies and Tots nursery, a first for Royal Caribbean. This colorful space will serve as a fully-staffed nursery where children can be left in the care of Royal Caribbean’s trained professionals, as well as host various playgroups created by Fisher-Price and Crayola for babies and tots. Open daily, the nursery will offer parents childcare drop-off options in the daytime and evening, carefully maintaining an optimum staff to child ratio. Free-time play also will be offered daily, creating an interactive environment where parents and children can bond while playing with a variety of Fisher Price developmental toys in specially-designed programs offered exclusively for guests sailing with Royal Caribbean. The Crayola Beginnings line of toddler art tools will be featured in unique developmentally-appropriate art activities designed for parents and children to enjoy precious creative moments together.

Within the Youth Zone, Kids Avenue will serve as the main promenade for young cruisers to access the various Adventure Ocean areas. Crayola Arts and crafts activities, scavenger hunts, talent shows and other scheduled and guided age-specific activities will be offered to three Adventure Ocean program age groups, each with its own space: Aquanauts, ages 3 to 5; Explorers, ages 6 to 8; and Voyagers, ages 9 to 11.

In addition, Oasis of the Seas will introduce exciting new common play areas, including the Kid’s Arcade for video games; the Workshop, where families can learn scrapbooking skills or create personalized jewelry; Imagination Studio where children can explore the world of color and imagination through Adventure Art by Crayola; a fully-equipped lab for Adventure Science Lab, where Einsteins-in-the-making can expand their knowledge; Play, a circular area where children can rollick and participate in a variety of sports and games; and Adventure Ocean Theater, the first-ever children’s theater at sea - complete with a stage and curtains, audience seating and state-of-the-art production equipment - where children of all ages can learn about theatrical productions, take part in talent shows, or sign up for hip hop dance classes.

The teen-only spaces will be located one deck above the Adventure Ocean areas and adjacent to the ship’s Sports Deck, where kids can test their skills on one of the ship’s two FlowRider surf simulators; the miniature golf-course, Oasis Dunes; or the Sports Court for volleyball and basketball games. The physical separation of the teen-only spaces from younger Adventure Ocean guests will be one of the many striking enhancements implemented as a recommendation of Royal Caribbean’s Teen Advisory Board—a group of teens recruited last year to identify what youths between the ages of 12- and 17-years would want to see aboard future Royal Caribbean ships. Longtime favorite Royal Caribbean teen-only spaces, Fuel disco and The Living Room, will return aboard Oasis of the Seas, only larger and more state-of-the-art. The Living Room will be the ultimate go-to hangout for teens to kick back and socialize at the “mock-tail” bar, which serves non-alcoholic sodas and juice concoctions; learn to spin and mix music in Scratch DJ 101 classes, a part of Royal Caribbean’s Scratch DJ Academy; or surf the Internet and keep in touch with friends via the bank of computer stations dedicated to the space. Teens also will be able to kick it up a notch at Fuel, a disco which will feature a hip environment, where they can hang out with friends, and a dance floor, where they can show off their moves. A spacious outdoor deck adjacent to these venues will give teens more opportunities to make new friends while on their cruise vacation.

In addition to the areas within the Youth Zone and teen-only spots aboard Oasis of the Seas, special attractions for children of all ages also will be located throughout the ship’ other neighborhoods. Along the Boardwalk, kids and teens will be able to shop at retail stores tailored to their interests, and infants and toddlers can ride the Carousel with their parents or enjoy the climbing and play space modeled after a 50’s-style gas station next to the popular Johnny Rockets restaurant. The lively Challengers Arcade also will return aboard Oasis of the Seas, and will be decked out with the latest video games sure to entertain kids and teens. In the Vitality Spa and Fitness Zone, teens and tweens can enjoy a menu of spa options specially tailored for them in a dedicated space at the Vitality at Sea Spa.

A diverse selection of activities for families and guests of all ages will be found in all of the neighborhoods throughout Oasis of the Seas. Family-friendly innovations range from the industry’s first amphitheater, the AquaTheater, featuring theatrical diving performances and spectacular water and light shows; the first zip line at sea stretching 82 feet in length and suspended nine decks above the exciting Boardwalk area; and in the Pool & Sports Zone, the H2O Zone aquapark with its toddler pool and the first beach pool at sea, featuring a true-to-form sloped entry and colorful beach chairs and umbrellas to give guests the ultimate beach experience.

When she launches in November 2009, Oasis of the Seas will be the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. An architectural marvel at sea, she will span 16 decks, encompass 220,000 gross registered tons (GRT), carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms. Oasis of the Seas will be the first ship to tout the cruise line’s new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which include Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. The ship will sail from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Additional information is available at

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 21 ships currently in service and two under construction. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska and Canada, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, and South America. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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Princess to Debut Array of New Features & Special Touches
 Aboard Ruby Princess

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct 20 - When Ruby Princess launches on Nov 8, the ship will introduce a host of new shipboard services and special features, underscoring Princess' tradition of continually evolving the onboard experience for its passengers. Among the new options is a pub lunch, an exclusive breakfast for suite passengers, unique enrichment programs from astronomy to mixology, two new stage shows, plus expanded wireless Internet and cell phone connectivity.

The 3,070-passenger vessel will feature the familiar favorites that have become passenger pleasers aboard its sister ships Crown Princess and Emerald Princess but, in addition, other special touches and innovations will be found throughout the service, dining and entertainment areas.

"The new features aboard Ruby Princess are a perfect example of our commitment to provide passengers with the widest array of intriguing options to customize their cruise vacation," said Jan Swartz, Princess senior vice president.

Many of the ship's enhancements are slated to become staples across the Princess fleet following their debut on Princess' newest ship. Among the new features being introduced on Ruby Princess:

Wheelhouse Bar Pub Lunch - On sea days, Ruby Princess' Wheelhouse Bar will be transformed into an authentic English-style pub, serving a selection of traditional fare. A menu of British favorites, including bangers & mash, fish & chips, ploughman's lunch and cottage pie, will complement a selection of traditional pub brews such as Stella Artois, Bass Ale or Guinness. Pub lunch meal service is free of charge and will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Sabatini's Breakfast for Suite Passengers - Suite passengers aboard Ruby Princess will have the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive breakfast in Sabatini's. Beginning with a "Good Morning Mimosa," the menu features a variety of breakfast favorites, plus specialty items such as brioche French toast with apple & cinnamon compote, yogurt and super granola parfait with raspberry swirl, soft-poached egg over potato & vegetables with hollandaise sauce, and freshly made Belgian waffles. Suite passengers can enjoy this new amenity, along with the restaurant's dramatic top-of-ship views, from approximately 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Artisan Cheeses at Vines - In addition to serving more than 30 wines by the glass and seafood appetizers that have made Vines a passenger favorite, the atrium-area bar on Ruby Princess will now feature a selection of domestic and imported artisan cheeses. Twelve varieties - including unique choices such as boschetto al tartufo bianchetto, reblochon, and cambozola - will be featured each day for a nominal fee. Vines will also host a series of lively events where passengers can meet members of the ship's staff, and will continue to offer wine flights and parings.

New Enrichment Programs - A number of new ScholarShip@Sea enrichment programs debut aboard Ruby Princess to expand passengers' horizons, whether they aspire to host the perfect party or increase their maritime knowledge. The Art of Entertaining offers passengers the opportunity to learn party-planning tips from lifestyle expert Susie Coelho via a multimedia presentation hosted by the cruise director. Navigation@Sea focuses on the history of navigation as well as the complexities of plotting the route of a modern cruise ship, with a presentation by the ship's navigator. Mixology@Sea lets passengers channel their inner bartender with a hands-on course taught by the ship's bar manager. For star gazers, the new Astronomy@Sea program provides passengers with the opportunity to explore the night sky through a telescope on the top deck, with the expert guidance of a ship's bridge officer. Developed in conjunction with Dr. Thomai Serdari, Professor of Art History and Director of Research Collections for New York University, Art History@Sea: Botticelli to Warhol, The Evolution of Art makes 500 years of art come to life with a special hour-long presentation.

Two New Production Shows - Ruby Princess audiences will be able to enjoy two new Princess-produced shows in the ship's theater. "Broadway Ballroom" presents the music of the 'Great White Way' with a ballroom flair, pairing the songs of hit musicals with dance numbers ranging from foxtrot to rumba. The show also features the talents of a costume designer and choreographer from the TV hit "Dancing with the Stars." Meanwhile, "Once Upon a Dream" uses unique multidimensional cinematic projection to follow a dreamscape unlike anything seen a sea. The audience will accompany a young woman's journey as she dreams of everything from a tea party in an English garden to singing camels in the desert, and even a trip through a waterfall and brief nightmare before waking to a new day.

The Audience Gets in the Act - A variety of new audience-participation events will also debut on the ship, giving passengers a number of ways to seek their 15 minutes of fame. Karaoke fans can go a bit farther with Love Boat Legends, where they are actually transformed into a famous artist of the past. So You Wanna Be A Rock Star? moves beyond pre-recorded Karaoke tunes to give audience members the opportunity to rock out with a live band on stage. Oceans of Talent puts passenger talent center stage - whether they play a musical instrument or want to try out their comedic timing. The Wake Up Show takes Princess' popular morning show with the cruise director to a new level with an irreverent talk show format, live band, special guests and an opportunity for passengers to join the "studio" audience, as the show is taped in the evening before its broadcast the next morning.

A Few Fine Touches - A number of new service touches will be introduced to delight passengers. In the Horizon Court buffet, new waffle stations will offer fresh cooked-to-order waffles at breakfast and throughout lunchtime, and the buffet will also begin serving complimentary lemonade as a beverage choice. In the evening, passengers will find a selection of canapés in several of the ship's public lounges. Passengers arriving back from shore will be greeted with chilled face cloths, and by the pool, "misting stewards" will offer a quick refreshing spritz with Evian to cool off.

Kid Stuff - Young passengers can enjoy a new Wizards Academy, an exclusive presentation from the award-winning California Science Center. This enriching new program lets children explore the connection between science and magic in a fun and participative environment. Kids will also enjoy activities and projects from popular arts and crafts company Klutz, or participate in Yoga for Kids, a healthy and fun course designed specifically for children.

Wireless Internet and Cell Phones - Expanding on Princess' Internet and phone connectivity, Ruby Princess will offer laptop users additional wireless hotspots around the vessel, including staterooms. The ship will also be equipped so that passengers can use their personal cellular phones, if they have international roaming plans, while onboard.

Ultimate Ship Tour - A new exclusive opportunity to experience an array of "back of house" areas that are key to a ship's daily operations, the Ultimate Ship Tour will give passengers the unique opportunity to explore beyond the public areas with visits to the ship's engine control room, medical center, print shop, laundry, photo lab, funnel, bridge and other spaces. In addition to getting a rare insider's view of many areas typically seen only by the ship's crew, participants will receive a variety of themed mementos at many of the stops along the route.

Ruby Princess also includes a dramatic piazza-style atrium featuring small-bite eateries and an ever-changing array of performing street entertainers, Princess' signature adults-only oasis called The Sanctuary, Sabatini's Italian restaurant, Crown Grill seafood and steak house, "Movies Under the Stars" giant outdoor movie screen, and Hearts and Minds wedding chapel. The ship will feature an inaugural season of Western Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, followed by a program of Mediterranean voyages in summer 2009.

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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MSC Cruises Introduces Online Express Check-In

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Oct 20 – MSC Cruises is now offering online express check-in, expediting embarkation for its guests. In order to utilize MSC Express, guests can log onto up to 48 hours prior to departure and click on the MSC Express icon to enter their booking information. The completed printed form, cruise ticket and required identification information can then be presented at the MSC Express priority check-in desk at the port.

“MSC Express serves to fast-track guests through the check-in process, saving them valuable time and letting them start their MSC Cruises experience as soon as possible,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises, USA.

For more information about MSC Cruises and MSC Express check-in, visit

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Eurodam to Sail North Europe Itineraries In July 2009

Seattle, WA, Oct 16 — For those with less time on their hands who still want to take a cruise holiday that abounds with popular ports of call, Holland America Line’s newest ship, the Signature-class, ms Eurodam, will sail two 4-day and one 2-day itineraries between Copenhagen, Denmark, and Dover (London), England, in July 2009 that make the perfect midsummer getaway. Guests wanting to take a longer holiday can book the voyages in combination with extended cruises to form 12- and 14-day Collectors’ Voyages.

“We understand that some travelers are looking for a quick and relaxing holiday, which is why we developed these shorter, exciting itineraries,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, Holland America Line. “We’ve put together some fascinating ports, so whether guests book a four-day cruise or a full 14-day Collectors’ Voyage, they’re going to have an unforgettable, premium-cruise experience.”

The first 4-day itinerary departs July 2, 2009, and sails from Copenhagen to Dover (London). Along the way, the line’s 2,104-passenger ship will call at Oslo, Norway, with a late-night departure so guests can enjoy the local nightlife and have time to become fully immersed in Scandinavia’s third-largest city. The ship also calls at Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a charming city rich in culture, history and ambiance.

The second 4-day cruise departs July 6 and sails round-trip Dover. The port-intensive itinerary visits an impressive three countries during its short journey. Eurodam first calls at Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium, a city overflowing with history and known for its chocolate, beer, waffles and diamonds. Next, the vessel calls at Cherbourg, France, where it stays until midnight allowing for plenty of extra time to explore the Normandy port. St. Peter Port, Guernsey, is the final call en route to Dover, and guests will be greeted by the islands’ charming 18th-century Georgian houses, pubs, cafés and restaurants.

Eurodam sails a 2-day mini-holiday from Dover to Copenhagen, departing July 10, that is ideal for the traveler looking to experience Eurodam or simply enjoy a brief respite from the everyday demands of day-to-day life.

12 & 14-day Collectors’ Voyages
A 14-day Copenhagen to Dover (London) Collector’s Voyage sets sail June 22 with one repeated call at Copenhagen. In addition to scenic cruising through the pine-tree covered Stockholm Archipelago, ports of call include Warnemünde (Berlin); Tallinn, Estonia; and an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. From St. Petersburg, Eurodam continues its sailing making calls at Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Kiel, Germany; Oslo and Amsterdam.

The 12-day Collectors’ Voyage combines the two-day Eurodam sampler cruise departing July 10, and continues on its Copenhagen round-trip journey to Warnemünde (Berlin), Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg (overnight), Tallinn and Kiel.

For a cruise brochure or for more information on Holland America Line’s Grand Voyages, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-800-522-3399 or visit

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Farewell to a Nautical Queen

Oct 16 – Cunard’s QE2 bid farewell to America in a poignant celebration befitting the company’s longest serving liner, recognized as the most famous ship in the world.

On her 710th and final call to New York, the iconic passenger vessel elegantly sailed through New York Harbor for the last time, escorted by the US Coast Guard and FDNY Fireboats, meeting her sister ship Queen Mary 2 for their final Royal Rendezvous at the Statue of Liberty before departing in tandem for Southampton, England.

“It is most fitting that QE2’s farewell to America be celebrated in New York, the city Cunard has called our North America homeport since 1847 and the setting for so much of the Line’s history,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line.

Earlier in the day, Her Majesty’s Consul General New York Sir Alan Collins and British Ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald joined Carol Marlow and distinguished guests onboard QE2 for a reception and farewell luncheon to celebrate the storied life of the legendary ocean liner.

Members of the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums provided a regal salute to QE2 and joined crowds of well-wishers lining the Battery Park Promenade to bid a fond farewell.

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Cruise West Returns to Vietnam in 2009

SEATTLE, Oct. 16 -- Cruise West, the global leader in small-ship exploration voyages and the largest American-owned cruise line, is reintroducing its Vietnam itinerary in 2009. Back by popular demand, Cruise West's Vietnam voyage will take place upon the company's flagship and most luxurious vessel, the 120-guest Spirit of Oceanus. The itinerary will give travelers the chance to experience Asian destinations such as Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Hue while discovering Vietnam's architecture, art, and ancient shrines. Along the way, guests will sample traditional Vietnamese cuisine, enjoy beautiful dance, martial arts, and colorful puppet theater. The 12-day journey commencing in Hanoi and ending in Ho Chi Minh City will depart on November 21, 2009, and includes tours along the Gulf of Tonkin--some 1,600 mostly uninhabited islands and islets; Hue, the Imperial City on the Perfume River; the temples and picturesque fishing boats of Nha Trang and more. Other highlights include the Cham Museum, a special private performance of traditional martial arts in Qui Nhon and UNESCO World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay.

"Cruse West's Asian itineraries are an important component of our goal to be an international cruise line," stated Dietmar R. Wertanzl, newly appointed president and CEO of Cruise West. "The decision to reintroduce our Vietnam itinerary was an obvious one given the interest in the destination our guests continue to express."

While onboard the Spirit of Oceanus, Exploration Leaders and guest speakers will share information about the people and places visited throughout the itinerary. Cruise West's Single Share Program is available on the Vietnam itinerary, allowing single travelers who are willing to share a room with another single traveler of the same gender to pay the double occupancy fare on the cruise. An optional five-day Angkor Wat/Cambodia add-on includes tours of the Temples at Angkor Wat including the spiritual center of Ta Prohm, Tonle Sap Lake, a floating fishing village of homes, shops and deepwater rice paddies, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

For additional information, a complete itinerary or to book the Cruise West Vietnam Cruise, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit

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Ninety-eight Balconies to be Added to Carnival Sensation’s Staterooms
During Scheduled January 2009 Drydock

MIAMI, Oct 15 -– Carnival Cruise Lines will add balconies to 98 existing staterooms aboard the 2,052-passenger Carnival Sensation during a 35-day scheduled dry dock taking place in January 2009. Ocean view staterooms will be retrofitted with new balconies that will extend from the ship and measure approximately 230 square feet. Twenty-four of the new balcony staterooms will be located mid-ship on both the port and starboard sides and 12 will be located near the stern, while the other 62 will be located within the aft section of the ship, with several of these cabins featuring extended balconies. Additionally, a number of the Carnival Sensation’s suites will be modified to feature larger, extended balconies to create a more spacious area from which to enjoy panoramic sea views.

The stateroom modifications are just one aspect of the ship’s extensive multi-million-dollar renovation, all part of the line’s wide-ranging “Evolutions of Fun” product enhancement initiative. Carnival Sensation’s “extreme makeover” will also include a previously announced Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, Serenity adults-only area, and a redesigned tropical-themed main pool area. Additionally, all staterooms will be completely refurbished, as well as virtually all dining, dancing and entertainment venues. Guest corridors will be renovated and a new “Circle C” facility catering to 12- to 14-year olds will be added, as well.

“These new stateroom modifications represent a significant investment in our product and, when combined with the many other ‘Evolutions of Fun’ amenities, add exciting new features and choices to an already spectacular ‘Fun Ship,’” said Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival’s executive vice president of marketing and guest experience.

Carnival Sensation currently operates year-round 3- and 4-day Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral, FL. On this route, 3-day cruises depart Thursdays and call at Nassau while 4-day voyages depart Sundays and visit both Nassau and Freeport. Carnival Sensation’s new and extended balcony staterooms will be open for reservations October 24, 2008. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Cruise Industry Creates More Than 350,000 Jobs, Generates
Record $38 Billion to U.S. Economy in 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE, Oct 15 -- The North American cruise industry’s economic impact in the United States grew by more than six percent in 2007, creating more than 350,000 jobs while generating $38 billion in total economic output, according to a national study released today by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). In addition to the national study, the association also released the latest passenger statistics for the first half of this year. From January to June, the cruise industry saw an overall 5.43 percent increase in passengers worldwide, with occupancies at almost 105 percent.

“Two clear messages result from the 2007 economic impact study and the January-June passenger figures,” said Terry L. Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. “First, the North American cruise industry continues to make a significant and growing contribution to the American economy and the industry is generating business development and investment, job creation and spending in all 50 states. Second, these positive indicators reflect the fact that consumers continue to respond strongly and positively to the outstanding value that a cruise vacation represents and the innovative product such a vacation offers.”

Dale said the economic growth is a result of CLIA member lines’ decisions to offer customers affordability, increased choice in destinations around the world, innovative onboard amenities and recreation, worldwide itineraries and more and more ports of embarkation close to where millions of Americans live.

“Even in uncertain economic periods, the U.S. consumer recognizes these factors as a strong value proposition,” Dale said. He also noted that international consumers are increasingly attracted to cruising as a result of new and additional capacity deployed in the Mediterranean and Europe. Contribution to the North American cruise growth is also fueled by innovative cruise products and a favorable currency exchange for Europeans. Figures through the first half of 2008 show an impressive 31 percent increase in internationally sourced passengers. “It has been encouraging to see sustained passenger growth and high cruise occupancies. While much of the passenger growth stemmed from internationally sourced guests, North American sourced passengers also posted modest year-over-year gains of .29 percent through the second quarter. In 1995, as little as 10.6 percent of guests sailing on CLIA member cruise lines were sourced outside of North America and, year to date, that percentage has grown to 20.5 percent. The international markets are increasingly important to many CLIA member lines and it is gratifying to see that their investment in these regions is paying off so quickly.”

The newly released 2007 CLIA Economic Impact Study, executed by BREA (Business Research & Economic Advisors) in Exton, Pennsylvania, found that last year the North American cruise industry contributed $38 billion in gross economic output, a 6.4 percent increase over 2006, and created 354,700 American jobs, positively impacting every state in the country and almost every major industry.

Direct spending by the industry and its passengers in the U.S. exceeded $18 billion for a 5.9 percent increase over 2006. At the same time, the industry maintained a 105 percent average occupancy rate* while increasing capacity, diversifying product and expanding operations worldwide.

The key findings of the 2007 economic impact study include:

-- Spending by the cruise industry and its passengers generated $38 billion in gross output in the U.S., up from $35.7 billion in 2006
-- Direct spending by the industry and its passengers in the U.S. totaled $18.7 billion, a 5.9 percent increase over 2006
-- The industry was directly and indirectly responsible for generating 354,700 jobs in the U.S., up from 348,000 in 2006, paying a total of $15.4 billion in wages and salaries
-- These total economic impacts affected all 50 states. The top 10 states accounting for 78 percent of direct purchases and 82 percent of the total employment and income impacts are: 1. Florida, 2. California, 3. Alaska, 4. New York, 5. Texas, 6. Hawaii, 7. Georgia, 8. Washington, 9. Illinois and, 10. Colorado
-- Over 60 percent of gross output and 40 percent of job creation affected seven industry groups (ranked in order of output): nondurable goods manufacturing, professional & technical services, travel services, durable goods manufacturing, financial services, airline transportation and wholesale trade.

Among the major factors contributing to the positive economic impact:

-- With an 8.8 percent increase in available bed days and an increase in average length of a cruise from 6.9 days to 7.2 days, the industry realized a 9.8 percent increase in actual passenger bed days and an industry wide capacity utilization of 104.9 percent
-- By year-end, CLIA’s fleet totaled 159 ships, with a capacity of 268,062 lower berths
-- In 2007, the industry carried an estimated 12.56 million passengers worldwide, a 4.7 percent increase over 2006
-- 9.45 million U.S. residents were cruise passengers in 2007, accounting for 75 percent of all cruisers
-- Passenger embarkations at U.S. ports totaled 9.18 million, a two percent increase and a 73 percent share of global embarkations
-- Ten U.S. cruise ports accounted for 83 percent of U.S. cruise embarkations: Miami (21 percent), Port Canaveral (14 percent), Port Everglades (14 percent), Los Angeles (6 percent), New York (6 percent), Galveston (6 percent), Seattle (4 percent), Honolulu (4 percent), Long Beach (4 percent), and Tampa (4 percent)
-- U.S. embarkations from additional U.S. ports increased by 17.2 percent reflecting the strong growth in new ports of embarkation throughout the country, which include Baltimore, Jacksonville, Boston and others, while embarkations at the top ten ports declined by 2 percent in 2007.

The economic benefits of the North American cruise industry come from five principal sources:

-- Spending by cruise passengers and crew for goods and services, including travel, pre- and post-cruise vacations, shore excursions and expenditures at restaurants and retail establishments;
-- On a typical or average cruise ship call, CLIA estimates that a 2,500-passenger ship would generate an average of approximately $358,000 in passenger and crew onshore spending per call in the homeport city. A similar ship making port-of-call visits would generate approximately $318,000 in passenger and crew onshore spending per U.S. port call;
-- Shoreside staffing by cruise lines for headquarters, marketing and tour operations;
-- Expenditures by cruise lines for goods and services, including food and beverage, fuel, hotel supplies and equipment, navigation and communication equipment, etc.;
-- Spending by cruise lines for port services at U.S. home ports and ports of call;
-- Expenditures by the cruise lines for maintenance and repair of vessels at U.S. facilities and for port terminals, office facilities and other capital equipment.

* Capacity based on two beds (or persons) per cabin. The incremental numbers come into play when factoring in a third or fourth guest in the same cabin or stateroom.

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Celebrity Cruises' Revamped Gifts and Amenities Program
Lets Cruisers Shop Around the Clock

MIAMI, Oct 14 – Celebrity Cruises has launched a new shopping program, and as of today, it is open for business 24 hours a day. “Shop Celebrity” is an online portal that allows consumers and travel agents to order a wide variety of items for delivery either onboard or at home. "Shop Celebrity" also includes the launch of Celebrity's new amenity program, "Gifts by Celebrity.”

“Shop Celebrity” offers a wide range of Celebrity Cruises logo items and apparel, gifts and memorabilia, as well as culinary delights, spirits, wine and soda. Within the portal, consumers and travel agents also have the opportunity to order from partner websites: LeapFrog® School; timetospa®; and Celebrity VineyardsSM, which includes products by Riedel® Crystal, the world-renowned manufacturer of wine glasses that offers comparative wine workshops on Celebrity’s ships.

“Based on feedback from our guests and travel agent partners as well as the growing popularity of online shopping in today’s marketplace, we wanted to create a virtual experience reflective of the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience that we offer on our ships,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Celebrity’s vice president of hotel operations and onboard revenue. “The complete Shop Celebrity program offers something for everyone, anytime, whether they want to surprise a friend or a client with an onboard gift, or whether they want stylish keepsakes for themselves or others.”

Shop Celebrity includes a comprehensive new amenities program named “Gifts by Celebrity,” which is comprised of three categories:

  • “Shop Aboard,” where consumers or travel agents can purchase items for themselves or gifts for others, that will be delivered onboard during a particular sailing. Travel agents are eligible for a 10% discount when placing “Shop Aboard” orders by phone, and will soon have access to a unique, agents-only website that will offer the same discount. The discount applies exclusively to gifts that the travel agents are buying for their clients who are sailing with Celebrity.
  • “Shop Ashore,” where consumers or travel agents can purchase items to be delivered to Celebrity guests’ homes or offices either before or after a cruise. Items can be delivered throughout the continental United States and to select cities around the globe.
  • “Group Gifts by Celebrity,” which offers a wide variety of items that consumers, travel agents and meeting planners can order, for delivery to affinity and incentive groups sailing with Celebrity; these items can be delivered before, during or after a cruise. Groups also have the opportunity to add their logo to certain items that include the Celebrity logo. A volume discount is available online.

Cruise enthusiasts are encouraged to “Shop Celebrity” by visiting

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Free Air Sweetens Crystal's Panama Canal Sailings

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13 -- In conjunction with its three winter/spring 2009 Panama Canal cruises between Los Angeles and Miami, Crystal Cruises is offering complimentary air fare to guests originating in those cities, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. Value Collection and Special Savings Fares offer fares up to 50% off.

The special offer is available with Crystal Serenity's 15-day cruise from Miami to Los Angeles, departing on January 6; Crystal Symphony's 14-day cruise from Miami to Los Angeles, departing on February 16; and Crystal Serenity's 16-day cruise from Los Angeles to Miami, departing on May 7. In addition to the daylight transit of the Panama Canal, the luxury cruises call at ports in Mexico, Costa Rica and the Caribbean and/or South America.

"A coast-to-coast cruise on Crystal offers North American travelers the convenience of a domestic departure and the time to savor Crystal's renowned onboard experience," says Bill Smith, senior vice president, sales and marketing. "Whether one is seeking time to spa, taking classes through the Creative Learning Institute, or relishing Nobu's creative sushi, a Crystal Panama Canal cruise offers a 'World's Best' tropical vacation at a refreshing change of pace from more port intensive itineraries. Discriminating travelers appreciate great value as much as stylish choices and superb service."

The February 16 and May 6 cruises also offer culinary and wellness "Experiences of Discovery," respectively. Depending on the cruise, guest chefs, wine experts, and expert instructors in yoga, Pilates and fitness will share their insights. For more information and Crystal reservations, please call 800-446-6620. Visit the line's website,

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Royal Caribbean Intl Expands Middle East Presence
With 2010 Deployment in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 13  -- Royal Caribbean Intl has announced its entry into Dubai in the United Arab Emirates with the deployment of Brilliance of the Seas in 2010. From January to April 2010, the cruise line will offer its signature style of cruising for active vacationers to an international mix of guests, on seven-night sailings from this increasingly popular destination.

"Dubai is a dynamic and thriving city that shows great growth potential. Building on our reputation for introducing revolutionary cruise experiences, we are excited to provide a different cruise vacation than traditionally offered in this region," said Michael Bayley, senior vice president, international, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Royal Caribbean continues to attract vacationers globally and we are thrilled to offer new and exciting choices for our guests, combining our distinct onboard amenities with compelling itineraries including the Arabian Gulf's most popular destinations."

During a visit to Dubai this week, Rama Rebbapragada, regional vice president, international sales and marketing, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. added, "We continue to win devotees from throughout the Middle East and are pleased to have exceeded our 2008 sales target for the region, achieving significant growth over last year."

Brilliance of the Seas has a sleek profile and features vast expanses of open space, mirrored surfaces and glass paneling -- nearly three acres of exterior glass. The open Centrum with ten-deck high windows and ocean-facing glass elevators offers guests breathtaking vistas of the passing landscape and sea. Among the ship's unique features is a pair of ultra-high-tech, self-leveling pool tables in the Bombay Billiards Club. For Royal Caribbean's typically active guests, recreational amenities include a rock-climbing wall, jogging track, basketball and volleyball court, golf simulator and nine-hole miniature golf course, and a large gym with treadmills facing the sea. Five dining venues allow guests to enjoy a variety of choices, from Chops Grille steakhouse to Portofino Italian restaurant, Minstrel main dining room, or the casual Windjammer Cafe and Seaview Cafe. Freshly-brewed coffee, cappuccino or pastries can be found in Latte-tudes coffee bar.

Itineraries for the new cruises from Dubai will be announced in the coming weeks. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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Orient Lines Slashes 2009 Pricing, Rates Reflect Economic Common Sense

CELEBRATION, FL – Orient Lines has preemptively revamped its rate structure in response to the current financial crisis. With the market proving resistant to many of the usual remedies, the line’s owner, savvy entrepreneur Wayne Heller, has launched a new “Leadership Pricing” initiative, with 11-day Europe cruises priced from just $1,799 per person, based on double occupancy.

“The economy is still in a very, very precarious place. This is the time for Orient Lines to take a leadership position in the industry and truly do something that helps consumers,” stated Heller. “Our new “Leadership Pricing” translates to savings of up to $5,000 per cabin off brochure rates.”

Under Orient Lines’ new rate structure, two 11-day Mediterranean cruises are priced from $1,799 per person, double, reduced from $2,999. Two 16-day Baltic cruise-tours, which include an overnight hotel stay and sightseeing in Berlin, are priced from $2,999 per person, double, reduced from $4,649.

Travelers can join an 11-day “Aegean Odyssey,” departing April 29, from Port Said, Egypt, to the islands of Cyprus and Rhodes, plus Antalya, Didim and Kusadasi (gateway to ancient Ephesus) and Istanbul in Turkey. Overnights aboard ship allow guests to discover the many treasures of Cairo and Istanbul.

“Black Sea Explorer” is an 11-day cruise, departing May 9. Ports of call include Trabzon, Turkey; Batumi, Georgia; Sochi, Russia; Yalta, Sevastopol and Odessa, Ukraine; and Nessebar, Bulgaria. The round-trip Istanbul voyage includes an overnight aboard ship before departure.

The line’s 16-day “Great Baltics I and II” cruise-tours operate between Dover (London) and Szcezin, Poland, and include a one-night hotel stay and city tour in Berlin. The highlight of the cruise is three full days in St. Petersburg, Russia, ample time to devour The Hermitage or join an optional air excursion to Moscow. Ports of call include Amsterdam; Travemunde (Lubeck), Germany; Copenhagen; Stockholm; Helsinki; Tallinn, Estonia; and Riga, Latvia.

Sensational savings can also be realized come this fall. Orient Lines’ “Passage to Rio,” departing November 8, is a 20-day cruise from Barcelona to Rio de Janeiro, priced from $1,799 per person, double. Ports en route include Malaga and Cadiz (Seville) in Spain, Casablanca and Agadir, Morocco; Lanzarote, Canary Islands; Sao Vicente, Cape Verde Islands; and Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. An overnight aboard ship in Rio de Janeiro lets guests savor the Samba capital.

Air/Sea Program Expanded to 40 Gateway Cities
As part of Orient Lines’ new “Leadership Pricing initiative the number of cities from where guests can purchase air transportation has doubled to 40 North American gateways. Round-trip Economy Class air add-on fares to Europe are priced from as little as $695 from the East Coast, $795 from the Midwest and $895 from the West Coast.

Passengers cruise Europe aboard the classic 650-guest cruise liner Marco Polo II, which features four open-seating dining venues, six bars, a show lounge, cinema, casino, library and Internet center, card room, fitness center, spa with indoor pool and outdoor swimming pool. Experts from the fields of academia, politics, science and the diplomatic corps. will be featured on every voyage to enrich the experience. Where possible, Orient Lines arranges for local performers to entertain on board. On longer voyages, gentleman hosts will be along to dance and dine with unescorted female travelers. For more information, contact a travel agent, visit or call Orient Lines toll-free at 800-333-7300.

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Alaska's Icy Strait Point Honored for Sustaining Native Culture

HOONAH, Alaska, Oct. 7 -- The Travel Industry Association and National Geographic Traveler magazine recently named Icy Strait Point, Alaska's only private cruise ship destination, the winner of a "Travel to a Better World" award for sustaining an indigenous culture or community. Given in conjunction with TIA's Odyssey Awards, this sustainable tourism honor recognizes the best in the global travel industry. Icy Strait Point was chosen for its commitment to the Tlingit Indian village of Hoonah, located about 1.5 miles from the port. Hoonah is home to many of the shareholders of Huna Totem Corporation, the Alaska Native village corporation that owns Icy Strait Point.

"We've maintained about 90 percent local hire and 85 percent Native hire over our five-year history," said Bob Wysocki, CEO of Icy Strait Point. "That translates into about 120 positions filled with local residents in a community of 850 people."

Icy Strait Point helps keep the local Tlingit culture alive by involving elders and youth in the showcasing and presentation of their history, artwork and lifestyles to travelers. Souvenir shops are all Alaskan-owned and the local salmon cannery, once the economic engine of Hoonah, has been restored to feature a museum and an authentic working canning line.

"With most Alaska villages declining in population and economic activity, Hoonah and Icy Strait Point stand out as proof that an economic base can be built providing jobs that keep the village and culture alive," said Wysocki.

Because over half of the village's residents are shareholders in Huna Totem Corporation, the company is invested in minimizing the port's impact on the surrounding land and the everyday lives of its people. Icy Strait Point maintains a close watch on visitor volume, and construction at the port was completed using sustainable practices and manual labor to minimize scarring of the land. Located 50 miles west of Juneau, Icy Strait Point offers cruise passengers and independent travelers the experience of authentic Alaska. For more information, visit

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Carnival Corporation's Puerta Maya Cruise Center in
Cozumel Set to Re-open Oct. 16

MIAMI, Oct. 7 -- Carnival Corporation's pier at Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico--closed since being damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005--will officially re-open when the 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy and 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy visit the facility on Thursday, Oct. 16. Representing an investment of more than $50 million, the new two-berth pier has been specifically constructed to withstand a threshold category 5 hurricane and can accommodate any ship among Carnival Corporation & plc's various cruise brands.

In addition to the newly rebuilt pier, Puerta Maya's nine-acre cruise center, which features a wide variety of shops and restaurants, will also re-open, along with a four-acre transportation hub capable of accommodating dozens of taxis and tour buses. Four rental car facilities will be available, as well.

The Oct. 16 calls by the Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Ecstasy will be the first of 550 cruise-ship visits at Puerta Maya over the next year. In addition to calling at Puerta Maya, vessels from Carnival Corporation & plc brands will continue to utilize the other two piers in Cozumel. Collectively, these ships will bring an estimated 1.5 million visitors annually to Cozumel, who are expected to spend $126 million on the island each year.

"Epitomizing the 'fun in the sun' landside experience that is so closely associated with Caribbean cruising, Cozumel is the region's most visited cruise ship destination by far. Its gorgeous beaches, a variety of retail outlets and restaurants, and excellent watersports opportunities are enhanced only by the gracious hospitality of its residents," said Giora Israel, Carnival's vice president of strategic planning and port development. "The re-opening of Carnival's pier at Puerta Maya will provide cruise ship guests with easy and convenient access to all the wonders of this fascinating destination, along with unique on-site shopping and dining experiences," he added.

Puerta Maya's expansive cruise center houses 42 different outlets offering apparel, fine jewelry, artwork and other merchandise from such recognizable retailers as Goodmark Jewelers, Del Sol, Piranha Joe's, Dufry, and Diamonds International. The facility also features 15 stand-alone carts where local merchants market colorful handmade crafts, costume jewelry and souvenirs.

On-site dining options within the Puerta Maya complex include the Tres Amigos Bar, a new theme restaurant inspired by the 1986 hit movie starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short. The waterfront eatery, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, offers traditional Mexican fare, along with an extensive beverage menu. Also featured is Pancho's Backyard, a new franchise from the popular downtown Cozumel eatery featuring magnificent ocean views, as well as Fat Tuesday, a waterfront bar offering frozen drinks and light snacks, along with a DJ and dance floor.

Other retail outlets at Puerta Maya include a pharmacy, convenience store, and international pay phones. There is also a newly constructed shore excursion pier, separate from the main pier, which allows for quick and convenient access to all water-bound excursions, as well as water-based transportation to and from the facility.

The Puerta Maya pier and cruise center is located on the southwestern part of Cozumel, approximately five miles south of San Miguel, the island's largest city.

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Disney Cruise Line Sets Sail for Russia, Northern Europe &
Mediterranean in 2010

NEW YORK, Oct. 6 -- In response to guest demand, Disney Cruise Line will reposition one of its ships, Disney Magic, to Europe for an unprecedented five-month season of Northern European and Mediterranean cruises in 2010. With a wide variety of European itineraries in 2010, families have the ability to explore exotic and unexpected destinations with the safety and comfort of traveling with Disney Cruise Line, the leader in family cruising.

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will offer a 12-night Northern European Capitals cruise, where guests can experience breathtaking fjords, historic city centers and Viking lore at enchanting Scandinavian ports such as Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. The ship will also sail to Warnemunde, Germany, gateway to Berlin, and to St. Petersburg, Russia. The Disney Magic will overnight in St. Petersburg, allowing Disney Cruise Line guests time to experience the city known as the "Cultural Capital of Russia" or use the second day to book a shore excursion to Moscow.

"The Northern European Capitals itinerary provides our guests with an amazing collection of destinations to explore," said Disney Cruise Line President Tom McAlpin. "We're excited to bring the rich history, culture and folklore these ports offer to life for our guests in a family-friendly way only Disney Cruise Line can deliver."

Departing out of Dover, England, the Disney Magic will sail a total of four 12-night cruises to the Northern European capitals in June and July 2010. Rates for the 12-night Northern European Capitals itinerary start at $3,649 per person for a category 11 stateroom.

Book-ending the summer season in Northern Europe, the Disney Magic will once again return to the Mediterranean with 10- and 11-night cruises, but with three new ports of call not offered when Disney Cruise Line last sailed the Mediterranean. In addition to popular ports in Italy, France and Spain, the Disney Magic will visit Tunis, in Northern Africa, the island nation of Malta, and Corsica, an island oasis off the southern coast of France known as the birthplace of Napoleon.

"The response from guests who sailed on our Mediterranean voyages in 2007 was overwhelmingly positive," said McAlpin. "We're thrilled to bring the ship back and look to make the 2010 season in the Mediterranean even better, with new destinations and more one-of-a-kind Disney experiences for our guests."

Departing out of Barcelona, Spain, the Disney Magic will sail four 10-night and four 11-night cruises in the Mediterranean in April, May, August and September. Rates for the 10- and 11-night Mediterranean cruises start at $2,529 per person for a category 11 stateroom.

Disney Cruise Line will also offer four repositioning cruises including two 14-night transatlantic voyages, a seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Dover, England, and an eight-night cruise from Dover back to Barcelona.

Disney Magic 2010 European Schedule

12-Night N. European     11-Night                    10-Night
Capitals                        Mediterranean            Mediterranean
6/12, 6/24, 7/6, 7/18      4/24, 5/15, 8/7, 8/28   5/5, 5/26, 8/18, 9/8
Depart Dover, England    Depart Barcelona         Depart Barcelona
At Sea                         At Sea                       At Sea
Oslo                            Malta                         Malta
Copenhagen                 Tunis                          Tunis
Warnemunde (Berlin)      Naples                        Naples
At Sea                        Civitavecchia  (Rome)    Civitavecchia (Rome)
St. Petersburg              At Sea                        La Spezia (Florence) 
St. Petersburg              La Spezia (Florence)      Corsica
Helsinki (6/12, 7/6)
    or                           Corsica                       Villefranche
Tallinn (6/24, 7/18)
Stockholm                    Villefranche                 At Sea
At Sea                         At Sea                       Return Barcelona
At Sea                         Return Barcelona
Return Dover, England

Disney Wonder 2010 Schedule

The Disney Magic isn't the only Disney ship embarking on new itineraries in 2010. For the summer of 2010, the Disney Wonder will shift to 4- and 5-night cruises sailing to Nassau, Key West and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. The shift is designed to accommodate guests looking for slightly longer cruises with Disney Cruise Line while children are enjoying their summer break. Rates for the special 5-night voyages to Key West or two stops at Castaway Cay start at $899 per person, while the 4-night voyage begins at $849 per person for a category 11 stateroom.

Disney Wonder Summer 2010 Schedule

4-Night Bahamian         5-Night Double              5-Night Key West
   Cruise                     Castaway Cruise               Cruise
6/4, 6/18, 7/2,            5/30, 6/13, 6/27,           6/8, 6/22, 7/6,
7/16, 7/30, 8/13          7/11, 7/25, 8/8,             7/20, 8/3, 8/17
Depart Port Canaveral   Depart Port Canaveral     Depart Port Canaveral
Nassau                       Castaway Cay               Key West
Castaway Cay             Nassau                         At Sea
At Sea                       At Sea                         Nassau
Return Port Canaveral   Castaway Cay               Castaway Cay
                                Return Port Canaveral     Return Port Canaveral

Guests will be able to book all Disney Cruise Line itineraries for the 2010 season beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

A leader in the family cruise segment, Disney Cruise Line delivers a cruise experience that every member of the family feels was created for their own individual vacation wants and needs. 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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Five-Night Tibet Journey Takes Crystal Guests to Inimitable Heights

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6 -- A journey to mystical, magical Tibet and a visit to meet the rare and nearly extinct Giant Pandas highlights Crystal Cruises' five-night pre- and post-cruise land program, available with spring 2009 China and Japan itineraries. The exclusive land tour will enable Crystal guests to experience the beauty and majesty of Tibet, known as the "Roof of the World" with an elevation of 16,000 feet, and its famed monasteries and palaces that for centuries were closed to outsiders. In China's Sichuan province, travelers will visit the Giant Pandas at the Chengdu Breeding and Research Center and learn about what the institution is doing to preserve the endangered species.

The land programs are offered in conjunction with Crystal's spring itineraries between Hong Kong and Beijing aboard the award-winning Crystal Symphony. The March 27 itinerary sails between Hong Kong, calling at Kobe and Hiroshima, Japan; Shanghai, Dalian and Beijing, China. The April 5 sailing, from Beijing to Hong Kong, visits Beijing, Dalian and Shanghai and Osaka, Japan. Both itineraries also include a comprehensive, inclusive three-night pre- or post-cruise land program in Beijing.

"Bridging the best of land and sea, the China and Tibet extended land program offers excursions to regions of the world that few travelers will ever have the chance to see," said John Stoll, director, land programs. "A Crystal vacation isn't confined to the port cities and surrounding areas. With great attention to detail and Crystal care, we transport guests thousands of miles inland to expand their experience."

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

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Princess Cruises Launches New Season of Hawaiian Islands Sailings with
New Ways to Experience the Soul of Hawai‘i

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct 3 – As Golden Princess begins a new season of sailings to the Hawaiian Islands, Princess Cruises passengers will find themselves immersed in all things Hawai‘i, with the culture, traditions, arts and tastes of the island paradise highlighted throughout their cruise. Whether they’re attending demonstrations by local artisans, learning to play the ukulele, exploring historic attractions, or savoring regional cuisine in the dining room, the ship’s Hawai‘i travelers will enjoy the aloha spirit each day.

“Our goal is to captivate our passengers with onboard experiences that capture the heart and soul of Hawai‘i,” said Jan Swartz, Princess’ senior vice president. “We want to make sure that our guests go home with a deeper understanding of the islands and the people who live there.”

This year, Princess’ Hawaiian programs are engaging passengers with a variety of cultural presentations and demonstrations, interpretive lectures, folkloric performances, hands-on activities, Hawaiian cuisine, and a number of new Adventures Ashore excursion options throughout the islands. Among these Hawaiian experiences are:

In-Port Guest Artists – A variety of local artisans and performers will come aboard during select island port calls. Passengers will observe the unique expertise needed to create these truly Hawaiian arts, and may learn some craft skills themselves.

Kaua‘i: Ni‘ihau Shell Artists – The “forbidden” island of Ni‘ihau is privately owned and largely closed to the rest of the world. Although outsiders generally cannot visit there, Princess passengers have the unique opportunity to share in the island’s traditional culture when some of Ni‘ihau’s skilled artisans come onboard for a special shell lei making demonstration. Following an ancient art form, the native Hawaiian lei makers use tiny and delicate shells found only on the northern coast of Ni‘ihau, creating pieces that are highly prized as fine jewelry. In a presentation exclusive to Princess, passengers are invited to meet the artists and watch as they demonstrate the intricate process and share history of the craft. Although these heirloom-quality pieces are not widely available in stores, those who wish to own one of these stunning lei will also have the opportunity to purchase them from the craftswomen while they are onboard in Kaua‘i.

Hilo: Selected Artisans – In another presentation unique to Princess, native bone carver Dean Kaahanui comes aboard during some Big Island calls to present a workshop on the history of his craft and demonstrate the art of bone carving. During the workshop, he’ll also explain the inspiration for his work, which is often based on Hawaiian legends. After the demonstration, passengers also have an opportunity to purchase some of Kaahanui’s fine carvings. In Hilo, passengers may also have the opportunity to meet feather lei makers who will teach the ancient art of hulu lei.

Honolulu: Hula Show – Keiki (children) from the award-winning Hālau Hula Olana, one of the islands’ most respected hula schools, perform onboard during Honolulu calls. These charming young dancers present an entertaining show that highlights the children’s commitment to learning their hālau’s (school’s) unique hula tradition that has been passed down from generations of kumu (teachers), Hawaiian language and the stories of Hawai‘i.

Naturalists and Lecturers – Passengers can also add to their knowledge and appreciation of the islands through a series of special presentations from guest lecturers and naturalists – many from prestigious organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Park Service. These experts will provide insight on the wonders of the islands, including marine biology, whale migration, volcanoes, the islands’ unusual endemic species, Hawaiian culture and history, and local myths and legends.

Regional Hawaiian Cuisine – Hawai‘i’s bountiful fare – including fresh fruits such as pineapples and mangos, unique fish and seafood, luau staples such as roast pig, and treats like coconut and macadamia nuts – star in Princess’ special Hawaiian regional cuisine selections. Princess chefs use the state’s abundance of unique flavors to serve up such dishes as Macadamia and Panko Crusted Mahimahi, Lehua Honey BBQ Pork Spareribs, and Luau Pork with Apricot Drippings. A festive Hawaiian Island Night celebration will also feature a full buffet feast loaded with a rich variety of local taste treats, including pupus, a fresh fruit carving station and tropical-themed desserts.

New Adventures Ashore – Several new shore excursion options debut this season, adding some enticing island activities to Princess’ line-up of nearly 100 Hawai‘i tour choices. For those who want to indulge in island flavors, A Gourmet Tour of Volcanoes National Park (Hilo) offers the opportunity to not only enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, but also visit a local coffee mill, winery and artisanal candy company – the latter for tastings of fresh macadamia cookies. In Honolulu, passengers can enjoy the romantic Ali‘i Dinner Cruise, a sunset sailing on the world’s largest Polynesian catamaran. In addition, Honolulu visitors can choose a new way to see Pearl Harbor with the Mighty Mo and Pacific Aviation Museum tour – featuring the battleship USS Missouri, where Japan surrendered to end World War II. On Maui, passengers can enjoy one of the state’s best snorkeling sites with the Molokini Crater Snorkel Adventure & SNUBA tour.

On Kaua‘i, the new Grove Farm and Kauai Plantation Railway tour lets passengers discover the history of the Garden Isle with visits to Grove Farm, a beautifully preserved homestead and sugar plantation, plus ride the narrow gauge railway at Kilohana Plantation through fields of sugar cane, bananas, pineapples, papaya and coffee. Also on Kaua‘i, passengers can explore an area usually inaccessible to the public with the Historic Haraguchi Rice Mill and Hanalei Taro Fields tour – featuring Hawaii’s only remaining rice mill and surrounding taro fields. Kaua‘i visitors can also enjoy visits to the historic Kilauea Lighthouse and Limahuli Botanical Garden, a lush 17-acre garden complex set in a scenic 900-acre botanical preserve. Finally, passengers can opt for the Ultimate Island Adventure by Private Vehicle, where they can choose to explore Kaua‘i’s north or south shore in the comfort of their own VIP luxury vehicle.

Passenger Activities – For passengers who want to immerse themselves further in Hawaiian culture, onboard instructors teach a number of classes throughout the cruise, including the opportunity to learn such local skills as orchid lei making, hula dancing (both traditional and contemporary), sarong tying, Hawaiian language and ukulele playing. Ukulele aficionados can even show off their new skills at the end of the cruise with a passenger talent show.

The Islands on Film and TV – The ship’s movie and television programs will also put passengers in the island mood with Hawaiian topics and stories. Princess partnered with the National Park Service to produce an exclusive video presentation on Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park that gives passengers a comprehensive preview of this spectacular attraction. Hawaiian-themed films have been added to the ships’ selection of recent Hollywood movies, with classics such as “From Here to Eternity” and documentaries such as “Riding Giants,” profiling the world’s top surfers. In addition, a selection of travel videos and documentaries give passengers a feel for the islands. Among them are a series of National Geographic presentations covering the islands’ unique species, Pearl Harbor and Hawaiian culture, as well as a variety of specials on local-interest topics.

For the 2008-09 season, Golden Princess sails to the Hawaiian Islands on 14 departures. The ship offers 14-day round-trip Hawai‘i cruises from Los Angeles that include calls at Hilo, Honolulu, Kaua‘i (Nāwiliwili), and Maui. The ship sails between October 1, 2008 and April 1, 2009. 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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New Balcony Staterooms to be Added on Three Carnival “Fun Ships”

MIAMI, Oct 3 – Underscoring the tremendous popularity of its balcony staterooms, Carnival Cruise Lines will add balconies to a number of cabins on three ships during upcoming dry docks over the next few months.
Staterooms on the Carnival Destiny, Carnival Triumph, and Carnival Liberty that currently feature floor-to-ceiling windows will be retrofitted with private balconies, creating a total of 48 additional 230-square-foot verandah staterooms on these vessels. Additionally, two new 750-square-foot “deluxe penthouse suites” – nearly double the size of the largest staterooms in the fleet – will be added to the Carnival Liberty.

“Balcony staterooms continue to be in great demand – in fact, they’re often the first cabin category to sell out,” said Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival’s executive vice president of marketing and guest experience. “Therefore, we are pleased to incorporate additional balcony staterooms on Carnival Destiny, Carnival Triumph and Carnival Liberty, which will offer guests their own private, relaxing venue for viewing magnificent ocean vistas and scenery,” he added.

Like all “Fun Ship” accommodations, the new balcony staterooms on the Carnival Destiny, Carnival Triumph, and Carnival Liberty will offer a host of in-cabin amenities, including the popular Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows. Carnival balcony accommodations also include soft terrycloth robes for guest use during their cruise, as well as satellite television, mini bars, hair dryers, ample closet space, and in-cabin amenity kits with a wide array of brand-name products.

The two new 750-square-foot “deluxe penthouse suites” on the Carnival Liberty will be largest in the “Fun Ship” fleet by far and feature a new cabin configuration with a separate bedroom, expansive living area, and two full bathrooms, including one with a bathtub tub. Located on the ship’s forward section on Deck 9, the deluxe penthouse suites can accommodate up to five guests – rare in cruise industry staterooms – and include two twin beds that convert to a king, a sofa bed and two pull-down upper beds.

-- The 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny began a new program of year-round four- and five-day Caribbean cruises from Miami last week.
-- The 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph will continue its seven-day Caribbean schedule from Miami through next summer then sail on a series of Canada/New England voyages from New York before repositioning to New Orleans to launch year-round four-, five-, and seven-day Caribbean service in November 2009.
-- The 2,974-passenger Carnival Liberty, which currently operates seven-day Caribbean cruises from Miami, will reposition to Europe next summer to operate 12-day voyages to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. The ship will resume its weeklong Caribbean program from Miami in December 2009.

The new balcony staterooms on these three vessels will be available for sale on October 3, 2008. Carnival Destiny, Carnival Triumph, and Carnival Liberty are part of the line’s 22-vessel “Fun Ship” fleet which operates 3- to 18-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe and South America. The line has two new ships scheduled to enter service between now and 2011. For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

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Holland America Line Launches Explorations Team

Seattle, WA, Oct 2 — With today’s traveler looking for more enriching experiences and activities, Holland America Line has broadened its onboard programming with the new Explorations Team. As part of the premium line’s ongoing Signature of Excellence initiative, the Explorations Team will be comprised of event staff with specific, niche expertise ranging from technology to travel who will offer guests a menu of “edutainment” programs. The Holland America Line Explorations Team will be a cohesive team dedicated to enhancing the overall cruise experience and includes an onboard party planner, a travel guide, a “techspert” and dance directors. On cruises lasting 12-days or more, a book club leader will also join the team.

“People learn through experience and our guests are looking for programs, events and activities they can personally connect with,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Our goal is not only to entertain guests but to offer them the opportunity to learn a new skill or discover something about a new port or country; the choice is theirs, and the Explorations Team is in place to facilitate that choice.”

-- The onboard party planner will schedule, implement and host events in the Culinary Arts Center, significantly expanding the innovative program which already brings more than 70 culinary experts on board each year for cooking demonstrations and seminars. The line has invested more than $14 million in the professional show kitchens found on each ship and will use the space for more activities such as wine tasting, craft classes, floral arranging, and table and lifestyle presentations such as creating the line’s beloved towel animals.

-- The travel guide will host lectures and be a one-stop source for information on the various ports of call. A destination expert, the travel guide will be available throughout the cruise to interact with guests on a one-on-one basis, answer questions, and give presentations on the destination’s history, culture and geography. On Grand Voyages and on ms Prinsendam, rotating guest speakers fill the role of travel guide.

-- The “techspert” will be on hand to teach guests how to take advantage of technology, whether helping guests make the most of their vacation photos, arranging a digital scrapbook, blogging, creating a slideshow or editing a movie. Classes and personal workshops will be available throughout the cruise. Novices can learn about web 2.0 and how to work with digital photos. Those with more experience will enjoy the opportunity to learn new shortcuts and techniques.

-- Dance directors show guests how to dance the night away. Classes are available throughout each cruise. Whether teaching line dancing in the Crow’s Nest or ballroom dancing in the Ocean Bar, the dance instructors will ensure guests of all experience levels enjoy themselves while learning new steps. After class, guests will find dance events on the ship’s activity schedule where they may show off their new moves.

On cruises lasting 12 or more days, a book club leader will host lively book discussions in the Explorations Café powered by the New York Times. Book titles will be posted online before the cruise so guests interested in joining the discussion will have time to read the chosen book. The book club leader will plan and facilitate two to three discussions for each book. Books chosen will relate to the sailing destination whether by author or topic. For example, on an Australian itinerary the book may be “In a Sunburned Country” by Bill Bryson or in Asia, “Saving Fish from Drowning: A Novel by Amy Tan.”

With the addition of this new team of experts, Holland America Line guests now will have even more memories to take home from their cruise plus the personal experiences that have enriched their lives to share with family and friends. The Holland America Line Explorations Team will be implemented fleet-wide.

This $200-million phase in the Signature of Excellence commitment brings the latest innovations at sea to Holland America Line’s ms Statendam, ms Maasdam, ms Ryndam, ms Veendam and ms Rotterdam. The first of the extensive dry-dock periods begins with the Veendam in spring 2009 and the last will be completed on the Maasdam in late 2010. While in dry-dock, ships will expand the aft deck to create a new resort pool concept, The Retreat, and create a new bar concept called Mix that features separate areas—Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales. Enhancements will be made to all existing staterooms and additional staterooms will be added to the ships. The ships will also introduce 46 innovative lanai staterooms with direct access to the Lower Promenade Deck. New spa staterooms near the Greenhouse Spa and Salon will offer special in-room spa amenities. Overall Holland America Line has committed $525 million to its Signature of Excellence program that redefines premium cruising. For a cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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Season's Best Alaska Shore Excursions Chosen by Princess Cruises Passengers

SANTA CLARITA, CA, Oct 2 - As Princess Cruises wraps up another successful Alaska cruise season, the line has announced the winners of its ninth annual C.R.U.I.S.E. service awards, which recognize the best shore excursion experiences in Alaska and the Northwest as determined by Princess passengers. The awards acknowledge the importance of local tour operators and their staff and the vital role they play in a passenger's Alaska cruise experience. The most popular tours, individual guides and dock representatives are determined by passenger surveys taken throughout the season, and are chosen from the extensive line-up of more than 200 Alaska shore excursion options offered on Princess ships.

"The Alaska tour operators we work with do a wonderful job of continuing Princess' culture of service once passengers go ashore," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "It's always gratifying to receive so many positive comments about the experiences passengers have on their Alaska shore adventures. These awards are to recognize and thank those who make the shore experience special for our visitors."

The C.R.U.I.S.E. program is the longest running customer service program in the cruise industry. The Alaska awards were begun in 2000 and cap off a season-long effort to recognize the role that Alaskan-owned tour partners play in passengers' cruise experiences. Tour Guide of the Season and Dock Representative of the Season award winners receive $100, a letter of commendation, a plaque, a ship tour and lunch onboard with their family. Operators of the Shore Excursion of the Season receive a plaque and a letter of commendation, a tour of the ship, and lunch onboard for company officials.

The 2008 winners include:

Co-Shore Excursions:
Alaska's Whales & Rainforest Trails, Gastineau Guiding Company
Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter Tour, TEMSCO Helicopters
Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition, Alaska Canopy Adventures
Co-Tour Guides:
Jami Likins, Gastineau Guiding Company
Matt Failor, Gold Rush Tours/TEMSCO Helicopters
Dock Representative:
Aubrey Reece, TEMSCO Helicopters

Co-Shore Excursions:
Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour, Commercial Fishing Adventures
Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure, Snorkel Alaska
Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition, Alaska Canopy Adventures
Co-Tour Guides:
"Kiwi" Allan Brann, Commercial Fishing Adventures
Rob Holston, Lighthouse Excursions
Dock Representative:
Jill Gates, The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show

Shore Excursion:
Near Island Sea Kayak Adventure, Orcas Unlimited Charters of Kodiak
Tour Guide:
Sue Rohrer, First Group

Shore Excursion:
Best of Seattle, Gray Line of Seattle

Shore Excursion:
Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise, Kenai Fjords Tours
Tour Guide:
Whitey Van Deusen, Trails North

Co-Shore Excursions:
4x4 Wilderness Adventure, Greenling Enterprises
Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest, Allen Marine Tours
Tour Guide:
Justin Horn, Sitka Tours

Co- Shore Excursions:
Dog Sledding & Glacier Flightseeing, TEMSCO Helicopters
Klondike Rock Climbing & Rappelling, Alaska Mountain Guides
Takshanuk Mountain Trail by 4x4, Takshanuk Mountain Trail
Co- Tour Guides:
Mike Fortney, Chilkat Guides
Nicki Bunting, Skagway Street Car Co.
Dock Representative:
Rebecca Hylton, White Pass & Yukon Route

Shore Excursion:
Columbia Glacier Cruise, Stan Stephens Cruises
Tour Guide:
Chris Arrate, Keystone Outfitters

Shore Excursion:
Capilano Canyon's Natural Beauty, Rockwood Adventures

Shore Excursion:
Enchanting Butchart Gardens, Gray Line West
Tour Guide:
Norman Archer, D'Costa Ports of Call

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

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Silversea's 2009 "Silver Links" Theme Cruises Set Course for Golf's Most Enticing Fairways

Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Oct 1 -- For golf explorers, it's a dream come true! Silversea's 2009 Silver Links program offers golfers the chance to combine their passion for the game with their love of adventure on 13 golf theme cruises featured aboard Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper. 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 Cape Kidnappers Golf Club in Napier, to the narrow fairways and mountain terrain of the elegant Monte Carlo Golf Club, to the rolling hills and lush landscape of the St. Lucia Golf and Country Club, guests will have a chance to perfect their game at some of the world's most challenging and revered championship courses in 30 countries and island destinations throughout the South Pacific, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Mexico.

"The popularity of golf is increasing every year, and more and more golfers are looking for an international golf experience," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "With our Silver Links program, 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 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.

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. 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.

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.

Following is a sampling of the Silver Links voyages and golf courses for 2009:

-- Silver Shadow departs January 4 on a 9-day Caribbean sailing (#3901) from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados calling in Tortola, Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada and Bequia. Optional golf excursions visit Cedar Valley Golf Club (St. John's); St. Lucia Golf and Country Club (Castries); and Sandy Lane Country Club (Bridgetown).

-- Silver Whisper departs January 4 on a 14-day South Pacific sailing (#4901) from Auckland to Sydney calling in Napier, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hobart, Burnie and Melbourne. Optional golf excursions visit Titirangi Golf Club (Auckland); Cape Kidnappers Golf Course (Napier); Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club (Wellington); Royal Hobart Golf Club; Royal Melbourne Golf Club and Sydney's Camden Lakeside Country Club.

-- Silver Shadow departs February 18 on a 17-day Panama Canal crossing (#3906) from Antigua to Los Angeles calling in Cartagena, San Blas Island, Costa Rica, Puerto Quetzal, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada. Optional golf excursions visit La Iguana at Los Sueños (Puntarenas); Fairmont Pierre Marquis Golf Club (Acapulco); and Puerto Vallarta's El Tigre Golf Club.

-- Silver Whisper departs May 19 on a 9-day Mediterranean sailing (#4912) from Athens to Barcelona calling in Santorini, Malta, Sicily, Sorrento, Rome, Monte Carlo and Porquerolles. Optional golf excursions visit Il Picciolo Golf Club (Catania); Le Querce Golf Club (Rome); and the Monte Carlo Golf Club.

-- Silver Whisper departs August 15 on a 7-day Mediterranean sailing (#4924) from Monte Carlo to Barcelona calling in Sardinia, Antibes, Sète, Porto Mahon and Palma de Mallorca. Optional golf excursions visit Monte Carlo Golf Club; La Grande-Motte Golf Club (Sète); Son Parc Golf Club (Mahon); and Son Vida Golf Course (Palma de Mallorca).

-- Silver Shadow departs December 2 on a 9-day Caribbean voyage (#3931) from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados calling in Grand Turk, Samana, La Romana, St. Lucia and Grenada. Optional golf excursions visit Casa de Campo's Teeth of the Dog (La Romana), St. Lucia Golf and Country Club and Bridgetown's Sandy Lane Country Club.

For a complete list of Silver Links voyages, visit

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SeaDream Yacht Club Schedules Many New Ports for 2009

In spite of the financial meltdown, a global credit crunch and the U.S. election year, SeaDream Yacht Club continues to sell well with affluent consumers and has published an update of 2009’s Caribbean winter and European summer itineraries for those travelers who are planning ahead.

Commenting on the economic implosion, Larry Pimentel, President, CEO and Co-Owner of award-winning SeaDream Yacht Club, stated “Bookings for 2008 continue to sell briskly at good yields and 2009 shows a strength that belies the economic headlines.” Turning to itineraries for next year he said “As in previous years, 2009 will find our small, sleek, 50-couple yachts sailing in the Caribbean in the winter months and European waters in the summer. They will call not only at vibrant port cities (for pre- and post-voyage visits), but at small and exclusive seaside towns and villages where the big passenger ships can’t go. “Calling at small yachting ports is a specialty of ours,” Pimentel said.

In the Caribbean from January through April of 2009, the two SeaDream mega-yachts will sail in the British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico’s Virgin Islands, French West Indies, Netherlands Antilles and the Windward and Leeward Islands. Embarkation and debarkation ports include convenient and accessible air gateways--San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Maarten and Miami on a westbound transatlantic crossing.
In Europe from May through October 2009, SeaDream I and II will sail in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea, the Aegean Sea, up into Croatia and even down to Tunisia. Embarkation ports include Barcelona, Seville, Tenerife, Lisbon, Nice, Monte Carlo, Rome, Venice, Athens and Dubrovnik.

SeaDream will also call on the ports of Miami, Palm Beach and Key West in 2009. New ports in 2009 for SeaDream’s Caribbean sailings are: Dewey, Culebra (Puerto Rico’s Virgin Islands); Honeymoon Beach and Water Island (U.S. Virgin Islands); Cooper Island (British Virgin Islands); Coconut Grove, Nevis, Samana (Dominican Republic) and Deshaies (Guadeloupe). Many Caribbean port calls include “overnights” as at chic St. Barts where SeaDream guests can enjoy the lively restaurant and nightlife scene. SeaDream is also offering more active land options in the Caribbean. Examples are bone fishing off Anegada, rainforest hikes on Nevis, in addition to kayaking, biking, deep water fishing, small catamaran racing, beach horseback riding, golf (at Anguilla’s new upscale golf course) and swimming in a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico’s Virgin Islands.

New ports for 2009 for SeaDream’s European sailings are: Formentera (Spain); Lipari, St. Margherita, Trieste (Italy): Le Lavandou, Antibes, Port Vendres, Sete, Bandol and Menton (France); Piran (Slovenia); Vis (Croatia); La Goulette, Tunis (Tunisia); Katakolon, Elafonisos, Aigina, Chania, Crete (Greece);and Ponta Delgada (the Azores). The European schedule includes more calls at what has been termed the “new” Mykonos---Naousa village on the Greek island of Paros. There’s also the possibility of combining the Greek Islands with the Croatian coast on voyages between Venice and Athens.

All details from January through December 2009 for SeaDream’s award-winning mega yacht cruisers SeaDream I and II may be found on its website

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Sail Through the Holidays On Board Norwegian Cruise Line

Enjoy a Thanksgiving repast cruising through the Mexican Riviera, a white sand Christmas in the Caribbean, or even ring in the New Year on the steps of the pyramids in Egypt all while cruising on one of 11 Norwegian Cruise Line (“NCL”) ships in November and December. While on board, dine on fabulous holiday feasts in their choice of 12 restaurants, enjoy Vegas and Broadway-style shows just steps away, cool off swimming, challenge family to a bowling game, or play Nintendo Wii on a two-story screen – all on an entire ship decked out for the holidays. Guests can also take advantage of NCL’s suites and villas with flexible space for the entire family. The best part is NCL does all the work, so there’s more time to celebrate the spirit of the holidays.

All NCL ships feature holiday caroling by members of the staff, Christmas Eve services, and a holiday show in which both crew members and children participate. While kids enjoy NCL’s youth program, parents can check out the high-energy parties on New Year's Eve, featuring NCL’s White Hot Party and NCL’s Monte Carlo Night.

Thanksgiving – Thursday, Nov. 27
Ships are festively adorned with Thanksgiving decorations to put guests in the holiday mood. Special Thanksgiving-themed menus are available in the main dining rooms featuring culinary delights such as smoked duck breast, pumpkin soup, and of course traditional roast turkey with chestnut sage dressing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake.

Chanukah – Sundown, Sunday, December 21
A rabbi is on board each ship to conduct services for the holiday period, and a menorah is placed in a central location and lit each day to commemorate the eight-day celebration.

Christmas – Thursday, Dec. 25
NCL makes Christmas at sea an unforgettable experience. To help guests get into the holiday spirit, select public areas are outfitted with a variety of festive holiday decorations. Crew members stage an interactive holiday show in the ship’s theater, while the cruise director and staff add to the merriment by performing carols. A priest and a minister are on board each ship to conduct Christmas Eve services for guests who choose to partake, and Santa takes time out of his busy schedule to hand out gifts on Christmas Day. NCL ships also offer special holiday-themed menus in the main dining rooms with dishes such as honey-glazed Black Forest ham with sweet potato mash, roasted turkey with apple and apricot stuffing, pumpkin soufflé and a pear and chestnut torte.

New Year’s Eve – Wednesday, Dec. 31
After enjoying a special menu in the main dining rooms including decadent fare such as foie gras, Blue Point oysters, and oxtail, party-goers are given hats, noisemakers and colorful streamers. Each ship’s captain leads a special countdown from the bridge to usher in the New Year.

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Holland America Line Announces New 6-Day Scandinavia Cruises Sailing Roundtrip From Rotterdam

Seattle — Holland America Line’s flagship, ms Rotterdam, will sail two new 6-day Scandinavian itineraries in July 2009. Ideal for travelers eager for a shorter getaway, the two round-trip sailings feature spectacular scenic cruising and explore Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

“Given our legacy in Rotterdam, we are thrilled to be sailing in and out of this magnificent port, right past our original headquarters, now the Hotel New York,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, Holland America Line. “It’s a unique and unforgettable experience to watch Rotterdam’s citizens cheering at our arrivals and departures.”

Departing July 18, 2009, from Rotterdam, Netherlands, the ship calls at some of the Baltic’s best-known ports: Helsingborg, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark and Oslo, Norway, before returning to Rotterdam. A 22-hour stay in the Danish capital enables guests to meander through the streets of Copenhagen or enjoy a leisurely dinner at a sidewalk café before returning to the ship.

The second sailing, departing Rotterdam July 24, explores the coast of Norway with calls at Flam, Bergen and Stavanger. Two days of scenic cruising in Norway — the first in Sognafjord and Aurlandsfjord, and the second at Lysefjord and Pulpit Rock — will delight nature enthusiasts and amateur photographers alike.

“These new six-day cruises are perfect for the traveler who wants a shorter premium vacation and to discover some of Scandinavia’s most beautiful and memorable towns and seascapes,” added Meadows.

12-Day cruise—or an 18-day Collectors’ Voyage—available for those who wish to explore Baltic in more depth
Holland America Line also offers two extended cruise options for those who want to see more of Northern Europe and to receive a more in-depth discovery of Scandinavia and the Baltic.

Departing on July 18, guests can combine the two six-day itineraries for a 12-day cruise that sails to a variety of ports and includes scenic cruising through Norway’s most picturesque fjords and has only one overlapping call at Rotterdam. Pricing for the 12-day cruise begins at $1,629 per person, double occupancy.

The six day, July 24 sailing, can be combined with the following 12-day, July 30 sailing, for an 18-day Collectors’ Voyage. The Collectors’ Voyage includes calls at Oslo, Norway, Århus, Denmark, Warnemünde (Berlin), Germany, Tallinn, Estonia, and two days in St. Petersburg, Russia. While in St. Petersburg, guests will have plenty of time to explore such iconic treasures as the Hermitage Museum, the palace of Czarina Catherine the Great and the cathedrals of St. Petersburg. The Collectors’ Voyage then continues its journey to Helsinki, Finland, Stockholm, Sweden, scenic cruising of Stockholm Archipelago and disembarks in Copenhagen, Denmark. Pricing for the 18-day Collectors’ Voyage begins at $2,399, per person, double occupancy. Taxes and fuel supplement are additional on all fares.

For cruise brochures or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

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The Yachts of Seabourn & Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Partner to Offer A Lavish Extended Vacation

Miami – Can’t get enough of the luxury aboard The Yachts of Seabourn? Now guests can be pampered longer thanks to a new partnership between the ultra-luxury cruise line and Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Beginning in summer 2009, the elegant, all-inclusive train travel experience will offer top-of-the-line transfer from London to Venice and Venice to London for the Dalmatian Gems itinerary aboard Seabourn Spirit.

The many pleasures of Venice Simplon-Orient-Express are unmatched on rails, especially from London to Venice, where scenery runs from the Swiss and Austrian Alps to the Italian Dolomites. Upon boarding the gleaming carriages of a British Pullman at Victoria Station, passengers will tuck into reserved seating and a three-course lunch, complete with wine and champagne, as the train travels through the Kentish countryside before entering into the Chunnel on its way to France. A personal steward will attend to all needs throughout the journey, which includes private compartment accommodations upon arrival in France, when guests switch trains and board the blue and gold carriages of Continental Wagon-Lits of Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

Pre-dinner cocktails whet appetites for delicious multi-course meals prepared fresh by creative French chefs in the train’s magnificent restaurant cars. Afternoon tea arrives in time for passage through the Brenner Pass between Austria and Italy. And when the train crosses the Venetian Lagoon and pulls into Santa Lucia station, a Seabourn representative will be waiting to afford passage to the legendary Hotel Cipriani for a luxurious night before departure on Seabourn Spirit. The “post-cruise” rail itinerary is the same, albeit in reverse, with no shortage of elegance and overnight accommodations at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in the heart of London.

The Dalmatian Gems itinerary takes in some of the hottest spots along the Mediterranean, many of them new ports of call for 2009. The 7-night itinerary includes Opatija, Split and Triluke Bay, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Koper, Slovenia; Trieste, Italy; and of course, Venice.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express transfer will be available prior to Dalmatian Gems 7-day cruises departing on July 4, 2009, August 15, 2009, and September 26, 2009, as well as post-cruise following the September 5, 2009, itinerary. Cost of rail portion, one-way: $4,399 per person/double, $5,999 per person/single. Fares for the 7-day Dalmatian Gems cruise start at $4,598 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean-view suite.

For more information or to make a reservation aboard Seabourn Spirit, please contact Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit

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Costa Offers Unbeatable Values on Europe & the Caribbean in Single Voyages

MIAMI, FL – Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, combines the continental style of Europe and tropical beauty of the Caribbean together in one voyage with two transatlantic sailings aboard the grand Costa Fortuna. With fares beginning at just $699, travelers may choose from a 15-night positioning voyage departing from Savona, Italy en route to Ft. Lauderdale on December 6, 2008 and a 17-night sailing departing from Ft. Lauderdale en route to Savona on March 17, 2009. Guests will enjoy Costa’s signature warm, authentic Italian ambience combined with a sophisticated cosmopolitan atmosphere, all while visiting top locales on both sides of the Atlantic.

The first positioning voyage, a 15-night sailing, departs from Savona (Portofino), Italy on December 6, 2008 with visits to Barcelona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands), Pointe-A-Pitre (Guadeloupe), St. Maarten, Catalina Island (Dominican Republic) and Nassau, Bahamas before arriving in Ft. Lauderdale. The second voyage, a 17-night sailing, departs from Ft. Lauderdale on March 15 with stops in Nassau, Catalina Island, St. Maarten, Pointe-A-Pitre, Barbados, St. Cruz de Tenerife, Funchal (Madeira), Barcelona and Savona.

“These two positioning cruises aboard the Costa Fortuna are some of the most incredible travel values available—not only will guests experience the continental style of European destinations including Barcelona and Portofino, but they’ll also enjoy the tropical flavor of the Canary Islands and the Caribbean as well” said Maurice M. Zarmati, President and CEO of Costa Cruise Lines—North America. “Best of all, they’ll see all of these destinations while sailing on a virtual floating Italian villa, complete with authentic Italian cuisine, European style and ambience and stunning surroundings.”

Drawing inspiration from the grand Italian liners of yesteryear that provided regular passenger service between Italy and the Americas, the 105,000-ton Costa Fortuna combines nostalgia and a refined atmosphere into a stunning modern framework. With a double capacity of 2,720, the Costa Fortuna features 1,359 cabins—857 ocean view and 458 with large verandas. The ship offers guests a stunning array of facilities including 11 bars, 4 restaurants, a theater extending over three floors, three swimming pools, a casino, disco, ballroom and a gym.

For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit

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A Novel Idea: Book Club to Debut on Crystal's 2009 World Cruise

LOS ANGELES -- With its 2009 World Cruise, Crystal Cruises is introducing The Interactive Literary Review, a book club moderated by the dynamic, best-selling author and literary critic Robert Adams. On each of the seven segments Adams and guests will delve into three internationally acclaimed novels. Adams, author of the best-selling book, A Love of Reading, lectures exclusively for Crystal and is applauded for his theatrical "performance reviews" of books. The program is launching through the ultra-luxury line's Creative Learning Institute, which generously expands its programming on each segment of the 106-day "Pacific Circle Celebration" World Cruise, departing Los Angeles on January 21.

"Crystal's new Literary Review was designed to stimulate discussion, entertain, foster camaraderie and provide an intellectual forum for common interests," said Bret Bullock, vice president, entertainment. "Robert has selected a diverse collection of the world's most compelling, topically relevant books. Set in international locations from Papua New Guinea to Afghanistan, the multi-layered characters and story lines invite discussion."

The 21 novels, penned by authors from more than 10 countries, include such acclaimed titles as A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khalid Hosseini; Cat's Eye, by Margaret Atwood; Palace Walk, by Naguib Mahfouz and Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulks. All titles for each cruise segment are listed at On board, they are available for purchase in the Captain's Choice retail shop. And several of the works, along with more than 1,500 others, are available in Crystal Serenity's library.

Crystal Serenity's World Cruise spans the globe, visiting 45 ports of call in 22 countries throughout the South Pacific, Asia, Africa and Europe. Eight distinctive segments range from 11 to 17 days. Crystal's Creative Learning Institute provides comprehensive instruction and enrichment opportunities. In addition to the Interactive Literary Review, expert instruction is offered through a wide range of Crystal partners, including Yamaha, Berlitz, Tai Chi
Cultural Center, The Cleveland Clinic and The Society of Wine Educators. For additional information and Crystal reservations, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website at

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Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Solstice Sets Sail For First Time

MIAMI –– The most widely heralded ship to enter the cruise market this year, Celebrity Solstice, departed Meyer Werft shipyard yesterday in Papenburg, Germany, as the largest ship ever built by the longtime shipbuilder. In a milestone event known as “The Conveyance,” the 2,850-guest Celebrity Solstice made its way down the River Eems, as tens of thousands of area residents lining the river banks cheered and photographed the historic event.

“This is a very momentous occasion for Celebrity Cruises,” said the brand’s President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. “Celebrity Solstice is the perfect manifestation of what the Celebrity brand is all about: extraordinary service, spectacular dining, and fabulous style and design. And as the first in a series of five Solstice-class ships, it’s a vivid example of the growth and momentum of the Celebrity brand, and our commitment to meet our guests’ and travel agent partners’ demands for more vacation options with Celebrity.”

Among the wealth of attributes guests will find only on Celebrity Solstice are:
-- The industry’s first Lawn Club, a lush, half-acre recreation area with real, growing grass.
-- The industry’s first Hot Glass Show, with live glassblowing demonstrations presented in association with The Corning Museum of Glass.
-- Larger staterooms, with design inspirations offered by a panel of five women, hand-picked for their unique travel and hospitality insights.
-- 10 varied restaurants, ranging from the dramatic, two-level “Grand Epernay” main dining room with a sweeping wine tower, to four exquisite specialty restaurants, to several stylish, casual venues.
-- An entirely new category of accommodations, “AquaClass,” designed to offer a spa vacation experience at sea rivaling the best of those on land.
-- A state-of-the-art theater and stage design, with three new leading-edge shows custom-designed for Celebrity with Poet Theatricals, in their first cruise line partnership.

“There also is the intangible attribute which is consistent across the Celebrity fleet, and that’s the extraordinary, anticipatory service our phenomenal staff offer our guests every day,” said Hanrahan.

Celebrity Solstice will be berthed in Eemshaven, Netherlands, from Sept 29 to Oct 24, with two separate sea trials planned during that period, in addition to crew arrivals, training, provisioning and finishing work onboard. The ship will depart Eemshaven October 24 on a transatlantic voyage, with arrival in Fort Lauderdale planned for early November, followed by a series of promotional cruises for invited travel agents, press and other dignitaries. The ship will be named in formal ceremonies on November 14, and will begin its maiden season Nov 23, with a series of alternating 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, calling on San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, and Tortola during this Fall and Winter. Celebrity Solstice presents a series of romantic 10- and 11-night Mediterranean cruises from Rome beginning in Spring 2009.

Celebrity's current fleet will be joined by Celebrity Solstice in 2008, Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit

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